After their less than stellar performances at Live Aid and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 40th Anniversary Concert, there was widespread speculation about whether their “Celebration Day” concert would exhibit the innovative musical communion they showcased in their peak days, or the keyed-down, sloppy performances at their other post-millennial reunions. The two-hour documentary of the concert, which focuses solely on the performance of 16 songs from the Led Zeppelin catalogue rather than commentary or behind-the-scenes footage, will put criticisms of the band’s reincarnation to rest. The film is riveting, the musicianship is fresh and nuanced, and the band’s sheer joy and relief that they managed to pull off a great performance is evident in every shot. As Robert Plant mentioned during the press conference, it’s a “great light show too.”
Led Zeppelin will receive the Kennedy Center Honors this year in December, a solid five years after their O2 Performance. “We kind of are American in a way…but not,” Robert Plant said, reinforcing the band’s admission that American music was their primary influence. Plant also expressed his excitement to meet the “most dynamic and charismatic American” at the Kennedy Center Honors – President Obama.
“Celebration Day” will be released in select theaters worldwide on October 17 by Omniverse Vision, and on multiple video and audio formats on November 19. When told that the film doesn’t quench the thirst for fans who want to see the band in the flesh, John Paul Jones’ response succinctly expresses the band’s avoidance and abhorrence of “reunion” questions: “Sorry.” They made it clear that there is no reunion tour currently in the works, to the audience's disappointment. In the meantime, Jimmy Page has some advice for the band’s fans: “Don’t listen to Led Zeppelin on MP3.”