Led Zeppelin, “Celebration Day” (Atlantic)
If “Celebration Day” is it for Led Zeppelin, the final chapter in the long, glorious career of rock `n’ roll’s most exciting band, we can live with it.
The box set that captures what will likely be the quartet’s final concert is a fitting capstone for a band that remains as popular today as it was more than 40 years ago.
The band’s living members _ Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones _ joined Jason Bonham, son of late founding drummer John Bonham, at London's O2 Arena in 2007 to pay tribute to late Atlantic Records honcho Ahmet Ertegun.
The concert was a triumph, captured lovingly here with a two-disc live album, a DVD of the concert and a bonus disc of extras. Led Zeppelin played everything you’d want, did it in fresh ways and with such class it’s a primer for the endless stream of legacy acts who have gotten it so wrong over the years.
Page is the star here. The camera lingers on him and his flashing hands as he leads the band through thoughtfully reimagined takes of every classic. He starts the concert in suitcoat and sunglasses, disdainfully chewing gum as he belts out riffs that are both familiar and in his hands new. A few songs later he shucks the coat and rolls up his sleeves for “In My Time Of Dying” (at more than 11 minutes long!). By the time he pulls out the violin bow in the middle of “Dazed and Confused” (12 minutes!), he’s disheveled, dripping sweat on a series of beautiful guitars and beaming a crooked smile after each fiery run.
It is a powerhouse performance _ and, sadly, not enough for most fans. But “Celebration Day” will have to do.
Kiss “The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982” (Universal)
No act has been better at getting you to buy songs you already own in numerous formats than Kiss. With at least 18 greatest hits, compilation or box set albums on the market, here comes yet another one. Something in the neighborhood of $145 will get you this latest box set, a re-release of 29 U.S. Kiss singles, each on 45 rpm vinyl records (remember those?)
Box sets have two main selling points: previously unavailable music, and way-cool packaging. Because these singles have all been out there for decades, this box set’s appeal lies in its presentation. Weighing in at a hefty eight pounds, the set starts with the band’s very first single, “Nothin’ To Lose,” with the flip side “Love Theme From Kiss” from way back in 1974. All but three of the singles come with decorative foreign sleeves with elaborate artwork, and, in the case of the Japanese sleeves, hilarious mistranslations of lyrics. A line from “C’mon And Love Me” morphs from, “The lights are out” to “Your lives are out.” Even the misprints are faithfully preserved: Peter Criss‘ solo single “You Matter To Me” appears as “You Still Matter To Me” on the label.
Far and away the coolest are the singles from each of the band’s solo albums, pressed in colored vinyl: red for Gene Simmons, purple for Paul Stanley, green for Criss and blue for Ace Frehley. Each of these four also comes with a cut-out Halloween-type mask of each member’s face in Kiss makeup, a throwback to the days when Kiss albums came loaded with swag.
Die-hard Kiss fans will probably want to pick this up _ provided they still have turntables.
_ Wayne Parry, Associated PressView Entire Story
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