Release Date: Nov 19, 2012
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Hard Rock, Arena Rock
The first lines in the first song Robert Plant sings at Led Zeppelin’s reunion show, their first full-length concert since they dissolved in 1980, are “In the days of my youth/I was told what it means to be a man. ” The first lines in the last song of the night are “It’s been a long time since I Rock and Rolled. ” Both lyrics have become even more fitting as time moved forward.
Zeppelin. When we talk about a British four-piece by the name of Led Zeppelin, we are not broaching discussion about just any ordinary rock band, no flavor-of-the month or substance-less hype recipient. We are talking about one of the most successful, one of the most beloved, and one of the absolute greatest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. This is a group whose influence is incalculable, and whose riffs and drum beats are forever etched into the collective memory of three generations of music lovers.
It took the death of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun for the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin, plus John Bonham's son, Jason, to reconvene for a one-off tribute show at London's O2 in 2007. Five years on, there's finally a chance for the 20 million people who couldn't get tickets to hear – across multiple formats – what they missed: consummate renditions of their best-known songs, including an inspired In My Time of Dying, plus a first ever live outing for For Your Life. And, thankfully, no drum solos.
Contrary to popular perception, Led Zeppelin isn't exactly averse to reunions. If anything, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant can't keep away from each other. Just four years after John Bonham's 1980 death, Page laid down guitar on Robert Plant's oldies act the Honeydrippers, and not long after that, John Paul Jones joined the pair for a performance at 1985's Live Aid.
There has never been a live recording quite so eagerly anticipated as this one. Five years have passed since the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin – plus Jason Bonham, son of John – reformed for a solitary performance at London’s O2 Arena, and until now, die-hard Zep heads have had to make do with a wealth of covertly recorded but ultimately unsatisfying bootlegs. Of course, it’s no wonder fans have been clamouring for audio (and audio-visual) records: this is the most in-demand concert of all time, with 20 million people applying for 18,000 tickets.
Somewhere in the region of 20 million people tried to get tickets for Led Zeppelin's one-off 2007 reunion gig, which is happily now immortalised on film, and this accompanying soundtrack. Where Zep's 1975 live set The Song Remains the Same documented a band heading past their imperial period and with musicianship stamped "excess all areas", Celebration Day captures a more streamlined band – men in their 60s determined to prove they can still cut it. Over 16 songs and two hours, they do just that.
There's something admirable about Robert Plant's resolve to leave the legacy of Led Zeppelin in the annals of rock and roll history. There's doubtlessly a multi-million-dollar market for a Zeppelin reunion tour, but Plant has left that money on the table to play bluegrass. And, thankfully, the other members have never followed through on a rumoured tour with a replacement singer.
A fine live presentation of the power and the glory of Led Zeppelin. Patrick Humphries 2012 The scramble for tickets for this December 2007 Ahmet Ertegun tribute show virtually caused the Internet to crash. Money on the table for a subsequent reunion tour ran into hundreds of millions. Such facts are evidence, like it’s needed, of the intensity of interest in Led Zeppelin 30 years after they split.