Email This Post Email This Post
Home » Featured, TBL News

REMEMBERING THE LED ZEPPELIN 02 REUNION CONCERT FOR AHMET ERTEGUN – FIVE YEARS GONE

10 December 2012 8,924 views 4 Comments

Five years gone….

Yes five years ago today lucky fans from across the world converged on to the 02 Arena in London to witness the live return of Led Zeppelin for one night only in memory of Ahmet Ertegun.

Of course though the wonder of the Celebration Day film, in recent months millions of fans worldwide have been able to share in the magic of  that glorious night.

To mark the occasion, reproduced below are some thoughts from fans present on the night plus the press reaction at the time and the reflections five years ago of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham.

Looking over these 2007 recollections, it’s evident how the instant reaction of these first hand views mirror the ensuing effect of the Celebration Day film. Something very historic happened that night and it’s an absolute revelation that at last we can all access this incredible performance via CD, DVD and Blu ray.

Five years….much has happened in that time both to us and them…I’ve noted before that the whole Zeppelin 02 experience has an aura of complete surrealism about it all –as if it was all some dream – and goodness knows I’d dreamed about such a thing happening for so long. But it did happen and it happened in such a way that it lingers large in millions of fans minds -again a fact emphasised by the arrival of the Celebration Day film.

Also as previously mentioned , my next book project ahead is to produce a detailed chronicle of the 02 reunion concert covering every aspect of the event.

I have already amassed a considerable amount of material from my previous call outs and many thanks to all those who have sent their reflections/photos etc. I have some fantastic conributions from amongst others Rob Godwin,Mark Bowman,Rikky Rooksby and Simon Cadman.  However it’s not too late to contribute. To that end I would like to put out another call out to fans who have their own 02 experiences to share. I am also looking for personal photos and memorabilia surrounding the event. All contributions will be fully acknowledged and credited. There is huge scope here to present a lasting testament to the 02 reunion concert for Ahmet.

One of the key aspects of the 02 event was that it brought together fans from all corners of the globe to create a unique multi-cultural audience. All of those fans who came so far have stories to tell and memories to share. The fan recollections and photos here are just a taster of what I aim to present in the book. It’s an exciting prospect. More details on this in 2013.

Above: Now that’s what I call Saturday night TV entertainement – a clear case of The X Factor 0 Led Zeppelin 10

The Celebration Day film had a timely airing on national UK TV on Saturday when BBC2 screened a one hour edit of the film. For once Match Of The Day took a back seat and it was great to watch the action unfold –even if the omissions were a little jarring -the hour long edit  lined up Good Times Bad Times/Ramble On/Black Dog/For Your Life/Since I’ve Been Loving You/Daze And Confused/Whole Lotta Love and Kashmir. Yes Stairway denied yet again!

I and countless other fans will be reliving the event again today, with yet another playback  of the Celebration Day film as we watch in awe yet again at this most magical of performances.

Five years…so let us turn back the clock to that night of nights –Monday December 10th 2007…

Here is my intial report filed for TBL:

WELCOME TO PLANET ZEPPELIN – IT FELT PRETTY GOOD UP THERE

INITIAL O2 THOUGHTS…

Just got back from Planet Zeppelin. That’s the only appropriate phrase to describe the incredible vibe that has prevailed at the Millennium Dome / O2 over the past two days.

Where to start?

The wonderful camaraderie of fans that extended from the queues for tickets / merchandise /gig entry over to the Pilot Inn pub which really was pure TBL come a live Sunday night and yesterday afternoon and early evening. So many people that came so far on another blind date.

And yes seeing was believing. Again.

Above – the 02 Arenea forecourt with words from Kashmir -totally surreal – photo via Dave Linwood.

The atmosphere was electric as we queued to go in. A call from home revealed I’d been on the national BBC 6 o’clock news being interviewed in the build up. It was all happening.

I had an excellent view stage left to the side – it was great to see Kevyn Gammond, Bob Harris and Justin Adams all in attendance in my block. The performance: full of the integrity, humility, emotion and power that characterised the glory days.

And this might just be their most glorious day ever.

So many highlights: The opening thrust of Good Times / Ramble and Black Dog. In My Time Of Dying still pure bottleneck banshee with Jason’s incredibly powerful bass drum kicks… For Your Life an absolutely outstanding performance – one of my all time fave tracks finally given the live treatment it so deserved. Page, Jonesy and Jason grooving incessantly down on that plangent riff. Trampled…. another pure groove with Robert so on it as he was all night.

