For a far-too-short moment, it looked like it might actually happen.
Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Jason Bonham performed as Led Zeppelin for one magical night in December of 2007. It was one of the rock era’s most anticipated shows, and the post-show buzz about a long-term reunion wouldn’t go away. Even after Robert Plant clearly stated he wouldn’t be part of a reunion tour, Page, Jones, and Bonham continued to jam together with various lead singers. Eventually, after months of speculation, the project fizzled.
Behind the scenes, Jason Bonham was devasted. He had come to anticipate being part of a reunion project, and having it fall apart was a major blow to the son of original Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
Jason spent a few months wondering what to do, and then it hit him. He isn’t Led Zeppelin, but as the son of one of the band members, he is intimately familiar with the band. His perspective is unique and intriguing, and it is about to come to the stage in “Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience”.
According to Bonham, this will not be a tribute show. Nobody will be dressed up like Page and Plant. Instead, Bonham plans to tell personal stories about growing up surrounded by the madness that was Led Zeppelin. Using technology, he will have a chance to jam with his late father on “Moby Dick” and “When The Levee Breaks”. The show will include intimate stories, video, and audio from the young life of Jason Bonham and will celebrate the life of his legendary father.
From a branding point of view, I think this is interesting – in a positive way.
“Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience” is not being sold to anyone as Led Zeppelin, so nobody is buying fake goods. Instead, it is a fresh perspective on a band that the world just can’t seem to ever get enough of.
As long as Jason Bonham never tries to pass this off as the “new” Led Zeppelin, this should be an interesting project.
Like last year’s Star Trek movie, which never pretended to be the old Star Trek.
Like pro sports teams who wear special retro-jerseys to pay tribute to old teams, yet never try to be those old teams.
Like ABBA creating the “Mamma Mia” musical, but never trying to capture the same on-stage magic from the 1970′s.
Sadly, some bands fail to respect it. Creedence Clearwater Revisited tries to pass off CCR without John Fogerty. Can’t be done. The Guess Who fraudulently tour around without Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman, who instead play together under their own names. That’s exactly what Jason Bonham won’t be doing.
Brands that can respect the past, without trying in vain to recreate it, can revive interest and passion. Brands that attempt to fool us with fake ingredients or replacement parts usually serve to further damage the brand.
This video of Jason and John Bonham shows just how engaging this tour could potentially be.