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28 July 2022 2,280 views No Comment

The Prelude to Knebworth…the Copenhagen warm-ups – it was 43 years ago:

Here’s a couple fascinating first hand views of the Led Zeppelin warm up shows all of 43 years ago…

A 24 month break separated Led Zeppelin’s walking offstage in California on July 24th 1977 and their return to the concert stage in Copenhagen almost two years to the day on July 23rd 1979.

In a tactic that echoed Peter Grant’s original launch of the band in 1968, Led Zeppelin flew to Copenhagen on Monday July 23rd to perform two warm up shows for the big event. The venue chosen for the band’s first gig in two years was the Falkoner Theatre in Denmark’s capital. The venue had previously played host to the likes of Abba and it was also the venue where Judy Garland gave her last live performance in March 1969.

With a capacity of just 2,000, the low-key nature of these warm-up shows made it still possible to buy tickets on the door. Peter Grant gave promoter Arne Worsoe just 14 days notice to arrange this warm-up stint for Knebworth, which took them back to the scene of their first dates back in 1968.

The first night was littered with technical problems. The enormous lighting rig that the band had hoped to install was too big for the venue. This resulted in the persistent blowing of the generator, which led to long delays.

The show eventually ended at 1am the next morning. The set list read: ‘The Song Remains The Same’/’Celebration Day’/’Black Dog’/’Nobody’s Fault But Mine’/’Over The Hills And Far Away’/’Misty Mountain Hop’/’Since I’ve Been Loving You’/’No Quarter’/’Hot Dog’/’The Rain Song’/’White Summer’- ‘Black Mountain Side’/’Kashmir’/’Trampled Underfoot’/’Achilles Last Stand’/ Page Solo/’In The Evening’/’Stairway To Heaven’/’Rock And Roll’.

Predictably there were first night nerves as they worked on the set list that would be presented to the massive crowds due at Knebworth in twelve days time. From the new album there were debuts for ‘Hot Dog’ and ‘In The Evening’. The press reaction was decidedly mixed, Erik Von Lustbaden, writing for Sounds, described the show as, “Dazzling, staggering and sometimes awful.

‘’The subdued lights were still much better than most bands will ever have. The powerful ascending riff of ‘Kashmir’ and the group’s sense of simple melody and repetition combine to at least give an inkling of why they’ve attained such legendary status. Dazzling. Another Page solo, all without any backing. I went for a piss, bought a bar of chocolate, ate it, had a sit down, made some notes, went back in, and he was still playing it!!”

However Eric Kornfeldt, reporting for New Musical Express, delivered one of the most vitriolic reviews in their entire career. Under the headline “Dazed’n’Abused he stated, “They appeared sloppy and unrehearsed, sometimes seeming awkwardly lost, bewildered, stiff and reluctant to play. They were no more than a quartet of uninspired old men, a relic from the past. There was so little feeling inherent in the set that for the most part it was like watching a fully automated factory producing an endless string of chords that neither musicians nor audience cared about.”

The next night they returned to turn in a more consistent set. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ replaced ‘Rock And Roll’ as an encore and they also added ‘Ten Years Gone.’ The latter endured the only real technical hitch as delays occurred with setting up Jones’s effects pedals prompting Plant to comment: “We’ll very shortly be doing ‘Eleven Years Gone’.”

Again the venue was not sold out

Jon Carlsson reported on this gig for Melody Maker and was generally impressed – particularly Page’s solo. “The bow began glowing with an eerie green light that you could read a book by. It made Page look like a Crowleyite elf or perhaps Obe Wan Kanobe on exotic snuff. Page was then enclosed by a green pyramid of thin laser light, which on every fourth beat rotated through 90 degrees. It became faster in its rotations until it became a glowing green cone. Page stepped back into it and let the colour wash over him.”

The coverage of the Copenhagen shows gave UK fans a hint of what was to follow on August 4th…


NOSTALGIC RECOLLECTIONS FROM OUT IN THE FIELD (and from the Falconer Theatre, Copenhagen)

For the thousands of fans who converged on Hertfordshire over the first two weekends of August 1979, Led Zeppelin at Knebworth was more than a gig. It was an adventure.

For many young rock fans it was their first experience of a large festival gathering. They came from all over the UK and beyond to pay homage to a band whose legacy was already assured. Seeing though, was believing and the prospect of witnessing first hand how Led Zeppelin would fare in the post punk musical climate of the day proved irresistible. They faced long coach trips there and back, primitive camping facilities, poor sanitary conditions and long queues for food and drink, not to mention t.shirts, programmes, badges etc.

And finally after enduring a variety of somewhat mediocre support acts, they got what they came for.

Every one of the thousands in attendance returned with a story to tell.

44 of those stories are relayed here.

The common denominator of them all is the proud boast to say all these years on…



Nils Westerholt,

Roedby, Denmark.

‘’How was it then back in 79’?’’ ‘’What impression did it make on you?’’

‘’’I mean, you were only 15 ½ and it was your first full size rock concert, wasn’t it?’’

I was asked these questions and many more by Danish TV2 journalist Kasper Frische about a year and a half ago. He was doing a feature for the Danish TV2 News on October 1st 2007 and somehow he had traced me for an interview.  The subject was actually the ticket ballot for the Led Zeppelin O2 concert in London – Would I get tickets? (I was filmed several times during the day opening my e-mail account looking for a winner’s mail, but unfortunately without success), how were the chances of winning and how did I actually become interested in Led Zeppelin?

