Phil Collins Wanted to Flee Disastrous Led Zeppelin Live Aid Reunion

Buffalo_drummer

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If you watch the Bonzo Bashes then you know how hard it is for even the worlds great rock drummers to replicate/mimic John Bonham’s sound and feel.

Lots of very good drummers sit on that throne and 10 seconds into I am already cringing.

The best I’ve seen is probably Charlie Benante and Brian Tichy

I saw Page and Plant when they toured together, I don’t know; 20 years ago and they had Michael Lee on drums and he just killed it. You could have closed your eyes and pretended Bonham was playing.

I also think that Steve Gorman did a hell of a job covering Bonham on the Live at the Greek recordings.
If you watch the Bonzo Bashes then you know how hard it is for even the worlds great rock drummers to replicate/mimic John Bonham’s sound and feel.

Lots of very good drummers sit on that throne and 10 seconds into I am already cringing.

The best I’ve seen is probably Charlie Benante and Brian Tichy

I saw Page and Plant when they toured together, I don’t know; 20 years ago and they had Michael Lee on drums and he just killed it. You could have closed your eyes and pretended Bonham was playing.

I also think that Steve Gorman did a hell of a job covering Bonham on the Live at the Greek recordings.
Pretty much agree on all points, I was at a Bonzo Bash and many of the drummers are good but not great. Tichy captures JB the best in my opinion and Michael Lee did a fabulous job with the P&P stuff.His drumming is deceptively tricky to nail. Many people don't capture the subtly of his playing style
 

Bandit

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Ok.... so becaise the “drummers” blew the intro to Rock and Roll.....

Plant was immediately struck with “Sings like a cat with his tail in a garbage disposal”? lol

rrrrrriiiiiigggghhhtttt.....

lol
I think that cat might sound better. :)
 

Bri6366

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That definitely wasn’t a great performance. But there are worse ones on YouTube from the 70’s where Plant can’t sing or remember the lyrics, and Page fumbles throughout the songs.
There is the Zep on the albums and then there is live Zep, which is in the moment and they weren't trying to replicate the album. It was a tough situation to walk into, especially since they hadn't played together in years. It wasn't like Phil was sitting in on what was otherwise a well oiled machine. People think Zep reunion and they are expecting to hear them play Since I've Been Loving You they way they did on The Song Remains The Same live concert at MSG in '73. That probably never happened again and it definitely wasn't going to happen on a one off show in '85.
 

Monty

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One of the many crimes committed on this gig is that the camera crew focused more on Phil than either Jones or even Thompson. Thompson helped carry that gig. It was clear that Phil was not familiar with the material.
However, one has to remember how mind blowing it was that, in 1985, there they were; the 3 surviving members of Zep playing a set. At that moment, watching it live on TV, it was an incredible moment and one many talked about but didn't think it would happen.
 

singleordoubleheads

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One of the many crimes committed on this gig is that the camera crew focused more on Phil than either Jones or even Thompson. Thompson helped carry that gig. It was clear that Phil was not familiar with the material.
However, one has to remember how mind blowing it was that, in 1985, there they were; the 3 surviving members of Zep playing a set. At that moment, watching it live on TV, it was an incredible moment and one many talked about but didn't think it would happen.
Yep, I remember watching Live Aid on hot summer day in 1985 and thinking "this is a pretty big deal" but not realizing at the time HOW big it really was...seems like a million years ago now...
 

Doof

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Yep, I remember watching Live Aid on hot summer day in 1985 and thinking "this is a pretty big deal" but not realizing at the time HOW big it really was...seems like a million years ago now...
Same here. I remember getting calls (actual telephone calls) from friends saying “did you hear Zeppelin is playing” Live Aid?! We were so excited. That excitement overruled any on the fly critique of the performance at the time. The same held true for the audience as was evident. I remember even the MTV hosts saying how special it was for this to happen.

When YouTube came along and I was able to watch it all I want, then my inner critic steps up: Page given his guitar out of tune, Plant not used to singing like that anymore, Jones was solid if you hear him, drums sound weak, Tony was rehearsed, but 2 drummers? Terrible idea.

In any case, Phil Collins was everywhere musically in 1985. Much like Dave Grohl seemed to be everywhere with everyone a few years ago. it was just the thing to do I guess. 1988’s Atlantic Records reunion wasn’t much better, and that was rehearsed, but there were other reasons for that and all of them including Jason regret that performance as well.

2007, by contrast, was great.
 

