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DL at 50 : 50 Gigs at 50

1 January 2007 2,167 views No Comment

This is a round up of the 50 most memorable gigs I’ve been lucky enough to attend over the years. Unsurprisingly the majority are Zeppelin related as that, particularly in the last few years has been my main focus of my live thrills. And what thrills they have been.

Looking over the list I really have enjoyed some amazing live performances – forgive the indulgence as I recall the circumstances behind these 50 very special occasions.

1: THE DAVE CLARK FIVE
GRANADA BEDFORD : APRIL 1964
Me, my bruv John and my Mum witnessed this package tour show at the local cinema that also included The Kinks and The Hollies. I was drums mad hence the Dave Clark connection.I even had a drum kit made out of tin cans in our back garden that I annoyed the neighbours with.

2: LED ZEPPELIN
EMPIRE POOL WEMBLEY : NOVEMBER 1971
I’d come back to music in early 1969 and by the end of the year it was The Rolling Stones/Beatles/Zep that ruled. By the end of 1970 and the arrival of Led Zep 3, there was no doubt who was now number one band now in my book. A year later the bruv took me to this little jambouree.Things were never the same in our house after that!

3: LED ZEPPELIN
ALEXANDRA PALACE LONDON : DECEMBER 1972
Ally Pally – great show but not such great sound. We thought we had seats – alas no: it was down on the floor amongst the great coats, dope and jesus freaks. A great awakening for this 16 year old!

4: THE ROLLING STONES
EMPIRE POOL WEMBLEY : SEPTEMBER 1973
I attended the afternoon show with my late brother in law (big bruv now had a girlfriend and soon to be wife: Sally you got the gigs now!). Superb show – they did a few tracks from the soon to be relased Goats Head Soup. Bought a very cool t-shirt outside which I wore for years.

5: BLACK OAK ARKANSAS
RAINBOW THEATRE LONDON : FEBRUARY 1975
Went with the then soon to be girlfriend – it was her idea! It was the same evening that the Whistle Test aired a two track preview of Physical Graffiti. Bit of a dilemma but I taped it and wizzed off to the Rainbow for a memorable evening with Jim Dandy and co. Hey I was a big boy now though I still managed to lose my house key and had to get my dad out of bed at 2.30am. Not good!

6: PRETTY THINGS / STATUS QUO
GAUMENT IPSWICH : MAY 1975
Attended this show on the Tuesday in the middle of the Earls Court gigs. An invitation by the Warners record rep who called on our store. Obviously I went along for the Swan Song recording artistes and not the Quo – though they were fairly good too!

7: LED ZEPPELIN
EARLS COURT LONDON : MAY 17, 18 & 23 1975
I’ll bump these three together. I’ve said all there is to say about these amazing gigs over the years…but that won’t stop me proclaiming them the best set of shows they ever played yet again!

8: LED ZEPPELIN
EARLS COURT LONDON : MAY 24 1975
As good as it ever got…

9: LED ZEPPELIN
EARLS COURT LONDON : MAY 25 1975
And this night wasn’t bad either..and I met them all backstage later. Life was very good indeed!

10: THE WHO
WEMBLEY EMPIRE POOL : OCTOBER 1975
Intense show – I was having girlfriend fall out and songs such as Dreaming From The WaIst and However Much I Booze really hit home on a cold autumn night.

11:THE ROLLING STONES
EARLS COURT LONDON : MAY 1976
The then hottest ticket in town – I got lucky in the male order stakes. Jagger at his absolute prime. Their entry with the petal stage unfolding was the height of rock theatre.

12: THE WHO
CHARLTON FOOTBALL GROUND LONDON : MAY 1976
Boy did it rain..but that was all forgotten when The Who slipped all over the soaking stage kicked into Substitute and delivered a simply stunning set.

13: QUEEN
HYDE PARK LONDON : SEPTEMBER 1976
A free concert in the park. Our gang all went down in a mini bus. Great weather for September and a very good show just as their career was going ballistic with Bo Rhap etc.