We started to talk about my first and only Led Zeppelin concert back in 1979 in Copenhagen, and as I talked memories came rolling along – starting as vague pictures in my mind and soon turning into a strange kind of 3D.

So freeze frame and let’s go back 43 years…

The Danish Connection:

The Copenhagen Warm Ups were arranged very quickly. Peter Grant contacted Arne Worsoe, the promoter here who had been dealing with Zeppelin since the first tour.  He was and still is a very well known and respected promoter and European tour arranger for stars like Liza Minnelli, Cliff Richard, Prince and many others.

Shaking Hands:

So what exactly happened?  Recently I contacted Arne Worsoe and he revealed how he came to be so important to Zeppelin in Scandinavia.

“I had worked with Peter Grant several times before.’’ he told me.  ‘’We never had a written contract or a piece of paper between us.  From the very first time back in 1968 it was just a chat and then he would offer me his enormous hand across the table and if I agreed we just shook hands and that was it.  I still remember his enormous hand almost surrounding half of my arm!  We did not exactly negotiate, actually he told me what was needed and how things should be and then he mentioned the fee.  So you can say it was always a kind of take it or leave it.  But I must say he was a most trustworthy and honest person, and also a very warm and friendly guy.  Of course I have heard of promoters and arrangers having problems with Grant, but to me he was always 100% reliable and very kind, and his word was even better than a contract of 80 pages which is the standard nowadays.

In 1979 I remember he phoned me around the beginning of July and asked for an arrangement within three weeks or so.  As usual I jumped on the next plane to London, and as usual we met at his office and had a nice talk during which practical matters were discussed. And then also as usual, he mentioned the fee and we shook hands. Nothing more to it – except for me having to arrange the concerts of the year back in Denmark!”

Worsoe also remembers picking up Peter Grant and the four band members at Copenhagen Airport in an enormous stretch-limo:

On the way to the hotel he asked me “Well, Arne, can you tell me how much is it we are going to make tonight?” I was not sure if he really had forgotten the exact deal or if he was just testing me, but anyway I mentioned the amount we had agreed a few weeks before in London when shaking hands and he just grinned, which meant something like “right my boy, that’s it”.

Concert Of The Year:

On Sunday July 8th 1979 the leading Danish newspaper Berlingske (a leading Danish newspaper) announced that the deal “with the biggest attraction of the music world” was sealed. The band had asked for the K.B. Hallen but it was not available for rock concerts in 1979 so instead it was announced they would play at the smaller venue, the Falkoner Theatre.

Again according to the paper, tickets and posters were printed quickly during the weekend to be ready to go on sale starting on Monday morning. Worsoe was quoted that it was the fastest arrangement of a major rock concert he had ever been involved in.

The Falkoner Theatre at Frederiksberg in Copenhagen was (and still is) a concert/congress hall with very good acoustics, having housed a lot of prominent stars over the years ranging from the likes of Sinatra and Liza Minnelli to Johnny Winter, Yes and The Firm.  At the time it was considered a very small place for Zep to perform in with a capacity of only 2,200 (all seated).  I also remember the staff as being extremely well dressed middle-aged people wearing nice black uniforms and caps.

Copenhagen Relations:

Copenhagen had been the launch pad for Led Zeppelin back in 1968.  It was no real surprise they should come here to warm up for their big Knebworth comeback.

All in all Led Zeppelin played in Denmark nine times during their career, most of them in Copenhagen. Alongside the strong relationship with Arne Worsoe, the free thinking attitude of the culture suited the band in more ways than one.  It was previously reported that the band had hired a club in Copenhagen during their stay to spend some hours enjoying the company of young blonde Scandinavian beauties.

Back in 1990 when Robert Plant played at Saga in Copenhagen with his band I remember Robert dedicating the song ‘Liar’s Dance’ to “a long gone Copenhagen love way back in the 1970’s”.

Thanks to my older brother I was well into Led Zeppelin. He wasn’t that big a music freak, but he introduced me to ’Whole Lotta Love’ through a set of headphones in the mid seventies.  Did I wake up?  Man I did!  What a sound and what a world of music.  Within a second Alvin Stardust and Bachman Turner Overdrive were out – Zep was in. From then on it was Led Zeppelin above every band for me.

My friends were mainly focused on the likes of Sweet and Slade, but their older brothers or sisters became a source to get cassette recordings of the early Zep LP’s. Then in 1976 I experienced the first release of a new album, buying Presence on cassette – a pink one!

By the end of the 1970’s Led Zeppelin was not as popular as they had been here.  It was a struggle to find out much information about them.  I was living in Roedby, a small town about a hundred miles south of Copenhagen which made it even more difficult to be updated on what was going on in the rock business.  Record releases and concert news were scarce.

I knew little about Zeppelin’s plans but then I saw it.  An advert – quite a small one, announcing that Led Zeppelin was going to play in Copenhagen on July 23rd and that tickets would be on sale the following day.

It was my summer holiday and I was working at the local woodyard.  For some reason I was not able to phone for tickets until the day after they went on sale.  “Sold out!” was the message – but very quickly they added a second show for July 24th. I ordered two tickets on the balcony at a price of 80 kr. each. Prices varied from 60 to 120 kr – about £6 to £12 at that time I guess.

