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LED ZEPPELIN AT EARLS COURT MAY 23-24-25 – 47 YEARS GONE /LZ NEWS/THE WHO AT SHEPPERTON MAY 1978 -THE WHOLE STORY /DL DAIRY BLOG UPDATE

18 May 2022 913 views One Comment

TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL:

It’s that time of year again…

TBL Celebrates the 47th anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

Turning the clock back 47 years..

ticket 23

Friday May 23, 1975

Ticket Price £1.00

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. San Francisco)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

So imagine waking up on a Friday morning with the prospect of over nine hours of live Led Zeppelin in store over the next three days.

Talk about the weekend starts here!


But that was the treat in store as I went to catch the train on Friday May 23rd for EC gig 3. Earlier I’d had a passport photo taken in a booth in town suitably dressed in Earls Court T shirt and looking dazed and confused at the prospect of nine hours of live Led Zep ahead. (see pic here) I was due to fly out with Dec etc for our first holiday abroad to sunny Loret De Mar at the end of the month.

The days in between the first two gigs had been pretty non stop. Tuesday at short notice Fiona and I went to see Swan Song artists The Pretty Things support Status Quo in Ipswich with the Atlantic rep who called on the WH Smith record department I worked in. A truly great gig it was too. Next day he brought in to the shop 30 copies of the limited edition UK Trampled Underfoot single – yet another bonus!. Thursday was spent soaking up the music press with the arrival of the NME and Melody Maker front covers (those cover pics were just awesome!) – The excitement just didn’t stop.

After the frantic pace of attending the two first gigs, Friday seemed a much more relaxed affair and I took much more in. The weather was good too and beforehand Fiona and I drank a bottle of wine in Hyde Park. Then it was to SW8. The view this time was the opposite side to last week and we scrambled down a few tiers taking some empty seats. A full on if slightly distant but clear view on Jonesy’s side. From the moment Plant gave out an excited Immigrant Song ”Aha ah” squeal as Bonzo and Jimmy did the usual warm up, well it was so evident they were up for it. Fashion note: For this night only Robert wore the cherry wrap around shirt he’d favoured on most of the ’75 American tour.

Following Rock And Roll and Sick Again Plant attracted huge cheers when he explained: “Last week we did a couple of warm up dates for these three nights, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We believe that these were the first three gigs to be sold out so these must be the ones with the most energy stored up because you’ve been waiting…”

They had fared pretty well in the press, garnering memorable front page cover stories in both the Melody Maker and NME. However Charles Shaar Murray’s slightly less than complimentary review irritated Plant enough for him to throw in a couple of press digs on stage.

NME EC

The freewheeling on-stage energy was evident throughout, with Plant at his most gymnastic vocally, throwing in verses from You Shook Me at the close of a thrilling In My time Of Dying, and keeping up his Healey references with a “bye bye Denis” during the song’s close. Before Kashmir Plant explained he’d just had a vaccination in preparation for their impending exile… “‘Ready for when we go hunting in the jungle for new words and new songs for a new album.” He and wife Maureen were due to leave the country on Monday.

It’s worth mentioning that tonight’s version of Kashmir did not go entirely to plan – they missed the cue after Robert’s “Woman talkin’ to ya” ad lib, coming in a few bars late – an illustration that these shows, like many others, had their fair share of musical mishaps born of tendency to leap before they looked – but Led Zeppelin live on stage was never about perfection. It was that air of unpredictability that made them such an engrossing live experience.

Other highlights: Another truly scintillating Page solo in Over The Hills (one of the very best ever), , the image of Page swathed in blue light up on the screen delicately picking out The Rain Song with such lyrical finesse, Tangerine yet again so moving and the intimacy of the acoustic set.

During Dazed And Confused they brought back a revival of the previously much deployed ‘San Francisco’ insert. Stairway To Heaven was introduced with the cryptic shot at NME scribe Shaar Murray: ‘’I believe there’s a psychiatrist on the way, Charles. Just hang on!” They left the stage to the hum of feedback and the swirling lighting effects provided by the mirror balls suspended above the stage – another nightly Earls Court ritual.

“Thank you very much England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland… and may the best team win!”

This time we did miss the train ( a trend that would continue) and we hung around Kings Cross finally getting back to Bedford at 4.30am. It was now Saturday May 24th and this one was going to be the big one. Second row seats beckoned. Who needed sleep with that prospect ahead


TBL Celebrates the 47th anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

nicky horne intro

Turning the clock back 47 years..

SATURDAY MAY 24 1975

TICKET BLOCK AA ROW B SEAT 8

Ticket Price £2.50

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

My friend Dec had queued up for these tickets for this one over night when they went on sale in March. Seven of us went from Bedford ) We went shopping in Oxford Street where I brought a pair of hip mirror shades for the Lorret holiday to follow. Then it was over to Earls Court in the afternoon – one of our crew Gary Felts had made a top hat ala Slade’s Noddy Holder with Zep photos around it which got plenty of attention in the pub beforehand.

So into the arena – walking along the aisles and up to the front of the stage, well you can imagine the feeling. We were just so close to Bonzo’s drum kit-and the amp set up. It was so amazing. I was second row to the right of the stage – Jimmy was literally a few yard way. We posed for a photo in front of the stage before the show.

boys-EC

Four of the Bedford Crew in front of the Earls Court stage May 24th 1975 – DL with mirror shades and patchwork jeans, Dec with his school scarve (I kid you not), Phil H with denim coat as advertised in NME and Gary Felts with custom made Zep top hat. Having (one of )the time (s) of our lives….

