Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day”: “We Were So Happy We Were Actually Getting It Right”
Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham held a press conference at New York’s Museum Of Modern Art on Tuesday October 9 to promote the upcoming theatrical release (and subsequent DVD/BluRay/CD/LP release) of Led Zeppelin‘s Celebration Day, the live document of the band’s one-night-only reunion concert from 2007.
As was the case with their recent press conference in the U.K., the group fielded several questions asking if they will ever perform again, with one journalist asking the group what they would say to fans who have never had the opportunity to see them in the flesh.
“Sorry!” was John Paul Jones’ characteristically brief response.
While the members of the band dodged questions about their future, they seemed to enjoy each other’s company, and took visible pride in their performance as captured in the film. Jimmy Page expressed relief that the show went as well as it did, saying the band was “uncomfortable” with their reunion performances at Live Aid (in 1985) and the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Concert (in 1988).
Robert Plant explained that the band wasn’t always great live, even during their heyday: “Sometimes we were f***ing awful and sometimes we were stunning. This time we were propelled by Jason.”
Though Bonham was also the band’s drummer at the Atlantic concert in 1988, he clarified, “When we did the 40th, I probably was still in my era of (thinking) ‘The world owes me,’ and didn’t take things that seriously. Nineteen years later, I wanted to prove to the world (that I could do it). The weeks leading up to it there was a huge amount of enjoyment and pressure.” Turning to Plant, Page and Jones he said, “Playing with these guys was my dream, and you were fantastic, every one of you.”
He added, “I just wanted to impress my dad’s friends.” The moderator, Bill Flanagan (a CBS Sunday Morning contributor) commented, “You did.”
Most people who were at the concert, or who have seen the film, would probably agree on both points: the band was fantastic and Bonham did impress. Which gets to the point of why the band most likely won’t play again. As Robert Plant said, “I think that night, we were just hanging on for dear life. We were so happy that we were actually getting it right, and really enjoying it. There were moments when we really took off.”
He continued, “The responsibility of doing that four nights a week, for the rest of time, is a different thing. We’re pretty good at what we do. If we’re capable of doing something in our own time, that will be what will happen.” Gesturing towards a journalist who practically demanded to know why the band wouldn’t reunite, he said, “So any inane questions (like that)… you should just really think about what it takes to answer a question like that.”
Celebration Day is slated for global theatrical release on October 17, check the band’s website, or local listings, for theaters and times. The film/live album will be released on a number of formats, from BluRay to LP, on November 19.
— Brian Ives, CBS Local