Led Zeppelin - 2012 Celebration Day


ARTIST: Led Zeppelin
ALBUM: Celebration Day
LABEL: Swan Song
SERIAL: 8122-79709-9
YEAR: 2012


LINEUP: Robert Plant - vocals * Jimmy Page - guitar * John Paul Jones - bass * Jason Bonham - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Good Times Bad Times * 02 Ramble On * 03 Black Dog * 04 In My Time Of Dying * 05 For Your Life * 06 Trampled Under Foot * 07 Nobody's Fault But Mine * 08 No Quarter * 09 Since I've Been Loving You * 10 Dazed And Confused * 11 Stairway To Heaven * 12 The Song Remains The Same * 13 Misty Mountain Hop * 14 Kashmir * 15 Whole Lotta Love * 16 Rock And Roll

RATING: image



Considering the lack of Led Zeppelin reviews here at GDM, reviewing 'Celebration Day' might be considered less than essential, given the slew of classic recordings from the all time greats.

Nevertheless this live album of the bands gig from London in December 2007 is impressive enough to have some words penned about it here.

Since their demise in 1980 the bands live performances as Led Zeppelin have been few and far between, with the most notable being the shambolic Live Aid appearance in 1985.

The less said about the Page-Plant collaboration of the 90's the better also, a massive letdown from the two main Zeppelin writers.

This show was of course dedicated to Atlantic Records founder, the late Ahmet Ertegun, enough of a valid reason for the band to play apparently.

The logical choice for drummer was Jason Bonham, keeping the tradition of his father John alive. Listening to how good the band was on this particular night, it's surprising it took five years for the band to release this.

Compared to pathetic live albums reviewed here this year by Iron Maiden and AC/DC, this could almost be considered legendary.

The Songs

As this was a one off, the setlist is mostly predictable with a few hidden gems thrown in.

I'm not sure how many of the fans lucky enough to attend the show expected to hear 'For Your Life' from 'Presence'. Apart from this it's mostly a collection of predictable classics, but it's the way the material is played which makes even 'Stairway To Heaven' worth a listen.

In fact you'd be hard pressed to tell 27 years had passed since their last proper shows in 1980.

One of the highlights is 'In My Time Of Dying', where Bonham gets to emulate his father's thumping of the drum kit in meaty fashion.

It's nice to hear 'Nobody's Fault But Mine', another selection from the often maligned 'Presence', with Page tearing it up as if it was still 1976.

Page's production really captures Jones' bass work working in tandem with Bonham and it's often as formidable as the original lineup.

'Dazed And Confused' doesn't quite reach the excessive lengths of the 70's, but Page rekindles his violin bow histrionics, working into a vintage jam, where the man just blows everyone away with his guitar prowess.

Overall it's a long listening experience as a whole and of course you get 'Black Dog', Rock And Roll', 'Whole Lotta Love', and 'Kashmir' for Zep staples, ones that honestly I can do without, despite the obvious enthusiasm they are played with.

Other worthy statements are a gritty version of 'Since I've Been Loving You' and a typically raunchy 'Trampled Underfoot'.

Aficionados of 'Houses Of The Holy' will be satisfied with 'The Song Remains The Same' and 'No Quarter', with again Page stealing the show in my opinion.

In Summary

This has been receiving excellent reviews and I admit they are well deserved. Page took his time producing this and judging from the results he was justified.

From a musical standpoint this is hard to find flaws with, only Plant's vocals a little restrained on occasion, which is probably more to do with age than anything. It shows how extraordinary this band was, with that rare blend of uniquely gifted members who all contributed something magical to the process.

Even without John Bonham you can hear it, showing how weakened Page and Plant were without Jones during their ill fated reunion. But as previously mentioned Page is the real attraction for me, his playing not weathered by time at all.

Just to hear him blazing away is reason enough to hear this quality recording, which for a live album is exceedingly rare in this day and age.

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