A damn good show this despite Slabdragger’s untimely cancellation. If Conan were a footballer they would undoubtedly be “top, top”.
Check out the review over at Echoes and Dust.
The once ‘Oorible ‘Oo might now be the bromantic twosome of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, both of whom are now pushing 70, rather than the brash, in-fighting four piece of their 1960s and 70s prime but no-one told the crowd given the volume and number of fights that occur and the veterans’ experience comes through in the end, like a late goal from Ryan Giggs, underlining how much arena rock has become an old man’s game.
Visiting Belfast for the first time in 46 years (with my Uncle attendant both then in the Ulster Hall for a matinee show and tonight at the Odyssey) the Who stage a multi-media run through of 1973 existentialist rock opera and arguably last artistic triumph, Quadrophenia, supplemented with a hits laden finale.
The Who have resurrected Quadrophenia before but Roger Daltrey has taken the musical director’s helm on this tour and rounded out the already expanded ten man band with a brass section avoiding the tape based sounds of yore and embellishes the album with a collection of cold war new clips, newsreel of riots, youth culture iconography and 21st century disharmony which gives the old tale of teenage paranoia, isolation and social change a chance to stay relevant beyond the baby boomers that constitute the majority of tonight’s audience.
Both fallen members of the band make appearances in that strange way that old rockers have been reappearing (see Freddie Mercury at the Olympics ceremony) via video. Moon takes his gap-toothed vocal on Bellboy while current drummer, Zak Starkey jams with the Ox in an extended solo break as the climax to 5:15. Somehow it works, avoiding the cringing crassness of that Tupac hologram as the crowd ladle the videos with affection.
As for Quadrophenia itself the 90 minute record stretches to 110 minutes tonight with Townshend stretching out on Drowned – the only real moment of self-indulgence in an otherwise typically energetic show. The horn section of J. Greg Miller and Reggie Grisham really adds punch and Simon Townshend’s lead playing allows Pete (his elder brother) to let loose on the windmilling and pick flinging theatrics. Highlights include the aforementioned 5:15, one of the few standalone tracks from the record and The Real Me, I’m One and the Punk and the Godfather. Vocally, where Pete croaks in some sort of ill-advised Shepherd’s Bush bluesman style, Roger roars delivering Love Reign O’er Me with the gusto of a much younger man.
As the night wears on Roger’s shirt buttons magically come undone ‘til we end the hits section facing a tanned, open shirted old boy – give that man a fringed suede jacket, someone – delivering the unimpeachable classics of Who Are You, Behind Blue Eyes, Pinball Wizard and Won’t Get Fooled Again.
The show comes to a conclusion not without riotous feedback and whitened knuckles but with the heart warming ode to the Two’s modern friendship; Tea and Theatre, the quiet acoustic strum from 2006’s Endless Wire. That ending reminds you that you’re in 2013; however, the sheer amount of drink taken by the aging Mods of Belfast would have you believe otherwise as they roar back their approval like they never aged a day. 1963 to 2013 is one a hell of a wait but The Who prove that they are worth it even 46 years on.
So it was gnarled blues rockers Endless Boogie most recently for the excellent ech(((o)))es and dust people. Read what went down over on their website here.
After devouring Barney Hoskyns’ recent Zeppelin tome ‘Trampled Underfoot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin’ with its from the horses mouth telling of the egos, paranoia and addictions that overwhelmed the band’s collective musical and spiritual being it was a relief to see them in such vital musical form in Celebration Day.
After all the hoopla and press appreciation it was finally over to the fans last night. Those who had seen the band in their formative years in the clubs and theatres, the massive run at Earl’s Court, the outdoor [first] farewell at Knebworth or the lucky so and so’s who were at this momentous comeback and those of us unable to see them in the flesh by dint of birth, geography or ballot system – Zeppelin fans; both the grey and the green, the great and the good, we were all at the cinema to smile together and see the three surviving members of the band – augmented by the late John Bonham’s son Jason – cap the band’s legacy with two intense hours of celebratory performance that finally threw off the yoke of past debacles such as Live Aid and Atlantic Records’ 40th Birthday
Boy, did they deliver on that night nearly five years ago. After that Tampa news item describes how Zeppelin had beaten the Beatles’ attendance record it was straight into the most awe inspiring drum pattern Bonham ever committed to tape: Good Times, Bad Times with Jason playing the drums not the occasion, to coin a phrase. Page tears into the solo but doesn’t hang around long – everything is done with such gusto while the numerous cameras capture the smiles and signals for all to see. Next, the never performed in it’s entirety, Ramble On by-passes any worries one might have about Plant circumventing those old hippie, by way of Tolkien, lyrics. At this point at our screening the staff finally twigged that it was a concert film and altered the volume accordingly. It got LOUD.
