Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jason Bonham Goes Full Circle

Last week saw the release of Sammy Hagar and the Circle's At Your Service Live CD. The album features Jason Bonham on drums, and four Led Zeppelin tracks. A full review of the album is on my other blog, At Home in Hespeler. However, it's worth looking at the album from a Led Zeppelin specific point of view. Specifically the Led Zeppelin songs:

"The master. His father was a master, he passed it on to his son. Mr.. Jason Bonham is in the house," says Sammy Hagar in introducing Jason Bonham's drum solo. Bonham rolls and paradiddles for the next three minutes and twelve seconds, offering one of three solos on the album (bass player Michael Anthony and guitarist Vic Johnson also get solos).

Beyond his solo, honour is paid to Bonham/Led Zeppelin through four Led Zeppelin songs on the album: Good Times Bad Times, Whole Lotta Love, When the Levee Breaks and Rock and Roll. Good Times Bad Times is a bit quick and has an all too modern tone, giving it the sound of an 80's metal anthem than aa 60's rock standard. Of course it's the best 80's metal anthem you'll hear, but none the less it's one of the albums few minor mis-steps.

Whole Lotta Love suffers as well from thin, non-tube-amp guitar tone, but is otherwise excellent, and the guitar tone is not really noticeable once the band kicks in. Complete with a middle theremin section, and a call and response vocal interplay to mimic Page's backwards echo (is that Jason on "echo" vocals?), Whole Lotta Love as played here is fabulous.

So too When the Levee Breaks, which begins with Jason doing his father's most famous drum riff. The double guitar attack of Hagar and Johnson make this big and full and probably worth going to see Sammy Hagar and the Circle when they come to your town.

At Your Service finished off it's Led Zeppelin attack with Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll has become such a standard that it's conceivable the band plays it even without Jason Bonham in the lineup. And like it does with every band, whether on your local bar or your favourite big arena band, it sounds like great fun here. Rock and Roll is always a good time song, and is a fitting ending. Once again the drums and double guitar fuel this version and it doesn't disappoint.

If your a Led Zeppelin fan then, Sammy Hagar and the Circle's At Your Service is probably something you'd consider a worthwhile listen. Again, for a more full review, click here.


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