Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert /Led Zeppelin Reunion

img_0226This is Led Zeppelin. There is no other.
When the Hammer of the Gods knocks at your door, you open it and follow the Piper.

Led Zeppelin Reunion Show December 10th, 2007 London O2 Arena

I was one of the lucky first ballot winners of the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in London. The show was a fundraiser in honor of the founding chairman of Atlantic Records who died on December 14, 2006. All proceeds from the show go to music education around the globe, including Ertegun’s homeland, Turkey. Given the limited availability of the tickets to the public, I coordinated with Rock 102.1 to share my experience with my fellow listeners. I am privileged to share this with you, as we watched rock history unfold on a very special night.

The O2

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The O2 arena is a magnificent place. Very sleek with contemporary bars, restaurants, ice skating, movies, nightclubs and state of the art security, it certainly felt like you had entered the Mothership itself. It houses Indigo, the club where Zeppelin had its after-party. As I walked toward the entrance there were signs on the wall, that were significant. On one side, a huge billboard that spanned a timeline of rock n roll history. The first caption said, “Entertainment History is What You Make It.” The last one said, “Take the Moment and Enjoy It Forever.” On an opposite billboard wall outside, a quote from Kashmir, “They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed.”

Celebration Day

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The line to collect our tickets at the box office was tense. We had to show pass-codes, identification, and the original credit card used to buy our ticket. Then we had to sign different forms and go through a security booth to get our ID wristbands.  The combined joy and relief in the room was astounding when each security guy clicked that wristband on our wrists. Some people cheered, one guy started singing the refrain to Rock n Roll. My security guy told me, “I will give you a special wristband for your patience” When I left the line, people applauded, I told them I felt like I was getting married, “I now pronounce you, an official, die hard, Zeppelin fan.”

The Fans

Jimmy Page spoke about wanting to create a band that had four virtuoso musicians who were so powerful in their own talents, that they created a fifth element. The most amazing part of my trip was that I met passionate Zeppelin fans from all over the world. People from all ages, cultures, and social groups came together. Parents brought their children and grand children. This music has transcended generations. All weekend long, fans were easily mingling and conversing, sharing their favorite song, bootleg, concert, story of how they got their tickets. The scope of our ability to connect with each other is so much more than we can ever imagine. This music is timeless, ageless, and there is something about its energy that really does create a fifth element.

I met people from the following places:

  • Albany, NY
  • Austalia
  • Boston, MA
  • Brazil
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Croton, NY
  • Denver, CO
  • Indiana
  • Italy
  • Lake Katrine, NY
  • Montreal
  • New York, NY
  • New Zealand
  • Ontario
  • Portsmouth, NH
  • Rochester, NY
  • Seattle, WA
  • Scotland
  • Sunderland, MA
  • Switzerland
  • Toronto
  • UK
  • Wisconsin

A Toronto guitarist made a beautiful banner in tribute to Zeppelin. He and some other fans got their tickets early Sunday and slept on the floor of the O2, standing in line until the doors to the show opened at 6 pm the following day. The first ten of this group got an invitation to Zeppelin’s rehearsal the night before, one of the Toronto men was able to meet Page and shake his hand. They were also interviewed by the BBC, and New York Times, and scheduled to be on London TV that week through the BBC news.

A New York woman organized meeting places and parties through the website Achilles Last Stand. She helped fans meet and get to know each other, creating sense of community among the thousands of people.

I met a man from New Zealand who won the fourth ballot only last week and pulled together a trip to London within days. He said his trip was close to $10, 000, between the last minute airfare, hotel and travel expenses.

At a pub in the Docklands, there was a woman from the UK, who loves Jimmy Page so much, that she takes magazine photos of him to a seamstress and had outfits made in her size, which are replicas of what he has worn to prior shows. She is starting a fundraiser at a museum in Knebeworth of Zeppelin memorabilia. Two guys from Rochester, NY who paid almost 500 dollars for their seats through a purchased passcode on ebay had waited with baited breath to see if their tickets would be cancelled. One of them collects Page signed guitars. I let a guy from Switzerland use my cellphone(yikes). He and his friend came here without tickets and were hoping to get them somehow at the arena.

Behind me in line were a father and his daughter attending from the Midlands, England, where Robert Plant grew up. I met a mother and son who had originally had a ticket assigned to her husband who had recently died. They wrote to the producers to allow the mother to go to the show with her son.

I shared a cab with the couple from Montreal. They won their tickets through a charity auction, which included passes to the after-party. There was a woman who’s daughter won a ticket package through Yahoo. All expenses paid, airfare, tickets, hotel, and rehearsals. Her mother and I were jumping up and down in the hallway, her daughter, who was probably about 18, seemed lukewarm. Of the rehearsal night, “It was fun,” was all she said. WHAT ??