Led Zeppelin O2 Arena London Dec 10th 2007

Led Zeppelin O2 Arena London Dec 10th 2007
zepo2tix On December 10th 2007, the (almost) impossible happened and Led Zeppelin reformed at took to the stage at the O2 Arena in London for The Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert. This was a benefit concert held in memory of music executive Ahmet Ertegün, who had been involved in breaking Zeppelin in the USA. This was the first full Zeppelin concert since the death of John Bonham in 1980. Bonham’s son Jason Bonham took his dad’s place at the drumstool, and did a pretty fine job too. There had been rumours for some time that Zeppelin might reform, and in September, 2007, Harvey Goldmsith confirmed at a press conference that it was, indeed, going to take place. The concert was originally scheduled to take place on November 26, 2007, but was rescheduled when Jimmy Page injured his finger.
As soon as I heard about the show, I was determined to do my best to attend. Tickets were made available via a lottery system. I entered my details several times into the website, hoping against the odds that I would score tickets. Apparently one million people registered for the 20,000 available tickets, so the odds of success were, to say the least, low. As soon as the results of the lottery were released, I was on every Zeppelin online forum that I could find, and soon realised that I hadn’t been successful. Those who had won, were emailed a passcode which enabled them to but two tickets via ticketmaster. I looked on ebay, and to my dismay, found passcodes on sale. It was clear that some enterprising individuals had managed to make multiple entries (presumably using multiple computers, email addresses and postal addresses) to ensure success. I decided to take the risk and bought two passcodes for $100 each. These enabled me to buy two pairs of tickets. The face value of each ticket was £125 (expensive anyway), which meant I was paying around £150 per ticket (which didn’t seem too bad a deal to me). I went straight to ticketmaster and bought two tickets in my name, and two in Marie’s name, using different credit cards. The rules said that one individual could only buy two tickets, and that orders on the same card would be cancelled. The plan was for all four of us: me, Marie, David and Laura to go to the gig. We received our confirmation email immediately, and were told that Marie and I would have to collect our tickets from the O2, along with photographic ID. We were in! Or so I thought. I was so excited, and looking forward to seeing Zeppelin again. Over the next few weeks there was a lot of talk in the press and on the internet about the method of ticket allocation, and the fact that some touts had managed to get hold of tickets. Harvey Goldsmith announced that he would cancel any tickets that had been bought by anyone other than those drawn in the lottery. This resulted in several guys, who had obtained tickets in a similar manner to me, particularly from the USA, threatening legal action. In the end, I’m not sure if any tickets were actually cancelled, but I was pretty stressed out at the time, in case he cancelled our tickets (which he didn’t 🙂 Thanks Harvey).
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page later commented: “I knew it was going to sell out quickly, but the tidal wave of euphoria that preceded the gig—the anticipation—went beyond what I could possibly have imagined. We’d had a few shambolic appearances in the past, like Live Aid, so if we were ever going to come back together, we were going to do it properly and stand up and be counted.”
On November 1, 2007, it was announced that Page had broken his little finger after a fall in his garden, and the show was postponed to December 10, 2007 :(. Panic! We had trains and hotel rooms booked! We cancelled those and rebooked, which cost us, but hey ho in for a penny….and this was Zeppelin :).
We were advised to turn up early to collect our tickets, and the O2 opened the day before to issue tickets and wristbands for the show. We went down to London a day early, joined the queue and collected our tickets and wristbands. It was obvious from talking to people in the queue that many had travelled from all over the world for this historic gig. The USA contingent was particularly strong.
zepo2prog We went along to the O2 on the night of the gig very excited about the prospect of seeing Zeppelin. David and Laura were really looking forward to it. We had seats in two pairs upstairs in the same block, with a reasonable view of the stage. The show opened with a performance by a supergroup consisting of Keith Emerson (ELP), Chris Squire and Alan White (Yes) and Simon Kirke (Free, Bad Co) with the brass section from Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. They started with ELP’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”. The show also featured Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, Paul Rodgers, Paolo Nutini, and Foreigner. The Rhythm Kings acted as backing group for Nutini and Rodgers both singing two songs each. Other guests were Maggie Bell and Alvin Lee. Ronnie Wood was billed to perform, and appears in the programme and on the t-shirt, but he didn’t play. We watched the start of the set, caught Paul Rodgers and Foreigner, but sent much of the time having a look around the arena, taking in the atmosphere. We saw Bob Geldof and Joe Elliott from Def Leppard in the bar. Many other stars attended the gig.
There was a short interval and then we took our seats. You could feel the anticipation in the air. What would they be like? What would they start with? The entrance of Led Zeppelin was preceded by a short film, taken from TV reports of a 70s US tour. And then there were on stage, and the familiar opening riff of “Good Times, Bad Times’ echoed across the massive arena. The sound was a little patchy at first, but that was soon sorted out. The atmosphere was strange; the crowd seemed subdued, as if they were completely awestruck, and couldn’t believe what they were experiencing. This developed as the evening progressed, with later songs getting crazy audience receptions. They were everything I could have hoped for. The performance of each band member was stunning, the weeks of rehearsal paid off. Plant sang songs in a lower key, and his scream wasn’t as piercing as it had been, but then how could it be? I also reckon that Page fluffed some of the notes at the start of Stairway. But these were minor points. Overall it was a great performance, and Zeppelin reclaimed their legacy. Highlights for me were Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven (although I’ve heard it so many times that the magic it held for me in the 70s has dimmed), and Kashmir. Encores were Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll. I was hoping for a further encore of Communication Breakdown, which they had apparently rehearsed, but hey you can’t have everything. Marie, David and Laura all thought it was just great. Probably not the best time I’ve seen Zeppelin, but a momentous, unforgettable and emotional event.
Setlist: Good Times Bad Times, Ramble On, Black Dog, In My Time Of Dying, For Your Life, Trampled Underfoot, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, No Quarter, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, The Song Remains The Same, Misty Mountain Hop, Kashmir. Encore 1: Whole Lotta Love. Encore 2: Rock And Roll

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