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In The Evening on that Saturday Blind Date

3 August 2007 1,872 views No Comment

There are certain dates in my calendar year that instantly inspire a host of memories and August 4 is unsurprisingly one of them. The fact that this year the date occurs on a Saturday adds yet more poignancy. For it was all of 28 years ago today that I awoke from a couple of hours sleep in a vast field just outside Stevenage knowing that before the day was out I would see Led Zeppelin performing live in front of my very eyes.

Me and over 100,00 others.

I’m sure I wont be the only one pouring over that footage this weekend marveling again at that very special (as Plant acknowledged) blind date.
Watching that August 4 show with all the emotion, reveals that for all the nerves and uncertainty there was one man who’s sheer exuberance carried the whole performance. That man was Robert Plant.

For me Knebworth was his triumph.

“I told Pagey one or two people would be here … Well I can’t tell you how it feels. You’ve got a good idea anyway’’
From his opening statement through to the final “Thanks for eleven years”, Robert brought a humility and on-stage reverence to the proceedings that drew everyone of the thousands in attendance into their world.
Much more that a mere gig, this was a reconciliation of the unique relationship Led Zeppelin had with their audience.

It was Robert Plant who led that rapport and as the set progressed and his own confidence grew, he in turn inspired his fellow band mates to rise to the occasion – witness what I considered to be the outstanding performance at Knebworth at the time and still do all these years later.
For it wasn’t Stairway, Achilles or Kashmir that stood out (good as they were) on the night of August 4 but a completely new song unheard in the UK that best illustrated the state of play.
In The Evening with it’s dramatic opening, cascading riffs and Plant pleadings, proved conclusively that Led Zeppelin in 1979 could be every bit as inspiring as they had been in 1969.

Seeing was believing that day and it still is.

The unveiling of the news of the Zep autumn archive releases has been a cause for much celebration here – it’s a mouth-watering prospect and one that I am eagerly looking forward to chronicling in the end of year Tight But Loose magazine. Before that, there’s issue 18 to sign off and present to you before the summer is out.

More info on what you can expect to see in that issue will follow soon.

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