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Friday, 19 October 2012

Led Zeppelin : will there be a reunion tour?

It’s the $64 million question; the elephant in the room.

Will they do it again?

They certainly still have what it takes – or, at least, they did five years ago when they reunited at London’s 02 Arena.

After watching Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day at a packed cinema on Wednesday, the proof is there for all to see.

If you were gutted that you couldn’t get tickets for the 2007 supershow – 20 million people entered the ballot for the chance to buy 18,000 tickets – then you’ll be doubly disappointed now.

Because Celebration Day lives up to its title. It’s a celebration not just of Led Zeppelin but of the sheer bloody joy of rock and roll.

As they serve up a setlist of iconic songs, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones have the world once more in the palms of their hands.

There should, of course, be a king-sized hole where John Bonham used to be.

But Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin legend, drums up a storm. He is simply sensational.

Somewhere up there, his dad will be proud as punch.

It’s not note-perfect – God forbid! – and at times it’s downright messy.

Jimmy Page is the first to admit that he hit quite a few bum notes, but adds that there were no ‘major fixes’ needed for the movie.

So what you get is a warts and all performance that surpasses every expectation.

Highlights are a majestic Kashmir, passionate In My Time Of Dying, powerhouse Rock And Roll and – yes, I know it’s unfashionable to like the damn thing these days – Stairway To Heaven. You’ll find the full setlist at the end of this blog.

I’d last seen Zeppelin at the Manchester Hardrock – long since defunct – way back in December 1972. I feared that the reunion would spoil my memories of a magical night, one of the best gigs I’d ever been to.

In the event I need not have worried. Led Zeppelin can still cut it.

They should do it more often.

But will they?

It’s long been held that Page wants to get Zeppelin flying again, but that Plant isn’t keen, preferring to tread new musical paths with first Alison Krauss and latterly with his Band Of Joy.

Jones, we believed, had fallen out with the others. Besides, he’s been playing with Them Flying Vultures, the band he formed with Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl.

But since the hype surrounding the movie began, there have been mixed messages.

Page says he is just waiting for promoter Harvey Goldsmith to ask the band to do it again.

Goldsmith famously got the band to do the Ahmet Ertegun gig back in 2007 by hand-writing letters to the Zeppelin stars,

Would Page be happy to receive another letter asking the band to reform again, he was asked last week?

“What’s he been doing for the past five years?” replied the guitarist. “Why hasn’t he written a letter already?”

Plant, meanwhile, branded a journalist “a schmuck” for daring to ask the unmentionable question.

But then he added: “We’re pretty good at what we do but the tail should never wag the dog, really. If we’re capable of doing something, in our own time, that will be what will happen.”

Asked about how it had felt to relaunch Zeppelin, if only for one night, he added: “There was a real feeling of camaraderie, and actually, successful adventure.

“It was peculiar and strange at times but at the same time it was very rewarding for all of us and it really did work as a performance.”

Jones, meanwhile, admits that his abiding memory of the gig was just “getting through it all”.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “I think it worked out really well – but it was a relief come the end of it, I have to say.”

Jason Bonham would be available if rumours are true that his band Black Country Communion’s new album Afterglow is to be their last.

So that’s the ‘would they?’

‘Should they?’ is another question altogether.

On the strength of the performance, and by public demand, then yes.

But if they really want Celebration Day to be remembered as such a special ‘one-off’ then no.

* Celebration Day will be available on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and vinyl from November 19. Do not miss it.  Here’s the setlist, as promised:

1. “Good Times Bad Times” (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page)
2. “Ramble On” (Page and Robert Plant)
3. “Black Dog” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
4. “In My Time of Dying”/”Honey Bee” (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant/Muddy Waters)
5. “For Your Life” (Page and Plant)
6. “Trampled Under Foot” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
7. “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” (Page and Plant)
8. “No Quarter” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
9. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
10. “Dazed and Confused” (Page)
11. “Stairway to Heaven” (Page and Plant)
12. “The Song Remains the Same” (Page and Plant)
13. “Misty Mountain Hop” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
14. “Kashmir” (Bonham, Page, and Plant)
15. “Whole Lotta Love” (Bonham, Willie Dixon, Jones, Page and Plant)
16. “Rock and Roll” (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant)

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