Friday, October 26, 2007

Led Zeppelin reunion rehearsal in June 2007 recalled initial meeting of 1968

More information is being revealed about the staged rehearsal of Led Zeppelin's surviving members four months ago in London.

John Paul Jones of the group has given his impressions of the meeting to Led Zeppelin biographer Ritchie Yorke, saying the June meeting reminded him of the first time he gathered in a room to play with the other musicians Jimmy Page had lined up for his new group in 1968.

The bassist and keyboardist is quoted in an interview published today by the Brisbane Times and found online here.

"That first rehearsal this month was just amazing," Jones told Yorke. "It took us back to that first meeting in '68. So we decided to go ahead and we will be putting in some serious rehearsal sessions right up until the show itself."

Previous one-off shows that reunited him with both Page and Robert Plant were marred by forgotten lyrics, discomfort with arrangements, extraneous musicians and inadequate preparation time.

This time, however, Jones said the band would be working the kinks out of its planned two-hour set ahead of time.

"The only trouble we had at the first rehearsal last week was remembering in some songs 'did it go this way, or was there another chorus?'" Jones said. "I don't want to be on stage at the [O2 arena] thinking like that. I want to be just so familiar with the material - so that we can give a proper performance rather than just remember how this or that song went."

The Nov. 26 reunion concert is to take place at a charity benefit honoring late Atlantic Records cofounder Ahmet Erteg√ľn and raising money for a fund named for him, which provides scholarships to music students.

Earlier talks had taken place offering alternate venues.

"Initially I was invited to join in a memorial concert for Ahmet in New York performing with the likes of Ben E King last January," said Jones. "Then Robert [Plant] let it be known that he would rather do something for Ahmet in England. ...

"Originally we were going to play the Royal Albert Hall, along with another night with some other acts. Then the Royal Albert was deemed too small and it moved to the [O2 arena].

"At first, we would be playing 40 minutes, then it went to an hour. I was a bit reluctant along the way because I wasn't sure whether I wanted to part of getting that whole circus on the road again. But I was persuaded to try out a rehearsal to see if we really wanted to play together."

Ultimately, that rehearsal went over so well that the group agreed to play two hours' worth of material.

Page and Plant have also spoken to the media in recent days about the good vibrations they experienced in rehearsals, although Jones was the first to invoke publicly a reference to the group's initial meeting in August 1968.

Those earliest months of Led Zeppelin's existence are covered in a series of three books to be published over the next two years. These books, authored by Frank Reddon, consist of previously unpublished interviews with the primary sources present at some of the group's earliest concerts and recording dates.

Selected excerpts of these interviews are to be previewed on a new Web site being launched today, http://www.enzepplopedia.com/.

The first interview previewed at the site is with the student promoter for Led Zeppelin's concert at Gonzaga University on Dec. 30, 1968. It contains stories previously unknown to Led Zeppelin fans about the band's arrival at this early U.S. appearance, its onstage introduction, and a near fistfight.

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