Monday, April 7, 2014

No. 59 – Gallows Pole

Performer: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
Songwriters: Traditional, arr. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Original Release: No Quarter
Year: 1994
Definitive Version: None. I definitely prefer this version over the original from Led Zeppelin III because of the hurdy gurdy. I like the Page & Plant version all the more for how it fit in the Unledded event.

The previous song on the setlist was That’s the Way, and it was a pretty straight-forward reading. The last chord strikes, there’s a brief pause, and Page starts right into this song, the grim chords of Gallows Pole resembling that final chord of That’s the Way. The transition seemed seemless.

For someone who is as much of a Led Head as I am, you’d assume I’d see Tributosaurus pay tribute to the mighty dinosaur that trampled the Seventies underfoot. I did, at the end of 2008. Laurie and I went with Steven and Michael and Janet and Cliff to Martyr’s for the New Year’s Eve bash, in which Tributosaurus would become Led Zeppelin.

It was a Volume II show, which meant it consisted of material they didn’t play during their first Led Zeppelin show, which was years before I moved to Chicago. I was hopeful they got all of the obvious choices out of the way in the first show, so they could concentrate on the obscurities, like this song, for Volume II.

Unfortunately, it turns out that NONE of the biggies were played during the first volume, so we got Rock and Roll, Dazed and Confused, Whole Lotta Love and Stairway. Sure, there were a few obscurities, like South Bound Suarez, but Tributosaurues didn’t play Gallows Pole … AGAIN. (I guess I’ll have to wait for Volume III.)

It still was a good night though. Before the set, Martyr’s showed one of the DVDs from the Led Zeppelin DVD box set—the one that featured a nice chunk of the band’s legendary performance at Knebworth in 1979. Because of that, I at least got to see one performance of Achilles’ Last Stand that night.

Needless to say—but I’ll say it anyway—Laurie and I were eager to celebrate the end of 2008. I couldn’t recall a year I was more happy to be done with. Pretty much since our arrival from Mexico in April, the year had been one massive sewage patch, rotten and fetid, with only brief glimmers of sunlight here and there to at least show the way through the morass.

2009 was going to be so much better, automatically. Laurie was definitely on the upswing, although the improvement wasn’t immediate, as I mentioned (good ol’ No. 231). She only had started to drink again, which concerned me how that would affect her meds, but I couldn’t stop it. Still, we kept our partying to a relative minimum.

The others in our crew more than made up for it. During a break in the action, before the countdown to the new year, Steven and Michael took it upon themselves to share a bit of love they were feeling—with an assist from the gin and tonics they were putting away.

Steven started: “Everyone in the Posse wants you to know how impressed we are with how you handled Laurie’s health care this year.” Michael chimed in: “Absolutely. Everyone knows how much you love Laurie. If anyone had any doubts about it before, no one does now. You LOVE her.”

I did, but I protested that what I did, both in the hospital and after, wasn’t all that special. It was only what anyone else would have done in my situation. I mean, we’d been living together for 2-1/2 years when Laurie went into the hospital and had been dating for 3-1/2. What was I going to do? Bail? Well … maybe.

Although it went unsaid at the time, Laurie’s friends weren’t always supportive of some of Laurie’s former flames. (I know this from Laurie herself, as well as others.) Given the history, they ultimately weren’t sold on me until I proved myself. I was taken aback, but I wasn’t offended.

To this day, as I’ve mentioned, I have regrets about how everything was handled. It was only when I stepped up to take charge of the situation and got everyone else in line behind me that things got better, and I wish I’d stepped up sooner. I was too freaked out to do much of anything, and it turns out everyone else was just as freaked out as I was. Eventually, that problem got corrected.

Yes, taking care of Laurie might have been something that I did without much thought, as in OF COURSE I would do this. I didn’t do it for the praise, but it really helped my healing to hear it nonetheless.

And I never, EVER want to go through that again.

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