To be “under the weather” out on tour must have been hell. When thousands await you on stage you don`t just lay flat on your back and cancel the show for any small reason. But I guess they had certain “remedies” in the seventies to help you survive the two hours you were obligated to deliver. Still – must have been tough if you were the frontman.
Limp Zep still reach heaven
Bad sound, flu and a broken finger can`t stop Zeppelin, Don Heyland reporting.
Led Zeppelin was alive, but not well in Chicago.
Robert Plant`s flu-ridden voice hurt the band in its first of three concerts in the Chicago stadium, the second stop on its tour. Jimmy Page was nursing a broken finger, too, although that didn`t make itself evident in any way, except perhaps choice of material.
What was worst of all was the old bugaboo of rock and roll, a goblin that seems to attack everyone from the most insignificant local band to the mighty supergroups: defective sound equipment.
In Led Zeppelin`s case, it`s understandable that the group wouldn`t want to be burdened with maintaining its own sound system if it only tours every year and a half. But they`re the ones who rented the system being used on the tour, so they must be held responsible.
Perhaps the audience sitting to the right side of the stage was luckier, but from a position fairly close up and directly in front of the PA speakers on the left side of the main floor, what was audible was mostly bass and drums, with a bit of guitar squeaking through.
One thing was sure: Neither John Paul Jones nor John Bonzo Bonham was under the weather. Jones`s bass lines sounded quite tasty all by themselves, and Bonham roared mightily at the drums.
On `The Song Remains The Same,` Jones actually duetted with Page, and very nicely.
As for Plant, he must have felt the irony of singing one of the five new songs, `Sick Again`, which song suffered too much from mixing problems to be absorbed.
Plant did manage to marshal his strength for `Trampled Underfoot`, a grinding new rocker in the best Zeppelin tradition.
The best of the new songs, `Kashmir`, did not tax his voice too much, and even Page`s guitar came through enough on it to show that it will be a classic.
`In My Time Of Dying`, the old folk standard, also receives the Zeppelin treatment, and takes to it very well, even though the words sometimes don`t match the ripping attack by Page on slide and the booming rhythm.
`St. Peter at the gates of Heaven, won`t you let me in`, pleads Plant, knowing very well that the song is knocking down at those other gates.
The last new number, `Wanton Song`, is another rocker. It didn`t make much of an impression, but that could be because Page broke a guitar string at the start of it.
Other highlights of the concert were `Over The Hills And Far Away`, with Page`s fine fragile guitar work at the beginning and end contrasting with fiery playing in the middle: `When The Levee Breaks`, with Jimmy doing some marvellous slide work that I wish I could have heard better.
But of course, the finale of `Stairway To Heaven` was the highlight of the concert. It`s funny that this majestic, lyric number is, in the end, the song that stands for Led Zeppelin, a band associated with raunchy, high-decibel riffs and screaming vocals, but it definitely represents the group at its height.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Average White Band, Chick Corea, Gilbert O`Sullivan, Guess Who, Golden Earring, Trapeze, John Martyn, John McLaughlin, Gary Moore, Billy Connolly, J. Geils Band, John Holt, Hall & Oates, Donovan, Country Joe McDonald.
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