Then, 1985 came and they regrouped for Live Aid. Loved it - they were great, but still nothing to take home from it other than my own bootleg cassette. I remember Mark Goodman saying, "That's Rock n' Roll and they're doing Stairway!" Even when the official Live Aid recording came out, LZ's portion was omitted. And when I go back and listen to it now on YouTube (and on the bootleg I created from those YouTube videos) I can tell that they do, indeed sound much worse than I thought…and adding Phil Collins on drums was not the right move at all. Sorry Phil Collins fans, but he was not worthy.
Now...flash forward to 2007. I was so excited about this reunion and couldn't wait to grab torrents of the live bootleg online. There were several versions...even a 'combined' version of the best of...but it still wasn't that listenable. Except I could tell they still sounded good...that it was truly memorable. Now, in 2012, I win the Music Dispatch trivia contest and get the CD/DVD set for free though I probably would have purchased it anyway. And it is - IMO - incredible. Robert Plant doesn't have quite the vocal range he used to have - he doesn't seem to have held on to his voice quite like Cheap Trick's frontman Robin Zander has who can still hit everything. But LZ is still mystical...still magical. Even being able to watch them now rather than listen to the timeless studio recordings does nothing to remove that magical presence - that sort of pedestal they are on (at least in my mind) much like the baseball player (pick one...Gehrig, Ruth, Grove, Williams, Hornsby, Cobb, Wagner, Alexander) that you read about but never got to see yet they were still one of your all-time favorites (it was Sandy Koufax for me). Yes, the CD/DVD is worth it (even if you have to buy it, unlike me) and it does do LZ justice and it does not remove that magical presence that the band has always had...at least not in this music lover's mind.