Led Zeppelin on Letterman: Best. Musical Guest. Ever?

A number of summers ago, I went through the rigamarole of getting tickets to a Monday taping of The Late Show with David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York.  

It worked like this:  We showed up at the theatre around 9am that morning and gave our names and cell numbers to someome with a clipboard.

“If you’re selected, we’ll call you.  Then you have to be here mid-afternoon for the taping, which starts at 4:30.”

“How are audiences members selected?”

“Well, we first accomodate special guests.  Then we take care of people who wrote in for tickets and were given passes for today’s date.  If there’s anything left over, we draw from people on this clipboard.”

“What are our chances?” I asked.  

Clipboard Woman shrugged.  “No clue.  It all depends.”

We wandered off for breakfast and some shopping.  Around 12:30, my phone rang.  We were in.

I’m trying to imagine the chaos that we’ll see on Broadways for this Monday’s show.  Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones have been booked to appear on Letterman that afternoon.  

This is an amazing get for the bookers.  But there’s a backstory.  Both Letterman and the members of Zeppelin are going to be honoured at the 35th Annual Kennedy Centre Honors in Washington DC tomorrow night.  That makes them brothers.  Sort of.  At least they’ll be hanging out together.

Do NOT expect a performance.  Still, it’ll be cool to see the three guys together talking about their Celebration Day release.

I haven’t PVRed a Late Night in a long time.  I’ll be doing it Monday for sure.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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