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JIMMY PAGE & ROBERT PLANT 1995/LZ NEWS/SEATTLE 77 – IT WAS 46 YEARS AGO/ROBERT PLANT AND SSS LONDON FORUM & JPJ MINIBUS PIMPS CAFE OTO 11 YEARS GONE/NICK DRAKE THE LIFE REVIEW/LOVE REVISITED REVIEW/ DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

19 July 2023 1,424 views 4 Comments

TBL Archive – Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – UK tour 1995 – it was 28 years ago…

28 years ago this week a fair few of you reading this were tearing up and down the highways and byways of the UK to catch the long awaited on stage return of   Jimmy Page & Robert Plant.

It was incredibly exciting few days -I was lucky enough to catch the dates in Glasgow, Sheffield, St Austell, Poole and two nights in Birmingham and London. Along the way there was many a TBL meet in pubs and hotel bars as we all came out to celebrate.

So to mark this anniversary here’s a piece that I ran in the TBL mag and subsequently my Celebration II The Tight but Loose Files book…

So let’s turn the clock back 28 years….this first extract takes the story up to the UK tour – with part 2 to follow next time..

With the MTV film in the can, the next logical move was to take the show out on the road, and manager Bill Curbishley drew up an ambitious itinerary that would commence in America early in 1995.

The pair decided to extend the formula used for the MTV shows, employing the Egyptian string and percussion ensemble led by Hossam Ramzy and dubbed The Egyptian Pharaohs. Under the direction of Ed Shearmur they enlisted the assistance of local orchestras in each area they performed, thus enabling them to repeat the successful formula used for the Unledded filming which allowed fresh interpretations of the Zeppelin catalogue.

Just prior to the tour opening in February, Page and Plant reunited with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for an appearance at New York’s Waldorf hotel to accept Led Zeppelin’s induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame. Jonesy’s comment – “Thanks for my friends for remembering my phone number” – during his speech was a curt acknowledgement of his displeasure at being ignored.

Rehearsals for the Page Plant tour took place in London, and a preview of what was in store occurred when the pair did a live link up for the American TV Awards, performing ‘Black Dog’.

In early April I was lucky enough to catch their two day stint at the Meadowlands Arena in America. The second night where they strolled on to the stage and moved into ‘Thank You’ remains a defining memory. Further shows in Paris, Glasgow, Sheffield, St Austell, Poole, Birmingham and London proved conclusively that despite their advancing years the duo’s ability to recreate the power and grace of Zeppelin was without question.

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.

The TBL coverage of the tour was extensive. Issue 11 included a gig by gig summary aided by the input of many first hand views. For the next issue I was able to reflect on the entire 115 dates coming up with the best 53 performances that might form a definitive retrospective view of this long awaited comeback. In keeping with the imaginary Led Zeppelin Live chronological live album concept explored in A Celebration, I’ve reproduced the entire text of the Page Plant World tour overview providing a clear focus on one of their most prolific periods of the post Zep era.

THE EVOLOUTION OF LED ZEPPELIN CONTINUES..

THE PAGE PLANT 1995/6 WORLD TOUR IN RETROSPECT

The Page Plant 1995/6 world tour finally came to an end on March 1, 1996, with the 115th date of a tour that spanned 370 days. The entire trek covered five continents and 19 countries and included nearly 2,000 individual song performances.

After a 15 year hiatus it was at last an opportunity for fans old and new to witness first hand the musical chemistry that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant still maintain. A chemistry that was at the forefront of their achievements within Led Zeppelin

It was a unanimous success – not least because of the unorthodox stance the pair took in approaching their back catalogue. Never a mere exercise in nostalgia, in reinterpreting the likes of ‘Kashmir’ and ‘In The Evening’, the clever deployment of the Egyptian Pharaohs worked superbly well. Similarly, bringing local orchestras under the direction of Ed Shearmur in each location to embellish performances of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving’, ‘Going To California’, ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ etc, added a fresh dimension. It was a master touch that kept the momentum flowing throughout the year long excursion.

Some admissions and conclusions: Firstly the controversy. Should they have included Jones? And should they have billed it as Led Zeppelin?

Jones’ absence remains a disappointment. Many will feel he should have at least been offered the opportunity to participate and should certainly have been informed first hand of their plans.

As for the name, well by the tour’s end they were openly projecting it on the billboards (“Playing the legendary songs of Led Zeppelin” as the Australian ads proclaimed).The heavy swing towards the Zep catalogue also made it something of a Zeppelin concert in all but name.