So what can I say – being in such close proximity to one of the highest profile gigs Led Zeppelin ever performed, well it was beyond compare really.

Images ingrained on my brain for the past 45 years: Watching Jimmy slither across the stage as they hit Sick Again, Plant seemingly lost in a trance right in front of us as Page did the solo in Over The Hills, dry ice seeping above us over the front rows in No Quarter (should have bottled it –imagine that on ebay!), Jimmy holding the Gibson double neck aloft during the Song Remains intro, the stand up microphones being brought out for the four part harmony of Tangerine, being so close to them clustered together for the acoustic set (incidentally listen to the various soundboard bootlegs – just before Going To California Robert introduces the song saying ‘’This is a song about the would be hope for the ultimate…for the ultimate’’ – after which you can hear a distant yelled squeal just before somebody starts whistling – that’s my squeal folks), Trampled Underfoot and the revolving lighting creating a real sense of speed, the normally reserved Dec next to me going crazy in a manner I’ve not seen since, Page’s violin bow and going ”Ahhh’! as the lasers spiralled above us. The last few moments of Stairway as the mirrorball created that swirling spinning effect and thinking I must have died and gone to heaven!

A combination of my familiarity with the much bootlegged soundboard tape – not to mention the fact that I was lucky enough to be in the second row – has elevated this show to a night I will never forget. It remains one of the greatest gigs the band ever played, certainly the most accomplished I ever witnessed.

At the helm was Plant’s rapport and enthusiasm, and Page’s joyously deranged playing. Witness Plant’s heartfelt “This is for our family and friends and the people who’ve been with us through the lot” speech before a particularly melodic and caressing version of Tangerine, and superb phrasing during That’s The Way. Witness Page’s absolutely out-there-and-who-knows-where-it’s-heading solo on a ferocious Trampled Underfoot, the ending of which somehow collided with lines from Gallows Pole.

And then there was ‘No Quarter’. If the May 18th version stands as the definitive JPJ exercise, this May 24th version saw Page staking his own claim on the proceedings, emerging from the dry ice to layer on a series of solos, each quite exquisite in their delivery and command.

After That’s The Way, Plant sings a few lines from Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’ and jests: “This is all a preview for the talking shows we’re gonna do in the Fall… when we’ve really made it!”

Trampled Underfoot was another stand out performance after which Plant ad-libbed lines from Little Richard’s Rip It Up. “I’m not upstaging anybody, am I?”

Add on a truly memorable Dazed And Confused with the best version of Woodstock ever played live, plus an affecting Stairway To Heaven and a galvanic Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog encore and you have the definitive Zeppelin in-concert experience.

Hey anEarls Ct-03d add England beating Scotland 5-1 into the bargain! Not that Bonzo cared that much: “I think football’s a load of bollocks,” he bellowed, ambling up to the mic as they came back for the encore. Plant retorts: “I’d like to say that soccer’s a wonderful sport, the best sport!”

The Whole Lotta Love encore included James Brown’s Sex Machine ad-libs and Let Your Love Light Shine On Me.

The encores with the neon sign lighting up…Plant strutting over to our side in Black Dog and looking straight at us and smiling.

It was just too much. We left in a dazed state -how could we not – we had just seen Led Zeppelin at the ultimate vantage point. Nothing else mattered right then.

Certainly not rushing for the train. We predictably missed the last one back and slept on the station amongst several disgruntled Scotsman –sore at the 5-1 England defeat.

Finally it was back to Bedford at 8am. The party was drawing to an end, but there was a final memorable date with Earls Court remaining…and one that really would cement for all time my addiction for this band.

Above pic by Stuart Whitehead.

ENGLAND 5 SCOTLAND 1

There were other events going on aside from Zep at Earls Court on that epic Saturday. In the afternoon England beat Scotland 5-1 at Wembley – a result that made for quite a few depleted and drunken Scots as we made our way to Earls Court. For the record England’s scorers were Beattie, Bell, Johnson and two from Gerry Francis. (Sorry Billy F!)

The England line up that afternoon read: Clemence,Whitworth,Beattie,Bell,Watson,Todd,Bell,Channon,Johnson,Francis,,Keegan,sub Thomas.

Can’t say Bonzo would have been too excited over this result. ”I think football’s a load of bollocks” was his no nonsense summary as they came back on for the encore.- a retort to the numerous soccer references Plant had made on stage during the gigs.

Some 24 years later history would repeat itself when I watched England triumph 2-0 over Scotland at Hampden in the Euro 2000 play offs before setting off to see Robert perform with the Priory at the Red Lion Birmingham. In stark contrast to Earls Court’s 17,000 ,there were just 300 were in the pub that night.


fluff 25

TBL Celebrates the 47th anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

Turning the clock back 47 years..

SUNDAY MAY 25 ,1975:

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. San Francisco)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog/Heartbreaker/Communication Breakdown (inc. D’yer Mak’er).

So the party was nearly over. Got up at 1pm and on the train at 5. Very busy around Earls Court – the unofficial programmes and posters were doing brisk business.

We had an excellent view for this last swan song – a straight face on view on the back tier front stalls. I remember vividly Alan Freeman’s introduction ”We are here today because you and I have great taste…”.

There was a sense amongst us all of this show being the last as Plant put it in his opening speech for ”A considerable time”. ”Still there are always the 1980’s” – what an ironic statement that was to prove.

