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Home » John Paul Jones

Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA

11 December 2001 2,227 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 (Copied above from the Palace Theatre, New Haven, CT 9th December setlist.)

Concert was similar to other reviews. JPJ was really enjoying himself. Nick Beggs came in 1 measure too early on Zooma; JPJ kept playing for another refrain then nodded to Nick, who sheepishly started the solo over. I thought the new material sounded excellent, it really builds on where Zooma left off and (like the old Zep days) moves the musical feel in a different direction. I can’t wait to get it.
The Zep songs were very well performed and reviewed. The slide guitar had a tendency to fade out very quickly on some very subtle intonations, then come roaring back with some wicked playing by JPJ. What a talented musician! He moved from 6 string bass to 8 string mandolin to ukulele to 4 string bass to 4 string mandolin with ease.
Side note: Although I’d love to see “the boys” get back together, the possibility seems more and more remote. Page is caught up in his glory days past with Zep; Plant wants to recapture the simplicity and innocence of his pre-Zep days; only JPJ has grown away from the trappings of the past. I’d love to hear JPJ and Page trade licks, though (JPJ lap slide guitar to JP’s Les Paul)! What wonderful music they could make together!
After JPJ’s set, my friend Jeff Girardo and I went around to the side of the venue to wait for the chance to meet JPJ and possibly get a few items autographed and pictures taken. There was only 3 other people waiting, which swelled to a total of maybe 10 when JPJ eventually came out. The roadies were packing up the gear and wheeling it to JPJ’s bus, which has a small trailer hitched to the back. One large black case had “Led Zeppelin” stenciled on the side. Hey- if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? (side note: I saw JPJ in New York on his “Zooma” tour, and some equipment still had his symbol from Zep 4 on it.) What stories that case must have! After many trips to the trailer & bus, finally all of the gear was packed (about 30-45 minutes). Nick Beggs came out first, and we told him the usual: great show, killer instrument (that Chapman stick is unbelievable), etc. Someone asked when JPJ was coming out. “A few more minutes”, he said. Nick was polite, but didn’t stick around. However, people weren’t bowling him over for autograph requests, either.
A few minutes later, JPJ was spotted coming out of the back of the Tower and walking up the alley toward us. I finally got my pen to work (near disaster!) and JPJ rounded the corner, and looked surprised to see about 10 people waiting for him. “Oh, hello”, he said. People were very polite, and didn’t crowd him in. He signed some stuff (2 people had a stack of Zep albums to sign; slight frown, but he went to work). He was starting to talk a little in response to questions when one knucklehead asked if he was getting together with the other two soon. “No”, he crisply replied. HINT: don’t ask anything that stupid, as he seemed to clam up a little at that point and start making his way to the bus. I got 2 items signed, asked some questions throughout the process, shook his hand twice, and thanked him for the great music and show. I was a little tongue-tied, but he had a great attitude. My camera didn’t work, unfortunately (actual disaster!). I’ll never leave the house again without checking it!! Question: Was that an electric ukulele in the song after Freedom Song (Hoediddle)? Answer: “No”, with a funny look. “It was an electric four string mandolin”.
Q: Will you be touring again in support of the new album after it’s released? Like in Feb-March? A: “Yes, but more like April-May”.
I thanked him again for the great music and enjoyable show, and he seemed genuinely pleased by my comments. His road manager was with him (I couldn’t tell if it was Hugh Manson or not: when he was introduced during the set, I couldn’t really see him. This guy was an oldish chap, shorter than JPJ, wiry build, short hair except for a small braided ponytail, glasses) and he also thanked me as I was walking away. It’s probably refreshing to have someone appreciate his current music rather than always commenting on the past.
TO JOHN PAUL JONES: Thanks for keeping it real. Please continue making exciting music and touring, and we will keep supporting you.
Dan Shields
This was absolutely one of the most mesmerizing performances I have ever witnessed. Jonesy was on fire and so was the orchestra. As in all the other reviews I’ve read, they came on precisely at 8:00 PM, played for nearly exactly one hour (the same set list as all the other shows) and exited for a few minutes to a standing ovation and wild applause before returning for the Black Dog (with In My Time of Dying intro) encore. Again, for the fashion plates – All black for Jonesy, a black kilt and white top for Nick Beggs, and I didn’t really pay attention to Terl’s outfit.
