Bonham’s journey to Celebration Day
Bonham on the Ahmet Ertegun memorial concert, 2007:
“You’ve got one night to do everything you ever wanted to do in your life and prove a point to the world. Not to Robert, Jimmy and John Paul – they’ve done it before.
“Just before we went on Robert said: ‘Remember to enjoy it.’ He was right. I took my time to enjoy it rather than freak out for two hours.
“I thought the first three songs were exceedingly fantastic. By Black Dog I’d already started to fuck around, playing rolls before the vocal comes in – that’s an instant sign I’m happy and I know what I’m doing. So as much as people might go: ‘He’s done something wrong there!’ I meant to do those things.
“A couple of times when they got back together and I was with them, it wasn’t as good as it was at the O2. I knew how great they were and how great it could be at any point.”
Bonham on watching Celebration Day in 2012:
“I hadn’t seen Jimmy and John Paul for four years. I hadn’t seen them since I stopped working with them in September 2008. I got to tell John Paul: ‘Loved Them Crooked Vultures – fucking great!’
“Watching the first time I was very emotional. Jimmy’s on fire in Dazed and Confused and Kashmir. And much as Robert says, ‘Oh, I can’t do it any more,’ he really can – it’s phenomenal, it’s powerful.
“We all sat through it – we didn’t do a quick runner, we sat right to the end. It was a wonderful experience. After every little break, or when Jimmy started a solo, everyone in the theatre went nuts. It was like a live gig. It was the closest thing to going to watch yourself – I was like, ‘I wish I was at that gig rather than playing the drums!’
“When you see the back of them as they turn to me, I was seeing their faces in my mind. They’d turn and smile and glance. A lot of the time we were laughing and joking: ‘We got through it! We did it! We didn’t mess up – whoops, I think we did one there but we got away with it!’
“I can see why all the press are asking, ‘Why won’t you do anything else?’ It’s as good as rock’n'roll ever got – I was just along for the ride, mate, and I enjoyed every moment of it.”
Celebration Day is now available in multiple video and audio formats from Swan Song/Atlantic Records.