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Led Zeppelin Returns

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Kara Sundstrom
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« on: December 10, 2007, 08:26:05 pm »

Led Zeppelin: Then it got better still
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 10/12/2007

 


David Cheal reviews Led Zeppelin at the O2 arena

Led Zeppelin page
Were you there?
"I must be one of the happiest 18,000 people in the world today," said a middle-aged man on the London Underground yesterday afternoon. And with good reason: he had a ticket to the big one. Twenty-seven years after they disbanded, Led Zeppelin were back together, for one night in London, in what was surely the most feverishly anticipated reunion gig of all time - a concert for which millions around the world applied for tickets.



 
Led Zeppelin on stage at the O2 in London: The familiar old sinew and swagger were still there

Brought back together to honour Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of their record company, Atlantic Records, who died last year, Zeppelin promised that this would be just a one-off appearance, to raise money for an educational fund.

The Led Zeppelin vox pop
And as the lucky critic who was handed this dream ticket, I have to say that I was in my own fever of anticipation in the days building up to the big event: anxiety dreams clouded my sleep - what if they turned out to be not-very-good, or only played three songs? - while my waking hours were distracted by the thought that soon, I'd be watching the greatest band in the world on stage.

Well, three of them: on the drum-stool, Jason Bonham was replacing his dad John, whose death from a vodka binge in 1980 marked the end of the road for Zeppelin as a group. For a rock fan, and a writer who has covered some big shows over the past 20 years, gigs don't get any bigger.

But could it possibly live up to the expectation? Well: I was blown away.

The first song, Good Times, Bad Times, dispelled all fears. The familiar old sinew and swagger were still there, singer Robert Plant's voice seeming untouched by age, guitarist Jimmy Page, his hair now almost white, firing off little solos that were a taste of things to come, John Paul Jones's bass twisting and driving, Jason Bonham's drums crisp and powerful.

I felt a little sorry for the string of support acts who had warmed up the crowd - star names such as Bill Wyman, Keith Emerson, Paul Rodgers and Foreigner, but whose contributions were immediately swept away like dust in the breeze by the awesome foursome.

Then it got better. Ramble On was just sensational, and the crowd, hitherto a little subdued, began to wake up and shout. The band's body language spoke volumes: they were watching each other, playing to each other, smiling: they were a group.

Then it got better still: Black Dog. Byzantine riff, pulverising drums, hollering vocals. Magic. And no sign of Jimmy Page's finger injury that had caused the gig to be delayed. "Good evening," said Plant.

How much better could it get? Here's how much: In My Time of Dying, driven by such a dark, filthy, shivery blues riff, the electrifying change of pace, drums and guitar locked into a sensational groove. It scarcely seemed possible that a group could be this good.

Trampled Underfoot was a reminder that Zeppelin were fusing funk and rock 20 years before the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and that John Paul Jones is a great keyboard player.

And Nobody's Fault But Mine was a reminder that, contrary to myth, Zeppelin were - are - not a heavy metal band, not a prog-rock band, but a band who played and loved the blues, were electrified by it, and in turn electrified it.

And so it went on: they never flagged, although the crowd seemed a bit limp at times. Bonham was astonishing: he didn't just lock into Jones's base grooves - he played off against the guitar and the vocals. He was listening. And they had clearly done a lot of rehearsing.

I could go on but I'm running out of space. Dazed and Confused! Since I've Been Loving You! Stairway to Heaven! They were fantastic. Better than I expected.

It was a joy and a privilege to be there.
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2007/12/11/bmzep111.xml&CMP=ILC-mostviewedbox
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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2007, 08:28:15 pm »

Led Zeppelin at the O2: were you there?
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 10/12/2007




   
Still rocking? Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant on stage last year
Write your Led Zeppelin review here
Read David Cheal's review
Germaine Greer: Led Zep blew my mind
Led Zeppelin homepage
Did you attend last nightís historic reunion concert at the O2?

The most hyped reformation since Martin Luther has spawned countless column inches and even inspired one truly dedicated fan to spend £83,000 on a ticket.

If you were at the concert last night we would like to hear your opinion of the gig, the bandís performance and their choice of songs.

In short, do Led Zep still rock after all these years?

Do you think this show was the opening of a reunion tour, or will it go down in history as a legendary one-off?

Are the innumerable reunions of bands who seemed to have thrown in the towel long ago cynical cash-ins, or heartfelt attempts to give something back to their fans?
 

