Saturday, December 13, 2008

Encores take high priority at Classic Albums Live 'Houses' show

Led Zeppelin never played "In the Light" live. But Classic Albums Live did, and we nailed it. That's what we kicked off Friday's post-album encore set with, after band introductions by Craig Martin. So it was right after the audience found out I was making my debut with the group this concert series that I gave my best performance of the night.

The only thing done differently from the album version of "In the Light" was I didn't have the delay effect on my lead for the intro and the reprise halfway through the song. I'll probably use that the next time we do the song, after I try it out. This is all new to me, these fancy effects and stuff.

John Paul Jones was in Asheville, N.C., with a bevy of folks jamming on "I Can't Quit You Baby" and "Going to California." In Hollywood, Fla., we had our own crop of celebrities at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for a Biker Bash afterparty. Richie Sambora and James Belushi were around. We thought we were going to face the proposition of being asked to jam with them. In a way, I'm very glad it didn't happen.

That's because it kept things on track with our band. All but one of the other encores we played were things we ran through only on the day of the gig. The difference between the first and second shows is the crowd. Thursday audiences are all ages, so with the kids there we tend to play more of the radio staples, the Mothership list. Like on Thursday night, "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love" were a must.

But the more mature Friday night audience allows us to dig out lesser heard Physical Graffiti and In Through the Out Door cuts, for example. "Fool in the Rain," another one Zeppelin never did. I played the jangly piano of "Hot Dog." The guys ran through "Heartbreaker," and I joined for backing vocals on "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)." Things ended with "How Many More Times," which the band played as a fourpiece to finish things off.

The only encore we repeated from Thursday night was "Moby Dick." Both nights, I watched from the side of the stage mindful of something I recently read, probably on the For Badgeholders Only discussion group: that Robert Plant tended to be attentive to John Bonham's solo at Zeppelin shows because he loved watching his friend reinvent rock 'n' roll drumming on a nightly basis. That might even be an exact quote of what I read. Isn't that a great concept?

We still have a few more surprises in store for the next few shows, which will naturally include the full album of Houses of the Holy. But we have a Presence surprise coming up! I don't even know if Houses of the Holy is legitimately the main attraction anymore, the way these encores are coming along. The four remaining shows are gonna smoke!

Update: This thread on the Classic Albums Live message board is dedicated to the show from Friday, Dec. 12.

Second update: I added a YouTube video above featuring the performance of "In the Light" from our finale performance on Saturday, Dec. 20.


  1. Man you make me wish I was in Hollywood, Fla! My educated guess for the Presence song would be the aptly titled "Wheelchair song". Personally, I've never liked the way Jimmy handled the guitar solo in that song in live performances, to me the studio version was far and away better. All Presence songs are great, except perhaps for the lengthy last track, which I've always felt was more or less a filler. With JPJ in a near State, did it cross your mind that he might want to check out on C.A.L. and surely have a closer look at how his "alter ego" is doing?

  2. It's something I thought of, sure. Think it would happen? No. I would definitely be surprised if JPJ would show up at a Classic Albums Live gig. Jason Bonham hasn't ever made it to one of the shows despite his proximity to some of those shows that have taken place in Orlando and apparently one that was on the same night as a Foreigner gig he was playing. But I genuinely think Classic Albums Live is something Jonesy and Jason would both dig, especially given their affinity for each other's playing and Jonesy's current appreciation for the interplay of musicians onstage.

    It would be great if we had a surprise appearance next weekend. Saturday will be the last Zeppelin show at Paradise Live, so we're already planning to pull out all the stops that night. A drop-in from either would certainly do well to cap things off there.


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