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Led Zeppelin to return to stage amid hype and nostalgia

CHRIS LEHOURITES
The Associated Press
** FILE ** Led Zeppelin bandmates, singer Robert Plant, left, and guitarist Jimmy Page, reunite to perform for the Live Aid famine relief concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia Pa., in this July 13, 1985, file photo. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, file)
AP | AP

LONDON ” Led Zeppelin fans from around the world descended Monday on London to see the legendary rock ‘n’ roll band perform a full set for the first time in nearly three decades.

Led by its three surviving members ” singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones ” Led Zeppelin will be joined by the late John Bonham’s son Jason on drums for the benefit show Monday at the O2 Arena.

Led Zeppelin has not played a full set since 1980, the year John Bonham died after choking on his own vomit. Robbed of “Bonzo’s” pulsing drums, the band decided it couldn’t go on and split up on Dec. 4, 1980.

Now, with an estimated 20 million fans vying for tickets pared down to a lucky 18,000 or so ” including one who paid more than $168,000 for his pair ” most of the rest are hoping for more tour dates.

But Plant ” with his screeching, often unintelligible lyrics leading the way during the band’s 12 years and eight studio albums ” may be toughest of the three to be convinced that it’s a good idea to go on tour.

“The whole idea of being on a cavalcade of merciless repetition is not what it’s all about,” the 59-year-old Page told The Sunday Times.

That certainly won’t be music to the ears of millions of fans who are hoping to hear “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Kashmir” in concert again.

Plant, who recently released a successful album with bluegrass star Alison Krauss, did give an indication that this may not be the last of Led Zeppelin, however.

“It wouldn’t be such a bad idea to play together from time to time,” Plant added.

Monday’s concert won’t be the first Led Zeppelin reunion, but it will be the biggest.

The band played together in 1985 at Live Aid, and joined forces again three years later ” with Jason Bonham on drums ” to play at the 40th anniversary concert for Atlantic Records.

At their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1995, they teamed up with other musicians for another short set.

Priced at $250, tickets have been selling on the Internet for upwards of $2,000.

Kenneth Donnell, 25, said he paid $168,500 for his tickets from British Broadcasting Corp. radio’s “Things That Money Can’t Buy” charity auction last month.

“I was gutted that I was not born in the 1960s and able to see Led Zeppelin in the 1970s like my dad,” Donnell told The Sunday Times.

Monday’s show is dedicated to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who died last year. Proceeds from the show are to go to the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, which provides scholarships to universities in the United States, Britain and Turkey.

The show was originally scheduled for Nov. 26, but was postponed until Monday because Page injured the little finger on his left hand.

Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and one-time Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers are also scheduled to perform.


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