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14 December 2009 4,921 views 7 Comments


Photo copyright Thinkfarm

Two years gone and it still seems like a dream. Watching the DVD and playing the vinyl and CD’s today reminded me of the surreal feel that surrounded the whole event. Of course I’m taking about Led Zeppelin at the 02 Arena on the second anniversary of what for me will ever be etched on my brain as the experience of a lifetime.  There are some lovely comments on the 02 show by Robert Plant in this months Q magazine. Asked what went though his mind at the end of the 02 show after Rock And Roll he replied:

‘’Bonzo’s family. It was an exorcism in a way for them to let Jason express himself and his dad’s work. Without him it would been a totally different thing because his enthusiasm and points of reference were spectacular, his knowledge of shows that had been performed when he was a tot. And I thought about Bonzo’s Mum Joan. I used to pick Bonzo up when I was 17 in some clapped out Ford Popular, and she used to shake her head and frown and go ‘’You two’’! We were 17 and 19 and then 29 and 32 and that was it’’


Photo copyright Thinkfarm

As I was lucky enough to be seated in the vicinity of the Bonham family I vividly recall Robert coming to the edge of the stage for the final ‘’Lonely lonely’’ refrain and holding his hand up in at acknowledgment of the family with a beaming smile. So many memories remain ever present about the event, even little quirky ones like having a coffee with Brian Knapp early on the day as though he had wandered in from down the road and not Washington DC, same vibe bumping into Terry Stephenson in the Pilot Inn, nearly losing my mobile phone and then it playing dead for the next twelve hours (that didn’t help matters!). The adrenalin rush of seeing the massive queues, saying to Eddie Edwards in the pub ‘’In three hours Led Zeppelin will be on stage in front of our very eyes’’ and really feeling the magnitude of it all, communal hugs as we went in to the arena…that Tampa film and then in the light there they were (Initial reaction: ’’They are on the fucking stage!’’). A performance

beyond expectation – so many moments to take the breath away. For Your Life previously unplayed live utterly compelling and the point it really went into the stratosphere , Trampled oh the groove, Dazed And Confused 1969 and all that, Stairway – yes they did it Ahmet and with dignity, The Song Remains The Same so joyously uplifting  and Kashmir so utterly mesmerizing. Jason was brilliant, the staging and graphics simply stunning (as can be seen via the pics here). I could go on and on…suffice to say everything about the 02 performance was quintessentially Led Zeppelin. The way it was, the way it still could be.    


Photo copyright Thinkfarm

Then the sheer relief of the aftermath when going to bed just wasn’t an option and talking long into the early morning with Graeme H, JR and back at the hotel with  Gary Davies and Lee Henley from the Midlands.

Oh it is a great life this life of music as Ahmet said and that was one of the greatest nights. The world seemed a very small place that December night as fans converged from all corners of the globe to create what still can only be described as Planet Zeppelin.

Yes it’s a shame they didn’t take it further and Paul Rees quote in his review of the show in Q ‘’One is left to wonder how they can now possibly leave all this behind again’’ might now have a hollow ring about it. But regardless of what’s happened since, on that celebrated December night the story did have a happy ending. Will it ever come out officially on DVD? I’m sure we all hope it will eventually.


In the aftermath of the 02 two years back I received a lot of feedback and comment about the event some of which went into TBL issue 19 and 20. One very touching gesture was made by musician and long time TBL supporter and Zep fan Rikky Rooksby. In noting my reaction to the show and in particular the moment at the beginning of Stairway when the tears came (‘’He’s losing it’’ as the guy next to me one of Robert’s friends commented!), Rikky penned a lyric titled ‘Dave Lewis’ Tears’ based on Billy Bragg’s song Levi Stubbs Tears from his album Talking With The Taxman About Poetry (you can find

the original on I tunes and follow it along on this you tube clip


I’ve kept this under wraps since then but it seems appropriate to print it here with Rikky’s permission on the second anniversary so here goes – this is

Dave Lewis’ Tears

 ‘Stairway…have to say I completely lost it at that point and tears streamed down my face all the way through this’

With the money from his paper round
He bought himself a stake in a band
Guaranteed for maximum enjoyment
After 1971’s Empire stand
No one could say that he was slow off the mark
It’s TBL and me against the world, typewriter, he mumbled after dark

Where the years are Led some Gibsons stay in place
Dave Lewis’ tears run down his face

Every album on release was feverishly bought
He went for five nights when they ravaged Earl’s Court
And his obsession meant he was one of those blokes
The sort that follow through good times and bad
The sort that a tour takes away
And when there wasn’t a tour he kept printing anyway

Where the years are Led some Gibsons stay in place
Dave Lewis’ tears run down his face

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page
Are here to renew everything that’s gone
John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham too
Are here to make it all okay at the O2

One ecstatic night he left home for the ‘Smoke’
And put a hole in his wallet where no hole should be
It hurt to know ticketless millions were not ‘in the light’
And when a Gibson double neck was strummed his heart burst on the night
When music falls apart some things stay in place
He takes off the ‘Presence’ tape and puts it back in its case

Where the years are Led some runes hold their grace
Dave Lewis’ tears run down his face.







