Jump to content

Page , Plant Flying High


Recommended Posts

Chicago Sun-Times - October 16, 1995


OK, you can exhale now.

A year ago when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant , the chief shareholders of Led Zeppelin, announced a reunion, fans had a right to be worried. Zepniks held their breath - what if these guys mucked up one of rock's greatest legacies? Turns out there wasn't a chance. They brilliantly negotiated an MTV special, exceeded expectations on a comeback disc and - on the basis of their performance Friday at the United Center (their second in less than six months in Chicago), they're becoming quite adept at reheating the Zeppelin souffle.

Last year, the Messrs. P. took pains to reshape old songs and experiment with different textures. They even worked up some new world-music grooves. Critics applauded the far from by-the-numbers approach.

The question at this stage of their tour is whether P and P are still offering surprises. Surprise No. 1: They're not. Surprise No. 2: Who cares?

Page and Plant have obviously grown comfortable enough with themselves to now be unleashing the second coming - a return to a full-bore Zeppelin show. The set list could've come from 1977. A taste: the riffy "The Song Remains the Same," "Going to California," "Bring It on Home," "Gallows Pole," "Since I've Been Loving You" and a mesmerizing encore of "Kashmir."

Their crisp, small ensemble showed its colors throughout, especially on the varied dynamics of "Thank You." This group initially attracted lots of attention for the string section that helped accent many of the tunes. The strings are a sideshow now.

Yet for all this retro rocking, there was neither a dollop of nostalgia, nor any sensation of geezers riding war horses. The pair avoided some of their biggest "hits," including "Stairway to Heaven."

Both skinny as whippets, Page and Plant are plainly energized to be presenting again some of rock's most enduring material. Plant remains in strong voice, tempering his annoying shrieks and poses of yore with some welcome control. And if guitar god Page no longer indulges in many serpentine solos, he's still the champ by virtue of strapping on that Les Paul.

Legendary Chicago guitarist Otis Rush, a last-minute replacement for the Tragically Hip, opened with a 30-minutes-on-the-dot set of blistering blues.

He tipped his trademark cowboy hat to both the late Chicago bluesman Willie Dixon and Led Zeppelin by performing Dixon's "I Can't Quit You, Baby," a tune Rush recorded in the late '50s and Zep made famous a dozen years later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...