Man I was happy!  I phoned my best friend whom I had converted to Zeppelin but he was not able to go. Eventually I persuaded Jesper, a guy from the wood yard to go with me.  He did not know much about Zep so I taped The Song Remains The Same album for him.  The next day he came to me and said he liked the music – the songs were good he said, but the one at the end of the tape was the best.  I thought he meant ‘Whole Lotta Love’ until he started to hum ‘Love Me Do’, then I realized that I had recorded the stuff on an old cassette tape containing some old Beatles songs, one of which I’d left on!

The next challenge was how to go to Copenhagen.  I had to convince my parents that going to Copenhagen on my own at the age of just fifteen was a perfect way to spend a summer’s Tuesday night.  Once that was negotiated we sorted out the journey by train.  We arrived at Copenhagen Central Station after a two hour train ride.  It was early afternoon and we had some hours to spare.  Before leaving the station we saw some cinema posters – The Song Remains The Same was being re-shown at the cinemas.  Amazingly I had not seen the film yet.  I thought about going but it was too much in one day.

We saw a large crowd near the Plaza hotel near the station.  We quickly caught on that this was where the band was staying.  Huge white limos were lined up in front of the hotel.  We thought we might see them coming out but nothing happened.  Later on we heard that they had slipped away through the back door.

On our way to Copenhagen we had read the papers and the reviews of the first concert the night before with headlines such as “Led Zeppelin – fiasco beyond everything” and “Scandal Zeppelin premiere”.  Reviewers were all very disappointed:

First of all the show had been delayed for more than two hours without any explanation and when the band finally came on stage and played it did not go that well.  The words ‘under-rehearsed’ and ‘rusty’ appeared in the reviews and the band were described as being “old men hiding their insecurity and lack of abilities behind an incredible high volume of sound”.

Another leading newspaper, Berlingske, had the headline “I beg your pardon?” meaning that the reviewer literally had lost some of his hearing temporarily and still had painful problems when writing the review!  The reviewer claimed that he simply had to leave after half an hour because of the volume, writing “they did not play loud, they did not play tremendously loud – they simply made a noise like breaking the speed of sound”. Although he admitted that “Jimmy Page momentarily showed his great abilities as a guitar player” but that he could not understand “why nobody had shown him how to turn down the amplifier”.

The reviewer also criticized the sound crew stating “they had not made a full scale test of sound and light systems so that the technical problems causing the delay could have been avoided”.

Night Flight:

The main problem was the massive technical problems that hit the show on the first night:

Some of the staff at the theatre told me more about the problems the night before.  Thirty people had been working hard for two days to set up the stage, PA and lighting systems.  Everything was designed and prepared for the forthcoming Knebworth shows and it was simply too big for the dimensions of the venue – and there was little time to check it all properly.

When everything was turned on for the first time the entire electricity supply at the Falkoner Centre simply broke down (or blew up).  No explanation was given to the audience who had to wait for two hours before the show was ready to take go.  Meanwhile the technicians fought with the massive problems.  Eventually they succeeded in getting a large mobile generator from Frederiksberg Municipality transported to the venue (actually a generator dimensioned to supply a medium sized province town with electricity in case of emergency).  So just after 10 pm they came on stage and before they started playing Robert apologized to the audience for being late and having problems, and then said “there is not a lot to say but quite a lot to play after eight years” The band finished about three hours later, just after 1 am.

So to the second night Tuesday July 24th.  After spending some hours on the sidewalk in front of the Plaza Hotel we headed for the venue.  Lots of people were hanging out, many of them drinking and some of them smoking some kind of sweet smelling grass too.  Old hippies, Hells Angels-looking guys, some nice birds and chicks.

So what was it going to be like?  A scandal like last night as reported in the papers?  Would they be delayed again tonight?  We had to catch the train back to Roedby at quarter to midnight otherwise we would have big problems – two fifteen year old guys stuck in the middle of Copenhagen with almost no money and worried parents at home.  We made plans for a quick departure from the concert

We found our seats on the balcony. We were surrounded by some big heavy guys wearing leather vests. One of them had a tattoo of a big airship on his back. Apart from some loud shouting and smoking grass they were harmless.  Their shouts would soon be totally overshadowed by a thunderstorm of heavy and (my god!) loud music.  The one thing the critics were totally right about was the volume at the concert.  It was tremendously loud, ideal to reach out at Knebworth I guess but not for an indoor 2,200 seater arena in Copenhagen!

It was so loud that those in the front moved back as they started playing. It was too loud for even the hard core fans to stay there and even back on the balcony I remember we held our hands to our ears during the most intensive parts of the concert.

Out On The Tiles:

8.00 pm The lights went out.  Heavy clapping.  Tension.  Awaiting.  And then, at 8.15 pm the strident sound of Jimmy’s thundering guitar intro to the ‘The Song Remains The Same’ tore the darkness.  It felt like we were thrown back in our seats by the sheer sound wave.  Then as the song reached the first break (by the start of the vocal parts) the dark theatre was enlightened by heavy spotlights.

The sound was incredibly loud but aside from a delay before ‘Ten Years Gone’ (Robert joking it will soon be eleven years gone) it went smoothly.  The brand new ‘Hot Dog’ was played at maximum volume in a heavy staccato-like energetic version. ‘In The Evening’ from the new album was also inspired.

The only time I felt the concert lost some momentum was during Jimmy’s long Dan Electro solo performing ‘White Summer’/’Black Mountain Side’.  I did actually go out to get a drink and when I got back Jimmy was still in the middle of this solo!

