Jason Bonham brings Led Zeppelin to The Palace May24

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Jason Bonham brings Led Zeppelin to The Palace

From the operatic vocal talents of Robert Plant and the groundbreaking guitar riffs of Jimmy Page, to the rumbling bass lines of John Paul Jones and the over the top drum antics of John Bonham, there are very few bands that bring to mind such larger than life or grandiose imagery as the almighty Led Zeppelin.

A band that built lush soundscapes around Robert Plant’s love of the mystical, even mentioning Tolkien’s classic character Gollum from Lord Of The Rings by name in “Ramble On.” To this day, guitarists across the world strive to play the legendary riffs of masterpieces like “Stairway To Heaven” and “Kashmir.”

Let’s not forget the amazing drumming abilities of the one and only John Bonham, a man who set the standard for what great drumming could be over 30 years ago and to this day a whole new generation is inspired by his legacy- a legacy and abilities that were so stunning, the band wrote the song “Moby Dick” around them just to incorporate a drum solo into every live show.

Unfortunately, most of us were born a little too late to catch these legends live so when rumors started swirling around a few years back of a Led Zeppelin reunion with Bonham’s son Jason Bonham on the drums, excitement and expectations were running high only to come crashing down when the reunion never really materialized.

When that happened, Jason Bonham went back to what he had been doing for well over a decade now and took the Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience out on the road again to pay further tribute to his father and the legacy of a man who has inspired so many. Since there will never be another Led Zeppelin, this is as close as your ever gonna get and it keeps it in the family.

Fans in Greensburg, PA were treated to what for some would be a once in a lifetime chance to experience Led Zeppelin live. As you would expect, Bonham is not only the heart and soul, but the backbone of the band which consists of vocalist  and guitarist James Dylan, guitarist Tony Catania, bassist Dorian Heartsong and keyboardist/guitarist Stephen LeBlanc.

The bands ability to deliver Zeppelin songs just like Led Zeppelin was uncanny. In fact, if you closed your eyes, you could get lost in the illusion of a vintage Led Zeppelin concert experience. With your eyes open, you could see frontman James Dylan was doing his very best to channel his inner Robert Plant all night long. Striking all the patented Plant poses and hitting his falsetto with enough authority to shatter glass.

If you looked to the left, there was bassist Dorian Heartsong pounding out rumbling bass lines that would make John Paul Jones proud and if you looked right, it was guitarist Tony Catania laying down those epic Jimmy page riffs. He not only played the songs note for note, but he even looked the part. All the way down to the sunglasses he wore on stage that night.

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“Rock And Roll” got the ball rolling and it just continued to gain momentum through classics like “Black Dog,” “Over The Hills,” “The Ocean” and “Hey Hey What Can I Do.” Believe it or not, lesser known tracks like “For Your Life” and “Black Country Woman” got as big a response as classics like “What Is And What Should Never Be,” “Fool In The Rain” and “When The Levee Breaks-” the last of which unleashed a flood of energy and emotion into The Ocean of fans.

Bonham is usually a man of few words and often just sat there grinning as fans shouted out the titles of the songs the wanted to hear between other songs. When there was something to be said to the audience, Bonham handled that too and most often got a good laugh while he was at it.

He took the time to say, “I never got to tell my Dad how great he was when he was alive, so this is my way to tell him I love him.”

He went on to add, “Make sure to tell the people in your life you love them often” before lightening the mood by joking, “Dad got his first drum set at age 16 and by age 20 had recorded the seminal Zeppelin masterpiece Zeppelin IV. Well that’s just not bloody fair.” Then he jokingly added “Thanks for putting up with all my primadonna bullshit,” which again got a big laugh.

From there, the band launched into the monster smashes everyone was hoping to hear like “Kashmir” and closer “Stairway To Heaven.” As you can well imagine, people lost their ever loving minds and started dancing in the aisles and singing at the top of their lungs. They ended their nearly two hour set with Bonham saying, “It’s an honor to play the music of Led Zeppelin” then to taunt the crowd he said, “The louder you get, the longer we play” before exiting the stage.

The crowd heard him loud and clear and raised the volume to epic levels, stomping hard enough to literally shake The Palace Theater. The band returned to the stage for the encore of “Whole Lotta Love” which included a Theramin solo and extended jam.

Although everyone there that night had a seat, very few ever used them and the ones that did were up on their feet at the end of every song for a standing ovation as the positive energy and atmosphere poured out into the streets and local bars after the show because no one wanted the night to end.

-Eric Hunker