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Page Concert Marked By Disappointing Fare


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Page Concert Marked By Disappointing Fare

Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, November 05, 1988


"The guitar is great therapy for me," Jimmy Page said in a recent interview. "Where some people

might throw plates against the wall, I take out my guitar."

Friday night at the War Memorial, Page took out several guitars, performing a two-hour musical therapy session for 4,100 of the legendary guitarist's fans. Unfortunately, Page's Syracuse

stop on the "Outrider" band tour did little to dispel the notion that Page's best and most creative

work as a rock innovator is well behind him.

Page's status as a rock legend was built two decades ago, first as successor to Jeff Beck and Eric

Claoton in the Yardbirds. and then as the guitar wizard of Led Zeppelin. When Zeppelin's drummer, John Bonham, died eight years ago, the group disbanded. Page's career since has been a mixed bag of uneven quality, from the inconsequential soundtrack album "Death Wish II," to two lackluster albums with the group the Firm, to the two Led Zeppelin reunion sets — one at Live Aid and the second at Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert. Although Page's current band — vocalist John Miles, bassist Durban Laverde and John Bonham's son, Jason, on drums — is a good, hard-rocking unit, they certainly aren't in the same league as Zeppelin.

Miles tried his best to imitate the bluesy wail of vocalist Robert Plant on several Zeppelin numbers, but Miles lacks the originality, emotion and just plain magic that Plant brought to the music. Laverde and Bonham form a tight rhythm section, but except for Bonham's center stage drum solo, they are basically supporting players. This puts the weight of the show on Page's shoulders. Although he

surely has the musicianship to carry more than his share of the show, even Jimmy Page can only

go so far in making some of the show's more banal material listenable. With the songs Page has

recorded in recent years not equal to the material from his Yardbird and Zeppelin days, it's unfortunate that much of Friday's concert relied on tunes from the Firm albums and Page's current record, "Outrider" — an album that has failed to excite either the fans or the critics.

"Wanna Make Love" from "Outrider" is only a passable imitation of a Zeppelin rocker, and "Wasting My Time" is a song that is too aptly titled. With Page playing acoustic guitar, Miles and Page performed a duet on one of the evening's few "quiet" songs, "Blues Anthem," a song that is

more of an English drinking tune than a traditional blues. Page has said most of "Outrider" was written in the studio as it was being recorded, and that the record is "not geared to any commercial aspect." However noble those sentiments may be, Page's diehard rock fans want to hear the best music they know Page is capable of making, and they make no secret of their preferencefor the older tunes. Led Zeppelin T-shirts were common throughout the audience. The shouts of "Zeppelin" were common throughout the show. Page played a number of familiar riffs in a "Spot That Tune"

Zeppelin medley, and he saved two of his best numbers for encores. His blistering performance of

"Train Kept A Rollin'" from his Yardbird days was a welcome tribute to one of the most influential

bands in rock history. His second encore number was an obligatory rendition of the No. 1 radio hit of the past 20 years, the epic "Stairway to Heaven." With Page strapping on a duelnecked 12- and 6-string guitar for this final number, drummer Bonham took on the role of choirmaster, leading the standing crowd through a singalong accompanyment to Page's instrumental performance.

This was the song the crowd had come to hear, and Page played it with the intensity and authority that the best of the Led Zeppelin tunes deserve.

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I'm still surprised that Jimmy was up to playing such small venues. Even though Outrider was not a huge seller, people really wanted to see him play. I saw him at the Worcester Centrum so he could still pack them in.

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I saw him in Troy NY right around this time and he put on a great show. I thought at the time the band were really on. In My Time Of Dying was the highlight for me.

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I'm still surprised that Jimmy was up to playing such small venues.

He voiced his preference to play small venues during initial tour planning for the ill-fated Coverdale/Page partnership in 1993 but David was adamant they do arena-scale venues.

The demand for tickets was just not there. The entire 45 date tour was postponed from June to Autumn and ultimately scrapped before it even started. Had they listened to

Jimmy they very well may have been able to play live for the North American market. As

it was, they only did those seven dates in Japan.

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