Live In Dallas 1985 (HawkStone HS-001/1, 2)
Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX – June 24th, 1985
Disc 1 (54:36): In The Mood, Little By Little, Easily Lead, Too Loud, Pledge Pin, Fat Lip, band intro., Slow Dancer
Disc 2 (32:07): Rockin’ At Midnight, Young Boy Blues, Mellow Saxophone, Sea Of Love, Big Log, radio announcement, Look Out Mabel
Shaken ‘N’ Stirred and the subsequent tour represent Robert Plant at his most progressive and creative. He reached a peak of inventiveness which he never approached again. Parke Puterbaugh, in a review of the album published in Rolling Stone, wrote: “On Shaken ‘n’ Stirred, Plant and band are toying with the outer limits of structure in an interestingly fractured way. These nine numbers eschew most of the conventional rules that govern pop-song construction yet hew to an elaborate logic all their own.
“Themes wriggle in and out of the proceedings, the musicians fill the spaces with blasts of tonal coloration, and the songs are wont to lurch forward and backward and then turn on a dime for a sprint to the finish.” It is this finesse and experimentation on display on the June 24th, 1985 King Biscuit Flower Hour taped at the Reunion Arena in Dallas and broadcast on September 8th, 1985.
HawkStone present the ninety minute edit of the show for broadcast. The sound quality is excellent but it doesn’t contain the complete show since “Pink And Black,” “Burning Down One Side,” “Thru’ With The Two Step,” “Other Arms,” “Messin’ With Mekon,” “Like I’ve Never Been Gone.”
“Pledge Pin,” “Sea Of Love” and “Easily Lead” are out of proper sequence for radio scheduling concerns. The beginning of “Rockin’ At Midnight” is also cut but this does faithfully represent what was broadcast by King Biscuit. Two songs, “Easily Lead” and “Rockin’ At Midnight” were officially released on the “Little By Little” single.
It is rather ironic that on a tour meant to publicize Shaken ‘N’ Stirred that only two songs, the number one hit “Little By Little” and “Too Loud” were included in the broadcast. The tape begins right at the drummer’s count-in for “In The Mood” and the contrast with the past is interesting. Whereas in the seventies he’s being the show either shrieking or singing “It’s been a long time,” the eighties have a more mellow sound and compliant “i’m in the mood for a melody.”
“Little By Little” sounds inviting with the interesting little keyboard adornments and the mournful, middle eastern call and response games between Plant and Blunt. “Too Loud” is Plant’s excursion into electronic dance music which isn’t entirely successful but catchy nevertheless.
“Slow Dancer” contains a quote from “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and is followed by The Honeydrippers set. Plant gives a long introduction to “Young Boy Blues” explaining how his mother gave him the record when he was young. He introduces the Uptown Horns before the cabaret “Mellow Saxophone.” “Sea Of Love,” which is out of proper sequence, closes the mini set for the broadcast.
The radio set is followed by a radio announcement for the upcoming broadcast and the disc closes with a cover of G.L. Crockett’s “Look Out Mabel.” This was recorded for the Dreamland album but wasn’t included and remains an outtake. Plant is joined by Jeff Beck on country picking guitar on this fast paced rockabilly number. Since it was recorded almost twenty years after the Dallas show its presence is a bit out of place but is nice to hear nevertheless. HawkStone package this in a double slimline jewel case with generic looking inserts printed on one side. It isn’t the prettiest looking packaging, but for the material it contains this is a very good release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)