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Everything posted by Pianoguy88s

  1. Greetings, I was at the O2 show in London on Monday night the 10th; me and my son. We're still here in England. This is my own personal eyewitness account of the show, as I saw it, and in my own words. I thought that I might share it with you. Enjoy it for what it is. This review is written mostly about Led Zeppelin's long- awaited concert appearance. The other acts are mentioned also, in part. DISCLAIMER: No offense, slurs or disparagements, to any person or persons, nor are there any latent meanings or messages stated, meant or implied in this report, none whatsoever. All views, terms, references and opinions expressed herein are strictly and exclusively those of the author, and only the author. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright 2007, by Rob Guarnieri, aka Pianoguy. <pianoguy88s@yahoo.com> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Led Zeppelin. Such a good band. Really. What memories. I mean, this writer first saw them back when your Richard Nixon was President of the USA, and in the first of his two elected four-year terms; before Watergate even. Way, way back, in April 1970, and in Phoenix Arizona no less. Unbelieveable. Almost 40 years gone; four decades ago. This author was still in high school. Quite a while back, that's for sure. The Phoenix concert was a much-anticipated event also, as well as rumored of and previously postponed, but at last it finally happened (much like this 2007 London appearance). Never before had been seen a band that was so good; so strong and imposing, and young and graceful as well. We had heard alot about them over the past year or so, since the release of their first two record albums, and now we were finally getting the chance to see and hear them play. And then, there they were. THE long-awaited Led Zeppelin. What talent and power. Truly artists. Better and much more youthful than the at-the-time reigning (and also British) rock supergroup Cream even, with a front- man vocalist, and with a Hammond B3 (organ) mixed up in there somewhere too. Wow. All four of them only in their early-to-mid 20's. Guitarist Jimmy Page, barely 26 years old, the Mastermind, late of The Yardbirds, and 3 unknown and unproven entities; bassist/organist John Paul Jones, singer Robert Plant, and drummer John Bonham. Page and fellow Capricorn Jones, a 24-year-old accomplished London studio musician and acquaintence of Page, Plant the Leo and Bonham the Gemini, both of them from the English Midlands and each a mere 21 years old; all of them ready, willing, and PHYSICALLY ABLE (yes, there it is, that's the key) to become a formidable musical force, and fiercely doing it. Mightily and aptly getting the job done. Even way back then, in their earliest and beginning stages, you just knew that they were gonna be big. But, John Bonham isn't there anymore. And he was a major attraction; he was at least 25 percent of the total package that is Led Zeppelin. Good God, could that man play. Better than Ginger Baker even, and that was saying something in those days, and with only a single-bass drum kit. He was a monster, and astonishingly so; almost larger than life, and beyond belief. Even better than that. You'd never seen or heard anyone like him, before or since. He was unprecedented; a jaw-drop. Couldn't take your eyes off the guy. And oh, that devastating right foot. You just couldn't look bad if you were playing on the same stage with him; he was that good. It brings a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat thinking back on it all; remembering it, and him as well. And Moby Dick? It was Miraculous. Whew. Like I said, what memories alright. O Well, Fast-Forward to reality now. And now, here they are, on the stage again, in London in 2007 (and with Jason Bonham, John's son, at the drums). Dunt-Da-Da-Daaah: LED ZEPPELIN. The one, the only. In Person. At Long Last. After all, they were the headlining act, right. The focal point of the evening. And, they hadn't performed together or been seen, in public or in concert, for a real honest-to- goodness show since 1980. This was truly an event, and a long time in the making. This almost begs the question: Who are you old guys, and what have you done with Led Zeppelin? Folks, it's the 21st-century edition of Led Zeppelin, THE quintessential 1970's rock band. That's affirmative; I'll even spell it out for you. The Nineteen-Seventies. The good old days. Almost ancient history. It was good to see them again and everything; indeed it was, and after so long too, but it was also kinda sad at the same time. Oh Boy, had they aged. Surely it was not like seeing rock's premier conquering heroes of decades ago. Come again? What's that, you say? Yes, you heard it right the first time, and you heard it here first. DECADES. Ten year groups at a time. Count 'em. At least three of them, and they keep on coming in, like the tides. Time files forward. There's no stopping it. Tick Tock. Excuse me; I digress. It's hard not to however; there's so much history that can be mentioned here. But Now, let us get back to the present, and to the matter at hand, shall we. Seeing Led Zeppelin on stage the other night was akin to