Tribute and legacy acts are big business for concerts in today’s industry. The baby boomer generation has gotten older and wants that feeling they had growing up listening to the music that was the soundtrack to their lives.
You also have the newer generation who may not have had the chance to experience the great music, and are interested in seeing what their parents got to see.
In the case of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience you get the best of both worlds. Jason, son of Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham, celebrates the music that he did not have much of an opportunity to see. Performing to audiences who are starving to see it in person.
“The Song Remains The Same” starts the concert with a bang, and the energy never left the Palace Theatre for the next two hours. Stringing together both hits and rarities, Jason and his band kept the crowd in their palms with ease. Jason told funny stories about his father and the feeling he got playing in London with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin in 2007.
He also spoke about how the band is never trying to act as if they are Led Zeppelin. For most of the evening that last part was true, but about three-quarters of the way through the show the audience was invited to crowd the aisles and to have a “fucking good time.” After this request and for most of the rest of the evening lead singer James Dylan began to channel more than just Robert Plant’s vocals. Lead guitarist Tony Catania similarly did more than evoke Jimmy Page’s guitar work. Moving about the stage like two legends for the rest of the evening. James and Tony had been doing just fine with their great vocal and guitar playing respectively and did not need to change what they had been doing.
During “Thank You” video screens showed videos of John, receiving some of the loudest cheers of the night. An acoustic “Going to California” had the loudest sing along. “Kashmir” ended the set to a standing ovation and the band came out for a one-two punch of “Rock And Roll” and “Black Dog” to end the evening.
There is a fine line for a tribute or legacy act to walk on, so as not to become a caricature of the band they are paying their respect to.
For most of the night the musicianship on stage during Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience spoke for itself, but for a small part of the show the line became a little too blurred.