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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

February 7, 1962 - Deborah Bonham, sister to John, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
February 23, 1966 - Warren Grant, son of Peter, was born.
February xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin enters the Billboard Top 40
February 16, 1969 - Led Zeppelin wrap up their first American tour in Baltimore, MD.
February 07, 1970 - Edinburgh gig cancelled after Plant receives facial injuries in a car accident
February 28, 1970 - The band performs as "The Nobs" in Copenhagen after threat of legal action from Countess Von Zeppelin
February xx, 1971 - John Paul Jones involved in legal issues regarding a musician who shares the same name
February xx, 1971 - Overdubs for the fourth album are recorded at Island Studios
February 14, 1972 - The band is refused admission into Singapore due to their long hair
February 16, 1972 - The Australian tour begins in Perth
February 21, 1972 - Led Zeppelin: Rock and Roll b/w Four Sticks (Atlantic 45-2865) 45 single is released in the US.
February xx, 1973 - The band makes final preparations for the European tour
February 16, 1973 - The release date for Houses Of The Holy is pushed back due to some sleeve problems
February xx, 1974 - Sessions for Physical Graffiti continue
February 14, 1974 - Page, Plant and Bonham attend a Roy Harper concert
February 04, 1975 - Zeppelin perform a last minute show at Nassau Coliseum to accomodate fans after being banned in Boston
February 24, 1975 - Physical Graffiti finally issued worldwide to phenomenal sales
February xx, 1976 - Media reports that Zeppelin are due to release an album entitled Obelisk
February xx, 1977 - Robert contracts a bout of tonsillitis postponing the American tour
February xx, 1978 - Robert Plant helps produce a record for punk band Dansette Damage
February 16, 1978 - The cases against Bonham, Cole & Grant stemming from the Oakland incident are heard and all receive suspended prison sentences and fines
February xx, 1979 - Although absent from the US stage or market, Led Zeppelin rank best in many music magazine categories
February xx, 1979 - Mixing sessions for In Through The Out Door take place at Polar Studios. Rumors fly of a European tour
February 03, 1980 - Robert joins Dave Edmund’s Rockpile at the Birmingham Top Rank
February 13, 2005 - Led Zeppelin receives a Grammy for Lifetime Achievment.
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