Yep, the mighty Zep reunited last night. Since we weren’t lucky enough to report on it firsthand, we did the next best thing: asked a friend of a friend to give us the lowdown. From the smattering of reviews we’ve seen so far, it’s apparent the songs have remained the same, and reviewers still love their puns: Zeppelin killed it last night, and our guest reviewer felt the same. First, the setlist:
01 “Good Times Bad Times”
02 “Ramble On”
03 “Black Dog”
04 “In My Time Of Dying”
05 “For Your Life” (live debut)
06 “Trampled Under Foot”
07 “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
08 “No Quarter”
09 “Since I’ve Been Loving You”
10 “Dazed And Confused”
11 “Stairway To Heaven”
12 “The Song Remains The Same”
13 “Misty Mountain Hop”
15 “Whole Lotta Love”
16 “Rock And Roll”
[Pic via NME]
And we quote:
By James Freed
Towards the end of the set Monday night, Robert Plant acknowledged the energy of the crowd that had traveled from all over the world to attend the Led Zeppelin reunion show in London.
“We’ve got people from 50 countries here and this is the 51st” Plant said, causing the crowd to erupt into an explosion of cheers that nearly rivaled Jason Bonham’s drums. Plant’s declaration seemed to emblemize what it felt like being there in midst of the crowd on the floor that numbered 16,000 strong.
This vibe was present from the first moment of the set, when the lights came up and Zeppelin opened with “Good Times, Bad Times,” and continued without taking a break into “Ramble On.” A gritty version of “Black Dog” followed, with Jimmy Page on slide guitar. The energy continued strong both on the stage and in the crowd as Zep ripped through “In My Time of Dying,” “For Your Life” (a song Plant noted that they had never previously played in public), and “Trampled Under Foot,” which Plant prefaced by noting that this was Zeppelin’s take on Robert Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues.”
Next came “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” which was followed by a ghostly version of “No Quarter,” where Jon Paul Jones sealed the deal on the piano under a murky green light that pulsated on the screens above the band. Page started off “Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You,” with a bluesy solo, attacking his guitar under a mane of wild white hair, the sweat rolling off his face and dampening his silk shirt giving him the appearance of a possessed sage.
As if this dream set couldn’t get any better, Plant stopped to address the crowd before the next number and said that while it was difficult to determine a set from Zeppelin’s 10 studio albums, some songs were absolutely necessary to play. A thumping version of “Dazed and Confused” followed, which climaxed with Page pulling out his violin bow and ripping yet another killer solo. We could see the hair of the bow falling apart as he struck the strings of his guitar.
What came next? None other than “Stairway to Heaven,” which made the crowd hold up lighters and cell phones, most in an absolute state of awe that all this was actually happening. After Stairway came “The Song Remains the Same,” which was followed by “Misty Mountain Hop,” with Jason Bonham singing backup.
Then Plant boldly stuck the Zeppelin flag into the crowd and acknowledged that, at least in that moment, the crowd constituted a nation of their own — perhaps a Zeppelin nation — before launching into a wild version of “Kashmir” that was accompanied by a trippy kaleidoscopic light show above.
After the band walked off stage an encore of course seemed inevitable and only moments later the four musicians returned to the roar of the crowd for a rocking version of “Whole Lotta Love.” Then the band walked off stage yet again, and some in the crowd thought the show was over and began to walk away. Seriously? This was after all the first time Zeppelin that really played in like 20 years, right? The band was obviously thinking the same thing and returned to the stage to end the show, fittingly, with “Rock and Roll.”
Afterward the crowd funneled out of the O2 arena in a daze, stumbling from the interior of the venue as if sleepwalking to the Tube. Some were singing, others walked humbly content. Most wore smiles that seemed somehow mysterious. No one knew exactly what it was that had just had occurred, or really where they had been, though all knew that it was good. People walked away in shock, content to have been a part of what had just gone down. I went into a pub, pounded a beer and toasted the return of the motherfucking Gods of Thunder.
James Freed’s writing has appeared in The New York Times. He lives in New YorK City, where he curates The Enclave reading series.
We found some videos to keep us in our envy, and to keep us warm until Led Zeppelin bite the bullet and just announce a full-blown reunion tour already.
“Stairway To Heaven”
“Good Times Bad Times”
“Rock And Roll”