Led Zeppelin Disappointed Fans In 1988 Reunion
Led Zeppelin performs Kashmir at Knebworth, 1979 - Led Zeppelin / Youtube
Led Zeppelin’s presence in rock had remained archetypal and impactful, that it’s hard to find mistakes inside their fruitful career. However, no one is perfect and it wasn’t the thing worth thinking of when we think of Led Zeppelin’s career in the 80s.
Back on the 14th of May 1988, a time when Atlantic Records celebrated their 40th anniversary by throwing the most “rock & roll party” they could ever get, it was a rare opportunity for fans to see some of the world’s most famous faces in one place at once. But the real focus was on the night’s headliner, Led Zeppelin, who would not only go as a headliner for the show but would also mark the event as their first-ever reunion. Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones had performed together for the first time following John Bonham’s death in 1980, so pretty much everyone in the town had been looking forward to them for years now.
But the night turned out to be a disaster of all sorts: Only five songs were performed by Led Zeppelin. However, things didn’t go quite as planned for this victorious return. On the night before, Robert Plant had vowed to disappoint the band’s legions of fans by stating that he would not sing their 1971 song “Stairway to Heaven.” Plant had always hated performing it, so he doesn’t see why he had to go through that pigeonhole once more. Nevertheless, Ahmet Ertegun, one of Atlantic Records’ higher officials, convinced Plant to put his differences with the song aside and let people enjoy what they want. In the evening, they also performed some of their classics: “Kashmir,” “Heartbreaker,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Misty Mountain Hop.”
Because of an uneven sound mix, many aspects of the show were off balance. The sound of Page’s guitar shattered the silence and was just too overbearing. The bass and keys played by Jones, on the other hand, were buried so low in the mix that it was hard to tell if he was even there. In addition, John Bonham’s son, Jason Bonham, filled in for his father onstage, and while Jason Bonham’s performance was excellent, fans couldn’t get over the loss of his father, thus his work wasn’t well received.
This catastrophic event gave the band a lesson to carry on for the next two decades. When the 2000s came, they learned not to rush things, and during their epic comeback in 2007, they once again managed to blow people’s minds with a performance they’ve been well-rehearsed for, and the true Led Zeppelin came back just like that.