Jimmy Page praises Toronto ahead of listening session for Led Zeppelin reissues

The song remains the same but the Toronto venue has not.

Rock legend and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was recalling the time his British band first played T.O. at the century-old Masonic Temple back in 1969 — when it was called The Rock Pile — as he did interviews Monday afternoon in the celebrated location that now houses IT research firm, Info-Tech.

“It’s not quite so funky as it was,” said Page, 71, who will host 65 contest winners from across Canada Tuesday night inside the Temple’s famed Red Room (thrones included) to play tracks from the final three Led Zeppelin reissues — 1976’s Presence, 1979’s In Through the Out Door and 1982’s Coda — due July 31.

“It’s had a little bit of a (renovation),” said Page inside a glass enclosed boardroom on the second floor looking down onto the stage and floor below.

“But it hasn’t lost anything has it? The architectural details are still alive and well. But in those days I probably wouldn’t have seen too much out here at the front. I would have just been in the dressing room and coming out on the stage and going off again.”

Page claimed to have not seen the Red Room yet but was looking forward to it tonight.

“Well, it’ll be highly decorative, the room won’t it? And with all that architectural detail there’ll be all the architectural detail of the Led Zeppelin music. It’ll be interesting.”

Page has been on “epic challenge” promoting all of the Led Zeppelin album reissues and their companion albums that he oversaw, beginning in May 2014 with select playbacks around the world including at the Paris venue, L’Olympia, which I got to attend.

“We’re old pals then,” he says when I tell him I was in the crowd.

More seriously, he says Toronto was chosen for a playback session because of the relationship between the city and the band that goes back to the very beginning.

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