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Celebration Day

Celebration Day (2012)
[Click above for album images]

Contrary to popular perception, Led Zeppelin isn't exactly averse to reunions. If anything, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant can't keep away from each other. Just four years after John Bonham's 1980 death, Page laid down guitar on Robert Plant's oldies act the Honeydrippers, and not long after that, John Paul Jones joined the pair for a performance at 1985's Live Aid. That set was trashed by the public and band alike, as was their subsequent 1988 appearance at Atlantic Records' 40th Anniversary celebration, but despite these lackluster gigs, rumors of a full-fledged reunion continued to circulate well into the new millennium, even after Page & Plant recorded a pair of albums in the mid-'90s -- a project that caused tension with Jones, who was unaware of the collaboration until its release. Eventually, all the bad blood cooled and the trio once again reunited, this time with Bonham's son Jason on drums, for a full-fledged set as the headliners for the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert. Five years later, this reunion was finally released as Celebration Day, a live album available either as an audio or a CD/DVD set, letting the world at large experience what was roundly and rightly acclaimed as a near-perfect reunion. Why is Celebration Day such a resounding success? The snide answer is rehearsal: Zeppelin knew their previous two returns to the stage weren't up to snuff so they spent a great deal of time woodshedding, realizing their reputation was on the line. And since none of the participants were truly tempted by an ongoing reunion, one where they would have to hawk the same set list at every corner of the globe for over a year, they decided to pour all they had into this one-off concert, betting that one great gig would trump a globe-conquering tour. They were right. Celebration Day is an ideal coda for Led Zeppelin, proof that the group's skills only deepened with age. Never once does the group sound as if they're grasping at re-creating their youth; they've selected a set heavy on blues, atmosphere, and hits, songs that allow each member -- including Jason Bonham -- to stretch out and casually flaunt his skills. Plant may no longer be able to reach the soaring highs he did in the '70s, but his lowered range gives "Black Dog" and "The Song Remains the Same" gravity, and helps give "Trampled Under Foot" a gut-level punch. Page still can muff a note or two -- so can the band, actually, with Plant missing a line on the opening "Good Times Bad Times," a mistake that's thankfully left uncorrected -- but his imagination is unchained, and, when compared to the Page/Plant records of the '90s, it becomes clear how much Jones contributed to the band's chemistry, lending it grit and funk ("Misty Mountain Hop" grooves more than any song without bass should), deepening and coloring Page's riffs, letting the band bounce out and return to center. All of this unique chemistry is evident on Celebration Day -- underscored ever so slightly by the presence of Jason Bonham, the son of the king who now seems like the only possible heir to the throne, emphasizing that the band is a family affair -- and while this reunion is so unexpectedly, impossibly good that you'd want to experience this in the flesh, it also underscores the wisdom of leaving this as a one-time thing. This is so good that this is how you want to remember them: older, perhaps wiser, and still majestic. From http://www.allmusic.com/album/celebration-day-mw0002423203

Statistics

Released:
Nov. 19, 2012 (CD)
Feb. 12. 2013 (Vinyl)

Chart Position:
#9 (US) #4 (UK)

Certified:

Tracks

DISC ONE
1. Good Times Bad Times
2. Ramble On
3. Black Dog
4. In My Time Of Dying
5. For Your Life
6. Trampled Under Foot
7. Nobody Fault But Mine
8. No Quarter


DISC TWO
1. Since I've Been Loving You
2. Dazed And Confused
3. Stairway To Heaven
4. The Song Remains The Same
5. Misty Mountain Hop
6. Kashmir
7. Whole Lotta Love
8. Rock And Roll
Quick Fact

Led Zeppelin earned their first Grammy award, the Best Rock Album, for Celebration Day in 2014.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History


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November 21, 1968 - Robert becomes a father to a baby girl named Carmen Jane.
November 09, 1968 - Robert marries Maureen in London. Their reception is a performance at the Roundhouse in London
November xx, 1969 - Tempers flare over Atlantic in the UK wanting to release singles
November xx, 1969 - Recording for Led Zeppelin III begins at Olympic Studios in London
November xx, 1970 - Plans are in motion for a Yardbirds reunion
November 08, 1971 - Finally after much anticipation, Untitled is released
November xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy is mixed and completed
November 10, 1972 - Led Zeppelin sell out 120,000 tickets in one day
November xx, 1973 - Initial recordings for Physical Graffiti commences at Headley Grange
November 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finalize the purchase of Headley Grange to be their new corporate headquarters
November xx, 1974 - The band makes plans and rehearses for the tenth North American tour
November xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin records Presence in a mere 18 days
November xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin book into Ezyhire Studios to rehearse new material for an upcoming tour
November 04, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same movie premieres in Europe
November xx, 1977 - Jimmy dispells rumors of Led Zeppelin’s break up
November 06, 1978 - Led Zeppelin purchase and ship new gear to Polar Studios to begin work on a new album
November 10, 1979 - Led Zeppelin and their entire entourage attend an ABBA concert
November 07, 1980 - The band meets with Peter Grant to announce the retirement of Led Zeppelin
November 29, 1999 - The RIAA announced that Led Zeppelin were only the third act in music history to achieve four or more Diamond albums, a Diamond album being awarded for accredited sales of more than 10 million units in the US.
November 01, 2007 - An announcement was made that Jimmy Page had fractured his finger on his left hand after a fall in his garden and the reunion show would be postponed to December 10, 2007.
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