Jason Bonham

Here’s one show and venue where the massive sound needed to appreciate the act will be guaranteed. We’re talking JASON BONHAM’S LED ZEPPELIN EXPERIENCE at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts tonight (Oct.29). The sound comes courtesy of Sony’ s Surround Sound Wall, a vital component of the joint’s recent renovations.


The unique idea for this road show is to recreate the Led Zeppelin experience as recalled by Jason Bonham, son of the LZ’s stickman John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham, and a solid drummer in his own right. This shades it just a tad more emotional than your usual tribute show and young Bonham takes his pedigree seriously. Over the space of two plus hours, Bonham and a band made up of guitarist Tony Catania, vocalist James Dylan, bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist/pedal-steel guitarist Stephen LeBlanc do an impressive job of recreating the Led Zep mojo.


PHOTO AT RIGHT:Jason Bonham on the job.

Aided by state-of-the-art lighting and an evocative video show full of never seen in concert and behind the scenes footage, the band offers up LZ classics including "I Can't Quit You Baby," "Dazed and Confused," "Kashmir," “The Lemon Song” and the obligatory encore of “"Whole Lotta Love" coupled with "Rock and Roll" which have been pulling standing ovations from audiences everywhere the show’s played. Of special interest during the gig is a version of ‘Moby Dick’, on which Jason drums along with a techno-imaged two-dimensional dad. 

In any event, this thing was solid gold from the get-go, judging by the torrent of voices on the Net forever clamouring for an LZ reunion. Robert Plant had rejected a reported $200 million offer for Zep to undertake a world reunion tour and gone off to sing with Allison Krause. Since Jason had occupied the drum stool for a revived Zeppelin several times, including the acclaimed one-of reunion concert at London’s O2Arena in December of 2007, the vibe was that Jason’s Led Zeppelin Experience would be the next best thing.

Poster for Led Zeppelin's O'Keefe Center show. Nov 2, 1969Poster for Led Zeppelin's O'Keefe Center show. Nov 2, 1969When young Bonham steps on the stage at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts tonight, he’ll be walking in the footsteps of hard-hitting dad.


On Nov.2 1969, Led Zeppelin played its third Toronto date that year, this one at the venue then known as the O’Keefe Centre. The 4,00 soft-seater was a big step up for the band and led by green-suited Page’s fantastic riffage and the demonic howls of Plant, wearing the tightest jeans known to man, rocked the sold out house.

Or most of it; the band had already developed a rabid cult following of young guitar shredders and there were those in the house that night who wished openly that Jimmy had stuck to the script and played the songs as they appeared on the albums. 

One event, which occurred that night, will definitely not be repeated at the Sony Centre tonight. As was the custom of the times, at the end of the show a large part of the audience climbed onstage to dance with the band. Yep, back in the day that was allowed to go down because the fans just wanted to dance with the band, not attack them. Folks say Robert Plant never looked happier. 

What will be offered like never before is the emotional subtext, highlighted in the home-movie segments and heartfelt voiceovers honouring the 30th anniversary of the elder Bonham's death, in which Jason lays out the story of what it was like to be the son of rock's heaviest drummer.

The band plans some 30 shows in the US and Canada over the next two months — Check the site for tour deets

Cashbox Canada