The arrival of that soundboard tape of this performance a few years ago revealed that the band were completely at ease that final night. Free from the pressure of the opening gigs, clearly looking forward to their summer break and respective tax exile travels and content in the knowledge that their public acclaim at home was at a new height, well they could just lay back and enjoy it.

That’s exactly what they did, performing with a great sense of camaraderie. Given that freedom, this performance easily rivalled the previous night and often exceeded it. May 24 remains my personal Earls Court favourite, but May 25 was the best group performance of the five nights.

There were still many great moments to savour before the final exit: Page’s free form solo on Over The Hills – right out there as he closed his eyes and drifted off – thoughts maybe of life in far off places the next week; another refrain of You Shook Me during In My Time Of Dying; Plant playfully scat singing ad-lib lines of Friends and Mystery Train before ‘Bron–Y-Aur Stomp’; the San Franciso insert returning during what would be the final live complete version of Dazed And Confused with John Bonham; and then on into the home straight with an emotional ‘Stairway’ preceded by Plant’s moving reference to his daughter Carmen:

“Well Carmen, here it is – this song’s to a little girl who sits there probably wondering what it’s all about… So, where is the bridge? So Carmen, here’s your chance to find out where the bridge is… and if you know, please let me know after the show.”

Fittingly, they added some extras for this final flurry: after the usual ‘Whole Lotta Love’/’Black Dog’ they returned to the stage again to perform Heartbreaker, Plant shouting out “Any requests” in a manner he would repeat at Live Aid ten years hence. They stayed on stage to decide what to do next, and at the suggestion of a cameramen pulled out ‘Communication Breakdown’. It said everything about the spirit of Earls Court that this final statement carried a final twist, Plant ad-libbing lines from the never before played live D’yer Mak’er, aping the reggae style of the then emerging Bob Marley. The extended middle section featured a spontaneous series of instrumental stops and starts between Page, Jones and Bonham.

“Well it’s been about three hours and forty-five minutes. It’s time we went back to listen to some Bob Marley & The Wailers. Thank you very much for showing us we’re still alive and well. And it’s goodnight from me and goodnight from you. Good night and watch out for the holy grail.”

There was a party inside Earls Court after the final show attended by all the group and various guests including Jeff Beck, Chris Squire from Yes, Alan Freeman and Bob Harris. Music was supplied by Gonzalez and Dr Feelgood. The next day Plant left England for Agadir with his wife Maureen, subsequently meeting up with Jimmy in Marakesh for a spate of travelling that would inspire the song Achilles Last Stand. The plan was for the group to reconvene in Paris in August to prepare for a series of outdoor dates in America due to commence in San Francisco later that month.

The events of August 4 would change all that. On that day, holidaying in Rhodes, Robert and his wife were seriously injured when their rented car spun off the road.

It was the first of a series of misfortunes that would dog the band for the rest of their career. The glory days were over.

In retrospect, those glory days ended as the four of them left the Earls Court stage for the final time late on the evening of May 25, 1975.

More DL personal thoughts:

Great moments on the final run in: Page’s free form solo on over The Hills – right out there as he closed his eyes and drifted off – thoughts maybe of life in the Agadir the next week…Another refrain of You Shook Me at the end of In My Time…the San Francisco insert back in for what would be the final full version of Dazed And Confused ever played. An emotional Stairway with Plant’s moving reference to his daughter Carmen ”A song to a little girl who sits there and who wonders what it’s all about”…and then the encores.

When it was apparent they were coming back again after Black Dog we rushed down to the side of the stage and had a great view of Heartbreaker and Communication Breakdown. The latter with its stop start reggae scat signing middle section was just utterly sensational.

I’ve just watched the DVD of that encore segment – for pure out and out Zeppelin in their own world and nothing else mattered vibe – it may be the best footage of them ever captured.

”And its goodnight from him….”

Anxious not to let this Earls Court experience end, we hung around the front of the stage. Going home was not an option. We had spent some considerable hours in this building over the past week and we did not want to let it go..and there was a vague notion just maybe… well surely it can’t possibly happen but maybe we could get a glimpse of our heroes…

Incredibly, as the arena emptied we were able to walk through the black curtain at the side of the stage –with no security guards around we were able to walk unchallenged through to the backstage area which comprised of various luxery caravans.

There sitting on a limo was Robert Plant – blue sparkled jacket (the same one he wore on the Midnight Special TV show interview  appearance in March 1975), white scarf and draped in bracelets and rings looking for all the world like a Greek god. Being right in front of Robert at that moment was just incredible. An unforgettable image. After getting over the sheer shock of seeing him, I asked the rather dumb question when would they be playing in England again. ”There’s a lot of traveling to do first” was his reply. We walked across to the entrance where the aftershow party was taking place with Plant and his wife Maureen and Rusty from Showco . Robert sang a few lines from Kashmir as he scuttled through the entrance. We also saw Bonzo, Jonesy and Jimmy arrived along with Chris Squire from Yes, Bob Harris and Jeff Beck.

party ec

Robert at the Earls Court Swan Song party:

Knowing they would have to come out at some point we waited outside the party entrance. There was no way we were going anywhere until then!

