Emerald Atlanta (Image Quality IQ 073/74)
Omni Theatre, Atlanta, GA – September 6th, 1988
Disc 1 (67:23): Who’s To Blame, Prelude, Over The Hills And Far Away, Liquid Mercury / Wanna Make Love, Writes Of Winter, Tear Down The Walls, Emerald Eyes, Midnight Moonlight (incl. White Summer & Black Mountain Side), In My Time Of Dying, City Sirens (incl “Jason solo”), Someone To Love
Disc 2 (62:28): Prison Blues, The Chase / Dazed & Confused, The Only One, Blues Anthem, Wasting My Time, Custard Pie, Stairway To Heaven, Train Kept A-Rollin’. Bonus tracks: The Only One / Wanna Make Love / Prison Blues (promotional edit), Prison Blues (promotional edit)
Jimmy Page’s only tour as a solo artist began in Atlanta on September 6th, 1988 several months after the release of Outrider. Emerald Atlanta contains the complete opening night of the tour, and Page’s very first concert as a solo artist.
It comes from a good, percussive audience tape with heavy distortion at the beginning. There are cuts after “Midnight Moonlight” and “Wasting My Time” and a small cut and repeat during the violin bow solo during “Dazed And Confused.” Although the sound is not what one would expect from an audience tape from the late eighties, but is nonetheless a good record of Page’s first concert as a solo artist.
Page’s band consisted of several musicians from the Outrider sessions including vocalist John Miles and bassist Durban Laverde. Jason Bonham, who so admirably filled in for his late father John during Zeppelin’s reunion that May, provides drumming and is even given a drum solo in the set.
What is admirable is that Page presents the live show as a true solo artist, representing all eras of his career, instead of providing a Led Zeppelin retrospective. The slow, deliberate “Who’s To Blame” and “Prelude” from the underrated Death Wish II soundtrack start off the show, followed by the first Zeppelin song of the set “Over The Hills And Far Away.”
Miles does an admirable job with the vocals, considering he has to sing parts made famous by Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers, two of the best vocalists. After greeting the audience, Page starts “Liquid Mercury” as a prelude to several of the songs from the new album.
One of the stand out songs is “Tear Down The Walls.” Predicated on the “Whole Lotta Love” riff from the Knebworth arrangement, it reveals Page’s talents as a master of the devastating yet catchy riff, the very quality which made him such a success.
There is a delay afterwards as Page tunes his guitar. “Hold on a minute. My guitar needs major repair. Hold on a sec… yea, it’s so hot. the guitar come from very cold England. We come here, the strings jump all over the place. We can’t fix the guitar??” He then refers to “Emerald Eyes” as a “ballad number that came to me in a time of great passion.”
“City Sirens” contains Jason Bonham’s lengthy drum solo. He plays the familiar “Moby Dick” pattern at points, but is also interested in showing off the latest technology in percussion. The solo segues into The Firm’s hit “Somebody To Love.”
“Prison Blues” stands in a line of long Page blues epics (“Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “Tea For One,” “I’m Gonna Crawl,” etc) and sounds just as majestic. But it stands out from the others for its Chicago blues orthodoxy
He duplicates the nasty, brutal tone of the studio recording very well and it turns into one of the highlights of the set. It’s followed by “The Chase” from Death Wish II with the long violin bow solo and code from “Dazed And Confused” thrown in for good measure.
“The Only One,” the second single from the album, is given a rare public performance. It was played the following two shows in Tampa and Miami but was then dropped. Although it had the novelty of being the first original Page/Plant composition since In Through The Outdoor and with a Plant vocal performance on the LP), it is one of the weaker songs from the collection and fails to make much of an impression on the audience.
The sit on stool for “Blues Anthem” which comes off much better and afterwards Page tells the audience “that’s the first time we played that in public. It’s the first time we played anywhere in public. Thank you for your support.”
“Wasting My Time,” the first single from Outrider, and “Custard Pie” with a short “Black Dog” reference in the middle close the set. Page sounds genuinely touched when he comes out for the encore, thanking the audience for their support. “This is one you can sing along to … I know you’ll like it” before the instrumental “Stairway To Heaven.” It’s played as on the ARMS tour in 1983 and the audience sing along. The Yardbirds arrangement of “Train Kept A Rollin'” is the final encore and closes a successful opening night.
Image Quality include the rare promotional cassette from Geffen Records as bonus tracks. It contains a special edit of several tunes from the album and was used to promote the upcoming album. It is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with the typical photograph design on the front and back covers. It is a rare Jimmy Page solo release on silver and is worth having for the performance and rarity of material.