Live At The Greek

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes

It's no secret that Jimmy Page never really wanted to disband Led Zeppelin. No doubt, he did it out of respect for the memory of John Bonham -- but deep inside, Page would have loved to carry on. And really, when you're at the crest of your game, who in his right mind wants to cash in his chips. Certainly not Jimmy Page. It would take a less-than-spectacular run with the Firm, a half-hearted solo career, and finally a reunion with Robert Plant to nudge Page back into the Zeppelin spotlight. With the Black Crowes in his corner, Page has come about as close as he could ever wish for. In fact, on Live At The Greek there are signs that Page and the Crowes might have very well picked up from where the mighty Zep left off.

The magic of the Black Crowes with Jimmy Page is that Led Zeppelin songs can now be heard in their full and multi-layered form in a live setting. With the Crowes' two guitarists — Rich Robinson and Audley Freed — firmly in place, Page's depths of multiple guitar parts have been realized. Page can now take longer cigarette breaks, and still hear his music almost as full and bright as the classic albums he made. Fortunately, the choice of material is a glorious cupful of vintage Zep. Crowes vocalist Chris Robinson keenly adjusted his style to the material without sounding like Robert Plant, and obscure Zep classics like "In My Time Of Dying," "Out On The Tiles," "Your Time Is Gonna Come" and "Sick Again" sound simply stupendous.

Previously only available as a customizable release on the Internet, this 20-track double CD also includes several blues and pop standards presented with the same edgy fervor. Elmore James' "Mellow Down Easy" and BB King's "Sloppy Drunk" swing gracefully and proficiently. The Yardbirds' "Shape Of Things To Come" and Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" also serve as tasteful tributes. Tonight as I write this, I was supposed to witness this winning combination, but Jimmy Page hurt his back and the concert has been postponed. I recall back in 1977, when a Led Zeppelin concert I was to attend was also postponed because Robert Plant was taken ill. Sometimes, it really makes you wonder.

~ Shawn Perry

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