Jimmy’s bowing section, standing enclosed by this green laser pyramid as it started to rotate faster and faster was just amazing.

‘Stairway To Heaven’ closed the show and then we had a powerful version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as the encore.

Three hours later, at about 11.15pm we rushed out of the theatre after the last distorted tones of ‘Whole Lotta Love’’ had faded out. We got a cab then headed for the central station just in time to catch the last train back home.

We were both totally blown by this experience.  I had just seen (and heard) my favourite band of all time.  We discussed the concert again and again during the train ride home, how great and overwhelming everything had been that night.  Aside from ‘Rock And Roll’ we had everything and more than we could have wished for.

Back home I made frequent visits to the local record store to ask for the new album but it was some weeks before I was able to hear the likes of ‘In The Evening’ again.

Since 1979 I’ve seen bigger concerts like Pink Floyd in 1988 and 1995, more heartfelt performances such as Robert Plant in recent years…but never louder, never more overwhelming, breathtaking or defining to me than that night in Copenhagen 30 years ago.  And most important of all I can proudly say “I was there…’’

My Copenhagen …and Knebworth

Christer Fahlström

He looked pretty unexceptional, but he was the first person I’d met with a genuine interest in music and who knew which artists were good and which bands you should definitely see. His name was Ove Stridh and he became my best friend during our military service.

The year was 1978 and in our spare time we argued over the relative merits of tracks like “Midnight Rambler” and “Kashmir” emanating from the cheap little speakers that we had put up in our barracks.

We were both engaged as telegraphists and we were young and reckless. We would often broadcast Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones via shortwave radio even though radio silence was enforced on major military exercises. Ove and I were convinced that we had been placed in our particular military unit because we wouldn’t have fitted in an ordinary Swedish regiment. Ove was a music poet. I was a crazy drummer.

One evening Ove told me a remarkable story. Aged seventeen in 1975, he had travelled alone to England to fulfil his life’s ambition: to visit Knebworth to see, hear and experience Pink Floyd. At that time there were neither mobiles, YouTube, Ryan Air nor internet. It required a lot more work back then to get hold of tickets, collect information and get where you wanted to be. Now, 34 years later, I realise that this particular evening was the origin of the amazing Zeppelin expedition that would follow.

It was spring 1979. Ove and I had left the military and our paths had separated. We were reunited again by a common contact, Anders Lindman, who I had met at my new job at GDC (The Gramophone Company’s distribution centre) where we were usually packing mountains of Abba records for shipment to record stores. Anders was a close friend of Ove and they both came from the same small town in Jämtland. Through Anders I kept in contact with Ove who forwarded tips on places where you could order bootlegs. Ove built Stones and Floyd collections and I was trying to build my first Zeppelin collection.

Zeppelin had recently been in Stockholm to record “In Through the Out Door” in ABBA’s Polar Studios. I had tried to meet them at the Sheraton where they were staying. I brought their album “Presence” with me and was hoping to get it signed, but their road manager informed me through the reception that they had left the hotel just an hour earlier.

Soon after, a colleague at work told me about a rumour he’d heard that Zeppelin would return to Stockholm for a one-off concert. The rumor turned out to be wrong and instead, two gigs at the Falkoner Theatre in Copenhagen were announced as a warm-up for the band’s scheduled comeback concerts in Knebworth two weeks later.

I was not slow to act. Just a few days later I had tickets in my hand. I hadn’t managed to get tickets to the first show but I found tickets for the second one (which turned out to be the best of the two). Meanwhile, Ove and I had also got tickets for Knebworth and we had started planning our trip there: I to see Zeppelin and Ove to see Keith Richards perform with Ronnie Wood in their side project, The New Barbarians.

But first I was completely focused on Copenhagen to see Led Zeppelin, the Gods, for the first time.

Ten days before my first trip to England, I was in Copenhagen. I had spent my childhood in Malmö, Sweden and I knew Copenhagen pretty well, but this would be my first visit to the Falkoner Theatre. I spent the day at a seedy hotel behind the Grand Central Station together with Lars Norén, a friend of Ove who had tagged along.

We sat in our room and read the negative Danish press reviews of Zeppelin’s first concert the previous night, which had been seriously held up by a power cut. Many irate journalists – and press photographers who weren’t allowed to take photographs – had missed flights and trains back home thanks to the delayed start to the concert.

I just wanted to be able to take some secret pictures. I had to get me a pretty neat camera that wouldn’t take up too much space. Just a single lens, selection of light-sensitive slide film and choice of clothing so that the equipment could be hidden and smuggled. Throughout that spring I had been listening to their repertoire on the complete bootleg box from their US tour in Cleveland 1977 (“The Destroyer” Smilin’ Ears Records, Inc.) to get an insight into how their performances would be.

Finally we were there – Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen, Tuesday July 24th, 1979, about 15 metres from the stage. A third of the seats were empty but we were still around a thousand fans gathered. The concert was late in starting and the mood was pensive after the bad reviews.

Suddenly the silence was broken, “The Song Remains the Same” opened with a bang! Everything unleashed. Bonham sat flush with the audience and you could feel the pressure wave created by his right foot pounding the skin on his mighty Ludwig 24″ bass drum. I couldn’t have been more alive! Just to see Jimmy with his twin-necked 1971 Gibson EDS-1275 got the blood boiling in my veins. What pressure, what power! Now they are on stage with a vengeance!