Black Dog is imperious and Page sheds his coat and shades for the crackling In My Time Of Dying which has rarely, if ever, sounded better. As a measure of how seriously they took this show playing a track they’ve never performed before and that is never included on compilations is a pretty good one. For Your Life is thunderous with that descending riff and Plant’s refrain of “don’t you want c-c-co-cocaine?” all present and correct. You begin to realise how hungry they are, like a band starting out rather than one where the members are close to drawing their pension. At this point Jonesy gets behind the keyboards for a funky Trampled Underfoot. Introduced by Plant with reference to its inspiration in Terraplane Blues the song sees the first hint of extended arrangements and improvisation between the instrumentalists but it’s brief and succinct; not the 15 minutes of the mid-seventies and the better for it. The same goes for the dry ice augmented No Quarter, still a wonderfully spooky and atmospheric song. In between, Nobody’s Fault But Mine is flawless with Jimmy’s guitar sounding absolutely God-sized.
Since I’ve Been Loving is short and a little lacking in the guitar and vocal pyrotechnics of old – Plant’s voice feeling somewhat exposed. Page comes a cropper on the solo to Stairway, the song everyone wondered whether Plant would do but he did faithfully. “There are some songs we have to play when we get together and this is one of ’em: Dazed and Confused.” Jimmy’s old solo spot is still long but again, is pared down to the essentials. Of course, in this instance that still means the violin bow shooting shards of carnal electricity through the air whilst Page is enveloped in a pyramid of lasers. It’s immense.
Throughout the film the sound and visuals are immaculate much, much better than my other boots showing you were the time went mixing the recordings. In a nod to 2003’s DVD there are cuts to grainy ‘fan’ footage mimicking the Super-8 shots from Madison Square Garden 1973 – a nice touch. Generally though the film focuses tightly on the stage – we’re spared clapping celebs and hangers-on and by this stage feet are stomping in the cinema and every song is applauded as if it was happening live.
The best was yet to come though after a sprightly Song Remains The Same the dusty edifice of Kashmir emerged sounding to all like the intoxicating juggernaut it is. Page assaults his guitar drenched in sweat from the effort while Bonham holds the whole thing down admirably. The end of the song marks the end of the main gig before the encores. Whole Lotta Love sees Jimmy back on the theremin and nailing the solo in what must be the most concise and hard-hitting version they’ve ever mustered before a valedictory run through Rock and Roll where Jason poignantly takes the final spotlight and the final say on the reunion in the name of his departed dad.
With that, the monkey is once and for all off their collective back. No-one could have asked for more (other than actually being there!) and no-one can be surprised if that is in fact, it for Page, Plant and Jones together as Led Zeppelin. What a finale to a gripping career. You did it, gents!
I come to this concert with few expectations beyond a good night out because of the two, infamously combustible, Robinson brothers Rich has always seemed the more reticent, undemonstrative of the two – the least likely to tell you what was on his mind, the least likely to share any emotions. So given the recent events that have befallen him and the imminent cathartic sounding solo record “Through a Crooked Sun” this gig had the potential to fill in a few gaps, maybe even change my perception of the man.
When Robinson takes to the small stage, bearded and doe eyed, at the Islington Academy around 9 o’clock the organ swells and he teases out mid-seventies Clapton guitar lines with the minimum of pomp and ceremony. The ensuing set is one where it would be more appropriate to be stood on a sawdust covered floor in a one horse town. He sings the tale of a sad man who doesn’t know how he became old and throws in the odd crowd pleasing cover song beginning with the Fleetwood Mac number Station Man, taking in Pink Floyd’s Fearless and encoring with Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl. In between, the gig is one of country-rock and guitar heavy muso instrumentation.
Rich’s performance is predictably low-key; his body barely moving as he switches between his multitude of guitars and his band are flawlessly professional. The atmosphere is good, one of brotherly love and undemanding good times -it’s not often that I spot two bald men cavorting together in such a tender way. Bless ‘em. Robinson and his band serve up blues, boogie and rock n’ roll and over time he opens up: taking to the mic between songs thanking the crowd for their support and having some banter with the well-oiled throng and his band. It’s all so easy going that it feels like I’ve stumbled into a local pub where the regulars have organised a night of music from their youth and everyone’s singing along.
The gig finishes after the electric run through Cinnamon Girl and an odd, out of the blue prog-tastic electronic wig out. A quick and unreliable survey of fellow punters (hello Lisa!) suggests it was a good gig. Tonight, all (well some) critical thought was easily shoved aside and my brain eased into a state of pure bonhomie. For a man seemingly with the weight of the world on his shoulders Rich Robinson made light work of this show losing himself in the comfortable embrace of rock history and demonstrating his viability as a solo artist away from the circus that surrounds the Black Crowes. Tonight has been a thoroughly enjoyable if not necessarily revelatory concert.
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