Physical Grafitti, The Joshua Tree and Icky Thump aren’t exactly three albums you’d toss together in the same play-list, but then again Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White each carry their own legacies and influences. But put the three axe-men together in the same room, and the three easily speak the same language.
It Might Get Loud, billed as a summit meeting between the three guitarists, pays homage to the six string itself rather than a handjob to the three axeman. Page will none-the-less take some delight when he pumps out the muscular riffs to “Whole Lotta Love, causing The Edge and White to gasp like little boys, as they see their hero pump out the "riff of all riffs."
But it’s the humbling moments where each artists takes a back seats to their own guitar accomplishment to relish in the technology, history and power of the guitar. In fact, The Edge even goes so far as to admit that his songs are more credited to his pedals and effects than his chops. And as Page divulges himself in Link Wrays “Rumble,” his cheshire cat grin dominates his satisfaction for the early hit that utilized then-unexplored techniques like distortion and feedback. White holds up his own end with confidence as we learn of his early poor-boy Detroit upbringing from carving out his own home-made guitar out of two pieces of wood and a coke bottle to scripting one of his blues rock songs in the matter of minutes.
David Guggeheim does a stand-up job of making It Might Get Loud watchable for audiences that don’t have a subscription to Guitar Magazine. Page plays the elder statesmen, flashing a zen-like grin that’s a stark contradiction to his wild-man younger days. The Edge plays the part of the professor, developing songs as if they are math problems, always trying to push the envelope of technology and musicianship. While White, the youngest and less accomplished of the three, is portrayed as street-tough and confident. But its the musical moments surroung Mr. Jimmy Page from going back to the house where Led Zeppelin IV was recorded to riffing White and The Edge through a stripped down version of Physical Graffiti’s "In My Time Of Dying" that gives us all the eyes of the fly on the wall.
It Might Get Loud is as revealing as a music documentary gets, even with the warts and all finale of the three playing a rough version of The Band’s “The Weight.” But that’s what makes the film worthy, it shows three rock stars at their most vulnerable and human – proving once again, the guitar rules over everything else.