10 reasons Led Zeppelin will never reunite
What was the first song you played in the first rehearsal?
Page: “It was Train Kept A-Rollin’ I think, but we did more than Train Kept A-Rollin’ at that first rehearsal. How was it? It was earth-shattering for each and every one of us. That’s what it was like.”
Plant: “We didn’t have any material, did we?”
Page: “Well, not really, we were just doing whatever. But it was just the intensity of what was going on… y’know, the communion, if you like, of the four of us. It was very intense, right from the start. The first thing that we did… Jason mentioned that we did Houses Of The Holy as one of the first songs. He wasn’t quite sure why we did Houses Of The Holy… it was probably because it was going to be one of the hardest ones that we were going to have to approach, for each and every one of us, so that’s a good one to be limbering up with, and just getting into the groove, if you like. There was a willingness, it seemed, to do it.”
Jones: “Jason was great, because all the songs we played throughout the Zeppelin years, as the setlists [became] different, we would end songs in a different way to accommodate the next song, and so we would play something and say, ‘Well, how does this one end?’ And we’d all look at Jason, and Jason would go, ‘Well, in 1971, you did this, and in 1973, you went into this…’ et cetera. And so he had this encyclopaedic knowledge of everything and it was just a real compliment.”
Plant: “He’s got some great bootlegs. Some great Beatles stuff too. He’s a mine of information. I don’t know which band he’s going to be in next… but he’s really got it down.”
At any point at the 2007 gig, or at any point since, did you think, ‘That was great, I fancy doing some more of those’? And if so, what’s stopping you?
Plant: “Actually, can I ask you a question? Have you all been to see the film? Did you enjoy it? Then we’ve done our job.”
When you look at the music stars of today, do you feel that in your time, you had much more fun?
Page: “Yeah, I mean, as far as being able to create music and drive onwards without all the sort of trappings that there might be today, absolutely. We weren’t having to follow up a single or any of this stuff; we were there to make music and go out and propagate and spread it by playing concerts. Yeah, it was a much easier process, and more positive for musicians.”
Plant: “And you know, there was no long-term retrospective overviews about people’s careers and stuff. The bands that were playing when we first kicked off together, nobody expected it to be anything beyond the next… experience. Even if it was making records, or not, there was no concept of thinking about this [referring to press conference] and looking like a bunch of soccer managers doing an interview at the end of the match. It was more like, the people that we met along the way were… brigands to some degree. Everybody was just having a great time, and the concept of looking back and asking about what you said about, y’know, ‘Don’t you think you could do it again?’… the great thing about what we were when we were really happening and we were together, and that was our sole purpose in creative life, was that we were always creative. And we were talking just an hour ago about how you would just move off on an angle or a diagonal somewhere and another shape of music would come through and we would build that and develop it into a new project each time. There was no thought about, y’know, ‘What do you think about it now?’ I was still about thinking about whether or not I’d finished my French homework, y’know?”
Jones: I’ve forgotten the question – I’m just spacing out.”
Was there a point during the set when you thought, we’re really doing it?
Page: “Yeah, the first number. I’m not being… I mean that. The first number.”
Hypothetically, had you made some scenes like in Song Remains The Same, what fantasy sequences might have represented you in 2012?
Page: “The whole concert was a fantasy sequence, really.”
Plant: “I think going down the river on a boat was already the beginning of it. When we got to the O2 by boat, y’know, I saw Arthur waiting for you, there were three princesses…”
Jones: “What’s in your tea?”
My impression is that you created the ultimate live versions of the Led Zeppelin songs. Do you feel it worked that way?
Page: “Well, the versions of the songs that we’d have done in, say, 1969, would have changed and mutated by the time we got to 1973 or 1975. The music was always mutating. In the rehearsals, there were subtle differences to them and sometimes quite dramatic differences to them as far as the textures and the energies of them, but as far as what we did [on the night], to have just the one concert, yeah, I think we did pretty definitive versions of the appropriate material… certainly better than any covers bands would do, that’s for sure.”
Jones: “Yeah, I think the technology obviously did help to a certain extent. A lot of microphones, a lot of cameras, so everything looked fantastic and sounded fantastic.”