My pal Sal over at Burning Wood posted up a mind-bending version of Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day” today. Go there immediately and download it…I’ll wait.
Welcome back. I don’t listen to much Led Zeppelin these days, now that I’m old and everything. But I’ve been on a bit of a kick lately, as you may have noticed in a previous post. It was through that post, which I mentioned on the Official Led Zeppelin Forum in a pathetic, and highly successful, bid to drive some traffic this way, that I heard about this version of No Quarter, recorded in LA in 1973.
This version lasts over 1/2 hour, with a couple of detours along the way, and showcases a free-form sensibility and a sense of humor that doesn’t show up on Zeppelin’s studio efforts; along with that, it simply displays this band at the peak of their considerable power. Most of the song is just the instrumental trio – Jones, Page, Bonham – bouncing from idea to idea; there’s a touch of attention-deficit-disorder here, in which this riff-heavy mid-tempo heavy metal odyssey melds into a scorching 12-bar blues, among other musical experiments that eventually, somehow, fade back into the original song. Note that there is no bassist here, since Jonesy is playing piano throughout. There is no organ foot-pedal bass either (as on the official live album). And you won’t miss it. Take that, White Stripes!
While Page’s soloing is brain-melting, even for him, Jones is driving the bus throughout, speeding down all sorts of interesting alleyways and around sharp corners…as Bonzo and Page keep up a constant dialog, exploding together time and again into these ridiculously tight musical phrases…you just gotta laugh.
This comes from a 3-CD bootleg called “For Badgeholders Only,” the title taken from a Plant running joke that pops up between songs. I know this is going to take a half-hour of your life, and I wouldn’t post it if it wasn’t a phenomenal must-hear.
C’mon Sal; match that!