Author: Michael D. Vogel Genre: ,
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By: Michael D. Vogel

© October 16, 2012. Michael D. Vogel. All Rights Reserved.

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Examiner.com – October 18 , 2012

The greatest rock & roll band in history with over 300 million records sold, brings the MOST DEMANDED TICKET IN MUSIC HISTORY TO THE MASSES!

There was no tour. There wasn’t a 6 night stand of warm-up gigs in small venues to get ready for the concert either – there was only one night! And that one night is about to be a reality for millions of rock & roll fans around the world; for those who won the lottery and received a pair of the limited number of “golden tickets” to see the historic performance now is a chance to relive that one special night in all of its glory. For the rest of us, when word leaked out that there could be a possible release of the performance, we held our breath hoping for the best and waited with anxious anticipation. That day is now here as Led Zeppelin’s history making single night reunion concert honoring the life of Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun will be hitting theaters across the globe for a limited run beginning October 17, with premieres in London, Los Angeles, and New York City, followed by the audio/video release in multiple formats in November. Celebrating the sheer magnitude and power of the band, “Celebration Day” will go down for many historic things, one of which and most importantly, it is a definitive (and quite possibly one of the very best) performances by one of rock’s most renowned artists.

(Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day Trailer – ledzeppelin)

Back-story: The legendary concert was recorded on December 10 2007, at London’s O2 Arena. A one-off show, with several studio rehearsals and a run-thru the night before, but the concert was it – one night only! There would be no re-doing a song after it was all over.  Every song was one take, just like the show.

O2 Arena - London (Thomas Nugent)And quite a show it was. A ‘Tour-de-force’ does not even give the full description of the magnitude and power of the performance put on by the greatest rock & roll band in history! Forget that the original three are in their mid 60’s, with Jason Bonham taking his late father’s place behind the drum, the band put on a performance with youthful exuberance that undeniably rocked harder than kids half their age. After all, this was the concert that even the legendary Pete Townshend pulled out when he heard Led Zeppelin would be performing, saying, “they really don’t need me.”

The 2007 concert itself was a benefit to commemorate the life of music executive Ahmet Ertegun, the co-founder of Atlantic Records, with proceeds from the show earmarked for college scholarships for students in the USA, UK and Turkey (Ertegun’s home). As the event began to take shape, it was Ahmet‘s widow herself that ultimately Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day (Official poster-Shepard Fairey)convinced Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones to reconvene one more time. Filling in for late drummer John Bonham at that concert was his son, Jason, whose performance was “absolutely monumental,” Page said. “Nobody else could have done it.” Plant added “It was peculiar, it was strange at times, but at the same time it was very rewarding for all of us.”

With this being the first full-length concert since the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, the concert was sure to have an enormous draw. “I knew it was going to sell out quickly,” commented Jimmy Page, “but the tidal wave of euphoria that preceded the gig, the anticipation, went beyond what I could possibly have imagined. We’d had a few shambolic appearances in the past, like ‘Live Aid,’ so if we were ever going to come back together; we were going to do it properly and stand up and be counted.”

Record setting: The historic performance attracted nearly 20 million fans from all over the world, with over one million registering for tickets alone. According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2009), the concert holds the world record for the “Highest Demand for Tickets for One Music Concert” with 20 million requests for the reunion show being received online.

Due to the enormous demand, a special online lottery system was then implemented through the website Ahmettribute.com, for fans to enter a random drawing for the coveted tickets. Eight thousand fans were then selected for the 16,000 tickets that were made available to the public, with all proceeds going to Ertegun’s own charity. Led Zeppelin Concert At O2 Arena -Concert Ticket (Cat Gillon/Getty Images)Unfortunately, the system became overwhelmed by the massive request onslaught and crashed almost immediately following the announcement. The response was so far beyond anyone’s expectation that the promoter even predicted the concert would have the “largest demand for one show in history.”