By not using the name they did avoid all the hype that would have gone with it and in avoiding the fully fledged reunion many felt they upheld the integrity of the group.

Whatever name it went under, when Page and Plant took flight on something like the middle section of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, well it wasn’t to hard to detect where the essence of all that had come from. The thrill of the two frontmen redefine the original Zep premise to go ever onward was undeniable.

The tour kicked off in Pensacola on February 26. The first part of the tour took in 27 dates running into April. Early set list surprises included a version of The Cure’s ‘Lullaby’ and the Coverdale Page track ‘Shake My Tree’. After a nine day break they undertook a further 27 dates in Europe including eight outdoor festival appearances. The UK dates included an acclaimed performance in the veterans slot on the Sunday line up at Glastonbury and two more intimate venue dates at St Austell and Poole. ‘The Battle Of Evermore’ and ‘Going To California’ were notable additions to the set list.

They were back in the US in the fall, kicking off with three dates in Mexico. This leg of the tour saw them reach new levels of intensity with a series of near flawless gigs on the West Coast. The US tour ended with a memorable two night stint at the old Zep stamping ground Madison Square Garden in New York.

Second guitarist Porl Thompson opted out of the line-up at this point and Jimmy took on all the guitar chores theerafter. Following four massive stadium dates in South America, Page and Plant holidayed in Hawaii, then undertook ten shows in Japan including six nights at the Budokan.

This run of shows saw them change the set list nightly, pulling out debut performances for the Zep standards ‘The Rain Song’ and ‘Tea For One’. The final leg took in five shows in Australia. They arrived on February 22, almost 22 years to the day of the commencement of Zeppelin’s only Australian visit. The final date took place at Flinders Park, Melbourne, on March 1.

Great moments along the away? So many really: Page’s nightly off the cuff riffing before ‘Black Dog’, those unpredictable medley’s during ‘Calling To You’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’, the theremin battle during ‘Shake My Tree’, that stirring intro to ‘In The Evening’ with Plant in all his Arabic vocal glory, Porl’s soloing in ‘Song Remains The Same’, Michael Lee’s drumming throughout – a key ingrediant to the success of the whole project, the joyous crowd participation in ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ ,the ‘Stairway’ tease in ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’, the interchanging set lists in Japan.

There were a few irritants: The rigid nature of the set lists during the UK tour, Plant’s general reticence to adopt his familiar mike in hand poses until the encores – his customary stances and movements that were so prominent in Zep but noticeably absent during his solo years, replaced by a sometimes stilted stage presence as he stayed glued to the mike.

Finally it all comes down to the music – and many hours of this tour has made it onto unofficial recordings. There have surely been few tours that have been so extensively chronicled. The advent of the mini DAT recorder has opened up the floodgates for good quality audience recordings.

In a move inspired by The Grateful Dead’s relaxed laissez-faire gig taping policy (that certainly would not have happened under the iron rule of Peter Grant), during the US first leg the duo allowed fans to tape their gigs in special taper sections behind the mixing desk. By making shows widely available on tape the hope was that this would alleviate the need for fans to invest in bootleg CDs. It didn’t stop something like 80 bootleg CD titles surfacing from the tour, including no less than three 20-CD box sets (the UK chronicle Get Rid of The Smoke and two Japanese tour sets Ten Days and Live legend) plus a stock of privately circulated audience shot videos.)

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…

CD1: US Tour First Leg:

Intro: Tales of Bron – Robin Williamson poem

Immigrant Song’ intro/’The Wanton Song’

(Thompson Bowling Arena, Knoxville, Tenessee, March 3 1995)

The previous date in Atlanta had seen the amalgamation of ‘Immigrant Song’

into ‘Wanton Song’ as the set opener. On that occasion they had some trouble sorting out the ending (it was after all the first live airing of ‘Wanton Song’ in 20 years!). In Knoxville it all came together with Page leading the way with some dexterous runs. The atmospheric opening introduction poem that proceeded became a familiar opening ritual to a majority of the US first leg and some European dates. The choice of the little known Incredible String Band album extract recalled Plant’s fondness for this Sixties outfit, and by the time Robin Williamson had got to the line “There is the flavoured haunt of pleasure, no haunt or threat or malediction, but sweet of music strikes the air” the fans knew what was coming next as the silhouettes on stage burst into life.

‘Wanton Song’ went on to become the favoured set opener, clocking over 80 performances during the tour.

