Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience @ The Depot 05.21

Posted May 24, 2011 in
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Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
The Depot

I wasn’t sure what to think. If it’s an “experience,” doesn’t that usually mean that it’s a cover band? Well, this experience is led by Jason Bonham, the son of the late John Bonham, the actual drummer from Led Zeppelin. So is he cashing in on his dad’s cred? Jason Bonham doesn’t need to—he has built up his own substantial career drumming with his own groups, recording with various artists, appearing on VH1’s reality TV show Supergroup, and even sitting in for his dad on Zeppelin’s reunion tour. Jason Bonham summed it up nicely during the show when he said that everyone on the stage was a fan of Zeppelin, and they were there to simply enjoy the music with other Zeppelin fans. Who better to do this than the son of Bonzo himself?

The most surprising elements came from the intimacy Bonham was willing to share with the audience by telling candid stories about what the music has meant to him and how it made him feel closer to his father. This became all the more apparent when we got a rare glimpse of some old Bonham home movies showcasing a young Jason on the drums or his father horsing around. Bonham made the crowd feel more connected to the music we were hearing live as we got to listen to the stories unfold about how it had come about in the first place.

The level of appreciation for the music was apparent on the stage and in the audience, Bonham’s band relished in every note they were playing, often seeming to trail off into their own Zeppelin experiences on stage. Robert Plant was there in voice alone, as singer James Dylan sported a bald head and a trim beard—there was a bit of a visual disconnect, but Dylan nailed every note. On guitar, Tony Catania held his own in representing Jimmy Page’s style, power, and drive on “Rock & Roll” and of course “Stairway to Heaven” (wouldn’t be an “experience” without it). He even rocked Page’s token violin bow on “Dazed & Confused.” Bonham was nothing short of incredible as he pounded out his Dad’s signature drum beats. It was apparent that he had something to prove in mastering the music. He lamented throughout the show how important it was to keep his father’s legacy going.

I couldn’t help but to think Bonham had just recited the same feel good stories and expressions of gratitude in Denver just before coming to SLC, but I don’t think any of the tanked patrons minded too much. The bouncing middle aged fan next to me repeatedly shared knowing glances with me, and without saying as much, I knew that his corny grin was saying “Hell ya, brotha!”.