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Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience Concert Review – Nashville, TN – War Memorial Auditorium 8/3/2013

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    Posted on 8/28/2013

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Last year we first heard about Jason Bonham performing with a group of musicians that included a singer, who sounded as good as or better than Robert Plant, performing a Led Zeppelin tribute show.  We thought that is exactly what Jason needs to do with his time since he is a devoted fan of the famous classic rock band which his father had a major part of creating their popularity.  We thought that could be a successful tour and before we knew it, the tour was on its way.  First as an opening slot for Heart, who also does a great job performing Led Zeppelin songs, as well as joining Heart to perform together after their set (the Heartbreaker Tour). Throughout this tour Jason Bonham’s group would stop at certain cities along the way to perform as a headliner.  Nashville, TN was on that special tour stop.  Concert Blast was invited to cover the show, so Mike Arnold was there the night Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience performed at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium.  Enjoy his concert review!


    War Memorial Auditorium

    Written by Mike Arnold
    It was Saturday August 3rd as Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience rolled into Nashville, TN to perform at the War Memorial Auditorium.  This venue holds a big place in my heart to see concerts.  I love attending shows at old theaters.  There’s a nostalgic look and feel about the place.  As a teenager I remember and witnessed many acts coming through this 1,800 seat venue on their way to stardom, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust Tour, Black Oak Arkansas, Joe Walsh (before he joined The Eagles), Dan Fogelberg, Cheap Trick, Journey with a new band opening by the name of Van Halen, and many others.  Charlie Daniels held his first annual Volunteer Jam in the building, which eventually moved locations to the 9,000 seat Municipal Auditorium.  Having seen Jason perform as the drummer for Foreigner, I knew we were going to be in for a treat.  The only question remained was, “What’s on the set list?”

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience

    As time became closer for the band to take the stage, the War Memorial Auditorium began to fill up.  By 8:20pm the place had about 1,000 fans anxious to hear the next best thing to Led Zeppelin.  The house lights went down and a video displayed on the large screen behind the drum kit.  It showed various home movies of John Bonham’s family and was being narrated by Jason himself (off stage).  The movie clips and narration showed their old homes they used to live in and talked about barely making the ends meet from the various odd jobs John Bonham had to support his family.  It showed the trailer they lived in and lots of photos of the father and son team.  It also discussed how Jimmy Page reached out to John Bonham to start a band with Robert Plant and John Paul Jones.  Jason’s mother was against the idea, but it’s a good thing John didn’t take her advice, because their lives changed forever and he became a part of music history!  As soon as the movie clips were over, Jason Bonham sat behind his drum kit to begin the banging of his high-hat and snare drum as the opening musical notes to “Rock and Roll”.

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    This was the time we instantly judged the other band members.  Did the guitarist hit the right notes?  Was the playing smooth, was the right amps used, and did the band members use the correct effects to duplicate the Led Zeppelin sound?  With this song, the PA mix wasn’t yet set to the quality sound needed.  The following song, “Black Dog”, settled the score and answered these questions better.  First of all, in my mind, the most talented guy on the stage was lead singer James Dylan.  His vocals were right on with a very similar sound of a young studio version of Robert Plant.

    Jason Bonham took over the mic to address the approximately 1,000 fans in attendance with a hello and explaining that after being a part of the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion, he was charged and ready for a tour, but it ended with one show.  In the words of Jason, “Are You Kidding Me?”  He also thanked everyone for the support on the live CD/DVD that came from that show, “Celebration Day”.

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    The Zep songs continued with, “Over the Hills and Far Away”.  This sounded real nice, but what was to follow was the long, blues Jam songs that I would have left out of the show, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, followed by “Thank You” (which featured nice sounding keyboards), “What Is and What Should Never Be”, “The Lemon Song”, and “No Quarter”.  All of this jamming made me want to see the real musicians.  These guys became boring after a while during these songs.  They sounded good, but their stage presence needed improvement.

    Jason Bonham addressed the crowd again by asking, “Are You Ready?” before leading into “The Ocean”.  The lead singer really shined on the high notes during another long jam tune, “Since I’ve Been Loving You”.  The show continued with one of my favorite Zep songs, “Houses of the Holy” an then continued into another long jam song, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”.

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason took time to tell us a “behind the scenes” story of preparing for the 2007 Led Zeppelin O2 Reunion Concert.  He mentioned that they rehearsed in a cold abandoned warehouse in England.  He thought, “This is Led Zeppelin!  This is not what I expected!”  He went on to say that each original member of the band was told to bring a few songs they wanted to perform, but they never performed any of those.  Jason also told us that Jimmy Page actually took the city bus to the rehearsal location… because it was free!  Robert Plant told Jason at the rehearsal that he was also going to have to sing background vocals, which Jason was very uncomfortable with. Jason then introduced his  newest member of the band as he introduced the next song with the keyboards, “Misty Mountain Hop”.

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason spoke to the crowd a little and then gets the Zeppelin fans to yell, “BONZO!”  Then right when I expected the long drug out jam songs were over, the band breaks into, “When The Levee Breaks” (with a side musician playing harmonica) and followed by leading right into “Kasmir”.  These were crowd favorites as the older crowd on the floor were on their feet, with some of them dancing along as if they still lived in the hippie days… maybe they do!  Although these songs had the crowd excited, the next one had their emotions in overdrive as the guitarist, singer, and keyboardist shared their musical talent to start their biggest hit (with the crowd singing along), “Stairway To Heaven”.  This number sounded extremely good and so did the crowd.  Once the song was over, the band members waved and left the stage to return in a couple of minutes for their only encore song, “Whole Lotta Love”.  They turned this song into another extended jam song and included a portion of “Moby Dick” in the middle of it (not the drum solo section – thank goodness!). They thanked the Nashville, TN audience, waved, bowed and left the stage.

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Although the musicians and lead singer were excellent and their live performance was very good, there seemed to be something missing.  Oh yea, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones!  The guys performed the tunes well, but they needed assistance with their stage show and set list.  Too many jam songs were included and too many rock hits were left out.  Songs like, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, “The Lemon Song”, “No Quarter”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” should have been replaced with many other popular tunes that could have gotten the crowd more involved, “Going To California”, “Dancing Days”, “The Battle of Evermore”, “Good Times Bad Times”, “Heartbreaker”, “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid”, and “Immigrant Song”.  For the Concert Blast scale (0 being terrible and 10 being the best) I will deduct a point for showmanship (they didn’t engage the audience until toward the end of the night) and another point is deducted for their set list.  Their musicianship and singing was top notch, but I did hear a couple of sour notes from the guitarist (only a couple).  With that being said, I will give this concert a 7.8.  I would love to see them again if they would improve on the things I mentioned; otherwise I’ve already witness this act and have no desire to experience it again.
    Written by Mike Arnold

     


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