About 3am I took a walk around the building and with no one around I was able to slip back into the arena –the entrance I took brought me direct onto the stage – yes incredibly I found myself on the Earls Court stage – now deserted except for some PA gear and Jonesy’s grand piano. It was an amazing feeling looking out from the actual focal point from where hours earlier Led Zeppelin had performed from. Standing where they had stood…

Eventually we saw them all leave the party at around 4am. Jimmy looking frail in white suit but keen to acknowledge the remaining fans – one of them asked how his finger was – ”oh fine now it’s so nice you all care”. Jonesy and Bonzo signed autographs and Robert looking rather out of it, was ushered through to the limos. That was our final view of Led Zeppelin at well after 4am on the morning of May 26th 1975.

…and coming down wasn’t easy!

Monday May 26th was thankfully a Bank Holiday and after arriving back home at 7.30am I then slept all day. The real cream on the whole week had been the fact I’d met them all and got their autographs – there was no plan of action to do that, it had just all slotted into place. Relaying it all to everyone back in Bedford was quite strange as it all appeared quite dream like. But it really did happen and I have the autographs to prove it!

 

tickets

Once back home I began scribbling down some notes on my Earls Court experiences. -this would eventually form the basis of the Earls Court feature in the first issue of Tight But Loose. Inspired by the likes of Nick Kent I started to formulate a feature I dubbed Earls Court Relived.

So that was the week that was – Led Zeppelin five times in the space of seven days. To say it has had a lasting effect on me is an absolute understatement. It really was the moment my life switched into colour.

There would be many dazzling episodes ahead, but perhaps nothing with the sheer uncomplicated joy and optimism of that week in May 1975 all of 47 years ago.

They were, are and always will be the glory days of Led Zeppelin…

Dave Lewis – May 18, 2022.


LZ News:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Upcoming events:

June 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Canandaigua, New York and Jimmy Page and Scarlett Sabet will be interviewed on stage at Hay Festival in Wales.
June 2 – Jimmy Page will be interviewed on stage at Hay Festival in Wales.
June 3 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Saratoga Springs, New York.
June 4 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 6 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Clarkston, Michigan.
June 7 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 9 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Indianapolis, Indiana.
June 10 – Patty Griffin’s album “TAPE,” featuring a duet with Robert Plant, will be released.
June 11 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 12 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
June 14 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Cary, North Carolina.
June 16 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 17 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
June 22-26 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England.
June 26 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at BST Hyde Park in London, England.
June 29 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark.
July 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Hamar, Norway.
July 2 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Bergen, Norway.
July 5 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Rättvik, Sweden.
July 8 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Cactusfestival in Bruges, Belgium.
July 10 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Royal Park Live festival in Baarn, Netherlands.
July 13 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.
July 14 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Lucca Summer Festival in Lucca, Italy.
July 16 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at JazzOpen Stuttgart 2022 in Stuttgart, Germany.
July 18 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Sopot, Poland.
July 20 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Berlin, Germany.
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 – 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 is set to include Robert Plant’s career, will close.
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.
December 22 – The paperback edition of “Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin” by C.M Kushins will be published.

2022 – “Robert Plant: A Life In Vision,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, 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 Zeppelin News email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

http://ledzepnews.com/

NEWS UPDATE:
Odense May 4,1971 uncirculated tape due  to surface…
Here’s a very interesting on -news of which is beginning to break via various sources. I have it on good authority that this is the genuine article and will be some find…
BREAKING NEWS! Tarantura label is very proud to announce that the complete Led Zeppelin concert, which has never been in circulation before, will be released shortly. It is a real Holy Grail, as it is May 4, 1971 Odense show that has been hoarded for over 51 years! The biggest surprise, apart from very good sound quality, is that the tape features live versions of Four Sticks and Gallows Pole, performed just a day prior on the famous Copenhagen show on May 3, 1971. More info soon! Stay tuned
Here’s the LZ News report:
https://ledzepnews.com/2022/05/16/an-unheard-led-zeppelin-show-from-1971-is-being-released-as-a-bootleg/?fbclid=IwAR2Q64DuJziQuKaeHewOg92ivgu8zQFjWj7-4d4SLQmIQkcFl9tcwkR93YU

More archive fun…

And then three years after Earls Court this happened…

who four

On stage with The Who 44 years ago this week…

The Whole Story:

44 years ago this week on May 25 1978, I was lucky enough to attend a secret filming of The Who at Shepperton Studios. This was arranged to capture footage for their film the Kids Are Alright. Little did I know back then that a rather excited spontaneous leap on to the stage by me at the close of their performance of Won’t Get Fooled Again would be captured for all time – and featured in the film – and subsequently on DVD and YouTube.

So how did all this happen?

Well firstly I was a big Who fan for sure – and had been since 1969. Pinball Wizard was one of the first singles I’d owned. I’d seen them at the Empire Pool Wembley in October 1975 and at Charlton on a very rainy bank Holiday in May 1976 – on both occasions they were absolutely brilliant. I loved all the albums – particularly Quadrophenia, Who’s Next and The Who By Numbers – albums that spoke to me, were my guiding light and packed power and emotion – next to Led Zeppelin during this era, they were my second favourite band without a doubt.

In 1977, The Who began making a film to be titled the Kids Are Alright – a career spanning documentary. For that purpose in December 1977 they decided to perform a low key gig at Kilburn State Theatre in London. My very good friend Dec through the then boyfriend of his sister Yvonne, managed to get in on this gig. A guy named Steve Margo was the link – he was a massive Who fan – along with another high profile Who fan ‘Irish’ Jack Lyons and one or two others, later staged a Who Exhibition at London’s ICA in August 1978.

