Classic Rock Review

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Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek (2000)


Review Possibly the best “live” album ever released. Even better than The Song Remains The Same. This is Led Zeppelin live as they’ve never been heard! What started as a one-off fund rasier in London grew to what is now a full fledged tour. Why? Because this band belongs in the Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame now!

You’ve never heard Zep songs this lush in a live setting. The Crowes have the Zep songs down pat (I’ve read that they sat around listening to all the Zep albums). From the first note to the last, what a treat. All the force of Zep plus two other guitars and a keyboard player.

Highlights from the Zep catalog include Ten Years Gone, with a slow bluesy guitar romp that’s incredible; Jimmy’s slide guitar on In My Time Of Dying is stupendous and wait until you hear the organ intro and outro on Your Time Is Gonna Come, it’ll make you cry it’s so sweet. And That’s just the first disc!

The Lemon Song opens side two with all the gut=wrenching blues of the first Zep album rolled into one song; and then the three guitar attack of Nobody’s Fault But Mine just absolutely ignites the song like never before; and then there’s the Out On The Tiles/Whole Lotta Love Medley that finishes the album will leave you wishing that you had been there.

Then there’s the other cover tunes(problems with Sony keep most of the Crowes tune off the album which is disappointing because Rich Robinson’s best solos are on them, i.e., Remedy, No Speak No Slave), Shape Of Things is done ala Jeff Beck Group with the lead solo done Yardbirds (? ); BB King’s Woke Up This Morning will definitely wake you up with it’s foot stopmin’ pace and Jimmy rips this solo out that shreds!

The slide guitar battles on Sloppy Drunk are incredible (more shredding), not to mention Willie Dixon’s Mellow Down Easy and the Mac’s Oh Well are equally awesome. Too bad they take after Pearl Jam and have soundboards available for every show. The textures of the Zep songs will please even those who don’t buy live albums because the sound too different from the record(cd) will enjoy these discs.

This release suparses the musicmaker Excess All Areas as there aren’t any gaps in between the songs. The only disappointment is that both shows weren’t released in their entirety (the shows were recorded Oct. 18 & 19. 1999) If you love loud hard guitar based music then this is an absolute must have collection.

Review For many people, Jimmy Page IS the soul of Led Zep. Back in 1999, after finishing his world tour with Robert Plant – he went on tour with the Black Crowes presumably to fill the hole in the soul. And you know what? The combination worked.

I had no idea what to expect when I heard that the two had teamed up. The Black Crowes? All I knew was their cover “Hard to Handle” and “Shake Your Money Maker.” So the real reason for me buying this may have been Jimmy Page – but it takes two to tango – and incredibly, the Black Crowes made a perfect fit.

Live At The Greek is a trip into the heady past of Zep and its roots. Chris Robinson doesn’t have quite the same range as Plant – but comes close surprisingly in spirit and feel. Surprisingly, he feels like a young Plant bursting out of the gates. It’s not easy singing any Zep song, but Robinson does his best in hitting the high notes. He succeeds on most tracks -like Celebration Day, Out on the Tiles, Sick Again, Custard Pie -but he kinda flops on Heartbreaker. (That’s a minor foible though) The band just rocks though and never lets up – twin guitars playing Zep and the blues – creating a full on sound that even Zep couldn’t do in its later touring years.

Ironically, the Page-Black Crowes combination evokes much of Zep’s early years precisely because of the straight arrangements and the blues covers. More so than Page-Plant could really do. Of course there’s no substitute for the real thing, but you can’t blame a guy like Jimmy Page for jamming the world’s greatest rock songs can you?

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek | , | Leave a comment

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek (2000)


Rock ‘n’ Roll is all about fantasy, mostly about sexual fantasy (e.g. AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie”), but sometimes it is just about Rock ‘n’ Roll fantasy.

Such as, what if Jimmy Page found himself at a lose end and wanted to go out on tour? So who could he pick as a backing band? Perhaps his long time admirers and possibly America’s tightest jamming band The Black Crowes? And what could they pick as a set list? A selection of Led Zeppelin’s finest and just for good measure some of the finest standards laid down? Well, for once it was not fantasy, but reality. Rehearsals took place and dates were set and this amazing combination hit the road, playing to packed arena’s the length and breadth of America, with astounding results.

Fortunately plans were made to record the event for all time and here are the results. At first only released on the Internet, but sense was seen and the whole Shishkerbang was let loose on the eagerly awaiting Rock Public. For those amongst you who may feel that it is sacrilegious for anyone else to perform these songs, especially for old Robert (Percy) Plant not to be singing, hollering, and cajoling every nuance out of these classic’s.

Fear not. Chris Robinson, the Crowes’ vocalist, does not even attempt to imitate the great man, singing everything in his own style giving each song a new slant. The rest of the Crowes play with such abandon, I have never heard them play with such verve and panache, and this is somebody who has been a huge fan of the band for over ten years. The rhythm section of Pipien and Gorman keep a lock sold groove going whilst losing nothing of the looseness that keeps the music spontaneous and alive.

Probably the biggest sound difference on the Zeppelin classics is that although John Paul Jones used to double up on bass and keyboards (an exemplary job he did, too) in that band his use of piano was very sparing, whereas Ed Harsch is not frightened to push the piano right to the front of the sounds cape, soloing when any opportunity arises. But it is the three pronged guitar attack that floors you. Combining together to give the raunchiest guitar sound that has ever been heard on this little planet. (Lynyrd Skynyrd are stunning, make no mistake, this is just one step beyond) Obviously it’s Jimmy Page that steals the show. I doubt he has ever played better. However, the playing of Chris’s brother Rich Robinson, and new at the time Crowes guitarist, is of outstanding class, pushing their guest player to the outer limits of his ability.

The Song selection is spot on. The guitar duel in “You Shook Me” is nothing short of jaw dropping, specially as it follows a version of that old Elmore James classic “Shake Your Money Maker”, which rattles the roof tops and would bring a smile to even the most stern of anorak Rock ‘n’ Roll connoisseurs. Chris Robinson turns in a truly saucy version of “The Lemon Song”. The choice of Jimmy Page’s contemporary guitarist/songwriter Peter Green’s finest song written whilst in Fleetwood Mac, “Oh Well” is a pure delight.

There has never been a better version of “Heartbreaker” with Jimmy Page really stepping out on this one. So topped and tailed with “Celebration day” and “Whole Lotta Love” across two hours of music spread over two CD’s. You get Six cover versions and fourteen classic Zeppelin tracks (all with credit due to Willie Dixon and C. Burnett), played by a bunch of guys, who are having the time of their lives. This is certainly one of the top three Rock ‘n’ Roll Live albums of all time.

As an extra – if you have a computer you can watch them performing snippets of the songs live from your disc drive plus some very good stills taken from the Greek, where it becomes even more apparent how well they all gelled as a unit and what a good time they were having.

After this tour the Black Crowes went back into the studios to record their next album, the very heavily Zeppelin influenced “Lions”, since when, it’s been rumoured, they have disbanded, probably feeling it would be hard to top the Jimmy Page tour. One is also left to reflect what a shame it was that “Led Zeppelin” never recorded a decent live album. “The Song Remains The Same” is not a bad album, but hardly a killer. “Live at the Greek” leaves it for dead.

May 24, 2013 Posted by | Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek | , | Leave a comment