watching Secretariat trying to run a race again, many many years later, and after all of those races he'd already won when he was much younger. Both of these former superstars being way past their prime, visibly and otherwise just plain old, and tired too. If you didn't attend this showing, believe me, you didn't miss a thing. Be glad that you didn't see it; remember them as they were. They played OK and all the rest (yes, they were very good), but it was almost like watching the grandfathers up there playing Bocci Ball, or croquet or shuffleboard or something. No more of the galvanizing "Rock'em-Sock'em" Zeppelin power and might of ages ago. Not even close. Loud Volume alone is not energy. No Sir. It was eerily reminiscent of some random group scene out of the movie "Grumpy Old Men". Oh My Goodness. It was quite an experience, nearly bizarre, and surreal as well. And betcha by golly wow, lots of guitars going too. Everywhere. All the time. It would have been nice to hear some other instruments, maybe a psaltery or a dulcimer, a tuba even; anything different just to break it up a bit. The guitar players, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Mick Jones, Bill Wyman and the rest; all of them were brilliant of course, years and years of experience and expertise were gathered there, but it really got to be a bit much after awhile. Almost nightmarish. Yikes I say, eh what. The atmosphere of the concert wasn't pathetic exactly, but it was wrenching for sure, and quite a spectacle to watch. And Led Zeppelin; they're a faint copy at best of a characature of their former selves. They went on last, and they played for approximately 120 minutes or so. Page and Jones both looked brittle and frail, pasty and almost-lifelike, as china dolls, like at any moment they may crack or break, or possibly crumble. Jason Bonham, while much younger than the others at age 41, as a drummer is OK, but he's a far cry from his father's legendary prowess. And, Robert Plant especially. He looked unkempt, scruffy and unprepared, and his singing (?) was not so hot. He never really was all that great anyway, even 40 or so years ago when he was much younger (longer ago than half of the world's current population has been alive even), and first getting out there in the 1960's music world. And, the Shirley Temple-esque lambcurls don't work anymore either, not after all this time. I mean really now. But really, what else are these guys gonna do? This is what they've done for all of their professional lives; are they now going to stop playing music and go to work at Motorola, or function in some cubicle somewhere? Work at the mall? Be a WalMart Greeter? What do you think. And, how about the others on the bill, (no pun intended), like Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings, Mick Jones and Foreigner, Paul Rodgers and Paolo Nutini. Bill Wyman. Whoa Nellie!! 71 years old (71? Really? Can humans live that long? That's 497 in dog years) and God bless him, he looked every day of it too, and then some. He looked dead; about like an unwrapped mummy. So did Mick Jones of Foreigner. Old and decrepit. He looked like a bag that a person used to be in. Especially up close. Both of these men, Wyman and Jones, all but late of their parent bands, were indeed not unlike sepulchral figures. The choir was a nice touch however. Paul Rodgers, I won't even go there. And Paolo Nutini. He was good. And at only 20 years old. And Van Halen, Bob Seger, The Police and Eric Clapton and all of the other veteran acts from earlier this year; they're aging as well, and rapidly too. All of them played very well and all the rest, but at this point it's about time to quit playing on the team and maybe manage the team, imparting the wisdom of your vast experience and leaving the actual playing, the stage performance, and the ensuing antics to the younger guys; they're more physically able to do it (like all of you older players up there that night used to be able to do once upon a time), and not look too absurd or preposterous while they go about doing it. Picture Bruce Wayne, dressing up as Batman once more, 30 or more years later, having been in retirement-like status, and then going out and fighting the villians and the bad guys again. Even Muhammed Ali (aka Cassius Clay from Louisville USA) was great too at one point, but now? Imagine how Elvis would be these days (What's an Elvis? Should we even know? How long ago was that?). Why not Rudy Vallee or Enrico Caruso? It's OK to gasp, in almost mild horror and disbelief. On the whole, that's about what we had here at the O2 on Monday evening, December 10th, in the Year of our Lord 2007 Anno Domini. Let's face it, all of you old guys, your time is clearly over. So should any future plans to recapture the past be over too. May they never materialize. You can't go back. And, to Led Zeppelin there, you should have went out on top and stayed on top, as you did back in 1980 (upon John Bonham's untimely and unexpected death), and not risked any chance for indignation or embarrassment, possibly even physical injury, by trying to do this rock thing again, particularly at this stage in your lives. Come on now. It's time for you, from here on out, to work from the neck up; implementing your