 And two years ago tonight they certainly did…..



Photo copyright Thinkfarm


Bit of a milestone here last Saturday – that was the first Saturday in December (excluding when Saturday fell on Christmas Day or Boxing Day) that I’ve not been working in a shop for 35 years. Did a feel a bit odd but that’s the way it is and with the magazine to read through and check, there was plenty to get on with. It’s been another full on week with the last proof reading of the magazine. It’s looking very good indeed and thanks again to Martyn for bringing it alive and Jez Firth and Gary Foy for reading through it. Jez and I shared a laugh at some of the rather ridiculous typos I managed to come up with (flurry becoming furry made us giggle) and the two hours on the phone ensured I missed the increasingly bloated X Factor semi final. By then my legs were well achy having earlier taken on the demanding role of referee in Adam’s match Brickhill Wanderers v Barnfield College. When they went two up I was hoping for a stroll but it ended a close 3-2 – key decisions were made including a disallowed goal for Adam’s team, and then with six seconds on my watch a corner floated over and there was nearly a dramatic last minute equalizer but a header was angled wide. Good job Alex Ferguson wasn’t watching I’m sure he would have offered the old hair dryer treatment at some of my decisions!


Good to hook up last week with my good friend (and Earls Court/Knebworth Bedford vet) Dec – he has a book due out on 1980’s electronic music pioneers New Order – a log of the many New Order shows he and other Bedford folk experienced – there’s a small contribution from yours truly – the proofs he showed me looked excellent and more on this in 2010.


Not really a man of films but there are a couple I’d like to catch namely  Harry Brown with what looks to be an outstanding Michael Caine performance and Nowhere Boy which chronicles the early years of John Lennon. It was 29 years ago yesterday that I woke up to hear of his shocking death – and event that somewhat buried the news of Zep’s split announced a few days earlier. Like Elvis’ before and many more since, Lennon’s death inspired a rush of retail frenzy and I can remember ordering up all his back catalogue in droves as if it was yesterday.          


It’s a big week ahead – at the weekend we are heading for Norwich to pick up Sam and bring her back for Christmas. It’s been the longest period she has been away at UNI so far and we are very much looking forward to seeing her again Then next week there’s the It Might Get Loud premiere on Tuesday and Them Crooked Vultures Friday. Getting into the spirit of these occasions via two playlists:  A 79 minute CDR that alternates JPJ solo tracks with Them Crooked Vultures as follows: Grind, Elephants, B.Fingers, Mind Eraser-No  Chaser, Leafy Meadows, No One Loves Me & Neither Do I/Bass’ N’ Drums,Bandoliers, Daphne, Scumbag Blues, Tidal, Caligulove, Shibuya Bop, Reptiles, Zooma, Gunman. As Larry Bergmann Jnr states in the new TBL mag – this is a band that needs to be seen live and I’m eagerly looking forward to it. 

Then for the It Might film, a Page career spanning playlist that includes stuff from as far back as his work with Carter Lewis and the Southerners, The Yardbirds, Zep, Death Wish 2, Arms, The Firm (try Radioactive that was a fine tune), Page & Plant, Black Crowes and that night his old band got back together (which is where we came in.). He remains the true lord of the strings and seeing him up there on the big screen will be a very welcome sight.


I look forward to hooking up with all those that will be around for these two nights as we recreate a little bit of Planet Zeppelin again in the capital. This time I’ll try and keep the tears to a minimum.

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  • Wyatt said:

    Thanks for the remembrances, Dave. It was a magical evening.

    Tatan, I hope you didn’t have what I had that next morning… My wife (then my fiancee) and I felt like we were going to die on the plane back to Chicago. Of course, I felt like I could die a happy man, since I had just seen Led Zeppelin the night before!

  • Tatan said:


    I travelled thousands of miles to get to the O2 and after 2 years the concert is still vivid in my ears. The Pilot Inn drinks, the flu I got after the show brings back great memories! Hope to see you again soon!

    Cheers, Tatan, Jakarta-Indonesia

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great to hear from you -didn’t think I was alone in the emotion of it all! What a night it was. I’ll have my ears well prepared for TCV gig – and we will have a toast for you guys of course! (DL)

  • Mark Harrison said:

    Well Dave, I sit amongst the mother of ALL collections as I write – I’m flying home tonight – get home Saturday morning. Really enjoyed your latest “musings” Speak to you very soon

  • Lee said:

    Memories from 2 years ago only seems like yesterday, followed by the very late drinking session back at the hotel, we can only hope that Jimmy will release the DVD from the show as that would be the icing on the cake


  • Nech said:


    I assure you that you were not the only one that night that “lost it”

    Here’s a pic of the notes I was trying to keep of the whole event:
    For a lifelong fan, it was a very moving experience.

    And what a happy bunch we were!

    Hard to believe it’s 2 years already. Wish I could be back there in London again, and enjoying your upcoming week along with you all. Have a hoot and a good English ale for me! You will definitely enjoy Them Crooked Vultures! I know I did and my ears are still ringing to proove it.


  • Andy said:

    amazing how time flies, but the memories of this day will always stay with me. 23 years of waiting finally came to an end that night, and life has never been the same again ever since….

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