March 27th, 1995 was the closest I’ve come to seeing Led Zeppelin, and that alone makes it a day of legend in this little concert life of mine. It was the Page/Plant tour, and though John Paul Jones was inexplicably left out of the quasi-reunion (indeed, had he been included there would have been nothing “quasi” about this reunion) the huge crowd collected inside the Toronto Skydome was treated to a truly memorable experience.
My seat was in the front row of the balcony, offering me a looming view over the monolithic stadium. Rusted Root opened the show and did an admirable job keeping our ears busy as the crowd waited for a pair of rock’s biggest heroes to take the stage.
When Page and Plant hit the stage they came on like charging elephants. The album they were touring featured Zeppelin’s more orchestrated material augmented by traditional symphonic players and an Egyptian orchestra so I was completely taken off guard when they started the show tearing through some of Led Zeppelin’s most iconic rockers with nothing but four guys on stage.
What commenced was a fist-pumping, soul-liberating fifty-minute dose of sheer rock majesty delivered by living royalty, and it was simply glorious. Eventually they were joined onstage by the Egyptian orchestra and later by most of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the rest of the show was a stream of Zeppelin headphone classics completely brought to life. The Song Remains The Same, Four Sticks, Kashmir…you can well imagine how good it was and it was even better than that, especially when built on the glow of the rock-solid first half.
Really, the beginning of the show was a concert-lover’s impossible dream made real. I actually pretty much saw Led Zeppelin.