sage advise, and delegating the physical work to the ones who can do it better, and you do the cerebral front-office type stuff, because you've been up there and on the stage, having done it all and did the time as well. You certainly have the experience (that goes without saying), and you've earned the respect that comes with having already been there and done it, as well as having lived through it all, and having lived to tell about it. Preserve the mystique. Don't cheapen it. It's your stock-in-trade. Few others have reached your status, and are still around too. It is, without a doubt, quite an achievement, and one that can only be gotten by being given enough time on Earth. And, also to Led Zeppelin, getting old is a drag and everything, but it happens; accept it or die. You can't fight it. It's the only two ways to deal with it. Unfortunately for them, they didn't evolve musically; they stayed in a time warp. They remained One-Dimensional, and they didn't grow. Many other acts that are also in their 60's, such as Paul McCartney, Elton John and The Rolling Stones, even Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and Cher too (all of them are your contemporaries in fact), managed to keep on playing, and evolve over the years. They all stayed active and out there, and up-to-date as well, thereby growing with and into the times, but alas Led Zeppelin did not, and it's much too late for them to start doing anything like that now. Very much so too late. A part of me almost wishes I hadn't come here to London to see all of this melodrama, as it unfolded before my very eyes. The years have caught up with them. It was inevitable. They can't cut the mustard anymore, and certainly not with anything near the same fervor as they had done it 30 or more years before. I certainly didn't expect to see anything like that to be taking place up there of course; I knew they wouldn't be the indomitable Led Zeppelin of years past, but they came up short. Way short. No surprise there. All of their songs were lowered in key, some an octave or more, so as to facilitate the vocals and make them easier to sing. And, as always, Father Time wins. And they're my all-time favorite band too. Ever since Day One. I had really wanted to see this show, and I called in some markers and favors so that I could, and for my son to come and see them too. It wasn't as simple as just buying a ticket (admission was not all that easy to come by, and from the very onset of this event some months ago), and as this concert was originally set for November 26th, some two weeks earlier. It's not exactly over for them, but the end is near. Write and compose, be consultants, overseers or whatever, but please, no more on-stage rock and roll performing. You may hurt yourselves. I'm frightened for them; they just don't have the strength for it, nor do they have the strong young bodies for it, not any longer. Hardly. And, they would definitely need all of their strength, and then some, so as to try and hold up while on an extended road tour anywhere, especially at their advanced ages (Make that 60+!!!!). If Led Zeppelin does tour again, which is unlikely (I myself hope that they don't anyway, not a grueling major tour at least, if for nothing else but their own safety), go see them, if only for the sake of having never seen them, but don't expect to see and hear the Led Zeppelin of years and years ago; the one you're used to seeing and hearing. Led Zeppelin had built a name by being a touring band, exciting and vital and very visual, their live shows were incomparable to any other; they were the best. The energy, the power, the conviction; it was all there. Their studio work was good too, but paled in comparison to their live renditions. That magic is gone. It simply isn't there anymore. It was a whole and uniquely different time back then, in 1968 (WHEN?) as they first emerged, and then into the 1970's; a time never again to be repeated or duplicated. They're too old now, too out-of-date; they haven't kept up with any of the current events or done anything new as a band, for many many years now. A new generation of fans, surely for this most recent incarnation (how much more time do they have left anyway), is extremely doubtful. Too much time has unmercifully passed, and has already come down like some gigantic and thunderous hammer. They still have alot of the musical chops (although maybe not all of the vocal chops), but they just don't have the physical stamina for it any longer. They're all but feeble; not totally, but just about. It was a nostalgia show at best, and even less impressive than that. Almost like something cheesy you might see in Las Vegas. Rock And Roll performance doesn't really work at this age. It's definitely a young man's game. It's like Pro Football, or some other physically intensive spectator activity, where you really need to have all of your young strength and all of the youthful vigor that you just simply don't possess anymore, due to your increased years. O Well. But Hey. What're gonna do. That's life. Heck, those of you who know me, know that I even used to do this myself, back in the day. Indeed I did. How long ago was that anyway. I almost shudder at the thought. Rock is too demanding, it's