Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kid Rock Performs Ramble On

Not the greatest quality video, but it's what's out there...

Kennedy Center Honors

Last night, Dec 26th, the world finally saw the broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors Gala. The Gala honoured all five honourees: Dustin Hoffman, Natalia Makarova, Buddy Guy, David Letterman and Led Zeppelin. All honorees had an eminent person/a Jack Black/Tina Fey provide an introduction, plus a short video of their work and then a performance of their art.

In Led Zeppelin's case, at the top of the bill, performance by the Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz and Heart provided the moments. Jack Black gave an introduction in the standard Jack Black style, that is to say, just a tad over the top: he really is a perpetual 14-year old and a more mature perspective of the band would have been nice.

The footage shown was edited for time, as early reports had Foo Fighters doing 2 songs, as did Kid Rock. As it was, the Foo Fighter's performed Rock and Roll, with Dave Grohl taking the drum stool and drummer Taylor Hawkins picking up the vocal duties. This is the second time the Foo's have performed this song with this makeup. Their performance of Black Dog, with Hawkins back behind the kit and Grohl singing, didn't make the broadcast.

Kid Rock's performance has the LedZeposphere buzzing this morning, wondering why he was chosen for this honour. Like him or hate him, however, Kid Rock has always paid homage to the rock and rollers who have come before him, and Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love gets a nod on his album Live Trucker when it bridges the songs Somebody's Gotta Feel This and Fists of Rage (go to the 3 minute mark on the linked video). Early reports had it that Kid Rock performed Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and What is and What Should Never Be, however the broadcast had him playing Ramble On.

Lenny Kravitz then performed Whole Lotta Love, while President Barack Obama sang along in the choruses (no word on him belting "woman, you need it..." to Michelle). Kravitz was followed by Jason Bonham appearing behind the drum kit to the obvious surprise and delight of the band themselves. He was then joined onstage by the Wilson sister, Ann and Nancy, of Heart, to perform an abridged version of Stairway to Heaven. As the song progressed, the artists were joined onstage by a small choir and a chamber orchestra, and then by a larger choir, all wearing bowler hats in homage to John Bonham. By the end the band members all seemed moved, with Robert Plant appearing to be moved to tears.

Here is Heart, with Jason Bonham and others, performing Stairway to Heaven.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kirsty Lang in Conversation with Jimmy Page

As shown on BBC TV on Christmas Day

Did he just say Earth Wind and Fire sucks?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ramble On Radio Episode #26

It's the Christmas Episode as I cover my Led Zeppelin Christmas list.

I also discuss a number of interviews over the past two weeks, plus what are the Zeppeliners up to for 2013?

Listen here

Subscribe via iTunes


Of note: I missed this on my Christmas list. If you have a young guitar player in teh house, or bought a guitar for somebody for Chrostmas, don't forget to add Led Zeppelin Guitar Method

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

John Paul Jones on BBC

Any New Years plans John Paul Jones?

Why yes, now that you mention it:
Fiona Talkington celebrated the New Year with special guest... John Paul Jones, who plays live and chooses a selection of music

This show will air on BBC Radio 3, January 1, 2013 at 11:00PM BBC time (6:00 PM Ramble On Radio (EST) time)

iTunes UnLedded

During the New York press conference for Celebration Day last October, Jimmy Page remarked on listening to Led Zeppelin, "don't listen to it on MP3." One could be forgiven if you thought he meant all digital portable formats, but apparently, he didn't.20121218-114035.jpg

iTunes today released the entire Led Zeppelin studio catalogue, "mastered for iTunes." The songs from all 9 studio albums, including Coda, remastered specifically for iTunes. These are new remasters, improved, one imagines, from the iTunes collection released in 2007 and available until now.

Are they better? I downloaded Fool in the Rain and listened to it side by side with the MP3 I currently have on my iPhone. The verdict? The bottom end is much cleaner, bringing a fuller sound to the song. It's not a big improvement, not a wow! but it is a noticeable improvement.20121218-114057.jpg

Each album is available for $9.99 ($12.99 for Physical Graffiti) and songs are $1.29 each, except for In My Time of Dying, Achilles Last Stand and Carouselambra, which are only available as part of their respective album downloads.

Needless to say, this remastering is available only on iTunes.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Perfect Christmas Gift for the Led Zeppelin Fan Who has Everything

Shepard Fairey is the artist who designed the Celebration Day package. Tomorrow, sometime between 10AM and 12PM PST, Fairey will release 300 signed and numbered screen prints of the Celebration Day artwork. A further 50 prints will be signed by the band and sold for charity at a later date.

Celebration Day 18x24 poster With Pantones Fixed

The prints will be available exclusively from Fairey's online store.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Led Zeppelin on CBS For the Record this morning

Well, now we know what Plant was doing in front of the Physical Graffiti building last fall.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jason Bonham to Experience Canadian Winter.

Back in the fall when Jason Bonham extended his Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience dates to include the Northeast, he announced his hope they would also add some Canadian dates.the-dad

Better late than never, The Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience announce six Canadian dates at the end of January and into early February. The tour starts in the only place any tour should start, Southern Ontario, on the last two days of January, and then picks up with four western dates beginning Feb 6th.