Being a one night only historic event on the grandest of scales, many concert goers, as evidenced by the amount of tablets and smart phones being held aloft by the audience, recorded the concert themselves. Some sophisticated bootleg versions of the show have even made their way to Internet, including a wide-screen DVD version complete with a surround sound audio track mixed from 10 different audience recordings of the show.

(Led Zeppelin – “Rock and Roll” teaser (Celebration Day) – ledzeppelin)

Rumors immediately began circulating that a professional recording, shot by over a dozen cameras, was being made of the show for possible release, and Zeppelin fans across the globe rejoiced. The following year though, Page had cast doubt saying a release wasn’t guaranteed as the project required mixing and would be a “massive job to embark on.”  Page remained uncertain whether it would actually see the light of day as late as 2010, but continued to work on mixing the album on and off; using only minimal overdubs and corrections, as both the performance itself and the recording were high quality. Even bassist John Paul Jones agreed that he would like to see it released commercially, but that there was no timeline for it. But then, on September 9, 2012, the band updated their Facebook page followed by a simple audio track posted to YouTube, and since a full scale reunion tour seemed highly unlikely, widespread speculation pointed to the possibility that the concert recording might soon be ready for release. The final proof came when details were accidentally leaked that the album was finished, with a limited engagement in theaters followed by home release towards the end of the year.

Premiere: On October 15, 2012, 44 years to the day of the debut of “Jimmy Page’s New Yardbirds,” at Surrey University in the UK, Los Angeles fans were treated to an exclusive showing of the film, 2 days prior to the official movie premiere around the world. By the over enthusiastic response each song received, the 2 hour plus concert had delivered everything that had been promised.

Gary Moore - Get The Led Out (KLOS) The host for the premiere was Gary Moore, longtime host of the extremely popular “Get The Led Out” nightly radio program on Southern California’s premiere rock station 95.5 KLOS/Los Angeles. Moore, who also attended the concert in London, offered this reflection of the concert and movie. “Now everybody can see for themselves what I’ve been raving about for nearly five years. The film puts you right on stage with the boys, letting you see priceless facial expressions and nuances with the instruments you couldn’t see otherwise. No band ever faced higher stakes for a one-off show than Zeppelin did that night and they nailed the hell out of it!

To hear Gary Moore’s interview with Dick Carruthers – Here!

So how does a band decide on the songs to be played at such a significant event, a band that has a body of music the size and magnitude of Led Zeppelin? All the requisite songs are there, played to an extremely enthusiastic crowd that ate up every note as if it were their last meal. Setting the tone, the show begins with “Good Times, Bad Times” and never looks back. Of special note was the first and only performance of “For Your Life,” a song that really brought the crowd, both at the concert and those in the movie theater to their feet. Other highlight performances included fan favorites “Rock And Roll” and “Black Dog,” a redefining version of “No Quarter” and “Ramble On,” plus signature songs “Stairway To Heaven” and “Kasmir,” as well as “Dazed And Confused” which Plant describe as “…some songs are just required – this is one of them…

(Led Zeppelin “Black Dog” (Celebration Day) ledzeppelin)

The production of the movie saw some improvements and corrections from the live performance itself. For example, some of the songs are in a slightly lower key/register for Plant’s vocals, which isn’t that unusual, as he often sang songs lower than the LP versions back in the day as well. In addition, there was also some sound mixing problems to begin the  live show, which have since been cleaned up and/or edited out for the theatrical and home releases.

John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Jason Bonham (Dario Cantatore/Invision/AP)Never say never: Following the official theatrical debut of the film on September 21 at the Odeon West End in London; the surviving members of the band appeared at a press event to promote the release. The band answered questions afterward; but when asked about the possibility of more reunion performances, the trio would not commit.

