Celebration Day

“On December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin took the stage at London’s O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.”

The documentary of this event, “Celebration Day” was an amazing show in several respects, worthy of multiple stars, too many to count, as many as the tears that eventually ran dry. These elders of the craft came back from the brink to deliver one last performance, to instruct us. Jimmy page was as fluid and flawed as ever, but finally I understood his genius. At once bullfighter and madman, his tone and attack remained perfectly on the mark until he decided to destroy it, with glee. Before I was distraught by this abandonment of order, but now that I’ve grown, and learned the guitar, these lost moments – the wild tempest brought out of the ethers by his mighty wah, slide, violin bow, theremin, only just held and check, were routinely called to manifest in a furious cacophony, then again tamed, slapped and coddled – these displays of wizardry broke through the standing waves, leaving us to sort things out afterward.

I’m now convinced that these “artists” were, for me, the first break from the norm, the hairline crack in my illusory world that eventually fell through. These God’s of my musical universe, whom I never had the chance to see live, a faded unfathomable myth who slumbered all of my adult years with ring wraiths and flowers in their hair, weren’t content to remain in the past. This was a resurrection, a final act, the magic recreated with modern equipment from a thousand angles; their gift to the world: the depth and beauty of the medium taken to its absolute end. How many stars?

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