When Them Crooked Vultures plays The Fillmore at the N.C. Music Factory on Wednesday, it will mark a rare Charlotte appearance by a member of the legendary Led Zeppelin.
The rock 'n' roll supergroup features Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and John Paul Jones of Zeppelin fame.
Led Zeppelin or its offshoots have landed in Charlotte at least once each decade since 1970.
According to the gig history on its official Web site, Led Zeppelin first played the old Charlotte Coliseum (now Bojangles' Coliseum) in April 1970 and June 1972.
"It's a blur," remembers Spongetones' vocalist Jamie Hoover of the '72 gig. "They did a lot of stuff from 'Zeppelin III.' Robert Plant was (irritated) because everyone was talking."
Plant returned to Charlotte in July 1988 during his Now and Zen tour, and recorded at Reflection Sound Studios on Central Avenue on his day off.
"He came in the next day after he played and they laid some tracks down," recalls Kelly Bright, who was managing the studio at the time. "He was very down-to-earth, had a good sense of humor. I told him I never really liked 'Stairway to Heaven' and he came by the following day and ended up giving me a kiss and singing part of 'Stairway to Heaven' to me."
Plant and Jimmy Page returned to the Charlotte Coliseum on Tyvola Road as part of the Page/Plant Tour in May 1998. He played Asheville with Alison Krauss in 2008.
As for Jones, Them Crooked Vultures marks his first official band since Zeppelin. He's toured behind his own solo albums, with artists like Diamanda Galas and occasionally pops up at special awards gigs to back other artists like Grohl or Lenny Kravitz.
In 2007, he performed with Ben Harper and the Roots' ?uestlove during Bonnaroo's Superjam before regrouping with Plant and Page for a one-off Zeppelin reunion in London. In 2008, he appeared at guitarist Warren Haynes' annual Christmas Jam in Asheville. Mostly he's focused on producing artists like Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins, the Datsuns, and Uncle Earl.
Them Crooked Vultures was the right band at the right time for Jones, he told Britain's Daily Telegraph.
"I couldn't get arrested in the '80s at all," Jones told the Telegraph in December. "After the Beatles broke up, would you have asked Paul McCartney if he'd be in your band? Nobody thought I would do anything, and I didn't really want to join another band after Zeppelin, because I knew nothing would ever be as good as that."
The Vultures - also including Homme's Queens of the Stone Age co-cohort Alain Johaness on guitar - announced last week that it plans a follow-up this year to November's self-titled debut album.