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14 December 2023 1,081 views One Comment

Led Zeppelin Reunion for Ahmet Ertegun at the 02 Arena – 16 years gone…TBL Anniversary Special…

Kicking off the TBL 16th anniversary celebrations with this piece from Mark Cunningham who was at the rehearsals and at that night of nights…


A random outpouring of recollection.

Wow, 15 years already? That was an incredible time to be alive, especially in my position as the founding editor of live production industry magazine TPi (Total Production International), whose responsibility it was to report on the design and execution of the best shows around.

I was also a co-founder of our annual TPi Awards and in 2004 we were proud to honour video director Dick Carruthers for his stunning work on the Led Zeppelin DVD. Jimmy Page came to personally present the award to Dick and in some ways it sowed a seed for what was to come in 2007.

The news of Zeppelin’s reunion for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute concert at London’s O2 sent shockwaves rippling through the music community. Not wishing to make any assumptions, I applied for tickets but like millions of other fans I was unlucky in that lottery. The concert was soon postponed from November 26th to December 10th on account of Jimmy injuring a finger. (N.B. On November 14th, I attended the Sex Pistols’ gig at Brixton Academy and who should I bump into in the VIP bar but Mr Page himself. No finger dressing was visible!)

One day in early December, I was invited to attend rehearsals at Shepperton Studios to interview the production team and catch a glimpse of the forthcoming show. Just seeing the band’s logo spread across a massive, stage-wide video screen was enough to send my pulse racing.

Despite being blessed with such a rare invitation, by the morning of show day, I was still without a ticket. I heard that fans were flying in from all around the world in the hope of securing them outside the venue for ridiculous sums of cash, so I naturally assumed this would be one legendary concert I’d have to miss. Then my phone rang. It was Dave Neal, an industry friend who just happened to have a spare pass.

In next to no time, I was heading down the A13 to North Greenwich where I met up with my saviour Dave, and soon took up residence within the front of house fortress behind Dick Carruthers and his impressive cockpit of video monitors. I hardly had time to think before the lights dimmed.

Aside from the sheer majesty of the occasion, the brilliance of Plant, Page, Jones and John Bonham’s son Jason on drums, and the overwhelming sense of history being made in front of my eyes and ears, my big takeaway moment was when, just as the band launched into ‘Kashmir’ and the entire population of the O2 Arena seemed to be temporarily paralysed by awe, I became aware of someone leaning against the front of house gate behind me, wide eyed.

It was Dave Grohl, gesturing to me in sign language that translated as “I wanna get in there, man, but I ain’t got no fuckin’ pass”. By uttering the right words in the security guy’s ear, I was able to sneak Dave in and earned a Grohl-shaped man hug for my troubles. “This might be the best day of my fuckin’ life,” he yelled in my face.

Two months later, I was in the fortunate position to be able to pay my respects to an unforgettable night when, at the TPi Awards 2008, Mike Rutherford and I presented a special award to the concert’s promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

Memories, eh?

Mark Cunningham


Led Zeppelin 02 Reunion TBL Archive Memories:

Pic by Dave Linwood.

16 years ago this week on Monday December 10, 2007, thousands of lucky fans converged on the O2 Arena in London to witness the live return of Led Zeppelin for one night only – in memory of Ahmet Ertegun. Millions more across the world tracked the unfolding events via texts and online reports.

It remains perhaps the most significant night in their history, as fans young and old were able to see and understand – either by being lucky enough to be there, or via the footage that was captured on the night – just exactly why this unique band of musicians meant so much to so many.

Aside from those lucky enough to be there on the night, the 2012 release of the Celebration Day film allowed every fan to share in the magic of that glorious night.

And what a night it was.

I’ve noted before that the whole Zeppelin O2 experience has an aura of complete surrealism about it all – as if it was all some dream – and goodness knows I’d dreamt about such a thing happening for so long. But it did happen and it happened in such a way that it lingers large in millions of fans minds – again, a fact emphasized by the release of the Celebration Day film.

I and many others have so many lasting memories of the event. The wonderful camaraderie of fans that extended from the queues for tickets and merchandise, to meeting fans from all over the world at the Pilot Inn pub, which really was a real ‘TBL Comes Alive’ occasion. So many people, who came so far on another blind date.

And yes seeing was believing. Again.

The lavish stage set and back production, the ecstatic crowd – drawn from over 50 countries, the Tampa news report intro, the balanced set list, and ultimately the performances of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham in recreating the magic and chemistry of Led Zeppelin.

Jonesy was as ever the consummate master musician. Jason was simply amazing and Jimmy at last got his wish to get HIS band back together, to play the music he had so lovingly crafted – and he played it that night with all the verve and swagger of the glory years. As for Robert, for me, he was perhaps the star of the evening. Prior to the show, the rehearsal reports had all been very favourable, as had the interview quotes from all four, but for it to really work, it required Robert to really believe in it all. As he told Uncut magazine in an interview before the show – ”We need to do one more great gig”.

From the first beats of Good Times Bad Times, it was plainly evident that Robert Plant genuinely wanted to believe in Led Zeppelin again.

This was a man living the Led Zeppelin dream again and revelling in every minute of it.

As they all were…

Yes, it would have been fantastic had they extended it to more than one night of glory… but it was not to be. However, we do have it all brilliantly preserved on the Celebration Day film – and the hours of fan footage – some of which will be screened today.

It remains one night, one moment, one event… and exactly ten years on, the memories shine ever brightly…

Ahmet they did it…

Today, we look forward to celebrating that fact all over again…

Countless fans across the globe will be remembering where they were on that night of nights now eleven years gone….

The were, are and always will be the best…that night at the 02 Arena proved it conclusively

Photos by Wyatt Brake – many thanks Wyatt


’Hey Ahmet, we did it ‘’ The Led Zeppelin 02 reunion for Ahmet Ertugen 15  years gone…

Dave Lewis looks back to that night of nights

16 years ago on December 10, 2007, thousands of lucky fans converged on to the 02 Arena in London to witness the live return of Led Zeppelin for one night only in memory of Ahmet Ertegun. Millions more across the world tracked the unfolding events via texts and online reports.

It remains perhaps the most significant night in their history as fans young and old were able to see and understand either by being lucky enough to be there, or via the many you tube clips that surfaced immediately after – just exactly why this unique chemistry of musicians meant so much to so many.

For me personally it was a quite overwhelming experience not to say exhausting. I can honestly say it took months to fully get back on track –in fact for many reasons things were never quite the same around here –in much the way things were never going to be the same after I witnessed my first Led Zeppelin live concert51 years ago.

I’ve noted before that the whole Zeppelin 02 experience has an aura of complete surrealism about it all –as if it was all some dream – and goodness knows I’d dreamed about such a thing happening for so long. But it did happen and it happened in such a way that it lingers large in millions of fans minds – not just those that were there – it‘s a moment in their history to be celebrated and enjoyed again and again for what it represented and delivered so spectacularly.

The fact that Led Zeppelin were, are and always will be the best…

For this thirteenth anniversary I have dug back into the TBL archive to represent the impassioned piece I wrote in the days following the 02 arena reunion and the reaction of fans who were lucky enough toi witness it all.

So let’s go back to that night of nights on Monday December 10, 2007 now 15 years gone…

Welcome To Planet Zeppelin…

Led Zeppelin’s return to the stage on December 10 2007 displayed all the integrity, emotion and power that characterised their glory days…and this might just be their most glorious day ever…

Dave Lewis reports on an astonishing event.

This is the moment that crystallises the enormity of it all.