Back to the story – the gig was arranged at short notice and due to the fact I had no phone at home at that point (how ridiculous that seems now!), Dec was unable to inform me that this gig was on – so I missed out. However, all was not lost

The Who were unhappy with the footage they got that day and decided to have another go at capturing footage for the film. In early May we heard through Steve Margo that The Who would soon be staging a gig in London to be filmed for the documentary. Plans were all veiled in secrecy – eventually word came though and we were instructed to meet at Hyde Park Corner on the morning of May 25, 1978.

At that time Led Zeppelin were somewhat inactive following the curtailing of their 1977 US tour due to the tragic death of Robert Plant’s son. In May there were reports in the press that they had re grouped at Clearwell Castle for some rehearsing. Later in the year they would travel to Abba’s studio in Stockholm to record The In Through The Out Door album.  In early May, I was contacted by Sounds writer Geoff Barton. He had seen I had replied to a couple of Zep queries in their Wax Fax column. Sounds were planning a special three week feature to run in September to mark the tenth anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s formation.

I was commissioned to produce a ten year timeline history alongside an extensive discography covering official releases and bootlegs. I had a fair few meetings at the Sounds office in Long Acre and took in a large collection of memorabilia and albums for them to photograph – no scanning of images back then of course. Subsequently, my summer of 1978 was dominated by this work which had to be in for early August. I hand wrote the entire contents of the feature and by and large when it was all published as a four week part work it was a big success . It was my first time in print and I also got paid for it. More on all this later in the year. I also attended two amazing gig in July of that summer – David Bowie at Earls Court and Bob Dylan at Blackbushe.

Back to the story – so it was against this backdrop of Zep writing that I turned my attention to this very exciting prospect of witnessing The Who live on stage again.

So come the day – Thursday May 25 , we were duly ferried out of London by coaches to the Shepperton studio complex – wined and dined in the canteen where we mixed with 18th century costume drama actors and actress’s and then led into the Studio 2 soundstage for a mini performance by The Who.

The filming had been set up by director Jeff Stein to make up for the rather lucklustre footage he had garnered from the aforementioned Kilburn Theatre the previous December. It was to be the contemporary insert of a career spanning documentary that would emerge as The Kids Are Alright released to theatres on both sides of the Atlantic the next year.

So it was in a state of some considerable awe that we were ushered into the studio where a specially constructed stage aimed at replicating any night on the road for The Who had been assembled. The audience of around 200 consisted of a mixture of Who fanatics, liggers, journalists and musicians – amongst the latter was a young Chrissie Hynde. Also in attendance shooting one of his first gigs was the soon to become world renowned photographer Ross Halfin.

The last time I had seen The Who live was amongst 65,000 rain sodden fans at The Who Put the Boot In show at Charlton Athletic football ground in May 1976. Now I was just a few feet away as Pete Townshend power chorded his way through a riveting Baba O Reily -one of my all time fave numbers not just by The Who, but anyone. Thrilling deliveries of John Entwhistle’s  My Wife and Won’t Get Fooled Again followed.

The initial plan had been to perform just those three numbers. Impressed by the by the relaxed of nature of the whole affair, Townshend signalled to Daltrey, Moon and Entwhistle to stay on stage – and spontaneously they kicked in to Substitute and then instantly into I Can’t Explain.

We had come under the guise of seeing The Who shoot a handful of numbers for their film – we were now privvy to a mini greatest hits concert as they ran through Summertime Blues, Magic Bus My Generation and My Wife (again). It was another blast through Won’t Get Fooled Again that brought this extraordinary performance to a close. Watching it all unfold in such close proximity was truly the stuff of rock’n’roll dreams – it was just utterly sensational.

And that’s when it happened…

Fulled by a combination of beer and wine, and a surge of adrenalin from the sheer wonder of what I was witnessing, as Won’t Get Fooled Again ended and the band warmly took the applause, I took it upon myself to climb on the camera tracking and make one giant leap towards Pete Townshend and then one small step towards Roger Daltrey accidentally cuffing him in the eye in the process. On any regular gig this spontaneous stage rush may well have resulted in the stinging sensation of a swinging Gibson Les Paul crushing against flesh. I was aware of Abbie Hoffman’s treatment by Pete when he walked on to the Woodstock stage during their performance in 1969 – I really did not have time to think of any consequences as I made that leap. Luckily for me Townshend hugged me warmly and Daltrey good humouredly shrugged off my enthusiastic arm waving. it’s worth noting I was not alone in this stage invasion – though I was not aware of it at the time. In the film just before my entry you can see a young lady more calmly approach and hug Roger.

Behind all this action, a permanently devilish grin was spread across the face of Kith Moon. Physically showing the strains of his LA lifestyle he was at last back where he functioned best… on stage with the ‘Orrible ‘Oo.

As we waded out into the bright late afternoon sunshine little did we realise we had just witnessed Keith Moon’s final public performance with The Who. And little did I realise that my leap of faith would be subsequently retained in the film’s final cut.

Outside in the grounds of Shepperton there was one more task for the lucky few in attendance to perform. We were asked to line up in four rows behind each member of The Who. This was for a potential album cover design for The Who’s forthcoming Who Are You album – the concept being that we would act as clones  for the band to illustrate the album title. So we were all asked to line up – I was in the queue behind Keith Moon. As it turned out this cover idea was scrapped. However, years later a couple of outtake photos from this session appeared in the Ross Halfin complied Who Genesis Publications photo book. These photos  reveals that for some reason, I had stepped out of line and you can see me in my blue bomber jacket to the right – another remnant of the day.