At one point in the concert the lights were extinguished. It was pitch black so you could not discern whether the band had left the stage. Three red spotlights suddenly lit to show Jimmy Page sitting alone with his 1960 Danelectro. He started to play “White Summer/Black Mountain Side.”

It sounded wonderful and brought to mind the bootleg I had played throughout the spring. I had been completely blown away by the contrast when Jimmy’s controlled guitar playing on “Black Mountain Side” was followed by an explosive version of their brutal juggernaut track, “Kashmir.” Would it happen again? I gambled. When Jimmy was approaching the end of “Black Mountain Side,” I stood up on my seat seat, stretched out my arms to the sky and shouted as loud as I could: Kashmiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrr!

I had not finished my roar when we were dazzled by a dozen spotlights mounted on Bonham’s drum riser. It brought the rest of the band on stage again to the overwhelmingly heavy sound of Kashmir. Everyone else in the audience had now risen and was roaring with me. In the shockwave of the sheer volume coming from the stage it felt like we would be bent like trees in a hurricane. That transition, the incredible power – I will never forget that moment!

Two weeks later, I was with Ove and some friends of his on a giant campsite in Knebworth Park near the enclosure where Zeppelin would play the following day. When the gates were opened in the morning, the guards took our tickets and we managed to find a spot about 50 metres to the left of the big oak tree in front of the stage. Before us the ground sloped down toward the stage, which meant we had a better view than the crowd in front of us. I was just 20 years old. It was my first extended trip abroad and I was enjoying being in the midst of music fans from around the world.

The mood was friendly and people around us were offering us all kind of drugs – cocaine, grass, and even poppers they sniffed from small glass bottles. We politely declined but Ove countered by opening a tin of Swedish snus. This is a tobacco product similar to what the English call snuff, which is in a dry powder form and is sniffed up the nose. Snus however, is tobacco in a moist form which is placed under the upper lip.

A friend called Pepe and I each put a large pinch under our upper lip, to our neighbours’ great surprise.

“What is that drug?”, asked one of them.

“It’s called snus,” I replied, “it dates from the Viking Age.”

Word spread quickly about the Swedes with the mysterious drug. Suddenly there was a line of French, British and Americans eager to try this new high.

The hours rolled by and there were many fine performances on the main stage. But I was there to see Zeppelin and when the sun started to go down I knew it was time for Led Zeppelin to take the stage. Suddenly lights came up, and there they were on stage with Jimmy dressed in a blue silk shirt and white pants. Around his neck hung his legendary double-necked Gibson SG and he hit the first chord to “The Song Remains the Same” in the exactly the same way he did in Copenhagen. Later into the concert Robert Plant delivered two Presence racks: “Achilles Last Stand” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” both of which worked better on the big stage in Knebworth.

After over two hours, they completed their set with “Stairway to Heaven.” The lights went down but the fans continued to call for more. After more than 10 minutes of this, Robert Plant could be heard singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the stage and suddenly a spotlight picks him out. Behind him is John Bonham marching with a drum major’s stick. It was a great feeling to be singing along with nearly 200,000 others.

Suddenly there is the thunderous bang of a guitar cable being plugged into an already cranked-up amp and seconds later they launched into the best “Whole Lotta Love” I’ve ever heard followed by “Rock ’n’ Roll.” Two policeman who had stood near us throughout the concert could no longer hold back as they started dancing and waving helmets.

Ove nagged that we had to leave the area and I insisted they will surely play Heartbreaker at least. We walked away in the August darkness to avoid falling into the same chaotic situation when we arrived. Ove shrugged when I repeatedly tried to persuade him that we should stay. When we approached the gates a few minutes later, about 500 yards from the scene, I heard Jimmy Page start to play Heartbreaker. It was too late, and too many people to return. When I listened to Jimmy Page’s brilliant one hand solo in the middle of the song, I could not hold back the tears. How could I be so stupid? And my words to Ove were not very gracious.

What I did not know back then was that I would get another chance to see them.

This time in London. But that’s another story…

Christer Fahlström

More Knebworth memories to follow…

LedZep News

Here’s the latest Led ZepNews Update:

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

August 15 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in San Diego, California.
August 17 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Santa Barbara, California.
August 18 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Los Angeles, California.
August 20 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Stateline, Nevada.
August 21 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Berkeley, California.
August 23 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Napa, California.
August 25 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Bend, Oregon.
August 27 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Troutdale, Oregon.
August 28 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Redmond, Washington.
August 30 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Salt Lake City, Utah.
September 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Denver, Colorado.
September 3 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in London and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Grand Prairie, Texas.
September 4 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Austin, Texas and the Black Country Beats exhibition at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which includes Plant’s career, will close.
September 6 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
September 7 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Franklin, Tennessee.
September 9 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Boston, Massachusetts.
September 10 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
September 12 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in New York, New York.
September 14 – The winners of the 2022 Americana Honors & Awards will be announced. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are nominated in two categories.
September 27 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in Los Angeles.
October – The expanded edition of “Led Zeppelin – Five Glorious Nights” by Dave Lewis will be published.
October 19 – The French translation of “Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin” will be published.
October 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
October 27 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Cork, Ireland.
October 28 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Galway, Ireland.
October 30 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Sligo Live music festival in Sligo, Ireland.
October 31 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Dublin, Ireland.
November 2 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Wexford Spiegeltent Festival in Wexford, Ireland.
November 5 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Edinburgh, Scotland.
November 6 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Glasgow, Scotland.
November 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Aberdeen, Scotland.
November 9 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Perth, Scotland.
December 22 – The paperback edition of “Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin” by C.M Kushins will be published.
Early 2023 – “A Whole Lotta Music: Life To My Ears,” the memoirs of Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis, will be published.
2023 – The remastered and expanded 30th anniversary edition of “Coverdale–Page” will be released.

