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mielazul

The Outrider Tour

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I'd love to hear from some people who saw Jimmy on this tour. I had such a great experience and it would be interesting to hear other people's impressions.

It was 1988. I remember there was a big flurry of Zep related activity that year - Jimmy released Outrider, Rob released Now and Zen, Rolling Stone magazine began what's been kind of a decades-long process of saying "I'm sorry," to Led Zeppelin (I still think they should grovel til the end of time). There were lots of other magazine cover pieces as well - the one I remember most was an interview with Jimmy conducted by Charles Young...and it was a lengthy but somewhat contentious interview (kind of hilariously so - it's worth seeking out). I think the magazine was "Musician" though I might be getting that wrong...but on the cover, with Jimmy's picture, was the phrase "Has Jimmy Page Still Got It?" That was the big question for Jimmy fans...and unfortunately, a lot of people thought the answer was "Hell No" because of the Atlantic Reunion debacle (which happened in May of that year). I was so excited to watch that - I seriously toyed with the idea of going to New York and getting in to see it somehow, but saw it on tv instead. I was really disappointed.

But then the Outrider tour was announced, and I was still excited all the same - slept out for tickets in fact (that kind of thing was still going on) and I got sixth row for myself and my girlfriend. The tour was delayed by a health issue for Jimmy, but it was rescheduled fairly quickly and finally the day came - October 17, 1988. I saw the concert at UIC Pavillion in Chicago.

The place seemed packed - can't say if it was a sell-out or not, but it seemed full - and the vibe before the show was electric. I got the very strong feeling that everybody there felt exactly like I did - that IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER WHETHER JIMMY STILL "HAS IT" OR NOT...WE LOVE HIM AND WE'RE HERE TO SHOW OUR SUPPORT! It's hard to explain, but you could just feel that attitude in the air. And then Jimmy came out and the place went apeshit...and it was funny because Jimmy came onstage pretty casually, holding a beer and smiling and waving, and you'd have thought it was the most Grand Theatrical Entrance in the history of the world. I was lucky to be so close because I could actually see a lot of the nuances of his expressions the whole night. And he was really happy that night.

Anyway, everyone was kind of holding their breath as the band started - PLEASE DON'T LET THIS BE A DISASTER. And sure enough, there was some technical glitch and Jimmy's guitar wasn't working...but he just laughed it off and made a joke to the audience and got it sorted out quickly...no one had time to worry. Then he kicked it off for real with Who's To Blame from the Death Wish soundtrack...and he was just awesome. Just unbelievably good. The reaction was instant, and again, I felt that everyone was thinking the same thing - HOLY SHIT, HE'S STILL GOT IT!!! I can't stress enough how much the expectations of the audience helped to make a magical night so much more magical...because we were all expecting a show WAY DOWN HERE...and we would have been happy with that...but we got a show WAY UP HERE...and the difference between the expectation and the reality was enough to make people almost crazy with surprise and happiness. After Who's To Blame Jimmy went into Prelude. His tone and playing were top notch and the band (including a very young Jason) was supporting him every step of the way. Then came Over The Hills and Far Away - the first Zep tune...and the audience lost their collective mind. And it went on like that, with Jimmy playing brilliantly. The Outrider instrumentals were especially beautiful...wicked slide work on In My Time of Dying...and a sit down set including White Summer, Black Mountainside and Midnight Moonlight. It's hard to pick, but this might have been my favorite moment, and I could see Jimmy's face in intense concentration as he leaned over his guitar and then looked out at all of us with sweat pouring down his face. As a fan of the 77 tour, I really appreciated this change in the pacing and mood, and it was a nice romantic moment with my girlfriend, too. By this time, the mood of ecstatic reverence for Jimmy was incredible. He went back to rocking out, and even played a very long section of Dazed and Confused, including the bow segment. Needless to say, people went even more apeshit. Throughout the whole show, Jimmy smiled constantly when he wasn't grimacing in concentration or doing his trademark pout...and he spoke and joked with the audience frequently. The rapport was seemingly effortless, especially when you consider that he'd never actually been the "front man" before. The show concluded with an instrumental Stairway to Heaven, with the whole place reverberating with the audience singing. The standing ovation went on and on...it was really magic. Everyone was walking on air afterwards.

Even in college - and I was in my 3rd year at the time - I wasn't a guy who would follow bands around the country, but I actually scrambled to get to the Detroit show soon after that. I couldn't make it, but I now have a video of that show. I even have a bootleg of the Chicago show, which is great to have...but it's my memories that I cherish most of all. It's still the greatest concert I've ever experienced.

Edited by mielazul

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The Musician interview from 1988 featuring Page was with Charles M. Young. It did not go well lol.

That's right...thanks for the correction.

Yeah...I'm just going from memory, although I do have it stashed away...but I remember at one point the interviewer asks him about his reputation as being cheap, and Page says "Well, I just gave you a Pepsi...I could have given you a water." I thought that was pretty funny. And when he was asked about the notorious Oakland incident he says something like "Well, I don't know what happened...but you know how it is over there (the U.S.) If you sneeze on somebody, they'll sue you."

