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I made some notes last Thursday while listening to the audio tracks from Led Zeppelin's performance on the Celebration Day CD.

A bit of anxious applause, plus a four count from Jason Bonham and we're off! From the first unison chug from guitar and bass, they're playing in a different. It makes the song that much more heavy sounding, yet that, combined with the tempo a tad slower, makes it feel a tad bit dragging. The mini bass solos could be up a little higher in the mix, they're barely audible. Jason Bonham adds in some backup vocals that were originally done by Robert in the studio. Jimmy Page's lead channel has a bit of chorus/phasing in it that is odd. I want to compare this to the original studio track, not to say that it was done by the same band 39 years later. I love the ending of the song. Perhaps that is how it was ended in 1968 on the first Scandinavian tour as The (New) Yardbirds.

......and now we segue into Ramble On. It sounds as if Page has that lead channel on again. The bass needs to be up more to hear that beautiful run. I can barely hear the squeakiness of the bass strings against the frets. Some good chorus on the bass though. Jason's rim and tom-tom shots take me back to the studio cut with the percussive hits on a guitar case or whatever it was. The band is on fire when the first chorus kicks in. Robert is hesitating from adding in random vocals in the outro chorus. Similar ending to the song as in the Page/Plant 1995-1998 tours.

Black Dog kicks the show into a higher gear. The first two songs were very safe, if not a tad reserved. The arrangement of Black Dog allows for a tad bit of spontaneity. If the band gets out of sync in BD, it'll be a disaster. Robert comes the off-tempo delivery of the lyrics. Very lounge singer-ish. Riff #3, the "Hey baby, oh baby" section is BAD ASS! For the first 3 songs, they've tuned down a few step, assumedly to accomodate for Robert's mature vocal chords. Sometimes, it is to their advantage to tune down more from the studio cut or from previous live versions. The ending is very familiar, very 1973 US Tour sounding. And we get our first bit of chatter in-between songs, a “Good evening!”

The guitar sound is lacking a bit of ball-grabbing bite from the 1975 versions. Perhaps it’s because he is not using the Danelectro. Who knows. The overall feel of the song, however, is very good, very spot on. John Paul Jones was obviously having fun on this song, playing some great bass runs, straying from earlier live arrangements. Very simple ending to the song.

With a quick (edited) intro, For Your Life gets it’s first public performance ever. Although originally played on the Fender Strat Lake Placid Blue guitar, Jimmy Page has a great time with trem bar dives on his new Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty. Led Zeppelin takes no prisoners in attacking this song and they benefit from clear minds, limber fingers and 21st century technology. It sounds absolutely magnificent.

This track starts with a cut intro from Robert Plant, describing the song’s original title, “Terraplane Blues”. I love all of these songs that John Paul Jones plays on keyboards because he has had the original keyboards sampled onto his Korg Oasys & everything sounds so clear and crisp, without the tragedy of those old instruments being on a long tour and having needed to be tuned every night or maintained. With that being said, this sounds right out of a 1975 tour. Jones is having a great time with that funky, groovy sound of the Clavinet and Jimmy adds in some great wah’ed licks. It also contains the first appearance of the Digitech WH-1 Whammy Pedal, which he uses to recreate slides. Robert seems to deliver the lyrics off tempo again, which is either because he’s out of breath or can’t read the lyrics from the teleprompter. Let’s hope that it is not a stylized choice. Trampled Underfoot fizzles out rather uneventfully, rather dissimilarly than older incarnations.

Nothing wrong can be said about NBFM. #1 is tuned perfectly and those full E chords ring out into the core of my soul. Instead of doubling up the guitar part an octave higher in certain sections, he’s also employing the Digitech Whammy pedal to sound a single guitar one octave up. You can plainly hear him rock that pedal back down to the normal guitar tone. There has obviously been a lot of rehearsal done with this song. In some of the 1977 dates, you can hear them almost get lost in the song. This time around, there is none of that. The rhythm track underneath the guitar solo has a new arrangement, with the 10-string bass cutting out, rather similar to the 1977 arrangement at the end of Stairway To Heaven. In any event, it’s something new to take note of. I absolutely love the bite and attack that the Manson 8-string bass has. The Becvar 8-string lacked the low end tone. Robert Plant played some great processed harmonica as good as he ever has. What a nice treat!