A Nobody’s Fault But Mine with all the stop start dynamism of the original and what an intro….No Quarter with the added touch of dry ice and Jimmy’s theremin hand signals…Since I’ve Been Loving You more fluency from Page… Dazed And Confused compact and concise and the revolving lasers during the bow episode reviving memories of Knebworth.

Stairway…have to say I completely lost it at that point and tears streamed down my face all the way through this and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

‘’Hey Ahmet…we did it’’

The Song Remains The Same lifted the tempo back up and was just magnificent. Misty Mountain Hop before which Jason sang the opening lines of I Can’t Quit You Baby kept the pace.

“There’s people here from 50 countries….here’s a song about the 51st”

Then blam! A version of Kashmir that engulfed the entire dome. The undoubted pride of Zeppelin sung with such intensity by Robert. “Fucking awesome” as Noel Gallagher described to me later.

They were back for Whole Lotta Love and again for a rousing (can it be anything else?) Rock And Roll before which Jimmy thanked everyone for an amazing night. At the end of it all Plant threw down the mic, they took a final bow ,Plant offered a final tribute to Ahmet and this utterly immortal night was over.

Thank you James Patrick for an amazing night.

Yes the sound mix took a while to settle in, and a few cues got missed, but hey they were, are and always will be tight but loose.

Suffice to say this was one of the greatest nights of my life and probably thousands of others in the O2 Arena. John Aizlewood in the Evening Standard said it all with his testament:

“It was breathtaking and spine tingling – as good as popular music gets”

The newspaper reviews have been united in their praise today which has been a joy to see.

Right now Led Zeppelin must be the most popular band in the world.

Final thoughts: Jason throughout was exemplary capturing all the full throttle thwack required to support the power that surged from the stage. JPJ was typically JPJ, diligent in all his playing but totally unmissable. The backdrop screen projections – absolutely stunning. Well done Thinkfarm (hi Mike!) – and Jimmy’s Zoso symbol returning to his amp was a neat touch.

Thanks to so many fans who came from all parts of the globe who considerably enhanced this experience of a lifetime for me – in particular Brian K, the two Gary’s, Jose, Graeme H, JR, Pam, Paul, Lee, Steve and Jan, the irish lads, Jez and Michaela, and so many more.

Right I’m off to be bed…it’s back to reality and retail frenzy in the morning.

So yesterday they were Led Zeppelin. Now today they are once again Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham.

Tomorrow and beyond… who knows ?

One thing is for certain – their performance at the O2 Arena on December 10 2007 has created rock history. No other band could have staged such an event as this phenomenal tribute to dear Ahmet.

Dave Lewis – December 11th 2007

Some more instant reflections from five years back…

Krys Jantzen’s view

An extraordinary night.

Arrive at the 02 and the atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve seen before. People travelling from the four corners of the earth to be in London tonight. The queue for merchandise is 1,000 people deep. The guy from Tokyo in front of me is about to buy 15 t-shirts for himself, in front of him a guy who’s flown in from New Zealand who wants 20 hardback programmes. It’s that type of night. Behind me, a guy from New York paid $6,000 for his one ticket, behind him a guy from LA paying $7,500. Its madness. None of us could quite believe we were here or that is was actually about to happen.

But it did. And as the intro video clip ended, I quickly looked down at my watch. I had to. For over half my lifetime, I had wondered where and when they’d be back. And now the moment was here. At 9.04pm GMT, there they were on stage…Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham…LED-fucking-ZEPPELIN. 20,000 fans roared their return as thousands of glowing videophones captured the momentous occasion.

Highlights? Many. The ‘Oh my Jesus’ refrain on In My Time Of Dying. The black and white crunch of For Your Life. The technicolor swirl of Trampled Underfoot and that howl Robert lets loose at the start and end of Jonesy’s keyboard solo. Jimmy, Jason and John on The Song Remains The Samelistening to the four of them, it’s difficult to believe this is a band that have barely played together in 27 years. They were lean and very, very tight. And everyone was simply outstanding. Robert, in a consciously understated performance was in superb voice, looking and sounding fantastic, Jimmy’s amazing playing throughout his sweaty, guitar workout, John gluing everything down and locking into the other three with his concentrated gaze…and Jason, doing himself, his dad and everyone else here tonight fucking proud.