‘Achilles Last Stand’

(The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, February 28 1995)

‘Achilles’ was always a prime contender for reworking on this tour so it was no real surprise when it turned up in the set lists of the two opening dates in Pensacola and Atlanta. More baffling was the fact it was never played again. On the evidence of the passion they brought to this performance there appears no logical reason why. It was a more than competent display that kicked along with all the verve of the best Zep deliveries circa 1977. Robert introduced it as “One of the first songs Jimmy and I wrote relating to travel” – a similar spiel would be given over to introducing The Song Remains The Same which effectively took over the Achilles slot the next night.

Watching the video shot from the show, it’s clear they were enjoying reliving this crucial Zep track – the pair could be seen clustered together in a classic pose during the “Aha… Aha” refrain.

At times the February 28 delivery of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ recreated the spirit of Led Zeppelin better than any other single performance on the tour. Maybe that’s why they decided to drop it. Perhaps they both felt it was just a little too close to what went before…

‘House Of The Rising Son’/‘Good times Bad Times’

( UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisanna, March 11 1995)

From the moment Plant casually walked up to the mic and oozed into the traditional local blues standard ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, this second night in New Orleans was destined to be special.

They then switched straight into ‘Good Times Bad Times’, the only performance of the rarely played Led Zep I opener. And it was a joy to hear them rumble through the familiar stops and starts of the track with Michael Lee on drums proving his worth.

‘Lullaby’

(UNO Lakefront Arena New Orleans Louisanna March 11 1995)

When the first set lists were posted on the Internet many presumed this was a new song and listed it as ‘Spiderman’. In actual fact it was a revivial from Porl Thompson’s Cure days. It worked as an offbeat interlude amongst the Zep numbers with Plant immersed in the lyric and Page cutting fine precise lines against Porl’s rhythm work. ‘Lullaby’ survived in the set until the early part of the Europran dates before being deleted.

‘The Song Remains The Same’

(UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Lousinna, March 11 1995)

“There’s a ….”

At the beginning of this mid-period Zep classic, Plant twice taunted the crowd with the opening line from the well known Rolf Harris cover. Instead Page led them into a powerful rendition of the Houses Of The Holy opener. This was a definite highlight of the US leg with Page and Porl Thompson trading licks most effectively, with the latter’s speed on the Gibson jumbo guitar really pushing the song along. Plant reached the high notes with ease as it led it into a glorious finale. “Can you feel it?” asked the singer afterwards. Absolutely.

‘Tangerine’/’Hey Hey What Can I Do’

(US Air Arena, Landover, Washington, March 23 1995)

Two superb performances lined up back to back during this show. ‘Tangerine’ made its only appearance on this leg performed in a full band arrangement. The crowd reaction as Page hit the familiar notes was nothing less than euphoric. Porl played some suitably laid back electric parts against Page’s Ovation acoustic strumming. A nostalgic first outing for the Zep III standard that was last performed live twenty years back at Earls Court.

The underrated Zep III leftover (and subsequent US B side to ‘Immigrant Song’) ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ was another revelation with the crowd egarly joining in the chorus. Videos from the tour of this track show Page beaming with pride and duck walking along the stage.

Boogie Chillun’ sequence

(Skydome Arena, Toronto, March 27 1995)

“One night I was laying down”… The John Lee Hooker standard was an integral part of the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ medley in the Zeppelin era. This was its only appearance on the tour, emerging during the ‘Calling To You’ medley. The way it developed out of a lengthy Page solo was invigorating and for those in attendance a rare revival for another part of the Zep live canon.

‘Calling To You’ including ‘Break On Through’/’As Long As I Have You’/‘Dazed And Confused’ inserts

(Brendan Byrne Arena, Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 6 1995)

‘Calling To You’ had previously been a highlight of Plant’s Fate Of Nations tour. With Jimmy on board it quickly developed into an extended piece that included a compelling guitar battle with Porl, a seminal riff exercise and then into an anything-could-happen medley sequence in the grand Zep tradition. This night in Meadowlands was exceptional for the inclusion of Garnett Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’, a staple of the first two Zeppelin American tours but not performed by Page or Plant since. It followed the now customary delivery of The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’ and then merged with a few lines from ‘Dazed And Confused’. Another memorable sequence.

‘Shake My Tree’

(Great Western Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

On the face of it this was a rather bizarre choice for inclusion on the tour. A highlight of the 1993 Coverdale Page album, it says much of Plant’s compatibility with Page at the time that he agreed to sing the Coverdale lyrics, albeit in a slightly amended form. ‘Shake’ was actually a great riff exercise which allegedly was first conceived during the Zep In Through The Out Door sessions. On stage it gave Plant the chance to pull out the old “Suck it!” refrain at appropriate moments and for Page to weave those weird sounds from the theremin.

