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A Traveler

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  1. I liked this. Got a couple of nuggets out of Robert I hadn't heard from him before. And Howard was very respectful, even reverential in spots. But I do differ with comments that he is a great interviewer. There were countless times he would ask a good question, then not be able to shut up and listen for the full answer. A good interviewer is not the show. The interviewee is the show.
  2. I thought the 02 gig was amazing---for a band so far removed from its heyday. I also thought Jason did just fine. Maybe a little too careful in spots, but that was to be expected. When the boys were on--IMTOD, For Your Life--it was a real pleasure to watch and hear. They simply were not the swaggering dudes in their 20's on top of the world anymore, with all their chops intact. Also to be expected. Glad they did it, don't need to see them do it again, 10 (more) years gone.
  3. Lead singer doesn't have 10% of Plant's balls and pipes, and the lead guitarist rushes through everything. But otherwise, fine.
  4. Pete Townsend has said similar things about Zep as a band. Nice guys but just can't get into their music, or something like that. That bums me out somehow, because Townsend was a brilliant musician in his day. I think he, too, was somewhat put off by Zeppelin's overwhelming success, since he has mentioned that Zeppelin became bigger than The Who ever was. Zeppelin was, at various times, bigger than the Beatles, the Stones and the Who. I'm sure that didn't go over great with some of them. Not sure what the "manufactured" bit is supposed to mean. Or "hollow," either. I don't believe for a second that the Stones worked any less on their presence and image than Zeppelin did, and I don't see any facts that make the Stones' formation any more organic or natural than Zeppelin's.
  5. Personally, I cannot see how a band could be called the greatest band in the history of rock when it virtually never played live, and in fact played live at all only during its mostly pop phase. Live performances are at the heart of rock. Period. Most of the clips I have heard of their early concerts are basically a bunch of girls screaming at practically dog-level frequencies while the Fab Four sang Love Me Do, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, etc. Maybe they had good reasons. But that doesn't change the fact that they were almost exclusively a studio band. No matter how good and innovative their tunes were, and how many parents hated their music, and how many times their albums got burned, a studio band simply cannot be "the greatest rock n' roll band ever", because it is missing an absolute requirement to be the best--a kick-ass history of live, real, unpolished music. Doesn't mean that bands that came after them shouldn't respect them, or shouldn't acknowledge a debt to them. But that's not the same as being the best rock n' roll band ever.
  6. Nice. I guess I am mired in the past, then, because for the last 35+ years, Zeppelin has been to me the best rock and roll band there ever was. They got the closest to the essence of rock as I feel it. The Beatles were a studio band. Great tunewriters, no doubt, and innovative, but not one of them was a virtuoso on his instrument (with apologies to the Ringo and Harrison lovers out there--don't get it). The Stones are a great rock and roll band, no doubt. Can't quarrel with that. They just never moved me like the Zep did. Of course, I never thought they were the only band worth listening to. Just the best.
  7. Well, Robert has special memories of Seattle, as he made clear repeatedly during the evening, mostly with references to"fishy stories"...
  8. I'm going to the Seattle show on April 20. My tickets say MF 3 on them. Row A MF means Main Floor in Seattle's venue.
  9. I like Ansley Dunbar. His drumming on Journey's first album, when Rolle did vocals and they didn't have Steve Perry, is damn good. Don't get the Ringo love, myself. Is he better than Charlie Watts? I think Bonzo meant more to his group than anybody else on this list. Moon, Peart and Baker are also way up on that measuring stick.
  10. "The Black Dog singer" is particularly clueless. Wank indeed.
