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02 Celebrated / 1981 The First Reunion Remembered / Christmas Playlist

14 December 2008 3,195 views No Comment

It only took a few seconds of that Tampa news footage to appear on screen before I felt a little watery eyed looking at the O2 DVD footage this week. Such is the lasting emotion of that truly incredible night of exactly one year ago. Watching it again and playing it back on the iPod on cold nights going home this week has only heightened my appreciation of their performance.

There were plenty of texts and emails from fans around the world similarly sharing their one year on experiences.

Seeing them reunited up there for all the right reasons on the DVD, brought back memories of their first public reunion equally for the right reasons back in 1981. One that I was also lucky enough to attend.

Lynn Sizemore was PR to the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Association, the charity formed from the Fulham pub often acquainted by the Zep / Swan Song entourage, approached me in early 1981 to publicise in the next TBL a children’s charity raffle being held in December – I was only too willing to help and when I visited the Swan Song offices next I met up with Lynne at the pub. Robert’s sound man Benjii Lefevre was there as was John Bindon who I was introduced to – a man with a towering presence. Robert and JPJ had already promised to attend and give prizes out on the night set for December 15 so it was always going to be a special evening.

Even more so after the call I made to Swan Song the day before. Sian informed me that Jimmy was also due to attend. As it was, it turned into something of a grand Swan Song reunion in true Zep syle. Peter Grant arrived with Jimmy around 8.30. A combat attired Robert and smartly dressed JPJ were already in tow.  Various roadies and Swan Song employees were there as was John Bindon again.  Bedford Earls Court 6 member Tom Locke and I spent a memorable night in the pub as the Jimmy, Robert and JPJ  mingled by the bar and duly got up on stage to present the prizes of Jimmy’s Yamaha guitar Gibson guitar (wonder where that is now?) and a set of personally signed albums. The main winner was an American guy while runner up was a TBL subscriber form the West Country whose name escapes me. Jimmy looked in good shape and told me he was working on the Death Wish soundtrack. Later on I gave Robert a copy of a large format History Of The Blues book (wonder if still adorns his book shelf?) to which he acknowledged with the classic “Eye Thank yew” catchphrase so prevalent on the Over Europe tour. I took the opportunity to tell Peter and Phil Carson of my plans for a major reference work on the band’s music though it would be another night eight years on in the Marquee (at a Jason Bonham gig) when I was able to tell the pair of them it was now a reality.

It may have been a strictly non playing role, but this unexpected Led Zeppelin reunion was full of warmth and good cheer. Underlying all that though was the definite feeling that they now all had separate plans – Jimmy with the soundtrack, Robert with his debut album recording and Jonesy who wryly informed someone at the bar that he was now on permanent school run duty for his daughter’s back in Devon. It would be another eleven years before all three appeared in public together in the UK to collect the outstanding achievement Q award, and another 26 years before they played together on that night of nights which has been so ripe for celebration this past week           

Reliving the whole 02 experience has provided much needed solace against the day to day retail work pressures at this time of year – which in the current climate continues to be somewhat of a challenge to say the least.

Inspiration on the DL playlist has come via a sprinkling of Christmas delights and not those that regularly fill the Now That’s What I Call Christmas compilations (though I do have a soft spot for Slade and Wham’s seasonal waxings!).

Seasonal fair such as Miles Davis album Blue Christmas has been high on the list (by the way at joint number one on my Christmas present list alongside the new Zep box is the exquisite Miles Kind Of Blue 50th Anniversary box set if anybody’s feeling generous!) plus selected cuts from Mojo’s Christmas compilation of a couple of years back (which has Christmas songs from the likes of the Flaming Lips, Marvin Gaye, BB King etc), and finally my other all time fave seasonal songs namely Darlene Love’s Christmas ( Baby Please Come Home), The Waitresses Christmas Wrapping and The Pogues and Kirsty’s perennial Fairytale Of New York. I’m sure Frank and Elvis’s Christmas albums will also be resounding around the Totnes Towers in the days to come. Hope the returning Sam who comes back from Uni on Saturday is primed ready for such festive musical fare.   

Howard Mylett was in touch this week –he has a Zep 1969 rare poster up for auction –contact him via  howardz1@hotmail.co.uk.

Also had some seasonal goodies from long time TBL associates John Parkin and Pete Gozzard (thank you guys!), the contents of which I’ve passed to be unwrapped on Christmas Day.

TBL 22 proof was signed off this week (thanks Gary D. and Steve J. for checking duties) and should be back from the printers and on its way to subscribers doors this week.

Be sure to put aside some quality reading time over the Christmas hols for some serious Zep reading.

Like Christmas Day itself, hopefully it will be worth waiting for.

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