12.11.2007

Reunion: Led Zeppelin Rocks London

by Rick Rockwell

The day after the return of the Hammer of the Gods, and Led Zeppelin fans worldwide are all asking the same question: will the band do more than one show?

Rock fans of course revel in excess. This is why bands that have split try not to reunite. Do it once well and the fans will demand more.

All the early reports are that Led Zeppelin’s return was all fans could ask at the O2 Arena in London last night. The band played hits, honored blues greats, trotted out one number never before performed live, kept 20,000 on their feet, and moved lead singer Robert Plant to tears at least once. This was the fourth time the band had reunited since its breakup in 1980, but the first time Zeppelin had played a full concert in 27 years. Fans from 50 countries attended the benefit concert. Tickets had been sold through an online lottery that received tens of millions of hits. One fan actually paid $168,000 for a pair of tickets he obtained through a charity auction, although most tickets that were being resold were going for at least $2,000 each (they had listed at $254).

Billboard noted that music industry insiders believe Zeppelin could make more than $3 million per show if they toured. And the U.K.’s New Musical Express dug out the information that the band has reserved Wembley Stadium in London for two dates in the summer of 2008, although there has been no official announcement of a tour. Plant has said he doesn't like the idea of a tour, while guitarist Jimmy Page seems to be the one member of Zep who is interested in hitting the road again.

Some in the rock community have criticized the band, saying the reunion, their revitalized website, and recent decision to repackage their songs for the digital age on iTunes and elsewhere are just all about the cash. Since the breakup, only Plant can point to a highly successful solo career.

But frankly, fans don’t care. If the band can still bring down the house like they did in London, who wouldn’t want to see them?

(For more background on the reunion, please see: "Led Zeppelin Will Soar Again.")

(Photo of the Led Zeppelin reunion show from p_a_h of the U.K. via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License. To see a video of Led Zeppelin playing "No Quarter" at Madison Square Garden in New York from 1973, please check below.)










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1 comments:

Rick Rockwell said...

Postscript:
Apparently, YouTube and the Warner Music Group (which owns Atlantic and has the rights to the Led Zeppelin catalogue) have been locked in battle most of today. Many folks at the show used cellphones to record the concert and they have been trying to share with the rest of the world, but usually to no avail. To read more about this digital music rights battle over Led Zep, please go here.

Apparently, the BBC ended its newscast last night with a piece of the O2 concert: a portion of "Black Dog" by the reunited band. As that snippet meets Fair Use requirements, likely it will not be taken down. So if you'd like a sample of the Zeppelin show, please go here.

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