Led Zeppelin, LA Forum, 1977
(Van Halen Prelude)
The whole place coruscates with snuck-in
rum, sweat-soaked patchouli, pent-up
veneration for the air-brushed-on
bellbottoms and thousand-watt coifs tipping
last swigs of Moet backstage.
Then a spot Excaliburs the pot smoke,
finds an elvish figure for its nimbus—Page,
right hand raised as left wrings an arpeggio
from his Les Paul’s neck. Two brothers, specks
in a sellout crowd, take every gesture
in, then back to Pasadena. No money for effects
or Marshall stacks, but when Eddie adds one finger
of his right hand to the frets: a stairway sound.
“Alex, come here, man—check this out!”
by Ed Granger
Editor’s Note: Slant-rhyme sonnets feel deceptively free, while beneath the surface a great deal of discipline keeps the music steady, not unlike the riffs of great guitarists. RIP Eddie Van Halen.