Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents (DZP)
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Ballroom
Date: Saturday August 4th, 2018
Led Zeppelin is considered one of the greatest rock bands and has spawned multiple tribute bands over the years. Jason Bonham is the son of John Bonham, the legendary drummer of Led Zeppelin. Jason was lucky enough to have played with the rest of the original members of Led Zeppelin after his father died. A few years ago, Jason decided to put together a band to play Led Zeppelin music as a tribute to his father and to keep his father memory alive.
Jason has pulled together a group of talented musicians to help him in this endeavor. Jason takes center stage recreating his father’s iconic drumming duties. He is joined by front man James Dylan as lead singer, Dorian Heartsong on bass and Alex Howland on keyboards. These three have been with Jason for a number of years (I actually saw them in 2016). New to the lineup is Jimmy Sakurai who has taken over lead guitar duties.
They started the show with “Immigrant Song” and flowed into “Good Times Bad Times”. In the middle of the show, Jason jokes that “Going To California” was the only song with no drum part, and he sat and watched Jimmy play acoustic guitar, Dorian play mandolin and James sing. A few songs later, Jason told us that the next song was very special to him because he remembered it because it was done at the last concert he saw his dad play. Jimmy sat on a stool and played a guitar solo intro to the song before they started the iconic song, “Kashmir”. Much to the fans delight, they ended the main set with “Stairway To Heaven” where Jimmy played double neck guitar. For an encore, the play 2 additional songs, “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock and Roll”.
I was lucky enough to have seen Led Zeppelin twice in the 70s include once at the ASU basketball arena in the first row of the stands just off stage right (about 50 feet from Jimmy Page). I remember that Jimmy Page was incredible on guitar especially during “Stairway To Heaven”. I also remember John Bonham was a monster on the drums. And let’s not forget Robert Plant and his spectacular voice and persona. So every tribute band has an extremely hit standard to meet. Jason and his band not only meet but exceeded all of my expectations. James does a great job as front man and lead singer. Dorian performs perfectly as the subdued bassist like John Paul Jones. Alex added the extra talents of keyboards. And Jimmy does an awesome job on guitar and at times even shows some of the mannerisms of Jimmy Page. They all understand that this is Jason’s band and allow him to take center stage during a lot of the show. If you are a fan of Led Zeppelin’s music and want to see one of the best if not the best Led Zeppelin tribute band around, then Jason Bonhan’s band is definitely the one you need to see.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2018, All Rights Reserved
JBLZE (Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening) Setlist:
Good Times Bad Times
Over the Hills and Far Away
What Is and What Should Never Be
Since I’ve Been Loving You
Misty Mountain Hop
Going to California
Trampled Under Foot
White Summer/Black Mountain Side
Stairway to Heaven
Whole Lotta Love
Rock and Roll