‘Kashmir’

(Great Western Forum, Inglewood Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

When Page and Plant breezed back into the Forum some 17 years after the night of Listen To This Eddie, a tradition of spontaneity was upheld. During ‘Kashmir’ they were joined by guest violinist Lili Hayden who brought a impulsive virtuoso feel to the end section as she pitted her talents against the Egyptian Pharaohs. “Ladies and gentlemen Lili Hayden appears at the Viper Room in Holly wood every Sunday night,” Plant informed the audience at the close.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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LZ News

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News

Led Zeppelin

Helen Grant wants to sell her 10% stake in Led Zeppelin

Helen Grant, the daughter of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, is publicly seeking a buyer for her 10% stake in Led Zeppelin, she announced on Monday.

This might seem like a niche story but it’s a landmark deal that will usher in a new era of Led Zeppelin and will likely bring an outsider into ownership of a chunk of the band’s music for the first time.

Until now, the band’s business has always been controlled by the surviving band members, their families and their record label. Once Grant sells, other people will gradually begin to call the shots on what is (and isn’t) released.

This story broke at 12.01am on Monday morning when The Times published an interview with Grant in which she announced that she is selling her stake in the band. We spoke to Ian Penman, her lawyer, hours later for his first interview about the deal in which he explained why this sale is being publicly advertised.

For much of this week, the identity of what exactly is up for sale has been a mystery. But on Friday night we confirmed the assets being sold in this update for premium subscribers to this Substack and revealed that a second band’s music is on the table.

Can you tell your Superhypes from your Mythgems? If you’re not up to date on Led Zeppelin’s corporate empire (and to be honest, it’s completely understandable why you haven’t paid attention to this) we published a definitive guide to all the companies involved here.

News of the sale raises two major questions: How much is 10% of Led Zeppelin worth and who is going to buy it? Billboard published its analysis of the deal here and concluded that it’s likely worth between $6.7 million and $18 million.

As to who is going to buy this, we published our rundown for premium Substack subscribers here naming some prime suspects. Hours after we sent that update, Music Business Worldwide named Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group (thankfully one of the contenders we named) as being interested in Grant’s stake, something LedZepNews has also heard.

What happens next? We hear that Grant has given other interviews this week amid a flood of interest from the press including national newspapers and that we’re likely to see The Guardian publish an article in the coming weeks.

The tactic of going public with the deal seems to have worked. Penman, Grant’s lawyer, told LedZepNews later on this week that “we have been deluged with offers”.

As for the progress of the deal, it’s likely to be months until any sale is completed. Even if the winning bidder isn’t announced publicly, we’re likely to be able to identify them from business filings in the UK, so stay tuned for more information.

PS, here’s a mystery which could become very relevant: Who tried to sell a chunk of Swan Song last year? An anonymous seller wanted $525,000 for their equity in the US business but accepted an offer of $390,000. Clues in the listing point to this being someone connected to Peter Grant’s estate, but a source tells LedZepNews this wasn’t Helen Grant. Could it be her brother Warren Grant or someone else? Please get in touch if you have any leads

Digital Led Zeppelin collectibles are coming this month

Digital collectibles app Quidd is launching a virtual Led Zeppelin “exhibition” on July 21, seemingly without the blessing or involvement of the band. From our research, it appears that the company has done a deal to turn some photos of the band belonging to London Features International into digital collectibles.

It remains to be seen whether this project goes ahead or if it falls victim to Led Zeppelin’s lawyers. The YouTube video announcing the project being titled “The Led Zeppelin Experience” is likely to raise eyebrows (the band trademarked that phrase as part of its abandoned exhibition project). And those eyebrows are likely to be raised even higher by the announcement that “Led Zeppelin comes to Quidd on July 21st, 2023.”

Glyn Johns discussed Led Zeppelin in a new podcast episode

Glyn Johns discussed his work with Led Zeppelin in a new episode of Rolling Stone’s Music Now podcast.

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page had lunch with Paul Stanley

This week’s sighting of Jimmy Page out and about in London involved him having lunch with KISS frontman Paul Stanley and photographer Ross Halfin on July 11.

You can see Stanley’s tweet showing him and Page hereHalfin posted a photograph on Instagram of them all together here.

Robert Plant

Robert Plant will tour with Alison Krauss next year

Robert Plant has confirmed that he will tour with Alison Krauss in 2024, extending their world tour to a third year.