Tanabata

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Pretty much agree on all points, I was at a Bonzo Bash and many of the drummers are good but not great. Tichy captures JB the best in my opinion and Michael Lee did a fabulous job with the P&P stuff.His drumming is deceptively tricky to nail. Many people don't capture the subtly of his playing style
Michael Lee was fantastic.
 

KevinD

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Some further info from this DFO post from a few years ago started by the original poster.


I seem to remember an article posted on the interwebs not too long ago (which I cannot seem to find) that was written that detailed more of Tony Thompson's experience and reaction (disappointment) to what transpired. Collins didn't come off looking too good.

Kind of strange how things like this stir memories.
I was about 18 at the time and remember watching Zep Live Aid segment with a couple of musician friends, thought it sounded really shabby but thought it was cool that they even bothered to get together with (what we Assumed at the time) no rehearsals

Also remember discussing how tough it must have been for them to hear in that huge environment (having had our own mon mix issues in places 1/100th the size of JFK )
I was a Tony Thompson fan and remember that we thought PC was kind of extra baggage there.
 

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After reading these accounts, hearing everyone involved talk about it, I have officially concluded that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are completely to blame for the situation, here is why:

Plant had been working with Phil and invited him to play. The other guy, Page, and the rest of them had been rehearsing with Tony. There wasn't good enough coordination and communication between Robert's and Jimmy's "camps." The result was what it was, and Jimmy Page has never really owned up to his own limitations regarding that event. Plant's voice was terrible; it could be argued the worse part of the show.
 

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After reading these accounts, hearing everyone involved talk about it, I have officially concluded that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are completely to blame for the situation, here is why:

Plant had been working with Phil and invited him to play. The other guy, Page, and the rest of them had been rehearsing with Tony. There wasn't good enough coordination and communication between Robert's and Jimmy's "camps." The result was what it was, and Jimmy Page has never really owned up to his own limitations regarding that event. Plant's voice was terrible; it could be argued the worse part of the show.
Great point there.

With all due respect to Led Zep, whom I love, Tony Thompson was a very well known session drummer and Phil was also great (this thread caused me to listen to some Brand X). Plant and Page deserve the blame for not being professional.
 
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Vistalite Black

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Great point there.

With all due respect to Led Zep, whom I love, Tony Thompson was a very well known session drummer and Phil was also great (this thread caused me to listen to some Brand X). Plant and Page deserve the blame for not being professional.
You read the part where Phil Collins says he didn’t rehearse, was in Thompson’s way and wanted to walk away once it started?
 

LFBarfe

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Compare and contrast this with Collins joining Eric Clapton and doubling with Jamie Oldaker. That was a great set, presumably because Collins knew Clapton's band well from the studio sessions they'd done.
 

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I played in a band when I was younger with 2 drummers. It's not easy to pull off. And in my situation the other drummer had a bit of an ego and just drummed over the top of me.

And in regards to the Led Zep situation, how many times have you been in a band where the other members screwed up and blamed you, the drummer?

Phil covers this whole debacle in his book "Not Dead Yet". It is a good read.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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If you want to hear how good Live Aid could have sounded, listen to Bowie. If you switch between Zep and Bowie's performances it's like they are engaging in two different activities.
True indeed.
Bowie and his band schooled every act on BOTH Live Aid stages about how a professional conducts a cool and effortless performance. In fact, all the other acts appeared amateur, frazzled and chaotic compared to Bowie's set.

After viewing every single performance that day, my girlfriend and I both emphatically agreed that Bowie completely STOLE the entire show and made it all look like a stroll in the park with his confidence and professionalism.


Of course it's all on youtube, check it out!

Relaxed & confident in a powder blue suit - Bowie owned Live Aid.

 
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Hop

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I remember quite clearly Phil slagging Tony pretty good in a print article not too long after the event (may have been in MD???). Phil said Tony was quite nervous and had big tempo issues.
The LZ clip clearly shows Phil doesn't know the material, especially at one point where he is so lost coming in/out of a fill... yet he wanted to deflect on Tony...
Yea, that's being a real professional, especially if you're trying to be a professional a55wipe that is.

Too bad Phil's ego wasn't in check back then, which is exactly when he should have owned up to totally underestimating the material and situation and taken it way more seriously...
I mean, come on, it wasn't just some small bar gig in Bedfordshire with 40-50 of your close friends having a few pints!
 

ncdrumr

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Many people think he should have never been there in the first place.

Exactly. The headline 'wanted to flee' is silly. I wonder if it occurred to him that he might not be the missing ingredient? Bah. I really like Phil Collins' drumming, but his playing is in some ways the antithesis of Bonham's.
 


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