 Have your say     

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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2007, 08:30:02 pm »

Germaine Greer: The night Led Zeppelin blew my mind
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 10/12/2007



On the day of the band's feverishly anticipated reunion gig, Germaine Greer recalls a concert at the Albert Hall in 1970 which converted her from cynic into believer

Exclusive video: Rock and Roll live at Knebworth, 1979
KT Tunstall: I love Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin homepage
I love Led Zep to this day, I don't know how it was that I got to see Led Zeppelin live on stage at the Albert Hall. What I do know is that I wouldn't have bought a ticket. In the circles I moved in, if you weren't invited to a rock concert and didn't have a backstage pass, you didn't go.



   
Legendary: Led Zeppelin
I certainly wasn't invited by anyone connected with Led Zeppelin, who were never to be seen hobnobbing with other musos and their molls at the Speakeasy or anywhere else.

As far as the wider rock and roll community was concerned, Led Zeppelin were a commercial operation put together by the most professional session musician in the business, but then they also thought that David Bowie was a useless hanger-on. Somehow I did get to see Led Zeppelin, and that legendary foursome, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, did blow my cynical disbelieving mind.

Far from being in the wings or backstage, I was miles away on the very top rung of the Albert Hall, where the backstage staff used to come to catch some of the gig in between chores. So how I got there I'm blest if I can remember, but I shall never forget what I witnessed.

The Albert Hall acoustic is peculiar: the sound came up to me with a force that pummelled me breathless. No other band ever managed to make a sound like that. It was certainly loud, but it was also driving, pushing along with incredible energy.

 
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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2007, 08:30:49 pm »

In the centre was the skinny figure of Jimmy Page, shrouded in a cloud of black hair, working on his guitar like an engineer shovelling coal into this express train of a band. I was used to virtuoso guitar from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix; Page was different because his sound was thoroughly integrated into the whole sound.

The key was the man who could have been choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral, the bassist John Paul Jones. Jones was even better educated musically than Page so, rather than duelling with his lead guitar, he listened and responded. Page also listened to him, as carefully as violin and cello listen to each other in a classical string quartet.

The result may have been less spontaneous than lead guitar and bass bouncing off each other as usual, but it was far more musical. Incredibly the whole band were in tune, which meant that harmonies and dissonances could build and interact to produce Zeppelin's characteristic depth of sound, even more striking in performance than on record.

Up there above the heaving crowd, I couldn't believe the transcendental noise I was hearing. Robert Plant was certainly screaming the place down, but his was a real tenor yell, right up to the highest notes.

Most of the lead singers I knew had hardly more than a single octave and sang their high notes falsetto, usually out of tune; indeed, one of the most successful British bands had a lead singer who was utterly tone deaf. Most rock and roll vocalists don't sing but shout. Inside the bony cavities of his outsize head Plant created real resonance so he could really sing.

Like most drummers, Bonham is best known for battering solos, and he was allowed his 32 bars, but more importantly he always hit the middle of the beat. He could cross it, bend it, twist it, but he never forgot where it was.

The result was power. All rock and roll bands were after power, but most of them were too disorganised to arrive at it. Led Zeppelin used discipline and concentration to become the Wagner of rock and roll.

What was also obvious was that the Led Zeppelin sound was nourished by the best of urban rhythm and blues. I didn't know enough to recognise all the riffs I heard, but there were quotations from everywhere, some part of the shared musical tradition, from Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Big Bill Broonzy and all, some from much closer to home.

As Page had worked on two thirds of the pop music recorded in British studios in the mid-'60s, it wasn't surprising that some things sounded familiar; what nobody knows to this day is who was responsible for what. Caught up in that storm of mighty melody, I wasn't about to get mad on behalf of the Small Faces and the Yardbirds. Led Zeppelin had done what they didn't do: they had got it together.

For 10 years, rock and roll had been working towards something that would combine the extraordinary capacities of electronic instruments with the anarchic energy of youth, and there in the Albert Hall on January 9, 1970, I found it. The spring god Dionysus had arisen and was shaking his streaming red-gold mane on stage.

In these four figures spinning in their vortex of sound, male display was transcending itself. There really never was anything quite like it. The Rolling Stones might have been closer to the marrow of rock and roll, but Led Zeppelin were its super-toned muscle.

In 1972, when Led Zeppelin toured Australia, I was in Sydney and, having time on my hands, decided to gatecrash a reception at the Sebel Townhouse and say hi to the biggest band in the world. And I found that they were big, physically, not boys but men.

