John Paul Jones to play JPJ?

While he gears up for the one-night-only reunion concert at London's O2 Arena December 10, guitarist Jimmy Page fueled speculation of a full-fledged Led Zeppelin tour when he recently told Guitar World, "It's a bit silly not to because there is such massive demand."

Considering that John Paul Jones Arena has already held the likes of Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, and just hosted the reunited Police, could the JPJ soon be filled with strains of "Stairway to Heaven"? It may sound far-fetched, but our town does boast the following Zep connections:

Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones may not be the eponym for UVA's basketball arena, but he did play this year's Bonnaroo Music Festival, co-owned by Coran Capshaw.

Moreover, Jones played as part of this year's "Superjam" whose alumni include Stewart Copeland (who played JPJ just last week with the Police), Trey Anastasio (who played the Charlottesville Pavilion in October 2006 and opened for the Rolling Stones at Scott Stadium in October 2005), and Herbie Hancock (who played the Paramount Theater in May).

Jason Bonham– who will be filling in for his late father, John, on drums at the London show– has already played Charlottesville! That happened on May 18, 1999, when the Jason Bonham Band played Outback Lodge. According to Lodge owner Terry Martin, the son of "Bonzo" enjoyed his visit. "He stayed well after the show was over, and partied up late night big time," says Martin. "He was just drinking and having a ball."

Need more convincing? Well, Nashville-based agency Keith Case & Associates represents recent Robert Plant collaborator Alison Krauss. The firm also happens to represent Charlottesville neo-bluegrass outfit King Wilkie and local resident and folk singer Jesse Winchester. Might Plant have already signed up one of Krauss' friends as the opening act?

Still not convinced the stars are aligned? In the '70s, Jimmy Page was infamous for his fascination with the dark arts and secret societies, particularly as they applied to British author Aleister Crowley. Might he take an interest in checking out UVA's Seven Society (whose symbol is about as cryptic as the runes in the album art of Led Zeppelin IV) or the University's Edgar Alan Poe room?

Okay, guess where all orders for Zep merch go? You guessed it. From belt buckles to baseball jerseys, the place to buy official Zeppelin gear online in the U.S. is through their store at musictoday.com, a Crozet-based business that Capshaw founded.

Let the wild speculation begin!

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3 comments

No such luck, I think. Plant just said in an AP interview that he was heading back to "Ms Krauss" (Alison, after their recent collaboration Raising Sand) as soon as the show was over. He said he wanted to do the show for Jason Bonham's mom, and Ahmet.

There is another link... I had my first sexual experience with linda L. to Stairway to Heaven in 1971 somewhwere in the Frys Spring area..

Good times

Highly doubtful they will tour. While there is a ton of $ to be made, they already have a ton of $ - at least Plant and Page do. JPJ didn't write that much, so he's probably only just ridiculously rich and not obscenely wealthy.

The key is Plant's voice. He definitely can't throw that falsetto around arenas like he used to, and while Jagger's voice is but one element of a band and doesn't actually carry it, that's not the case for Led Zeppelin. Those songs depend on his voice. Perhaps he can knock the high notes down 3 or 4 octaves and pull it off - that would be pretty cool. Others have done so, but it often sounds odd.

Besides, the band has zero to prove. They owned rock and roll for 7 or 8 years and were the undisputed top act on the planet. Their egos are pretty tame, it seems. These guys aren't Sting, and their records are still selling like crazy.

And FYI the Robert Plant/Allison Krauss CD is beautiful. Very different - not what I'd expect from either of them. It's kind of dark and brooding, but beautifully dark and brooding. It'll stay in my car CD player for a few weeks at least.