And then there was more.

Incredibly this was not the end of the Shepperton saga. Steve Margo informed us that he had been invited to attend another filming session the next day – and did we want to tag along? Did we ever!

So it was on Friday May 26 Dec and I met along with Dec’s sister’s boyfriend Jack we met  Steve in St. John’s Wood who then drove us to the Shepperton Studio complex. We were were allowed in to the Studio 2 soundstage again  and there before us onstage were The Who. This time in front of a camera crew and a few technicians, road crew and Who personnel including soundman  Bob Pridden, lighting expert John Wolff  and Who manager Bill Curbishley. I could never have envisaged  back then that one day I would interview Bill in his office discussing The Who, Led Zeppelin , Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Irish jack was also there.

The objective of this days filming was to perfect the laser sequence during Keith Moon’s drum solo and into Roger’s scream before Pete and John come back in. We watched multiple takes of Keith performing his solo and Roger bathed in lasers marching on the spot as the camera panned in. We watched this repeated scene in absolute awe. 40 years on this close up experience of The Who filming this sequence remains right up there amongst the most thrilling live music moments I’ve been lucky enough to witness.

I was back behind the counter at my job in WH Smiths next day – and back on the Led Zep Sounds feature for the next few weeks. I did hastily hand write a couple of thousand words of a review of the May 25 Shepperton experience – I aim to search that out from the loft in the next week or so and get it into shape to put up here.

This was not quite the end of The Who 1978 story.

On August 1 1978, Dec and I attended the opening of the Who’s Who Exhibition at London’s ICA. Both Pete Townshend and Keith Moon were in attendance. The producer of the film Jeff Stein saw me and informed my I could be clearly seen in the final scenes of the film leaping on stage. The Who’s Who exhibition was superbly well done and way ahead of it’s time with stage clothes, instruments ,videos etc. I had a chat with both Pete and Keith – and had a photo taken with him. He seemed on great form proudly talking about the famous Pictures Of Lily drum kit that was on display. This pic shows me with Keith and Ian Dury with his back to us.

The Who Are You album came out in August and I purchased it on the day of release. An excellent album with some superb performances such as New Song, Sister Disco, Love Is Coming Down and the title track. It still sounds brilliant.

On the evening of Thursday September 7, I was watching the News at Ten on TV when they announced that Keith Moon had been found dead. It was no secret that Keith had carried a lot of demons around in recent years but it was still a terrible shock.

Unlike Zep, The Who decided to carry on – for them I’d say it was the right decision though it was never quite the same.

The following May  The Who played an unannounced show at London’s Rainbow Theatre – I missed out on that but Dec and I did have a vague plan to go to Frejus in France to see further gigs they were playing to launch the film – however, that plan did not come off

In June 1979 The Kids Are Alright film came to Bedford. Knowing I may appear in it, our gang of Dec, Tom, Phil etc all came along to view it at the Granada Cinema in Bedford (sadly long gone).  The film overall was excellent with some fantastic footage – no sighting of me of course until right at the close as the credits rolled… then on I leap into Pete Townshend’s’ arms (and nearly poking Roger Daltrey’s eye in the process!). In the cinema a huge cheer greeted my arrival – and of course I was well pleased I had made the final cut.

So there it was – my leap of faith captured for all time for all to see…

In August 1979 ,a week after the second Zep Knebworth show we went to Wembley Stadium to see The Who on a bill that included AC/DC (with Bon Scott), The Stranglers and Nils Lofgren. The Who were still great with Kenney Jones on drums but it was a somewhat challenging day – with lots of crowd trouble down the front.

I’ve seen The Who a fair few times since 1978 – notably at the Watford Town Hall in 2002, at the London Forum 2004, the Quadrophenia presentation at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010 and on March 23 2015 at the 02.

Even though they are now down to The Who Two , their catalogue of era defining music is still a crystal clear definition of what rock is all about – the last occasion I saw them at that 02 Arena was yet further testament to the lasting durability of The Who.

As for the Shepperton experience, well I’ve dined out on that clip many times since that leap of faith all of 44 years ago. I’m still in touch with the legendary Who fan Irish Jack who was there on those magic Shepperton afternoons – in fact I was in touch with him this week.

Looking back now, It was a moment that crystallised the impact a live performance can have.

It was a completely unplanned spontaneous action. If I had planned it, I would probably have worn a Who T- shirt rather than the McCartney/Wings London Town one I had on!

I was completely overwhelmed at The Who’s incredible performance and right then at that moment I needed to show my appreciation and where better to do it than on the actual stage with the band…

My Facebook friend Michael Starke described this photo (a still from the footage) of me hugging Pete  as ”The greatest fan interaction shot ever”.

That is some accolade…

It was some afternoon back in 1978 and 44 years on, the memory of it all looms ever large and pleasingly so…not least because it can be seen from several angles on the YouTube clip.

I was in the right place at the right time for it all to be captured on film –  and yes on the afternoon of May 25 1978, this 21 year old kid from Bedford was very much alright…

Dave Lewis – May 18,2022

 

 

………………….