Jimmy, Jonesy and Jason crunch down on that oh so familiar riff, Robert spits out the opening lyrics and then get’s to the

line ‘’You didn’t plan it, you overran it” and telepathically they all click in gear to the repeated riff phrase

‘’Do it, do it, do it, do it when you wanna…”’

God they are doing it right…and it’s hallelujah and they are back.

Back alright and reclaiming they’re crown as the biggest live attraction in the world with every passing minute.

For here I am inside the 02 Arena London watching Led Zeppelin perform For Your Life live on stage in 2007.

…… ……. ……

You really could not make it up.

So how on earth did all this happen?

The DL 02 Diary:

Sunday Midday – December 9,2007

The ticket connection for me has been made. From a rather plush hotel in Marylebone – Shelley from SLO the company handling the tickets tells me she once worked for Bill Graham and saw them in 1971 at the Garden and later at Oakland in ‘77. I was very priviledged to be on Robert Plant’s personal guest list.

The Dockland Light railway has engineering works so it’s a bus drive on a grey Sunday lunchtime around the rather bleak backwaters of Newham. The hotel though is comfortable clean and friendly. A taxi to the 02 is slightly fraught -there’s been a shooting incident apparently and the main road to the Dome is closed.

Around 3pm I reach the concourse – there emblazoned on a fencing is the following lyric. ‘’They talk of days of which they sit and wait when all be revealed -Kashmir Led Zeppelin.’’

This is the welcome to Planet Zeppelin…

Inside the queues are very long for ticket pick up and similar for the merchandise. It’s then that I get the first whiff of the international flavour of this event. There are countless Americans here, Australians, Europeans – as Robert would inform us tomorrow night – people form over 50 countries.

This is truly a global happening here in North Greenwich.

A meet with Graeme Hutchinson  and ABC dictates the next few startling hours. It’s to the queue for the rehearsal due to be staged around 4pm. Access is being allowed for competition winners worldwide and selected guests -Graeme H has very kindly sorted this for me.. After a two hour wait we can hear them on stage. Mike W of the Thinkfarm video production team is inside the venue and calls me – I can hear Jimmy tuning up in the background.

Blimey this is exciting.

Eventually we are let through and handed laminates stating ‘’Regarasal Acesss 09 12 07’’ – I catch a quick word with Harvey Goldsmith as I go in – ‘’Hurry they won’t be on long’’ he informs me.

We stride manfully into the arena and there before our eyes is Led Zeppelin on stage rehearsing In My Time of Dying.

The effect is quite shattering.

Jimmy has the new Gretch guitar swaggering in mid length coat like the true lord of the string he is.

First impressions: Robert ’s voice is all there – all the high notes intact ’’Honey bee honey bee’’ he teases in the ‘’Oh My Jesus’’ refrain, Jason sounds incredibly powerful and JPJ fretless bass jigging those note around this oh so glorious noise. Jimmy is just owning the stage ..all the struts – the hand between drinking Red Bull. It’s a wonderful sight to behold.

Folks the 2007 Led Zeppelin is alive and well

‘’Where did you lot come from’’ shouts Plant up to the lucky few gathered. ‘’You must be Americans….where’ s the Children In Need people -hey we need to see you’’ a nod to the guy and family who bid 80,000 for the tickets in the BBC’s annual appeal.

They do a classy instrumental rendering of No quarter with Robert off stage watching the action out front talking to production people and smiling away. Jason guides them through the chorus on vocals Ross Halfin shoots furiously throughout and the regroup around Jason to work on a link for Nobody’s Fault But Mine – the part where Plant pulls out the harmonica. A couple of attempts break down in laughter. Jimmy takes his coat off to reveal a white shirt – it’s so evident that he has his band back again….and is so damn proud of the fact.

Jimmy and Robert leave the stage…JPJ and Jason jam around on the intro of Dazed. Behind them the giant video screen flickers a few animated images. It’s not in use yet but my it’s going to be mighty impressive tomorrow.

We shuffle out shocked and stunned.

On a bare stage with production people aplenty, Led Zeppelin have cooked up a storm. It’s now 6.35 on a Sunday night.

I’ve seen it…and judging by that 50 minute rehearsal we are in for the experience of a lifetime tomorrow night.

It’s over to the Pilot Inn to meet and greet so many people who’ve come so far. Jose from Ecuador, Terry and Mark and countless Americans, Christophe and the French contingent and nearer home so many familiar faces such as Welsh wizard Pat Lyons, Paul A, Ian A , Steve and Jan ,Dave ,Rudi etc. This really is Tight But Loose come alive as all these people gather here for the same reason

This is band is part of their lives and tomorrow it will live again.

As I scan the gathering, I have a flashback of wet afternoons rattling out TBL text in the solitary confinement of the Totnes office. We all have to go back to our dens eventually….but tonight we are out of our dens and it feels so good.

My resolve to keep it steady for the big day fails a little in the company of the Irish lads – beers are drunk, lyric questions answered and then its back to the hotel for sleep, though not much. The nerves, like before Knebworth all those years back are kicking in.

Monday December 10,2007:

So finally the day is here. A big cooked breakfast the only meal I get time for all day for the second day running inspires me into action and it’s over to the 02 for a meet with the that celebrated collector Brian Knapp. The queue for the standing area is already lengthening with many camped out overnight. A fantastic atmosphere prevails this really is Planet Zeppelin.

We‘ve all landed in a little bit of heaven.

The day flashed by for me with interview for BBC Online, BBC News 24 Live and BBC News. It’s over to the Pilot around 4 for much needed refreshment. Again it’s packed with so many people I’ve been in contact with for years. Too many to mention – – this ad hoc gathering is truly the best type of Zep Convention for in a few hours the real thing will be before our eyes.

Take a deep breath…for tonight is a special one. Very special.

The atmosphere is electric as we queue to go in. A call from home reveals I’d been on the BBC 6 o’clock News being interviewed in the build up. It’s all happening.

We take out seats – we are situated near Robert’s family and friends. Maureen, Carmen and Logan are in front of us along with Kevyn Gammond. The Bonham family with Debbie, Pat and mum Joan are also near us – so excited. so proud.

We sit patiently as Bill Wyman’s band and assorted guests do their thing. It’s nice to see Maggie Bell on stage – I once shared a rather long cigarette with her in the Swan Song office decades back. ‘’Go Maggie!’’ shouts Debbie B near me.

Despite the good intentions of the likes of Keith Emerson, Paul Rodgers etc the hall is half filled for the support acts. It’s the real deal everybody wants to see.

Then the time is right. Roadies clear the stage and it’s a massive stage it has to be said – I always said Led Zeppelin lends itself to the bigger stage best so it’s a good omen. Jimmy’s symbol has also returned to the amp by my reckoning for the first time since the pre Knebworth Copenhagen warm ups in July 1979.

And as the lights go down. A TV screen illuminates behind on the giant screen. It’s the Tampa ’73 news story from the new Song DVD. The place is in hysteria – that’s the only word for it as Jimmy, Robert, JP and Jason appear out of the drkness to perform Good Times Bad Times.

And in the light is Led Zeppelin

Initial reaction: They are on the fucking stage!

For the next two hours and ten minutes Planet Zeppelin now really is in seventh heaven

Highlights? So many…

After the opening burst they go into a delightful Ramble On complete with the What Is And What Should ending as per the 95 P and P arrangement. Black Dog follows with an unnerving confidence. Christ they are so on it.. In My Time Of Dying is absolute pure bottleneck banshee Earls Court relived with Jason’s incredibly powerful bass drum kicks and Jimmy on the sandalwood Gretch – how good can this get.

