- - Sunday, September 23, 2012

The song remains the same, as Led Zeppelin once observed. But Zeppelin fans can visit the band’s music anew thanks to a film of the rock titans’ last show together in 2007 — which also was the band’s first full show in 27 years.

Singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones got together again Friday to promote the film — but that may be as close as fans will get to a new reunion.

At a news conference, the members flatly declined to answer when asked if they were tempted to perform together as Led Zeppelin.

Mr. Plant said that even lining up onstage to answer questions — “like a bunch of soccer managers being interviewed after a match” — was not his idea of fun.

The band members have moved on, with Mr. Plant in particular finding success in other genres. He has played with musicians from Mali and won a Grammy in 2009 for his rootsy collaborations with bluegrass musician Alison Krauss.

Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic Roger Ebert works in his office at the WTTW-TV studios in Chicago in January 2011. (Associated Press)
Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic Roger Ebert works in his office at the ... more >

And, the 64-year-old singer acknowledged: “I struggle with some lyrics for particular periods of time” — especially for the famously cryptic “Stairway to Heaven.”

He’s not alone. Many listeners find that Zeppelin lyrics range from mystical to unintelligible.

“Maybe I’m still trying to work out what I was talking about,” Mr. Plant said.

But the musicians are proud of the December 2007 show at London’s 02 Arena captured in director Dick Carruthers’ crisp and energetic concert film “Celebration Day.”

The concert, attended by 18,000 ticket-holders selected from more than 1 million applicants, was a tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, an early mentor of the band.

On screen, the 1970s hard-rock heroes — joined by Jason Bonham, son of original drummer John Bonham — look relaxed and sound confident as they power through hits including “Kashmir,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Whole Lotta Love” and — of course — “Stairway to Heaven.”

Four decades after they fused blues, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll into a new kind of hard rock, they remain very much the 1970s rock gods — Mr. Plant the strutting frontman, Mr. Page the guitar god, Mr. Jones the unshakable bass player.

Their chemistry is obvious, even though Mr. Plant said they don’t see each other much these days. Led Zeppelin disbanded after the death of John Bonham, who choked on vomit in 1980 at the age of 32.

Mr. Plant said diving back into the band’s music for the 2007 concert had been a “spectacular experience.”

“To get through it and come out the other side was something not much short of miraculous,” he said.

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