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Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day CD (album) cover

CELEBRATION DAY

Led Zeppelin

 

Prog Related

4.56 | 131 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars This review focuses on the DVD visuals and the main audio concert. This momentous event is definitely one for the annals of rock history. The legends are back and for one more time weave their magic before a spellbound crowd.

'Good Times Bad Times' is a perfect way to start, as the band said in the press conference, the song that started it all was the appropriate beginning. It is a terrific version, rocking real hard and Plant taking it down a tone to his vocal range and it works. The bass work of Jones is a blazing inferno, I never really gave him as much credit until I saw him live here; he is a master.

'Ramble On' is a pleasant surprise as it rocks the roof off here. Plant sounds fantastic even after all the years. 'Black Dog' is always brilliant to my ears although Jimmy struggles with those solos. I love the fact that there were no overdubs, just plain raw Zeppelin turned up to the max.

'In My Time Of Dying' has an incredible guitar sound that Jimmy gets from his gibson es-175 blonde axe. I love this version more than any I have heard, it is absolutely bone chilling. Page is more comfortable here on sliding the guitar strings with all the dexterity of the virtuoso legend he became. Bonham's son, Jason, is brilliant here taking it to the drums with a ferocity his father would have been proud of. Plant says "it still feels pretty good up here!" and my thoughts are it feels good from back here too; what a legendary performance. Plant then says "we are honoured to bring Jason in on this" and then states it is the first time they brought this next song in public. It is a strange choice because it is the little known 'For Your Life' and I had to look up from whence it came; namely "Presence", not a great album but this is the better way to hear this song, it really has a lot of passion.

Next is 'Trampled Under Foot' another gem not expected, but you have to love those guitar riffs, from the Terraplane Blues, and Jones is fantabulous on keyboards. The psychedelic visuals are effective too; a real stunner live. 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' follows and I was so delighted as I absolutely love it. The guitar again is given a ballsy muscular tone. It is incredible how tight the band are here, simply faultless (pun intended). By the time we get to the solo it is goosebumps all the way. Plant's harmonica work is great too; one of the concert highlights.

'No Quarter' was a great choice as its super popular and proggy. The guitar sounds amazing with wah wah fuzz but Jones is the real star here on psych keyboards. I love how the crowd sings softly with Plant. A perfect rendition of a classic, and the dry ice is an ethereal addition that looks ghostly. I forgot to mention too, throughout the concert, occasionally, there is an insert video that looks like a bootleg from the 70s, but it is the same concert, just made to look that way, all shakey and fuzzed; quite an affective element. The solo by Page here is one of his best on the night and when he raises his guitar at the end it is a sacrifice to the rock gods.

'Since I've Been Loving You' is a fine example of the band at their bluesiest best. It was a brave move for the band to do this as its so full of complex guitar and high bluesy wails but they nail it; Page and Bonham exchange some smiles cos they feel it. It smokes along with massive guitar solos along with shimmering organ. At the end Plant and Page share a laugh as they really enjoyed it as much as the crowd.

'Dazed And Confused' was a quintessential choice and it always has the power to captivate from beginning to end. The dynamics of tension are dramatic, with Plant screaming up a storm and scatting with improvised finesse, and it is released into some astonishing powerhouse lead soloing. Page takes the violin bow and gives the Gibson a good ol' thrashing. The laser pyramid surrounds him as he makes the guitar scream in agony; the only thing missing is the psychedelic sword wielding from the tarot hermit. It is a stunning live performance, certainly one of the better versions I have heard of this treasure. .

The band would have been lynched had they not done 'Stairway To Heaven' and it receives the appropriate ovation it deserves. The band cruise beautifully through it during the slow parts, though the double guitar sounds too distorted rather than acoustic, and it is downtuned. The heavy section with solo is excellent but it is not as dynamic as the older version from "The Song Remains the Same" movie; though still great to hear after all these years. I think the band are relieved when its over, even Plant says "we did it".

'The Song Remains The Same' is another obvious number to perform live as it is the signature tune from the infamous concert movie. The guitars are tuned down way too low to match Plant's voice and this ruins it a bit but overall it is a decent rendition. It might have been better to leave this out and do a different song, for instance my favourites are missing such as 'Immigrant Song', 'Achilles Last Stand' and 'You Shook Me'.

Plant says Bonham is "Spectacular" on drums and we believe he is right. The drummer shows proudly his Zoso tattoo which is appropriate as they launch into an upgraded version of 'Misty Mountain Hop', one of the album gems from the Zoso LZ4 classic. Bonham has fun backing on vocals and doing a great job. Plant mimics smoking dope at one point and the kaleidoscope video effects pretty much sum up what this is all about.

'Kashmir' is another definitive Zep classic and it sounds perfect here. The members play with emotion and passion and it really has the epic quality it deserves. The graphics are fantastic too on the background screen. Jones is a revelation on keys but you have to hand it to Bonham who drums his little heart out and when he bangs the gong at the end and stands to his feet, everyone in the crowd raise their fists in Valhalla glory; an absolute blockbuster performance from the Zeps at their best.

'Whole Lotta Love' is one of my faves with that awesome riff. Page is not up to scratch in the solo and Plant is a bit weird groaning in his old age here but it had to be included. The guitar interlude is a bit off the boil but you can hear the crowd loving singing along with those Planterisms which is a nice touch. The band leave after thanking everyone who made it possible. Then its off for a breather and an encore.

'Rock And Roll' is the perfect finish to this epic concert; the ultimate encore and the band really have tons of fun cranking it out. Plant plays with the crowd singing too many "lonely"'s and then Bonham lets rip on drums, and it is all over. As the band said in the press conference 5 years is 5 minutes in Zeppelin time, and it feels like time has gone fast too watching this.

The crowd roar as the band bow down and then roar even louder when the Led Zeppelin logo goes up emblazoned on the massive screen. It has been an incredible event, one that will go down in the annals of rock history. 5 stars for a masterpiece come back performance, hammered by the gods in stone, etched in our memories forever.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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