Currently, it’s unclear where the pair will tour in 2024 but we can safely assume it will involve a US tour at the very minimum and likely European tour dates too.

Plant’s announcement confirms US venue Wolf Trap’s claim after Plant and Krauss’ June 29 show there was postponed that they would return during a Summer 2024 US tour.

New details on Robert Plant’s 1967 court appearance

Many Led Zeppelin fans will be familiar with photographs of a fresh-faced young Robert Plant appearing amongst protestors in 1967 when he appeared in court. For years, it has been claimed he was appearing in court to fight a drugs charge.

But the Shropshire Star has dug into the details around the court appearance and found that Plant actually appeared on a charge of careless driving after he got in a car accident.

Upcoming events:

  • 2023– The second Band Of Joy album titled “Band Of Joy Volume 2” will be released and an expanded edition of the Honeydrippers album “The Honeydrippers: Volume One” will be released.
  • July 21– Quidd will launch its digital Led Zeppelin collectibles.
  • August 7– “Squaring The Circle (The Story Of Hipgnosis)” which features interviews with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD.
  • August 24– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Portorož, Slovenia.
  • August 26– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy.
  • August 28– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Macerata, Italy.
  • August 30– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Taormina, Sicily, Italy.
  • September 1– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Locus Festival in Bari, Italy.
  • September 3– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Ostia, Italy.
  • September 5– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Milan, Italy.
  • September 6– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Vicenza in Festival in Vicenza, Italy.
  • September 9– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Ourense, Spain.
  • September 10– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Donostia / San Sebastián, Spain.
  • September 12– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Barcelona, Spain.
  • November 4– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Bert Jansch 80th birthday tribute concert in London, UK.
  • 2024– Robert Plant will tour with Alison Krauss.
  • Summer 2024– Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Vienna, Virginia.

 

Many thanks to James Cook

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:

http://ledzepnews.com/

One more on this story:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/jul/19/daughter-of-music-manager-peter-grant-puts-led-zeppelin-stake-up-for-sale

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TBL Archive 1

It was 46 years ago …and seeing was believing in the Swan Song London office in1981…
46 years ago on July 17th 1977 Led Zeppelin performed in front of 70,000 people at the Seattle Kingdome. It remains one of their most memorable gigs as it is one of the few that was videotaped and logged in the band’s archive.
I got to know this for a fact when I was invited in to the Swan Song offices in London on August 21st 1981 to view much of their video archive – under the condition I kept details of this viewing to myself. It was arranged by the director of the Knebworth shows who I saw a few times on my visits to the office.
Over a period of eight hours (in much wonderment!) I watched the Seattle footage alongside the Earls Court May 24 and25 and Knebworth August 4 and11 shows in the top floor office on my own – Maggie Bell did pop in to view some of this as she was visiting the office but at the time I was one of the few people outside of the band, manager Peter Grant and their entourage privileged to see this footage
It’s of course been much bootlegged since and the Seattle 1977 video footage is all over YouTube, but back then it was an incredible thrill to watch this archive – the Seattle footage in particular because it captures that crazy period when they really were bigger than life.
I can still vividly recall the sheer wonderment of being in the hallowed walls of Swan Song and watching the Seattle performance come to life along with Earls Court and Knebworth, the latter pair feeling like I was watching some of the greatest nights of my life replayed in front of my very eyes – it will all be in the DL memoirs…

Dave Lewis – July 17 2023


TBL Archive 2

Eleven years gone…

Robert Plant Presents Sensational Space Shifters – HMV London Forum -Thursday July 12th 2012

Set List: Fixin’ To Die/Tin Pan Valley/44/Friends/Spoonful/Bron Yr Aur Stomp/Ohio/No Bad News/Standing in the Shadow of the Hill/Don’t let me Die in Florida/Black Dog/Somebody Knocking/I’m Your Witchdoctor/Who Do You Love –Whole Lotta Love –Steal away –Bury My Body. Encores: Another Tribe/Gallows Pole

Robert Plant returned to London for his first show since The Band Of Joy appearance in 2010. This time he was surrounded by a hybrid band of players that drew on the nucleus of the Strange Sensation, the one string virtuoso playing of Juldeh Camera and a guest slot for Patty Griffin.

Opening proceedings with a relaxed stroll through Fixin’ To Die, Bukka White’s finest moment as he put it, Robert looked well at ease with hair tide back and striped sweat shirt.  Tin pan Valley was suitably tight and moody with the always inventive  Justin Adams kicking in the riff. The delightfully jaunty 44 paved the way for their first surprise of the night – an authentic arrangement of Led Zep 3’s Friends performed live by my reckoning since the Page & Plant Japan 96 dates –this was a welcomed crowd pleaser.

