It’s been five years in the making, but Led Zeppelin’s 2007 O2 Arena gig is finally seeing a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray release in the form of Celebration Day. This is exciting news, since anyone who was there (myself included) will tell you that the band were on phenomenal form. Guitarist Jimmy Page, in particular, was certainly playing better than he did in Zep’s latter days, and his clear yet heavy tone helped to offset the band’s newly developed tone-down tuning (instigated in order to ease the strain on ‘ol Robert Plant’s voice). So, here’s a quick guide to the gear Page was using at that most legendary of legendary gigs.
Unsurprisingly, Page used his No 1 1959 Gibson Les Paul for over half of the O2 gig (according to Achilles Last Stand). Since its stint in the 1970s Led Zeppelin days, the guitar has been modified to include push-pull pickup pots, giving Page lower-gain single coil-esque tones on demand. Other O2 guitars include a Gibson Custom Shop Jimmy Page Les Paul Custom (complete with Bigsby vibrato system and a six-way toggle switch) on For Your Life, as well as a 2006 Gibson Custom Shop ES-350 on In My Time Of Dying. Of course, a Gibson EDS-1275 doubleneck also saw use for Stairway To Heaven and The Song Remains The Same.
Jimmy Page is synonymous with Marshall, so the fact that he was presented with two customised 100JH (Jimi Hendrix) models by Jim Marshall for the gig will come as no surprise. However, Page also made use of several other amps at the gig. Two Petersburg P-100/JP-100 heads formed part of his backline (and have done since the mid-90s), and Orange AD50 and OR50 heads also saw action, accompanied by an Engl 4×12 cabinet. It’s not quite clear when Page switched between these different amps, but this will no doubt become clear when Celebration Day hits cinemas this week.
Being a big rock star and all, Page isn’t just going to stick a couple of Boss pedals on a Pedaltrain. No, he went to notorious sound guru Pete Cornish for a giant custom-made ‘board. Again, Achilles Last Stand helps to demystify things somewhat, and provides a handy list of what Page hides inside that black hunk o’ wood/plastic/metal. Aside from the two visible DigiTech Whammy Is and a modified Jen Cry Baby wah, Page uses an MXR Phase 90, Yamaha CH-10Mk II chorus, Boss CE-2 chorus and a send/return to a modified Echoplex EP-3. Every aspect of the ‘board has a cleaner bypass system than with stock units to ensure optimum signal integrity, or so Pete Cornish says. You can see the ‘board onstage in the image below.