It went on and on from one uncomfortable topic to the next. You could actually feel the icy vibes come off the magazine from that one...but in a way it was a great interview.

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I'd love to hear from some people who saw Jimmy on this tour.

I had seen Jimmy in 1985 in Wichita, KS - the second US Firm show and in 1986 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. In 1988 the Outrider tour was scheduled for Kemper, but moved to Memorial Hall just across the state line in Kansas - {Kemper is in Missouri} - because of lack of ticket sales! It worked out great for me and my friends as we went from lower level seats at Kemper to 5th row, dead center at Memorial Hall. They just opened the seating up to first-come, first-served once the show's venue was changed.

Anyway - Jimmy opened w/ Who's To Blame, then segued into Prelude before shocking everyone w/ Over The Hills & Far Away. He played some killer Firm songs - Tear Down The Walls and Midnight Moonlight - some awesome Zeppelin songs like the aforementioned Over The Hills, In My Time Of Dying, White Summer/Black Mountain Side in the middle of Midnight Moonlight, the violin bow and ending sequence to Dazed & Confused, Custard Pie w/ some Black Dog thrown in and of course the beautiful instrumental version of Stairway. He also played Train Kept A Rollin' and a bunch of songs from Outrider and Death Wish II.

Following the show me and a couple of friends retreated to the hotel where I knew Jimmy was staying at. He was sitting in the bar - alone - drinking a beer. He spent roughly 30-35 minutes chatting w/ me and my friends, posed for photos, signed autographs and answered all of our questions. He was humble, nice and it wasn't like meeting THE ROCK GOD - it was like meeting an old friend.

He really is a super nice and humble person. 14 October 1988 - a night I will NEVER forget!!!

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Also saw him in Manchester.Last night of the tour and it was fantastic. Have a full recording of the show too. And for posterity James' proudly announces Manchester - thanks for being the best audience of the tour

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Following the show me and a couple of friends retreated to the hotel where I knew Jimmy was staying at. He was sitting in the bar - alone - drinking a beer. He spent roughly 30-35 minutes chatting w/ me and my friends, posed for photos, signed autographs and answered all of our questions. He was humble, nice and it wasn't like meeting THE ROCK GOD - it was like meeting an old friend.

Many years ago Susan sent me the pictures. B)

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I had seen Jimmy in 1985 in Wichita, KS - the second US Firm show and in 1986 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. In 1988 the Outrider tour was scheduled for Kemper, but moved to Memorial Hall just across the state line in Kansas - {Kemper is in Missouri} - because of lack of ticket sales! It worked out great for me and my friends as we went from lower level seats at Kemper to 5th row, dead center at Memorial Hall. They just opened the seating up to first-come, first-served once the show's venue was changed.

Anyway - Jimmy opened w/ Who's To Blame, then segued into Prelude before shocking everyone w/ Over The Hills & Far Away. He played some killer Firm songs - Tear Down The Walls and Midnight Moonlight - some awesome Zeppelin songs like the aforementioned Over The Hills, In My Time Of Dying, White Summer/Black Mountain Side in the middle of Midnight Moonlight, the violin bow and ending sequence to Dazed & Confused, Custard Pie w/ some Black Dog thrown in and of course the beautiful instrumental version of Stairway. He also played Train Kept A Rollin' and a bunch of songs from Outrider and Death Wish II.

Following the show me and a couple of friends retreated to the hotel where I knew Jimmy was staying at. He was sitting in the bar - alone - drinking a beer. He spent roughly 30-35 minutes chatting w/ me and my friends, posed for photos, signed autographs and answered all of our questions. He was humble, nice and it wasn't like meeting THE ROCK GOD - it was like meeting an old friend.

He really is a super nice and humble person. 14 October 1988 - a night I will NEVER forget!!!

Wow - thanks for the great story. Would you mind describing your conversation with him? What did you guys talk about? Maybe you've gone into this before but I haven't seen it.

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I was lucky enough to get to 3 dates on the uk tour at Newcastle City Hall, Hammersmith Odeon London and Manchester Apollo. On the afternoon of the Newcastle gig managed to sneak in and watch the sound check from the back of an empty city hall, I remember Jason Bonham wasn't at the sound check, Page and the other members played Prelude with a roadie playing the cymbals to give an idea of the sound. At the end of it Jimmy turned to the roadie on the drums and started to play Over the Hills and Far Away at which the roadie looked stunned at having to tackle, after a few bars Jimmy stopped and everyone laughed. Loved the Outrider tour and was gutted to only get to the 3 shows but without a doubt Newcastle was the best of the 3 I managed to see, with John miles being from Jarrow which, is just down the road, there was a good atmosphere on stage and Page played great.

Edited by Skullagain

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Thanks for sharing this - like I said before, this was a special, almost "secret" era reserved for hardcore Jimmy fans. And you took the secret aspect one step further by sneaking into the soundcheck. Great story!

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I saw Jimmy in Dallas, TX, on September 23, with my dad! It was a great show and brought lots of super memories.

Jimmy was on fire!!!

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