Page, the founder of Led Zeppelin, admitted “it wasn’t very smart” to get together for the 1985 fundraiser in Philadelphia with Collins behind the drums.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Page recounted the group’s struggles to master the opening song of the group’s set.
“The drummer couldn’t get the rock and roll debut, so we had real problems with that, it really wasn’t very smart,” he told the audience.
He added that they only had “two hours” of rehearsal time before their set, which also included Whole Lotta Love and Stairway to Heaven.
Phil Collins, in an interview with Classic Rock Magazine last year, said he even considered leaving the stage during the performance because he felt like a “spare.”
His rehearsal time was limited to listening to the band’s songs on the flight to Philadelphia from London.
The band disbanded in 1980, following the alcohol-related death of their 32-year-old drummer Jon Bonham, but reunited five years later for the Live Aid performance at John F Kennedy Stadium, today demolished.
Collins was paired alongside Tony Thompson, drummer for Anglo-American pop supergroup The Power Station, to replace Bonham.
Collins in his autobiography, Not Dead Yet, said he even used “miming” while playing rock and roll to “avoid a shipwreck” with Thompson.
He wrote: “I know the wheels fall off from the start of the set. I can’t clearly hear Robert from where I’m sitting, but I can hear enough to know he’s not in top form. Same as Jimmy.
“I don’t remember playing Rock and Roll, but obviously I did. But I remember countless times when I heard what Robert calls “knitting”: sophisticated percussion.
“And if you can find the pictures (the Zeppelin camp did their best to erase them from the history books), you can see me mimic, play the tune, pull me aside for fear that there have a train accident.
“If I had known that this was a two-drummer group, I would have pulled out of the debates long before I approached Philadelphia.