Led Zeppelin And The Super Bowl

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The headline may seem a bit disjointed – okay, maybe very disjointed, but the whole Super Bowl thing featuring what’s left of The Who got me thinking about some of our favorite aging rockers and whether or not they should still be rocking, or in the case of The Who, attempting to rock.

Before I continue, let me pay homage to The Who. Yeah, I may have ripped on their Super Bowl gig, but despite any protestations from dedicated “Whooligans,” it really was a lackluster performance, and may just be the wakeup call that the NFL needed.

Yeah, you bet your ass I’m a classic rock fan, but the NFL should stick with the ones that can still put on a decent show for a high profile gig like the Super Bowl. That’s one seriously large audience.

Anyway, having already stated that I’ve never been a fan of The Who, there is no denying their legacy and their place among the most influential classic rock groups. I never cared much for their songwriting, but the boys could play. Their shows were probably some of the most dynamic and energetic of their era. And that’s exactly why they should not have tried to recapture their past by agreeing to perform at the Super Bowl.

There simply are some things you can no longer pull off at the age of 65 (note for nitpickers: I know Townshend is not quite 65 yet, but give him about 3 months), and as a performer, you should be aware of that. How can one possibly capture the energy that was poured into the kind of show that The Who was known for when one is eligible for Social Security, or in this case, considered a “pensioner.” Obviously, one cannot.

That brings me to Led Zeppelin. More specifically to Robert Plant. There was a lot of anticipation prior to their show at the O2 in London at the end of 2007. Many fans wondered if it would be the start if something big. Would the remaining members of the group reunite for a world tour? Would they record again? Was this it?

Following the O2 show — which by most accounts was a great success — the rumors and speculation intensified. Stories of Led Zeppelin products being cranked out at manufacturing facilities in Asia, and media reports indicating that the band was preparing for a tour had many people convinced that we were on the brink of the long-awaited Led Zeppelin reunion.

Looking back, it appears that Robert Plant may simply be too smart to play along. As much as guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones may want to relive their past, they would not be facing the same kind of pressure Plant would be dealing with.

Sure, it may not be a cake walk to tour when you are in your sixties, but it’s got to be much less physically demanding to stand on stage and play guitar or bass than it would be to belt out “Heartbreaker” for the world to see.

Although many felt that the success of the O2 show may have signaled a green light for a Led Zeppelin reunion, it may have signaled something entirely different for Robert Plant. Perhaps something along the lines of, “Good Lord, I’m glad I don’t have to do that every day.”

We’re all in the same boat, I’m afraid. While we may be able to stay up and party all night when we are in our teens, twenties or thirties, for the vast majority of us, that becomes less possible as we start easing into out fifties and sixties. We age and there’s no way to stop it, save for one, but few of us care to entertain that option.

What’s been preventing Robert Plant from agreeing to a reunion? Probably common sense, and a good understanding of his own physical limitations. He’s obviously enjoyed working with Alison Krauss, and they have had great success, even earning themselves five Grammy Awards.

He’s having a good time, he’s still singing, and he probably doesn’t need the money that he’d take in from a Led Zeppelin tour. He’s still Robert Plant – front man for one of the world’s best-known rock bands of all time. Why risk tarnishing his reputation by hitting the road and trying to recapture his youth?

I think there’s a good chance that Plant has made up his mind that he’s not willing to take that risk. And if he saw the Super Bowl half time show, he’s probably more convinced than ever.

8 Comments

  1. mcd420 February 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    John Paul Jones was on SNL with Them Crooked Vultures this last weekend. Rocked balls.

    Jeff Beck still smokes anyone playing today.

    Plant can sing when he wants – I just wouldn’t recommend trying 50 shows in 50 days.

    The Who rocked pretty well – Daltrey didn’t sound terrible. The problem was the setting – it just didn’t make any sense – wrong context.

  2. xx February 11, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    you know, your opinions, be they that, have become total rubbish…take a clue from other great sites and report the facts…who gives a crap what you think…opinions are wide & varied….I just deleted your site from my rock music siste list..report the facts son and leave opinions to the readers…idiot

    • Real Rock News February 11, 2010 at 11:52 pm

      I suppose Mr. “xx” didn’t think his comment would be allowed to show up, but I think it’s an interesting reminder of the number of cowardly individuals out there insulting others from the safety of their mom’s basement.

      By the way, judging from that comment, I don’t consider a link from your site as much of a loss. In fact, I’d prefer not to be associated with people like you in any way, shape or form.

  3. Matt February 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    You, sir, with all due respect are wrong in saying the who sucked. Daltry hit most of his notes, aand even nailed the “YEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!!!!” on wont get fooled again. sure, it wasnt as good as thier younger years, but they did a fine job all things considered.

    i think Plants main problem is that he was sso attatched to John Bonham as both a freind and bndmate that he doesnt feel being in zeppelin works without him. anyone will tell you, plant was the most devistated by his death. and it shows today.

    Let me Respectfully counter your argument by saying that if plant truely thought he coul no longer sing, he wouldnt be making a New album now would he? :3

    I think your oppinion of the who at the ‘bowle comes from you just generally not being a who fan, myself. Roger and pete have been sounding just that way since 2000. and it still works for them. i think what made them seem lackluster to most that night was the fact it was outdoors and the accoustics sucked.

    in plants case, im sure its not because he’s “washed up”….talent never “leaves” you. it just gets stored away as you get older and more subdued. but it’s still there.

    • Real Rock News February 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      There are those of us that think The Who sucked at the Super Bowl and those of us who do not.

      Life goes on.

      With regard to the comments about Plant, I suggest you slow down a bit and re-read what I wrote. Please allow me to reiterate.

      I said it is possible that Plant is not feeling up to the task of a Led Zeppelin tour due to the energy that would be required to sing that kind of material.

      I have no idea where you came up with the notion that I said Plant could never sing. On the contrary! In fact, I stated that the album he did with Alison Krauss earned five Grammy awards, and even said in a subsequent entry that I wanted to check that album out myself. His new album is said to be bluegrass/country, similar to what he has been doing with Krauss; not the hard rock style of Led Zeppelin.

      Perhaps you were intending to respond to comments someone else made on another site and just typed them into the wrong blog!

  4. Matt February 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    either way, i think it has more to do with Bonhsm being gone than anything.

  5. Matt February 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    aw, cripes, curse my one-finger typing. DAMN YOU, CEREBRAL PALSY!

    “BONHAM” excuse me.

    Anyway, i think they’ll reunite again at some point. i think plant is just happy with his side projects at the moment.

    sorry to double post.

  6. Rover August 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I don’t think Zeppelin should do the Superbowl. I have not been overly impressed with any rock band’s Half-Time performance on that stage. Maybe a solo superstar like Prince can make it happen. My guess for the 2011 Superbowl is that The Eagles will agree to do it. If not them, then perhaps Taylor Swift. Robert Plant just does not want to be “Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin” for now, and that’s totally his decision, which I respect…. Because NO ONE on the face of this planet can come come to Robert Plant — as a performing member of Led Zeppelin. He alone has THAT Magic.

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