LONDON British band Led Zeppelin blasted their
way through more than two hours of high-octane rock and roll on
Monday, turning back time on a night of passion and nostalgia.
The quartet had a crowd of around 20,000 at London's 02
Arena calling for more at the end of 16 tracks ranging from
their most famous numbers to less familiar fare.
Many fans went away ecstatic, some even saying Led Zeppelin
sounded better than in their hell-raising heyday of the 1970s.
"I saw them a couple of times in the 70s, and I think they
were actually better," said John, a fiftysomething fan. "The
quality of the sound was so crap back then."
There were none of the tight trousers and open shirts of
the old days and the instrumentalists were largely static
through the non-stop set.
But lead singer Robert Plant, 59, strutted his way through
"Good Times Bad Times" to kick off one of the most
eagerly-anticipated concerts in recent years.
"In the days of my youth; I was told what it was to be a
man; Now I've reached the age; I've tried to do all those
things the best I can; No matter how I try; I find my way to do
the same old jam," Plant sang to a crowd cheering every bar and
A grey-haired Jimmy Page, 63, reminded the world why he is
considered one of the lead guitar greats, while John Paul
Jones, 61, showed his versatility jumping from bass to
Completing the quartet was Jason Bonham on drums. His
father John died in 1980 after a drinking binge, prompting the
demise of a group that has sold more than 300 million albums
and influenced countless bands since.
Led Zeppelin played old favorites "Stairway to Heaven,"
"Kashmir" and "Whole Lotta Love" as well as less well-known
tracks like "In My Time of Dying" and "For Your Life," which
they performed live for the first time.
Monday's concert was the first full set Led Zeppelin had
played since 1979, according to music magazine NME, which gave
the group a glowing review.
"If there were skeptics here tonight -- there weren't but
just for the sake of argument consider it -- Led Zeppelin
silenced them and banished any rotten memories of their
shambolic Live Aid reunion (in 1985)," it said.
Monday's concert, a charity tribute to Ahmet Ertegun who
signed the band in 1968, has led to fevered speculation that a
full comeback tour could be on the cards.
"Let's just do the O2 and we'll see what happens from
there," Page told Reuters in a recent interview. "I haven't got
a crystal ball here and nor have you."
When organizers announced the concert the Web site selling
tickets crashed as more than a million people rushed for the
seats. One man from Scotland entered a charity auction last
month and paid $170,000 for a pair of tickets to the show.
Steve D'Onofrio, a 17-year-old from New York accompanied on
a three-day trip to London by his mother Ellen, applied for
tickets having fallen in love with the music several years ago.
"I'm a huge classic rock fan from the music mom and dad
played," he told Reuters on his way to the gig in southeast
London. "I wasn't a Led Zeppelin fan until I was about the age
of 10. I started listening and everything they did was
Turkish-born music promoter and record label founder
Ertegun died last year aged 83 after slipping backstage at a
concert by the Rolling Stones and going into a coma.
As well as Led Zeppelin and the Stones, Ertegun and his
Atlantic Records helped launch the careers of acts ranging from
Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin.