Bonham’s journey to Celebration Day
Jason Bonham first saw Led Zeppelin concert movie Celebration Day at the US premiere he attended alongside Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones – and it brought the memories flooding back.
He told Classic Rock about his discomfortable at early rehearsals for the show, how he overcame his personal tension, and the advice singer Plant offered just before the band hit the stage.
The DVD of Zep’s one-off 2007 reunion is now on sale.
Bonham on rehearsals:
“We rehearsed over a six-week period, – three or four hours, five days a week. We never went through the entire set until the Thursday before the gig, and that was the only time Robert sang it from start to finish.
“When you’re opening the set with Good Time Bad Times, to do it the correct way you have to have the bass drum beater set pretty light, but I like it to be pretty heavy when I’m playing everything else. It meant that, for one song, I wouldn’t be happy with the way the beater was for the rest of the show.
“I tried every pedal, every manufacturer. I was so frustrated. One day Robert turns up and I’m in the parking lot reversing over the pedals in an SUV, going, “You’ll never work again!”
“He was like: ‘Everything alright?’
“‘Who’s paying for that?’
“Somebody said to me, ‘Are you having a great time?’ I went, ‘No, I’m really, really struggling. I want it to be so perfect.’ I’d listened to the albums and I was trying to get everything exact. They said, ‘Forget it – be yourself and John will come naturally.’ It was the best advice. I went in the studio the next day and went for it. Robert turned to me and said: ‘You’re back! Where have you been?’ That was a key moment for me.
“The general thing we tried to do was go in and do the first three songs, and that was the start of the day. We all looked at it like, that’s the first corner. If you’re in a car race and you can make the first corner, the rest of the race will go pretty good. We didn’t want to have a first-corner crash and spend the rest of the night catching up. We wanted to feel relaxed.”