MORE than 800 fans packed into a marquee by HoW College in Redditch on Saturday night for a celebration of brilliant Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
Organised by the John Bonham and Friends group it saw 12 top acts take to the stage and culminated in video clips and good wishes from rock legends Robert Plant, Roger Daltry, Paul Rogers and Mick Fleetwood, among others.
Closing the evening was a personal message from John’s son Jason, who, with a busy gig schedule, could not be there in person.
Exhausted but elated, organiser Ros Sidaway hailed the all the acts, the fans, and the people who helped put the concert on.
“They are all absolutely amazing,” she said.
“The people we had there were so friendly you could feel the warmth in the room.”
Guests on stage included Bev Bevan, Wayne Terry and Dave Small, while John’s wife Pat also joined in along with the couple’s daughter Zoe who had flown in from America to be there,
“John’s sister Deborah did a fantastic set – she called it John’s Jukebox and she sang a selection of songs of the music he used to play to her when they were growing up,” said Ros.
“There were lots of Motown like ‘Nutbush City Limits’, ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ and all together they did ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ – it was amazing stuff.
“The other thing was a lot of the guests hadn’t seen each other in years so there were lots of old friends meeting up in the hospitality area too.”
The concert was organised following the installation of the John Bonham Memorial in Mercian Square in Redditch back in May.
The plan had been to hold the concert shortly after in June but this was put back to September, moving it close to the anniversary of his death.
Plans are now afoot to make the celebration an annual event, firmly putting Redditch on the rock ‘n’ roll music map.
“This concert was long overdue and I am so glad that here in Redditch we have finally paid our dues to a certain Mr Bonham,” said Ros.
John Bonham was born and grew up in Redditch and according to those who knew him, was ‘always tapping out a tune on something’.
He played in bands around the Midlands before finding worldwide fame with Led Zeppelin, a group which went on to sell 300million albums.
He died on September 25, 1980, aged 32 but is still widely regarded as the greatest rock drummer of all time.