The announced dates are:

I have heard no rumours of additional shows, but that doesn't mean there won't be. If there are, I'll add them in bold.

Memo to the band: pack the long underwear, it gets cold around here this time of year, colder still in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Led Zeppelin on David Letterman

Lots of complaints today about Letterman and his interview style. Maybe I'm used to it - I used to watch Letterman quite a lot back in his NBC days - but it seemed to me he did a reasonable job. 526936_10100305927096758_882752507_nHis job is to get the guests, and the guys can be reticent, to talk. He does that, not by having all the answer at his fingertips, but by asking open ended questions.

For Plant, Page and Jones, the three looked relaxed, had some fun and seemed to enjoy themselves.  Watch the very beginning when Plant starts to laugh as he and Jimmy take the seats farther away, leaving Jones in the seat next to Letterman. An interesting comment, Letterman, on talking about the Kennedy Center Honors Gala, pointed out that Jimmy said to him during the show, "musicians like playing Led Zeppelin music."

Ramble On Radio's good friend Steve, The Lemon, Sauer was at the taping of the show. His report on it was posted on FBO.

Here's the Led Zeppelin portion of last nights David Letterman Show.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Led Zeppelin Honoured by President Obama

...Jack Black took the stage with the bold
statement: “Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock and roll band of all
time. Better than The Beatles! Better than the Stones! Even better
than Tenacious D (referring to his own band). That’s not opinion,
that’s fact! If you don’t agree you never did the Led Zeppelin
marathon,” he said, saying that all “true fans” have to do it: listen
to all of Zeppelin’s albums in a row.

He also noted the band’s wide appeal, spreading from famously liberal
film director Oliver Stone to recent Republican Vice-Presidential
candidate Paul Ryan. “They say that Led Zeppelin sold their souls to
Satan,” possibly the first time such a reference was made at the
Kennedy Center. Looking up at them in the balcony, he chided, “Come
on guys, you know you did! There’s no other way to explain your
ungodly talent! I just want to say ‘thank you,’ because while you’re
in hell, the human race will cherish your heavenly jams until the end
of time! It’s a small price to pay. We love you.”

Black’s pals the Foo Fighters then took the stage. Two months after
frontman Dave Grohl declared that the band was taking a break, they
were back, paying tribute to Zep. Grohl stayed behind the drums,
though, letting drummer Taylor Hawkins take the mic for “Black Dog”
and “Rock and Roll.” Hawkins, who fronts his own band (Taylor Hawkins
and The Coattail Riders), strained to replicate Robert Plant’s vocals;
but then, so do most singers.

That was also an issue for Kid Rock, who followed with “Babe, I’m
Gonna Leave You” and “What Is And What Should Never Be.”* But things
really picked up when Lenny Kravitz took to the stage to sing “Whole
Lotta Love.” While Kravitz usually plays guitar on stage, he just
kept to the mic, concentrating on doing Plant’s vocals justice. After
that, John Bonham’s son, Jason Bonham, who played with Zeppelin at
their 2007 reunion concert recently released as the Celebration Day
live album and DVD, got behind the drums, wearing a bowler hat (which
his father often used to wear).

Heart sisters (and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees) Ann and Nancy
Wilson, longtime Zep disciples, closed the show with an epic version
of “Stairway To Heaven,” complete with a string section, backing
singers and a choir (all wearing Bonzo-esque bowlers).

Throughout the performances, Page beamed, and he, Plant and Jones
seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. Tonight (December 3),
they will appear together alongside a fellow honoree when they guest
on Late Show With David Letterman. It’s the last scheduled event that
the three will appear at, leading fans to wonder if it will be their
final bow. If it is, the Kennedy Center Honors helped to provide a
great last hurrah for the group dubbed by Jack Black as the “Best!
Band! Ever!”

* Note: According to Rolling Stone Kid Rock played Ramble On, not What is and What Should Never Be.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review Week - Day 6: Celebration Day Bonus Disc

If you've bought one of the various "editions" of Celebration Day, chances are good you have found yourself with a bonus DVD with the bands last rehearsal before the Dec 2007 O2 arena show. 314275_10152082455220276_1350235277_nThe rehearsal is a full production rehearsal, meaning you get the entire show, with complete setlist, lights and back-screen video.

The bonus disc is worth watching for any Zep fan for a couple of reasons. First, it is a single camera shot so, unlike the actual concert DVD, you get to watch the show from the vantage point of the audience as it would have been witnessed on the night. To see what is happening on the back-screen, get Page's violin bow solo, complete with laser pyramid, is worth the watch. In case you didn't get the idea of how much work went into the one time show from the concert video, the rehearsal video makes it clear.

The second reason to watch the rehearsal video is the music itself. The band is relaxed and their playing superb. Page's soloing is a lot more aggressive, and they pull off some stunning versions of the songs, notably Since I've Been Loving You and For Your Life.

It's not the concert video, itself absolutely superb, but the video of the rehearsal at Shepperton Studio's four days before Led Zeppelin went live for their heralded reunion concert is worth making sure you've spent the extra few dollars when you pick up a copy of Celebration Day for the Zeppelin fan on your Christmas list.