A typically off the wall Space Shifting arrangement of Spoonful followed and then it was back to Zep 3 for a singlalong Bron Yr Aur Stomp with Patty adding vocals.

This led into Patty’s solo spot for which Robert took a backseat. Ohio, No Bad News, Standing in the Shadow of the Hill and Don’t Let Me Die in Florida gave the Texan songstress ample opportunity to showcase the strength of her passionate vocals. Whilst entirely admirable this did seem to change the momentum but the clue is in the band title – not for nothing is this billed as ‘’Robert Plant Presents’’…and rather than an out an out rock show this is more of a revue of the performers talents.

That was more than evident when the extraordinary Juldeh Camera added the one stringed African violin effect to an already alternative arrangement of Black Dog – for which Juldeh also added a unique vocal input. An ambitious arrangement of Mighty ReArranger’s Somebody Knocking followed before they romped into I’m Your Witchdoctor led by John baggott’s swirling keyboards. This was again the highlight for me of the night as it was in Gloucester –Robert totally immersed and taking full command  of the classic John Mayall Immediate single that was produced by ‘’a pal of mine’ ’as he noted afterwards.

Finally Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love which in turn developed into an intoxicating fusion taking in bits of Whole Lotta Love, Steal Away and Bury My Body.

The first encore was a run through Mighty ReArranger’s Another Tribe –a somewhat muted choice. Song To the Siren was listed in the printed set list but for whatever reason did not make the final cut. However it all went out on a high with an absorbing delivery of another Zep 3 standard namely Gallows Pole. This was performed in the Strange Sensation arrangement with the frantic speeded up finale and Skin jigging away on banjo.

‘’Continue to keep smiling’’…was the singer’s parting words.

Indeed.

In summary this was a less vibrant performance than the Gloucester show and the ‘’revue’’ type presentation won’t be for everybody. Whilst overall there was a strong reception from the London crowd, I did hear some mixed reaction in the aftermath of the show.

With reports of a new album recorded in Nashville well on the way, the Sensational Space Shifters may not have a long shelf life ahead of the Womad and two US appearances. So let’s embrace this for what it is – an opportunity to gather some pals and present some of those songs which as he once put it, he carries in his back pocket or as he revealed on stage, can be sourced on the web site Ready Steady A Go Go with it’s freak beat content.

It doesn’t always have to be the next great step or big statement to appreciate the singer applying his undisputed vocal prowess and there were enough impressive moments last night to justify this latest adventure.

Before the show, as ever it was great to see so many fellow fans in the pub including Tiina Puska from Finland, Michael from Sweden, TBL website founder Dave Linwood, Dave Fox, Cliff ticket man Hilliard, Steve Way and Kathy, ex Kerrang writer Neil Jeffries ,Warren Grant and his daughters and Karen Carr, Kevin from Hats Off, Mick Bulow, Michaela and Dan, Dave Marsh, Richard Grubb, Lee Pritchard, Mark, Lorraine and Michael, Russell Ritchin, Dawn and Paul, Graeme and Pam, Nigel (with tales of Musicland in ‘75), Tony Crowley, John Gunne, Anita, Liz  and many more – thanks for making it a great pre gig warm up…..despite the rain ….oh and to the guy who brought me a pint and I later missed –eye thank yew!

It’s back to London tonight for the John Paul Jones Minibus Pimps show at Café OTO in Dalston.

Dave Lewis   – July 13 2012.     

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TBL Archive 3 – Eleven 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.

Dave Lewis – July 2012.

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My thoughts on Nick Drake The Life by Richard Morton Jack… 

My thoughts on Nick Drake The Life by Richard Morton Jack…

I’ve just finished reading the exhaustive recently published biography of Nick Drake by Richard Morton Jack.

I am very well versed with the Nick Drake story and have read a a number of books and major magazine articles about him over many years. The first major book on Nick was Patrick Humphries’ Nick Drake The Biography published back in 1997. It did a very admirable job in a pre -internet age.

There was always scope for a more substantial account of Nick’s life and when I heard Richard Morton Jack was undertaking such a task, I had high hopes – Richard has been a diligent chronicler and writer through his Flashback magazines, Sunbeam label projects, Galactic Ramble book and more.

To say it’s exceeded all my expectations is an absolute understatement. This 500 plus page work unravels Nick’s life and music as never before.