YouTube clips:

The Who At Shepperton Studios  May 25, 1978 – Won’t Get Fooled Again: Dave Lewis on stage with The Who – 43 years ago this week:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg0464LMlzs

I arrive at 10mins 42

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6n8DHBIHFk

I arrive on multiple angles at 11mins 05


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday May 13:

Some thoughts on our Spurs v Arsenal experience last night…

At quiet short notice Adam was able to secure us two tickets for the Spurs v Arsenal game last night. For both of us It was both our first visit to the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium . It was also the first Spurs game I’ve attended since 2008 –incidentally my first was back in 1966 a 1-1 draw with Northampton won Jimmy Greaves scored a penalty. .  Many things have changed in the world of football since then.

The stadium is very impressive. I was a bit apprehensive about being in a 60,000 plus crowd – the last time I was in a mass gathering of people is when the good lady Janet and I attended The Rolling Stones gig in 2018 at Twickenham. Like the Stones, Spurs is a massive brand as are all the elite clubs – it was  quite amazing to see the fervour of the fans of all ages enjoying the build up to what was of course a crucial match for both sides – and the first North London derby at the new stadium in front of fans – the pandemic meant the last Spurs v Arsenal encounter was played behind closed doors.

Unsurprisingly the facilities are first class – the massive que at the abr was very well handled – we did not get to the beaertown bar which is run by the brewery Robert Plant’s son Logan owns. There’s the novelty too of seeing the lass fill upside down as it were.

Our view in the south stand was high up but with clear sight lines to the pitch. We were in the designated so called safe standing section – whereby you have a seat but can stand leaning against a bar like the old terrace days.

As for the music related contents the regular crowd chants deployed  Bruce Channel’s Hey Baby, The Beatles Hey Jude and The Piranha’s 1980 hit all of which had had routine renderings albeit of course with suitably banterish lyrics.

Getting out amongst the massive crowd was also fairly smooth a stomp down the road to the Seven Sisters tube and back to St Pancras.

So an exhilarating live football experience and the cream on the top was a 3-0 victory for Spurs that sets up an exciting last two games as Arsenal and Spurs contest a place in the Champions League.

Talking of European football way back  on May 17 1972 I was lucky enough to be at White Hart lane to see Spurs draw 1-1 with Wolves and win the old EAFA Euafa Cup 3-2 on aggregate (sorry Robert!).

Remarkably 50 years later last night I was back in the same North London location watching Spurs again.

It was a beautiful game back in 1972 and it’s a beautiful game now…you gotta love football and last night Adam and I certainly did…

Dave Lewis May 13,2022.

Friday May 14:

Ahead of the arrival of my copy of The Rolling Stones El Mocambo 1977 CD set, on the player marking its 50th anniversary the truly timelessly brilliant Exile On Main Street sounding every bit as good as it did when I first heard it 50 years ago this month…

Saturday May 14:

Saturday is platterday…on the player marking Jack Bruce’s Birthday today – Cream’s Disraeli Gears album and sounding mighty fine on a sunny spring Saturday morning…

 

 

 

 

Saturday May 14:

Saturday is platterday…on the player the recent Record Store Day release of Elton John’s The Complete Thom Bell Sessions…

Love these 1977 soul tinged sessions including Mamma Can’t Buy You Love, Three Way Love Affair and Are You Ready For Love – plus the superb Thom Bell version of Shine On Through which appeared in a more mellow version on Elton’s 1978 A Single Man album….

 

Saturday May 14:

Our grandson Ollie looking very smart  in his new Spurs away shirt and also enjoying his first pint in the Fox & Hounds … note just milk at the moment…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday May 15:

Sunday sounds on CD – loading up the just released Rolling Stones El Mocambo  2 CD set  and very much looking forward to hearing this live recording from their legendary club shows in front of just 300 fans in March 1977…

It’s only live rock’n’roll..but I think I’m going to like it…

UPDATE: I certainly do like it – this is a stupendous live set and right up there with the classic Stones  live -this is going to be a summer playlist fave for sure…

 

 

Monday May 16:

It’s a Happy Birthday today to Mr Chris Charlesworth –  renowned rock journalist and book editor who was right there reporting on and interviewing the likes of The Who, Led Zep, Bowie, Lennon etc in the golden age…

I have a lot to thank this man for as back in 1990 in his role as editor in chief at Omnibus Press, he commissioned my book idea Led Zeppelin A Celebration. It set me on my way and since and then Chris has sanctioned and edited further Led Zeppelin books I’ve been involved with.

Always a great support to all things TBL, his illuminating on the road tales of his association with Led Zep when he was with Melody Maker has lit up a fair few of the Zep conventions and fan meets I’ve helped stage – as some of you reading this will know.

His musings on his Just Backdated blog also lights up many a day –hey Chris we need your memoirs!

Chris has also been a great support to us personally over many years.

Given his status as an authority on all things Who related, it’s rather fitting his Birthday coincides with the original release date of The Who Live At Leeds album all of 52 years ago yesterday.

Long may you ride that magic bus Chris… Happy Birthday from Janet and I – have a great day!

