What Is and What Should Never Be
Woke Up This Morning
Shapes of Things
Ten Years Gone
In My Time of Dying
Your Time Is Gonna Come
The Lemon Song
Nobody's Fault but Mine
Hey, Hey What Can I Do
Mellow Down Easy
Shake Your Money Maker
You Shook Me
Out on the Tiles
Whole Lotta Love
It started, of course, with a jam. At a Black Crowes gig in London in June 1999 Jimmy Page joined the band for an encore. They played Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, and it felt so good that they decided to tour together.
The master guitarist gelled nicely with Rich Robinson, and Chris Robinson probably proved that if Zeppelin were ever going to tour without Plant, then he might just be the man for the job.
The resulting double live album features landmark Zeppelin songs and blues standards, but, due to contractual obligations, the album wasn't quite what it should have been.
"There was only one downside," Page told Classic Rock. "The set that we had was a mixture of Black Crowes songs and Led Zeppelin songs. So I was playing on their music was well. But when it came down to putting together an album, their record company wouldn’t let them do a re-record. So that’s why that album was mostly all Zeppelin stuff, with some old blues songs. It was really a bit upsetting, but nevertheless the Zeppelin stuff we did, playing it with them, was bloody marvellous. Just fantastic. I had a whale of a time."
"To be honest, I haven’t really listened to it," Robinson told us. "I’m super-happy that I got the chance to play music with Jimmy, but at the end of the day I’m motivated because things make me feel good, not because there’s an angle or money to be made. I felt by the end it turned into something a little bit business-oriented. That was it for me."
Every week, Album of the Week Club listens to and discusses the album in question, votes on how good it is, and publishes our findings, with the aim of giving people reliable reviews and the wider rock community the chance to contribute.
Other albums released in February 2000
- The Night - Morphine
- The Crybaby - Melvins
- The Chainheart Machine - Soilwork
- Let's Talk about Leftovers - Lagwagon
- Live: A Night on the Strip - L.A. Guns
- Automatic Midnight - Hot Snakes
- Bloodflowers - The Cure
- Freak Magnet - Violent Femmes
- Pennybridge Pioneers - Millencolin
- Standing on the Shoulder of Giants - Oasis
- Stiff Upper Lip - AC/DC
- Get Some Go Again - Rollins Band
- Hooray for Boobies - Bloodhound Gang
- Machina/The Machines of God - The Smashing Pumpkins
- NakedSelf - The The
- One Endless Night - Jimmie Dale Gilmore
- Two Against Nature - Steely Dan
What they said...
"Snigger at the preposterous male chest-beating that underlies much of the Zep oeuvre if you will, but to argue that it's not worth rolling out these riffs is to accept that the best rap of nowadays should be permanently binned too. Guitar tech album of the year, and a whole lotta irony-trashing fun besides." (NME)
"The true sign of their abilities is that Page sounds looser and happier here than he has in years; he sounds like he's truly enjoying himself, a quality that is debatable on the Page & Plant records, no matter what their virtues are. Live at the Greek isn't a landmark release, and only hardcore Page, Black Crowes, and Zeppelin fans are likely to want this, no matter how vibrant and lucent these faithful interpretations are." (AllMusic)
"Are you excited by the notion that the Grand Wizard Jimmy Page sounds energised and re-vitalised? Can you listen to nearly two hours of an, oft times, eerily similar sounding Chris Robinson shrieking like a mid-70s Bobby Plant? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then Live at the Greek is a release that you should seek." (All About Jazz)
What you said...
Gary Claydon: I'm still a bit annoyed. Ticket for Manchester sorted, then JP goes & rings in sick with a bad back and that's that, tour scrapped. Or maybe it wasn't a bad back. Maybe it was JP in a huff after being snubbed over future collaborations. Or maybe it was JP simply having had enough of the Robinsons being arseholes. Who knows? I'm still a bit annoyed though.
Live At The Greek was an unexpected treat, arguably the best thing Jimmy Page has done post-Zep (with the possible exception of the 2007 reunion). It was brilliant to hear Page back in his comfort zone and having fun running through all those classics, with a few old standards thrown in for good measure. He does heavy-duty electric blues as well, if not better, than any other six-string slinger. The Crowes do an excellent job alongside Page and sound like they are enjoying themselves, even if a couple of the miserable fuckers would claim otherwise in the future.
