Tribute bands have a tendency to draw some ire from music fans. Some bands try to add some authenticity by wearing similar costumes of the band to which tribute is being paid, some use replica set pieces, but the Jason Bomham Led Zeppelin Experience has a genetic component; Jason Bonham is the son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
Jason was clear from the start that the show was about the music, a point he had made several times during the show. “This isn’t about me, this is about all of us. Everyone loves different songs for different reasons. Some happy, some sad.”
As might be expected, Jason paid tribute to his father throughout the show. Things started with a gallery of photos of Jason, and his father, being shown on a screen above the stage, with a voice over from Jason giving an abbreviated biography of his father’s life, including home movies from the 50’s. The tribute made to his father were heartwarming. Jason also, naturally, played a seven minute drum solo in the middle of the set; while he played, video of his father drumming was projected, and they were perfectly in sync. Vinnie Appice said that you don’t need a double bass if you move your feet fast enough, and boy was Jason thundering.
The rest of the band was tight. Very tight. James Dylan effortlessly handled Robert Plant’s vocal duties, and hit the soaring high notes with ease. At times, if you closed your eyes, you’d almost swear that it was Robert on stage. Tony Catania provided support on guitar, and played Zeppelin’s famous riffs faithfully, while allowing for his own creativity, like in his intro to Kashmir. Dorian Heartstrong took John Paul Jones’s role, and Alex Howland filled in on keyboards, and guitar.
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience truly is that: an experience. Jason said more than once during the performance, “I know that it looks like we’re having fun up here, but we take this work very seriously.” It’s very clear that Jason loves and respects the work of his father, and the other members of Led Zeppelin. The audience showed the same respect, with a few donning bowler hats, with thunderous standing ovations being given after each song, and heavy head banging coming from all ages in the house.
With a vast catalog of songs to choose from, Jason Bonham and crew managed to cull a nice selection of classics, and deep cuts. While some more popular songs, like Communication Breakdown, and Rock and Roll were not included other cuts like The Lemon Song, and Since I’ve been Loving You were. James Dylan pointed out that people who said that Led Zeppelin was a heavy metal band missed the point, and playing the more bluesy songs, the point was hammered home clear.
Jason promised that the band would return next year. If Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience hits the road again, you can be sure that I’ll be there, and if you’re a fan of classic rock at all, you definitely do not want to miss out on this show.