Even better is the answer: For Your Life is an absolutely outstanding performance – one of my all time fave tracks finally given the live treatment it so deserves. Page, Jonesy and Jason grooving incessantly down on that plangent riff. Robert with mic off strutting as if it was..well any era you want to name. Trampled Underfoot – alterted slightly to bring out the groove and a scintillating wah wah run from Jimmy.

Lost it? This man? No way Jose….

Then there’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine with all the stop start dynamism of the original and what an intro….

An exquisite No Quarter follows performed with a dignity that only JPJ could bring to it. Jimmy adds a stately solo and does those hand signals on the theremin. The dry ice takes us back to MSG 1973.

Since I’ve Been Loving You – yes the hits keep on coming and Jimmy is once again the star here delivering a solo of rich dexterity.

One number that Robert explains just had to be in is Dazed And Confused – thie delivery is compact and concise and the revolving lasers during the bow episode reviving memories of Knebworth. I’m running out of superlatives now. There’s a great moment when Jimmy zips down the fret ala Supershow 1969 behind Robert’s preeningsJason too is outstanding on the outro with all the fills that are required. Nothing is overplayed. There’s a mesmerising return to the chorus and then they nail the ending totally.

Stairway To Heaven …I have to say I completely lost it at that point and tears streamed down my face all the way through this and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one

I mean come on – Led Zeppelin performing their most famous song on a Uk stage for the first time since 1979, it’s certainly too much for this man to take on board…

‘’Hey Ahmet…we did it ’’ is Robert’s moving comment at the close which starts me off again…

Then it all lifts again with The Song Remains The Same which is magnificent. As I’m watching I have an identical view to that cine film of Birmingham Alabama in 1977. It would be hard to tell the difference such is the intensity out there. The screen effects behind them are absolutely fantastic.

Misty Mountain Hop follows before which Jason sings opening lines of I Cant Quit You Baby.

‘’There’s people here from 50 countries….this is the 51st country’’

Four strikes of the hi hat and then then blam! A version of Kashmir that engulfs the entire dome. The undoubted pride of Zeppelin . Did any of us ever dream this performance could be this good. Not just good – absolutely astonishing with Robert giving the vocal performance of a lifetime and Jimmy captured smiling on the big screen as he stomps out that riff. In front of me Logan, Carmen and Maureen are up and dancing thoughout. That will be an unforgettable memory for me.

As Noel Gallagher said to me afterwards ‘’Fookin’ awesome!’’

They leave the stage.

They were back for a theremin fuelled Whole Lotta Love

Before it Robert comments ‘’What do you think Dave?’’ a reference to his long time dear Midlands pal Big Dave Hodges – sadly very ill right now but in attendance as he has been at so many shows during the singer’s career.

Then again a rousing (can it be anything else?) Rock And Roll before which Jimmy thanks everyone for an amazing night. Plant preens over to the left of the stage to grin and acknowledge the presence of the dancing families around me.

At the end of it all Plant throws down the mic, they take a final bow and this utterly immortal night is over. They leave the stage as a stunning giant Led Zeppelin logo fills the screen.

Thank you Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for an amazing night..

I look around the arena so many smiles …next minute I’m hugging Bob Harris. ’’ How about that!’’ says the not so whispering Bob. Embracing the man I used to wait with bated breath to introduce the rare times Zep were on Whistle Test at the end of this barely believable reunion is perhaps a fitting end to it all.

Not that it’s quite the end. Although I endure some stress immediately after when my mobile dies and after saying fond farewells to people outside I have the devil of a job getting back into the 02 ‘’Don’t you know who I am? I’m on the six o clock news godamnnyou!‘’ got me nowhere.

Eventually I do make it to the backstage bar where again it’s amazing to see so many faces from afar: Frank Melfi, Danny Cole, Billy and Alison, Simon,P, Ross, Carolyn – all people I’ve come into contact with these past 30 years plus in the name of chronicling this band.

Amongst the famous there’s Dave Grohl, Noel Gallagher, Lulu, Dave Gilmour and countless other A and B listers. Richard Cole is also hanging out still talking in that slightly menacing London drawl that so scared me when he came into the Swan Song offices all those years ago.,

Beers are drunk, toasts made, bonds formed, fond farewells uttered… eventually it’s an hour wait for the taxi. I bump into Robin Wealleans who did out screen for us at the April 27 London gathering – my how events have evolved since then.

Absolutely finally it’s to the hotel but not to bed ….more beers with the esteemed Gary D, Lee Henley and Midlands crew. We laugh in relief in celebration and in plain wonderment…nobody wants this to end but finally it’s to bed after 5pm

On the way back to Bedford there’s time to check the papers. The reaction is sstunning. John Aizlewood in the Evening Standard says it all with his testament:

‘’It was breathtaking and spine tingling – as good as popular music gets’’

Aftermath: Tuesday afternoon December 11,2007

If you really want to analyse it ,well yes the sound mix took a while to settle in, and a few cues got missed notable in Since I’ve Been Loving You, but hey they were, are and always will be tight but loose.

Suffice to say this was one of the greatest nights of my life and probably thousands of others in the 02 Arena.

And right now Led Zeppelin must be the most popular band in the world.

Final thoughts: Jason throughout was exemplary capturing all the full throttle thwack required to support the power that surged from the stage JPJ was typically JPJ, diligent in all his playing but totally unmissable. The back drop screen projections – absolutely stunning.

Thanks to so many fans who came from all parts of the globe and considerably enhanced this experience of a lifetime for me – in particular Brian K, the two Gary’s, Jose, Graeme H, JR, Paul H, Pam so many more.

It’s back to reality and retail frenzy in the morning.

So yesterday they were Led Zeppelin. Now today they are once again Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham.

Tomorrow and beyond… who knows ?

One things for certain – their performance at the 02 Arena on December 10 2007 has created rock history.

And Finally – the last word December 18,2007

So unless they decide otherwise yes this could be the final fitting closure. If that’s to be, it would certainly be a magnificent swan song.

This was a performance that was full of the integrity, humility, emotion and power that characterised their glory days. And this just might have been their most glorious day ever.

To paraphrase my final words on Knebworth in TBL 2…

In delivering on that glorious tenth day of December they created a little bit of heaven for us all to share.

And after 28 years they can still do that.

So thank you dear Ahmet for believing in them

And thank you Jimmy, Robert, JPJ and Jason for believing in themselves.

At the 02 Arena on December 10 2007 they did justice and so much more to the legacy of Led Zeppelin.

And right now the world is such a better place for it……

Dave Lewis – December 18, 2007.  