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

Led Zeppelin – Gallows Pole – Live in Vancouver (August 19th, 1971):

Previously uncirculated snippet from this 1971 show and very interesting indeed…the rarely played live Gallows Pole…

TBL Archive – It was 27 years ago:

TBL Archive: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: 1995 UK Tour:

Leading on from last week’s Page & Plant retro focus – here is Part Two of  the piece that originally ran in TBL 11: It focuses on an imaginary 4 CD compilation of the tour: CD 2 rounds up the 1995 Europe and UK leg. 


It was a glorious period as long time fans and those too young to have seen Zep in their prime revelled in what was all in name the Zeppelin reunion we had all hoped for. By the tour’s end it was evident that Jimmy Page was playing better than at any time during the previous fifteen years. Indeed for a project that began as a request to strum a few Zep tunes unledded style for MTV’s acoustic showcase, when played live night after night this reappraisal of the Zeppelin catalogue developed into a fully ledded experience. A trend that would continue when they returned to the live action in 1998.

With so many tapes at our disposal, there is ample scope to take a retrospective view of the tour. Having listened to hours of material drawn from the many tapes of the tour, I have compiled an imaginary four-CD compilation that takes in all the major developments along the way. It includes the one-off gems slotted in, the stand-out performances, the offbeat sequences and all the historic moments building into a true overview of the entire tour. It features 53 extracts drawn from 26 different locations spread over 28 shows; nearly five hours of musical Page and Plant highlights that capture the often barely believable events that thousands of fans were privileged to enjoy during those 370 days. So this is Page and Plant on tour together at last in 1995 and 1996. Proving conclusively that the evolution of Led Zeppelin continues…

CD2 – Europe/UK

Dancing Days’/’Down By The Seaside’ sequence

(Omnisports, Bercy, Paris, June 6 1995)

Page was on blistering form on the opening night of the European trek, in turn inspiring Robert to lift his performance to new heights. Two selections form the Bercy date: ‘Dancing Days’ had been included in the set in an all electric arrangement early on the US tour and then in an alternate arrangement with the Egyptians from mid May. It’s the latter version that Plant introduced in both French and English on this opening night in Europe. A wonderfully relaxed affair with the shrill Egyptian violins merging with Jimmy’s powerful riffing.

‘Down By The Seaside’ was a regular insert into the ‘Calling To You’ medley. It was presented in the new slower arrangement Plant had used to record the version with Tori Amos that appeared on the then just released Encomium tribute album. Plant’s vocal delivery in Paris was sheer perfection, adding all the original nuances (“Yes she will, yes she will”) to a song that was enjoying renewed recognition during this period.

‘In The Evening’

(Glastonbury Festival, June 25 1995)

Into the open air for a memorable performance at the Glastonbury Festival. Their appearance in the veterans slot earned them a healthy respect from the vast crowd present and the thousands watching the live Channel 4 coverage. This latter day Zep standard had already established itself as one of the tours favourites. In the early evening sun it shone as brightly as ever, capturing that dramatic intro with Plant’s vocals echoing across the fields, Page manically stringbending over the Stratocaster and the Pharaohs dancing with delight behind them.

The Crunge’ sequence

(SECC Arena, Glasgow, July 12 1995)

It was evident on the Europe tour how much more relaxed the pair had become since the tensions during the early part of the US tour. This lighter mood spilled over into moments such as this occasion in Glasgow. When the double neck guitar needed tuning before ‘The Song Remains The Same’, Jimmy was left with no instrument. This inspired Plant to fill the void by leading Michael and Charlie through a spontaneous version of ‘The Crunge’. The ad-libbed lyrics found Plant humourously sniping at Jimmy’s guitar tech Lionel: “I can see Lionel wages going out of the window… it’s not like working for The Searchers and it’s not like working for The Shadows…”.

Since I’ve Been Loving You’

(Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, July 13 1995)

Ten years on from Live Aid another special night. Sheffield was an outstanding show, made all the more impressive by a remarkable delivery of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’. On the spur of the moment Plant began inserting verses from the then unplayed Presence Zep track ‘Tea For One’. It created a unique hybrid delivery of two of their most notable custom blues compositions.

‘Whole Lotta Love’

(St Austell Coliseum, Carylon Bay St Austell, July 15 1995)

A rare medley-less delivery of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ was a surprise set opener for this date at, as it was billed “The entertainment centre of the west”. A throwback to the version Zeppelin first employed back in 1970, this new 1995 version really packed a punch with Page exhorting the classic riff from his new sparkle red Transperformer Gibson guitar.

