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Led Zeppelin at the 02

March 14, 2012

First published December 2007

After the acres of newsprint devoted to the return of Led Zeppelin what else is there to say ?  Simply this – I am not a huge fan of the band and I was very impressed. The Zeppelin I grew up with was the late ‘70s version, endless sets and extended drum solos. The version I saw on Monday night was like something from the late ‘60s – pared down and purposeful. As an example Robert Plant no longer sings ‘Gonna Give You Every Inch Of My Love” in ‘Whole Lotta Love’ but now sings ‘You Need Love’, reverting back to the source Willie Dixon number and leaving the cock-rock imagery behind. Jason Bonham was a revelation, bringing more of a swing to the rhythm than did his father, this being especially noticeable on set-highlight ‘Kashmir’. Page looked sharper than I have seen him in years and the keyboard playing of John Paul Jones gave the likes of ‘Trampled Underfoot’ some welcome funk. Yes they will now tour and they will undoubtedly play more prestigious venues but I doubt that this version of the band will ever play with as much commitment and concentration as we saw on Monday.

Question of the night: how come Ronnie Wood got second billing on all official merchandise – programmes, T shirts, posters – when he appeared to play absolutely no part in proceedings?

Gobsmacking postscript. Our seats were in the very top tier, to one side of the stage. Next to us was a completely unused block of maybe 100 seats with a great view – judge for yourself from the pictures I took. Extraordinary that these seats were left vacant and we ended up with a row to ourselves!.

See Jeremy Paxman rock out to ‘Rock & Roll’ on BBC2 Newsnight www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8v_Rqi4B-E

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