The book obviously benefits from the access Richard has had to the Nick Drake estate and archives, in particular the diaries and journals of Nick’s father Rodney.

However, having the resources is one thing – deploying them in a way that greatly benefits the narrative is another thing altogether. This is where Richard Morton Jack really excels. He cleverly weaves his way through the story dividing fact from fiction. The use of smaller type point to bring out the many interview quotes also adds much clarity.

Richard also applies his proven musical knowledge to place Nick’s three album recorded output into context – aided by interviews with all the key players,– producer Joe Boyd and sound engineer John Wood among them. Nick’s formative years are also discussed at length with key input from Nick’s circle of friends during his Cambridge and London days.

Where the book elevates itself from the standard music biography is how Richard uncovers the torturous journey Nick travelled from 1971 to his untimely death three years later – a journey of declining mental health that painfully affected his ability to do the things that initially drove his creativity. .

There are plenty of reasons how this decline emerged – not least the fact that Nick’s albums failed to find a wider audience. His aimless days at home at Far Leys are faithfully reported and Rodney Drake’s journals offer a stark and heartbreaking insight into how he and wife Molly saw their dear son suffer with an illness that back then, had little medical understanding. Having suffered with my own mental issues, I know only too well how the isolation and desperation of depression feels, although nothing like the scale that poor Nick endured and how his condition affected his friends and family, including of course his loving sister Gabrielle.

It’s more than evident how brave and supportive Rodney and his mother Molly were in trying to help Nick’s plight – and so sad that such support was never quite enough to change Nick’s perception of his life.

The final chapters inevitably become less about the music and more about the state of this deeply troubled man. Harrowing as it is to read – this clear analysis of his issues has never previously been exposed with such insight and honesty.

At the end of it all – as the Epilogue chapter reveals, is the lasting influence of Nick Drake ‘s music and its ongoing legacy.

Richard Morton Jack’s achievement here is on a par with the Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn’s work on his Beatles Tune In Volume One and anybody familiar with that book will know that is high praise indeed.

The Life combines forensic detail with a total empathy for its subject that paints a true picture of the tortured genius that was Nick Drake.

For me, this is simply one of the best biographies I have ever read and I cannot recommend it enough.

It can take its rightful place as the definitive go-to book for future generations to discover this remarkable story and of course in turn be inspired to listen to his fragile catalogue of albums – albums that I and countless others across the globe rarely go a week without returning to.

Dave Lewis – July 18 2023

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My thoughts on Love Revisited with Johnny Echols – Esquires Bedford, Friday July 14, 2023

To the always excellent Esquires venue in Bedford for a night of Love Revisited

Formerly Arthur Lee’s Love until his passing in 2006, Love have been on my radar since the mid 70s when I heard Alone Again Or. I was aware Robert Plant was a big fan when he chose their Seven and Seven Is on a Radio Birmingham interview in 1976

I invested in the Love Masters compilation  and not long after the classic Forever Changes album.  Their stock rose again in the 1987 when The Damned scored a top 30  hit with their cover version of Alone Again Or.

In 1999/2000 Robert Plant formed Priory Of Brion performing in small venues with a a line specialising in retro psych covers. This included  a number of Love songs including A House Is Not A Motel, Bummer In the Summer and Live And Let Live.

This again took me back to their catalogue of albums and they have been regulars on the player here ever since.

I had heard great reports of the Love Revisited band featuring original member Johnny Echols and could certainly not turn up the opportunity to see them perform on a Friday night at the local Esquires venue.

I’m very glad I did as right from the off, it was a case of Love is all around – was it ever.

Following an entertaining set by The Large Plants, Love Revisited took to the stage before a very exuberant packed audience. The moment they kicked into the aforementioned A House is Not a Motel they made a joyous noise. Kudos once again for the Esquires sound crew –it was brilliantly mixed and crystal clear.

Seeped in that jingle jangle West Coast sound that lit up that summer of love back in 1967, they never let up.

Singer Rusty Squeezebox has all the vocal nuances and phrasing of the legendary Arthur Lee  while old stager Johnny keeps a pace with the youthful band mates. There were constant chants from the audience of between songs of Johnny effin’ Echols, Johnny effin’ Echols’’

Talking of the audience, well here’s the thing: We’ve all seen those TV crowds shot on the likes of Glastonbury where it cuts away to capture enthusiastic attendees singing along with full knowledge of every word.

From my vantage point near the side of the stage that’s exactly how it was tonight – everybody seemed to know the words of every song and not just the big hitters.  It was a gloriously uplifting sight to behold.

