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Led Zeppelin concert film ‘Celebration Day’ brings back memories

British rock band Led Zeppelin, (left to right): John Paul Jones, John Bonham (1948-1980), Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, pose in front of their private airliner The Starship while on tour in 1973. (Photo by Hulton Archive, Getty Images)

Huge screen. Bucket of popcorn. Led Zeppelin.

It’s the perfect combination for a stroll down memory lane and “Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day,” the long-awaited showing of the epic concert film premiering tonight at the Cobb Hollywood 16, 4250 Old Greensboro Rd., in Tuscaloosa. The 2-hour, 4-minute film spotlights one of the greatest blues-infused rock groups of all time, and I had a chance to see the band in its prime.

I have seen a lot of concerts in my life thanks to my wonderful career in radio. I’ve been to country shows, pop, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll. I can’t think of a genre of music I haven’t seen live.

As you know, every genre has superstars.

On April 23, 1977, I saw one of the most fascinating concerts in my life, Led Zeppelin, at the Omni in Atlanta.

The very first note had you on the edge of your seat and they kept you there for more than 2 hours. The sound was incredible. The performance was electric. The Omni was packed.

Jimmy Page delivered one awesome solo after another. Robert Plant’s vocals were unbelievable. Words can’t describe John “Bonzo” Bonham’s drum solos. John Paul Jones’ piano and bass solos were phenomenal. When they performed their songs, you really didn’t want it to end but you couldn’t wait for the next song.

The concert was just that good.

The “Celebration Day” performance was filmed Dec. 10, 2007, when Plant, Page and Jones reunited for one very special performance at the O2 Arena in London to headline a tribute concert for close friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. The three living members of the group were joined onstage by drummer Jason Bonham, son on the late John Bonham, for 16 songs, including favorites “Whote Lotta Love,” “Rock and Roll,” “Kashmir” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

Twenty million people reportedly applied for tickets to the concert through a worldwide lottery system, but only 18,000 fans were lucky enough to get to be in that arena on that special night.

I’m thrilled I had a chance to see Led Zeppelin perform live earlier in the band’s Hall of Fame career.

The showtimes tonight at the Cobb Hollywood 16 are 7 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults and $6.50 for seniors and children.

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