MontBleu was the place to be Saturday night, with a packed house of music fans roaring to the vintage sounds of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience.
The son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Jason and his fellow musicians replicated the sound of the iconic rock band perfectly. Frontman James Dylan channeled Robert Plant’s vocals, the guitar tone and style would have passed muster with the most devoted Jimmy Page enthusiast, and the bass was thumping with an aggressive assault that would make John Paul Jones proud. Bonham dominated the stage on a massive, elevated drum set, playing out his father’s staccato legacy beat for beat.
The MontBleu Showroom was brimming with concertgoers of all ages, thrilled at the replica playing out before them. Dylan wasn’t doing a thing to look like Robert Plant (read: shaved head). The guitarist, thought, evoked Page, while wearing dark shades, a leather jacket, long tousled hair, and a beautiful cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul slung low at his waist.
The band played a wide array of hits, both well-known and more obscure. My personal favorite was a bit of a medley (or at least a quick transition), by which the driving, forceful “Immigrant Song” gave way abruptly into the characteristically funky opening notes of “The Ocean.” The beginning of each well-known anthem was greeted with a chorus of cheers and whistles from the crowd. While the show was seated, there was no shortage of people rising to dance and sing along with their favorite Zeppelin tunes.
This was a hugely enjoyable show, because of the familiarity of the tunes, the uproarious atmosphere with an enthusiastic crowd, and because of the concrete lineage of Bonham and his efforts to preserve and honor his late father’s legacy and music. This was definitely no tribute band, but a living, breathing, rocking piece of Led Zeppelin’s history. For the increasing number of music lovers who never had a chance to see the fabled band live, what more could we ask for?