Monday, 5 November 2018

Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day (2007)


Apart from a couple of patchy one-off performances at US Live Aid and Atlantic Records' 50th Anniversary event, this is and was and ever will be, Led Zeppelin's only reunion, with the three remaining original members and John Bonham's son, Jason, on drums.

It is a powerful, memorable affair (probably best experienced watching the DVD ,linked to your sound system if possible). It is still an exciting, invigorating listen on CD too, with a huge, thumping resonant sound. If anything, though, I will say that the sheer power from the axis of Bonham, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones' throbbing, deep bass does actually render Robert Plant's deeper, croakier, ageing voice at times, in a way it certainly did not in the seventies. His voice is a little muffled and indistinct at times too, notably in the "Mordor" lyric on "Ramble On". This is a minor observation, however, ageing happens and it is still great to hear this seminal band back together for this one last time. The idea that it was a one-off reunion, and not the first of fifty world tour dates, repeated every few years or so was a unique and praiseworthy one. They did it just the once, and they did it superbly.

The set was immaculately rehearsed and expertly delivered and the set is just the right mix of the expected songs, a live rarity like "For Your Life" and a nice amount of muscular, early blues-based material. Due respect is paid to the essential early part of the band's career, more so than the later, which is how it should be. The old seventies twenty-five minute drawn out versions are a thing of the past and there is, understandably so, no drum solo. However, as enjoyable as this is to dig out every now and again, if I want Led Zeppelin live I still turn to "How The West Was Won" or "The Song Remains The Same", particularly now in their excellent new remastered formats.


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