No sooner had No Quarter began then did my arm hairs stand up. The sound of the Fender Rhodes plus the Maestro Phase Shifter is the ultimate trip that Robert Plant had once described as being able to take you into the subconscious. Just like in The Song Remains The Same, you get the sub-bass tones of a good set of foot pedals that got somewhat lost in 1975-1979. Unlike in 1977-79, Jones does not take a break in switching from Fender Rhodes to piano for his solo, which should have gone on a lot longer!! Jones plays it safe and seems to stay in the same key as the main theme of the song, creating a feeling similar to the outro keyboard solo in the Them Crooked Vultures song “Spinning In Daffodils”. The guitar solo was very similar to the studio version and a definitely shorter version than in the past, still dripping in wah-wah. Robert’s voice is beginning to show some signs of giving out in the outro part of the song. The song ends nicely with some piano by John Paul Jones.

SIBLY starts out with with a Page/Plant-style guitar intro. Guitar bass pedals. Robert comes in very reserved with his vocals. Although, there is a lot of emotion shown, this song is a bit of a lullaby. Nothing too significant in this version.

Perhaps it is just me, but I’m a little disappointed in the songs that were played in a lower key. I’m waiting to hear the descending bass line played with certain tones and it’s different. Same thing with the harmonics. It’s just off. But, what can you do, it’s Dazed And Confused. They had been playing it for 39 years. I wish that the whole song would have been longer. The bow section was just starting to get interesting when it ended. From that point on, DAC was a bit of a wreck. From Jason’s odd drumbeat to missed cues and everything in-between. It’s too bad. I liked how Jimmy ended the last section giving the wah pedal a workout. Very trippy.

STH begins quite quiet, very similar to those early performance in the spring of 1971. Jimmy employs a guitar arrangement that is very similar to the original studio cut. John Paul’s keyboards are pretty sedated, however Robert’s vocals show more emotion than I thought that they would. Despite having last sang it in 1994 and reported not feeling the same way about it anymore, it’s quite good. I could just go to heaven now. The rest of the song is like no other. Plus the ending lyrics had some audience singing along plus the natural reverb of the arena piped in. They, indeed, did it!

Jason showing some great drumming skills in this. Bonzo hopefully was quite proud. As usual, John Paul was all over the fretboard, providing a rousing layer of lead bass. I’ve never thought that the guitar part was all that extraordinary and this performance was nothing new. It wasn’t bad playing. It just WAS.

Ahhh, a fallback song. An easy one for them to play. It’s quite safe. I’m riding the rails on whether I liked Jason’s backup vocals or whether I preferred some 1970s Eventide Harmonizer vocal doubling. Eh.

Immediately, the mood for the song has been set with the bass pedals and keyboard strings. I’m glad that they made a little bit more of a presence than the DVD mix. The band seems very confident in their playing and this is loud and proud. There is a lot going on in this song, yet it doesn’t distract. I love the MXR phasing in the guitar and the Digitech wah slides. It’s the icing on this delicious cake. I love the tone of the MiniKorg “brass” tones. It sounds a lot like the keyboard from Page/Plant’s “Most High”, plus Plant’s afro-arabic tonal stylings of the lyrics. The apex of my life has been pinpointed to when the outro of Kashmir begins, the ascending guitar/bass line. When the guitar kicks in (albeit it was a messup that Page came in late), the gnarly growl of that guitar tone was so nasty, it was the perfect bit to end this song. It is quite emotional for me to listen to it.

WLL comes in like a lion until Robert messes the lyrics up. You might possibly think that after as many times as Robert has sang the song, he’d get it right. No worries. Moving on to the middle section, we start off with a Page/Plant arrangement with Page messeing around with the AxCent tunings in the guitar then moving over to the theremin while Plant adds in his call-and-effect vocals. Unfortunately, for this release, a bit of the song has been cut out. It sounds like Page wanted to move into the one of the variations on the WLL main riff in the outro but the rest of the band didn’t want to pick it up. The song ended with a great classic live arrangement.

What a rather standard performance. The song has a fairly defined footprint to it, so it was easy to get through. The only thing was that it was performed a full step down and just sounded different. It was the expected encore song to play, but a rousing version nonetheless.

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