Thursday, January 31, 2008

Speculation about Led Zeppelin tour like a pregnancy; birth this September?

There's a great line in an article in this morning's Washington Post, which I'll repeat here. Staff writer Kevin Merida discusses the repercussions of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards dropping out of the race; will Edwards endorse either of the leading Democratic contenders? The author closes by saying:
That truth is known. It just hasn't been revealed.
The same could be said, perhaps accurately, about the primary issue dominating the conversations of Led Zeppelin fans these days.

Will Led Zeppelin play another concert?

We could be asking the question for another eight months or more, so it's like a pregnancy.

If Jimmy Page knows the truth, he didn't reveal it on Monday, when he spoke publicly for the first time since Led Zeppelin's Dec. 10 concert in London.

The occasion on Monday in Tokyo was a press conference to support the release of Led Zeppelin's latest best-of compilation, Mothership.

Many media outlets were emboldened enough by the words spoken to state that Page had indeed "confirmed" a tour will take place. Really, all Page told reporters on that subject was that nothing will happen, probably including conversations about the future, until this September.

By then, Page said, Robert Plant would have probably completed touring with bluegrass star Alison Krauss.

The two singers released an album together in October, one month after Led Zeppelin confirmed it would play one concert in 2007 to pay tribute to Ahmet Erteg√ľn. Plant and Krauss have announced tours that will take them from North America to the United Kingdom and mainland Europe and back, all between April and perhaps as late as July or August.

That means any offers on the table would not be considered until Plant could fully participate in the decision. (Not that the others would dare commit without him!)

Plant has said he has been in a completely different mindset over the length of his post-Led Zeppelin career. His latest project sees him and Krauss covering tunes by Gene Clark and the Everly Brothers while also performing some tunes from each singer's back catalog.

He says Krauss offers a mean fiddle on their interpretation of one of Led Zeppelin's songs. Even though Zep tunes are not off limits when performing with Krauss, fronting the world's heaviest rock band is a very different task for Plant. It's something he had not seriously committed himself to doing since John Bonham was drumming in 1980.

Ritchie Yorke, a longtime journalist and the author of Led Zeppelin's "Definitive Biography," offers some historical insight as quoted in a news article published in Brisbane, Australia's Courier-Mail today.

"They see themselves as a band that brought a lot of change to rock 'n' roll and took it to another level after the Beatles," said Yorke, as quoted in the article. "They didn't want to mess with that, so that’s what held them back from doing this before. ... There's always been big money for them to get back together but they’ve felt it was just too special a thing to be tossed out again just for money."

Yorke continued by listing some of the unconfirmed rumors of deals on the table. He went into such specifics as naming Michael Cohl as a promoter who has offered Led Zeppelin $200 million for a North American tour. Yorke also speculated that his current home country of Australia would be lucky enough to host Led Zeppelin for as many as five concerts.

"They'll do Australia because they're quite fond of Australia but it may not be till later," Yorke said. "Every country in the world wants dates and they'll only do so many, but I reckon they'll do four or five in Australia and Brisbane will get one."

Is there a September birth being prepped in the Led Zeppelin world? I guess we'll have a lot of time to place our bets before all will be revealed.

By then, Edwards should have endorsed a candidate in the U.S. presidential race.

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