Friday, November 30, 2012
On Monday, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones will be interviewed on fellow honoree David Letterman's late night television show. It seems unlikely they will play on the show, and a rumour that they were scheduled to play an acoustic version of Stairway to Heaven has already been put to rest. However, Plant and Paul Schaffer have a relationship that goes back to his Honeydrippers album, and if there is any member that would be indifferent to performing it is likely Plant.
Whether they play or not, it's a good extended weekend to be a Led Zeppelin watcher.
Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page is a fairly comprehensive Jimmy Page biography told mostly in Page's own words. Each chapter presents Page in interview form talking about a point in his career: studio, Yardbirds, forming Zeppelin &tc. Each chapter is introduced by Tolinski, and supplemented with an interview with a relevant figure from the era. i.e. Jeff Beck on the early days; John Paul Jones on forming Zeppelin; Paul Rogers on The Firm.
Tolinski manages to tie all the interviews together without bogging the book down in technical details, as often happens when two guitar players get together. Although Tolinski's interviews are originally intended for an audience of fellow guitar players, they will be easily readable to the average fan. What emerges from all the conversation is a fairly clear picture of Page the artist and player, much less so Page the man.
Having read a number of the interviews before, one fear I had when I first heard about Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page was that it would just be a rehash of the old interviews. However, Tolinski manages to re-edit the interviews to make them seem new and fresh. As well, the supplemental interviews, or "musical interludes," provide enough fresh material to keep things interesting.
Brad Tolinski's Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page is a fairly quick easy read, broken into enough sections that it can be put down and picked up at leisure. Every Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin fan will enjoy it, and it would make a perfect Christmas gift for the Led-Head in your house.
Buy on Hardcover
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Plant sounds in very good voice on this night and his interaction with a lively audience is fun to listen to. Clearly the audience was in to it, and the Sensational Space Shifters gave them an uptempo set sprinkled with songs mostly from Plant's solo and Led Zeppelin career.
Unlike other tours, Plant stays fairly true to the originals, making arrangement changes for the instruments in use but not to the basic song itself. Rock and Roll, for instance, which was given a reworking into a rockabilly yawn-a-long, is back to being a solid rocker. Whole Lotta Love is recognizable as such while Black Dog is weirded out musically. The vocal line in the latter, however, is not much changed from the recent Celebration Day release.
Highlights include All The Kings Horses (during the intro of which someone yells, "beautiful man, beautiful"), Going to California and the aforementioned Rock and Roll. But outside of the opening song, Tin Pan Valley, there's nothing in this set that's not excellent. It has been a long time (been a long time, been a long time) since I've enjoyed listening to new Robert Plant music as much as I did this show.
That leaves us with one question: has Plant found his big voice? The answer is unquestionably yes and, having combined it with the half octave harmony vocalist he has learnt to be the last five years, he is effective and dynamic singer fronting a solid and entertaining band. One hopes Patty Griffin has more solo tours lined up in the next couple of years.
- Tin Pan Valley
- Another Tribe
- Somebody Knocking
- Black Dog
- All The Kings Horses
- Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
- Four Sticks
- Ramble On
- Freedom Fries
- Whole Lotta Love
- Going to California
- Rock and Roll
-- Encore --
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Having previously seeing Celebration Day, and loving it it, at the movie theaters, I wasn't expecting any surprises watching it at home on Blu-Ray. It is an excellent concert movie that puts the viewer on-stage in the middle of the action. Watching at home does offer, however, certain advantages and certain disadvantages. You can stop, repeat and review a song or part of a song at home. At the theatre you pay for atmosphere, to not have to put up with distractions and superior theatre sound.
So how come it sounded so much better on my weak Akai sound system circa 1988? Left alone on a Sunday afternoon, I was able to turn it up and just enjoy the concert. It was the perfect home viewing experience.
