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Guvernment, Toronto

2 April 2000 2,181 views No Comment


Wow, what a time. In fact, I’m still recovering. This was undoubtedly the best show I have ever attended. Travelling from Ottawa alone, I was fortunate to hook up with some really cool Zep fans and be front and centre throughout the entire show. About a metre away from a member of the greatest band of all time! Regarding the show, what a gutsy performance to end the tour. To anyone who never saw any of the shows on this leg, this three-man band is incredible–dare I saw Jimmy and Mr. Plant couldn’t have kept the pace Jonesy and co. set on Sunday night. I can’t believe how “heavy” the performance was – tight but loose revisited!
Hearing the entire Zooma track list on stage gave me a new appreciation for the material. Standouts were definitely BASS ‘N’ DRUMS, extended with HEARTBREAKER and excellent playing by Jones. I heard the phrase “how is that possible?” after this number. Plus, I’ll never forget Jonesy beginning the bass riff of ZOOMA to start the show – what a groove! Also have to mention NOSUMI BLUES, or any song that gave us a display of Jonesy’s mastery of the lap steel. What a crowd pleaser!
Nice to hear the two tracks from Scream for Help, in particular SPAGHETTI JUNCTION. The three unreleased tracks, the TRIPLE NECK SOLO (throughout which Jonesy was apparantly displeased with his performance), STEEL AWAY (a blues solo with a mandolin – can anyone else pull this off?), and JUMP BLUES (simply awesome and very fast-paced), had us shaking our heads in awe of the sheer fun that Jones, Beggs, and Bryant were having on stage. A damn rare thing to witness these days. Cool moment: Jones flashing us the back of his triple neck to display his “symbol” with the “JPJ” logo inside. Can it get any better?
As for the Zep tunes, I can’t begin to describe how good it was to see JONES play the keyboards on NO QUARTER. More than a few of us still haven’t forgiven two people for naming their first CD by this name and playing it “70s style” with another keyboardist, but that’s another story. If anybody heard someone yelling out for “The Nutrocker”, it was me!!!! Ah well, it was worth a try. And, if GOING TO CALIFORNIA wasn’t enough (Note: Jonesy made a special trip into Toronto on Friday night to be a guest on The MIke Bullard Show, Canada’s late night talk show. Apart from conducting himself very professionally, he was shown some photos from The Rockpile in 1969, the very building that houses the show’s studio at present, and was presuaded to give an abbreviated performance of GOING TO CALIFORNIA – made me that much more excited about the pending show two nights later!!!!!). The first set finished with NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE, and it’s good thing: the group I was with needed time to recover after this one, myself included, it was that kind of performance. We were speechless! Words can’t describe this version of the song, so I’ll just say it was double the speed of the original, pure musicianship all the way, and finally just try to imagine the electric atmosphere throughout! Staggering – Jonesy has definitely added to the “Zep legacy” with this rendition! You have to feel for any drummer faced with the challenge of drumming on the song we know as WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS. Given Bonzo’s distinction as owner of the greatest drum beat of all time for this tune, Bryant did us proud, and Beggs and Jonesy created an extremely HEAVY sound for the song. Another one that’s hard to describe. Let’s just say only a professional recording of this song from Sunday night would do it justice for a listener who wasn’t there in person. (Note: talk about irony – not long after I departed Toronto none other than Zep’s version of this tune was played on the radio. Awesome stuff).
Between the two encores, the crowd started a loud “Jonesy” chant, the man himself responding with his humble nature, of course. TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT pleased, to be sure, but it was BLACK DOG that had us all singing along, especially the “ah, ah…” parts. Jonesy drew the last “ahhhhhhhh” out REALLY long, so cool.
I shall never forget the end of the show. Little Jonesy with a bandmate on each side, each of them resting their head on his shoulder, bowing to the crowd. The cheers were deafening!!!! Cool to see Beggs to get down and do the “I worship you” gesture, and Jonesy telling him to stop. Then, to top it off, seeing Jonesy let out a final little leap with arms stretched high at centre stage with the look of sheer appreciation and awe over the ovation we in the crowd were giving him now that the tour had ended. Talk about a “Kodak moment”, images like those I’ve mentioned above are priceless, the performance itself notwithstanding. If I’m correct, I believe the John Paul Jones Orchestra (as he calls it) will now be going home to work on another studio release. Here’s one fan who can’t wait!

Ted Oliver 

The Toronto show at the Guvernment was to a larger crowd then at the Pittsburgh show. Even scalpers were trying to make money of the tickets. The turnout was an estimated 1,000 people as the room was packed. The crowd and the band were more into it as it was the final night of the tour. Bass ‘N’ Drums had longer tease features of Heartbreaker and How many More Times. There were some PA problems,( so you tape collectors do think and tapes of this show are marred by digi-noise), Jone’s steel guitar had some PA cracling noise problems at the start of Jump Blues and there were some high pitched squeeling problems, (not feedback) at the start of Trampled Underfoot. Aside from those minor problems the show was a great success and a great way and place for Jones to end his North American tour.

Grant Burgess

We enjoyed the show from the equivalent of the fourth row, right in front of Jonsey’s steel lap guitar. We had previously seen him in concert in Cleveland last October but found the Toronto show even more enjoyable, as the band seemed tighter and more improvisational. The addition of a beautiful GTC and the powerful NFBM were welcome. And to my recollection, Trampled and NQ did not seem as “cheesy” as during the Cleveland show. John was clearly having a great time on this last date of the tour and the 1000 fans on hand gave him a terrific response throughout the show. We waited outside of the club after the show with the hopes of getting an autograph. We kept our eyes on two exits, as we heard reports of John slipping out into a waiting car and avoiding the autograph seekers the night before in Montreal. But after 90 minutes, John came outside via a door near the main entrance to board the tour bus. The number of autograph seekers had dwindled to about 30 by that time so John patiently signed one item for each person and posed for photos. He was very gracious. Our patience was rewarded as I had my picture taken with him while shaking hands and he signed a print of picture taken of him during the Cleveland show. Jonsey signed a photo from a “Zooma” press kit for Paul. It was a memerable concert and evening, for sure!

Christopher Gust

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