Chris Robinson delivers a fine interpretation of Robert Plant, never going over the top or descending into mimickry. Steve Gorman puts in a proper shift and, after Page, is the star of this show. The guy is clearly having a ball. The album production doesn't attempt to add gloss - I don't get the impression there is much in the way of overdubbing going on here - which works in it's favour.
So, the question is, is this a great live album in it's own right or just a high class covers band at work? The answer is - both. The source material can't be faulted and is played with skill and vitality. In the end, if all Live At The Greek does is make you want to listen to the Led Zeppelin originals, well, where's the hardship in that?
Brian Carr: Despite liking The Black Crowes and Jimmy Page, I never gave this album a listen. Ultimately, I have feelings similar to those of listening to Mad Dogs and Englishmen a couple of weeks ago, although for somewhat different reasons.
For The Black Crowes, a quite solid band, what a blast it would be to get up on stage with the legendary Jimmy Page and jam a set consisting primarily of beloved Led Zeppelin tracks. For the audience, seeing these killer tunes performed live with Pagey joining a great band - since the surviving members won’t reunite, this is probably the closest they can get to seeing a live Zep performance.
The resulting album presents an interesting conundrum. Ultimately, the album asks the question “what might Led Zeppelin sound like with Jimmy Page (decades later), but with the other 75% of that magical ensemble replaced by another band?” The performances are quite good overall.
Apple Music even put stars by tracks that stood out to me: What Is And What Should Never Be, Ten Years Gone and In My Time of Dying. But why would a Zeppelin fan choose to listen to this when they can listen to the brilliant original tracks instead? I suppose a huge Black Crowes fan might really enjoy hearing their favorite band jamming with a living musical legend, but for me, there’s no way any band can come close to the glory of the source material, and comparisons are fairly inevitable.
All that said, the performances are quality enough that I rated it a seven out of ten.
Mike Canoe: Man, it's fun to hear these songs played live - even if Jimmy Page is the only actual member of Led Zeppelin present.
When not singing, Chris Robinson is about as likeable as particularly virulent foot fungus but, to my ears, he does a great job interpreting Robert Plant instead of mimicking him.
Special kudos also to Steve Gorman, who by his own admission, was still learning his way around a drum kit when he first joined the band, and was now successfully filling in for one of rock's all-time greatest drummers a little over a decade later.
For the most part the playing is really tight with only The Lemon Song and You Shook Me taking on some unneeded flab. In my Time of Dying is actually 90 seconds shorter than the studio version.
Compared to the original vinyl of The Song Remains The Same, which had eight songs spread over 99 minutes, Live At The Greek positively speeds by even though it's 12 minutes longer and has more than double the songs.
I remember this album had me paying attention to the Black Crowes for the first time since Amorica was released in 1994. As was their way, the brothers Robinson ruined any chance of further collaboration with Page and returned to the full-time duty of destroying their own band with endless fights and backstabbing.
For a couple of nights they were a great band again - even if it took channeling a greater band to do it.
Anthony Hollis: They hated each other. Still, cool music.
Brian Stutchman: Great disc!\! Lost it along with the rest of my collection, but I played the hell out of it while i had it. Convinced me that that kid Page was pretty good too.
Andrew Martyn: Great album - liked that the LZ songs weren’t the obvious ones.
I got the first version, when it tried to be novel by you going into the new fangled internet thing and picking the songs you wanted if you only wanted a single CD version, and they sent you your own version. Didn’t catch on.
Maciek Kaszubowski: Excellent performances. Three guitars plus keys and bass finally do justice to these songs. Steve Gorman is on fire throughout, playing on a much smaller kit than Bonzo, sounds like. Jimmy's playing is very focussed as well, who says sloppy?
Stand out tracks for me are actually non Zep ones for me: Oh Well, Sloppy Drunk and Woke Up This Morning sound better than originals and Shape Of Things is as good as you can get it without Jeff. Chris gets a bit tiresome with repeated listenings but still a fantastic effort pulling it off. If only he wasn't such a knob and didn't pull the plug on further collaborations
Chris Elliott: Why is the question. It's fine but it's a covers band when all said and done. The concept I get - LZ ain't getting back together - but why would you choose this instead of proper Zep at home bemuses me.
