When many of today's most popular cultural icons were nobody yesterday and will presumably return to anonymity tomorrow, the members of Led Zeppelin have smartly managed to improve with age.
The modern era of Led Zeppelin history could be defined as a new peak for the men who, repeatedly throughout the 1970s, defied a popular media prejudice and packed stadiums, earning notoriety and awards based on their own inventiveness.
Jimmy Page and his bandmates from 1968 to 1980 had the savvy to know what fans wanted and how to give it to them. Over time, what the fans want has not changed. Society has revered the group's members as the best in their respective arts and their contributions collectively as classic and yet timeless.
Now that the band members have used a golden opportunity in December to demonstrate their lasting worthiness of coronation among rock royalty young and old, the passionate outcry for further collaboration has reached a new climax.
There remains no question of whether Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant are able to give the fans what they want. The only question lies in their willingness to do so. Whatever the future holds (more one-off concerts, additional partial reunions, a DVD of the 2007 show, an album of new material, none of the above), there is ample reason to reflect on what has occurred.
The band played a full set in remarkable fashion on Dec. 10, 2007, following a committed series of rehearsals, and recreated magic that hadn't existed for longer than a quarter of a century. This encapsulated moment in time was witnessed in person by only about 20,000 of the world's luckiest fans but has been pronounced overwhelmingly as a major achievement.
Last year's one-off concert appearance has now earned the band recognition from Mojo magazine as the best live act of 2007. Rolling Stone had bestowed a similar honor to Led Zeppelin earlier for the same two-hour show.
Thus, it is encouraging to know that, on some level, the moment will not vanish into the abyss of forgotten shows. It may be more along the lines of Woodstock, which many more claim to have attended than actually did attend just because they want to have the honor of saying they were there.
Many of us, like this writer, have watched and heard fan-created footage from the show and can attest to the power of that performance. Scores more would be privy to the show if someday it is issued in officially sanctioned form for a DVD release, in the event the band deems sharing that one-night run a high enough priority.
While it remains unclear if that show will ever proceed beyond its limited one-night run and result in a long-awaited official DVD, it appears that more recent footage of Led Zeppelin's members in action will meet the eye first.
A statement last week said a film of the pair of highly attended Foo Fighters shows is coming to movie theaters across England. However, the announcement left unresolved the issue of including the encore set that featured surprise guests Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones backing half the headlining band on a pair of Led Zeppelin tunes. (Keep it right here for any clarification on that note.)
Another announcement last week provided the dates for a pair of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss shows in St. Louis on Sept. 24-25 that would be filmed for an eventual DVD release. It would be the fans' permanent souvenir of the folksy act that has received rave reviews on tour in North America and Europe including appearances in the United Kingdom and festival appearances at JazzFest and Bonnaroo. More festival appearances are scheduled, and who knows what challenges lie ahead for Robert Plant next year.
Will Led Zeppelin surprise us once more and have another go-around? Will some, or even one, of our wildest dreams and hopes for the band come true? Of course, when we're talking about a band like Led Zeppelin, history has shown time and time again that anything is possible.
Just keep those fingers crossed and that mouse clicking back here to check.