CD Review: Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes, Live at the Greek

There was no Robert Plant exuberantly belting out lyrics, no mammoth barrage of drums by John Bonham and no John Paul Jones masterfully plucking his bass guitar. The magic that Led Zeppelin used to captivate audiences for decades certainly wasn’t present in full, but something special was going on, and it wasn’t just Jimmy Page alone fascinating people with his ferociously powerful guitar licks.

Page, along with Chris Robinson and the Black Crowes, tore up the stage, keeping the audience drawn deeply into the performance until the last note of the encore. Closing your eyes, it was possible to imagine Plant standing in the place of Robinson, bellowing out the lyrics to “Whole Lotta Love” as Page moved his fingers up and down the neck of the guitar. Seemingly inspired by the young and talented Crowes, Page was able to conjure up the energy to play as he did alongside the rest of Led Zeppelin 20 years ago. Likewise, in the presence of greatness, the Crowes simply rocked.

The fruits of their labor manifest themselves in the album, Live at the Greek, recorded in Los Angeles, which features a 19-song collection of Led Zeppelin and blues songs. Throughout the album, Page trades licks with the Crowes guitarists and the rest of the band backs him masterfully. From the opening note of “Celebration Day,” one can tell that the combination of the Black Crowes and Jimmy Page is one that was meant to be, and they blaze through the rest of the songs without missing a beat. They deliver a number of memorable performances throughout the album, flawlessly covering a wide variety of Led Zeppelin songs from “Hey, Hey What Can I Do?” to “What Is And Should Never Be,” as well as outstanding blues covers and some exciting jams.

The enthusiasm Crowes have for going toe-to-toe with the legendary Page comes through on the recording. This, along with Page’s still incomparable guitar playing, makes Live At The Greek an unbelievable album.