The highlights are almost too numerous to mention. I don’t ever want to read again that Jones is no Plant. Of course he’s not but his voice and delivery were every bit as enjoyable and probably topped the No Quarter version. This is a man who’s done some serious vocal exercise since those late 70’s versions of Battle of Evermore. The overall arrangement on That’s The Way was brilliant. The new material from Thunderthief proves beyond a doubt that Jones has continued to grow with time. I’ll go ahead and say what I think a lot of us out there are thinking but are not willing to say out loud. John Paul Jones has greatly outstripped his former band mates in terms of technical prowess and musical knowledge and ability. I saw him play blues licks on a 4 string electric mandolin that, as much as I love and idolize Jimmy Page, would never have come out as clean and articulated from Jimmy on his favorite Les Paul. He may never achieve the fanatic acceptance or the wider recognition that Jimmy and Robert have, but from a purely musical point of view he’s way over the top.
The blues licks, by the way, were during a song that several people have claimed to be Since I’ve Been Loving You. I believe that I heard references to that song as well as to You Shook Me and I Can’t Quit You Baby. It seemed to be an amalgamation of those three songs within a loose blues jam. When Jones switched to the Lap Steel Bass in the middle of it the intensity shot up another notch. Freedom Song was a fun little number that I could have lived without if it was replaced with another heavy groove song like B. Fingers. If you saw Jones on his last tour, the Zooma tracks, Black Dog, and When the Levee Breaks were every bit as good as the last time.
Well, now for the non-performance goodies. Jones was very gracious and in a good mood onstage. As always, he seemed overwhelmed and truly grateful for the appreciation we showed him. A few minutes into the set, two guys sat next to me and my girlfriend. Interspersed between comments about Jones being responsible for all that was good in Zep, they kept commenting about the “HOT CHICK PLAYING GUITAR”. One of them said “I wonder who the guitar player is” and the other one came back with “I’D LIKE TO FIND OUT HUH HUH HUH” I could almost hear the winks and nudges. Anyway, they were getting so obnoxious (the one next to me must have thought he had purchased half of my seat too) that I was just dying to tell them that it was a Chapman Stick being played by a guy but I held off. I was glad I did because the payoff came when Jonesy introduced the orchestra. The guy next to me got up to go to the bathroom but the other guy stayed. When Jones introduced Terl, the guy applauded and looked pretty happy. When Jones said “on Chapman Stick, Mr. Nick Beggs” I saw the man’s jaw drop, face tense up, and his body shrink into the seat. It was priceless. When the other guy came back, I heard the guy that stayed say “Hey, that hot chick playing guitar, It’s a guy! Yeah, I swear, he said his name was Mr. Nick something!!” I laughed out loud at the two of them. The rest of the performance they were much more subdued and kept saying they couldn’t believe it was a guy.
After Jones was done, we stuck around for a few King Crimson songs (I honestly couldn’t tell you if it was two or three) and decided to leave. We tried to keep an open mind and stick in there but it was too much. We left the Tower and started to head for the car when I suggested we check to see if he was outside signing autographs. We came to an alley and saw a small crowd gathered. I looked down the alley and there he was. After a few minutes, he came up the alley, looked at us, and said “Look at all these people.” With that, people approached him one at a time for autographs. Again, Jones was very gracious and spoke to us as he went. Unfortunately, after a little while one of the less sober guys there started to visibly annoy him with questions like “Are you planning on doing any shows with the other guys?” to which Jones replied “No.” ‘Nough said there.
Several people brought stacks of old Zeppelin albums and that also seemed to wear thin after a while. I showed him the J-Card from my Scream for Help soundtrack cassette and asked “When was the last time you saw this?” He looked at it, said “Wow, cassette tape.” and then signed it. I told him it was an excellent show, he shook my hand and said thank you and handed me back the J-card. Someone else handed him their ticket stub and he said “I’ll sign it on the back since it has King Crimson on the front, oh there’s not much room here. Bigger tickets next tour!” After a few more minutes, Jones, who looked like he was a little too cold for his liking, started to walk away but still stopped to talk or sign things on his way.
Nick Markellos 

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