Lets be clear, if you saw the movie in the theaters, it is exactly the same concert movie. There is nothing new, and the viewing and audio experience is limited only by your personal setup. it was an excellent movie then, and it is excellent sitting in the living room in front of a roaring fire.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
On top of that, now that it's officially the Christmas season, I have a number of items for review. On top of the Celebration Day CD and BluRay, I have a couple of books, a Robert Plant concert from Livedownloads.com and a guitar book, all needing review before Christmas.
That said, with the Celebration Day release out of the way, it's time for some reviews. I have started already, reviewing the Celebration Day CD yesterday and Barney Hoskyns Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World’s Greatest Rock Band today.
Keep reading for more reviews as the week goes along.
Meanwhile, I don't watch much TV, and always figure if I'm watching TV then I have something else I should be doing. Nonetheless, I have seen the ad for Celebration Day twice now in the past few weeks, so I assume everybody has seen it. If not, however, here it is, courtesy of LedZeppelin.com:
Review Week - Day 2: Barney Hoskyns - Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the Worlds Greatest Rock and Roll Band.
When reading a new bio of Zeppelin, as I've read far too many really, I have a simple metric to determine what kind of bio is it: does it tell the Seattle mud-shark story. If it does, I know it's a book interested in the salacious over the music. I prefer, having heard that story too many times, books that either ignore it acknowledge it without much detail. Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band passes this test.
The book focuses on the band, their music and their unique managerial style, treating the band largely as a five-some, with Peter Grant the fifth Zeppelin member. If something affected the music, or the selling of the music, Hoskyns covers it. And while it provides possibly the most comprehensive look at the bands drug use, particularly Page, Bonham and Grant's descent into heroin or, in the latter case, cocaine, it is always in relation to how it affected the band itself.
Led Zeppelin: The Oral History... is an interesting and reasonably quick read, giving the reader some new insight into what made Led Zeppelin tick, while creating a balance between being salacious and telling the full story. It is a must read for Led Zeppelin fans.
Buy the hardcover
Monday, November 26, 2012
When I tell him what it is, he says, “man that is good.” We finished the drive with a discussion on just how tight Led Zeppelin was on that night of Dec 10, 2007.
I’ve had the CD for a week and-a-half now and I can’t seem to stop listening to it. In the car, at home, walking the dog I listen from start to finish, skipping nothing, over and over. It is simply that good.
Yes, the band is tight, surprising for a one off gig, their first full one in almost 30 years. But anybody with any of the various bootlegs of that night already knew that. But the quality of the sound, the flawless mix make this set so much better.
Celebration Day is Led Zeppelin at their best, and the CD makes for a must listen, a must have for any Led Zeppelin fan.
Friday, November 16, 2012
As well as Celebration Day news and interviews, I review Barney Hoskyns Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band, Brad Tolinski's Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Pageand the latest issue of Tight But Loose.
Jam packed and my longest episode yet, Ramble On Radio #24 is a must listen podcast for every fan excited about Celebration Day.
Listen on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes
Jason Bonham interview in Mojo magazine:
JH: 20-million people applied for tickets to that show, and you could only fit 20,000... are they to be disappointed, or is there likely to be another Led Zeppelin concert?
JP: Well look, we're almost five years after the O2 concert and, I must say, I thought there might be some other sort of get together for some reason or another. But as the years ticked by, you know, one year; two years; three years; four years; now almost five years, it doesn't look very likely does it.
So as is suspected by just about everybody, Page was not the reason there was no more Led Zeppelin shows.
Here's the edited interview. The complete interview airs tonight on BBC television.
Celebration Day the new Led Zeppelin concert film from the 1997 O2 arena show is available in stores Tuesday.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Meanwhile, in Argentina Sunday night Plant was jumped onstage by a fan. As the band was ending the show a fan ran onstage and directly toward Plant. Plant saw him at the last minute and jumped out of the way, but not before the fan did make contact with a falling Plant. Security then made the exuberant fans night somewhat less than fun. Watch the video here at about 4:30.
