It's the 10th December 2010 at the O2, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones all reconvened for the first time since the 7th of July 1980 (Live Aid and the odd special family occassion) for their first full concert. How'd they do? Kick'd ass is what they did!
Good Times Bad Times
In My Time of Dying/Honey Bee
For Your Life
Trampled Under Foot
Nobody's Fault but Mine
Since I've Been Loving You
Dazed and Confused
Stairway to Heaven
The Song Remains the Same
Misty Mountain Hop
Whole Lotta Love
Rock and Roll
I have heard many live Led Zeppelin concerts and have been astounded at each one. It was never a dialed in performance. There was always something different to take away from each show. I am only sad that I never got to witness the majesty for myself.
On the 10th December 2010 the remaining Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones all reconvened for the first time since the 7th of July 1980 (Live Aid and the odd special family occassion) for their first full concert. The bought along a "guest drummer by the name of Jason Bonham (more of him later).
To say that expectations were high would be an understatement. It rivaled Pink Floyd being at Live 8 and The Police reforming. When the concert was announced and that tickets would be allocated via a lottery 20 MILLION people tried to get tickets. There were only 16,000 public tickets available. This is now a world record.
OK on to the show. None of the members of the band have been dormant during the interim period. Robert Plant has had a pretty sucessful solo career and has had a few credible colaborations down the years most notably with Diana Krall. John Paul Jones has guested with everyone from My Crooked Vultures right across to Seasick Steve. Jimmy Page had a little hand in highlighting the London 2012 games in Bejing (on the top of a bus!).
There had been rehearsals for the show at Shepperton in the month leading up to the show and it shows that when good musicians get together regardless of how many years have passed between sessions, it doesn't take much for the old magic to shine through. Led Zeppelin 2010 sounds as tight and cohesive as they did back in the 70's. Plant's voice has aged but it has aged well. There is no Immigrant Song which is to be understandable, I am not sure many modern singers could handle that beast at the best of times. The set list is a good comprehensive slide through the years. 'For Your Years' and 'Ramble On' are notable stand outs as they are tracks they hadn't played live before.
Zeppelin were renowned for improvising and jamming during live shows. There are recordings out there with 35 minute versions of Dazed and Confused and shows that lasted over three hours. They gave good value for money back then. This night we get an 11 minute In my Time Of Dying and an almost 12 minute Dazed and Confused. So they still have it in their utility belts if they need it.
It's not just that Bonham hit the drums hard. It's that he hit them properly.
T. Bruce Wittet (writer for Modern Drummer Magazine
I mentioned Jason Bonham earlier, and what a surprise he turned out to be. Whilst no one (including Bonham Jr) will ever replace the great man it's great to hear that Jason has inherited a lot of the style and finese his father had. He admits that he has studied bootleg recordings in preperation for this show and for his Led Zeppelin Experience Tour that happens now and again. He takes what John Bonham created and make sure that the audience get a "real" Led Zeppelin experience.
This is a great recording of a monumental night in Rock music. It really cannot be faulted. For a band that hadn't played together as an ongoing unit for over 30 years they sound very together and like they had never been apart.
Ahmet Ertegun was smiling down on the o2 Arena that night knowing full well that his legacy was being aided and furthered by a band of Rock Gods and this was a fine SwanSong for a visionary man and if it is the last time Led Zeppelin play together, it's not a bad way to say goodbye for them either.