Led Zeppelin’s blockbuster reunion concert at London’s O2 Arena in December 2007 left fans clamoring for a full-scale tour, and after Robert Plant indicated he wanted to dedicate time to other projects (like his Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss), John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page considered hitting the road with a fill-in singer. So how close did fans get to a Led Zeppelin tour?
“As close as you could get,” Jason Bonham, who filled in for his deceased father on drums at the reunion show, told Music Radar. “We did a year of writing and putting stuff together,” Bonham said, adding that the band practically had a new singer in place but scuttled the plans following a disagreement within the band. “I think, basically, [Page and Jones] agreed to disagree. After a while, it was just time to move on.” Page’s manager confirmed to Rolling Stone that the proposed tour was officially off in January 2009.
Bonham, whose Led Zeppelin Experience tour will mark the 30th anniversary of John Bonham’s death later this summer, says despite rumors, Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy was not tapped for the potential tour. “There was somebody else… and that’s all I’ll say to that,” Bonham said, refusing to name the potential replacement. A handful of high-profile frontmen had reportedly been interested in the gig, including Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (whose 2008 audition was described as “shambolic” by his bandmate Joe Perry) and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, who often covers Zeppelin’s III track “Thank You.”
As Rolling Stone reported in December 2008, Plant said it’d be at least two years before he’d consider rejoining Led Zeppelin on the road. He has since recorded a new album with his revitalized Band of Joy. Jones, meanwhile, teamed up with Dave Grohl and Josh Homme to form the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Page had also previously expressed a desire to return to stage with new music in 2010, but hasn’t revealed any live plans yet. Bonham has yet to name which musicians will be joining his Led Zeppelin Experience tour.