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The Song Remains an overture…

19 July 2007 2,017 views No Comment

If there was to be a reunion – and that’s a mighty big if (and these latest rumours are probably just that and I’m as much in the dark as anyone), if I were to speculate on an appropriate set opener in my opinion there can only be one contender and that would have to be The Song Remains the Same.

As good as the likes of We’re Gonna Groove, Immigrant Song and Rock And Roll were in that hallowed position, for me nothing set the agenda more effectively at the onset of a Led Zeppelin show better than The Song Remains The Same.

Even before it was elevated to that status for their 1977 tour, it was always a stellar performance. From it’s introduction in Japan six months before it appeared on Houses Of The Holy, it was evident this was a track that brought the best out in all four. From Jimmy’s 18 string onslaught on the double neck, Bonzo’s free fall percussion, Jonesy’s strident bass (heard to incredible effect on the Alembic eight stringer in 77/79 and a vivid reminder of his prowess on this instrument) and Robert’s flowing lyrics with all the ad-libs to match (‘’And it keeps on growing’’…‘’Push push come on…’’), well this one has everything.
In 1973 it of course inspired the title of their film with the accompanying performance being one of the highlights of the Madison Square Garden footage, while in Earls Court it was the opportunity to Plant to relay the stories of their travels.
Once it was moved to the forefront in 1977 it became the true standard bearer of the set – the one that pushed it’s chest out and said ‘’We’re back‘’
Two years later it was the first rallying call out in that field at Knebworth … listen for the emotional cheers on that August 4 date when Robert utters the first lines ‘’I had a dream’’.

Nearly 35 years on from it’s first performance it more than lives up to it’s work in progress title of The Overture.

The Song Remains The Same is indeed their overture – play any version from the sparkling studio creation through to any of the above in concert examples, and remind yourself of a track that in recent years has grown in stature to become one of the most vital and endearing extracts from their entire catalogue.

The aforementioned Song Remains (Aug 4 ‘79 version) has formulated part of the DL summer iPod playlist that has provided inspiration during the depressing weather of this summer. Alongside selections from Trees reissued 70’s folk rock classic On The Shore, David Crosby’s The Lee Shore (that’s the closest I’ll get to seeing the sea this year!), Oasis Stay Young, Jimi Hendrix Gypsy Eyes, Robert’s Freedom Fries, Rod’s Maggie May (one of the only highlight of the Diana Concert) Zep Ten Years Gone live Cleveland ’77 and a fair few other Zeppelin 77 delights, tracks from the Stones Black And Blue and The Travelling Wilbury’s much welcomed reissue.
On TV I endured the Diana and Live Earth Wembley Stadium concerts -I‘m always a bit of a sucker for these live as they happen marathons -in amongst some very average performances on the latter I surprisingly enjoyed the Foo Fighters performance and thought Madonna was sensational.
In amongst all that and the usual work stuff, it’s been full steam ahead completing the next issue of Tight But Loose which will be out late summer -if of course there is such a thing here!

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