10 reasons Led Zeppelin will never reunite
I just wanted to ask you a little bit about the emotions in the room with regards to Jason being on the drums. There seemed to be moments when he was channelling his father, and I was just wondering how it made you guys feel to have Jason there and not John?
Plant: “Well, Jason lost his father when he was a young boy, and he’s been struggling with that from that time onwards. The thing is that his father encouraged him to play the drums from when he was a tiny little kid, y’know, and in those days, his dad used to coach him and chide him and stuff like that, but when his dad left him, he was left to his own devices, but always referring to his dad, and also referring to the great drummers that he knew, so it was kind of inevitable over the years… there’s always been a kind of rope between us, really, as friends and family and stuff, so it was appropriate and it was wonderful. And also, his vigour was so fantastic too. He drove us, y’know? Whenever we started being a bit sort of, ‘Erm’, Jason would blast through the whole thing. It was peculiar; it was strange at times. But, at the same time, it was very rewarding for all of us, and it really did work as a performance, with him kind of driving us on, which was great for him, great for his family, and great for his grandma, John’s mum, Joan. The whole thing was just a kind of easing of all those years of discussion and debate, from Jason to us.”
Jimmy, did you rate Rory Gallagher as a guitarist?
Page: “Yeah, I liked Rory, and in actual fact, I had the pleasure to meet him. Curiously enough, it was at our management’s office, in the very early days. He’d come to meet up with Peter Grant. We just had a really good chat. We sat chatting for ages. He was a lovely man and a fine guitarist. I know he was really loved in Cork.”
How did you celebrate after you got offstage, and how did it contrast to the old days? And secondly, how crazy did the figures get to do it again?
Plant: “I think we just hugged each other and went ‘Pffft’ [relieved]. And you know, the thing about consternation… everybody’s eyes are on us waiting for it to go not so much right as wrong, kind of. It’s asking a hell of a lot to do that. So there was a real feeling of camaraderie and, actually, successful adventure, really. As Jimmy was saying, it was nuts that we didn’t do any warm-up gigs or nothing like that. That was the warm-up! Which is a really good way of doing things, but it does have its downsides.”
Page: “There was a massive party that went on afterwards… there were lot of celebrities there. They must have had a great party while we disappeared off into the ether.”
Plant: “The Marathon in Chalk Farm Road is a very good 24-hour place to get, em…”
How conscious of individual faces in the crowd were you at the O2? Did you see Paul McCartney or Dave Grohl out of the corner of your eye?
Page: “No, I don’t remember anyone being there apart from us up onstage communicating with the audience. I heard there were three generations of Presleys there, which is quite something. The guys from Oasis, this, that and the other. But you couldn’t actually see anybody.”
Plant: “They were in the posh seats.”
Jones: “If they weren’t in the front row you couldn’t see them.”
There’s a magic when you guys play together – do you see that chemistry in any new bands?
Jones: “Most pop music today, bands today seem to be very, very song-based. Everybody strings out along the front of the stage with their own microphones and plays very straightforward, which of course we never did. We were always working much more together with those instrumental sections. But nobody seems to do that anymore. I’m kind of surprised but it doesn’t seem to happen anymore. So from my point of view, I can’t really pinpoint anybody.”
Plant: “Well, I think we were ousted by the cockney rejects in 1977 for being a bit long-winded and going on a bit. I think Mumford and Sons excite me, because they do construct and they do have drama and they do have optimism, and they can turn a crowd upside-down, which is fantastic. But there’s a lot of great DJs and stuff going on too, which is really good.”
What would you like this film to achieve – a legacy or just a bit of fun?
Page: “Well, right from the end of your question, yes, it will be part of our legacy, because it’s what we managed to do for one day. However, what needs to be stressed here is that when we played the O2, the idea of going to play the O2 wasn’t to make a DVD, or a film or anything like that, at all. It just so happened that we had all of this material going on behind us, and some very fine production and camera work that Dick Carruthers was doing, and it just made the utmost sense to record it. Because, don’t forget, we’re only doing one show, we don’t know whether we’re going to have half a dozen train-wrecks in it, but at least to record it, and even if it’s just for our own collection and our own amusement. You know, ‘Somebody’s going in to make a DVD’… it wasn’t like that. It is what it is now, though, and I’m pleased you’re all enjoying it.”