Led Zeppelin Reunion for Ahmet Ertegun at the 02 Arena – 15 years gone…


Some thoughts from 2009…

Two years gone and it still seems like a dream. Watching the DVD and playing the vinyl and CD’s today reminded me of the surreal feel that surrounded the whole event. Of course I’m taking about Led Zeppelin at the 02 Arena on the second anniversary of what for me will ever be etched on my brain as the experience of a lifetime. There are some lovely comments on the 02 show by Robert Plant in this months Q magazine. Asked what went though his mind at the end of the 02 show after Rock And Roll he replied:

‘’Bonzo’s family. It was an exorcism in a way for them to let Jason express himself and his dad’s work. Without him it would been a totally different thing because his enthusiasm and points of reference were spectacular, his knowledge of shows that had been performed when he was a tot. And I thought about Bonzo’s Mum Joan. I used to pick Bonzo up when I was 17 in some clapped out Ford Popular, and she used to shake her head and frown and go ‘’You two’’! We were 17 and 19 and then 29 and 32 and that was it’’

As I was lucky enough to be seated in the vicinity of the Bonham family I vividly recall Robert coming to the edge of the stage for the final ‘’Lonely lonely’’ refrain and holding his hand up in at acknowledgment of the family with a beaming smile. So many memories remain ever present about the event, even little quirky ones like having a coffee with Brian Knapp early on the day as though he had wandered in from down the road and not Washington DC, same vibe bumping into Terry Stephenson in the Pilot Inn, nearly losing my mobile phone and then it playing dead for the next twelve hours (that didn’t help matters!). The adrenalin rush of seeing the massive queues, saying to Eddie Edwards in the pub ‘’In three hours Led Zeppelin will be on stage in front of our very eyes’’ and really feeling the magnitude of it all, communal hugs as we went in to the arena…that Tampa film and then in the light there they were (Initial reaction: ’’They are on the fucking stage!’’). A performance beyond expectation – so many moments to take the breath away. For Your Life previously unplayed live utterly compelling and the point it really went into the stratosphere , Trampled oh the groove, Dazed And Confused 1969 and all that, Stairway – yes they did it Ahmet and with dignity, The Song Remains The Same so joyously uplifting and Kashmir so utterly mesmerizing. Jason was brilliant, the staging and graphics simply stunning (as can be seen via the pics here). I could go on and on…suffice to say everything about the 02 performance was quintessentially Led Zeppelin. The way it was, the way it still could be.

Then the sheer relief of the aftermath when going to bed just wasn’t an option and talking long into the early morning with Graeme H, JR and back at the hotel with Gary Davies and Lee Henley from the Midlands.

Oh it is a great life this life of music as Ahmet said and that was one of the greatest nights. The world seemed a very small place that December night as fans converged from all corners of the globe to create what still can only be described as Planet Zeppelin.

Yes it’s a shame they didn’t take it further and Paul Rees quote in his review of the show in Q ‘’One is left to wonder how they can now possibly leave all this behind again’’ might now have a hollow ring about it. But regardless of what’s happened since, on that celebrated December night the story did have a happy ending. Will it ever come out officially on DVD? I’m sure we all hope it will eventually.

In the aftermath of the 02 two years back I received a lot of feedback and comment about the event some of which went into TBL issue 19 and 20. One very touching gesture was made by musician and long time TBL supporter and Zep fan Rikky Rooksby. In noting my reaction to the show and in particular the moment at the beginning of Stairway when the tears came (‘’He’s losing it’’ as the guy next to me one of Robert’s friends commented!), Rikky penned a lyric titled ‘Dave Lewis’ Tears’ based on Billy Bragg’s song Levi Stubbs Tears from his album Talking With The Taxman About Poetry (see YouTube clip below)

I’ve kept this under wraps since then but it seems appropriate to print it here with Rikky’s permission on the second anniversary so here goes – this is

Dave Lewis’ Tears

‘Stairway…have to say I completely lost it at that point and tears streamed down my face all the way through this’

With the money from his paper round He bought himself a stake in a band Guaranteed for maximum enjoyment After 1971’s Empire stand No one could say that he was slow off the mark It’s TBL and me against the world, typewriter, he mumbled after dark

Where the years are Led some Gibsons stay in place Dave Lewis’ tears run down his face

Every album on release was feverishly bought He went for five nights when they ravaged Earl’s Court And his obsession meant he was one of those blokes The sort that follow through good times and bad The sort that a tour takes away And when there wasn’t a tour he kept printing anyway

Where the years are Led some Gibsons stay in place Dave Lewis’ tears run down his face

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page Are here to renew everything that’s gone John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham too Are here to make it all okay at the O2

One ecstatic night he left home for the ‘Smoke’ And put a hole in his wallet where no hole should be It hurt to know ticketless millions were not ‘in the light’ And when a Gibson double neck was strummed his heart burst on the night When music falls apart some things stay in place He takes off the ‘Presence’ tape and puts it back in its case

Where the years are Led some runes hold their grace Dave Lewis’ tears run down his face.


I Was There –  memories from the night…

You could sense the buzz as soon as you arrived as people of all ages and from all corners of the world were up for it as were the band. Jimmy was smoking and Robert might have lost a few high notes, but he is still the golden god. John Paul Jones is just a genius and when No Quarter started I just collapsed and the emotions overwhelmed me, but chatting to Billy Kulke from Letz Zep afterwards I wasn’t the only one to shed some tears. Jason was excellent as well, as he kept things simple and did best what the Bonham family seems to be doing best. His dad would have been proud.

Yes I would have loved to hear Achilles Last Stand and Babe I’m Gonna leave you, but with a set list as impressive as last night’s and a first outing of For Your Life (one of my absolute favourites) I really got no reason for complaint. After all if they would have played all I wanted to hear we would still be there….

Sitting here in the office now feels weird, as suddenly all seems different and the sun shining this morning for a change seems to fit in nicely. A new day has definitely dawned.

It’s been emotional.

Andreas Stocker London December 11 2007

Can mere words describe this fantastic night?  The magic, the grandeur, the fun – just wonderful!  Thirty years melted away as three (or more) generations came together to view the mighty Zeppelin. The camaraderie in the crowd was lovely as people chatted, laughed and swapped stories from over the years.  We were standing about 5 or 6 rows from the front and there wasn’t too much jostling although at just 5′ 4″ it was a tricky business trying to see over rather tall gentlemen’s shoulders!  The power from the stage just washed over us like an ocean, wave after wave sending the vibes right through us, sometimes I could even feel my hair vibrating.  Ramble On was a highlight for me as I have loved that song forever. Altogether a confident, powerful performance by musicians who are happy with their own brilliance – Here’s hoping for more!

Jill Warburton UK


Pic by Greg Purling

Here’s another 02 Experience….
This comes from Donato Farace of Mississauga,Ontario Canada:

Right from the announcement of the show, I booked a flight to London right away. I was determined to be there even if I did not have tickets to the show. I figured I should at least be there on sacred ground and feel the reverberations coming from the building.

As it turned out I got far more lucky and got two tickets to the show.

I entered the lottery at the website just like everyone else. And just like most everyone else I did not get a pass code.
I was sad that I did not get a code but certainly was not surprised. The odds of winning one of the codes was truly like winning in a lottery. My next step was to check e-bay. There was some very suspicious sellers with no feedback score, so I stayed away from them. I did however come across a seller in Australia with a high perfect feedback score and a long standing member of e-bay. Confident this seller really had the pass code, I purchased it. I was also lucky in the fact that there was no bidding involved. It was a ‘buy it now’ auction for only $250 us. I bought it, payed the seller via Paypal, and got the pass code.

I was now on the Ticketmaster UK website, entered the code, which indeed worked, and purchased two floor standing tickets to the Led Zeppelin reunion show. I was extremely excited in purchasing two tickets to the show of the century when it seemed almost impossible.

What I wanted most out of life was to see Led Zeppelin. I was 12 years old when they disbanded, so like a lot of people out there, we never got that chance. For myself it was 25 years of dreaming the impossible dream. I could not believe that I actually might be seeing Led Zeppelin perform live for an entire show.
The whole situation about the promoter and non original pass code holders was a little stressful but I felt their threat of non entry to the show was not enforceable.

So fast forward to Sunday December the 9th, my cousin (Fred) and I land in London at roughly 6 am. We hop on the Tube and head straight for the 02 Dome. We arrived at the 02 Dome and waited about one and a half hour to get our tickets that Sunday morning.
Praise our lucky stars, our two tickets were there for us with my name on them.

