Friday, December 21, 2007

Eleventh report from fans in London

The photos accompanying this post were taken by Nech, whose description of the Dec. 9 soundcheck rehearsal and initial thoughts on the Dec. 10 concert I previously printed. The entire set of Nech's photos are being hosted here, on the site by Bruce "The Buckeye."

The photo shown at right was taken of the near-empty floor before the crowd filled the O2 arena. The second photo, below at left, shows the guy you would have to get through to declare war on any part of Jimmy Page's guitar army -- definitely not something I would recommend to those who like the use of their limbs!

The following report comes in by e-mail from Jonathan Wood in the United Kingdom:

Hi Steve,

Just thought I would share some thoughts on the O2.

I was one of the lucky ones that gained tickets through the second ballot. I remember being sat in the office at work when I noticed the e-mail. without exagerating i let out a scream and several people came to see if I was OK ! I managed to compose myself but was just a bit embarrassed. The tension of working my way through the password and the Ticketmaster site was unbearabale, I convinced myself that one wrong click would mean my application would be withdrawn but of course it all worked out in the end.

Anyway off to london from Hull (east coast of the UK) with my son who is a big Zep fan. Found the O2 ok and was greeted with the predictable long queues. Not sure why it took so long but it seemed most people were a little disorganised with the paperwork, nevermind. Queuing for a T-Shirt was just terrible and had to wait 2 hours. How difficult is it to say "large black T shirt please".

Well, what about the show ? We were seated at the back up in the gods, miles away but still with a decent view of what was going on. First act was a supergroup featuring Keith Emerson, Simon Kirke, Alan White and Chris Squire. They knocked out a fantastic version of Fanfare for the Common Man with a Kashmir interlude that was very nice. Harvey Goldsmith did the introductions and paid tribut to Ahmet Ertegun.

Next up was Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings who acted as house band for other artists. Paul Rodgers did a rousing sing a long version of All Right Now which went down well. Mike Sanchez and Maggie Bell also took a turn alongside Paulo Nutini. The final band was Foreigner, who i thought were a real let down. They did I Wanna Know What Love is and tried to get the audience to sing with them but it all went a bit flat, for me anyway.

The stage was then cleared and it was fantastic to see Jimmy's ZOSO symbol return to the amps, a nice touch.

the lights dimmed and a section of the Tampa news report from the DVD was played. I must admit this lulled me into a false sense of security as i somehow thought that harvey Goldsmith would return for the big introduction. I nearly jumped out of my seat when the drums banged out the into to GTBT. The roar from the crowd was incredible. The sound was really good from our seats with all instruments clear.

He's the first person I've heard say the acoustics were good from the beginning. I digress.

I was really apprehensive about how this was all going to turn out. Would Robert put his heart and soul into it? Could Jimmy still pull it off after six years of non playing, and even the age thing? Could Jason deliver or was he there just for his dad? Jonesy, well, never any doubts. The answer after the first number allayed all these fears. Jason was just a revelation, he played out of his skin and hammered the drums for all he was worth. Jimmy played like he'd never stopped and nailed all the solo's also looking like the coolest man in the arena , Robert looked as fit as he ever has and sang with power and conviction, and Jonesy did was Jonesy always does best - holding it all together.

what were the highlights then?

The fact that you never knew what they would play next, everything was a surprise and delight, no out of place numbers. SIBLY was ace and I swear that at the end Jason litterally jumped out of his stool and brought his whole body weight down on the drums. Stairway - I read in some reviews that the crowd went mad at the beginning. i beg to differ, my recollection was almost silence as I don't think anyone expected the song to be played mid set or even at all, quite sureal, and we didn't remember laughter. Nobody's fault is always a personal favourite although no cries of "Oh jimmy". Kashmir was a real crowning glory and much more guitar dominated than I've heard before. The end of the show had the crowd going wild for the encores and they didn't disappoint. really too many highpoints to remember.

In conclusion it was a real honour to have been there. They all played out of their skins, i think Jason had been rehearsing for 28 years and it showed. Should they tour? I don't know, best leave it to them to decide.

Jonathan Wood

Thanks for sharing! It's been incredible living through the eyes and ears of the people who were there in person when Led Zeppelin took the stage and blew everybody away one more time.
Thank you to everybody who helped me to do this.

Jason Bonham humbles himself at the front of the stage before John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

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