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Home » John Paul Jones

Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland

10 August 2004 2,431 views No Comment

This from R.Brake
On Tuesday night, August 10, I attended the JPJ/MAS concert at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio. As previously mentioned by other reviewers, the band strode onto the stage quietly, but were greeted by thunderous applause. There had been no opening act.

It seems like the set probably varies little each evening. Jones stayed toward the back all night, with occasional forays …ahem…in the light… On “Anthony”, a number performed with Sara Watkins on ukulele, Jones sang back-up with Sean Watkins, Chris Thile, and Glen Phillips. He took a few bass solos throughout the evening, and his interaction with drummer Pete Thomas was good during the jams. Both Jones and Thomas continued to read from sheet music for the majority of the evening. The two Zeppelin songs were Going To California (with Jones on mandolin and Sean Watkins on acoustic guitar – no vocals) and Gallows Pole (full band, with Glen Phillips on vocals). GTC followed Chris Thile’s stunning rendition of a Bach composition on mandolin (I’d love to tell you which one exactly, but I’ll show my ignorance and lack of culture and admit I don’t really know). Gallows Pole was really quite enjoyable. I never experienced the Page/Plant version in person, so I can’t compare. Obviously the vocals didn’t compare, but there was a good deal of emotion in the performance, and it gave the standard Zeppelin-induced goosebumps.

Notable quotes from JPJ: when the rest of the band was taking a little too much time talking about the last song and introducing the next, John Paul stepped up to his mic, glancing from one bandmate to the next and said, “Will you shut up and get on with it?”, tongue firmly in cheek. This brought a great deal of laughter from the band and the crowd. Then Sara and Glen started talking about how before John and Pete joined the tour that they would have three hour shows, “Just us up here talking”. [Kind of like 5/24/75 Earls Court Robert Plant: “…the talking shows we’ll do in the Fall…”] After a minute of this, looking at each of them in turn as he listened, Jones got back up to the microphone and said, “What did I just say? Amazing! …And I thought Robert talked a lot.”

During one of the final songs, the whole band joined in a fast-paced jam. At one point, the band paused and Jones broke into Immigrant Song. Sara Watkins approached the microphone with a couple “Ahh-ahhh-aaahhh”s and then the band went back into the jam. The whole Immigrant Song section probably only lasted about 20 seconds, but I have to say it was pretty cool nonetheless.

Interestingly, Nickel Creek fans dominated the front, where I stood in the second row, on JPJ’s side (it was a small club, probably packed with five hundred people or so, standing room only). Only after the show did I see a significant gathering of Zeppelin fans, most toting a massive collection of memorabilia. One guy I saw had the first and second albums as well as BBC sessions on vinyl, in addition to the official DVD and was hoping to get them all autographed. It seemed just a bit unrealistic, and even a bit greedy. John Paul’s “handler” probably disappointed the crowd when he made it known that only one item per person would be signed. Even though I had met Jonesy before (11/30/01), I was still overcome with a fit of “moron-itis”. I could do little more than shake his hand and repeat “thank you” over and over, and grin – quite stupidly, I’m sure. I wanted to ask about the mythical title track that had supposedly been cut for How The West Was Won, when he thought his next album might be out, or when he might tour again. However, I did none of those things. Instead, I timidly held up my copy of The Thunderthief. Jones said, “Ah, now there’s something sure to get my attention” and as he signed, he saw my shirt from his last tour (which I was wearing because the one I got in 1999 has faded to the extreme). He nodded and noted, “and the shirt as well, very nice.” I continued to grin like an overmedicated mental patient and repeated my refrain of gratitude. I think I managed to mumble something about really enjoying his album and saying I had really enjoyed the night’s show. As I rolled out of the parking lot with the Zeppelin stickers in my front and rear windows, I blasted “Daphne” from Thunderthief with the windows rolled down.

I should mention that was an interesting experience to leave a concert and still be able to hear perfectly well. It was a nice change of pace.

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