All photos here by Donato Farace

We had the Ahmet Ertegun concert tickets in our hand and now we were looking to line up for our floor standing spot. I could not settle for a spot other than right in the front of the Zep Men. We asked a staff member of the 02 as to where we could start a line up. They said the show was tomorrow night. We replied that we know that but we want to start a line up right now. This person thought we were crazy but said go ahead start a line over by gate F. Fred and I had wasted some time in finding gate F and two Americans just beat us by about 15 feet to this gate and a formation of a general admission line up. Nonetheless Fred and I were number 3 and 4 in this line up to this historic event. We spent just about 30 hours in this line and slept on a concrete floor (I could not really sleep) so we could be right up by the stage. If I had to, I would have camped out for a month to be that close to the stage.

Dave, I want to add how shocked I was that there was about 15 of us camped out over night to get so close. In Canada or America, I bet there would have been 500 of us. The staff at the 02 were great for letting us stay inside the dome. It was still very cold but at least we were not outside.

Oh boy, I don’t how I almost forgot to mention that I was lucky enough to get into the rehearsal that Sunday night.
Led Zeppelin are doing a last little rehearsal and sound check on the Sunday night. I noticed dozens of people ( maybe you were one of them ) walk by with a sheet of paper in their hand and are allowed entry into the arena while you hear Zeppelin playing. I figured it was some kind of contest thing and these were lucky winners allowed in to see Zeppelin rehearse. I walked closer to the entrance to get a better listen of Zeppelin playing and a staff member asks for my pass. I tell her I do not have a pass and in her sweet British accent she says ‘right you go on in’ and gives me a laminated pass for the rehearsal. This sweet lady is the nicest British person I will ever end up meeting in my life. Such a small thing she did, but the world to me.

I entered the arena to the sounds of ‘No Quarter’ and just about jumped ten feet high. It was about a half hour of rehearsal that we were able to take in. I was already in Zeppelin heaven and the show was still 24 hours away.

Monday arrives and this is it. I had not really slept the last two nights because of an over night flight, the time change and a brutally cold dome that Sunday night. None of that mattered on Monday. I new adrenaline was kicking in. All of Monday was so exciting. Hundreds are now starting to flock in. Meeting of new people from around the world. All great people of course. Being interviewed by reporters. Getting your picture taken with others and the Canadian flag. It truly was a wonderful experience. This is what life should be about. And, the show was still yet to happen.

It is time for the show. We are all here. The greatest two hours of my life was seeing that Led Zeppelin performance.

I do not need to go into detail. We all know how awesome it was.

Whenever I am asked about the Led Zeppelin reunion show, I simply say it was amazing. I do not sugar coat it because it does not need sugar coating, it truly was out of this world. Just check out Kashmir on You Tube, Wow.

The icing on the cake for myself was being up on the big video screen with my cousin Fred. This was at the end of ‘Rock and Roll’ where we were all smiles on the video screen, then it fades to black and then you see the huge letters – LED ZEPPELIN.

Led Zeppelin at the 02….an incredible experience…
Donato Farace

I Was There…

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Led Zeppelin O2 Reunion concert was that fans had travelled from all corners of the globe to be there. One such fan was long time TBL supporterJose Manuel Parada who travelled from Ecuador and met a fair few of us when he was over. Here is just one example of the unforgettable life affirming experiences that those lucky enough to be there experienced. I am sure there will be similar tales to be told amongst those present today.

Above pic by Ian Avey

This is Jose’s story…

What an incredible journey it has been for me, going to London to such a historical event. It’s hard to realize what I just have been part of. Since September 12th all my thoughts were about the Zeppelin show. By October 2nd the ballot came, with no luck for me. So, I turned to eBay’s buy it now and got my ticket with tears in my eyes. There then followed some very uncertain days when it was stated that tickets purchased this way would be invalid. I made frantic calls to Harvey Goldsmith’s office. Finally on October 18th came the good news telling me that we could keep our tickets. What a relief.

Fast forward to 10 days before the show and all I was thinking of was getting to London, with no sleep and having some outrageous thoughts – the likes of “I hope I don’t die before the show, car crash, plane crash, heart attack, etc”. I know this sounds bizarre but that’s how it was.

By Saturday December 8th I was already checking in at The Newham Hotel (thank God the plane arrived just fine!). All I was thinking was, ‘Well, this looks real, here I am in London (freezing by the way) and I will be seeing Led Zeppelin next Monday’. Then it was The Pilot Inn on Sunday and Monday afternoon. What a really great time in there, getting to meet some fellow travelers from around the world and so many local people, such as: Dave Lewis, Gary Davies, Graeme and Pam, JR, Terry, Mike, Mark, Brian, Steven, Tatan A, Gary F and Julian, plus so many others who made me feel as if I was in a local pub and for that eye thank yew. Meeting all of you was as important to me as the show itself.

The vibe at The O2 was just something else – the huge Mothership blimp, that billboard with some Kashmir lyrics, all the people there. Amazing.

As for the show? All I can say is that I am still shocked by it. I was lucky enough to be some 20 metres from the stage, dead centre. I was simply in awe.

It was a night that I won’t ever forget. A dream came true. Acapulco Gold.

José Manuel Parada. Guayaquil, Ecuador, December 14, 2007. First published in TBL, issue 20.


Krys Jantzen’s view

An extraordinary night.

Arrive at the 02 and the atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve seen before. People travelling from the four corners of the earth to be in London tonight. The queue for merchandise is 1,000 people deep. The guy from Tokyo in front of me is about to buy 15 t-shirts for himself, in front of him a guy who’s flown in from New Zealand who wants 20 hardback programmes. It’s that type of night. Behind me, a guy from New York paid $6,000 for his one ticket, behind him a guy from LA paying $7,500. Its madness. None of us could quite believe we were here or that is was actually about to happen.

But it did. And as the intro video clip ended, I quickly looked down at my watch. I had to. For over half my lifetime, I had wondered where and when they’d be back. And now the moment was here. At 9.04pm GMT, there they were on stage…Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham…LED-fucking-ZEPPELIN. 20,000 fans roared their return as thousands of glowing videophones captured the momentous occasion.

Highlights? Many. The ‘Oh my Jesus’ refrain on In My Time Of Dying. The black and white crunch of For Your LifeThe technicolor swirl of Trampled Underfoot and that howl Robert lets loose at the start and end of Jonesy’s keyboard solo. Jimmy, Jason and John on The Song Remains The Samelistening to the four of them, it’s difficult to believe this is a band that have barely played together in 27 years. They were lean and very, very tight. And everyone was simply outstanding. Robert, in a consciously understated performance was in superb voice, looking and sounding fantastic, Jimmy’s amazing playing throughout his sweaty, guitar workout, John gluing everything down and locking into the other three with his concentrated gaze…and Jason, doing himself, his dad and everyone else here tonight fucking proud.

With Kashmir the evening’s defining moment had arrived. Robert and Jason particularly outstanding on this. For me, the undisputed highlight of the night was when Robert did his “Trying to find…where I’ve beeeeeeeeeeeeen” bit in Kashmir just before it lurches into yet another hypnotising wash across the crowd. Absolutely fucking thrilling. As shivers ran down the spines of 20,000 fans, Jimmy glanced across at Robert and just beamed with pride.

It’s a great life, this life of music.

Robert summed it up best for me by describing the whole experience as cathartic and therapeutic. Damn, fucking right. (But Harvey, help us out next time. The weirdly subdued crowd was caused by the lottery system. The fact that so many long-term fans and Tight But Loose readers were forced to get their tickets on e-Bay was not right.)

