Unexpected collaborations and live performances by unanticipated artists typically excite rock fans, but there is always the chance that something could go wrong. Although these collaborations may appear promising on paper, their execution can be problematic. This is precisely what transpired when Led Zeppelin hired Genesis legend Phil Collins to play drums at the 1985 Live Aid concert. It was a momentous occasion because Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones had reunited for the concert. In contrast, Phil Collins enjoyed his golden years during the 1980s. Thus, although it appeared to be a perfect match and promised a fantastic performance, this event would go down in rock history as one of Led Zeppelin’s worst performances.
Phil Collins and Led Zeppelin performed live together. Live Aid in 1985 marked the first time Led Zeppelin reunited since the untimely death of drummer John Bonham in 1980. Bonham contributed so significantly to the band’s distinctive sound that they decided not to continue without him. Therefore, it was evident from the start that it would be difficult to fill his shoes and recreate the perfect chemistry he had with the rest of the band. Since he had contributed to the singer’s first two solo albums and they had a good relationship, Phil Collins was one of the first names that came to Robert Plant’s mind. In addition to Collins, the performance featured drummer Tony Thompson. The band performed the classics ‘Rock and Roll,’ ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’ for twenty minutes.
Live Aid turned out to be a disastrous reunion performance for a number of reasons. Collins took the stage without sufficient rehearsal, the two drummers viewed it as a competition, Robert Plant lost his voice, and Jimmy Page was forced to perform off-key because his guitar was not properly tuned. Later, Page continued to hold Phil Collins responsible for the disastrous reunion concert. The drummer responded that he was not prepared for the performance. However, this was not the only comment Collins made regarding the show. What Else Did Phil Collins Have to Say Regarding the Live Aid Reunion Concert? In a 2010 interview with SPIN, the interviewer inquired whether Phil Collins was astonished to play drums with Led Zeppelin at the Live Aid concert. Collins made it clear that being on stage with the surviving Zeppelin members was not a fantastic experience that he would always remember with excitement, despite the interviewer’s expectations.
The drummer then stated that the band had performed poorly. He explained that he felt uneasy on stage due to Jimmy Page’s behavior during the performance. Collins chose to continue with the set in order to avoid negative reactions, despite the fact that walking off could have been a viable option at the time. Therefore, the drummer was dissatisfied with the entire band, particularly Jimmy Page. Here is what Phil Collins had to say about the disastrous concert: “I must say, it wasn’t amazing to be there. They were of poor quality. In addition, Jimmy Page’s dribbling made me feel slightly uneasy. If I could have left, I would have, but then we would be discussing why Phil Collins left Led Zeppelin. Therefore, I remained silent and bit my tongue.”
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