Tuesday, December 11, 2007


MOST modern number one hits could fit into one of their guitar solos.
LED ZEPPELIN returned to the stage last night with their first full set in 19 years — and younger members of the crowd had heard nothing like it.
Manufactured pop is ruling the charts and young music fans are an impatient sort.
Maybe that’s why the bars at the O2 Arena in Greenwich filled during some of the band’s winding rock epics. But their classics proved music doesn’t rock like it used to.
Tracks like Whole Lotta Love and Stairway to Heaven had every one of the fans — who included LIAM GALLAGHER and SIR PAUL McCARTNEY — on their feet and shaking their fists.
Original members JIMMY PAGE, ROBERT PLANT and JOHN PAUL JONES were joined by dead drummer JOHN BONHAM’s son, JASON, 41.
The trio — with a combined age of 183 — burst on stage and opened with Good Times Bad Times, the first track of their debut album. Robert Plant — wearing jeans not quite as tight as they were in his heyday — still had the energy to strut his 59-year-old body across the stage. Page, 63, and Jones, 61, kept less energetic pace with him. As the band settled into a series of songs old and new, grown men in the mostly middle-aged and male audience began playing air guitar. Some of the old Zeppelin remained — during a monumentally long instrumental, Plant had time to go off stage as Page continued to play. One thing not so new was when in the middle of Dazed And Confused, Page got out his violin bow and started to play his guitar with it, in his trademark style. After more than an hour the bulk of the fans got what they seemed to want most — a rendition of Stairway To Heaven. When the lights went out a massive demand for an encore brought them back to play Whole Lotta Love. The adulation of 20,000 almost-equally tired fans ringing in their ears, they trooped away into the darkness. Fans of all ages had travelled from around the world to see the group and they weren’t disappointed – giving huge ovations and raving after the show. American Lisa Anderson, 57, said: “Everyone around me agreed it was an absolute triumph. “I saw them a few times when I was younger, but for me this was the best show they’ve ever done. "It was worth every penny." Support act PAOLO NUTINI, 20, told The Sun: “I wasn’t alive the first time around but I’ve seen the footage on DVD. “Now watching them live, I’ve been taught a true musical lesson. “They were just so intense and so tight, even after all these years.
“I was just blown away.”

I think I have stated before that this is one of the great studio bands ever. I have seen them twice and each time, they have not been good. Is it me, or have the things I have seen and heard from this show not been real great? There is nothing like Zep. I am without a doubt one of their biggest fans, but I have long thought the stage was not where they excelled. In the studio, yes. Live? No.


Anonymous said...

I would agree. I always thought they were a much better studio band. You always helped me get through work when you had your rule that you must play at least 2 in a row from Zeppelin at KY102. Also ,something that is very cool, XM radio has an all-Zeppelin channel right now.

Doc said...

As Jimmy Page went, so went their live shows. I, too, saw them several times, and on all but one of those occasions, they fell short of their studio standard. But that one show, on their last American tour in Oklahoma City, was transcendental. On the first couple of songs, Page's fingers seemed to trip over themselves and I thought, "Great, Page is too fucked up to play well." But after that, they exploded into one of those brilliant performances that you just can't believe you're actually seeing and hearing. When they lit into Kashmir, I felt like I was floating. It was nothing short of mind-blowing. One of those shows was worth sitting through 10 of their drug addled jam sessions.

But the night that Jimmy Page finally showed me why he is without peer as a guitar player wasn't with Led Zeppelin. It was another show in Oklahoma City, only this time he was with The Firm. Great band. No Led Zeppelin but great nonetheless. But that night Page went somewhere that most guitar players only dream of going. He was astounding. Goose stepping around the stage and weaving licks together in a way that no one, and I mean no one, can match. His solos came from somewhere in the cosmos that most guitar players are not even allowed to know about, much less visit.

These guys are in a very elite class...all of them. Being a drummer myself, I have to say that Bonham was truly a God. I hope that Jason can do some semblance of justice to his old man's chops, but there is no way he can match them. Again, a rare one-of-a-kind musician that we get maybe once every generation.

I hope they come to America and, if they do, I will do everything I can to see them. I couldn't live with myself if I missed an opportunity to re-live a musical era that no one is even coming close to today.

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