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Live Review: Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
Wednesday, February 13th 2013
The Commodore Ballroom

Being a former classic rock fanatic, the abundance of classic rock playing in the infamous Commodore theater on Wednesday night was like seeing an old friend. It was a breath of fresh air. The scene was much different from the heavy metal crowd this reviewer is used to, bringing fans of Zeppelin young and old together to pay homage through Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. The building was busier than most people expected.

Before the show started, I could hear the bass of the house music gradually going up. This induced a fear that the music wouldn’t sound as good as it should due to lack of clarity. These fears were not realized as the band sounded terrific from the get go. The singer sounded astoundingly like Robert Plant. Something I was not expecting, nor was I prepared for, and I had to take a moment to fully soak it in. Even throughout the show I was expecting him to slip up and lose his voice, but he maintained the Robert Plant within.

The show began with a personal documentary style film about Jason Bonham’s life, and clips of his father, John Bonham. Clips from this film persist throughout the show and different intervals. Jason Bonham really made this show personal with this, as well as sharing stories about his father with the audience: “He used to throw TV’s out the windows and do weird things with fish.” Was one particular story the crowd enjoyed. He also emphasized how cool he thinks his dad was, and that growing up, he never realized it because he was “just dad” but his love for his father, and the music his father was a part of is one of the many things that fuel the show. Saying things like: “They [Led Zeppelin] will live on forever.” And “This is my way of saying thank you.” pointing to the rafters, and beyond.

Despite constant interruptions of Jason telling the crowd stories about his growing up, I wasn’t bothered by the interruptions of the music and nostalgia; in fact, this is what truly made it the Led Zeppelin Experience. I feel that without these interruptions, the show would not have been as good as it was. This personal journey continues during the best drum solo I’ve ever heard live. Jason had a clip of his dads drum solo playing on the screen next to his solo. As he imitated his father’s movements with pinpoint accuracy it was like seeing father and son drumming together, being eternally bound through their love of music. Simply mind blowing.
The show opened with “Rock and Roll”, one of my favorite Zeppelin songs. I found myself grinning like a kid in a candy store over the nostalgia of the music and the fact that I get to see it live despite the original Led Zeppelin having moved on in one way or another. By “Immigrant Song” I was hooked. Fast forward to the infamous “Stairway To Heaven”, and hardly anyone in the massive Ballroom was sitting. The only disappointment, albeit a small one was to have not heard two favorite Led Zeppelin tracks, “Black Dog” and “Communication Breakdown.”

This modern take on a timeless classic has attracted fans new and old. It’s great that multiple generations of people pay homage to the gods of rock, Led Zeppelin, under the roof of a building almost as timeless, the Commodore. Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience is, and was a great way to relive the glory days. And is an emotional journey of rock and roll that needs to be seen to be believed.

By: Clayton Cyre

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