Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 266: 7/13/1985 Philadelphia, PA

7/13/1985 Philadelphia, PA  (fm broadcast>cassette>cdr)
Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven

Five years after Led Zeppelin's final performance, the surviving members have reunited for a short set at the transatlantic concert event Live Aid. Following a brief soundcheck, the band, with the help of Phil Collins and Tony Thompson on drums, launches into Rock and Roll. Unfortunately, the last-minute nature of the event has left them painfully underrehearsed and it shows. Plant's voice is no longer accustomed to reaching for the high notes of his youthful efforts and Page's out of tune guitar gets lost in a sea of effects as he stumbles through a sloppy guitar solo. 

As the song ends, Plant jokingly asks the crowd "any requests?" before Page tears into the familiar opening riff of Whole Lotta Love. The dual drummers are more trouble than they're worth, they mistakenly enter at the beginning of the first verse and make a complete mess of the guitar solo break. Page shreds wildly through the song's haphazard outro. The band is joined onstage by Plant's bassist Paul Martinez before Stairway to Heaven, which is introduced as "something that sort of takes the mood down a little bit and yet, lifts everything up." The crowd erupts as Page plays the song's opening notes. The guitar solo gets off to a strong start, but loses momentum in the middle. Unfortunately, Plant begins the final verse before Page has a chance to finish. The massive crowd can be heard singing along with the final line.

The tape is an excellent radio broadcast.

2 comments:

Adam Dean said...

I was there at Live Aid and it wasn't as bad as you make it out to be - rusty - yes - but still great to see them live on-stage.

bchat said...

I saw this on tv when it aired and have listened to this performance again within the last year or so. Yeah, it isn't perfect (why was Collins even there?), but who cares? If you can drop all expectations and just listen to it for what it is, it's a decent enough performance from one of Rock's greatest bands.