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10 August 2009 6,831 views 10 Comments

30 Years Gone / Seeing Was Believing Again

The days leading up to the Knebworth Celebration Day Lytton Arms Event were somewhat fraught here. Amongst other things, late on Friday we suffered a leaking bathroom which led to water coming through the ceiling. Thankfully our man Pete came to the rescue, but as we left for Knebworth at 11 am on Saturday morning, the house was not looking too good.

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Boot Led Zeppelin on stage

Before all that, Larry Bergmann had arrived from America on Friday and we met with Gary Foy in the Fox for a very enjoyable night.

Anyway, after all the traumas of the last few days it was a relief to at last be travelling down the A1M to Knebworth in the company of two of the Bedford Knebworth 4 – Phil and Tom. After all the recent rain, the weather came good as we basked in lovely bright sunshine. At the Lytton, this allowed us to set up the video screen and PA on the outside decking. A move that added a whole new unexpected feel to the event.

So what can I tell you other than the warm vibes so prevalent 30 year back in this vicinity, were more than evident on what was for me and I think all in attendance, a fantastic day.

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Lorraine Robertson, DL, Michael Robertson and Gary Foy back in the field

Before we set up, there was time for Gary F, Larry and myself along with Geoff Adamson and Michael and Lorraine Robertson to travel back down the road to Knebworth Park. As soon as I saw that campsite area leading on to the house and arena, well I have to say I had a lump in my throat. It was an amazing feeling to be walking back in the area where all this had happened and not a little moving. It’ll sound a bit mad, but standing in that field I could almost touch the atmosphere of that summer of 1979 again. As we drove away my mind was filled with reflective thoughts of the events and people who meant so much back in those August days of 30 years ago – some of whom are sadly not with us now.

Back at the Lytton, proceedings got under away. It was a good crowd with many familiar faces and some new ones. Quite a few families in evidence too.

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DL with Henry Cobbold & son

Boot Led Zeppelin did a wonderful late afternoon acoustic set. They kicked off with a bluesy We’re Gonna Groove and as I glanced across the pub garden forecourt and saw so many happy smiling faces out in the sun, I knew all the efforts that Graeme and I had put in to get this together had been worth it.

It was great to see both David Cobbold the owner of the Knebworth estate who first instigated the use of Knebworth back in 1974 and his son Henry Cobbold in attendance, and of course for me personally to be back in the company of the Bedford Knebworth crew ,Tom, Dec and Phil. From overseas there was Mireille from France and Shojiro Saito from Japan. Nearer home Steve Brooks from Kings Lynn was reunited with the friend he went to Knebworth with for the first time in over 20 years. Typical of the feeling of camaraderie that prevailed throughout the day.

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The good lady Janet Lewis, DL and Jez Firth

The book signing went off well, as did the charity auction. The highlight of the auction were two items to be signed personally by Jimmy Page, one of which was a lovely black and white shot of the boys in ’68 sitting on the jag (thanks Michaela) which was snapped up by Larry . In the raffle, my friend Terry won no less than three items amid cries of fix!

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Graeme Hutchinson conducts the auction

The Knebworth quiz spurred some healthy competition with a team called The Knobs led by Nick Anderson coming out on top. However there was a little trouble in the marking when some team names got mysteriously switched, but I got out of it eventually. I’m sure Bob Monkhouse never had this trouble!

After all that, it was a time to relax in the night air and even I was chilled out enough now to marvel at the August 4th footage. Watching the last hour of the show from Jimmy’s guitar solo through to the encores on the big screen, was just awesome as was the reaction from the Lytton Arms crowd 30 years on – and yes we of course all sang along to You’ll Never Walk Alone.

And then an unexpected grand finale – a round of Zep Karaoke. This is something we have never done before but with the levels of alcohol at their highest, it went down a storm. First up was Jez, Michaela and the MK gang to rattle through Rock And Roll, Raff from Boot Zep then attacked Black Dog (who was the wag who shouted ‘he’s singing left handed’!?) .

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Michaela Firth, DL, Shojiro Saito

It was then the turn of this writer. Id readied Ramble On having previously devoured that Zep 2 epic last year on our annual pub crawl bike ride. Alas just as Graeme was inserting the backing track disc to play, it bizarrely snapped. Curses! So at short notice I demolished Good Times Bad Times instead to an er…ecstatic response. Larry paid me a high compliment by applauding my decision to ’sing’ one of the shorter pieces.

Graeme had the difficult task of following me, but it was no contest – his perfectly in tune delivery of Fool In The Rain was spot on, with the instrumental middle section inspiring a mass conga. Finally the Boot Zep sound man did a very commendable acapella version of Stairway To Heaven.

So the party was over. Fond farewells were exchanged and I’m sure I heard a cry of ‘’Thanks for eleven years’’ echoing across the Knebworth fields as I dazed in and out of a fatigued sleep as we sped back to Bedford.

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The Bedford Knebworth 4 - Phil Harris, Tom Locke, Dec Hickey, DL

Luckily our ceiling was somewhat still intact and yesterday with Adam’s 14th birthday to celebrate, we had a nice relaxing day – it was good to see Gary F, Cliff, Michaela, Jez, Pam, Graeme Terry, Marian etc dropping in for post match reflections.

Larry and I had a final toast around 10am at the Embankment Hotel where he was staying, before the final goodbyes and the closure of a very memorable weekend.

So is there life after Knebworth? Well the show goes on with books to pack and distribute and a ceiling to sort (over to you Pete).

The book is out now and you can order via the TBL link. If you’ve pre ordered, books will be going out over the next few days so get ready to be transported back to that field.

