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Home » John Paul Jones

Irving Plaza, New York, NY

28 March 2000 2,037 views No Comment

What a difference five months can make. JPJ and his “orchestra” returned to New York City on March 28 and proceeded to launch a full frontal assault on the gathered faithful, turning in a riveting performance that even tighter and more powerful than the great show they put on back in October of last year.
Ticket sales were extremely slow in the days leading up to the proceedings, but a strong walk-up crowd ensured a packed house and a raucous greeting for JPJ and his band (Nick Beggs on Chapman Stick and Terl Bryant on drums).
From the outset, it was apparent that this outfit now has many gigs under their belts and have developed an amazing synchronicity as a result. Everything appeared more confident, loose and animated. Even the man of the hour was in better form, manhandling multi-stringed basses with ease and shifting effortlessly from bass to keyboards to pedal steel bass, sometimes in the course of the same song! And who can deny the ambiance provided by a spinning mirror ball? Nice touch, JPJ. Reminded me of Zeppelin deploying one during the ascending riff in Kashmir at the show I was fortunate enough to attend as young shaver back in ’77.
Others can discuss the set list and the evening’s highlights at length – this reviewer was literally bowled over by the renditions of NFBM and Levee. But what was most apparent as the evening went on was how much JPJ has moved on from his days in Zep. He’s now quite simply in a different league from the one inhabited by Robert and Jimmy. Unlike those two, this consummate musician has aged gracefully and lost absolutely NOTHING in terms of dexterity and chops. If anything, he’s even BETTER now than he was back in the old days.
His show rocked, mesmerized and literally blew away nearly everyone who was fortunate enough to witness a true virtuoso in action. The only downside to the evening was an obnoxious few who insisted on talking and whistling throughout the ENTIRE show. It never ceases to amaze me how a classy cat like JPJ (and P/P) can attract the unwashed, trailer park, white trash crowd in such masses, ignorant yahoos who seem more intent on getting drunk and stoned than enjoying the music.
William McCue
Somebody screamed “JIMMY WHO?” right in the middle of a wailing bass lap steel solo in John Paul Jones’ second NY show in the past six months. The song was Nosumi Blues, and if anyone had told me a year ago that I’d be watching the ageless Jones demonstrating his mastery on an instrument I barely knew he played, I wouldn’t have believed them. It seems that the whole Zooma project is about changing preconceptions of what the “quiet” ex-member of Led Zeppelin could be up to as a solo act.
This show was longer, stronger and tighter than the one in October. More dynamic, and more interplay with Nick Beggs and Terl Bryant. Better sound too. All the Zooma stuff smoked, B. Fingers in particular, with Beggs screaming away on the Stick. Bryant has gotten more confident too. You gotta love a guy who uses a gong for a ride cymbal. JPJ has settled into his role as MC and front man. He’s very funny and genuinely appreciative of his audience. For the That’s The Way tease before GtC he stepped up to the mike and acted like he was going to sing. He stopped playing and said “You didn’t think I was going to sing, did you?” He joked about his bottle of Evian, saying “It’s a man’s drink!” while gesturing in manly way.
Big difference in the crowd from October. They were ready for the Zooma material and the audience participation in the Zep numbers was intense, the singalongs bringing a big grin to Jonesy’s face. For me, high point of the show was the pummeling of Nobody’s Fault But Mine, closely followed by the three-neck piece, B. Fingers, Going to California and Steel Away featuring the first and only mandolin blues solo this reviewer has ever heard.
With just a mandolin, JPJ made Going to Calfornia work. He hinted at the melody line and did some of the same licks he did with Zep, only better. All by itself this song illustrated how stupid it was for Page & Plant to ignore him for strictly political reasons back in 1994.
The encores were somewhat anti-climactic. Not bad or a waste of time by any means, just not quite as intense as the rest of the show. A blonde woman got up onstage during Trampled Underfoot, earning a head shake and rolling of the eyes from Jones. Like Jeff Beck, JPJ just gets better and ballsier with age. If you’re within striking distance of his last three gigs in Pasadena (Maryland), Montreal, and Toronto and you aren’t sure it’s worth it, GO! You will be glad you did.

Dave Anderson

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