The Led Zeppelin Experience, staged by musician Jason Bonham, celebrates the life and music of his famous father, the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
Currently crossing the continent for 30 shows, the concert is slated for Oct. 13 at the Centrium. Showtime is 8 p.m.
Jason describes the show as a personal reflection of the music of the famed band and how it influenced him. He’s a prolific drummer in his own right, having played 200 shows a years with Foreigner in the past four years. He also played with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones at Led Zeppelin’s ‘final’ show at London’s O2 Arena back in 2007.
“Since the O2 Arena show in ’07 with Jimmy, John Paul and Robert, I’ve been thinking about doing something like this,” he says. “I knew if I did decide to go forward with it, I wanted to make it count. I went and saw the Beatles tribute ‘Rain’ and it opened up a new avenue for me of using home movies and now, there’s even a part where I’m playing with dad in our show, where we play off of each other.
“I wanted to make it a bit more than just a rock concert. So I have a section where there’s some storytelling and some insightful history to accompany the music.”
The concerts are also timed to run after the 30th anniversary of his father’s passing on Sept. 25, 1980. Jason teamed up with Annerin Productions, the company behind The Pink Floyd Experience and the aforementioned Rain, A Tribute to the Beatles.
Going into it, he knew it would be an emotional journey.
“Just telling a couple of the stories, I got choked,” he says.
“I don’t want to do that every night and be an emotional wreck each night. So I’m going to record the storytelling part of the show so that I can focus on what I want to do. Because it is so personal in so many parts.”
There’s a memorable bit in The Song Remains the Same where Jason and his father appear together that has been incorporated into the show.
“I just thought it would be a great interlude to give people a laugh. And what comes after the drumming sequence, is me dancing. When my own children saw it they just roared about it. They were on the floor, laughing. When I look back at it, I just see my dad laughing. It’s a great moment.”
For the show, Jason has been hands-on with everything from set design to repertoire. As for the songs, some were chosen because they have stories behind them while others might recall a specific moment — which means songs from 1976’s Presence that were never played live have been rehearsed.
Of course, many favorites from Led Zeppelin’s catalog will be played because of the joy and exhilaration they elicit.
Jason admits picking the set has been challenging.
“It’s like, what do you not do? That’s tough, but we’re having a great time as a band playing these songs. There were great tracks on nearly every album so it’s important for us to keep things changing from show to show. We will rehearse the three or four songs from every album and switch it around night by night.”
As for his father John’s legacy, Jason says his dad will likely be remembered as one of the greatest drummers ever. “He was indeed one of a kind and this show is my way of honouring him.”
For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 403-340-4455 or visit www.ticketmaster.ca.