Is it just me but what fantastic news, the Zep are going to re-form and perform at the O2. Of all the acts to perform there so far this has to be the one to absolutely nail the place on the map. My lovely daughter S, has suggested the two of us go – I’d so love to do that but I suspect the tickets will be massively in demand and impossible to get hold of.
I’ve seen a few great bands in my life; the Stones always gave a brilliant show, Jimi Hendrix at the Blackpool Winter gardens was surreal and wonderful in equal doses, Clapton many times at the Albert was always great, Cream re-union was highly charged, Sting just so accomplished, Floyd were good, the early Kinks were just fantastic, Free at their peak were indescribably good, the Who nailed on, McCartney/Wings very good, Phil Collins in his top years also gave a really good show and I cannot deny that Brian Adams’ gigs with my wife were always great performances (although I swear was the only straight bloke at Wembley arena). Tony Bennett was simply the best singer I ever saw live. Bruce Springsteen gave everything and his do’s were probably the greatest value – I think he was on stage almost 3 hours when I saw him at Villa. Tina Turner at Woburn was probably the best one-off show by a female performer; she just smouldered.
But the single most amazing contemporary musical event I ever witnessed was Led Zeppelin at their absolute peak performing the final gig in an 18 month year world tour in, of all places, Aberystwyth, when I was at Uni. They didn’t perform at the campus though. At the time some of the guys were living part of their lives in this tiny place in Wales, near Machynlleth. And they wanted to give something back to their local fans, rather than to a bunch of tax dodgers so they performed at the Aberystwyth Kings Hall. This was the local hall that acted as a dance venue, polling station, WI venue etc. It wasn’t quite the size of the O2. You could probably fit 500 people in there. My great friend D managed to get us tickets (students weren’t supposed to get be able to get them). We were sat in the upper balcony area. The set occupied about one half of the hall with all the speakers etc. The guys were completely in another world that night – but turned everything up full blast for a final night’s lamping. The first few bars of ‘Whole lotta love’ nearly took the roof off and the skin off our faces. What a show. I was deaf for a week.
So 35 years later I’m fascinated to see how they shape up. It ‘ll probably be a really crisp show as they’re probably all pretty clean now. I don’t know if any of the folks who read this have boxes at the O2 and might be struggling to find interesting people to fill their guest list. If so I’d be happy to come along and relate stories of life at Aber after the Zep had torn the place apart. But it’s getting late and the wine’s kicking in and I’m starting to ramble on. Before I get even more dazed and confused, better get up the stairw……
See what i did there ? I hope old Ertegun, to whom the tribute event is dedicated, will be watching from the top of the stairway. That’s the most cringeworthy ending I’ve ever written (one point).