Concert Reports


Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience

05/19/2017, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles

Acclaimed drummer, Jason Bonham has embarked on an extensive North American tour with his band, “Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience” which included a stop at Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Friday, May 19.

All Photos: Ray Soto / Central Coast Rocks

Encompassing hits from the iconic band’s entire career, including albums Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti, the concert event celebrates the life and music of Jason’s father, the legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, with “…a band that recreates Led Zeppelin’s music to such a degree that one can’t help but close their eyes and simply listen…” [-Classic Rock Revisited, Sept. 2010]. Opening up the set with “Immigrant Song” the opening track from Led Zeppelin ‘s third album, the band set the tone for a fun night in front of a capacity crowd at Vina Robles, which included multi generations of fans, many of whom attended as a family outing.


“Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience” is a must see show and looks to be the only way to see Zeppelins stunning catalog live as recent rumors of Led Zeppelin’s reformation with Jason on drums were dashed for the time being with the cancelation of this year’s Desert Trip which the band was reportedly offered to play. Asked pre show about a Zeppelin reunion Bonham said “I just don’t see it,” but also joked “If it does happen, Robert (Plant) will let me know about a week before”


Bonham and his band which includes Vocalist James Dylan, Bassist Dorian Heartsong and Guitarist Tony Catania, all standout players in their own right, represented the Zeppelin catalog not only with amazing accuracy but with a spirit that certainly John Bonham would be proud of.


Jason Bonham, who famously filled in for his dad, the late-John Bonham, said of The Experience: “It’s part storyteller, with using the multimedia screens and things, we’re creating little pieces which I will narrate over, which give some little background over some songs we play — and the reason why I’m playing them. There’s stories of myself growing up with dad and how Zeppelin has been, y’know, part of my life from the beginning.”

At the age of only five, Jason could play the drums, at least a scaled-down set of them, with skill. When he was 17 he was a member of the band Air Race. The group signed a record contract with Atlantic Records, recorded one album, and opened for big names like Queen, Meat Loaf, Ted Nugent, and AC/DC. John Bonham died in 1980, but Jason, who has marked a few places in music history himself, has stepped in from time to time to help keep his father's memory alive.

In 1988, Jason took his father's spot in the televised, first-ever Led Zeppelin reunion at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert, which included Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. Later that year he went on to tour with Page and recorded the album Outrider with him.

By 1989, he completed the album The Disregard of Timekeeping, in his new band called "Bonham". One of the tracks from this first effort, "Wait for You," earned him a gold record. By 1992, with partners like Canadian vocalist Daniel MacMaster, guitarist Ian Hatton, and bassist and keyboardist John Smithson, Bonham finished another album: Mad Hatter.

Jason represented his father when Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1995, with his sister Zoe by his side. He soon put together another solo project which culminated in "In the Name of My Father - The Zepset" cd, which featured the songs of Led Zeppelin. Proceeds from the album went to charity. The album followed up with When You See the Sun.

On December 10th, 2007, Jason played drums in the most anticipated concert of all time - the Led Zeppelin reunion at London's O2 arena with surviving members Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant.



Critical praise for Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience:


A Whole Lotta Love: Jason Bonham Plays Zeppelin Hits in Honor of ‘Bonzo’… “…the night–which went the distance from "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You’ and ‘The Lemon Song’ to ‘The Ocean’ and ‘Kashmir’–is mostly about his dad's titanic presence in that music and the giant absence created by his death. ‘Thank You’ came with more home movies, while Jason, a keen student of Zeppelin concert bootlegs, revived and built on his father's live improvisations in ‘How Many More Times’ and the extended closing turbulence of ‘Dazed and Confused.’…In this show, he [Jason] gets to have Bonzo in the house every night–a reunion, at last, of father and son.” --David Fricke, ROLLING STONE


“…this band was exceptionally true to the original studio versions of songs during a two-hour performance. The group was right-on during the show opener, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ the blues-fused ‘The Lemon Song,’ the trippy ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ which was saved for the encore.” --Dan Aquilante, NEW YORK POST


“…Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience is exactly that: a way for him to share his father’s life and music with a crowd that wants the experience to survive as much as he does.” -- Mallory Abreu, BOSTON GLOBE


“When Bonham started pounding out the distinctive drum opening to “When the Levee Breaks,” heads around the venue bobbed along, saying that while the members have changed, ‘The Song Remains the Same.’ ” -- Alan Cox, THE DENVER POST



About Jason Bonham:

Jason Bonham has toured/recorded/collaborated with a wide range of legendary musicians throughout his career including, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Queen, Meat Loaf, Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Page, Paul Rogers, Slash, Jeff Beck, The Healing Sixes and many more. The son of iconic Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham, Jason also created In the Name of My Father - The Zepset CD, a solo project with proceeds donated to charity. Aside from Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Bonham currently plays with Sammy Hagar’s supergroup The Circle, which also features former Van Halen bassist, Michael Anthony, and Vic Johnson.



About Vina Robles Amphitheatre

Welcome to the Vina Robles Amphitheatre, where European Inspiration meets California Character and the stars always shine. Here, two of California's great compositions meet, as exceptional wine and intimate live music are paired to create an unforgettable wine country experience.


The 3,300 seat boutique amphitheatre is nestled on a picturesque, oak-dotted hillside in Paso Robles on California's Central Coast. With its opening in the summer of 2013, the Vina Robles Amphitheatre became one of the largest outdoor venues for arts and entertainment in San Luis Obispo County. Featuring a style reminiscent of the California missions, guests are able to immerse themselves in a unique and intimate concert adventure as they enjoy modern amenities and first class hospitality. The concert season runs from May through November and features top tier acts from around the world in all genres. Various seating options all within 150 feet from the stage, including regular, VIP and general admission lawn seating, make events accessible to anyone in the community. We look forward to sharing our love of wine and the arts with you soon. For more information about the Vina Robles Winery, Click Here


« Back to Concert Reports