With Kashmir the evening’s defining moment had arrived. Robert and Jason particularly outstanding on this. For me, the undisputed highlight of the night was when Robert did his “Trying to find…where I’ve beeeeeeeeeeeeen” bit in Kashmir just before it lurches into yet another hypnotising wash across the crowd. Absolutely fucking thrilling. As shivers ran down the spines of 20,000 fans, Jimmy glanced across at Robert and just beamed with pride.

It’s a great life, this life of music.

Robert summed it up best for me by describing the whole experience as cathartic and therapeutic. Damn, fucking right. (But Harvey, help us out next time. The weirdly subdued crowd was caused by the lottery system. The fact that so many long-term fans and Tight But Loose readers were forced to get their tickets on e-Bay was not right.)

My lasting image of the night was simply Robert, Jimmy and John huddled around Jason’s drum kit. It was a 60 foot wide stage, yet for most of the night they spent it endearingly just a few feet away from each other, revelling in each other’s performance and being unable to stop smiling at each other.

And as the house lights went up I couldn’t help thinking the four of them are capable of even more. A tweak of the set list sequence, an acoustic number here or there…the possibilities are endless. If they can blow everyone away on an opening night performance, imagine what they could sound like mid-tour…

Afterwards the sense of euphoria leaving the 02 Arena was positively religious. With people travelling from all over the world to see this well-loved group of musicians, the atmosphere was fantastic. The gig? A complete triumph.

And the band itself?

Fucking phenomenal.

Krys Jantzen London December 11 2007

Jose Manuel Parada who travelled from Ecuador. This is Jose’s story…

This sure was the trip of my smiles. What an incredible journey it has been for me going to London to such a historical event.
It’s hard to realize what I just have been part of. Since September 12th all my thoughts were about the Zeppelin show. By October 2nd the ballot came with no luck for me, so I ran to ebay’s buy it now and got my ticket with tears in my eyes. Then came the strange days when those tickets were going to be invalid, calling HG office, sending faxes to Maria and so on…Finally on October 18th came the good news telling that we could keep our tickets. What a relief.

Fast forward to 10 days before the show and all I was thinking was getting to London, with no sleep and having some outrageous thoughts in the likes of “ I hope I don’t die before the show, car crash, plane crash, heart attack, etc”, I know this sounds bizarre but that’s how it was.

By Saturday December 8th I was already checking in at The Newham Hotel (thank God the plane arrive just fine!). All I was thinking was: well, this looks real, here I am in London (freezing by the way) and will be seeing Led Zeppelin next Monday.
Then it was The Pilot Inn on Sunday and Monday afternoon, what a really great time in there getting to meet some fellow travellers from around the world and so many local people such as: Dave, Gary D., Graeme & Pam, JR, Terry, Mike, Mark, Brian, Steven, Tatan A., Martyn, Gary F., Jules plus so many others who made me feel as if I was in a local pub and for that eye thank yew.

The vibe at The O2 was just something, the huge Mothership blimp, that billboard with some Kashmir lyrics, all the people there. Amazing.

As for the show all I can say is that I am still shocked by it. I was lucky enough to be some 20 meters from the stage, dead centre. I just couldn’t believe myself when they came out with an extraordinary performance of “Good Times Bad Times”. I was simply in awe. Jimmy’s outfit with sunglasses. Guitar God. “For Your Life” (one of my all time favourites) was impeccable. So many highlights. A truly excellent performance of “Kashmir” which saw Jason Bonham at his best. “No Quarter” and “ Trampled Underfoot” with a incredible JPJ delivery. “Dazed & Confused” with the violin bow, “Stairway To Heaven” (I lost it here too Dave), so many things I can go on forever in detail.. Great set list.

It was a night that I won’t forget. A dream came true. Acapulco Gold.

José Manuel Parada. Guayaquil Ecuador December 14 2007

Here’s some thoughts from TBL’s Gary Foy written immediatly after the gig…

So, after all the hype, it’s done, it’s over. Led Zeppelin flew again tonight in spectacular style. Jason was simply incredible, the pressure he must have been under to turn out a performance like this must have been massive, Undoubtedly, Jimmy, John and Robert enjoyed their performance, finally laying the ghost of Live Aid and the Altantic 40th show to rest. The show lifted the legacy of Led Zeppelin to even higher ground, at no point in their career has the media taken to them as much as it has in the last few months. Should they do it again? I don’t know.. Personally I hope not. Lets leave it at this! Surely it couldn’t get better than this! Could it?

