Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience heading to NZ

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After stunning, sold-out concerts across the US, legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's greatest legacy - his son Jason - brings his critically acclaimed concert, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, to New Zealand for just two performances.

Now 51, with a stellar career under his belt, Bonham junior’s critically acclaimed show seems a far cry from the first time he performed. At the tender age of four, Jason was seen deftly twirling drumsticks behind a mini Ludwig drumkit, in a home-movie segment of Led Zeppelin’s benchmark concert film, The Song Remains the Same. 

And yet Bonzo’s legacy and the home-made video memories of two generations of drummers come back to life when JBLZE brings the very essence of Led Zep to the stage. Original band member Jimmy Page summed up what Jason contributed to this sound in their collaborative O2 reunion concert in London, not long before Bonham hand-picked JBLZE talent. 

But the heartfelt accuracy of the JBLZE sound is only one reason recent concerts across the US have sold out in days. The band’s powerful live performance of Zeppelin classics team with Bonham’s historical, personal input to provide concert-goers on a unique story telling adventure. While huge backdrops display iconic art, Bonham’s own home video footage plays, including family-oriented clips from his late father’s archive. 

This musical and familial link culminates in Jason’s live performance of Led Zeppelin II’s Moby Dick: on giant screens behind him, footage of dad Bonzo at Led Zep’s landmark Royal Albert Hall gig on January 9, 1970 rolls, while Jason pounds out one of the most legendary drum solos in history in real time. 

“This is my story. It’s what my Dad and Led Zeppelin meant to me” says Jason, who despite his years touring with an enviable list of rock-greats, is still regularly “blown away” by the response he’s had from JBLZE audiences during the band’s 7-year lifespan. 

“It’s become more than just me playing the songs. The audience are as strong a part of it as anything” he says. “You see generations of different people at the show, from kids to their grandfathers – people that saw them back in the day. It’s been a fantastic journey.”

Bonham explains that JBLZE simply tries to capture the magic that was so greatly written and performed by Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and his father. The show is an aural and visual experience designed to take the audience back to a time when they were carefree and happy; a time “when they had more hair!”  

A loud, glittering affair on stage, the show’s success is built on carefully laid foundations. It has taken considerable time and thought to bring a band together that Bonham felt could truly do justice to his father’s lifework. 

After Jason starred in the world record-breaking Led Zeppelin O2 reunion concert in 2007 (alongside original members guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones and singer Robert Plant) it was hoped that the entity might continue, despite Plant’s decision not to join in again. They went as far as auditioning high profile singers like Sammy Hagar, Myles Kennedy and Steven Tyler to continue the legacy. Yet even these lofty options were unsuccessful.

Together they recreate a carefully considered set list of at least 20 songs, featuring all-time classics plus a few surprises. These include: In the Light which was never performed by Led Zeppelin live. Other highlights include cuts from their ground breaking 1969 debut Led Zeppelin (Your Time Is Gonna Come, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You); 1969’s Led Zeppelin II (Thank You, Lemon Song); 1970’s Led Zeppelin III (Celebration Day); 1970’s Led Zeppelin IV (When the Levee Breaks and Rock and Roll); 1975’s Physical Graffiti (Kashmir). 

It’s a playlist that Jason likens to “hitting the ball out of the park” time and again for fans. And by all accounts he’s right. EddieTrunk, legendary journalist, radio and TV broadcaster offers resounding applause for Bonham’s genetically-connected experience: ‘I was absolutely flawed by this show…by far the best…they sound unbelievable…I cannot think of ever having heard anybody play Zeppelin better than these guys…’

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience

February 3rd: Horncastle Arena, Christchurch - Tickets via Ticketek

February 4th: Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland - Tickets via Ticketmaster