Sunday, July 01, 2007

I don't know, you naughty boy. I've never zeppled.

Having just joined a Led Zeppelin message board (since I don't have enough to do), I've been catching up on my Zeppalia. That meant buying the 1976 movie The Song Remains The Same.

When I saw it the first time, I wasn't very impressed. It seems much more impressive with a little maturity on its shoulders. I'll write about it later. For now, here's a bit that takes my breath away.

Dazed and Confused's famous guitar performance commences with Jimmy Page bowing the strings, wringing a sepulchural chorus of protest from the guitar. As that reaches its end, for a touch of theatricality (which is surprisingly effective musically) he slaps the bow down hard on the strings, a cobra-fast strike that produces a squeal of protest. There is an echo effect, so the yelp comes back a split second later. For that second sound, Jimmy brandishes the bow in the air. The additive effect of his many strikes/salutes during the solo makes for a spellbinding piece of cinema.

The hair of the bow is shredded by the end of it; I'm surprised he didn't break the stick over the guitar at some point. You have to see it in motion and hear the soundtrack to appreciate it, so I can't show it here.

Instead here's a short sequence from the beginning. At the first strike, a puff of rosin jumps into the air as the bow is lifted.

Click on the thumbnail for a larger picture.



The camera really was in the right place at the right time to get the optical effects centered the way they are over the guitarist.

2 comments:

SteveAudio said...

I went to San Fran the first time in '68, and was bound and determined to go the the Fillmore. Wayne Newton could have been headlining and I still would have gone. The opening act was a SF band called "It's a Beautiful Day".

But the headlining band was "The Yardbirds", with some unknown (to me) guy playing lead who used a violin bow to great effect.

I think he went on to some success in the '70s.

Peromyscus said...

Apparently he did.

That must have been a great show. I would have liked to have seen It's a Beautiful Day.

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