Some acknowledgments for making the return to Knebworth what it was: Graeme Hutchinson without whom, Gary and Debbie Davies, Gary Foy, Raff and Boot Led Zeppelin, and lovely sound man, Lorraine and Michael Robertson, Larry Bergmann, Cliff Hilliard, Mark Harrison, Nick Anderson, The Knebworth 4 and Wallbanger Gang, Jerry and Phil for getting the gear and us there, Tom Locke for the one liners, Dec, Alan Stutz, Ian Avey, Tim and Ian who I used to work with years back, Geoff Adamson, Michaela, Jez, Geoff, Linda, Ricky Tiley, Krys, Simon Cadman, the Cobbolds, Andreas Stocker, Terry Boud, Phil Tattershall, Mick Bulow, Andrew Ricci, Martyn Lewis, Alan Perry.

Marian and my good lady Janet for running the stalls – the latter for her unflagging support throughout it all.

For their contributions to the charity auction: Wendy Bannister, Mark McFall, Frank and Lou-Anne Reddon, Pam Matthews and Jimmy Page.

To anyone else that I’ve missed out. Sincere thanks.

So it’s been emotional. 30 years ago we went to Knebworth on a blind date, and thirty years later we came back for another blind date.

And yes… then as it was…seeing was still believing.

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10 Comments »

  • Alice said:

    The photos are wicked. Can’t wait to get a copy of your book Dobber.
    Would’ve loved to have been able to be there.
    Reports tell me is was a brilliant day

    Alice.

  • Dec Hickey said:

    Dobber/Dave

    A brilliant day all round. A massive thanks to you, Janet and everyone who made it work and big salutes to those who travelled either a few miles or a few thousand.

    A slight half hour panic the next morning for me, though. I woke up and couldn’t find my ‘Then As It Was’ #0012. Being then absolutely convinced I’d left it on the train I had the sickening notion I was going to have to admit as much to ‘the author’ and buy another copy off him – it would not have been #0013. Focused my thoughts and finally looked where half the ‘missing next day’ stuff turns up… down the side of the bed. Result!

    And the personal tapes package to us Knebworth 3-4? I’m still laughing at the level of youthful, bemused and incredulous excitement as Tom shouts… “They’re on the ******* stage!” Where else did he think Plant etc were going to be? Brilliant times back in ’79 and again last weekend.

    Dec

  • Lorraine said:

    I am so happy that your special day was such a success. We certainly enjoyed it !!!and met some lovely people. Thanks for guiding us to that special field where magical things happened all those years ago. Led Zeppelins music continues to thrill me and take me through every emotion possible after all this time and will do so for the rest of my life ! It was a pleasure to be a part of your book and I would urge any Led Zep fan to order a copy – its essential reading!!
    What a weekend indeed!
    Lorraine xx
    loveyamadly!

  • Gary Davies said:

    The Knebworth 30th Anniversary Celebration continues….

    Lytton Arms, Saturday 8th August 2009.

    Graeme Hutchinson performs Fool In The Rain, complete with conga-girls and an interesting percussion contribution by Dave Lewis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-uWodWYOgU&feature=channel

    Top tip: Keep an eye on the News Page for the tour announcement!

    What a night!

    Gary

  • Gary Davies said:

    Dave, You’re a good sport mate, and you saved the best ’til last, eh?

    Here we go…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLGzJc0acGc

    WARNING: PARENTAL GUIDANCE REQUIRED!

    Hugs,
    Gary xx

  • Geoff and Linda Bridges said:

    Well done Dave for organising such a great event. I hope you can now relax before you start thinking of the 40th reunion bash.
    Good band and nice people all with something in common, a love of Led Zeppelin. Linda has waxed poetically about her memories of 4th August 1979 and it was nice to share them on Saturday with other people who were there 30 years ago.
    Looking forward to reading your book that you kindly signed for us to hear other peoples memories of a band who changed peoples lives and defined how rock music should be played to future generations.
    Geoff and Linda Bridges

  • Chris Wright said:

    Completely envious of all of you who attended. Would have loved to have been there, but 5000 miles and several commitments prevented me from doing so. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Dave for his tremendous work in the Zeppelin community for over three decades. Dave, you have contributed greatly to our love, appreciation and knowledge of this truly once in a lifetime band. Can’t wait for the book to arrive!

  • Steve Bunyan said:

    I just wanted to say a big thank you to Dave Lewis and Co for organising this. Myself, my partner Mandy and our two boys George (I listen to Led Zeppelin with my daddy) and Thomas thoroughly enjoyed it.(Thomas slept through the entire Boot Led acoustic set – but then he is only 8 weeks old!) It was great to meet other fans but was a shame I couldn’t stay longer than we did cos I would have loved to have heard some of their stories.
    Living in Stevenage I’ve visited Knebworth on many occasions and every time I go there I still can’t help but think back to 4th August 1979. The memory just doesn’t fade. Long live Led Zeppelin!

  • R.TILEY said:

    Had a great day and night at the pub,met some good people,Linda and Geoff,Jez and Michaela your good self and Gary Davies.Saw Gary Davies in the bar at the Novotel Stevenage after the pub,had a few more beers ,plenty to talk about LED ZEP.Anyway fab event well done mate heres to the 40th. R.TILEY

  • Jock Joyce said:

    Hello Dave,
    had a great time on Saturday, chatting with Zep fans from far and wide,
    thanks for organising it, myself and my brother Mike look forward to the next one !
    Perhaps people could meet up and enjoy a tribute band and a few beers in different places every now and then.
    I’m checking out if Boot Led Zeppelin play in Manchester,
    look out for Led Zep Too if you’ve not seen them, they are ace,
    cheers Dave,
    Jock (from Manchester)

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