Last Night: Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience At Verizon

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Photos by Groovehouse
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience
Verizon Wireless Theater
November 16, 2010

Some family businesses involve cleaning out septic tanks, others have you pulling teeth and filling cavities all day. Some have you selling used cars, while others mean slaving in a bakery all day making bread for a healthy contingent of customers.

Jason Bonham's family business means wielding sticks and bashing out some of the most monolithic, studied and earth-rattling drum parts known to man or rock and roll.

Led Zeppelin came to a sad, screeching halt in 1980 with the death of drummer John Bonham, the man who anchored the band's sound with the kind of drumming work that can only be described as heavy, industrial and funky all at the same time. There would be subsequent reunions, but none held the same weight as the original quartet of Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.

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Jason Bonham was only 14 when his father passed away. He has spent the last 30 years helping keep the memory of his father alive, with his own music and now with this tour, the Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience.

After the band's last major reunion, a one-night gig honoring Atlantic label head Ahmet Ertegun in 2007, many believed that the band would be road-ready by the next year. The younger Bonham held down his dad's place for the 02 Arena show and was amped with the prospect of a full-scale tour.

The tour never came to fruition, and the surviving Zeppers went on to other projects, including Bonham who decided to put together this tour and show with the help of a band performing Zep songs with him handling drum duties.

Tuesday night the Experience pulled through Houston, stopping at Verizon Wireless Theater. It was a night to revisit high-school hangs, back-seat shenanigans, hazy boozy nights, and hear the songs that would forge metal, grunge, and everything in between.

The night was a tribute to the elder Bonham, with the show opening with footage of the drummer as a child and a teen, clean-shaven and short-haired, a far cry from the wooly caveman carrying drumsticks the size of tree trunks that we know from endless hours of concert reels.

It's jarring seeing a bald, bearded body standing in for Plant, but vocalist James Dylan conveyed the rasp of the golden god with ease, only rarely dipping into alt-rock territory. It takes a guitarist and a utilityman to tackle what Jones and Page could do live in their heyday, and that's not including a bass player onstage.

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