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October 16, 2008

Turning back time with Led Zeppelin

plant and pageIf I had to pick a favorite band of all time, it would be Led Zeppelin. Early on, their music was deeply rooted in blues and early rock and roll. After a few years, the Zep pushed hard rock into uncharted territory.

In 1972 (after four years of endless screaming) singer Robert Plant pretty much blew out his voice. And a few years later, guitarist Jimmy Page's serious drug addiction began to make his guitar-playing sticky and less innovative. The Zep broke up in 1980 after drummer John Bonham died.

This point in time is pretty much where my steamy hot love of Led Zeppelin begins to cool. I dig on a couple of Plant's solo tracks, and of course, the stellar new collaboration with Alison Krauss.

Now, it pains me to watch either Plant and Page perform (they are pictured here in a 1995 stock photo), because they just don't have the chops they once did. I've seen pretty much every post-1980 video on YouTube and none have impressed me.

But then I saw the following video of "Since I've Been Loving You" from Glastonbury 1995. My jaw dropped ...

I don't know how. And thinking about it makes my brain hurt.

But somehow, for this one performance, Plant wails like it's 1970 again and Page expertly shreds his way through the whole song.

It is, in a word, awesome. Listen to Plant hit the super high notes at 3:29, 5:14 and 6:47. My spine gets all tingly. Goodness. Relish it, gang.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:47 AM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Random stuff


the sound in this clip is pretty much as i remember it back in the late 70's. even then, Plant wasn't going for all the high notes. this DOES sound really good, especially when you realize these guys are old enough to be grandparants.

Hey Sam,

Did you catch Page's performance at the 2008 Olympic closing ceremonies? Oh, it got my twenty-seven-year-old heart racing! He's old, he's grey and he's still got it!

You should definitely check out when Jimmy toured with the Black Crowes. Chris Robinson can definitely wail and offers a little southern twang to the songs. "Ten Years Gone" is awesome, too.

Also, anyone ever check out ZoSo? They are the most rockin' Zep tribute band out there. I've only seen them make it up to Baltimore once or twice, but used to catch them once a month when I lived down south.


any chance you have the cabala bootleg? i'm on the market for it.

Well, I was there,front row Glastonbury'95 with Robert and Jimmy going for it and everyone loving it,but I think Robert's performance two years earlier was absolutly shattering! ten times better than '95 trust me- I WAS THERE!!! get a bootleg!

Never liked Led Zep as much as the Yardbirds. Always thought there was too much bombast.

They sounded pretty good at the Ahmet Ertegun tribute last Dec. Father time & the miles they put on has caught up with them. Same with the Stones. Kinda glad the Ertegun show was a one off. I don't believe these guys could sustain playing at a high level every night on tour. I want to remember them for what they once were.
Sam, Ever read "Hammer of the Gods" by Stephen Davis?

Yes indeed! I think one of my favorite parts of that book is when they snort a bag of cocaine and then realize it's actually heroin. Whoopsy-daisy!

Yeah, except it wasn't like that scene in Pulp Fiction.
Davis has a new book out on GnR. Wanna check that out too.


"I want to remember them for what they once were."

I'm sure they would be pleased that so many people think of them in terms of how great they used to be.

You're assuming that they should just go away to protect your memories. They shouldn't risk making new music that may benefit from maturity, and being clean, that could more than compensate for their lack of youthful flash. Remember, they took risk to make music during "the Glory Days" starting with becoming a band and rising above their, then, competition.

that was well said "anonymous". I understand the sentiment and nostalgia... to point. But then we are talking about music here,and living breathing, legendary musicians.There will be an eternity for legends when they are gone. I cant think of anything more backward than musicians refusing to make music to protect some "sacred" memory. There would never have been a Led Zeppelin if thats how it worked. I want to hear music, not "glory days" stories about long ago concerts.

No, not at all. If I can make a comparision for a minute. I am the biggest Stones fan you'll ever meet. They came out with a great album in '05, best record in 20+ years, but during their tour the band was hit or miss almost every night. I caught them five times & several shows (including the Super Bowl) were just down right bad. Keith missing cues, Jagger fumbling lyrics, etc. It's almost as if the band became a cartoon of their former selves. I know Zep could come out with a great studio product. "Raising Sand" is an amazing album. Just wouldn't want the same thing that has happened to the Stones to happen to Zep. I think Plant realizes this and is the one who is relucant to go on the road.

I agree that"raising sand was "amazing" but im sure not for the same reason as you. i was amazed that plants mumbling and grunting garnered so much crtical attention. i agree with one of your points, sort of. The whole "tour" hype thing is unecessary, imho. A new album, with new material would be infinately more interesting to me. And of course, i dont believe they need robert plant to make it. in fact jones was and is the key to any zeppelin reunion, despite all the hyper-emotional overly sentimental comments i see all over the internet forbidding the thought.led zeppelin was/is a concept and conceptually plant becomes less important, the less important the SPECTACLE becomes. if were talking about music ONLY, i think they are better off WITHOUT him in 2008


Face it, Nobody is going to accept anything called Led Zeppelin without both Page & Plant. There's too much history for most people not to regard any line up without them other than fraudulent. People would probably be much more accepting of someone other than John Paul Jones on Bass, though not the purest.

Would anyone regard a legit Rolling Stones line up without Mick Jagger & Keith Richard?

The Doors of the 21st Century (original Doors’ members Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger with the ever popular Ian Astbury), particularly when they got billed as The Doors, came under great negative criticism (also successfully sued by John Densmore and Jim Morrison’s estate from further use of any name including “Doors”, at last count they are now “Riders of the Storm”)
Must be so satisfying to be a member of tribute band of your most famous previous band, apparently they appear to be that hard up.


Regarding The Rolling Stones
They lost it years ago when they started treating being a band as a part-time job to pursue when they need the money. If they were a working full time band, performing 200 times a year or more, their live performances would have a much greater precentage of good shows.

i thought a lot about zep going forward after the one off. after a week, i thought the best thing to do was do analbum with all new material. i still do. then tour the album. with or without plant does not matter to me. robert is great, but if the material is all new and robert did not write any of it, it won't matter if robert is there or not (to me).

michael - a tour without Plant, a Chimerian wish.

granted stebbin, it would not be the same. but jimmy and jp have high standards. it would still be the highlight of the year.

From their formation in late '68 until early '73 Led Zeppelin were absolutely untouchable. No rock band before or since has approached Zeppelin in their prime. As brilliant as all four of them were individually, it was their unique chemistry together that set Zeppelin apart. Sadly, Led Zeppelin ceased to exist the second that the greatest rock drummer that ever lived, died, John Bonham on Sept. 25th 1980.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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