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28 years Gone / O2 Reunion One Year On / Rolling Stone / Tight But Loose 22

4 December 2008 2,103 views No Comment

Looking back at my diary entry for 28 years ago this very day it started off as a fairly ordinary Thursday.

The night before I’d been to see Rod Stewart at Wembley Arena with good my friends Max, Phil and James (no sniggering at the back. Rod was, and is a class act and you can count me in for the rumoured Faces reunion)

It was a pretty riotous night – the diary notes that I consumed 6 vodka and limes and a Harvey Wallbanger in the pub before the gig though we didn’t call it binge drinking back then, we just enjoyed having a good time!

Next morning December 4 1980, The postman woke me up as I shrugged off the inevitable hangover bringing an LP size package containing the latest Zep bootleg Flying High requirement – an excellent recording of the Fillmore West April 27 ’69 date.

Later I phoned Swan Song and spoke to Sian for a while though there was seemingly no major news. I then took some of the some of the freshly printed TBL 5’s round to the post office to send off.

Around 4.30 a story on Radio One’s Newsbeat stopped in my tracks. It announced Led Zeppelin had released made a statement to the effect that they could not continue as they were.

After Bonzo’s death It was pretty evident that they would be splitting – I’d been in Swan Song a few weeks back and the atmosphere was one of complete loss, but hearing they had officially announced something was still a major shock.

I immediately phoned Sian at Swan Song but she was making no comment.

The diary says ‘’Fuck sake it’s over…’’

I made several tearful phone calls – one inevitably to the bruv JL 

The last thing I wrote in my diary that night was equally dramatic.

‘’Part of me died tonight’’

The next week the ‘Zep to split’ news story was buried somewhat under the barrage of press for John Lennon’s tragic murder which occurred on December 8.

These were strange days indeed.

I guess I never really got to grieve too much about it all in the wake of Lennon’s death. That reality would come early in 1981 with Robert’s ‘’No Led anything’’ comments as he began The Honeydrippers gigs.

27 years on, that part of me that died on was resurrected on the night of December 10 2007 and next Wednesday will signify the first anniversary of that historic Led Zeppelin’s O2 reunion concert.

Some thoughts one year on:.

The evening itself – well the whole event still carries for me an almost surreal feel. A point Mick Wall also picks up on in his book.

Did it really happen?

Was I lucky enough to see that Sunday night rehearsal?  Was I really interviewed for the BBC six o clock news?  Did I really witness Led Zeppelin performing For Your Life?

Did the tears stream down in Stairway?  Did I see Maureen and Logan dancing frantically in front of me as Robert gestured towards them in Rock’ N’ Roll?

Did Noel Gallagher really tell me Kashmir was ‘’fookin’ awesome’’?

Well incredibly the answer to all that is yes.

Looking back at my diary over the days leading up to, and after the event it makes for some memorable entries.

It was a whirlwind course of events…from the controversy of the tickets, the media barrage that preceded the gig, lots of personal stress to fit it all in (not least losing my mobile phone for a few hours the week before). Emotions were running high and manifested themselves in differing ways.

Then there was the pressure above everything to take it all in.

To relish in the moment because it surely will never happen again in those circumstances.

And thanks to many people that made it what it was…The Lewis clan JL and Martyn, Graeme, JR, Brian Knapp, the two Gary’s…so many fans in the Pilot Inn who came so far (on a blind date) and of course Jimmy, Robert, JPJ and Jason.

I did soak up every minute of their amazing performance and the event itself.

It was the experience of a lifetime

Since then….well there’s been the mountain of favorable press reaction, the ever evolving will they or wont they saga, Robert with Alison, Jimmy and JPJ with the Foo Fighters, awards and accolades galore… and then Robert’s statement and the news that the fab three intend to carry on regardless.

The waves of aftermath of that truly incredible night continue to soar.

I’m sure I won’t be the only one with a lump in my throat as I roll through the Third Eye O2 DVD over the next few days…and for all the for and against arguments of taking it further on in some format.. (as Q’s Paul Rees astutely noted  ‘’How can they possibly leave all this behind again’’)  I just have a nagging belief that if anyone can make it work…..then Jimmy Page can

Just like he did 40 years ago in the Marquee and Whisky Ago Ago

Just like he did one year ago in the O2 Arena

.. ..  .. .. .. 

The final proof of the new issue of Tight But Loose came though yesterday. Once again Martyn has done an incredible design job in bringing the text alive.

Looking through it for the first time I was reminded of the recent words of another magazine editor and a very notable one –  Jann S. Wenner who founded the influential Rolling Stone magazine over four decades ago.

Rolling Stone is still one of my favourite magazines. Despite the so called feud with Zep (which really stemmed from an and review of the first album), the US oracle has always served Zep very well – in my loft I have countless editions carrying incisive Zep news stories, extensive album reviews (Physical Graffiti is a gem) wonderful features (the 1975 Cameron Crowe cover story a similar Plant 1988 cover interview, a 1994 Unledded Page & Plant special and last year’s perceptive David Fricke reunion piece) – all lit up with style and vision.

The magazine has just undergone a radical format transition reducing in size to that of a standard A4 format ala Time, Newsweek or Mojo after years as a broadsheet 

Explaining the move in the current issue Jann states:

“What never changes is our DNA. A great magazine is a set of voices and values, artfully and urgently translated into great stories and pictures. The soul and mission of Rolling Stone remains the same as a magazine coming out of midtown Manhattan as they were when we published from a warehouse district loft in San Francisco.

We believe in the magic of rock n roll and that the magic can set you free’’.

Tight But Loose is of course hardly in Rolling Stones league and 22 issues over 30 years may not be prolific.

But we are still here three decades on forging ahead chronicling the world of Led Zeppelin with a mission to bring every reader closer to their music.

Looking at the newly completed issue, it’s another fine example of those voices and values as described by Jann S. Wenner.

Here at Tight But Loose we believe in the magic of Led Zeppelin…and that the magic can set you free.  

As it did so magnificently one year ago.

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