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Living In The Past / On A Blind Date in 1979 / May Daze in 1975

24 May 2009 3,259 views No Comment

Dave Lewis“Happy and I’m smiling,
Walk a mile to drink your water.
Oh, we wont give in,
Lets go living in the past.”

As Jethro Tull once put it so eloquently.

Given recent circumstances it’s been more than a tonic to go living in the past over the last few days or more precisely back to 1979 –the summer of 1979 and the events in a field just outside Stevenage.

To that end I’ve been scribing away on the Knebworth book project I’ve undertaken. I’ve been thinking about how to commemorate the 30th anniversary for a while and out of that grew the idea to mark it with a special TBL publication. That in turn has now developed into a book. The plan is to publish a limited edition run in August. It will be launched at the Knebworth Celebration Day we are also planning. So there’s a lot to sort out as we are working to a very tight deadline. Martyn will be doing the design and I’ve had some fantastic support from the likes of Gary Davies, Lorraine Robertson, Graeme Hutchinson, Mark Harrison and Cliff Hilliard.

It’s been great reading through the personal recollections that have come in.

It’s more than evident that Led Zeppelin at Knebworth is held in high esteem. Looking back it really was a unique event.

Despite the grand scale of it all there was an innocence about the whole affair – a sense of belonging to something…to being as Plant put it ‘’on a blind

date – and yes seeing was believing.

As one of the Knebworth recollections contributors Nigel Paling pointed out to me, it’s amazing how the memories have stuck.

There can surely be few groups who’s between song banter on stage can be quoted at will. But that’s the way it is with Knebworth. I’m sure I’m by no means the only one who can quote verbatim Plant’s on stage comments such as ‘’I told Pagey one or two people would be here, he said “No, I doubt it very much’. Well I can’t tell you how it feels…. you’ve got a good idea anyway’’ or ‘’Who’s the person who owns that goat and the little wagon we saw two nights ago camping out there? Come around the back after and write an acoustic set with us’’.

Then there’s ‘’Hello, congestion on the A1M I think. This is a small little up-tempo ditty that we’ve been asked by some people in Vancouver – It’s all there in the end baby…. It’s called Trampled Underfoot’’

And of course these words before Stairway on August 4:

‘’So many people who’ve helped us over the years, no people more important than yourselves…. who came here on a blind date. This is for you…all of you’’

Zep at Knebworth holds that sort of devotion and is worthy of mass celebration. As I said right now it feels like I’m back in the summer of ’79 – The Big Match Revisited even had on the ‘79 FA Cup Final on last week –the five minute affair when United got back to 2-2 only for Arsenal to nick it at the end – watching games from that era it’s quite amazing how many footballers of the time had Plant style perms. Hair was big back then…can’t say it’s so prevalent round these parts now!

Cliff Hilliard and Mark Harrison popped over last week. It was good to see Mark looking well and we had the usual laughs rolling through various Zep DVD’s – Knebworth obviously and we went in another time warp watching the complete episode of The Old Grey Whistle Test from October 1984 which has that interview up a mountain with Jimmy and Roy Harper. The programme also had an hilarious interview with Ian Gillan and John Lord of Deep Purple. Ian Gillan got very edgy with Andy Kershaw who had the gall to ask if money had been a motivator to them reforming. As if!

The accompanying video that was shown of Perfect Strangers has footage of them rehearsing in dear old Bedford. Back in 1984 one Friday night in a pub in town called The Ship, all of Deep Purple and their entourage held court after rehearsing nearby and a call from my friend Alan Stutz had the good lady and I popping in to see the novelty of a top hat and cloaked Blackmore sipping his pint of Guinness in our local.

Jerry Bloom was there of course and I recall we finished a rather bizarre evening with a curry. Jerry has a new book due out on Rainbow –check out

his site

It was Adam’s of season football club presentation night last week and it was great to see him and the team up there receiving their runner up trophies for coming second in their division. Adam rounded off the season with a fine goal in their last match played at Jubilee Park where I grew up and scene of many a Wallbanger match. The manager of the team Dave Collins is a big 60s/70s rock fan – he can tell stories of seeing Johnny Winter and Mountain at the Fillmore West when he was in the merchant navy. So it was back to ours for an appropriate blast of Earls Court from the DVD. Another anniversary to be celebrated of course. Even the good lady remarked at Jimmy’s utter genius during the solo on Stairway. The next day I marked the May 17 show by catching an episode of the iconic 70’s British cop series The Sweeney (you can’t get more 1975 than that!) and tracking through what I titled my ‘Darling buds of May Daze’ playlist which has 34 prime Earls Court moments from the May 18 No Quarter, through Woodstock on May 24 to the simply phenomenal and no other word for it May 25 encores of Heartbreaker and Communication Breakdown.

It’s been good to welcome Sam back from Norwich Uni –her interest in politics has led to her being featured on a local Conservative party manifesto document It has a photo from when she won a Conservative sponsored essay competition and went to lunch with novelist Frederick Forsyth. Today Totnes Close – tomorrow Westminster (but watch those expenses Sam!)

Elsewhere on the pod and deck, it’s been full on Knebworth and Earls Court with a bit of Free (thank you Terry), Family (what a great band they were) Nick Drake, Jethro Tull and Sandy Denny thrown in.

Right I’d better get back to 1979:

‘’Well, we had lots of little bits of paper passed to us from people who came from this place and that place and the other place. From Newcastle, from the City Hall Newcastle probably, from Caenarvon, Vancouver, even a public house near Kidderminster. It goes without saying we we’re really chuffed that you all made it. To crown it this is a thing , as it’s about our eleventh year the songs about a year out of date, It’s called Ten Years Gone’’

The very words send shivers up the spine….

Knebworth ‘79…now those were the days. Get ready to celebrate them in true Tight But Loose style in the coming weeks.

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