too hard; hard enough to do when you're in your 20's, and a lot tougher to do as you get older. And specifically, what must it be like in your 60's (I can only imagine it; I myself am not even quite that old), unless you go Vegas-Lounge-Lizard style, and even then that's a stretch; relying on your name to carry you, so enjoy your platinum years already. However, if your name can still make you some cash, why not go for it, eh. Business is Business. You can never have too much money. This show was all but strictly a money-making venture anyway; certainly not one given to inspiring any awe or wonder. No Way. Except perhaps, one of the few if any wonders of the evening being that some of these guys are in fact still standing, and haven't crumpled or fallen down yet. So, get it while you still can, ye merry gentlemen; the clock is ticking away. And furthermore, to Jimmy, John Paul, Robert, Mick, Bill and the rest of you geriatric blokes: You're old men now, senior citizens even; some of you having been born in the 1930's. The 1930's!! What? Before the Big War? Before the disaster of the zeppelin Hindenberg (how ironic is that)? And during the Great Depression? Like it or not, the spirit is willing, but the flesh has way too much mileage on it. There's no dishonor in owning up to that. So suck it up already and accept it. That doesn't mean that you're dead of course, far from it, but grow old gently, and with dignity. You can't afford to be reckless. You're not a bunch of young kids anymore. You need to prove nothing. Hang out and have some fun. Be happy that you made it this far, a lot of people didn't, like Jason's dad; the man himself, the late John Henry Bonham, your original drummer and fellow founding member of Led Zeppelin. Enjoy life now. You did good. You had all the glory and the adulation doing this years ago, and you had all the moves and grooves too, but nothing is forever. Let the younger ones imitate you, making their tribute bands (gag) and the like. They're doing it anyway, those darn kids (ha). It is, after all, the cycle of life, and you're on the waning side of it now. So, pass the torch. You've had your heyday. You were a wild, smashing success, bigger than US Steel. You also became immeasurably rich in the process, so relax and take it easy already, save your money and your hip joints, and don't hurt yourselves trying to rock again. You need to be extra careful now, and to be taking good care of yourselves, unless of course you have a death wish or something. In which case, then by all means, knock yourselves out. And, at this point, that shouldn't take too much. Now, looking back on it, I'm afraid that I may remember them all as I saw them the other night, and some of it's not terribly pretty. As for the older performers, the people are still in there, yeah somewhere, but the youth is gone, so gone. It was almost like seeing the Hit-Parade Revue at the Old Folks' home. The Prune Juice Follies, if you will. The twilight years. It's definitely the end of an era. The end of something anyway. Makes you stop and realize just how much time really has gone by. Kinda scary isn't it. Life plays a dirty trick on you. You keep the experience still, having even more smarts and wisdom than ever before, but you don't have the young body (nor do you have the strutting, swaggering young attitude that goes along with it) anymore, and the fearlessness and assertiveness that comes from knowing that you have that taut agile body, the one that can rise to any occasion, no matter what. You have aches and pains now, stiff and less-movable joints (including your guitar-playing fingers), wrinkles and gray or nonexistant hair, and much, ahem, Wearing and Tearing. (I couldn't resist that one). You've probably also had at least one health scare. The years can be unforgiving and brutal. It's time for some new young blood. Audiences don't wanna look at a bunch of old guys; they're not nearly as exciting to watch or behold, they can't move around on a stage that well either (certainly not like they used to), and they can scarcely hit the higher vocal notes anymore. You'll always have your die-hard fans and supporters of course (and they're getting older too), but for the most part, you're done. Give up the ghost. Do much easier gigs, if any; cameo appearances come to mind. Maybe. Now is the time that you leave a legacy, something to be passed down through the ages for when you're gone, having made your mark long ago, when you were able to and still could. And, that is also as it should be. It sure was fun to go back in time again though. It was all good. Absolutely. All things considered, I'm so glad I went. And, if I had to do it all over again, I surely would. Definitely. In a minute. No hesitation at all. There's no doubt about it, Led Zeppelin was very good. So were all the others. This event was a hoot; it was a total gas. What a fun evening. Indescribable, and unlike any other. And on a Monday night no less. It's a wonderful, joyous life alright. Oh so full of surprises. This concert was certainly one of them, and a good one too. And most assuredly, there are more surprises to come. Always. Oh yeah, the world sure is different now.....
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