Friday, November 02, 2012

Film Review - Led Zeppelin Celebration Day

I am in a ‘guys book club.’ Here is the way it works – we rotate months, someone picks a theme and a book to go along with it. We don’t read the book and we gather at some place that matches the theme to have a night out. Great concept, huh? We’ve “read” The Killer Angels (paint ball), Rat Pack Confidential (Portland Supper Club crooner night), and Adult Paparazzi - Nude Bowling Issue (bowling – maybe a few of us looked at this book too).

My night was in October, so of course I suggested we all ‘read’ Hammer of the Gods and attend as our event, the one-night-only theater screening of the Led Zeppelin film “Celebration Day.”

For those of you unaware, this is a two-hour concert film that captures the sights, sounds and smells of Led Zeppelin in 2007 when the band reunited for its first full-length concert since 1980 and its third reunion including the atrocious Live Aid appearance and the slightly less than atrocious Atlantic Records 40th anniversary show.

In those latter mini-gigs, the band was woefully under-rehearsed and mainly Page was the weak link. I’ll never forget them getting totally lost in the middle of Kashmir (the song) in the Atlantic records set.

For this 2007 concert, they were incredibly polished, confident and kick ass. I thought the weak link would be Plant, but he sounded great, despite the fact that the band tuned a handful of songs to a lower key to accommodate his voice.

But from the opening chords of Good Times Bad Times, the 16-song set picks up speed like Felix Baumgartner from 125,000 feet (minus the spinning) and just really never stops.

The set list was perfect – a good mix of songs they “had to play” per Plant, such as Stairway, Dazed and Confused, Whole Lotta Love and Rock and Roll, and deep cuts like For Your Life, In My Time of Dying, Trampled Under Foot and Misty Mountain Hop.

The film was all concert – no backstage or backstory, and showed precious little of the audience. It was all about the band and the interplay between all of the musicians

Thankfully John Paul Jones gets as much screen time as Page and Plant (unlike most of the concert videos of Zeppelin), as he is the true secret weapon of that group. In this concert film, you get to see how much he really does in that band.

Jason Bonham did his homework and was fantastic. Page does not quite have his chops back to 70s level but he was impressive nonetheless. If this band had indeed toured, he would have risen to a sick level of playing. But he is clearly confident and digging playing these tunes with his old band again.

In fact there are a lot of smiles all around, nicely captured by the film crew. It’s a real joy to dig this classic band kick ass one last time.

Celebration Day comes out on November 19 in various DVD, CD and Blu Ray formats will extra goodies like footage from the rehearsals. But I have to say, just the two hour concert is worth it.

I found this official video of Kashmir from the film. All of my book club buddies agreed that this song in particular blew everyone away. See what you think:

Here is the full set list:

1. Good Times Bad Times
2. Ramble On
3. Black Dog
4. In My Time Of Dying
5. For Your Life
6. Trampled Under Foot
7. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
8. No Quarter
9. Since I’ve Been Loving You
10. Dazed And Confused
11. Stairway To Heaven
12. The Song Remains The Same
13. Misty Mountain Hop
14. Kashmir
15. Whole Lotta Love
16. Rock And Roll

1 comment:

Sean Coleman said...

Classy way to go out, I think.