On the morning after Led Zeppelin’s long-awaited reunion concert, the music reviewers were already calling for more.
Playing a full set for the first time in nearly three decades, the authors of “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love” rocked the O2 Arena on Monday for more than two hours, leaving fans from around the world gasping in delight.
“With a synergy like this going on, it would be an act of cosmic perversity to stop now,” Pete Paphides of The Times of London wrote.
The band’s three surviving members _ singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones _ were joined at the sold-out benefit show by the late John Bonham’s son Jason on drums.
The 16-song set mixed the classics with the thumping “Kashmir” and the hard-rocking “Dazed and Confused,” which Plant introduced by saying, “There are certain songs that have to be there, and this is one of them.”
Plant’s high-pitched screeches and moans also filled the arena, while Page used a cello bow during the solo in “Dazed and Confused” and picked on his double-necked guitar to ring out the famous notes to “Stairway.”
Although a full tour remains a mystery _ Plant is reportedly due to tour with bluegrass star Alison Krauss _ the band surely proved that it still had what it takes to keep an audience interested.
“Page dispensed power chords like an aged Thor lobbing down thunderbolts for kicks,” Paphides wrote about “Black Dog,” the band’s third song of the night.
Other media also hailed the show as a success.
“They sound awesomely tight,” Alexis Petridis wrote in Tuesday’s The Guardian. David Cheal of The Daily Telegraph said the band’s “familiar old sinew and swagger were still there.”
The Independent was a little less effusive in its praise, but Andy Gill did write that the call-and-response routine between Plant and Page during “Black Dog” was “one of the night’s more engaging moments.”
Gill also singled out Bonham, who was sitting in for his father. John Bonham died in 1980 after choking on his own vomit, leading to the band’s breakup a few months later.
“Jason Bonham makes a more than merely able replacement for his father on drums: indeed, there’s a stronger funk element to his playing which kicks the songs along with more elan,” Gill wrote.
In the Evening Standard, John Aizlewood gave the concert five stars.
“Two hours and 10 minutes after they began `Good Times Bad Times,’ … they had assuaged the doubts and delivered a show of breathtaking power and spine-tingling excitement,” Aizlewood wrote.
The New York Times reviewer Ben Ratliff said Plant “was authoritative; he was dignified.”
“As for Mr. Page, his guitar solos weren’t as frenetic and articulated as they used to be, but that only drove home the point that they were always secondary to the riffs, which on Monday were enormous, nasty, glorious,” Ratliff wrote.
Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times said the band “played the first sets with easygoing confidence. Their good humor built into triumphant intensity as the night wore on.”
Daily Star writer James Cabooter may have written what all Zep fans have been thinking since the concert was announced months ago.
“Led Zep were pure class,” he wrote. “Now bring on the full reunion tour.”