Friday, April 18, 2008


Led Zeppelin

"They went onstage not only like they were Led Zeppelin, but Led Zeppelin with something to prove," says drummer Jason Bonham, an obsessive fan since boyhood who had the best seat in the house — behind the kit, in place of his late father, John — for the band's first full-length concert since 1980, at London's 02 arena on December 10th, 2007. Despite months of rehearsal with guitarist Jimmy Page, vocalist Robert Plant and bassist John Paul Jones, Bonham confessed he felt "nauseous right before we went on." But as soon as Zeppelin opened with "Good Times Bad Times" — a song they never played live in its entirety — "we were all in. We weren't going through the motions anymore." The most hysterically anticipated show of last year and arguably the biggest rock reunion ever, Zeppelin's performance was a total victory, covering the hits and deep corners of their catalog. The show was also rich in the improvised thrills that were a hallmark of the band's Seventies gigs. Even in rehearsals, Bonham says, songs "changed every day. The main structure was always there, but Robert would pitch the melody differently. Jimmy would change a guitar part." Page, Plant and Jones have all said they are open to more shows, and promoters say it could be the biggest tour ever. But Plant is touring with Alison Krauss this summer, and Bonham insists he doesn't know when or if it will happen. "I keep away from the politics of it," he says. "If there is anything I've gained from this, it's that I have three new friends to talk to — not as if they're my uncles." And if the phone call comes? "I'm there." DAVID FRICKE
For the rest of Rolling Stone's Best of ROCK 2008, click HERE


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