Although it is highly unlikely a full set of reunion shows will ever happen, the potential of one-off shows seems to remain a remote possibility as Plant’s final thoughts on the subject leave the door open to the idea of the band getting back together again.  While not giving the definitive “no” Plant did offer that “the tail should never wag the dog” but did acknowledge their fans’ desire to see Zeppelin play again, continuing, “If we’re capable of doing something in our own time, that will be what will happen.” He also reflected back on the show saying that he very pleased with how he and his old band mates performed at that 2007 reunion concert.

(Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day Press Conference (London 9/21/12) – ledzeppelin)

Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day (Cover - Shepard Fairey) The film hits theaters today with home release on November 19. The cover art and promotional art for the “Celebration Day,” was once again designed by Shepard Fairey, who also designed the cover for 2007’s Greatest Hits release “Mothership.” The album will be released to all music and digital retailers in a variety of packages too, some just in time for “that perfect gift” for your favorite Zep-head. A standard edition consisting of one DVD or Blu-ray bundled with two soundtrack Compact Discs will be issued, as well as a special packaging triple vinyl LP to be released in December. A deluxe edition will also be issued that will include bonus video from rehearsals and news footage from the BBC. Additionally, there will also be a music-only Blu-ray with high-resolution HD sound and no video available.

Reviews: The critics have had nothing but praise for the show too! New Musical Express (NME) said “Celebration Day” “proves that they can still perform to the level that originally earned them their legendary reputation.” Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker added “the failed gigs of the nineteen-eighties and nineties have been supplanted by a triumph, and the band should be pleased to have done Ertegun proud with such a spirited performance,” while Marc Lee from The Daily Telegraph, who rated “Celebration Day” with five out of five stars, said “Celebration Day is a celebration of rock ‘n’ roll at its most moving, magical and magnificent.”

(Led Zeppelin “Kashmir” teaser (Celebration Day) ledzeppelin)

Mission accomplished:Have you seen the film? Did you enjoy it? Then we’ve done our job, haven’t we?” Jimmy Page concluded at the recent press conference, putting the final exclamation mark on a concert that will go down in the history books as one of the greatest – until the next show! ^m^

Celebration Day” track listing (source: Wikipedia)

  1. “Good Times Bad Times” (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page)
  2. “Ramble On” (Page and Robert Plant)
  3. Black Dog” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
  4. “In My Time of Dying”/”Honey Bee” (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant/Muddy Waters)
  5. “For Your Life” (Page and Plant)
  6. “Trampled Under Foot” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
  7. “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” (Page and Plant)
  8. “No Quarter” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
  9. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
  10. “Dazed and Confused” (Page)
  11. “Stairway to Heaven” (Page and Plant)
  12. “The Song Remains the Same” (Page and Plant)
  13. “Misty Mountain Hop” (Jones, Page, and Plant)
  14. Kasmir” (Bonham, Page, and Plant)

First Encore

  1. “Whole Lotta Love” (Bonham, Willie Dixon, Jones, Page and Plant)

Second Encore

  1. Rock And Roll“/”Celebration Day” (intro) (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant/Jones, Page, and Plant)

Members: John Paul Jones – bass; Jimmy Page – guitars; Robert Plant – vocals, Jason Bonham – Drums

Producer: Jimmy Page

Film Director: Dick Carruthers

Origin: London, England, United Kingdom

Website: ledzeppelin.com

Facebook: /ledzeppelin

YouTube: /ledzeppelin

Discography: (source: Wikipedia)

– For a comprehensive list, see Led Zeppelin discography

Studio albums

You may also like:Aerosmith, Cream, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Black SabbathBonham, Humble Pie, Kingdom Come, Queen, Rush, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Bad Company, Deep Purple, Free, Gov’t Mule, Grand Funk Railroad, Great White, Guns N’ Roses, Lenny Kravitz, Mötley Crüe, Mott the Hoople, Savoy Brown, Soundgarden, T. Rex, Ten Years After, The Cult, The Pretty Things, The Who, Van Halen, Whitesnake, Zebra, The Allman Brothers Band

© October 16, 2012. Michael D. Vogel. All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at http://www.vogelism.com authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as the entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.

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