OK, I’ll say it: I think the Led Zeppelin reunion is a great idea, and I hope I get a chance to see it.
It may be that their decision to break up and “never” play together as Led Zep again after the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980 was the height of integrity and friendship, as it’s often portrayed. The effect has been that they’ve never, er, devalued the brand the way, say, Lynyrd Skynyrd has. Not very many bands actually leave ’em wanting more with such brutal discipline.
But the idea that a reunion tour is nothing more than a big cash-in is starting to seem slightly dated; at this point it seems as much a part of a band’s natural lifecycle as the breakup. Virtually every band I always thought should NEVER attempt one has (the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, the Sex Pistols, the Stooges, the MC5), and some fell flat on their faces. Some didn’t. Rock’n’roll survived just fine.
There’s a notion that rock’n’roll is somehow inherently of its time, that any attempt to bring the past forward is suspect–a bit of baggage that doesn’t apply to classical or blues or jazz–and that the audience for this sort of thing is full of greybeards who ought to politely set themselves adrift on an ice floe instead of persisting in enjoying “youth culture.” Seems to me, though, there are often just as many folks in the crowd who were too young to catch the band the first time around. Maybe not even born yet. That doesn’t seem any more wrong than the continuing appreciation of Renaissance art, in my opinion.
Besides, no matter how haggard he might look, Robert Plant can still sing his arse off.
Upon edit, and thanks to a sharp-eyed reader, the rumor’s looking shakier by the minute; here’s a different take. Regardless, I stand by my thinking that they should, and I hope they do.