In 2007, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones reunited as Led Zeppelin for possibly the last time. The sold-out performance at London’s O2 Arena has become one of the most celebrated band reunions in music history. However, not every Led Zeppelin reunion leading up to it was as revered.
Here’s a look at their reunions throughout the years, and the posters connected to them.
Led Zeppelin officially disbanded in 1980, after the death of drummer John Bonham. In the decades that followed, reunions between all three surviving members were scarce and rarely considered successful.
They first reunited for 1985’s Live Aid concert at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium with Tony Thompson and Phil Collins on drums. Marred by Page’s out-of-tune guitar, Plant’s hoarse vocals, and Collins’ drumming, the performance was considered a massive failure. The band has since stopped their set from being included in broadcasts and DVD releases of Live Aid.
Led Zeppelin came together again in 1988 for Atlantic Records’ 40th Anniversary concert (this time with Bonham’s son, Jason, on drums). Right before the concert, Page and Plant argued over performing “Stairway to Heaven” and who would be their drummer. Though not nearly as disastrous as their Live Aid appearance, this brief reunion was seen as another overall disappointment.
In 1994, Page and Plant released an album together. A world tour followed, but they did not invite Jones to join them. This snub caused tension between the three, which was apparent the following year at their awkward Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and reunion performance.
The O2 Arena
With a list of failed reunions behind them, Led Zeppelin wanted to come together for “one last great show”. On December 10th, 2007, all three band members (with Jason Bonham again on drums) reunited at the O2 Arena for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert.
Unlike their previous reunions (which were never more than a few songs), this was a complete concert with a full 16 song setlist. Hits like “Black Dog”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “Kashmir”, “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock and Roll” were all performed. They also played their 1969 song, “Ramble On” live for the first time in its entirety.
The concert’s poster featured a simple design with only the name of the band, venue and opening acts. The limited print run of 1,200 copies sold out at the show.
The sold-out concert was a massive success, and critics hailed it as a “triumph”. Several celebrities attended the event, including Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Brain May, David Gilmour, Ann Wilson, Dave Grohl, Lulu, and Chad Smith. According to Guinness World Records, the show broke the world record for “the Highest Demand for Tickets for One Music Concert”, with 20 million requests.
In 2012, Led Zeppelin released the O2 show as a concert film and live album titled “Celebration Day”.
Having previously designed the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Mothership” greatest hits album, artist Shepard Fairey created a new movie poster and album cover for the “Celebration Day” project. This vibrant design features the iconic Led Zeppelin logo and zeppelin floating over the London skyline.
On his website, Fairey released an 18 x 24 inch screen print of the design. This signed and numbered edition of 300 copies has since sold out.
The future of Led Zeppelin reunions
Led Zeppelin has not reunited for a concert since 2007, and unfortunately, it looks more and more like they never will again. Many fans haven’t lost hope, and reunion rumors circulate every so often, only to be dashed by the band members. Perhaps at some point, we’ll finally get one more show. If not, the O2 performance and “Celebration Day” recording serve as a grand farewell from one of rock music’s biggest bands.