Hive Five: Our daily listicle of musical musings.
After teasing fans with a mysterious Facebook countdown for five days, Led Zeppelin finally revealed what it was they were counting down to. A reunion? A tour? A hard-light hologram of John Bonham pounding the skins at Coachella? Or just a reminder that the band actually did reunite -- for one night only -- in 2007, and that you weren’t there?
As it turns out, it’s the latter: Celebration Day, a concert film of that lone reunion date five years ago, was officially announced with both a theatrical and DVD release. And while that may be a little underwhelming given the fanfare, remember two things. One, it’s been nearly a decade since Led Zeppelin released anything at all, and beggars can’t be choosers; and two, even when it’s just on film, Zeppelin is one of the most compelling live bands of all time. Need proof? Here's five killer Zep videos.
1. “Dazed and Confused,” Royal Albert Hall, 1970
10 solid minutes of rocking out, Robert Plant howling like Banshee from the X-Men, and absolutely riveting noodling from Jimmy Page (often with a violin bow, because he is that good). Proof that jam bands could be explosive rock bands, once upon a time.
2. “Over the Hills and Far Away,” Knebworth Festival, 1979
One of the reasons that a Led Zeppelin reunion remains the holy grail of rock shows is that the band never overstayed their welcome: this performance of “Over the Hills and Far Away,” just over a decade into the band’s career, is from what was ultimately their swan song (though a brief European tour followed the next year). It shows a band that is every bit as good as the one rocking the Royal Albert Hall ten years earlier -- check out Page’s solo at the two and a half minute mark.
3. “Going to California,” Earls Court, 1975
Zeppelin weren’t just great as a hard-rocking blues band, though -- when they nodded toward the rootsy, folksy side of Plant that he’d go on to explore more fully with unlikely partners like Alison Krauss, as on this performance of “Going to California” from the band’s legendary 5-night stand at Earls Court in London, they were dynamite at that, too.
4. “Stairway to Heaven,” Madison Square Garden, 1973
The Song Remains The Same was Zeppelin’s first concert film, and while we don’t expect Celebration Day to have a fantasy sequence where Robert Plant is a knight rescuing a damsel in distress (though how rad would that be?), if it comes anywhere near this performance of “Stairway,” it’ll be worth the price of admission.
5. “Good Times Bad Times,” O2 Arena, 2007
So, this one is a fan-shot cell phone video of the first song from the concert that is Celebration Day -- we’ll expect the actual theatrical release to have less crowd-singalong and shrieking from fans, but it’s proof, at least, that the band still has it.
Celebration Day hits theaters on October 17, with a DVD release set for November 19. Watch the trailer below: