How Were Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience? Zoso.
by Dave Segal
on Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 7:05 AM
All bands should start like Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience did at KeyArena last night: Just blast immediately into your set without a word to the audience with your most uproarious tune. In JBLZE’s case, it was “Rock and Roll,” whose opening drum part is a fine way to establish your chops as the son of perhaps the greatest rock sticksman of all time (John “Bonzo” Bonham, if you’re just joining the human race). That being said, Bonham the younger and his band mates lack the world-historical skills possessed by their role models. They’d surely be the first to admit that.
Jason Bonham, breaking the levee.
JBLZE tore through eight Zeppelin songs and the crowd pretty much went gaga throughout the whole set. But to that one guy taking notes in the arena (hi), JBLZE sounded a bit sloppy and lacking in technique more often than is healthy for a band that folks expect to replicate those very familiar, classic songs just how they remember ’em. Bonham seemed to go off stride during “Black Dog” and set-closer “Whole Lotta Love.” Guitarist Tony Catania appeared not to be able to handle the complexity of Jimmy Page’s flourishes in “Over the Hills and Far Away.” Vocalist James Dylan—who is bald and sports a quasi-chinstrap beard—failed to hit Robert Plant’s highest, most emotionally potent notes (Plant can’t either, nowadays, but still). However, bassist Dorian Heartsong, in keeping with John Paul Jones’ contributions to LZ, was solid, though.
James Dylan's pants ain't tight enough to hit those Plant-like high notes.
I realize this is nitpicking and everybody—including members of !!! and your blogger—enjoyed the hell out of the show. But if you listened closely, you could detect flaws. And in so doing, this performance made you realize that Led Zeppelin were just superhuman motherfuckers on their instruments. And their songs had the most dynamic dynamics. All those pregnant pauses create incredible dramatic tension and release. They also trick fools into thinking songs are over when they’re not. Said fools—who should've known better, as these were some of the most played numbers on the radio in the history of everything—were prematurely applauding something awful all night. Don’t know about you, but that sort of thing really annoys me. Please stop doing that.
One final note. Bonham brought a badass gong onstage, but it went untouched. A badass gong should never go untouched.
Setlist after the jump.
"Fuck me, these songs are HARD!"
01 Rock and Roll 02 Black Dog 03 Over the Hills and Far Away 04 What Is and What Should Never Be 05 Nobody’s Fault but Mine 06 The Ocean 07 When the Levee Breaks 08 Whole Lotta Love