Legendary rock combo Led Zeppelin is reforming, but for one night only. The British band will play a one-off show at London’s 22,000-capacity O2 arena on Nov. 26 as part of a tribute to Atlantic Records co-founder and chairman emeritus Ahmet Ertegun, who died last December. The band recorded for Atlantic its entire career.
The Who’s Pete Townshend, former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Paolo Nutini will also perform at the event. Profits will benefit the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, which provides scholarships to universities in the United States, United Kingdom and Ertegun’s homeland, Turkey.
Tickets costing £125 ($254) will be allocated on a lottery basis through the Ahmettribute.com web site. Billboard.com understands there are no plans to broadcast or commercially release music from the show.
Putting an end to several months of speculation, it was confirmed today (Sept. 13) during a press conference at the O2 that the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin — Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones — would reunite onstage for just the third time in 27 years. The drummer for the evening will be Jason Bonham, son of the band’s original drummer John Bonham, who died from a heart attack in 1980.
“This is going to be the largest demand for one show in history,” promoter Harvey Goldsmith said today, adding that Zeppelin will play a full two-hour set. “I can only tell from the buzz going around now, but it is really just filtering around the world. I feel there’s going to be a huge amount of pressure (on tickets).”
None of the band members, however, were on hand at the media gathering. “I didn’t want them to come down today,” Goldsmith told Billboard.com. “It’s enough that they’re committed to doing this show.”
Goldsmith also downplayed prospects of a larger Zeppelin reunion. “The band members are getting along really well at the moment, but there’s no talk of them making a new record off the back of this,” he noted.
Page, Plant and Jones initially reformed with Genesis’ Phil Collins and Chic/Power Station sticksman Tony Thompson sharing drum duties for a performance at Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985. In May 1988, Jason Bonham joined the three originals for another ‘one-off” reunion at an Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in New York.
Plant and Page teamed in 1994 for an MTV special and subsequently toured globally and released two albums. Jones has also released two solo albums, although his post-Zeppelin work has largely concentrated on production and arranging.
The concert will follow the release of a new Atlantic/Rhino two-disc, 24-track best-of Zeppelin set, “Mothership,” due Nov. 13 in the United States.