LONDON The songs remain the same and so will the passion when fans from around the world gather to see Led Zeppelin, one of rock music's most influential bands, reunite for a one-off gig on Monday.
Singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones will be joined on stage in London by drummer Jason Bonham, son of the fourth original band member John, whose death in 1980 prompted Led Zeppelin's break-up.
Songs like "Stairway to Heaven", "Whole Lotta Love" and "Communication Breakdown" have helped Led Zeppelin sell 300 million albums, the bulk in their heyday of the 1970s when they could lay claim to being the world's biggest rock group.
When Led Zeppelin announced they would play a tribute concert to the late music promoter Ahmet Ertegun, who signed them in 1968, the ticket Web site crashed and the band counted the number of people trying to log on in their millions.
One fan from Scotland entered a charity auction last month and paid $170,000 (83,826 pounds) for a pair of tickets to the show.
To coincide with the charity gig, the band issued a hits album "Mothership", a digitally remastered DVD of "The Song Remains The Same" featuring rare live footage from concerts in the 1970s and the entire back catalogue on the Internet.
Fans have had to wait longer than expected for the concert after guitarist Page broke a finger in a fall. The concert was postponed for two weeks.
Page said in late November that the digit was healing well.
"It's going to be fine for the concert," the 63-year-old told Reuters. "I'm able to do what I ought to be able to do, it's just a bit bruised and a it's bit painful still, but with this two weeks' postponement ... it's going to be fine."
COMEBACK ON THE CARDS?
The three surviving members of Led Zeppelin have been together on stage a handful of times since they split 27 years ago. But whereas these reunions were shambolic, Led Zeppelin are confident Monday's 90-minute set will be different.
Page said the band would probably play one track they had never performed before in public but would not be drawn on whether a successful concert could lead to a full reunion tour.
More and more bands are reuniting to perform live rather than recording new music, including the Sex Pistols and Spice Girls in recent weeks. Tours and their spinoff merchandise are generally more profitable than selling records nowadays.
"Let's just do the O2 (on Monday) and we'll see what happens from there," Page said. "I haven't got a crystal ball here and nor have you."
Music industry sources believe that Plant, 59, who has enjoyed the most success as a solo artist, may be the least keen on a comeback tour. Unlike Jones, 61, and Page, Plant has had little to do with promoting the December 10 gig.
(Editing by Robert Woodward)