News | Guitar World Column | Interviews | Pictures | Album Reviews | Gig Reviews | Release Dates | History | Articles | Setlists | Upcoming | Contact
JASON BONHAM Enchants Hollywood With Memorable Led Zeppelin Experience

By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal

My rating points:

November 23rd 2010, Pantages Theatre, Hollywood CA: John Bonham, drumming legend and member of a four-piece group of rock luminaries better known as Led Zeppelin, passed away a little over 30 years ago but his son Jason Bonham is here to ensure that the legacy continues to live on. A capacity crowd awaited his troupe's appearance on stage. This being Hollywood, some familiar faces were seen, including Paul Stanley from KISS and Steve Lukather of Toto fame. Having never seen Jason perform live, I myself was very much looking forward to this event.

A giant screen formed the stage backdrop, and an intro video consisting of a narration by Jason interspersed with pictures of John Bonham kicked things off tonight. The band appeared among huge cheers from this highly anticipative audience. Reminiscent of typical Zeppelin concerts, "Rock And Roll" was the opening tune, and even before the crowd got a chance to catch its collective breath, they launched straight into "Celebration Day". Back to Zeppelin IV they went with "Black Dog" as the third song of the night.

After that, Jason addressed the crowd for the first time tonight, telling us how much this opportunity means to him, thanked the crowd for being in attendance, and promised to deliver an enjoyable show. I was pleasantly surprised with the selection for the next song, a deep cut from the Zeppelin I album that goes by the title "Your Time Is Gonna Come". Jason and his band were nailing each and every note so far, and this song was no exception. I expected a Zeppelin tribute gig like this done on such a large scale to take the safe route and feature just the 'hits', but that was certainly not the case here. They stayed on the Zeppelin I album for a couple more songs, to bring out soul touching masterpieces like "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" and "Dazed And Confused".

Next it was time to get entranced deeply in some Zeppelin II music, with "What Is And What Should Never Be", "Thank You", "The Lemon Song" and "Moby Dick". Jason dedicated Thank You to his grandmother, and his drum solo during the famous Moby Dick was accompanied by a video from The Song Remains The Same DVD, of his father doing the same solo on the same drum kit. It was an immensely powerful few minutes that we were treated to, and definitely the highlight of the night. With this, the band went in for a 15-minute intermission and promised to return with another set of Zeppelin classics.

The countdown on the giant screen read "00:00:00" and promptly, the lights went out followed by an old video clip of John and Jason playing drums together. "What were my parents thinking?" said Jason, as the band return on stage. "Good Times Bad Times" kicked things back into gear. Then came the delightful "I'm Gonna Crawl", after which guitarist Tony Catania and vocalist James Dylan enthralled us with their performances on "Since I've Been Loving You". Jason's sister Zoey Bonham came up on stage to play the organ on the next song, a beautiful rendition of "When The Levee Breaks" from Zeppelin IV.

It was the turn of the "Houses Of The Holy" album, which wasn't about to be left out of the selection, and rightly so. It got excellently represented with "The Ocean" and "Over The Hills And Far Away". By now, quite a few people were standing up instead of sitting in their seats. They weren't holding back from giving their best response and showing their true appreciation to the performers on stage. Then, Zeppelin I was featured for one final time tonight with "How Many More Times".

No concert involving Led Zeppelin is complete without "Stairway To Heaven". This was no different, and they did complete justice to the most beautiful song ever written. Even though the night had already been filled with plenty of glorious music, the crowd was starving for yet more. Jason gladly obliged by treating us with his favorite song "Kashmir" and an encore performance of "Whole Lotta Love".

Overall, Jason was absolutely flawless on drums and I could feel a lot of emotion in his performance. Specially when he talked about the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion concert, it really felt like he was doing this tour for the right reason and putting his whole-hearted effort into it. The same can also be said about vocalist James Dylan whose voice was truly magical throughout the entire two and a half hours that he was on stage. Guitarist Tony Catania was absolutely brilliant and possessed a natural likeness to Jimmy Page in terms of appearance and stage presence, without even seeming to make an effort to do so. Multi instrumentalist Stephen LeBlanc and bassist Michael Devin also did their parts excellently well.

In terms of the set list, the "Coda" and "Presence" albums could have been represented with at least one song each, but other than that the song selection was golden. With a multitude of Zeppelin classics to choose from and only 150 minutes to fit them in, I commend Jason for picking a set of songs that succeeded in providing us with some memorable moments while still capturing the vintage essence of a Led Zeppelin concert. John Bonham is no more, but now I know for sure that he continues to live on in his son's body and enthralls crowds across the world.

A deeply emotional, mesmerizing and entertaining performance.

The complete set list:

Set 1:
Rock And Roll
Celebration Day
Black Dog
Your Time Is Gonna Come
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
Dazed And Confused
What Is And What Should Never Be
Thank You
The Lemon Song
Moby Dick

Set 2:
Good Times Bad Times
I'm Gonna Crawl
Since I've Been Lovin' You
When The Levee Breaks
The Ocean
Over The Hills And Far Away
How Many More Times
Stairway To Heaven

Whole Lotta Love

Looking for the best cable deals? Check out Cox Phoenix!