My lasting image of the night was simply Robert, Jimmy and John huddled around Jason’s drum kit. It was a 60 foot wide stage, yet for most of the night they spent it endearingly just a few feet away from each other, revelling in each other’s performance and being unable to stop smiling at each other.

And as the house lights went up I couldn’t help thinking the four of them are capable of even more. A tweak of the set list sequence, an acoustic number here or there…the possibilities are endless. If they can blow everyone away on an opening night performance, imagine what they could sound like mid-tour…

Afterwards the sense of euphoria leaving the 02 Arena was positively religious. With people travelling from all over the world to see this well-loved group of musicians, the atmosphere was fantastic. The gig? A complete triumph.

And the band itself?

Fucking phenomenal.

Krys Jantzen London – December 11 2007

I Was There…

On the 4th August 1979 when I was just 16 I attended the Led Zeppelin concert at Knebworth Park. At the time I only had 3 albums, ‘The Song Remains the Same’‘IV’ and ‘Houses of the Holy’. But by the time the concert had finished I had become a life time fan, and let’s remember that this was not a particularly cool or trendy thing to be in the punk/ska landscape of 1979/80. I then spent the next two years using my Saturday job money to complete my Led Zeppelin collection and started subscribing to ‘Tight but Loose’ I read the reviews of the 1980 concerts in Europe and waited excitedly and expectantly for the next Zeppelin concerts in the UK, this time confident that I would know all the songs.

Little did I think that it would be 28 years before I would get the opportunity to see them again! But as the old adage goes ‘Sometimes, the best things are worth waiting for’ and this was definitely worth waiting for! There is and never will be anyone like them. They are magnificent.

Looking down from level 4 I could see the four of them walk on stage and tear into ‘Good Times, Bad Times’. From up in the Gods, Robert Plant didn’t appear much different from the way he did at Knebworth. For one moment I thought he still had the same shirt on. Every song was a testament to their raw talent, hard work and sheer dedication. Never has there been a band where each member perfectly compliments one another and contributes so much. At one stage my younger brother, fellow concert goer and general good guy who got up at 3 am to enter the ballot said to me ‘Listen to that sound, there is only four of them down there, how do they do it!’.

During the late seventies Zeppelin were derided for being Dinosaurs by the music press. This is a band that is not extinct; it is a band still in its prime with more, so much more to give.

The set order has been listed in many other places so I won’t dwell on that here but am just going to highlight one song if it is possible to highlight anything in an evening which was a 2 hour highlight.

Although ‘Dazed and Confused’ is a great song I always found Jimmy Page’s extensive use of the violin bow a little tiresome on ‘The Song Remains the Same’ album and indeed at Knebworth. However, at 02 the timing had been slimmed down and it became an intense emotional experience. The accompanying pyramid of lasers helped to time warp me back nearly 30 years to that long summer’s night of my youth. It was at this point that the emotions took control of me. I had managed to keep it together through all the preceding wonderful songs but the shock of the divine beauty of those ethereal sounds unlocked the flood gates and the tears streamed down my face. 28 years, 1 divorce, 3 children, a failed and then rebuilt career were stripped away and I was once sixteen again.

Led Zeppelin are a living legend. The adjectives do not exist in the English language to describe how good they are. Academics believe that the word genius initially came into use to describe Shakespeare. We need a new word to describe Led Zeppelin.

Philip Brown UK



Events that have so much resting on them rarely unfold with such an air of assurance. The three original members of the band seemed to be relieved to be relinquishing the burden of anticipation. The heaviosity has always been the cornerstone of their reputation but it was astonishing to see how funky they could be for a rock band. With a synergy like this going on, it would be an act of cosmic perversity to stop now.

Pete Pahides – The Times

They delivered a show of breathtaking power and spine tingling excitement: a four way musical tug of war in which they all won. This really is as good as popular music gets

John Aizlewood – Evening Standard

The overriding sensation for me strangely was one of relief. Not just because they managed to build on what they’d left behind – and with a 30 year advance in technology sound even better that they had, before but the relief of simply being older – to be honest and of not being required to take it all seriously any more. You want dogged by the agonies of earnest teenage argument. You could watch a 63 year old man conjuring up symphonies from his guitar and you didn’t have to worry about weather it was a courageous art statement. It was just a slice of pure theatre, of drama and spectacle and a magnificent refusal by the four of them to airbrush their attack. I felt very lucky to have seen it.

Mark Ellen – Word

It’s difficult to believe this is a band who have barely played together for the best part of three decades. They sounded awesomely tight, bizarre, beguiling and better than ever.

Alexis Petridis – The Guardian

Led Zeppelin have proved in the face of all this reunion interest that they can still cut it. And then some. On tonight’s showing they are much rawer, more vital sounding,  less pantomime than any of their dinosaur rock contemporaries. What’s more they appear to be doing it again for the right reasons. That of being the joy of playing not money. Will they continue? On this evidence it would be a travesty if they didn’t.

Hamish MacBain – NME

It’s quite shocking to find men of advanced years wielding such power. If there is an entirely unique Zeppelin moment Kashmir is it and they nail it here a great sets greatest moment. If indeed this is to be their final stand then Zeppelin will have bowed out with a proper command performance. One is left to wonder though how they can now possibly leave all this behind again.

Paul Rees – Q  

The greatest thing about Led Zeppelin’s 2003 DVD was the footage from the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 when the band were still fresh out of the traps and getting off on the sheer joy of playing together. At the 02 Zeppelin rewind themselves to that Albert Hall gig. The frequently convene in the middle of the stage like a band jamming in rehearsal space almost oblivious to the audience. Its  heart warming to see and a welcome acknowledgement of their shared history experience and musicality which for once eclipses all those tales of personal rifts and jarring egos. Time and time again the band turn to Jason Bonham urging him on, offering smiles nods, encouragement and after the encores of Whole Lotta Love and Rock And Roll – fatherly hugs This once most imperious of bands  appears to be functioning as real human beings again.

Mark Blake – Mojo

Unlike so many of his contemporaries, Plant has found a way of combining rock heroics with a dignified gravity. When he swings his microphone stand he looks like a Shakespearean king wielding a broadsword not a 59 year old acting out a pantomime of his youth.

Disregarding the money for a moment, the need for these brilliant musicians to tidy up their stories for posterity to remind the world of their greatness suddenly seems very pressing. Tonight they can sleep easy knowing they have done just that. For the time being at least, Led Zeppelin’s legend has the happy ending it always deserved.

John Mulvey – Uncut   


That is what was so thrilling really — to come together after all this time and find that there was so much chemistry and so much electricity involved in these four characters. We’d all agreed to take it very, very seriously and have a really good time at the same time. We worked out the songs we were going to play, and it was exhilarating, it was fantastic. Every week was a week to look forward to. I can assure you the amount of work that we put into the O2 (concert), for ourselves rehearsing and the staging of it, was probably what you put into a world tour. We wanted people who might not have even been alive when we finished in 1980 to understand what we were. So we did the show…and it was great

Jimmy Page – Japanese press conference.

It was gripping.

We had a lot to lose if it had all gone wrong. It would have been the end of the real deal about what we had in the first place. Musically and emotionally we matched it and it put a lot of things to bed. For Ahmet it was great to get up one more time -it was a fitting thing becuase he menat so much to us and far beyond just getting our records out.

Then for Jason well,he s now the complete man… he’s delt with his demons. I think he wanted to prove something to himself. It was important for his family too – I mean I’ve known his Mum since we were 15.

There was so much anticipation and we matched it. It was marvellous and at the end we all shook hands and said ”Wow that was amazing, see you soon”.

