Thursday, October 18, 2007

Led Zeppelin rehearsing reunion concert set

You can speculate all you want about whether Led Zeppelin will play another show or possibly even a concert tour after the one-off reunion gig next month.

Why not speculate, instead, about the one thing we know is going to happen: the one-off reunion concert!

They have to play songs. What songs will they play?

In separate phone interviews with Sun Media in Canada, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page addressed this issue. Here's a portion of one write-up based on the interviews.

So what songs will Led Zeppelin play at its reunion concert next month?

The usual standards Stairway to Heaven, Kashmir and Whole Lotta Love? What about some obscure gems?

Neither Jimmy Page nor John Paul Jones would divulge anything yesterday in interviews with Sun Media, but they did provide a few clues.

"You don't want to give it all away," Jones said. "We played kind of the normal songs at the rehearsal."

In confirming that they'd "more than likely" play an acoustic or off-the-beaten-path song or two, Page said the band already has a "blueprint" of a setlist heading into rehearsals next week.

Here are my predictions:

  • "Rock and Roll" - they have to start the show off with Jason's drum intro leading into the sudden roar of Led Zeppelin and that predictable "been a long time" sentiment
  • "Good Times Bad Times" - they'll surprise us and pull off an excellent rendition of album one, track one; the vocals on it aren't all that high
  • "Houses of the Holy" - you know this is a band favorite; it's been included on Remasters, Latter Days and now Mothership; I originally had "The Rover" in this place but switched it to "Houses"
  • "The Song Remains the Same" - again, the sentiment is in keeping with the theme of the evening; plus, it's just such a rockin' tune and Jimmy will rule
  • "The Rain Song" - it's not on Mothership, but it's natural to follow "The Song Remains the Same" with this, so they might aswell finish what they started; it's interesting to note that in 1980 they played this without having played "The Song Remains the Same"
  • "No Quarter" - Jonesy just did a bunch of orchestra-sounding stuff, so they'll let him continue to dominate with his absolute trademark keyboard song; perhaps in the lower key of C# minor like on Houses of the Holy rather than D minor as they played in concert; Jason won't sit out for very long at all; piano solo will be relatively short, like on 1973 versions and studio album; Jimmy and Jonesy may jam with Jason pretty long after keyboard solo, though
  • "What Is and What Should Never Be" - a Jimmy favorite, definitely in a lower key for Robert's sake, such as D; I was just listening to the version on Unledded a couple nights ago, and Robert was straining to hit some of those high notes

Before I continue, here's a side note on the lower keys I'm predicting for songs. Don't forget that in an article published Sept. 14, electric musical instrument manufacturer Hugh Manson tells the Exeter Express & Echo:

"Some of the songs [at the reunion concert] will be in a lower key than usual and, while you can tune a guitar to accommodate almost any note, the best way is to make an instrument to do the job - and that's what this is. In fact, all the basses used by the band in the concert will be ours."

John Paul Jones has long been a client of Hugh and his brother, Andy; Andy makes acoustic instruments, and Hugh makes electric instruments. An edition of "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History" from April 28, 2003, has more on the Manson brothers.

Ever onward! The acoustic set:

  • "Going to California" - it's been done at so many Jones and Plant concerts, but they just have to do this one together again; it gives Jason the first part of a nice two-song break
  • "That's the Way" - some of you may call me a heretic, but they should give Plant a rest on this and install Jonesy on lead vocals, which he took during his last solo tour
  • "Tangerine" - Page's song, with Jonesy playing a triple-neck guitar and offering a nice mandolin solo; in this place, I originally had "All My Love" because it's a radio staple chosen for Mothership, but it's Page's least favorite song of the Zeppelin catalog, so I think it would be nixed if suggested
  • "Nobody's Fault but Mine" part 1 - they start this one off with the Unledded rendition in the key of G and then ...

Back to electric:

  • "Nobody's Fault but Mine" part 2 - ... they drop their acoustic instruments and finish the song with the full electric onslaught
  • "When the Levee Breaks" - OK, stay with me on this; the song is played three half-steps lower so it's in D; Page switches to a custom bass so that Jonesy takes the lead on lap steel guitar; Plant pulls out his G harmonica and takes a solo before singing two different verses about three times each; where most fans would be expecting a guitar solo from Page, Jones awes everybody on lap steel
  • "Dazed and Confused" - this will be close to the length of the first-album version but also includes some portions of "Achilles Last Stand"

  • "Stairway to Heaven" - yes, they're going to play it, no question, and it'll be great; personally, I really liked the version they did with Jason at the Atlantic Records 40th Birthday in 1988 (see above), and I thought Robert sounded great on it regardless of whether he was remembering the lyrics properly; he should be well-rehearsed this time
  • "Kashmir" - a powerhouse of a song to close the regular set


  • "Black Dog"
  • "Heartbreaker"
  • "Whole Lotta Love" - Jimmy will steal the show during all three of these closing numbers


  1. Any news or information about a pay per view yet? For the "other" millions of people who didn't get tickets? If the members of Zep truely wanted to fill the coffers of Amhet's charity, a Pay per view would rake millions if not billions. I know I would pay what ever the set price and not blink. If they do not pay per view this event, it's my opinion that a world tour is almost a shoe in.

    Thanks for a great web site I read it almost every day!
    St. Louis

  2. Hi, Bob! [takes a shot]
    I don't know about a live pay-per-view, but it's possible the event will at least be recorded. But just in case that is faulty info, everyone reading this is still encouraged to sign the petition to make it so:

  3. Another Missouri fan here. In regards to the possible set list. I'm really hoping they shake things up a bit. Two tributes to Bonzo I would love to see is to start the show off with his best known drum riff - a blazing, full blown electric version of 'When The Levee Breaks'. And, to end the show (as the last song of the last encore), a new acoustic arrangement of 'Stairway' without drums. It would be the ultimate tribute to Bonzo. I would really like them to start the show with something other than the usual - 'Rock & Roll' or 'The Song Remains The Same'. The encore you mentioned of 'Black Dog', 'Heartbreaker', & 'Whole Lotta Love', is too predictable and has been done to death. 'WLL' has got too be played but I could do without the other two. I'm extremely burnt out with 'Going To California' as well. I do love the idea of them juggling instruments - play 'Tangerine' with the pedal steel. How about an acoustic 'Ten Years Gone'? An electric 'Gallows Pole'? I'd love to hear 'The Crunge'. 'Good Times Bad Times'? You bet. 'Ramble On'? Oh Yeah. This could be so good. They've said there are no plans to broadcast or record the event - but I've got to believe (I'm praying) that if they actually pull this off to their high set of standards, they will release the show in some form (hopefully a DVD). It's just hard to imagine they would limit this incredible event to just 18,000 lucky souls.

    Thanks for all of the new articles you put up nearly every damn day. Great, great website.

    Springfield, Missouri


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