Why Led Zeppelin's reunion 10 years ago was their last stand

Music 11/12/2017

10 years ago on December 10 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin performed a full length concert together for the first time in over 27 years.

Three of the four band mates who performed that night seemed eager for this to be a new beginning for Led Zeppelin but 10 years on it is clear that it was actually their last stand.

The show was held at the 02 Arena in London and was a tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. There were only about 20,000 tickets available, but more than 20 million people applied – an official world record.

Led Zeppelin split in 1980 after the death of their drummer, John Bonham. Before the 2007 reunion they had only appeared together twice since 1980 and none of the performances were successful.

Robert Plant called their first reunion at Live Aid in 1985 an “atrocity”; he said their Atlantic 40th-anniversary show in 1988 was “foul.”

They needed their 2007 show to be bigger and better.

Their 2007 show was a huge success. Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Bonham’s son Jason delivered an experience so engaging that none of them will ever again sit through an interview without being asked about a reunion.

Plant was much more interested in his solo career than a proper reunion however. He had just released Raising Sand, his album with Alison Krauss that went on to win five Grammy Awards.

“I’ve gone so far somewhere else that I almost can't relate to it,” he said of the reunion show. “It's a bit of a pain in the pisser to be honest. Who cares? I know people care, but think about it from my angle – soon, I'm going to need help crossing the street."

His bandmates didn’t feel the same. They all felt the old energy and they wanted more. 

They realised that Plant wasn’t going to participate and worked behind the scenes throughout 2008, searching for someone else to sing.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith was invited to try out as well as Myles Kennedy but in 2009 the idea was officially abandoned.

“There are absolutely no plans for Led Zeppelin to continue," Jimmy Page's manager, Peter Mensch said. "Zero. Frankly, I wish everybody would stop talking about it. If you didn't see them in 2007, you missed them. It's done. I can't be any clearer than that.”

He pointed out that they "tried out a few singers, but no one worked out. That was it. The whole thing is completely over now."

In 2012 Page said he’d been aware that, whatever shape the project would eventually take, it couldn’t be seen as “milking” the success of the 2007 O2 reunion show. “I thought it was good,” he said of the new material they’d laid down on a small digital records. “I wasn’t going to walk away from it. But the weakness came up again – it was, ‘We gotta have a singer.’”

“The timing wasn’t the best. We had put so much toward the O2. And the three of us were catching up with stuff. It was very good, seriously promising. But there was this other thing going on. And that's it.”

Source: Ultimate Classic Rock