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Home » John Paul Jones

Palace Theatre, New Haven, CT

9 December 2001 2,185 views No Comment

SETLIST: Zooma, Leafy Meadows, Smile of Your Shadow, That’s the Way, Blues Jam > Steel Away*, When the Levee Breaks, Band Introductions, B Fingers, Freedom Song, Hoediddle, Tidal. Encore: Black Dog**
* – Jones began on mandolin in a SIBLY-type jam then moved to lap steel for “Steel Away” which had distinct clips of “You Shook Me”.
** – “In My Time of Dying” tease at the beginning & “Whole Lotta Love” drum break at the end (small tease by Terl!)

Having missed both of Jones’ previous New England swings due to circumstances beyond my control (of course), there was no way I would miss him this go around! My first impressions have been colored by listening to shows from previous tours, and absorbing the at-large sentiment that Jones looks and plays like a much younger man, but the previous knowledge didn’t diminsh my excitement!
“Zooma” is still a superb choice for an opener, because anyone in the audience who hadn’t yet had the pleasure of JPJ solo gets the idea quickly. The rest of the Zooma tracks were terrific, as expected. “Tidal” was particularly intense and it seemed as if the band had an especially good time playing it. The Thunderthief material was the principal attraction for me, and the appearance of “Leafy Meadows” was the first solid indication that Jones is too seasoned for a sophmore jinx – a great new track. “Hoediddle” was great as well. Both songs build upon the Zooma sound, while still seeming fresh. “Hoediddle” sticks out more so due to the excellent use of the electric mandolin and the delay effects. The third Thundertheif cut, “Freedom Song” is a rollicking solo ukulele performance that is quite tricky vocally! JPJ doesn’t have the widest vocal range, but he is still very melodic. I thought his tone sounded a bit like Bert Jansch on this tune!
On “That’s the Way”, Jones showed vocal promise too. His cadence is entirely different than Robert’s, at first giving the illusion that he is nervous, which he may very well be anyway! Nevertheless, he continues to emphasize the lyrics in this fashion – which is not at all unpleasant, but hard to explain – almost how Van Morrison might sing the piece… The rest of the Zep numbers were great, and were expectedly the most well received. Jones pandered to the crowd during Black Dog to sing the “Ah’s”… sadly, most did not deliver. Black Dog was actually my least favorite of the Zep tunes, because as much as it still rocks, its instrumental monotony doesn’t lend as well to a vocal-less performance. The “In My Time of Dying” tease was a pleasant nod, and Terl threw in the post Theramin drum break from “Whole Lotta Love” to end the song.
A word or two on the scene… The Palace is a great place to see a show, because I don’t think there’s a bad seat in the place. I thought the sound was very good, certainly very loud! Terl’s hi-hats could’ve been a little louder, but this was a miniscule detail in an otherwise very nice mix. It was nice to be one of the younger fans in a crowd (made up apparently of those between 30 and 50) and to have a quiet and attentive audience. It was also nice to sit down and watch a show for the first time in way way too long. There were certianly moments where I felt like standing and even boogieing, but out of respect to those behind me, and to fully cherish the sit down show, I didn’t. There was a group quite taken with Hugh, and calling attention to him, and themselves everytime he arrived at stage left, which was amusing. Not amusing were the pathetic attempts from various audience members to clap during “Freedom Song” which is too quiet for audience percussion, despite it’s clap-inviting beat. The problem was that the melody rolls over once or twice a verse causing the clapper’s to lose confidence, and fade out, or at best (worst) wait for the next verse. For those concerned, the beat really isn’t that tricky to clap with.
All in all, it was a great performance. The setlist was a nice combination of material and Jones and the band seemed to be having a good time, even joking about the rest of the “orchestra” behind the curtains and Hugh Manson’s shrinking of the guitar. The only regret of the evening was not seeking out JPJ after the show… I was determined, especially after reading reviews, to watch and appreciate King Crimson. However, I couldn’t get into it – which was disheartening being a lover of quite a bit of strange music. I do really enjoy Crimson’s early stuff, but the show naturally bore little resemblance some 30 years later. Jonesy made the whole affair worth it though – here’s looking foward to a headlining tour this spring! Kris

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