If you are a listener of my podcast you already know that in September of 1983, the ARMS Concerts were held in London. They featured sets from Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. This show, from May of that year, is the first live appearance of Jimmy Page since he jammed (along with Robert Plant), with Foreigner on May 12, 1982.
This Eric Clapton concert was the last show of the Money and Cigarettes tour, and it took place in the UK, at the Guildford Town Hall. After performing his set, Eric brought out some friends for a bit of a jam. Albert Lee was playing in Clapton’s band, but Jimmy Page, Phil Collins (who was just about the biggest star in the world in 1983), and Chas & Dave, came out to play. Irish singer Paul Brady comes out to close out the proceedings with Goodnight Irene.
It’s a fun set. Jimmy is, as you probably know having followed my podcasts, not in the best shape here, but he’s not as bad as I had recalled. This YouTube recording is better than the bootleg I’ve had for years. There’s a lot more definition and clarity here, and it does Jimmy credit.
The songs on which Jimmy plays are:
1:20:53 Further On Up The Road (*)
1:29:12 Cocaine (*)
1:36:13 Roll Over Beethoven (*) (**)
1:43:04 You Win Again (*) (**) (***)
1:46:59 Matchbox (*) (**) (***)
1:53:11 Goodnight Irene (*) (**) (***)
* = Jimmy Page
** = Phil Collins
*** = Chas and Dave
**** = Paul Brady
One thing that’s delightful is that this isn’t just one song. It’s a nice set. You’ll be able tell which guitar is Jimmy’s because he’s using his b-bender telecaster, and nothing else sounds like that.
It’s a delightful artifact of Jimmy’s career post-Zeppelin, but before the Firm was even an idea. This show is also just before Eric Clapton’s career had its resurgence with Forever Man. I hope you enjoy this.
Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Paul Rodgers, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones… Jesus Christ, everybody
Links from the show
This is San Francisco 12/2/83. San Fran 12/2/83 is a nice set by Jimmy. He is hit or miss on this tour, often within the same set. Remember, he may not be using heroin anymore, but he was in no way sober. This is the show from which the Goodnight Irene heard in the podcast is taken. You should watch the whole thing. It’s a shit ton of talent on one stage, and no one is being a prick.
WATCH THIS ONE. It’s not Jimmy’s best, but it’s not that bad. This show also has a killer Goodnight Irene at the end, with Jimmy, Jeff, and Eric trading solos and it’s GREAT! Watch it or the monsters will eat you. You also get incoherent Joe Cocker gibberish at the end.
This is the intro to the officially released London gig. Watch it. It shows how sweet Ronnie Lane was, and how all these huge stars really worked together to help hime. It’s nice.
The first part of the London gig. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. Drink coffee first.
Find the rest yourself. I’m an old man.
BONUS NOTES AND SHIT FROM THE PODCAST.
Ronnie Lane was the bass player for the Small Faces (itchycoo park) and later (when they were no longer small) The Faces. The Faces were a good time, drunken rock and roll band that had Rod Stewart as its singer, and Ronnie Wood as their guitarist, both fresh from Jeff Beck’s band. Remember when the Black Crowes first came out, with Jealous Again? They were a clone of the Faces. The Ron Wood went off to become a Rolling Stone, and Rod Stewart went off to be a disco fuckhead. Ronnie Wood ended up living in a trailer on Pete Townshend’s property, having never ‘made it big’. He recorded an album with Pete, in 1977, called Rough Mix that is absolutely wonderful. Not only is a great album, it’s a great album featuring not just Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane, but Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, John Entwistle, Ian Stewart, and a bunch more. It’s a great album that was just never promoted by the record company. It also is one of the best sounding analog recordings I’ve ever heard. Totally listen to it. Do it.
During the recording of Rough Mix Ronnie Lane was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. His ability to play was hampered, and his already not great life got worse. He must have been a great guy, because holy shit a million huge stars came out to help him.
One Of The Best ARMS Gigs in Great Video
The early 1980’s was a dark time for the rock gods of the 70’s. Led Zeppelin had broken up, Jeff Beck was a footnote, and Eric Clapton had turned so mellow he was like the James Taylor of guitar. Everyone had peaked and was hitting 40. The first generation of rock gods were all total has beens by the time they hit 40. This generation risked obscurity as well.
In 1983 a bunch of British rock gods gathered together to perform a series of benefit concerts, in support of Ronnie Lane. Ronnie was the bass player for the Small Faces, and then the Faces. He was a beloved musician and friend (he lived rent free on Pete Townshend’s estate), who had contracted MS and needed some help.
The bands that were represented were the cream of British rock royalty. Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones, Ronnie Wood (from the Faces and the Stones) showed up in New York City for some songs, too. Eric Clapton from Cream, Jeff Beck from the Yardbirds and as his own bad self (also former bandmate of Ronnie Wood), Joe Cocker and his awesome keyboard player, Chris Stainton. Holy shit a lot of people. Oh yeah, The Who! Kenny Jones from The Who (and also the Faces with Ronnies Lane and Wood). Fernando Saunders on bass (Lou Reed and Jeff Beck’s bassist)… so many goods. And Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company. Lots of folk who all got together to help a friend.
Jimmy Page had been out of the spotlight since the death of John Bonham, and dissolution of Led Zeppelin. He was a physical and mental wreck. Drug addiction was at an almost terminal level, and the deep depression of Bonzo’s death just made everything worse. Aside from a few minor projects, or even just jams, Page was a hermit.
The word on this is that Eric Clapton was tapped to approach Jimmy and tell him to get his shit together, heroin-wise. Clapton had just himself finished rehab, and everyone else in the band(s) pretty much had their shit together (although I think Charlie Watts got in to heroin at roughly this time), except for Jimmy. So, a pep talk, some positive reinforcement, and a trip to the states, got Jimmy off the heroin. Alas he still drank like a fish and did hella blow.
Still, credit where credit is due. The ARMS tour got Jimmy to come back as a performer again. Having worked with Paul Rodgers on the US Tour for ARMS, Jimmy formed the FIRM. The Firm sucked. Yes it did. Yes it did.