Sunday, December 23, 2007

Led Zeppelin

I have avoided posting about the Led Zeppelin reunion since the hubbub began. There has been so much written, what could I add?

I read a piece by Sasha Frere-Jones today in the New Yorker that has promtped me to comment.

I had to turn down two different offers of tickets to the reunion show in London. If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that earlier this fall I had a family emergency which kept me offline for pretty much the entire month of October. The fallout from that lingers and I could not with clear conscience justify the trip, though I did play it out in my head several different ways...As Frere-Jones said in the aforementioned piece, "My affection for Led Zeppelin is limitless and somewhat irrational".

So I missed it. I spent the afternoon of the show (I am in Brooklyn), watching the setlist get updated in real time, getting texts from friends at the show, and by the next morning watched some amazing YouTube clips. Then I moved on.

As much as I would like to see them, I can't shake a few things: at their peak they were remarkably inconsistent (have you listened to the boots? Yikes...); Page...if he's clean and committed he's unstoppable, if he's not, well I saw The Firm and all I can say is, "double yikes"; The Cream shows at Madison Square Garden...A lot of fun but NOT Cream - and that was with the original members.

I know this Zep show was different, what I saw myself and what people whose opinions I trust tell me is plenty for me to believe, but still....Plant's recent comment, quoted in the New Yorker piece about reuniting for "one last great show" gave the whole thing a sense of purpose and import that a full-blown reunion tour would diminish.

Frere-Jones article summed it up for me:
"...Led Zeppelin is a cover band now, covering its own material. Without John Bonham, the band can only sound like Led Zeppelin; it can’t be Led Zeppelin. The band should turn down the money and let its record stand. The failed gigs of the nineteen-eighties and nineties have been supplanted by a triumph, and the band should be pleased to have done Ertegun proud with such a spirited performance. I look forward to any chance I get to see Plant, Page, or Jones play live. But let the songs remain."

But if they do tour, see you there.