Evan Sanders: This is a fun album. Given that the surviving members of Led Zeppelin have rarely played together since John Bonham died, the album is a pick-me-up for those of us who still want to hear members belting out their signature songs. Chris Robinson's vocals are good, hitting notes that Robert Plant likely can't reach any more. As a live performance, this would have been worth the ticket price. Still, as a recording I can't rate it very high, as I can just as easily listen to the original Led Zeppelin albums or to their infrequent reunions, such as Celebration Day.
Brett Deighton: I’m such a mad Led Zeppelin fan that I wasn’t sure how I would find this when it came out. As it turned out I loved it. Really cool album.
Richard Maw: Great record. Fiery performances.
Andrew Bramah: Absolutely brilliant album. Jimmy Page hasn't played so good in years.
Warren Smith: Got this album. It's great but could have done with a few more Crowes songs.
Dave Morgan: One of my favourite live albums. Jimmy Page in top form.
Bill Griffin: First time hearing this. It is a great album with spirited performances of Led Zeppelin and others songs. In the case of LZ, many songs inexplicably never played live by the band themselves. It's kind of surprising that Chris Robinson sang so well when one considers his later stated disdain for having to sing Plant's melodies and lyrics. Still, while I'll keep this, it probably won't migrate to my car any time soon. I would rather listen to Led Zeppelin than the Black Crowes playing Led Zeppelin regardless of how well they did it.
Paul Mackrell: Fantastic. Exciting to hear this music.
Marike Elzinga: Awesome album with a great version of Oh Well!
Andrew G. Dick: Really wish they toured the UK and Europe as they were supposed to in 2001 but cancelled. I had a ticket and was so up for this. It is a great live album.
James Wynne: Fantastic record. That version of Custard Pie is better than the original.
Zak Browne: One of the best live albums I own. A 10/10 for me.
Bill Seidel: I’ve never heard of this album. Believe it or not I haven’t listened to a lot of Black Crows. But a huge Led Zeppelin fan. After listening to the first six songs I’m very impressed. Sounds like a great album. Great sound quality for a live album. The singer does a hell of a job! And the guitar playing of course in fantastic. Hell everything is great!
Greg Schwepe: As someone who is a huge Zeppelin fan and also wore out my Shake Your Money Maker cassette you’d think I would have snapped this album up the day it was released. But that was not the case! And in listening for the first time, this turned out to be a nice little delayed Zep/Crowes surprise.
The Black Crowes can instrumentally pull off the Zeppelin stuff with ease. And then you have Mr. Page himself, in fine form. I would’ve like to have been a fly on the wall during rehearsals for this tour, with Rich Robinson going “OMG, I’m trading licks with Jimmy Page!” I know I would have.
I am truly a fan of Chris Robinson’s vocals, but without a bit of a high end to his range, he’s not “All Plant, All The Time” on the vocals. Some stuff with less Plant wailing comes off better. My favourites were Ten Years Gone and In My Time Of Dying. Oh, and then the Lemon Song. Turns out he hits it more than I thought.
And a good example of him nailing it is the version of Shapes Of Things. I can totally see Chris Robinson being more of a Rod Stewart type guy. He could sing all the Faces and Jeff Beck Group stuff.
Overall, a good album. You’re gonna know all the Zeppelin stuff, and the deeper the album goes, I thought the selections better fit Robinson’s range. Fun exploration. Now if we could only coax Jimmy Page back onto the stage these days to play something, anything! 8 out of 10 for me on this one.
Tom Herrin: For me, the real joys of this album are in the old blues songs. The Zep covers are exactly that. Professional, but left me heading for the real thing.
Steve Pereira: It's a very professional and accomplished album in which the Crowes set out to sound like Led Zeppelin and the Jeff Beck Group instead of sounding like Free and Humble Pie. And it works. Polite applause, and murmurs of how good they all sound, and isn't it impressive how Robinson manages to sound like Plant for the Zeppelin tracks and Rod Stewart for the Jeff Beck track. And isn't Jimmy sounding fluid on that guitar for his age. So, what time are the main band coming on?
Final score: 7.80 (115 votes cast, total score 897)
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