Led Zeppelin finally released the footage from their reunion show at the O2 Arena in 2007, as a film they are calling “Celebration Day.” They have been hyping up the release for some time now, and I was able to catch the one night only showing at the Studio Movie Grill in City Center, last night.
First of all, I have never been to a movie theater “concert” showing. I have my own reasons for this, but the main one is that I prefer an authentic experience. However, I highly doubt I will ever get a chance to see Led Zeppelin in concert, due to how absolutely against it Robert Plant is.
I don’t blame him; Led Zeppelin without John Bonham is not Led Zeppelin. I admire Plant for sticking to his guns, I wish other artists (Black Sabbath, cough) would do the same.
Naturally, I was skeptical about this show. A lot of hype can lead to a lot of disappointment, so I set my expectations on their lowest setting before I entered the theater.
The show started with “Good Times, Bad Times.” Initially, I was super critical, and consequently a little bit disappointed in Jimmy Page’s overly saturated guitar pedal tone, but after the first two songs, Page switched guitars, and everything sounded great.
I mean, everything. Jason Bonham was killing it all over that drum set, and it was obvious that the spirit of his father was with him the whole night. John Paul Jones was solid as a rock, which came as no surprise. Page was in good form, sloppy, sure, but that rawness is part of his appeal.
The real surprise for me was Plant. The thing about most arena rock singers is that those iconic voices usually fade with old age. Plant shook me, all night long. He hit some powerful high notes, screams and especially killed it towards the middle and end of the night as he warmed up. I couldn’t help cheering in my seat.
Needless to say, I left the theater completely in awe. I was so ready to groan the night away, but instead I needed a change of pants when the dust settled.
Highlights from the show for me were the intense musical energy of “The Song Remains the Same”, Plant hitting the high notes on “Kashmir”, Page’s bad ass slide guitar on “In My Time of Dying”, complete with a snarl, and Jason Bonham landing the drum ending of “Rock and Roll.”
I don’t know if I’ll go to another movie theater “concert” again, this being a special exception, but the energy in the room was fun, and at times hilarious, hearing middle aged bros yelling out cheers of admiration when Page soloed. I think I even heard someone shout “Freebird” in the theater.
Celebration Day is coming out in on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 19th, so you can see for yourselves that the boys still have it.
by Rob McCarthy