Robert Plant talking to Steve Jones on Indie 103.1FM Radio Los Angeles.

Jason was fantastic A lot of his fills were not what his Dad did at all.

He did an amazing job when you consider he had to answer to every drummer in the world after the show. With that short of pressure, to bring that off was astonishing. Kashmir was absolutely wonderful, the way he led in an out of the chorus an  bridges. The excitement was there on stage at the 02 as it was in the old days. It could be fun to do more stuff

John Paul Jones taking to David Fricke in Rolling Stone

I wanted to take in every moment which is why at the end I had to bow to them. As I grew older I became a fan as well as a part of the family. It wasn’t until after my Dad’s death that I could really appreciate his music. The day after I took the sticks that I used and put them on the grave and said ’’We did it Dad you handed me these, I’ll hand them back’’

Jason Bonham talking to Tamara Conniff



LZ News:

Here’s the latest Led ZepNews Update

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page announces new signed photo prints

In last week’s email, we mentioned that Jimmy Page had reactivated his mailing list after three years of silence. Sure enough, earlier today Page’s mailing list sprang back to life and announced that he has begun selling new signed prints of photos taken by Neal Preston.

The five prints feature images of Page on stage with Led Zeppelin from 1975 to 1979. They’re limited to 50 prints each, are signed by Page and Preston, and cost £1,250 each. A set of all five prints is available for £8,000.

The “On This Day” entry for Page’s website was updated earlier today to replace the entry for Led Zeppelin’s December 10, 2007 reunion performance with the below announcement of the signed prints:

Jimmy Page was interviewed by Uncut Magazine about Keith Richards

Jimmy Page was interviewed for the latest issue of Uncut Magazine about Keith Richards. Page spoke to the magazine for its January 2024 issue, which includes a cover story celebrating Richards’ eightieth birthday.

“He’s given us decades of wonderful, creative music with an attitude and character which could only be Keith Richards,” Page said in the interview. “Let’s hope he lives for another 80 years. Who knows, I might be able to jam with him in another 50!”

Robert Plant

Robert Plant narrated a climate video

Robert Plant recorded a voiceover for a video released this week by Nature Positive. The organisation says its goal is to “halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 on a 2020 baseline, and achieve full recovery by 2050”.

Signed Led Zeppelin album raises £910

Last month we shared the news that Robert Plant signed and donated a copy of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album to help purchase a new tennis wheelchair. The eBay auction for the album ended this week and it sold for £910.

Robert Plant attended the Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Tottenham Hotspur football match on November 11

Here’s something we missed last month: While touring with Saving Grace, Robert Plant managed to find time to pop back to Wolverhampton to watch Wolverhampton Wanderers play Tottenham Hotspur on November 11, according to photographs published from the match.

John Paul Jones

2024 Big Ears festival dates confirmed

Back in September it was announced that John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tennessee in March as a solo act and as part of Sons Of Chipotle.

This week, the exact dates of Jones’ performances at the festival have been confirmed. His solo performance will be on March 22 and his performance as part of Sons Of Chipotle will take place on March 23.

Upcoming events:

  • 2024– Robert Plant will tour with Alison Krauss.
  • January 1– ABC will broadcast highlights of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony at 8pm EST
  • March 22– John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • March 23– John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee as part of Sons Of Chipotle.
  • April 5– “Led Zeppelin: A Visual Biography” by Martin Popoff will be published.
  • April 6– The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will open at Wiltshire Museum.
  • Summer 2024– Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Vienna, Virginia.
  • September 15– The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will close at Wiltshire Museum.

Many thanks to James Cook 

The complete Led ZepNews email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:

Led ZepNews Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

TBL Archive Special:

Golden Lion Reunion 42 years gone…

December 15 – that is a date that always revives memories of the first public reunion of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones for which I was lucky enough to be in attendance.

Here’s the story:

Back in the early months of 1981, Lynn Sizemore who was PR to the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Association, the charity formed from the Fulham pub often frequented by the Zep / Swan Song entourage, approached me to publicise in the next issue of TBL, a children’s charity raffle being held in December.

I was only too willing to help and we began planning how this would all work. The raffle was duly featured in TBL issue 6 which came out in the late summer of 1981. I had a few meetings with Lynn during this period including one memorable occasion at the Golden Lion pub in Fulham. Robert’s sound man Benjii Lefevre was in attendance and I was introduced to John Bindon the notorious London character who had been with the Zep entourage on the 1977 tour and involved in the infamous Oakland fracas. Robert and John Paul Jones had already promised to attend and give prizes out on the night set for December 15th, so it was always going to be a special evening.

Even more so after the call I made to Swan Song the week before the event. Sian at Swan Song informed me that Jimmy was also due to attend. It duly turned into something of a grand Swan Song reunion – in true Zep style.

On the night itself, Peter Grant arrived with Jimmy around 8.30. A combat attired Robert and smartly dressed JPJ were already in tow. Various roadies, Swan Song employees and guests (including Cozy Powell) were there as was John Bindon again. Tom Locke and I spent a memorable night in the pub as Jimmy, Robert and JPJ mingled by the bar and duly got up on stage to present the prizes of Jimmy’s Yamaha acoustic guitar (wonder where that is now?) and a set of personally signed albums. The main winner was an American guy ( pic above) while runner up was, Steve Simmons, a TBL subscriber from Bristol. Here’s a pic below of Steve on stage receiving his prize.

golden lion 1

Jimmy looked in slightly better shape than he had in Europe the previous year and told me he was working on the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. As a Christmas present 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 Atlantic’s Phil Carson of my plans to write a major reference work on the band’s music though it would be another eight years on in the Marquee (at a Jason Bonham gig) when I was able to tell the pair of them that the book (Led Zeppelin A Celebration) was soon to be 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 the in progress recording of his debut album 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 again to attend the 1992 Q Awards to collect the outstanding achievement award, and another 26 years before they played together on that night of nights in December 2007.

Fast forward to August 29th, 2013 and the Colston Hall Bristol.

golden lion 2

As we were making our way into the arena for Robert’s Sensational Space Shifters show amazingly enough I bumped into Steve Simmons for the first time since that night at the Golden Lion back in 1981. Steve was carrying a photo book of the pics he took back then – we had a good old chinwag about how he had been the runner up in the competition and the signed albums he was presented with on that night all of 42 years ago. The first, but not the last grand reunion…

Dave Lewis – December 14 2023


My thoughts on The Faces – Had Me A Real Good Time At The BBC…. 

One of my gig going regrets is that I never got to see The Faces live. I have seen Rod Stewart on a fair few occasions since 1978 but The Faces eluded me –some friends saw them at the Edmonton Sundown in 1973 but I missed out.

This new Faces album Had Me A Real Good Time At The BBC – a recently released limited pressing on orange vinyl Black Friday Record Store Day, is a very welcomed reminder of how good they were. It presents some the best Faces BBC performances drawn from the original masters.

There have been plenty of bootlegs of their various BBC sessions and in Concert recordings – I have a few in my collection but this is the first official release of this material. It covers various Faces BBC appearances across 1971 and into 1973.

Side One captures a session for the BBC Radio One Sounds of the Seventies show recorded on April 20 1971 and broadcast on May 3.It kicks off with Had Me A Real Good Time from the then recently released Long Player album. Stock full of the raunch and roll they virtually patented back in that era They were always good for a vocal ad-lib and knockabout ending and it’s all present here with Rod signing off  nonchalantly ‘and I went home’.

