Ann Wilson Recalls Heart’s Led Zeppelin Tribute Performance

Heart frontwoman Ann Wilson recently appeared on the Mistress Carrie Podcast and talked about how it was like to perform ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ for an audience of stars. The singer said that it was a stressful moment, but she tried to keep her focus.

You may remember that in 2012, Led Zeppelin received the Kennedy Center Honors from former President Barack Obama. It’s an award given to those to have contributed significantly to American culture. Heart took the stage to perform the Led Zeppelin classic, ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ during that night and gave a pretty emotional performance.

It was a challenging moment for the band for many reasons. It was nationally televised, and former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were there. During the conversation, Ann Wilson was asked about what kind of an experience it was. She replied by saying that it was pretty stressful as many prominent names like David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, and the surviving Led Zeppelin members were in the audience.

For her, having all these people in front of her was enough to feel stressful, but she wasn’t nervous while singing the song because they’ve been covering Led Zeppelin tracks from the start of their career. She and Nancy Wilson just tried to focus on their performance, and they achieved delivering a powerful one. Ann Wilson also talked about Robert Plant’s tears during the performance, but she said that she couldn’t see it at the moment. She thought it was undoubtedly a very emotional moment for Plant when she saw it later because he wrote all these lyrics.

Ann Wilson speaking on Heart’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ performance:

“From my perspective, it was pretty high-stressed because if you look at the audience, who’s in the audience is the President, First Lady Obama, surviving members of Led Zeppelin, David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, Stephen Colbert, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, and Jeff Beck. All of these people were there in the audience, so that alone was enough to sort of give you stress mares, but we’ve been doing this in our set for quite a while, so I didn’t feel nervous about singing that song. It was just a matter of keeping focus during the actual performance, which we did. I did, and Nancy did.”

When asked about Robert Plant’s tears, she responded:

“I saw that later on like everybody else. You couldn’t see from the stage; they were up in a box. You couldn’t really see that kind of detail in the distance, but I’m sure that it was an emotional thing for Plant because he wrote all those words. It is such a beautiful holy song. He probably looked down and saw Jason Bonham, who was just a little kid when they were doing the ‘Zeppelin IV’ era. It probably seemed really moving to him. I don’t think he was looking down and crying for any other reason that it was just a beautiful moment.”

You can listen to the entire conversation and watch Heart performing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ below.