Page and the Black Crowes - Live at the Greek
of a Lifetime
Note: the following review refers to the Internet-only release
originally made available at musicmaker.com. Steve, the critic,
believes the current retail release is much better.
Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant in one of his anti-Zep
mood cycles, Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has teamed up with
Atlanta's The Black Crowes for a full-scale American tour
this summer beginning June 24th in Chicago and continuing
through October. Page and the Crowes first tested the waters
by playing a week's worth of gigs together last October. This
2-CD live compilation was culled from the last two shows of
that week, Oct. 18-19, 1999, at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.
the Greek showcases Page and the Crowes in fine form, but
the release itself is not without its flaws. Most notably,
a legal dispute with the Crowes former record company, the
label formerly known as Def American, prevented any of the
Crowes recorded songs from being included on this compilation.
So, although several well-known Crowes hits, such as "Hard
To Handle" and "Remedy" were performed at the actual concerts,
they are not included on these discs. What is left is a collection
of Zep classics, and five cover songs of blues standards and
classic rock hits, such as "Shake Your Money Maker" the old
blues number which lent its title to the Crowes' classic 1990
debut album. Another blistering cover is "Oh Well" a song
written by Peter Green, a guitarist in the first incarnation
of Fleetwood Mac in the 1960s when the band was blues-centered.
"Oh Well" partly inspired the Zeppelin staple "Black Dog."
flaw with this release is that the crowd noise fades out at
the end of each number, ruining any sense of continuity. The
reason the set is this way is that Musicmaker.com has given
customers the option of customizing their own CDs by picking
and choosing only the songs you want if you are so inclined.
Thus, each selection is treated as an individual item. Be
warned though that if you choose to customize your CDs, and/or
you live outside of the United States, it may take you considerably
longer to receive your discs from Musicmaker than it would
if you just get the entire set as is.
itself is exceptional for the most part (when it is not marred
by the very annoying constant ecstatic screams of a certain
female fan.) It is great to hear Page and the Crowes attempt
several Zeppelin songs that Zep itself rarely or never played
live, such as "Custard Pie," "Hey, Hey What Can I Do" and
a very good rendition of "Your Time Is Gonna Come." By the
same token, they respectfully avoided such Zeppelin signature
tunes as "Black Dog," "Kashmir," "Over The Hills And Far Away,"
"Rock and Roll," "Since I've Been Loving You" and especially
"Stairway To Heaven," although they did indulge in "Whole
Lotta Love." The arrangements are very faithful to the studio
versions of the Zep tunes and for the most part lack the brilliant
improvisations which made Zeppelin one of the best live bands
ever, but that is to be expected since the Crowes were just
learning the songs in most cases. It is nice to hear such
songs as "Heartbreaker" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine" enriched
with a second guitar, provided by the Crowes' Rich Robinson.
This arrangement allows these songs to recreate the fullness
of sound provided by Page's overdubs in the studio.
vocalist Chris Robinson is no Robert Plant. Drummer Steve
Gorman is no John Bonham, and it takes two people, one on
bass and one on keyboards, to try and fill the shoes of John
Paul Jones, but everybody does an admirable job of it. I'd
recommend you get any Zeppelin release before getting this
"southern-fried" version of the band's music, but if you love
blues-based rock, you should buy this sometime soon. This
release only goes to prove that great music is eternal. For
the most part, the song does indeed remain the same.
truly an opportunity of a lifetime for a 90s band like The
Black Crowes to get to jam with Jimmy Page for an extended
amount of time. I hope they realize how fortunate they are
and thank Jimmy every day. We fans sure do.