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Review: Jason Bonham's Led Zep Experience

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Egyptian Room, May 17
Three stars (out of five)

The Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience really pissed me off. The freaking Brits get a reunion show, and the best we get is Lez Zeppelin or this band of wanna-bes led by Bonzo's boy. America is the reason Jimmy, John Paul and Robbie are rich, so why can't there be one American Led Zeppelin show while everyone is still able to pull it off? This was all I could think about for almost the entire first half of the show. A day later, I still have a bad taste in my mouth.

From one angle, this was an energetic show enjoyed by everyone. The band was tight and clearly knew their zepology. They really shined on the slower bluesier tunes like "Your Time is Gonna Come" and "Dazed and Confused." "Celebration Day" and the Physical Grafiiti deep cut "In the Light" fired up the Zeppelin die-hards, while a jaw dropping double shot to the head of "When the Levee Breaks" followed by a towering "Kashmir" saw Bonham doing his father right on two of the songs that defined his legend. Which was good, because the version of "Moby Dick" that ended the first set was an exercise in cheese.

Although an above average Zep cover band, it still took them 3 and sometimes 4 people to do what John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page did all by themselves. The set list, with the exception of "In the Light" and maybe "Celebration Day," was predictable, and included nothing from Presence or In Through the Out Door. The lead singer looked like he stepped out of a Staind video, and although he could hit the right notes, it is a fact that no man, unless he is Robert Plant, can sing "Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg" or scat and moan during "Whole Lotta Love" without looking a bit foolish.

Jason clearly wanted to honor his dad. But maybe a killer-diller set of Kingdom Come and Bonham songs played with his former Hoosier mates Healing Sixes would have done his daddy prouder.

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