Monday, November 19, 2012

Celebrate the Hammer of the Gods

Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day 

36 years ago on 17th May 1975 I, as a spotty 14 year old, witnessed the unbelievable spectacle that was Led Zeppelin performing in the flesh. Today the excitement was just as intense. Celebration Day @ 1080p the film of the 2007 concert at the O2 Arena - just stunning! Yes there were a few slight wobbles, Robert Plant chose to improvise rather than hit on or one or two of the really high notes but what an incredible performance this was. The chemistry between them was so evident, smiles at each other at the odd bum note, as if to say "yeah we just about got away with that one" were few. Jimmy Page still gurning his way through the solos and John Paul Jones playing the bass with finesse. My nineteen year old son summed it up saying "they make it look so easy", despite the pressure this was a very relaxed band enjoying themselves. John Bonham would have been very proud of his son Jason who was incredible throughout, his drumming in 'Kashmir' was just stunning. His proud nod to his dad showing off his tattoo of the Bonzo symbol from Led Zeppelin IV was touching. No grandiose show this though with runways extending into the audience a la AC/DC, just a tight group centred around the drum kit, just as it should be. I thought this band had peaked in 1977; the shows at Knebworth in 1979 weren't disappointing but the sharpness just wasn't as keen as I recall, but this performance was a band on top of their game in 2007 and not a collection of has beens in their 60s. Yes there was something to prove, to lay the ghosts to rest on the the appalling performance at the 1988 Atlantic 40th Anniversary Show and the under rehearsed lack lustre performance at Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985 and prove them selves they did.
If you were one of the lucky 20 million who applied an managed to get ticket for the show count yourself as being very fortunate. You were in the presence of 'Rock Royalty', it could be said even 'Rock Gods' well at least "The Hammer of the Gods".
When I try to explain to someone how incredible Led Zeppelin were live they will have a decent record to look at rather than "The Song Remains the Same" a film that never did them justice. We have been waiting 40 odd years for a decent live album/video from Led Zeppelin now at last we have one and don't have to refer back to those incredible performances marred by awful sound that came as standard with the old bootlegs.
I'm sort of glad in a way that this is never going to happen again because it could have turned into a huge tour which would have watered town what was for one night, sheer magic which will be remembered for ever.