Jimmy asked me if I would be going to their concert. To tease him, I said his wasn't my kind of music, "too commercial". And bless me if he didn't question me closely, as I gulped his champagne, for all the world as if he cared what I thought.

This was more than I had bargained for, and I eventually had to confess that I understood only too well why, after years of contributing the best bits to bestselling albums, he had decided to get out there and show them how it was done.

The band were to discover over the years that theirs was a pact made with the devil, but, in 1972, as four British lads on the razzle in Sydney, their frolicking was more innocent than debauched. The legendary excesses must have come later, if ever.

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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2007, 08:32:27 pm »

Led Zeppelin: Why I love them
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 06/12/2007



Singer/songwriter KT Tunstall explains why she loves Led Zeppelin

Robyn Hitchcok: I love Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin homepage
I remember when I first heard Led Zeppelin.

advertisementI was a kid in my pyjamas watching Top of the Pops, bopping along to Whole Lotta Love, not knowing what was implanting itself in my brain.

The next time I heard them, I was a student sitting in front of a stereo turned up full tilt and listened through song after song.

Their folk roots allowed me to relate to harder rock songs in a way I hadn't before.

The prog totally pressed my buttons, and it was a band: every player earned his stripes.Undeniably my favourite rock band ever.
 
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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2007, 08:34:11 pm »

Led Zeppelin's pre-gig ritual: coffee and ironing
By Richard Alleyne
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 10/12/2007



Led Zeppelin's appetite for drugs, drink and groupies was the stuff of rock legend but their backstage demands for Monday night's gig at the O2 Arena are far less hedonistic.

Exclusive video: Rock and Roll live at Knebworth, 1979
KT Tunstall: I love Led Zeppelin
Germaine Greer: Led Zep blew my mind
As the British band limber up for what has been dubbed the greatest reunion in history, the only stimulant they need is caffeine - and a spot of housework.

   
Led Zep: all sensible these days
During rehearsals the frontman Robert Plant, now 59, clutched a mug of tea and then asked for an ironing board so he could press his own clothes before the gig. He told friends it helps him "get in the mood".

The modest requirements are a world away from their heyday in the 1970s when the British band invented a number of rock'n'roll cliches including trashing hotel rooms and throwing television sets out of windows.

Such was their excess that when their manager, settling the huge hotel bill for damage to rooms, was asked by a worker why they did it, he peeled off a wad of notes and said "Find out, have one on me," urging him to set about one of the rooms himself.

Harvey Goldsmith, the concert promoter, said time appeared to have mellowed them and they were now "very low maintenance".

"They are much older now obviously and are very low maintenance," he said as he mingled with hundreds of fans before the gig at London's O2 centre.

"They've asked for cups of tea and coffee. We'll have some beer and a bottle of wine for them backstage but they have said they require very little.

"They are extremely focused and have been rehearsing. They know that a lot of people have been waiting a long time for this gig - it's going to be a great concert."

 
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2007, 08:35:38 pm »

The three surviving members of the hugely successful 1970s group that created "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love" have rarely performed together since splitting in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham following a drinking binge.

By their own admission, each reunion since had been a flop, and so they are determined to make this gig a success.

A huge video screen has been built behind the stage and stacks of speakers are ready to deliver the trademark wall of sound - expected to peak at more than 100 decibels.

Thousands of fans, many from the USA and Canada, have camped out overnight at the venue, the former home of the Millennium Dome, even though they have tickets. They just want to savour the atmosphere, said organisers.

When the 20,000 tickets went on sale for the concert, a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun, the late founder of Atlantic Records, an estimated 20 million applied.

The gig is expected to have earn Ertegun's charity as much as £2.25million.

Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, 63, and bassist John Paul Jones, 61, will be joined by Bonham's son Jason on the drums for the one-off comeback, although there has been fevered speculation that the gig may be followed by a full-scale tour.

"Let's just do the O2 and we'll see what happens from there," Page said in a recent interview. "I haven't got a crystal ball here and nor have you."

Led Zeppelin homepage
Led Zeppelin, who sold an estimated 300 million albums, were said to be the fathers of heavy metal and had enormous influence on later acts.

"We turned up on Saturday, but we were told to come back the next day as we would still be at the front of the queue," said David Beesmer, 42, a businessman from New York who spent more than £3,500 on his ticket and trip.

"I didn't want to take any risks," he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2007/12/10/bmzep110.xml&CMP=ILC-mostviewedbox
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