Maybe security didn’t recognize him as someone who had played with one of British rock’s most successful bands. Or maybe a clipboard-holding gatekeeper stopped him cold at the entrance and said in a monotone voice, “Sorry, you’re not on the list.”

Whatever the reason, ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett resorted to an everyman move in December 2007 so he could enter London’s O2 Arena for a special event highlighted by a one-off Led Zeppelin reunion. Hackett served as a roadie — but not for original Zeppelin members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page or John Paul Jones, or for substitute drummer Jason Bonham.

The event was a tribute to longtime Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegun, who died the previous December from a brain injury he suffered after falling backstage prior to a Rolling Stones show. Opening the 2007 Ertegun tribute was a star-studded group that included Yes bassist Chris Squire, who essentially served as Hackett’s concert ticket.

“I only got in by being Chris’ roadie,” Hackett recalls. “I just picked up his bass and walked in with him.”

Later on, Zeppelin performed such classics as ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven.’

“I dare say onstage they were all wearing in-ear monitors,” Hackett reveals, “but the guy mixing out front gave us an idea of what that band were all about. Instant thunder — the volume added to the mythology of the band.”

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