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Celebration Day

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 17, 2012, 11:45 PM

In December 2007 Led Zeppelin rejoined to play a one off concert in London. It the first and only time the band has reunited since their official break up in 1980 to play a full set. As a huge Led Zeppelin fan, I remember when that concert was announced. There were so many people who wanted tickets they had to have a lottery system. Had I been one of the lucky few picked, I would most certainly have found a way to buy a plane ticket to London.

Of course I wasn't that lucky and only got to hear the reviews of the show, which all said was awesome. They claimed at the time that the show was not recorded, so anyone who wasn't there really did miss out. However it turns out, that was not completely true. In actuality, they did record the show in both sound and video which will be released on November 19th. In addition the DVD's being released they are doing a limited release screen of the film, for two nights only. The first was tonight, and the second is tomorrow night, Thursday October 18th. For anyone who is interested, it's being played all over the world.

I just got home from watching tonight's screening at my local theater. As a concert film, it's likely the best video I have seen. There were a few crowd shots but 99% of the video is on stage, which to me was awesome. Drawing comparisons with "The Song Remains the Same," which is natural considering it the only other concert film the band has done, Celebration Day is not broken up with any fantasy sequences or backstage clips, it's pure concert.

The set list for Celebration Day could mostly be described as their greatest hits. Kashmir, Dazed and Confused, Black Dog, Whole Lotta Love, Rock and Roll, were all in there, and of course Stairway to Heaven, as well as several others. I thought that Trampled Under Foot and Kashmir both stole the show. Jason Bonham filled in on drums for his late father and he was just freaking crazy on both of those songs. Dazed and Confused is my all time favorite live song, interesting enough my brother said he loved the version here, I felt it was a little lacking. Back in their hey day they would play D and C for 30 minutes, but that's a little long for a two hour set, so it was cut down a bit. I think it needs the longer time to bring out all the awesome textures. Although Jimmy Page did have his violin bow.

The band was tight and they looked like they were having a lot of fun on stage. The one thing that would have been better for me was if they had cranked up the volume some in the theater. Some music just sounds better the louder it's played, Led Zeppelin for sure.

Drawing comparisons to The Song Remains the Same, that concert had more energy, but that was shot 33 years before Celebration Day, so perhaps to be expected. Tonight's show was most certain overall was much better because it gave you the feeling of being there.  For anyone who is a Led Zeppelin fan, I'd would most certainly rate Celebration Day a must see.

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VickyM72 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great review, thanks! :D
3dstage Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
Thank you! :D
joncw Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012
Excellent review! I figured since I was there at the "concert" with you, I'd pipe in as well with some of my thoughts (especially since we didn't get a chance to go chat about it afterward over a coffee at Starbuck's). I thought it was phenomenal. I agree that comparisons to Song Remains the Same are inevitable. At one point during the film, I found myself imagining what Song Remains the Same would be like to watch had they had the same recording and production technology that we have today. The sound and video quality of Celebration Day were both excellent (although I agree the theater could have cranked up the volume just a tad). And it was obvious that it must have been an incredible show to have attended in person. The performance was absolutely flawless. I remember reading reviews that said it was Jason Bonham's night, and now I see why. While I'm far from being a drums connoisseur, I think I can reasonably recognize great drumming when I hear it. Keeping in mind the aforementioned comment about sound quality, etc., I think Jason Bonham has possibly surpassed his father's ability. Jimmy Page was amazing of course, but what blew me away was when I remembered that less than a month before this concert took place, he broke his finger. Dazed and Confused was shorter than I would have liked, but then again so were all of the songs. I guess with a set list of 16 songs, it makes sense that they couldn't really extend them. But even though it was shorter, I thought that musically, the performance of Dazed and Confused was just perfect. Kashmir also blew me away. It was definitely the best live version I had ever heard of that song. One thing I also thought was kind of cool was how they broke from tradition by not finishing the show with Whole Lotta Love. I thought ending it with Rock N Rol was fitting. That's the song that opens the show in Song Remains the Same, so it was cool to end with it this time around.

I really have no negatives about the show, however if I were to split hairs then I would mention the following two things:

1. Although I loved Robert Plant's commentary in between a lot of the songs, I occasionally found myself scratching my head and saying, "Huh? I'm not following what he just said." But then again, I've sometimes said that about some of Led Zeppelin's song lyrics as well lol.
2. I would have loved for them to have also performed The Ocean. Their live version of that one from the How the West Was Won CD was awesome! But truthfully I didn't think about it until the credits were rolling, so I think that says something about how engaged I was in the show.

Great experience and I can't wait for the DVD to come out.
3dstage Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012
Thanks. I think TSRTS would be in a golden shrine somewhere if it had been filmed with this technology and in this style. I think that had we seen it in person the opening power E chords of GTBT would have just ripped right through you, that's where I noticed it most that the volume was a little low. Drawing the comparison with TSRTS again, the opening really has that BAM! effect.

If I had made up the set list I would have included When the Levee Breaks and Four Sticks, and yes the Ocean too, and taken out Stairway. Of course that would never happen, but that song just has too much air play in my head lol

The part I thought was impressive was I think in My Time of Dying when Page has the slide on his ring finger but he was fingering the chords using his pinkie, you certainly couldn't tell that it has recently been broken. I also like the close ups of John Paul Jones, especially playing bass. He didn't get much screen time in TSRTS.

The thing I'm really looking forward to with the DVD is the rehearsal footage.
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