14: TELEVISION
HAMMERSMITH ODEON LONDON : MAY 1977
Right in the middle of the summer of punk – biggest cheer was when the DJ played the Sex Pistols God Save The Queen. I’d loved the album and they more than delivered on this balmy summer night.

15: WINDOW
MARQUEE CLUB LONDON : MARCH 1978
Memorable small gig from a band my mate Dec followed. They had one single on Rod’s Riva label. Very charismatic singer. Historic venue too of course.

16: THE WHO
SHEPPERTON STUDIOS SHEPPERTON : MAY 1978
The stuff that rock’n’roll dreams are made of. Got on this through a mate of Dec’s. All ferried out from London -followed by food and wine and then into the soundstage for an afternoon with The Who. I was er… quite excited – the results of which you can see from six different angles on the Kids Are Alright DVD – as I make my leap of faith on to the stage at the end of Wont Get Fooled Again. Crazy days!

17: BOB DYLAN
BLACKBUSH AERODROME : JULY 1978
This was very big deal at the time a massive open air show. This was also a last swan song for the then girlfriend and me. The Times They Are A Changin’ sang Bob as fires were lit all around – and he wasn’t far wrong.

18: ROD STEWART
OLYMPIA LONDON : DECEMBER 1978
The era of the lepard skin trousers and ‘’D’ya Think I’m Sexy’’. Nontheless a terrific party night near Christmas.

19: PETE TOWNSHEND
RAINBOW THEATRE LONDON : JULY 1979
Ths would be in my top five gigs. A simply fantastic Friday night benefit show. Pete with an ad-hoc line up played with a fiery devotion. We were soaked in sweat down the front. So much so I promptly jumped in the fountain in the foyer on the way out.

20: LED ZEPPELIN
KENBWORTH : AUGUST 4 & AUGUST 11 1979
August 4 was definitely the most emotional gig I ever saw. Not to mention the best blind date as Plant put . And all back the next week for more. Not quite as intense but still pretty amazing. The 1980’s were ready to commence.

21: LED ZEPPELIN
SPORTHALLE COLOGNE : JUNE 1980
I’d been a part of over 150,000 at Knebworth – six months later in what I’d put down to a combination of unflagging enthusiasm and good luck, I found myself right under the stage looking up at Jimmy as close as could be as he stepped on the wah wah for “Train Kept A Rollin’’. The rejuvenation was on. And I was right there in the midst of it.

22: LED ZEPPELIN
FESTHALLE FRANKFURT : JUNE 1980
I watched this side of the stage next to Peter Grant and Ahmet Ertugen. Took a picture of them all for Harvey Godlsmith’s photo album. Life was er.. pretty extraordinary at this time…

23: LED ZEPPELIN
ESSTADION MANNHEIM : JULY 1980
Two days under canvas on tour with Led Zeppelin. Limo to the first gig with roadie Ray Thomas. For a brief few days I experienced what it was like living on the inside with the greatest band on the planet.

24: LED ZEPPELIN
OLYMPIAHALLE MUNICH : JULY 1980
The penultimate gig and my last in Europe. A bigger stage … a bigger show. America beckoned but sadly it was not to be.

25: THE JAM
RAINBOW THEATRE LONDON : NOVEMBER1980
Weller and co at the peak of the powers.

26: THE HONEYDRIPPERS
PORTERHOUSE RETFORD : MAY 1981
A new beginning. I saw Robert come in for the soundcheck and it was incredible the transformation he had undergone. For him there was no Led anything and these were very different times to what had gone before. Cooking show though, with the singer totally immersed in it all.

27: ROBERT PLANT
THE TUBE TYNE TEES TV NEWCASTLE : JUNE 1983
It was very exciting to be part of this as my mailing list was used to assemble an audience. Watching the band warm up a the soundcheck with Pledge Pin remains an unforgettable moment – especially as it was the good lady Janet’s first (and by no means last) Zep related event. The actual recording was pulled by Robert from screening although I couldn’t see too mcuh wrong with it.

