...guitarist still alive today, especially after watching Celebration Day. He made his Les Paul sound like an acoustic at the beginning of Ramble On and then went into a viscous solo, pummelling his Orange and Marshall amps. As younger guitarists have come on the scene, I always drool over their power and accuracy. But many of them lack one key ingredient. Swagger. Pagey has always had it and still does, and when you watch Celebration Day after The Song Remains the Same, you realize that he's actually a better player now then he was in '77. But both '77 and '11 (well, '13 now I suppose) Jimmy Pages have their place and I love the fact that you just know he's gonna hit a bad note or mess up a pull off. But that's part of his swagger, and the runs, hammer ons, and pull offs that he does mangage to wrangle out of his Lester, are pure magic.
And then there's that slide. Often flat, never sharp (the good ones always err on the flat end of the spectrum), you can't wait to hear what happens next. So after thinking that Page was number one for 2/3 of my lifetime but then being transfixed by the technical wizzards of today, I am, once again, retruning James Patrick Page to the number one spot on my list of living guitarists. Don't ask me about the dead ones.
By the way, I was never intending to watch Celebration Day. I've seen too many nostalgia acts that have just been sad (Beach Boys, anyone?), but my son bought me the Blu Ray for Christmas and on a recent visit, he asked me to watch it with him. I was pleasantly surprised. It's a bit polished, but I've seen Plant live at a small venue in Denver, and I can attest to the fact that he can still sing. He's great. The whole set is ferocious and the BAND is into it. Of course the most important thing is that Jimmy Page still the one thing for which Joe Bonamassa would give half of his liver.