Phil Collins’ Complaint About Led Zeppelin And Jimmy Page

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Surprising collaborations and on-stage live performances of unexpected names usually excite rock fans, but there is always the possibility of things not going well. Although these collabs may look good on paper, their actualization can be problematic. This was precisely what happened when Led Zeppelin hired the Genesis icon, Phil Collins, to fill in the drum duties for the Live Aid concert in 1985.

Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones had reunited for the concert, so it was a momentous occasion. On the other hand, Phil Collins was living his golden age during the 1980s. Thus, although it seemed like a perfect match and promised a fantastic show, this event would instead go down in rock history as one of the worst performances of Led Zeppelin.

Phil Collins Performed Live With Led Zeppelin

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1985’s Live Aid marked the first time Led Zeppelin reunited since their talented drummer John Bonham’s untimely passing in 1980. Bonham was such a defining factor in capturing the band’s unique sound that they chose not to continue without him. So, it was apparent from the beginning that it wouldn’t be easy to fill his shoes and catch the perfect chemistry he had with the rest of the band.

Phil Collins was one of the names that immediately came to Robert Plant’s mind since he had contributed to the singer’s first two solo albums, and they had a good relationship. Along with Collins, the performance also featured another drummer Tony Thompson. The band played for 20 minutes, performing the classics, ‘Rock and Roll,’ ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven.’

However, the Live Aid show ended up being a disastrous reunion performance for several reasons. Collins appeared on the stage without enough rehearsal, the two drummers viewed it as a competition, Robert Plant lost his voice, and Jimmy Page had to perform off-key since his guitar was not tuned. Later, Page continued to blame Phil Collins for that terrible reunion show. The drummer reacted to him by saying that he wasn’t ready for the performance. Yet, that wasn’t the only statement Collins made about the show.

What Else Did Phil Collins Say About The Live Aid Reunion Show?

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In a previous interview with SPIN in 2010, the interviewer asked Phil Collins whether he felt amazed for playing drums with Led Zeppelin at the Live Aid concert. While the interviewer expected to hear some positive words, Collins made it clear that being there on the stage with the surviving Zeppelin members was not a fantastic experience he would always recall with excitement.

Then, the drummer said that the band performed poorly. He explained that he felt uncomfortable on the stage due to Jimmy Page’s attitude during the show. While walking off could be a good option at the time, Collins chose to continue with the set to avoid adverse reactions. So, the drummer was disappointed by the whole band, mainly Jimmy Page.

Here is what Phil Collins said about the disastrous live performance:

“It wasn’t amazing to be there; I have to say. They weren’t very good. And I was made to feel a little uncomfortable by the dribbling Jimmy Page. If I could have walked off, I would have — but then we’d be talking about why Phil Collins walked off from Led Zeppelin. So I just stayed there and bit my tongue.”

You can watch their 1985 Live Aid show below.