Monday May 16:

As the 47th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s run of concerts at Earls Court rolls round – quite a bit of Zep EC activity here this week as I work on the revised and updated edition of the Five Glorious Nights – Led Zeppelin at Earls Court May 1975 book project …pre ordering details here:

https://www.rufuspublications.com/rufusbooks/Led-Zeppelin

Update here:

A very busy week indeed as can be seen above. The trip to see Spurs with Adam was an unexpected delight given we only had a few days notice that it was happening. Here’s hoping Spurs can secure a Champions League place with the right result against Norwich on the last day of the season on Sunday. Elsewhere there’s been work on the revised Five Glorious Nights Earls Court book – all very timely in this 47th anniversary week. More on all this as it unfolds…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – May 18, 2022

Until next time…

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tightbutloose.loose

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One Comment »

  • Steve Hall said:

    Hi, Dave – your recollections of Earls Court reminded me of my experience. These notes are what I put up on the Royal-Orleans.com website a while ago, so thought I’d share them here.

    Hope everything is still going well with you and Janet – keep smiling, mate!

    Lead up:

    When it was announced that the boys were going to be playing 3 dates at Earls Court on 23rd, 24th & 25th May 1975, I sent off my request for tickets straight away! A few days later my cheque was sent back with the note to say all dates were sold out – disappointment didn’t even cover it! Then, the following week in Sounds, the word was that they were playing 17th & 18th May as well, so off my money went again – this time, success!! It was going to be the longest few weeks of my life waiting for the night!
    I hadn’t had the chance to see them on their previous UK tours because of various circumstances, mostly connected to work and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, so this was finally my chance to see the lads (As it turned out, the one and only time I got to see them). With the release of Physical Graffiti, and reviews filtering through of some of their US gigs, I knew these were going to be awesome gigs and that’s how this one turned out.
    A few weeks before, a mate of mine and his wife had moved to North London from where I lived in the West Country, so I begged for the chance to stay with them that weekend so that there was no chance of anything going wrong with transport or whatever!! A 20-minute tube ride was a lot safer than a 2 hour train journey!

    On the day:

    I set off for Earls Court in the late afternoon to give myself plenty of time to get there and also to soak up the atmosphere in the build up to the gig. Got to Earls Court at about 6 o’clock, and got something to eat and drink from the concession stands, and also bought the program to read. The gig was due to start at 8pm, but word went around that they hadn’t started on time on Saturday so we weren’t in any rush to get to our seats, but suddenly, at 7:55, the announcement came that the gig was about to start, so it was a mad rush to get to the seats!!! I was sitting quite near to the stage – my memory is a bit fuzzy on this, but I remember the seats on the floor level were in blocks of 3 across and about 6 back. I was in the second row of blocks, in the left-hand block and on the front row, so I had a pretty good view of the stage. We’d noticed the screen above the stage, so had an idea that we would get good close-ups as well.
    Anyway, lights went down and Johnnie Walker came out to make a brief welcome to the lads then, after a quick drum roll from Bonzo and quick few chords from Jimmy, they started into Rock and Roll. Wow, the loudness hit you like an express train – some of us stood on the seats to get a better view and the power almost knocked us off our seats, but then security told us to get down or get thrown out!!! I remember that a couple of latecomers were passing in front of us with a couple of young kids, and the kids were covering their ears and grimacing at the sound – nothing like killing your kids hearing at a young age!!!!!
    Then went into Sick Again and followed by OTHAFA. The first highlight for me was In My Time Of Dying with some great slide work by Jimmy. Then came TSRTS followed by TRS, one of my fave’s from Houses of the Holy, before the mighty Kashmir with JPJ on the mellotron. Then came another one of my favourites, No Quarter which featured JPJ again – smoke across the stage enveloping them, and a blue lighting effect created by a spotlight shining on the mirror ball hanging over the stage – very effective for creating the eerie effect of the number!
    Then things slowed down and they all came to sit at the front of the stage for the acoustic set – time for all of us to catch our breath! Back to the rockers with a brilliant Trampled Underfoot, followed by the “mighty Mekon”, John Bonham, and Moby Dick. It was great to see him in close-up on the big screen which made it a bit more interesting than it could have been – drum solos usually mean going for a piss, or back to the bar, but watching him on the screen and seeing his technique made it worth watching.
    Then came a 30+ minute D & C which had green lasers coming from the back of the hall to surround Jimmy and create some great lighting effects with the smoke. The final number was Stairway to Heaven, which everyone had been waiting for and some had been shouting for all through the gig!! 10 minutes or so of foot-stomping and shouting and they were back for the encore – a foreshortened WLL then straight into Black Dog. Before we knew it, it was all over, the lights at the back of the stage pronouncing “LED ZEPPELIN” and the lads were gone.
    It was about 11:30pm when we started to leave, and I knew it was touch and go whether I’d get the tube back to North London – it took 2 trains to get back, and I was more worried about missing the second train, but thankfully everything worked out and I got the last train!! Obviously most of the passengers were from the gig, and there was a buzz on the train and all the chatter about how great the gig was and what everyone’s highlights were – I seem to remember that one or two hadn’t been there, but were going to see them the following weekend, so kept telling others to stop spoiling it for them!!!!!!!!

    Overview of the gig:

    I can safely say that this was one of the highlights of my life, mainly because I didn’t know if I’d ever get the chance to see them again, which turned out to be the case. I’ve been to hundreds of gigs over the years from big names at arenas to local groups in pubs and clubs, and this gig is the one that stands out for me – because it was Led Zeppelin!!!!
    The boys seemed to be enjoying themselves and Robert was in top form with his Plantations and chat during the show. I’d only bought Physical Graffiti a short while before the gig, so I’d only listened to the new numbers a few times and didn’t know what to expect, but it was great to hear them live for the first time. History says this was one of the better gigs of the run, so I’m eternally grateful that I managed to finally get there.

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