Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Revenge of the Dinosaurs?

Led Zeppelin made its much-hyped (and once-postponed) return to the stage last night in London, and judging from the audience vidclip below, the show was more than just a respectable facsimile of god-hammerdom (much less an embarrassment).  Reviews have been gushing, and I'll cop to getting a chill when I heard Plant's first mighty "Ooooh" in Kashmir (just after 2:00 in the clip).

Every review of the show includes speculation that the foursome (with Foreigner drummer Jason Bonham replacing his departed dad) will tour. My thoughts on that are mixed. I never saw Zep back in the day, and I'd love to see the band in some configuration. On the other hand, I saw The Who, post-Keith Moon and post-Kenney Jones, at Shea Stadium and, while the band's chops were still impressive, there was something mummified about that tour's "big hits" format. (A side effect of Townshend & Co.'s constant reissuing of "Who's Greatest"-style compilations, perhaps?) Without new material to energize themselves, there's a risk of things getting too rote for these old bands. ("Newer" ones too. Exhibit A: The Police.) Zeppelin may have partially been acknowledging this in their decision to unveil a first-time-live number, For Your Life, as part of the reunion set, but new material could be even more inspiring. (Then again, it could suck. Exhibit B: The Stones.)

Still, it'd be cool if the reconfigured Led Zeppelin got together some new songs, and even issued a new album -- maybe co-produced by Jack White or another less-is-more whiz kid -- and then took the new songbook on the road. (You know Plant has some tunes in his notebook, and Page must have whipped up at least a few new riffs in the last decade or so.) Other than that, Plant seems to be taking real good care of himself and his pipes, Jason Bonham is a fine stand-in for his old man, and J.P. Jones is in the pocket. As long as Pagey doesn't misbehave (or wear himself out), it could be a  great tour.

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