Review: Led Zeppelin's 'Celebration Day' a must-see
Many of us Zep fanatics – the million-plus who tried for tickets times at least 10 – have taken it on good faith for five years that one of the most momentous performances in rock history was every bit as jaw-dropping incredible as everyone said it was at the time.
Now there's proof: Celebration Day, the riveting, invigorating film documenting Led Zeppelin's sole full-length reunion performance since last briefly touring at the dawn of the '80s. It fully delivers on the mythologizing hype that immediately burst forth after that show, finally placing a properly gleaming capstone on their seismic career after a series of self-described shambolic attempts in the past, and giving idolizing devotees who were too young to see the real thing a golden glimpse at the thunder of these gods in action.
Having premiered last week in London, with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones on hand for the screening, the two-hour chronicle of their once-unthinkable stunner at London's O2 Arena in December 2007 next plays in theaters countywide for one night only – tonight, Oct. 17 – then arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 20. CD and vinyl versions of the soundtrack also become available that day, not long before the group is saluted at the annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.
Celebration Day is a monumental testament, nothing less than the epic you'd expect from a group that so enigmatically and painstakingly oversees its legacy. Once you're engulfed in director Dick Carruthers' masterful encapsulation of Zeppelin's tremendous achievement, inspired by the memory of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, it's easy to understand at least one reason why they might never want to do it again.