Rise Of The Phoenix (Two Symbols TT 006A/B)
America West Arena, Phoenix, AZ – May 10th, 1995
Disc 1 (70:04): Introduction, Immigrant Song/Wanton Song, Bring It On Home, Ramble On, Thank You, Shake My Tree, Lullaby, No Quarter, Gallows Pole, Hurdy Gurdy Solo, When The Levee Breaks, Hey Hey What Can I Do, The Song Remains The Same, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (61:57): Friends, Calling To You medley (incl. Down By The Seaside, Break On Through, Dazed & Confused), Four Sticks, In the Evening, Black Dog, Kashmir
Page & Plant originally were scheduled for Salt Lake City in Utah for May 10th. After a last minute cancellation, they were booked to play the American West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, instead. Rise Of The Phoenix documents the show utilizing an excellent stereo audience recording. It is slightly muffled and distorted, but captures the atmosphere of the show perfectly.
The tape picks up with the “Tales Of Bron” tape before they start with the short “Immigrant Song” introduction leading into “The Wanton Song.” The most popular opening numbers during this era, these were very good exercise numbers meant to limber the fingers and get the vocals in tune. They are also very energetic and get the audience on their feet in a hurry.
Without any more introductions, they play the Led Zeppelin II part of the set with the “Bring It On Home” fragment, “Ramble On” and one of the heaviest versions of “Thank You.”
The Coverdale/Page number “Shake My Tree,” which served as the set closer when they played Japan for a week in late 1993, is included much earlier in the set. Plant’s lower vocals give the song a more sinister connotation in contrast to David Coverdale’s high pitched wailing. Page also includes the theremin solo in the middle.
Afterwards Robert Plant greets Phoenix, telling them they will play a cross section of songs they’ve written the past couple of years and asking for a warm Arizona welcome for the other musicians on the stage, in particular Porl Thompson who used to play with The Cure. They hit a nice groove for a cover of The Cure’s biggest hit “Lullaby.”
The show’s “unledded” section, a latter day acoustic set, follows. “No Quater” is played in the melodramatic four minute arrangement played on the telecast from the previous year. It’s a far cry from the half hour improvisations, but does manage to convey the atmosphere of spook and melancholia of the original studio recording.
Plant gives a little history lesson before “Gallows Pole” again played in the same arrangement as the telecast. Nigel Eaton is introduced for his solo on the hurdy gurdy which leads into a fantastic performance of “When The Levee Breaks.” They close this portion of the set with the rare single “Hey Hey What Can I Do.” In contrast to the heavy and depressing songs played so far, this is a rare upbeat and sunny number.
“The Song Remains The Same” is played very close to the studio arrangement with all of the little fills on guitar. And Plant introduces the Egyptian orchestra before “Since I’ve Been Loving You.”
Robert Plant’s “Calling To You” from Now & Zen is the marathon number of the set. It is expanded to include a reference to a strange arrangement of “Down By The Seaside” from Physical Graffiti (slowed down greatly), The Doors’ “Break On Through” and a wild “Dazed And Confused.”
More spectacular epics are played in the encore set. “In The Evening” starts off with the Egyptian orchestra’s instrumental introduction, heavy on the drums followed by Plant’s ululation. Sounding as if it were coming from a minaret, the band crash in with the opening notes of “In The Evening.” During the middle part they slip into the slow and heavy section of “Carouselambra.” It’s a dizzying mash up of styles and moods and one of the live masterpieces from this era.
Four full minutes of audience cheering before they return for “Black Dog” which has a few references to “Misty Mountain Hop” at the end. Robert calls Phoenix a “purple place” before they end the night with the fourteen minute epic “Kashmir” complete with orchestral interludes.
Rise Of The Phoenix was released the same year as the show. It’s packaged in a 2CD fatboy jewel case with very basic artwork printed on one side. It’s never been reissued and is extremely rare now. It’s a very good recording of a nice show close to the end of the first “Unledded” Page / Plant tour and is worth seeking out.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)