Robert Johnson’s Love In Vain I am well familiar with via The Rolling Stones excellent version on the live Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out album. The Faces version is no less affecting. Rod sings close up to the mic and Ronnie is absolutely right on it with the slide guitar solo. Until I played this, I thought the Stones was the boss version – it’s now got competition.

Oh Lord I’m Browned Off (originally the B side of their 1971 Maybe I’m Amazed single) is a funky Booker T like funk instrumental. It’s a showcase for Ian McLagan and a reminder of what an important part of their sound his keyboard work was. Kenney Jones offers up a shuffling beat and tight drum solo and then it all rides off into the sunset.

The Faces version of Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed was always a live Faces showpiece and this BBC session is no exception. Ronnie sings the first line then in comes Rod and then there’s some duel vocal harmony -an example of the collective spirit that prevailed within the band.

Mac and Ronnie add their parts and Rod’s back for the final reprise. This is not just the best McCartney cover version ever but one of the great cover versions of all time

Side Two commences with a strident stomp through the Womack’s It’s All Over Now (and 1964 Rolling Stones number one). Mac’s organ is up front and right in the groove providing the foundation for some jamming. This is from John Peel’s Sunday In Concert programme aired on May 23 1971

Too Much For (A Hen Pecked Man)/Street Fighting Man is from the BBC 2 Sounds For Saturday -The Music Of The Faces TV presentation recorded in late 1971 and broadcast on April 1 1972.. An elaborate arrangement that merges the Ike Turner song with the Jagger/Richard classic and again a vehicle to go off on a tangent – the latter bearing little resemblance to the Stones version.

Fast forward to 1973 and another In Concert appearance broadcast on April 21 1973. This was to be their final BBC session and one of the last appearances with Ronnie Lane.  Twisting the Night Away is a joyous delivery of the Sam Cooke standard and Rod’s comments at the end ‘’Not finished yet!’’ carries a certain irony.

Finally from an In Concert recorded on February 8  a cover of The Temptations (I Know )I’m Losing You – always a highlight of any Faces show and a platform for a tight and compact Kenney Jones drum solo.

‘’The Faces -.still the best rock n’roll band in the world for those of us that care’’ is John Peel’s final accolade.


This is a truly excellent snapshot of The Faces in their pomp, all superbly  recorded and remastered and produced by Rob Caiger. It’s good to see the long term Faces/Rod chronicler and Smiler magazine editor John Gray in the credits for his input. John was a great help to me a few years back when I wrote a feature on the Rod Stewart Never a Dull Moment album for Record Collector.

Now here’s the really good news.

The latest issue of Mojo has a news feature headed ”Faces vault opens for unheard outtakes galore”

It reports that the aforementioned Rob is preparing new deluxe remastered extended editions of The Faces catalogue working, closely with the surviving members and the estates of the late Ian McClagen and Ronnie Lane.

In the piece Rob offers this perceptive view when he states ”They had a very unjustified reputation of being sloppy. The weren’t.

What this series is going to show is how on top of their game The Faces were while having a good time. We’re going to be correcting a few myths and adding to the story – when this stuff comes out properly mastered I think it’s going to get a new respect for just how good this band were”

Had Me a Real Good Time At The BBC is the first step to restoring The Faces reputation and giving them their much overdue regard – the prospect of more of the same is a mouthwatering one –  meanwhile my advice to any fan of the band is to seek out this limited edition release – you will not be disappointed…

Dave Lewis – December 12 2023 


Latest DL CD acquisition – and it’s a beauty…

Bob Stanley Presents London A – Z  1962 – 1973 CD Ace Records…

This is a recent addition to excellent compilations Bob Stanley has compiled for the Ace record label.

It’s an evocative stroll across the streets and sights of London with a soundtrack of songs all London related.

This is one of my favourite compilations of the year and right up my street

Here’s Bob’s background notes about the album and the track listing

If you threw a house party in London in the late twentieth century, before the smart phone rendered it redundant, you could guarantee that the following morning there would be a dog-eared copy of the A to Z behind the sofa, or under the coffee table, probably in a Tesco bag. Everybody had at least one. It was an essential aid in understanding London. It joined the dots and threw up obscure names printed over hitherto unexplored grids of streets: Alperton, Shooters Hill, Honor Oak, Tooting Graveney, Childs Hill, Ladywell. It invited you to create your own personal map of London, discover your own secret routes, your own special places.

You could peruse the A to Z with the knowledge of who lived where – Sandy Denny in Wimbledon, before she moved to Muswell Hill which was already legendary as the home of the Kinks. Arterial roads as grisly as Archway Road (Rod Stewart) or Holloway Road (Joe Meek) or could be made magic through their pop connections.

Put together by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley, this is the soundtrack of London’s centre (Bert Jansch and John Renbourn’s ‘Soho’, Nick Drake’s ‘Mayfair’) and its hinterlands (Al Stewart’s ‘Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres’, Humble Pie’s ‘Beckton Dumps’, Julie Driscoll’s ‘Vauxhall To Lambeth Bridge’) with a few transport links (Barbara Ruskin’s ‘Euston Station’, Norma Tanega’s ‘Clapham Junction’) thrown in to help you navigate your A to Z. This isn’t London swinging cinematically, but it has the exact feel of the city’s streets and suburbs in the late 60s and early 70s.

What might be lurking in these locations, waiting to be uncovered on a cold winter Saturday? Corner caffs with Pepsi signs. Second-hand record shops and rickety street markets. Many are gone, but not all. This compilation is a musical travel guide – squint, and sometimes London can still seem magical.

This is it’s soundtrack.

Bob Stanley

Track listing:

1              Cutty Sark – John Barry

2              Portobello Road – Cat Stevens

3              Sunny Goodge Street – Marianne Faithfull

4              Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square – Jethro Tull

5              Marcel’s – Herman’s Hermits

6              Goodbye Post Office Tower – Cressida

7              Primrose Hill – John & Beverley Martyn

8              Mayfair – Nick Drake

9              London Bridge – Cilla Black

10           Hampstead Way – Linda Lewis

11           Soho – Bert Jansch & John Renbourn

12           Friday Hill – Bulldog Breed

13           London Social Degree – Dana Gillespie

14           Euston Station – Barbara Ruskin

15           Kew Gardens – Ralph McTell

16           City Road – Dave Evans

17           Parliament Hill – Magna Carta

18           Edgeware Station – Edward Bear

19           Beckton Dumps – Humble Pie

20           Notting Hill Gate – Quintessence

21           Clapham Junction – Norma Tanega

22           Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres – Al Stewart

23           Richmond – Shelagh McDonald

24           Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge – Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity

Ordering details here:


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday December 8:

The new issue of Mojo is in the house with a front cover Stevie Wonder feature plus Vol 7 in the Heavy Nuggets series as the cover mount CD – count me in…

Sunday December 10:

That will do nicely – Spurs 4 Newcastle 1….

Monday December 11:

The new issue of Uncut is in the house- Keith on the cover marking his imminent 80th Birthday -Jimmy Page joining in the celebrations…

Monday December 11:

On the player the 2 CD expanded reissue of the excellent Elton John Madman Across The Water brightening up a dull Monday…got this for a bargain £5 at the recent Bedford VIP Record Fair…

Wednesday December 13:

Great to meet up with old friends Dave Corp and Ian Footer for a very nostalgic pre Christmas meet!

Update here…

Busy on all the pre Christmas stuff – card sending, present buying etc and all full on. I have done some work on the DL memoirs for the first time in a good while -I aim to be back on that big time in 2024…

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis – December 14  2023

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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One Comment »

  • Michael said:

    Hi Dave
    the sandalwood Gretch” was definitely a Gibson!!!

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