Meanwhile, all the South American shows up to Sunday nights is now available for legal download via LiveDownloads.com.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
1.Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Bandby Barney Hoskyns (titled Trampled Underfoot in Europe):
With Robert Plant on lead vocal and Jimmy Page on guitar, Led Zeppelin is one of the most iconic, legendary, and influential rock bands in musical history. Tales of their indulgence in sex, drugs, and excess have swirled for decades. In this definitive oral history of the band, Barney Hoskyns finally reveals the truth about Led Zeppelin, paring away the myths and describing what life was really like for four young men on top of the world, enjoying fame on a scale that not even the Beatles experienced as a touring live act. Through fresh new interviews with the surviving band members, close friends, their tour manager, and scores of other fascinating characters, Hoskyns provides deep insights into the personalities of the band members and chronicles the group's dramatic rise, fall, and legacy.
- Based on more than 200 interviews with everyone from Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones to road manager Richard Cole, their late manager Peter Grant, and many others central to the Zeppelin story
- Features striking photos of the band both on and offstage, many published here for the first time
- Takes a fresh look at Led Zeppelin's music, cultural significance, and legend, as well as the highs and lows of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle on the road
- Analyzes the way the band wrote, arranged, and recorded, from how they created the stupendous sound and dynamics on "Dazed and Confused" and "Whole Lotta Love" to the group's folk-suffused acoustic side embodied in songs like "Friends" and "That's the Way"
- Written by Barney Hoskyns, contributing editor at British Vogue who is the author of the bestselling book Hotel California and the co-founder of online music-journalism library Rock's Backpages
2. Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski:
This “oral autobiography” of Jimmy Page, the intensely private mastermind behind Led Zeppelin—one of the most enduring bands in rock history—is the most complete and revelatory portrait of the legendary guitarist ever published.
More than 30 years after disbanding in 1980, Led Zeppelin continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements, broad musical influence, and commercial success. The band's notorious exploits have been chronicled in bestselling books; yet none of the individual members of the band has penned a memoir nor cooperated to any degree with the press or a biographer. In Light & Shade, Jimmy Page, the band’s most reticent and inscrutable member, opens up to journalist Brad Tolinski, for the first time exploring his remarkable life and musical journey in great depth and intimate detail.
Based on extensive interviews conducted with the guitarist/producer over the past 20 years,Light & Shade encompasses Page’s entire career, beginning with his early years as England’s top session guitarist when he worked with artists ranging from Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, and Burt Bacharach to the Kinks, The Who, and Eric Clapton. Page speaks frankly about his decadent yet immensely creative years in Led Zeppelin, his synergistic relationships with band members Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones, and his notable post-Zeppelin pursuits. While examining every major track recorded by Zeppelin, including “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Kashmir,” Page reflects on the band’s sensational tours, the filming of the concert movie The Song Remains the Same, his fascination with the occult, meeting Elvis Presley, and the making of the rock masterpiece Led Zeppelin IV, about which he offers a complete behind-the-scenes account. Additionally, the book is peppered with “sidebar” chapters that include conversations between Page and other guitar greats, including his childhood friend Jeff Beck and hipster icon Jack White.
Through Page’s own words, Light and Shade presents an unprecedented first-person view of one of the most important musicians of our era.
3.Get the Led Out: How Led Zeppelin Became the Biggest Band in the World by Danny Somach:
Get the Led Out is the ultimate book for the ultimate fan of the ultimate band--Led Zeppelin. This lushly illustrated volume begins with a unique day-by-day timeline based on Carol Miller's radio show of the same name, and it provides a behind-the-scenes view, revealing quirky details, achievements, and adventures big and small. Twenty-seven rare, unguarded interviews feature the band members themselves, as well as other musicians and insiders who witnessed it all, including Jason Bonham, Chris Squire (Yes), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Alice Cooper, and music industry legends Danny Goldberg and Ron Nevinson. The book ends with a comprehensive discography.
The first two books have been released in both traditional and ebook format, while the Danny Somach book is due to be released this week.
I will have reviews of the first two within the week, the Get the Led Out book soon thereafter.