Celebration Day

Tonight, I went to a screening of Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day. Disclaimer: I've never been a huge Zeppelin fan, I heard way too much of them in high school, but I certainly like them. I totally respect them and will pull out an album from time to time, but the stoners in high school pretty much killed off most of my enthusiasm for the band.

I remember reading about this show when it was first announced and didn't think much of it back then and never really heard anything after it happened. I read about this screening the other day (it would be a one-time screening) and again, I was skeptical, but I decided to check it out anyways. Imagine my surprise. It's absolutely jaw-dropping, start to finish. Seriously.

Yeah, Robert Plant can't hit the high notes like he used to but he still commands the stage. Jimmy Page shows up in a big way, showing he's still a master. John Paul Jones' bass and keyboards are excellent and Jason Bonham more than fills in for his late father, John Bonham; he plays like he belongs up there with those three legends.

They looked loose and playful while the musicianship was immense and tight. There was a moment before the first encore when Jimmy Page affectionately rubbed Jason Bonham's head. It made me think of how those three guys saw Jason as a child so many years ago and now there he was, a man honoring his father.

This wasn't the cash-in that I originally thought it might be. These guys played their hearts out while honoring (Atlantic Records founder) Ahmet Ertegun, John Bonham and their own legacy. They had fun and it showed.

The crowd in the theater was sparse, maybe around 20 people. There was a kid to my left, early to mid 20s, fist-pumping throughout the entire film. There was an older woman in front of me, easily in her 60s, her head nodding along to every song. There were a couple burnout looking hippies. There was a 20ish girl sitting alone at the other end of my row. Nearly everyone cheered and clapped after each song. A couple people would yell out in appreciation during a Page solo or when Plant would somehow find that extra gear and ratchet up the intensity. Standard concert behaviour. It was almost like being there, probably as close as I'll ever get to seeing Led Zeppelin live, and perhaps one of the very few times where you wouldn't mind people making that kind of noise in a movie theater. It was definitely a riveting experience.

If you like rock n' roll. If you think you like rock n' roll. See this now. They may be older now, but Led Zeppelin will show you how it's done.

Check out the trailer below. The BD, DVD and CDs will be out next month, on November 19th.

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