28: JIMMY PAGE
ARMS ROYAL ALBERT HALL LONDON : SEPTEMBER 1983
The second most emotional gig I’ve ever seen. Jimmy’s delivery of Stairway was just breathtaking and very moving.

29: ROBERT PLANT
UNIVERSITY LEICESTER : JANUARY 1988
Another rebirth. This was a low key warm up date at a very small venue and the first time I saw him perform Zeppelin numbers. At last we could happily reconcile the past with the present. Right down the front – sweatingly brilliant.

30: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL GROUND BIRMINGHAM : JUNE 1988
Tunnel of Love tour – very few artists could make this vast football ground seem to intimate. A masterful performance.

31: MICHAEL JACKSON
WEMBLEY STADIUM : AUGUST 1988
Another mega gig – forget all the hype and accusations – there was a time when Jackson was the outstanding entertainer of his generation. It was an absolute delight to be part of this occasion – little did my wife and I realise as we watched spellbound as the man delivered a peerless Human Nature, that years later our son would rate this as one of his favourite songs! Like The Beatles Jacko has been a constant presence – through retail events at work, Thriller being the number one album when we got married, Adam’s liking of the classic tracks. Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, Black & White … Those songs still stand up supreme.

32: MIDNIGHT BLUE
THE CIVIC THEATRE BEDFORD : AUGUST 1989
Great melodic rock band with local connections who should have made it big. They had an infectious batch of songs. I actually co promted this show with Tom Locke in aid of Great Ormond Street. The lead singer the charismatic Doogie White went on to be in a line up of Rainbow.

33: ROBERT PLANT
HAMMERSMITH ODEON LONDON : JUNE 1990
The only time i saw him upstaged. Not even the master could match the events of the afternoon when I witnessed the birth of my daughter! in hindsight I should never have been at this show but hey i wanted to tell the world I was a Dad!

34: ROBERT PLANT / JIMMY PAGE
SILVER CLEF KNEBWORTH : JUNE 1990
Mr Foy and myself waded down amongst the Cliff Richard fans to witness this invigorating reunion. Wearing and tearing indeed. The pair should have got back together the next week. It took another four years.

35: DEBBIE BONHAM BAND
LED ZEPPELIN CONVENTION LONDON : MAY 1992
This afternoon set at the end of an exhausting and often fraught weekend for me was an incredibly emotional finale. Up on stage we had a virtual full Bonham family including Zoe, Johns mum Joan,the late Mick etc. When Debbie performed Old Hyde Farm there was barely a dry eye in the place. The relief and emotion afterwards was something very special.

36: FATE OF NATIONS
KINGS HEAD FULHAM LONDON : MAY 1993
Got a tip off that this was going to be a warm up for Robert and his new line up. The name name was a givaway. Brillaint night as I found myself perched on the monitors as close as you can get. This was also one of the first in a long line of Tight But Loose meets (Hi Krys!). We came, we saw – we drank! A trend that would continue.

37: JIMMY PAGE / ROBERT PLANT
UNLEDDED LONDON STUDIOS LONDON : AUGUST 1994
Unbeleivable….the evolution of Led Zeppelin finally continued and how privileged I was to see it all unfold over two triumphant evenings. However,being involved in the ticket distribution was very fraught but I did my best for everyone honest.

38: JIMMY PAGE / ROBERT PLANT
MEADOWLANDS NEW JERSEY : APRIL 1995
To the US of A. An ambition completed. The powers that be secured me and the boy Foy second row tickets for this second night. When they walked on and kicked into Thank You right in front of us in front of 18,000 fantatical fans…well that was some moment I can tell you.

