CD Review: Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin, EMI

Mar 20, 2013, 01:07 IST | Lindsay Pereira

A little over five years ago, this critic was one of approximately 20 million who bravely tried (and failed) to score one of 18,000 tickets to a Led Zeppelin concert in London's O2 arena. There were 20 million requests simply because the last time that majestic group had appeared on stage was 1980, before the death of their iconic drummer John Bonham.

A little over five years ago, this critic was one of approximately 20 million who tried (and failed) to watch video footage of that magical night when the remaining members of Zeppelin hit the stage accompanied by Bonham’s son Jason on drums. YouTube labelled all footage unauthorised but it was, by all 18,000 accounts, a spectacular show.

One assumed, naturally, that the band would want to share it with as many fans as possible, but nothing of the sort happened. Until five days ago, when this critic finally succeeded in listening to (and watching) what happened on November 10, 2007. It made the wait worthwhile.

For fans, this release (2 CDs + 1 DVD) is phenomenal value for money, not simply because much of it plays like a ‘Greatest Hits’ record. Plant’s vocals don’t always hit the high notes, but Jones’ and Page’s fingers sound as if they haven’t aged a bit. The nicest surprise is Jason Bonham, who hits those skins with the same ferocity his father once did. The DVD comes with hundreds of goose bump-inducing moments, from the unmistakable opening of Black Dog to the sing-along on Stairway to Heaven and the arena-stomping riff of Kashmir.

Whether or not Led Zeppelin tour again may matter only to those who have the opportunity to see them. That the rest of us can still get a taste of their legendary swagger makes us fortunate nonetheless. Long may they reign.

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