But then again, if this really is Led Zeppelin’s coda, then it’s our coda also, and can we live without Led Zeppelin? Live without the hope of just one more show…? Gary Foy  -Westcliffe, December 11th 2007

The photo that captures it all – via Dave Linwood

WHAT THE PAPERS SAID:

Events that have so much resting on them rarely unfold with such an air of assurance. The three original members of the band seemed to be relieved to be relinquishing the burden of anticipation. The heaviosity has always been the cornerstone of their reputation but it was astonishing to see how funky they could be for a rock band. With a synergy like this going on, it would be an act of cosmic perversity to stop now.

Pete Pahides – The Times

They delivered a show of breathtaking power and spine tingling excitement: a four way musical tug of war in which they all won. This really is as good as popular music gets

John Aizlewood – Evening Standard

The overriding sensation for me strangely was one of relief. Not just because they managed to build on what they’d left behind – and with a 30 year advance in technology sound even better that they had, before but the relief of simply being older – to be honest and of not being required to take it all seriously any more. You want dogged by the agonies of earnest teenage argument. You could watch a 63 year old man conjuring up symphonies from his guitar and you didn’t have to worry about weather it was a courageous art statement. It was just a slice of pure theatre, of drama and spectacle and a magnificent refusal by the four of them to airbrush their attack. I felt very lucky to have seen it.

Mark Ellen – Word

It’s difficult to believe this is a band who have barely played together for the best part of three decades. They sounded awesomely tight, bizarre, beguiling and better than ever.

Alexis Petridis – The Guardian

Led Zeppelin have proved in the face of all this reunion interest that they can still cut it. And then some. On tonight’s showing they are much rawer, more vital sounding,  less pantomime than any of their dinosaur rock contemporaries. What’s more they appear to be doing it again for the right reasons. That of being the joy of playing not money. Will they continue? On this evidence it would be a travesty if they didn’t.

Hamish MacBain – NME

It’s quite shocking to find men of advanced years wielding such power. If there is an entirely unique Zeppelin moment Kashmir is it and they nail it here a great sets greatest moment. If indeed this is to be their final stand then Zeppelin will have bowed out with a proper command performance. One is left to wonder though how they can now possibly leave all this behind again.

Paul Rees – Q  

The greatest thing about Led Zeppelin’s 2003 DVD was the footage from the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 when the band were still fresh out of the traps and getting off on the sheer joy of playing together. At the 02 Zeppelin rewind themselves to that Albert Hall gig. The frequently convene in the middle of the stage like a band jamming in rehearsal space almost oblivious to the audience. Its  heart warming to see and a welcome acknowledgement of their shared history experience and musicality which for once eclipses all those tales of personal rifts and jarring egos. Time and time again the band turn to Jason Bonham urging him on, offering smiles nods, encouragement and after the encores of Whole Lotta Love and Rock And Roll – fatherly hugs This once most imperious of bands  appears to be functioning as real human beings again.

Mark Blake – Mojo

Unlike so many of his contemporaries, Plant has found a way of combining rock heroics with a dignified gravity. When he swings his microphone stand he looks like a Shakespearean king wielding a broadsword not a 59 year old acting out a pantomime of his youth.

Disregarding the money for a moment, the need for these brilliant musicians to tidy up their stories for posterity to remind the world of their greatness suddenly seems very pressing. Tonight they can sleep easy knowing they have done just that. For the time being at least, Led Zeppelin’s legend has the happy ending it always deserved.

John Mulvey – Uncut   

WHAT THEY SAID:

That is what was so thrilling really — to come together after all this time and find that there was so much chemistry and so much electricity involved in these four characters. We’d all agreed to take it very, very seriously and have a really good time at the same time. We worked out the songs we were going to play, and it was exhilarating, it was fantastic. Every week was a week to look forward to. I can assure you the amount of work that we put into the O2 (concert), for ourselves rehearsing and the staging of it, was probably what you put into a world tour. We wanted people who might not have even been alive when we finished in 1980 to understand what we were. So we did the show…and it was great

Jimmy Page – Japanese press conference.

It was gripping.

We had a lot to lose if it had all gone wrong. It would have been the end of the real deal about what we had in the first place. Musically and emotionally we matched it and it put a lot of things to bed. For Ahmet it was great to get up one more time -it was a fitting thing becuase he menat so much to us and far beyond just getting our records out.

Then for Jason well,he s now the complete man… he’s delt with his demons. I think he wanted to prove something to himself. It was important for his family too – I mean I’ve known his Mum since we were 15.