‘Blue Jean Bop’/’Black Dog’

(St. Austell Coliseum, July 15 1995)

The intimate confines of the St Austell Coliseum found them in playful mood on a hot Saturday night. From the early US dates it became a nightly ritual for Page to warm up ‘Black Dog’ with a random run of teasing riffs including moments from the likes of ‘In My Time of Dying’ and ‘Out On The Tiles’. On this occasion it went one step further as Plant kicked them into an ad-hoc delivery of Gene Vincent’s ‘Blue Jean Bop’ that collapsed playfully under Michael Lee’s attempt to bring in the proper ‘Black Dog’ riff. This prompted a smiling Page to apologise for the breakdown on mike. A fully fledged ‘Black Dog’ followed – another tour highlight as Plant tossed away his inibitions, ripped the mike off the stand and rocked out in a manner reminiscent of the golden age.

Egyptian Intro’/’Celebration Day’

(The Point, Dublin, July 20 1995)

Robin Williamson’s Tales Of Bron poem had by now been replaced by an Egyptian music intro tape that began serenely and then built up the drama, usually accompanied by the arrival of a silhouetted Page dancing along to the tempo. As an opener for this Dublin date they pulled out a fast and furious rendition of the Zep III rocker ‘Celebration Day’ (rarely played on the early US tour) indicating this might be a night of surprises.

‘Custard Pie’

(The Point, Dublin, July 20 1995)

… And surprises there were. ‘Custard Pie’ – never performed live by Zeppelin – was wheeled out in an arrangement similar to the one Jimmy played on the Outrider tour. Page lashed out wah wah runs in between the muscular drive of Michael Lee’s drumming, and Plant threw in a spirited harmonica solo and at the close while Page inserted a riff from ‘The Ocean’. It’s revival prompted Plant to inform the crowd afterwards “We’re gonna try some different things tonight. That was the first different thing. I don’t think we’ve played that for 17… 18… 20… 27,000 years!”

‘The Battle Of Evermore’

(NEC, Birmingham, July 23 1995)

This esoteric version of ‘The Battle Of Evermore’ was a highlight of the MTV Unledded filming and finally made its presence felt live again during the night of surprises in Dublin. It was retained for the Birmingham and London gigs. This gave Plant the opportunity to duet with Najma Achtar who added a suitably exotic edge to the familiar Zep IV song. The pair’s closing “Ah ah ha” refrain smouldered above Page’s triple-neck mandolin.

‘Thank You’/’Going To California’

(Wembley Arena, London, July 26 1995)

From its introduction at the beginning of the MTV filming and its frequent inclusion on the tour ‘Thank You’ had developed into something of a signature tune for the whole Page Plant reunion. There were many great deliveries of the song along the way (Meadowlands, San Jose and Paris to name but three), but there was something almost spiritual on the final night of the UK tour. Perhaps it was the presence of Peter Grant, or the knowing that they would not be performing it again for some time. Whatever it was, the commitment of both Page and Plant on this outing was more than evident. Page lurched magnificently into the solo as Plant passionateley ad-libbed the final lines finally echoing out the final “I wanna thank you…” A mesmerising performance.

‘Going To California’ was another new addition to the final part of the UK leg. A delicate rendering made all the more so with the aid of a subtle orchestral string backing.

Candy Store Rock’ sequence

(Wembley Arena, London, July 26 1995)

A final UK soundbite incorporating Plant’s acknowledgement of Peter Grant’s presence (“And a special thank you Bill Curbishley and Mr Peter Grant who is with us tonight”), leading into the pairs playful skit around ‘Candy Store Rock’ preceding the encore of ‘Black Dog’. It signalled the end of the 1995 UK tour.

Dave Lewis – first published in TBL 12 

Part 3 to follow…

TBL Archive – Ten Years Gone…

John Paul Jones with Minibus Pimps – Cafe OTO London Friday July 13th 2012

John Paul Jones electronic noise venture The Minibus Pimps made their live UK debut on Friday at the Café OTO in Dalson North London. This arrangement sees him working in collaboration with Norwegian producer/musician Helge Sten a founder member of Supersilent who John has also been involved in.

We arrived at the venue around 7.30 pm and there was already a steady queue building. The venue is an open plan café with seating spread around the performance area. The café has built up a strong reputation as one of the key venues in presenting avant- garde jazz – to the extent that it has it’s on spin off label issuing vinyl albums of some of the acts who appear there.

The audience was predominately avant- garde jazz music enthusiasts  –with a few Zep/JPJ fans mingling in. The pattern for the evening was quickly established by the first act on -Sebastian Lexer on piano with Steve Noble on drums.

They proceeded to launch into a lengthy opus that had Sebastian creating noises out of the open top grand piano and Steve leading the way with what I can only describe as a bizarre approach to a drum solo.This had him creating all manner of percussive noises deploying various symbol effects and the use of brush sticks and conventional drum sticks. It may not have been Moby Dick but it did have a compelling intensity – as the piece progressed I found myself somewhat transfixed as to what percussive effects Steve was going to come up with next.

Suffice to say the avant- garde crowd lapped it up. As did one John Paul Jones who had been watching attentively throughout.

I had a chat with John before he set up with Helge. Affable as ever, he ran through his current projects which includes ongoing work on his  Ghost Sonata opera, an upcoming date with Seasick Steve in Switzerland supporting ZZ Top and dates with Supersilent – including a UK visit in the late autumn. ‘’I just keep on playing as required!’’ he laughed – I told him I had seen Robert the previous night and John was curious to know which Zeppelin number had been performed. I also informed him that news was coming through that Jimmy was at the Hard Rock Calling Hyde Park event.

Then it was time to set up for the Minibus Pimps UK debut. Helge Sten was situated to the right of John’s set up which included a lap top and keypad plus various effects pedals. The pair then drifted off into their own little world.

