Last night, Dec 26th, the world finally saw the broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors Gala. The Gala honoured all five honourees: Dustin Hoffman, Natalia Makarova, Buddy Guy, David Letterman and Led Zeppelin. All honorees had an eminent person/a Jack Black/Tina Fey provide an introduction, plus a short video of their work and then a performance of their art.
In Led Zeppelin's case, at the top of the bill, performance by the Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz and Heart provided the moments. Jack Black gave an introduction in the standard Jack Black style, that is to say, just a tad over the top: he really is a perpetual 14-year old and a more mature perspective of the band would have been nice.
The footage shown was edited for time, as early reports had Foo Fighters doing 2 songs, as did Kid Rock. As it was, the Foo Fighter's performed Rock and Roll, with Dave Grohl taking the drum stool and drummer Taylor Hawkins picking up the vocal duties. This is the second time the Foo's have performed this song with this makeup. Their performance of Black Dog, with Hawkins back behind the kit and Grohl singing, didn't make the broadcast.
Kid Rock's performance has the LedZeposphere buzzing this morning, wondering why he was chosen for this honour. Like him or hate him, however, Kid Rock has always paid homage to the rock and rollers who have come before him, and Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love gets a nod on his album Live Trucker when it bridges the songs Somebody's Gotta Feel This and Fists of Rage (go to the 3 minute mark on the linked video). Early reports had it that Kid Rock performed Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and What is and What Should Never Be, however the broadcast had him playing Ramble On.
Lenny Kravitz then performed Whole Lotta Love, while President Barack Obama sang along in the choruses (no word on him belting "woman, you need it..." to Michelle). Kravitz was followed by Jason Bonham appearing behind the drum kit to the obvious surprise and delight of the band themselves. He was then joined onstage by the Wilson sister, Ann and Nancy, of Heart, to perform an abridged version of Stairway to Heaven. As the song progressed, the artists were joined onstage by a small choir and a chamber orchestra, and then by a larger choir, all wearing bowler hats in homage to John Bonham. By the end the band members all seemed moved, with Robert Plant appearing to be moved to tears.
Here is Heart, with Jason Bonham and others, performing Stairway to Heaven.