There was so much anticipation and we matched it. It was marvellous and at the end we all shook hands and said ”Wow that was amazing,see you soon”.

Robert Plant talking to Steve Jones on Indie 103.1FM Radio Los Angeles.

Jason was fantastic A lot of his fills were not what his Dad did at all.

He did an amazing job when you consider he had to answer to every drummer in the world after the show. With that short of pressure, to bring that off was astonishing. Kashmir was absolutely wonderful, the way he led in an out of the chorus an  bridges. The excitement was there on stage at the 02 as it was in the old days. It could be fun to do more stuff

John Paul Jones taking to David Fricke in Rolling Stone

I wanted to take in every moment which is why at the end I had to bow to them. As I grew older I became a fan as well as a part of the family. It wasn’t until after my Dad’s death that I could really appreciate his music. The day after I took the sticks that I used and put them on the grave and said ’’We did it Dad you handed me these, I’ll hand them back’’

Jason Bonham talking to Tamara Conniff

YOU TUBE CLIPS: Memories of the day…


This one from Front Row Dave:

QUICK UPDATE:

Massively busy here packing recent orders received for TBL products – apologies if I have not replied to emails recently or confirmed orders, I aim to be back on track in the next couple of days.

With regard to delivery times – the UK should be fine for delivery before Christmas for any orders received this week – I’ll also be doing my best to dispatch overseas orders as soon as possible –so keep ‘em coming –the Over Europe book has been in big demand (many thanks to Jeff Strawman and Terry Stephenson for spreading the word – this is Jeff’s link on the excellent Achilles Last Stand site:

http://www.led-zeppelin.org/joomla/current-news/2062-feather-in-the-wind-over-europe-1980-new-christmas-pricing

Here’s recent reaction from one satisfied reader.

  Mr Lewis…received the Feather In The Wind book…all I can say is wow….unbelievable……it’s all overwhelming…I can’t get enough of all of it. Danny Love –Kennewick Wa USA

You can order the book at this link:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/?page_id=9965

Many thanks for all your support of TBL products. DL

Until next time… keep reading -keep listening

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

December 10th, 2012.

Don’t forget that you can follow Dave Lewis/TBL on Twitter – LedzeppelinTBL

and view additional photos etc at the Tight But Loose Facebook page (add us as a friend) at

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1611296783

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

4 Comments »

  • Roslyn said:

    Thanks for finally writing about >Tight But Loose

  • Paul Gross said:

    Hi Dave,

    Always a pleasure reading the TBL news.
    Can’t wait for the 02 book!

    Cheers,
    Paul

  • Jenzi said:

    Hey Dave — This is all such a gorgeous and moving tribute to the O2 show!! Thanks so very very much. Every time I read or hear stories about it from the lucky folks who were there, believe it or not I find it impossible to feel sad that I wasn’t there — inevitably my happiness for those of you who WERE there, and happiness that the show happened and was indeed “fucking phenomenal,” override any regret that I didn’t go!
    I’m delighted you’re writing a book about it, too — and although I wasn’t there, I think I may have something to contribute, because that concert was a profound influence on the direction I chose to go in my work. Just watching the bootleg YouTube videos blew my mind…I could not believe what MAGIC Jimmy, Robert, John, and Jason made together that night. It was as if they never stopped playing as a band, and as if Jason had been playing with them forever! I was reminded all over again how and why Zep will always be my absolute favorite band of all time forever…and, being at a transitional point professionally (just about to finish a PhD in education, and thinking about getting further education in music), that concert was the deciding factor for me that I absolutely HAD to channel my burning fanatical Zeppelin-freakhood — and love for music in general — into my professional life in some way…and so I have! I now teach courses on music and the ways it can influence our brain chemistry and health to make us happier and healthier all over. I know that Zep’s music has absolutely done this for me (hell, I’ve been on a natural high again ever since September, when the release of Celebration Day was announced!), and I do mention that in my classes whenever appropriate — and I encourage my students to find and connect regularly with the music that affects them the same way. And indeed…many have, and tell me my courses have helped them change their lives for the better.
    And again…Led Zeppelin, back together again to remember Ahmet Ertegun at the O2, on 10 Dec. 2007, was the event that ultimately influenced me to do that!
    I do hope you can use this for the book…thanks for considering it!! And thanks for ALL you do.

    Best,
    Jenzi

  • Kam said:

    Hi Dave

    I’ll get something over to you!

    Kam

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.