Chew On A Piece
I’ve long wondered why I can’t find Led Zeppelin doing a live performance of “Custard Pie” anywhere on the internet. With all the great Zeppelin footage shot, how is it that no one managed to capture one of my all-time favorite songs on film? Custard Pie is filled with so much of what I loved about Zeppelin: the distinct individual sound of each band member, especially John Paul Jones' funky bass riff; the hard rock song's originality; all that sexual innuendo. Not to mention the band’s taut, technical facility.
For what it’s worth, Jimmy Page played a couple of concerts in 1999 with The Black Crowes that featured Custard Pie. Not a bad rendition!
No, it’s not quite like seeing Led Zeppelin doing it in the mid-1970s shortly after its release as the first song on the monumental (despite what my friend Todd thinks) Physical Graffiti album, but it’s a good sound, and that's Jimmy himself playing that wah-wah guitar solo! (I’m embarrassed to admit the video above is my introduction to The Black Crowes.)
But where is that bass riff I was talking about? You hear a timid version of it at the very beginning of the song, but after that it’s either been eliminated is totally drowned out by the rest of the music.
If you want to hear the original, with Robert Plant and the rest of the lads, you can easily find an uploaded recording from the cd on Youtube. Make sure to wear headphones so you can pick out all the song’s elements, particular that bass riff (likely played on a keyboard). Maybe one day someone will emerge with live footage of Custard Pie that no one knew existed and we can all go to our graves satisfied. For now, we’ll just have to imagine it.