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Re: tuning down squawks and colostomy bags (was zeppelin-digest V12 #4192)



I agree with Glenn. Plant rarely attempted those lines on Stairway throughout 
the Zep years let alone afterwards. His O2 performance was actually excellent 
aside from that one glaring "squawk" on :Lady..." and as Glenn pointed out some 
of Plant's strongest vocals at the O2 were on songs in their original keys.

There's been way too much of a big deal made about Led Zeppelin tuning down at 
the O2. IIRC, it all started with an article in the Sun UK about their tuning 
down because Plant can't sing the high notes anymore. Big f@#$ing deal! He 
wasn't able to sing most of those high notes throughout most of the glory years 
of LZ (Frankly, I prefer his O2 vocals to anything I've heard live from the 
'77-'80). 

Bands tune down all the time. Zep did it live from day one for In My Time of 
Dying, which they played at the O2 in the same key as live '75-'77. (No Quarter 
was also in a different key, but I can't recall right now if it was down or 
up). Besides, sometimes, the different tuning can give a song an entirely 
different feel. D&C at the O2 had a deep, heavy, Sabbath-like drone to it. Rush 
has doen the same for 2112 live for the past decade or so and it's taken on a 
deep, rich, "badass Les Paul" sound on the guitar (reminiscent of Whole Lotta 
Love) instead of the clanging, ringing sound it had in its original key. 

Bottom line, downtuned Zeppelin is better than everything else out there and 
certainly better than no Zeppelin at all!!! It isn't just that they were better 
than everyone else out there, it's how much better they were than whoever it is 
that was number two :).

As for the whole notion that LZ at the O2 was "too heavy" for Plant, first of 
all, the press is taking the statement out of context. The way they're throwing 
it into headlines, it looks as if Plant is complaining that LZ music was too 
heavy for him to sing whereas I think his exact quote suggests the whole 
experience was emotionally "too heavy" as in too intense, etc. Of course, the 
comment about "examining one's own mortality" could be taken on several levels 
but basically, I combine it with the comment he made just before Kashmir about 
the 51st state, and not being able to believe that someone would come all that 
way to see them "at this late age." Everything points to Plant seeing himself 
as being "too old" to play Led Zeppelin IN Led Zeppelin.

One can accept this as a valid point, and maybe it is to some extent (How 
credible is a >60 yr-old singing about getting his lemon squeezed, every inch 
of his love, etc.?). On the other hand, the whole notion of Led Zeppelin circa 
2007 at the O2 being too taxing physically compared to either the Krauss tour 
or the BOJ tour is hard to believe. Plant's vocals seem no more strained on the 
O2 recordings out there than on any of the subsequent shows from his last two 
tours. In fact, listening to some of the new BoJ takes on LZ tunes, while 
instrumentally some of them sound neutered and just downright silly, the vocals 
sound quite strong. If Led Zeppelin were backing him up on these, they'd sound 
fine.

So I call bogus on the whole notion that he just can't keep up with a LZ tour. 
As I wrote before, if it were done right, paced with an acoustic set, breaks 
for a couple of instrumental jams (which Page, Jones and Bonham would relish), 
etc., it could have worked. 

I think the REAL truth is that Robert Plant has always seemed a bit 
embarrassed, ashamed, uncomfortable with the whole persona he sees himself as 
having been in Led Zeppelin (and one he sort of slipped into at times in 
interviews prior to the O2). I half expect him to start apologizing for it the 
same way he says he's "sorry" for his 1980's solo career (a statement I find 
almost offensive since I see that period as the one time post-LZ that he truly 
was EVER ONWARD and his entire post Page/Plant solo career to be the one he 
should be apologizing for!). Just as he now talks about polishing the metal 
every now and then (also could be taken as a really arrogant, "I can pull 
Jimmy's strings anytime I want" dig), I recall his talking about having sent 
his snakeskin boots off in the post to Paul Rodgers back when the Firm started. 
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Robert Plant is ashamed of the whole "I am a 
Golden God" rocker thing and perhaps his remaking the songs and his image in a 
"hip" rootsy Americana way redeems him in his own eyes. The press and some fans 
certainly seem to be falling for it. I find it quite annoying when reviews 
praising the BoJ gigs are quoted by fans as critics who "get" what he's trying 
to do, which of course suggests that anyone who criticizes what Plant is doing 
is therefore unhip, not cool and just doesn't "get" it. What about those of us 
who do indeed "get it" but just don't f@#$king like it!? The other day when I 
first read his statements from the "too heavy" article I thought to myself, ok, 
he really sees himself as being way too old for LZ. Time for me as a fan to 
accept that reality and move on. It doesn't mean I will ever like what he's 
doing now! Perhaps I'll turn into one of those fans who liked what he used to 
do in that boy band oh so long ago but who doesn't follow him anymore. I really 
don't want to see him turn into Wilf Carter pining away with "squeeze my 
colostomy bag...."

- ----- Original Message -----
From: Glenn Saunders <mos6507@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sunday, August 8, 2010 21:28
Subject: Re: zeppelin-digest V12 #4192
To: zeppelin@xxxxxxxx

> "listen to Stairway when he tries to go up on 'here comes a lady 
> we all know'
> - - his voice breaks badly.  The downtuning of the 02 show 
> really gave him
> away."
> 
> Truth be told, after 1971 he rarely even went for those notes, 
> and the list of instances where Robert's voice breaks during the 
> Zep days is vast.  <snip>