The three surviving members of Led Zeppelin made it clear on a visit to New York City on Tuesday to promote their concert film "Celebration Day" that they have no plans to reunite for another concert, much less for a tour or for a new album.
"Sorry," said John Paul Jones, the bassist, when he was asked what he would say to fans who wanted to see the group play again "in the flesh." Jimmy Page, the band's guitarist and founder, said a reunion "seems unlikely," given the band's members have not worked together since the 2007 concert at London's 02 Arena that is the subject of the new film.
And Robert Plant, the vocalist, batted away another reporter's question about a possible reunion with a joke: "We've been thinking about all sorts of things," he said. He paused for a beat. "Then we can't remember what we've been thinking about."
"Expectations are horrific things," Mr. Plant added later. "To actually do anything at all together is such a kind of incredible weight."
The film will have its premiere tonight in New York at the Ziegfeld Theater. It is a no-frills record of the band's two-hour performance on Dec. 10, 2007, in honor of Ahmet Ertegun, the Atlantic Records founder. That camera captures the concert from start to finish, bringing the viewer close to the musicians, with very few shots of the audience and no backstage scenes.
The director, Dick Carruthers, who used more than a dozen cameras to film the concert, chose to stress closeups of the band members in action, giving fans an intimate look at their playing techniques, their nods and nonverbal cues to each other, and their boyish grins when the music came together. The film includes no interviews, nor backstory segments, nor archival footage of the group in the 1970s.
That concert was the first time Mr. Jones, Mr. Page and Mr. Plant had played together since the mid-1980s, and they were joined on drums by Jason Bonham, the son of the drummer John Bonham, whose death in 1980 from alcohol poisoning caused the group to split up. By most accounts, the aging rockers played extremely well, thrilling the crowd with 16 songs from their catalog, among them hits like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love."
Mr. Jones said he thought the 1976 documentary about the band, "The Song Remains the Same," never captured the subtle communication between band members onstage, nor did it show the skill of their musicianship, as the new film does.
"I'm really happy people can see what went on onstage, because it kind of puts you almost in the middle," Mr. Jones said in a short interview after the press conference. "'Song Remains the Same' was good, but everything was from the distance. It's a great opportunity for people to find out what went on on stage and how we've done this."
Mr. Page said the band members did not go into the concert thinking it would eventually become a movie. "Our main focus was to do the show and do it well," he said. It took years for the members to reach a consensus on producing the film. But in the end, he said, the performance turned out to be better than one in 1988 to mark the 40th anniversary of Atlantic Records, and seemed a fitting "testament" to their careers.
"We just really wanted to get it right and go out and play to people who maybe had never heard us, who had heard about this reputation, what we were about," Mr. Page said. "Basically to go up and stand up and be counted."
The film will be released to movie theaters on Oct. 17, and in December Led Zeppelin is schedued to be honored at the Kennedy Center for their contribution to popular culture.
As things stand now, however, "Celebration Day" may well mark the band's last joint project. All three original members have solo projects in the works and no plans to work together again. Both Mr. Page, 68, and Mr. Jones, 66, expressed misgivings about taking on the rigors of a full-blown Led Zeppelin tour.
"Just sustaining it over a long period of time and meeting expecations would be a tall order I think," Mr. Jones said. "It was such a high standard that particular night."
Mr. Page said he thought the band members could play with the same intensity as they had in the early days, but he acknowledged age was a factor. "Who wants to be on a two-year tour?" he said. Then he added: "That would tire you out just thinking of that."
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