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Zep fly high with this classic live collection


Led Zeppelin reunited to launch their new film Celebration Day

Led Zeppelin reunited to launch their new film Celebration Day

Led Zeppelin reunited to launch their new film Celebration Day

Led Zeppelin Celebration Day (Atlantic)

The people who promote Led Zeppelin's music have been in touch.

"You'll be reviewing the new album, won't you?" they said, not exactly asking. More telling me. It's what you'd expect from the Zep machine, which was legendarily heavy-handed.

When the band, which took the psyche-blues sound of The Yardbirds and added extra layers of sonic gravitas to the mix, performed in Dublin in 1971 they were in high spirits back at their hotel. The young night manager requested them to keep the noise down. In response, manager Peter Grant flourished a briefcase full of cash and declared: "F**k off or we'll buy this hotel and sack you first."

Zep went on to become the biggest band in the world. Tragically, the worst excesses of their style were aped in ham-fisted fashion by dullards and ne'er-do-wells, devaluing the band's considerable, and sometimes overlooked, musical innovations.

The sudden death of drummer John Bonham in 1980 signaled the disintegration of the behemoth. The four inter-locking parts of the band had been essential to the Led Zep sound. So a couple of subsequent high-profile, one-off appearances failed to ignite.

This 16-track double CD (and DVD) captures a gig from five years ago when the three remaining band members, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, were joined by John Bonham's son Jason.


The repertoire the band chose is interesting. A smattering of old favourites (Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven) are offset by songs rarely included in their live shows (Good Times Bad Times, For Your Life, Ramble On).

Remarkably, Bonham the Younger fits seamlessly into the groove. A sizeable chip off the old block, for sure. Worried that sentiment was dictating to logic, I listened back to the studio versions and checked the juggernaut live takes on How The West Was Won and concluded that Celebration Day is indeed the bee's knees. Explosive you'd expect. But funky and nuanced? Cripes. This is damn fine gumbo from some inspired dinosaurs. HHHHI