Comment: Meet Alden Marin

A reader writes regarding Meet Alden Marin:

“Zeppelin’s first Southern California show was actually May 2, 1969 at the Rose Palace in Pasadena.”

I didn’t check Alden’s figures ;) (He mentions their ‘first’ show at the Anaheim Convention Center.)

However, although the Rose Palace show was before they hit Anaheim in August, the first US tour made it to the Whiskey A Go Go (go, Buffalo Springfield!) on January 2nd, so LA wins. In fact, my old home town San Diego beats both Pasadena and Anaheim; the boys played the Fox Theater (now Copley Symphony Hall, one of the finest classical venues on the planet) on January 13th. It was their sixth SoCal date (the first five being a five-day run at WAGG.)

Thanks for writing (and for reading!)

Meet Alden Marin

I’ve recently made the acquaintance of one Alden Marin, wine connoisseur and concert-goer extraordinaire. Alden had mentioned attending numerous Led Zeppelin concerts, so I recently asked him if he’d bought Zep’s brand new 3-disc live release.

His answer is classic Marin: bombast, hyperbole, and enthusiasm to match my own.

Yeah—When I heard it was the ’72 LA Forum concerts, I was so excited that I bought TWO copies, Joel!

HOW THE WEST WAS WON is a great disc—well recorded, fine song selection, good balance between heavy, hard rocking songs and sweet acoustic. The GOIN TO CALIFORNIA rendition is a tear jerker. They could make you stand up on your seat pumping your fist and screaming with ecstasy one song, and then make you cry the next.

I was at the ’72 shows at the Forum—as well as the 73 shows AND the legendary 7 nights at the Forum (breaking Neil Diamond’s run of 6 sold out nights there) in August of ’74. The ’74 shows at the Forum were really the apex of Zep’s career—they were simply amazing. We went opening and closing nights. People went berserk—and we had second row center seats, about 30 ft from the stage. My dad (who’s with Time, Inc in the magazine division) knew Jack Kent Cooke and he personally got us the seats.

Add to that, Jimmy and Robert were living in Malibu Colony that Summer—where we grew up—and we knew them a little. For the August 74 shows, Robert is wearing a shell necklace that my then 13 year old sister gave him.

One night, I think it was the final night of that ’74 tour, they played 3 encores with the FORUM HOUSE LIGHTS ON. They just loved LA like it was their own—they would not leave the stage and people were crying with joy, just anarchic—and the shows were the best rock and roll spectacles I have EVER seen. Pure power and precision and bombast and aggressiveness and gentleness as NO ONE ELSE IN ROCK could do. I think that was the last I saw them, ’74.

I went off the Stanford and got into Genesis and the Dead (who were great in concert too—have you ever heard their magnum opus EUROPE ’72? WHAT AN ALBUM—I was there for part of the show.)

ALSO FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE in 75/76. I was at BOTH of those shows in the FRONT ROW, Joel—Winterland AND the Marin Civic auditorium. I can hear my whistling and screams of encouragement to Peter through the entire classic record. I just knew HE was gonna make it. You should have been there, man, when the house lights dimmed at Winterland on that first night—and he roared into SOMETHINGS HAPPENING: Jerry Pompelli announces “WOULD YOU PLEASE WELCOME AN HONORARY MEMBER OF SAN FRANCISCO SOCIETY—MR. PETER FRAMPTON” and the place just ERUPTS. You can hear the pure magic on that song on FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE. Just ethereal.

I have actually thought that it was the piercing qualities of so much of MY OWN ambient whistling throughout the disc that might have helped him make it!! I am such an egotist…BUT ZEP was really peerless. WE EVEN SAW THEIR FIRST SHOW EVER IN SO. CAL—1969 at the ANAHEIM CONVENTION CENTER to introduce the first album…guess who opened the show? Right—JETHRO TULL—who themselves were amazing—they introduced the classic album STAND UP that year. What a disc THAT is—still great…

I could go on and on. You should interview me. I’ve seen it ALL—even BOWIE’s ’72 debut of ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS TOUR at the Hollywood Palladium. He also played the Santa Monica Civic if you can believe that—we saw that one too.

Iron Man

This morning I heard Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” for the first time in almost thirty years. I was surprised that it appealed to me just as much as when I was twelve. I was also surprised at how exactly lead guitarist Tony Iommi sounded like Led Zeppelin‘s Jimmy Page during the same era. I never read an Iron Man comic, although I was vaguely familiar with the character. An Iron Man movie was planned a couple years ago, and according to some sources is due for release in about 2004.

Wonder if Black Sabbath will reunite to do the soundtrack? I’d prefer Peter Gabriel, myself.


Trivia question: the drummer on Steve Miller’s “My Dark Hour” is listed in the credits as ‘Paul Ramon’; what’s his real name?

Hover here for one hint

Another hint


Some random thoughts regarding the tunes I listened to on my way to work today:

  • Hush” – Deep Purple – Jon Lord once said, “I think my organ playing has something to do with the sound of the band.” In stand-up comedy, we call this ‘humor by understatement.’ While many of the band members were extremely talented it is Lord’s performances on a Hammond B3 organ which typify this band’s sound for me.
  • Quinn the Eskimo” – Manfred Mann – No, not the wimpy studio version (and please, for your own sake, avoid Dylan’s original; a classic example of bad arranging.) Side two (did I say that? well, on vinyl, it was side two!) has three tracks, two of them live, which show what a powerful rock band this was. The closing track is a huge keyboard extravaganza. After the opening verses, the pace becomes frenetic as drums, guitar and keyboards all try to out-intense each other. Chris Slade should have stayed with the band. His drumming is almost machine-like in its precision, but there’s too much feeling to ever mistake it for anything electronic.
  • “I Still Miss Someone” – Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys – Lester Flatt was a great singer. No, his voice isn’t polished and refined, he doesn’t reach up to those impressive high notes; instead, he made simple tunes about human emotions sound genuine. When Lester was happy, you were happy; when he sang a sad song, you cried. While Earl’s banjo was the flashy partner, Lester’s voice is what I miss.
  • Commercial music?
    • “Rock and Roll” – Led Zeppelin – I was mystified by the brouhaha over the band allowing Cadillac to use this song in their commercials. Let me see; huge commercial conglomerate wants to pay aging rock stars an annuity every time one of their commercials runs. Am I missing the moral dilemma? I’ve been muting commercials since the advent of the remote control, but I listen to this one. Loud.
    • “Lust for Life” – Iggy Pop – Sorry; can’t even remember the product or service. Maybe Royal Carribean cruises? Had you told me 25 years ago that this pounding irresponsible tune by a guy considered a freak (even in an era of freaks) would be played on commercial television to augment the selling abilities of the medium, I would have laughed. But then, I still do, every single time I hear this song.
       "I've been hurting since I bought the gimmick About something called love; Yeah, something called love. Well, that's like hypnotizing chickens."
  • “(Outside the Gates of) Cerdes” – Procol Harum – Robin Trower occasionally got ahold of Keith Reid’s lyrics before Gary Brooker got to them. While Brooker tended toward the beautifully orchestrated pieces, Trower is a bluesman. “Cerdes” opens with a bass line I just can’t resist, and includes some fine guitar work by Trower. As usual, Reid’s lyrics hover somewhere between confusing and bizzare.