Led Zeppelin ‘Celebration Day’

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#820 in the Series) is Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day 

OK, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and make a statement that will have Led Zep fans loathing my very existence. The Led Zeppelin of the 2007 reunion show and recent Celebration Day DVD/CD are so much better in every way than the Led Zeppelin of The Song Remains The Same circa 1973. Or, at least, the slightly touched up Led Zep of 2007 is better.

While it’s tough to compare a band that’s fresh off of releasing an album like Houses Of The Holy with a bunch of semi-retired veterans who have remained somewhat active over the years with various projects of relative merit, this final lap around the track for Led Zep ’07 found them a tight, succinct unit kind of resting on their laurels, even if it was for one show paying tribute to the late, great Ahmet Ertegun. In contrast, the Led Zep of 1973 were often sloppy, bombastic and ponderous on stage, making the “Song” soundtrack and bootleg concerts from the ’73 tour unlistenable at times.

I will concede that Robert Plant’s voice is just a mere shadow of the miraculous wonder of a voice he had back in the day, but Plant rose to the occasion for the 2007 reunion and with the addition of studio post production touch-ups, his voice sounds terrific here too. Besides, the 1973 Madison Square Garden recordings that provided the soundtrack to The Song Remains The Same, were also heavily touched up.

Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are as great as ever in 2007 and the band looks and sounds like they are having a ball on stage. And what can be said about Jason Bonham, other than there are no better substitutes for father John than his son, who makes mincemeat out of his drum skins.

Now let’s talk image a little bit…The Song Remains The Same was also a film, and the image portrayed by the band members via mystical vignettes were just plain silly (and slightly boring) in 1976 when the film was released, although with hindsight the prog-rock visuals of the film come off somewhat nostalgic today (and still pretty silly). The Celebration Day film and concert is all business with none of the histrionics that surrounded the reunion (resulting in over 20 million requests for tickets to the show), and a focus squarely on the band and the occasion.

I really didn’t want to buy into the whole Celebration Day hype machine, but I must admit that I am sitting here with a big grin on my face enjoying the latest installment in the Led Zep cannon. So, is Celebration Day, essential listening? Maybe not, but for anyone who remembers laughter, it’s a welcome addition to their discography…and heck, I’d go see them in a heartbeat if they decided to take the show on the road!

–Eric Berman

— Eric Berman’s Song of the Day

 Track listing

  1. “Good Times Bad Times” (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page) – 3:12
  2. “Ramble On” (Page and Robert Plant) – 5:45
  3. “Black Dog” (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 5:53
  4. “In My Time of Dying” (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant) – 11:11
  5. “For Your Life” (Page and Plant) – 6:40
  6. “Trampled Under Foot” (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 6:20
  7. “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” (Page and Plant) – 6:44
  8. “No Quarter” (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 9:22
  9. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 7:52
  10. “Dazed and Confused” (Page; inspired by Jake Holmes) – 11:44
  11. “Stairway to Heaven” (Page and Plant) – 8:49
  12. “The Song Remains the Same” (Page and Plant) – 5:47
  13. “Misty Mountain Hop” (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 5:08
  14. “Kashmir” (Bonham, Page, and Plant) – 9:07
  15. “Whole Lotta Love” (Bonham, Willie Dixon, Jones, Page and Plant) – 7:26
  16. “Rock and Roll” (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant) – 4:35

Personnel

  • Jason Bonham – drums, percussion; backing vocals
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, keyboards
  • Jimmy Page – guitar, production
  • Robert Plant – vocals; harmonica

Give Black Dog a listen

Here’s the Celebration Day Press Conference

Posted by Larry Carta


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