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Various Artists – ARMS’ Dallas 1983 (Heartbreakers HB-947-1/2)

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ARMS’ Dallas 1983 (Heartbreakers HB-947-1/2)

Disc 1:  Everybody Ought to Make a Change, Lay Down Sally, Wonderful Tonight, Rita Mae, Ramblin’ On My Mind/Have You Ever Loved a Woman?, Cocaine, Man Smart Woman Smarter, Don’t Touch Me, Watching River Flow, Worried Life Blues, You Are So Beautiful, Seven Days, Feelin’ Alright, Star Cycle, The Pump

Disc 2:  Blue Wind, People Get Ready, Going Down, Prelude, Who’s To Blame, City Sirens, Boogie Mama, Midnight Moonlight, Stairway To Heaven, Layla, With A Little Help From My Friends, Goodnight Irene

This title on the excellent Heartbreakers label chronicles the opening night of the ARMS tour at the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas on November 28, 1983. The source is an excellent audience recording hampered only by some cuts between tracks.  As was the programme for all of the shows in the ARMS tour, the first third was devoted to Eric Clapton, and the second third of the show devoted to Jeff Beck.  The final third of the show, beginning on disc 2 track 4, is the Jimmy Page set.  His set relies heavily upon the Death Wish II soundtrack material (“Prelude,” “Who’s To Blame,” and “City Sirens”) with Paul Rogers singing. 

“Boogie Mama” is a song from Paul Rogers’ solo album.  What is of interest, however, is “Midnight Moonlight” which would be recorded for the first Firm album.  This show is the live debut of the track.  Page and Rogers are very tentative with the song as it flows between sections and Kenny Jones does his best Bonzo impersonation.  I guess they were hoping the song would not fall apart!  “We’ll have to work on that one” Page says after the performance. Overall it is much more effective than the studio version that would be released later. 

The instrumental version of “Stairway To Heaven” brings down the house, especially when Page repeats the “You remember laughter” at the appropriate point in the song.  Hearing the song as an instrumental reminds one of how beautiful the song really is. The show ends with “Layla” (excellent) and “With A Little Help From My Friends” sung by Joe Cocker.  The encore is “Goodnight Irene” which is quite anticlimactic. Overall this title is recommend for those who want to hear Page’s first steps to performing regularly again in the 1980′s, and definitely worth it to hear “Midnight Moonlight” and the “Stairway To Heaven” instrumental. 

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Various Artists - ARMS' Dallas 1983 (Heartbreakers HB-947-1/2), 2.5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

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