music reporter

When it comes to Zeppelin, the son remains the same

Will Led Zeppelin tour in 2008? The legions of fans who didn't make it to their successful Dec. 10 reunion show at the O2 Arena in London certainly hope so.

Jason Bonham, who took his father John Bonham's seat at the drums with the band, says in this life anything can happen. "I didn't have a clue at this point last year that (the reunion) show was going to happen," he says. "Every day is a different day. Something can come up. You never know."

As fans who had flown in from around the world filtered out of the O2 that night, the name on everyone's lips was Jason Bonham. Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant gave stellar performances. Perhaps the crowd had greater expectations of the three original members, and less for Bonham. But it was Bonham who relentlessly drove home the beats. He also was humbled. Bonham remembers all too well his attitude when he played with the band at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988.

"After 19 years, I had another shot after taking it all for granted the first time," he says. "I thought I deserved the job. I really worked at it. It was like, 'Right — you wanted this, now prove it, regardless of your name.' "

Yes, he was a little nervous about last month's show. Yes, he was a little scared. Bonham says it took him until the fourth song to relax.

"I had dry mouth for the first three songs," he adds with a laugh. "I wasn't expecting the really dry mouth syndrome. Then I enjoyed it."

At the end of the last encore, Bonham got on his knees and bowed down to the three original members.

"I wanted to take in every moment, which is why at the end I had to bow to them," he says. "As I grew older, I became a fan as well as part of the family. I got to appreciate the music. When I was a younger, I was a huge Police fan. It wasn't until after my dad's death that I could really appreciate his music. I was 14 when he passed away. I was just starting to get to know him in a grown-up way."

Bonham, who plays with Foreigner as well as with his own band, went to his father's grave the day after the reunion show.

"I took the sticks that I used and put them on the grave and said, 'We did it, Dad. You handed me these. I'll hand them back.' "