The New York Times’ Ben Ratliff writes that Led Zeppelin performed in tempos that were more graceful than their old live recordings at their first full concert since 1980 at O2 Arena in London last night. View the slideshow here. More coverage here. We await more YouTube videos with more performance, fewer burnt-out fans…
Led Zeppelin slowed it down a little. At the O2 arena here on Monday night, in its first full concert since 1980 — without John Bonham, who died that year, but with Bonham’s son Jason as a natural substitute — the band found much of its old power in tempos that were more graceful than those on the old live recordings. The speed of the songs ran closer to those on the group’s old studio records, or slower yet. “Good Times Bad Times,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” and “Whole Lotta Love” were confident, easy cruises; “Dazed and Confused” was a glorious doom-crawl.
It all goes back to the blues, in which oozing gracefully is a virtue, and from which Led Zeppelin initially got half its ideas. Its singer, Robert Plant, doesn’t want you to forget that fact: he introduced “Trampled Underfoot” by explaining its connection to Robert Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues,” and mentioned Blind Willie Johnson as the inspiration for “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” (Beyond that, the band spent 10 luxuriant minutes each in two other blues songs from its back catalog — “Since I Been Loving You” and “In My Time of Dying”).
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