Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The band of nods

On this day in 1972, Led Zeppelin's fans in Manchester, England, were treated to a rare performance of "I Can't Quit You Baby," one of two blues songs on the debut Led Zeppelin album.

By this point in time, the band's fourth album was out, and so the group no longer played most of the material from their first album live. But around this time, "I Can't Quit You Baby" was starting to make a four-month comeback as a part of a medley played all within the context of "Whole Lotta Love."

Now the fun thing about this was how much things would still change from one night to the next. Sometimes, "I Can't Quit You Baby" was as short as two and a half minutes, but once around that time, it stretched to longer than 13 minutes. Most of the time, the band played it for six or seven minutes only.

In 1990, John Paul Jones recalled in a promotional interview:
"As far as structuring the stage stuff was concerned, certain songs wouldn't really change that much, but other songs would really have points where you could -- anybody could do anything. We used to call it the band of nods in those days because you could just, one nod, and [laughs] -- and we could just go play something else: start a blues or start a country piece or start a bit of James Brown or something like that, and then everybody would follow until that idea would run its course, and then off it would go somewhere else, you know. There are several songs that we could do that -- we allowed ourselves the space to do it, and that was really good, really enjoyable stuff."

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