June 1977

Taking a bit of a break from USC to relive a summer from long ago.

Without going into too much detail I had a childhood that pulled me into two different directions. Those two different directions made me lucky to have been exposed to many different things growing up. Some interesting some not but the experiences gave me a perspective of enjoying and respecting different styles when it came to music, art and pop culture in general. One aspect of my life was strict the other fairly lenient.

Music as with most kids my age was a driving force. Rock groups like Kiss and Aerosmith were the favorites of the day for teenagers but to know rock & roll and to love rock & roll you had to know and respect the big three...The Who, The Stones and Led Zeppelin!  

Playing the drums as a kid made it easy to like the The Who and Led Zep. Charlie Watts was an excellent drummer but he wasn't flashy and being flashy was important at that age during that time. Keith Moon was a nut and is still my favorite drummer of all time though I never got to see him play in person there is enough out there on YouTube and such to more than make up for it. Simon Phillips and Zak Starkey did a great of filling in on both the Tommy and Quadrophenia reunion tours but it just isn't the same.

That bring us to June 1977, the first and last time I would see Led Zeppelin and John Bonham play. I have seen many concerts at the L.A. Forum; Rush numerous times (Both shows in 1981 and all 4 shows in 1983) Van Halen; Fair Warning and Diver Down tours. But Zeppelin was incredible; I have never seen a band with so much raw energy and power. The epic movie The Song Remains the Same does not do Led Zeppelin justice, you have to see them in person to understand it and I was lucky to have that experience.

Of course, as we all know it ended in 1980 with the untimely death of John Bonham. Led Zeppelin disbanded with the 3 surviving members playing together only twice since then. Once in 1985 at Live Aid and again in 1988 for the 40th anniversary of Atlantic Records with Bonham's son Jason playing the drums. There have been other stints with Plant and Page but the world wanted to see them get back together so we could relive the magic.

That happened tonight, if for only one night.

The long awaited "reunion" took place in London at the O2 Arena at the benefit concert for Ahmet Ertegun, who died last year and who was the founder of Atlantic Records who first signed Zeppelin back in 1968.

The hype surrounding the legendary group's first show together for 19 years had made this concert the most eagerly anticipated gig in years, but that didn't stop the band from sending 20,000 fans home deliriously happy.

It had been a long time since they last rock 'n' rolled but their professional pride, plus six months of intensive rehearsals saw to it that the band were very well prepared.

They reflected and at times even replicated the sound and fury of their Hammer-of-the-Gods hey day.

Any doubts that this return was going to be a tame affair were dispelled by a blistering opening salvo featuring three songs from the early and middle periods of the group's career.

Good Times, Bad Times was short, sharp and explosive while Ramble On allowed guitarist Jimmy Page, dressed in a long black jacket and waistcoat to unleash the first of several solos which were to illuminate the evening.

Here is the set list:

"Good Times, Bad Times"
"Ramble On"
"Black Dog"
"In My Time of Dying"
"For Your Life"
"Trampled Under Foot"
"Nobody's Fault But Mine"
"No Quarter"
"Since I've Been Lovin' You"
"Dazed and Confused"
"Stairway To Heaven"
"The Song Remains the Same"
"Misty Mountain Hop"
"Kashmir"

Encore:
"Whole Lotta Love"
"Rock and Roll"

Thank God some things never change...

I tried to get tickets for this once in a lifetime show in the online lottery but it wasn't meant to be. My hope is that they go on tour so that I will get another chance to see the masters again.

From everything I have read over the past couple of hours it's good to see that they haven't lost their chops.

Well Played Gents...Well Played!

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