Monday, August 10, 2015

On This Day 10 August

Ledded, unledded - it's all good
1994 10 August On This Day Page & Plant record in Marrakech
  • 1966 The Yardbirds - Manitou Beach, MI at Green's Pavilion Lakeview Park
  • 1969 Led Zeppelin - San Diego, CA at San Diego Sports Arena
  • 1994 Page & Plant - Unledded Tour – Marrakech Morocco at J'ma el Fna Square
It started with an invitation to do an MTV Unplugged show and ended being an album and a tour.  It wasn't supposed to be a Led Zeppelin "reunion", and John Paul Jones wasn't invited.  There were lots of Led Zeppelin songs, anyway, reinterpreted with a Middle Eastern/Moroccan flavor, and the album was called No Quarter.

MTV Unplugged was supposed to be "intimate acoustic studio performances by major artists from across the globe". Never mind that Jimmy Page's guitars were still quite plugged in, or that they were backed not only by the usual components of a rock band but also by an orchestra.  The 90 minute MTV special was the highest-rated ‘Unplugged’-era episode in the network’s history.  The DVD includes bonus footage, and was recorded on a London soundstage, in the hills of Wales and in the J'ma el Fna Market Square of Marrakech, Morocco.

In my opinion, a fine effort but not the best showcase for Jimmy Page, who had long ago demonstrated that musical influence didn't have to mean blatantly sounding like the source. Jimmy Page was perfectly capable of the sublime, of internalizing a concept and revealing an entirely new way of hearing what had been heard before. Kashmir - without the orchestra - is a clear example: It does a superb job of evoking desert sands, caravans, and the exotic simply through the use of DADGAD tuning and rhythm.

“I was well aware of a lot of ‘exotic’ music in the late ‘60s,” Jimmy Page told Michael Leonard for Gibson Guitar in 2011. “I had a sitar and got interested in modal tunings, Arabic music. .... I wasn’t just listening to blues, I was trying to find all sorts of new ways for my playing.”

But hey, No Quarter was, after all, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, together again even if they had forgotten John Paul Jones' phone number. Still good, after all those years.

Unledded promo photo

1994 Jimmy Page MTV rehearsal

♪  Gallows Pole  (Page & Plant, 1994)  YouTube
♪  Battle of Evermore (Page & Plant, 1994)  YouTube
♪  The Truth Explodes/Yallah (Page & Plant, Marrakech 1994) YouTube

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