Photos Dave Lewis for TBL

Their 50 minute untitled improvisational piece began with John on the Manson ten string bass strumming against Helge’s pastral guitar and electronic effects. It proceeded to run through various stages of spontaneity, drifting into a drone like sequence that at various points had shades of the soundscape effect of Jimmy’s Lucifer Rising. When John picked up an electric violin and bowed against Helge’s effects, it was hard not to think back to the similar noises created on many a live version of Dazed And Confused.

Photo Gary Foy for TBL

That was about as far as any Zep influence went as the piece picked up pace. John actually had technical problems with the violin pedal effect (’’It ran out of juice!’’ he told me afterwards), but calmly brushed such problems aside and returned to the bass. At one point he held the bass up to his ear in that classic Jet Harris 1960s bass guitar pose.

Eventually the piece drifted towards a climax as the intensity between the two musicians increased –both of them vying for harmonic structural control. Then it was over – John and Helge took their bows to a rapturous reception.

Photos Richard Grubb for TBL

Afterwards, John chatted to various fans happy to answer a few tech questions that came his way. I had a quick chat with his wife Mo and daughter. With the rain thundering down outside and two trains to connect with, it was time to go.

We left the bassist in the best band of all time to carefully unplug and pack away his gear. ‘’Thank you so much for coming along to this night of noisy music’’ he said to us as we made our fond farewells.

Thank YOU Mr Jones for another captivating evening. Yes it was all very avant- garde but in the hands of John Paul Jones and Helge Sten, it all seem to make perfect sense.

Photo Dave Lewis for TBL

Many thanks to Adrian Molloy and hi to Tony Crowley, Michael and his lady, Kirk Peterson, Richard G, Will and Raff from Boot Led Zep.

DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday July 22:

Latest DL 8 Track Stereo Cartridge acquisition
Original 1973 UK Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy 8 track stereo cartridge – with re sequenced track listing to accommodate the tape length channels – you gotta love 8 track stereo cartridges…

Friday July 22:

Recent DL vinyl LP record acquisitions…
At the always excellent Slide Record shop I was well pleased to come away with this crop of bargains – £1 apiece? I’ll take them!
This lot should keep me going while the shop is shut until Saturday July 30 with Nerys and Warren and family on holiday – have a great time folks!



Saturday July 23:

All quiet this morning by the Main Stage set up for the Bedford River Festival this weekend – it will be very busy later …

Saturday July 23:


All quiet by the Bedford Suspension Bridge this morning in this unique view from one of the temporary bridges set up for this weekend’s Bedford River Festival …it will of course be very busy later …

Saturday July 23:



Saturday is platterday..some early morning Déjà vu…always brilliant…

Saturday July 23:

It was great to catch Anita Gabrielle’s set at the Bedford Fringe Festival event in the Quarry Garden Stage earlier this afternoon.
When I was writing a weekly local pop column for the Beds Citizen in the mid 1980s Anita was part of an all girl group Zenana.
They were an excellent live act and I loved seeing them and hoped they would make it –as can be seen by these vintage reports, alas they did not get the breaks they deserved
Fast forward some 32 years and recently I was back in touch with Anita Gabrielle and we swapped some lovely catch up messages.
It was therefore a joy to attend her afternoon set accompanied by Ben Garraway and Maria Davenport-King –and all in aid of Parkinson’s UK and Friends of Refugees.
Anita performed such heartfelt thoughtful reflective songs – the sentiments of her song Best Friends certainly applied to myself and the good lady Janet who could not make it along – making it even more poignant for me.
It was the first time I had seen Anita sing live for over 30 years and her talent shone brightly through as it did back in the 1980s – it was also great to see Zenana’s ex PR lady Steph who I dealt with a lot back in the day.
All in all a wonderfully life affirming afternoon away from the stress …
Monday July 24:
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Northampton based Sarpa Salpa at the Bedford River Festival Main Stage on Saturday afternoon.
Great crowd reaction and atmosphere for the indie rockers who have had much acclaim from the likes of BBC 6 DJ Steve Lamacq and more…

Monday July 24:


After seeing those clips of Joni at the Newport Folk Festival – on the player it has to be the 1969 Clouds album…wonderful then – wonderful now…

Tuesday July 26:

Top 10 best Mick Jagger performances

One of mine for the Classic Rock website – or course it’s impossible to narrow it down to just ten and everybody has their own favourites – here’s some of mine – Happy Birthday Mick…

Tuesday July 26:

Celebrating Mick Jagger’s Birthday here – not only are The Rolling Stones the greatest functioning rock’n’roll band in the world today, they are also one of the the greatest singles band in the world and here’s some Rolling Stones 45 RPM selections from the DL collection….Happy Birthday Mick…

Update here:

A tricky time here at the moment with one thing and another and like many others recently, Janet has had Covid this past few days and has been laid low – she is coming out of it now thankfully.

Busy on various things here – once again it was a delight to watch the England Lioness’s beat Sweden 4-0 on Tuesday to make the final of the Euros -here’s hoping they can go one step further and overcome Germany in Sunday’s final.

Much needed musical inspiration has come from the above and these gems:

The Who – Whos Next LP

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III LP

Carole King – Tapestry CD

Joni Mitchell – Hissing Of Summer Lawns LP

Carly Simon – No Secrets LP

Frank Sinatra – Watertown CD reissue

Dave  Lewis – July 28  2022

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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