Thursday, July 17, 2008

Additions to Robert Plant's U.S. tour with Alison Krauss no cause for alarm

A fresh set of tour dates was unveiled this week, keeping Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on the road together through the first weekend of October.

Those hoping Plant will take part in some Led Zeppelin activity in the coming months should take note that this latest development ought not be construed as a real hindrance toward that end.

The reality of the situation is we already knew Plant and Krauss would still be on the road at the end of September, supporting their year-old album with a revue including T Bone Burnett and some of Nashville's most talented musicians. Now, they're going to be on the road for all of a week (gasp!) longer than before.

Seriously, this shouldn't greatly jeopardize any projects that may or may not take place next year.

Here are the facts:

  1. The Plant/Krauss show in Saratoga, Calif., planned for Sunday, Oct. 5, is currently the latest scheduled and one of only five West Coast gigs scheduled after a previously announced Sept. 27 appearance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
  2. Another newly announced date -- Sept. 23 in Kansas City, Mo. -- precedes the previously announced Sept. 24 billing in St. Louis, and a planned second show in that location was recently scrapped (as was the DVD filming once arranged to take place on the stage of the Fox Theatre during that stay).
  3. The four shows in between are to take place Sept. 30 in Portland, Ore.; Oct. 1 in Seattle, Wash.; Oct. 3 at San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest; and Oct. 4 in Kelseyville, Calif.

So, the question as to what Robert Plant has up his sleeve for October and beyond now becomes a question of what his plans will be beginning Oct. 5, when his touring commitments subside. Is it a question Plant is willing to answer today?

No, it's not. At least it wasn't when the question of a Led Zeppelin reunion was posed to him on Monday of this week. Jason Gregory, reporting for Gigwise, says the mention of that topic to Plant during a press conference made the singer feign snoring.

This reported response, which signals his boredom with a frequently broached line of questioning his publicity contacts specifically caution against, is not unlike responses Plant gave last autumn, while he and Krauss hit the road on a publicity tour in the United States and England. Even when the media were counting down the days until Led Zeppelin's one-off reunion concert, Plant welcomed journalists' obsession with that band with bouts of on-air coughing and asking for a blanket. Does anybody remember WNYC?

If Plant is indeed considering any further activity with his willing and able musical partners back in England -- Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham -- committing to it and publicly admitting it is understandably not his top priority these days. His current band is.

The second North American leg of the Plant-Krauss tour returns from a Canadian stop this week and hits Cleveland on Thursday and Lexington on Friday before winding up in Nashville on Saturday.

Those wondering what Plant has on his mind when he's not sharing stages with Krauss, Burnett and the rest, will have plenty of time to speculate on that very soon: Plant has no scheduled appearances for the rest of this month, nor any in August, nor any in three-quarters of September. Lots of time off! How shall he ever spend it?

As for the other guys in Led Zeppelin:

  1. Jimmy Page recently said he has several irons in the fire and will see which project pans out first.
  2. He and John Paul Jones looked and sounded great on June 7 when they surprised the Foo Fighters' Wembley Stadium audience by showing up for Led Zeppelin songs "Ramble On" and "Rock and Roll" in the encore set.
  3. Jason Bonham just showed his continued willingness to play Zep tunes in a concert setting this weekend; he took part in an all-star onstage jam July 5 in Las Vegas, drumming on "Bring It On Home" and "Whole Lotta Love" among other classic and standard blues-rock numbers.

But it is unknown what else these guys are doing with their time, or when they will reveal what else they have already been doing together. The same inside source that is said to have tipped off the Foo Fighters encore to a Led Zeppelin discussion group online is also said to have tipped off the occasion of Page-Jones-Bonham rehearsals of new material a few months ago, while Plant's tour with Krauss was in its earliest days. When will Page, Jones and Bonham own up to that, or deny it having taken place, whichever is accurate?

Or is this the kind of unfinished work that need not be mentioned publicly until it is completed, perhaps by Plant contributing his lyrics and vocals? And isn't there plenty of time over the next several weeks for an otherwise-unoccupied Plant to make this happen?

While Plant evades inquiries about Zeppelin activity by snoring, coughing and asking for a blanket, the rest of the guys aren't saying much on the topic either. They only ask fans just to wait. And the one time a distorted remark from Page was viewed as confirming a Led Zeppelin tour in 2009, Jones came out and quashed the rumor.

A quotation referred to in a Daily Telegraph report in early June was widely misinterpreted, distorted and taken out of context. In the article detailing the partial Zeppelin reunion with the Foo Fighters in London, a comment attributed to Page came not from that weekend but from the moments after the full reunion concert last December.

Page's statement that further Led Zeppelin activity was likely was about six months old. And because the rumor mill took this to be a new quote and a first-hand confirmation of a world tour in 2009, Jones made a point of telling BBC Radio 6 on June 18: "Nobody spoke to the Daily Telegraph after the Foo Fighters' show, sorry Daily Telegraph."

Technically, all Jones did in saying this was refute the misinterpretation of the Daily Telegraph story. He didn't expressly deny Led Zeppelin activity, just that Page had alluded to Led Zeppelin activity in the past two weeks. So, nobody's denying -- or admitting to -- anything!

But the same BBC interview, which also involved Page, only provided more fodder for misinterpretation. In it, the two Zeppelin members present in London to pick up the band's Mojo award for best live show allude to the possible release of that December reunion concert on DVD someday: Page said, "I hope so one day, yeah," and Jones said, "Yeah, I should think one day the DVD will come out, but there is no hurry to do it."

It all sounds very speculative and distant, unless the only words you heard him say were, "The DVD will come out."

And apparently, that's all Gigwise heard when, on the same day, its editors ran their own version of the same comments from Page and Jones but attached the deceptively authoritative headline, "Led Zeppelin Reunion Show To Get DVD Release."

In his article, Gigwise reporter Jason Gregory leads off with a paragraph that says, in full, "Members of Led Zeppelin have confirmed that their recent reunion show in London will eventually be released on DVD." So, it's a done deal? His following paragraphs don't support it.

It's time to conclude this long diatribe about the current state of affairs with regard to Led Zeppelin news. And my conclusion now is still the same as it has been for almost a whole year: Just wait and see.

Gee, I don't know if I needed all the room above just to say that again. Oh well. As long as I didn't distort or misinterpret anything!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated prior to publication. Comments will not be published if they are deemed vulgar, defamatory or otherwise objectionable.