For years, Led Zeppelin fans have been waiting for the three surviving band members to reunite.
So, it’s no wonder that one of the most anticipated tours this year is the Jimmy Page and Robert Plant concert tour, which caravans to The Gorge on Saturday.
Though Page and Plant isn’t an official Led Zeppelin reunion tour (the guitarist and vocalist, respectively, didn’t even bother to ask bassist/keyboardist Jon Paul Jones to join them), it’s as close as it gets.
After all, Page and Plant have always been considered the key figures behind the defunct British band.
And, the current tour won’t disappoint Led Zeppelin fans. The focus of these shows is the legacy of timeless material that Led Zeppelin created in its 12-year existence. And that’s what’s luring die-hard fans to the shows.
On this tour, Page and Plant are performing a lot of the old Zeppelin classics, like “Ramble On,” “Rock and Roll,” “Black Dog” and “Kashmir.”
But in many cases, the two aren’t just playing straight versions of the classic songs. Many have been revamped and are stylistically different from the older version.
The songs “No Quarter” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” on the duo’s 1994 disc, also called “No Quarter,” serve as perfect examples.
The tour will be very much like the “Unledded” special, broadcast on MTV last fall.
It will feature Page and Plant backed by a four-piece rock band, an eight-member Egyptian percussion and violin ensemble and an extensive orchestra.
In addition to the Led Zeppelin material, Page and Plant will perform a host of new songs.
In the U.S., Led Zeppelin’s popularity has never waned. Rock radio stations across the country, which continue to play the band’s hits frequently, are largely responsible for this.
So what’s so special about Led Zeppelin?
The band constantly challenged the musical boundaries. It took blues music and gave it a heavy edge. During the ‘70s, the rock unit ushered in a new era of music - heavy metal.
Thanks to Zeppelin, rock music got a lot harder. Songs became longer. An album was looked at as a body of work, not a collection of hits or songs.
Further, Plant, Page and Jones, all of whom had insatiable world music appetites, built Led Zeppelin with their exotic, worldly influences, which ranged from old Celtic folk to Middle Eastern music, lending mysticism and magnetism to Zeppelin’s music.
And perhaps more than any other band, the defunct group influenced most of the rock bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Led Zeppelin fans have been teased with rumors of reunion tours since the band imploded in 1980.
A few, one-time incarnations of the band led followers to believe a reunion tour would eventually happen.
The band reunited for the world hunger benefit concert Live Aid in 1984. In 1989, with Bonham’s son Jason playing drums, Led Zeppelin played the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert.
And earlier this year, Led Zeppelin, again with Jason Bonham on drums, played at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame awards ceremony, where the band was inducted.
But a Led Zeppelin tour never flew, despite the tremendous demand.
It seemed that after the release of the band’s hugely-successful, multiplatinum box set in 1990 that fans would finally get their wish. Talk of a Zeppelin world tour was at its peak. So much so, that ticket agencies in Southern California were accepting deposits for yet-to-be-announced Led Zeppelin concerts.
Both Page and Jones wanted to do it.
And he often said in interviews that Led Zeppelin should be remembered in the imaginations of its fans.
Last year, Plant and Page finally decided to collaborate on a project.
Will the two will remain together after the tour? That remains to be seen.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Page & Plant Location and time: The Gorge, Saturday, 7 p.m. Tickets: $40.70 to $61.70, available only through Ticketmaster