There was a sizable portion of tracks from the classic Forever Changes album described by Rusty as ‘’The greatest album of all time.‘’

The Daily Plant, And More Again, You Set The Scene, Between Clark And Hilldale and Red Telephone were all played with much aplomb.

As were My Little Red Book, Cant Explain And More from the Love debut album and Stephanie Knows Me and Orange Skies from the Da Capo album – now what’s not to like about that line up?.

The final encore number Seven & Seven is was a blistering closing act of intent.

They left the stage to a whole lotta love from the audience  – not so much revisited as totally revitalised.

Afterwards, I chatted briefly with singer Rusty who was very pleased with the venue and immense crowd reaction.

Judging by this magnificent penultimate show of their current  UK tour, I can categorically state that the legacy of Love is in very good hands…

Dave Lewis – July 16, 2023

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DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday July 14:

Getting in the mood for the Love Revisited featuring Johnny Echols gig tonight at the always excellent Esquires venue in Bedford…
The classic Love Forever Changes album always sounding great and this CD remastered and extended edition a recent Oxfam bargain £1.49 acquisition…

Saturday July 15:

It’s a Happy Birthday to the great Jason Bonham – I’m pictured here with Jason at the Black Country Communion launch gig in London back in September 2010. Have a great day Jason!

Saturday July 15:

Saturday is platterday – on the player the brilliant Carole King Tapestry album…

Sunday July 16:

What a match – Carlos Alcaraz beating Novak Djokovic in a five set thriller to take the Wimbledon men’s title – sensational!

Monday July 17:

It was 50 years ago today…

Loading up the superb Led Zeppelin V1/2 Performed Live in Seattle 3 CD bootleg set on the Eat a Peach label – as recorded on this day in 1973 – all of 50 years ago.

I’ve loved this recording since I got it on a vinyl bootleg back in 1974. This is the full show of a very good audience tape and for me one of their best performances of the era…

Tuesday July 18:

Some recent 45RPM acquisitions via my very good record collecting comrade John Parkin..,
A combination of obscure advance demo singles (the copy of Paul Simon & Phoebe Snow’ Gone at Last reveals it was released on the same day as my 20th Birthday in 1976 –who knew? I love that detail!) a Puff Daddy/Jimmy Page white label pressing of Come With Me/Kashmir, Free Alright Now French picture sleeve issue,plus some Beatles cover versions ( The Larry Page Orchestra doing Hey Jude – The King Singers doing Blackbird hey I’ll take ’em) and even a single covering the Apollo 11 moon landing in1969.
You gotta love singles and I’ll be taking one or two along to be discussed among my record collecting comrades at the always excellent Pete Burridge Record Club at The Castle tonight…

Tuesday July 18:

A very fine album on the player at the always excellent Pete Burridge Record Club at the Castle tonight…

Update here:

A difficult time here as we have recently lost a very dear friend – trying to process this is proving very difficult – there are things to do and some respite in getting out and about here such as the Love Revisited gig and as ever musical inspiration to soak up.

However, it’s all an effort in the light of this very sad news and the zest that I was beginning to regain has been sucked away somewhat. Tough times but we will have to get through them…and it’s not easy…

Thanks for listening…   

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  July 19, 2023

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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4 Comments »

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Graham many thanks

  • Graham Dickinson said:

    Hi there fellow Zep fans.
    Just a little snippet of interest from the Sun newspaper’s daily crossword (Monday 24/07/23).
    Cryptic clue 18 across “Summon boy for Led Zeppelin guitarist.” (4 letters).
    Yes the answer is Page of course. So seems even some crossword compilers are fans. Great!
    Keep up the good work Dave with TBL plus all your other projects.
    Graham Dickinson.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Rick many thanks for your very kind comments

  • Rick Key said:

    What a great post! Love your imaginary CD compilation of Page Plant songs. After watching Achilles Last Stand and Kashmir from your list I got curious about the Page Plant shows I saw. I was lucky enough to see them in Dallas in 95 and Red Rocks in 98. The Red Rocks performance was really just incredible. Having seen Zeppelin in Dallas and Ft Worth in 77 the show at Red Rocks was almost like a time machine. Amazingly enough the Red Rocks show was not only recorded but professionally video taped… so you got me watching that whole show this evening as well. Highly recommended.

    At the same time very sorry to hear about your loss. Take care of yourself and others in your life Dave. Time is cruel but also healing.

    All the best –Rick (long time fan of yours)

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