39: ROBERT PLANT / JIMMY PAGE
COLISEUM ST AUSTELL : JULY 1995
The entertainment centre of the west – a bizarre venue but fantastic gig – they opened with Whole Lotta Love. An outstanding memory of this crazy period. 8 shows in 14 days and everyone a party night in some pub or other. This really was Tight But Loose comes alive. A wonderful period.

40: JIMMY PAGE / ROBERT PLANT
BOSTANCI CENTRE ISTANBUL : MARCH 1998
Another extraordinary travelogue. We must have been stark raving mad to go all this way – but when they stomped on and swung into Wanton Song it all seemed worth it. However some very trying off stage incidents made it more than memorable for me. Unintentionally hijacking the tour bus wasn’t a bright move. A story for my memoirs.

41: JIMMY PAGE / ROBERT PLANT
SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE / TOP OF THE POPS /
TFI FRIDAY LONDON : MARCH 1998
One of the most amazing weeks since Earls Court. Three nights in their company. Most high? Most definitely.

42: JIMMY PAGE / ROBERT PLANT
ULU LONDON : OCTOBER 1998
Another golden night – A pretty momentous Zep related day as I did a phone interview with JPJ in the morning and saw the fab two at this special competition winners show at night. Hey and they did Night Flight live!

43: PRIORY OF BRION
MOIRA ASHBY LEICSTERSHIRE : OCTOBER 1999
Another thrill of the chase….this time ensconsed in a taxi with Leicester musician Kevin Hewick as we tried to find this place in the middle of Leicestershire on a Halloween Sunday afternoon. We made it with minutes to spare. Plant in a tent – I’d now seen it all now surely!

44: PRIORY OF BRION
RED LION KINGS HEATH BIRMINGHAM : NOVEMBER 1999
Er not quite… this was like witnessing Plant perform in your front room or in this case the lounge bar of a tiny pub. As intimate as you could get and a zillion light years away from Knebworth.

45: SIMPLY LED
ULSTER HALL BELFAST : MARCH 2001
Now I’ve never been too big on Zep tribute bands – no offence intended – the many who tread the boards on the road night after night do a fine job – but it’s not been a source of big entertainment for me. This however was different – a very novel idea to stage a concert in Belfast at the very venue Zep performed 30 years to the day. The atmosphere was electric,the people of Belfast so friendly all in all it was a blast. Thank you Eddie the late Paul and co for some great memories.

46: JOHN PAUL JONES / JULIE FELIX
BORDERS BOOKSHOP LONDON : APRIL 2002
A wonderfully relaxed early evening in the company of Ms Felix and the man with the mandolin Mr John Paul Jones. Backstage beforehand JPJ playfully ran through a Led Zep medley on the aforementioned instrument with just me for an audience. Shivers up the spine.

47: ROBERT PLANT
HAMMERSMITH ODEON LONDON : OCTOBER 2002
Another Tight But Loose comes alive occasion. We had priority tickets via the promoters – the whole front block was full of Tight But Loose readers / friends. As we all leaned on the stage during the Celebration Day encore I looked along and saw so many Tight but Loose crew memebers. A proud occasion.

48: THE ROLLING STONES
TWICKENHAM STADIUM LONDON : SEPTEMBER 2003
Scored a £150 ticket through then mag designer Mike Warry which saw us in the very front bock. It was a real thrill to be so close to Mick, Keef and Woody. And boy they can still cut it on this evidence.

49: THE WHO
FORUM LONDON : MARCH 2004
Great to be back in the firing line of Roger and Pete at this warm up show. Despite the advancing years they too still hold the power. Great night out in the company of Mr Linwood and his brother – a mad keen Who fan.

50: ROBERT PLANT
CORNBURY FESTIVAL OXFORDHSIRE : JULY 2006
And finally … as I approached the big 50 it was great to feel like a real fan again in front of the man on a summers evening in Oxfordshshire. The effect was enough to have me excitedly burbling out phrases such as “Awesome” and “Still the master”… something I’ve been well prone to do at the previous 49 gigs listed here!

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