  11. Went to the Seattle show. The earlier comment about WAMU is right. It's a big venue--basically a big concrete box with acoustic curtains hung around the place, not ideal for music. Fortunately, I sat close enough that acoustics didn't bother us. I went with my 13 year old son, who has been listening to Zep since he could sit up in a car seat. Jason mentioned that he has seen a lot of father-son combos at these shows, and there were no shortage of them that night, either. It was very cool to air guitar and lip sync and basically rock out with my boy to a band that meant a whole lot to me when I was a kid. And he got started way before I did--my folks didn't exactly flood our house or car with Led Zeppelin tunes back in the day. The show started pretty slow, not because the band wasn't on but because the venue was big and not filled to capacity, and people did not really know how to react to the experience. As the gig went on, though, we all warmed up. By the second set, we were up and jamming. My sense was that the show is pretty heavily weighted toward the first two albums--which is nothing to complain about. Highlights for me included Killing Floor/The Lemon Song, How Many More Times (although I was surprised and a little bummed that Jason did not play that sexy, swinging bridge his father used to play going into The Hunter--Oh Rosie, Oh Girl, O Rosie, O Girl...Steal away now, Steal away, little Robert Anthony wants to..come and play...." Bonzo could bang the skins like nobody else, but he also could swing like a mother....), Dazed, Your Time is Gonna Come, Over the Hills. Actually, there wasn't one song I thought they didn't do at least well. In the second set, they did a superb Levee--that song kicks ass, and they did it justice. The Moby Dick thing Jason does with his dad is enough to make anybody with a heart and a memory get emotional. I thought I'm Gonna Crawl was really well done. Underrated song. A little disappointed, but not surprised, that they didn't try Achillles--that tune is not for the faint of heart. As for the band, the guitarist grew on me as the show progressed--he even started looking like Page if I squinted, and he knows the riffs. Devlin was definitely good. He doesn't have the range or power of Plant circa 69-71, but who does? That's one thing I notice at every Zep cover band show I've ever been to--Robert Plant had the huge voice, and pure balls, that the band needed to really take off. Nobody else I've seen comes close. And that doesn't even count the Golden God swagger, the Plantations, etc. Bass player was also good (although he missed at least one run during Good Times Bad Times). And Jason was rock steady. He mentioned he's had a lot of therapy, and it shows--the dude wears his heart on his sleeve. But he was safe with us. The mix was classic Zeppelin--drums and bass way up, for a bottom end that defined the sound. Sound system was excellent, as was the video--they definitely did not go cheap on the equipment. What was missing, of course, was the intense vibe of a real Zep concert--the sheer, thrilling anticipation of it all, and then the true hammer of the gods when they took the stage. But that was for a time now gone. This show was sort of Led Zep Lite, in that way. But Lite, done well like these guys do it, is still great. If they come around again, I'd go again, in a heartbeat.
  12. I was there. 18 hours in line. Crowd control with huge frickin' horses. I remember trying to sprint past the back end of one of those with a pipe in my shoe. Highlights for me were No Quarter, Stairway and the segue between White Summer and Kashmir. And various Plantations. Will never forget it.
  13. For me, another highlight was watching Jack and Edge watch Jimmy crunching out the WLL riff. Priceless.
  14. I saw these guys at the Showbox in Seattle on the 29th. Overall, glad I went. Fun time. The Good: These dudes understand how crucial the right miking and mixing on the rhythm section were to Zep's sound. Great bottom end to the mix, and that goes a long way to recreate the Zep experience. The lead singer, Swan, channels Plant's strutting and stances very well. It looked mostly like Robert vintage 72-73. Pagey looked more like 73-75 Page. Bonham was early 70's, like Plant. I'm not exactly sure what Jones was. Maybe a mixture of early 70's hair length, early-mid 70's clothes, and hair color I don't think I ever saw on JPJ Energy and enthusiasm level were great. Good mix of early, mid and later tunes. In My Time of Dying was a highlight. Stuck mostly to the book--not a lot of extended jamming. Dazed and Confused was much closer to the album than to a 25-45 minute Zep Wanderfest, for example. The Not Quite as Good: This gig reminded me just how unique Robert's voice, and power, really were. Swan did his best, but especially in the upper registers his voice comes across more strangled, more like AC/DC then Zep. He also has the occasional tendency to syncopate his lyrics in some strange ways--it's not that Robert didn't change up in concert, either, but sometimes Swan sounded almost as if he were singing in a different language, or at least with a different accent. But asking Swan, or anybody really, to duplicate the power and balls of a younger Plant is just unfair. And it's equally unfair to try to make these guys out as a group to be "better than the original". That's just nuts. They are not a copy, but they are a tribute, and as a tribute I dug their sound, their energy, their obvious respect for Zep and their dedication to Zep's memory. I left the show reminded how great Zeppelin was, not thinking about how Zepagain wasn't the same band. And that's ultimately the test for a tribute band, in my view. If they come up again, I'll see them again. And that's the first Zep tribute band I've seen that I've said that about.
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