The fans will say the untitled fourth record is their favorite; critics will always say Led Zeppelin II, but my favorite is Presence. I admit that is a music-snob kind of thing to say, always having to pick the more obscure record because I-am-in-the-know-compared-to-you-trogloydites. But that said, I really love "Achilles Last Stand" and "Tea For One" and "For Your Life." "Tea For One" is a favorite but it's also frustrating because the opening 30 seconds have a just tremendous Jimmy Page riff, that just goes completely away.
Watching the Blu Ray I like anybody else who watches it came away impressed. Even being from 5 years ago these guys are old (except for Jason Bonham, who isn't a spring chicken). Plant and John Paul Jones just look great for their age. Page looks a bit rougher, like some old wizard with the long silver hair. He still makes the funny Jimmy Page faces and poses. I like the one where he puts the guitar to his side and sort of swivels his hips. He might be almost 1000 years old but he is STILL Jimmy Page.
And being Jimmy Page he is still sloppy as hell. It's maddening sometimes. But that is part of his charm. He's supremely gifted; he's the best riff-er I have ever heard. But like Eddie Van Halen said it's like Page plays with a broken hand sometimes. Sometimes I am not sure what Page is doing. It seems like he is playing a different song. Take "Black Dog":
Page is all over the place. But that's one of the great things about them, something that Jodi mentioned yesterday when I was talking about it, that Zep was great at disparate parts making a great whole. If my band tries it it will be a total train wreck. But in the hands of the people who actually know what they are doing and are as creative as it comes in rock it's mesmerizing.
Let's get back to the clip above, which comes from the Celebration Day movie. Isn't it awesome!?! These old bastards are tight and they rock the hell out of that stage. Before I saw the performance I was saying to my bandmates that a Zep reunion tour would wind up being a sad thing because how great could it be? It's been so long and they are let's face it pretty old. I've heard people talk about a new album but is that really necessary? Is any new Zep record going to be any good? Do they have anything new left to say as a unit? Will a new record really compare favorable or even belong next to The Song Remains The Same and Physical Graffiti in the CD rack? The new Aerosmith is horrid; is a new Rolling Stones record needed? Maybe that is harsh, and maybe the record is not horrid but it is the one thing I cannot get past: it is not interesting. Why listen to a new Aerosmith record when you can listen to Rocks?
But watching the video I stand corrected in at least one respect, for one night Led Zeppelin can still bring it. Maybe after 3 months on the road it would get horrible. But on that night the hammer of the gods were back at the anvil and showing how they were once the greatest rock n roll band on the planet.