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REMEMBERING ANDY ADAMS TWO YEARS GONE/LZ NEWS /IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR / PAGE & PLANT MTV UNLEDDED 29 YEARS GONE/TOYAH AND FRIPP KASHMIR/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

24 August 2023 772 views One Comment

Andy Adams 1961 – 2021…

Two years gone…

Andy Adams passed away two years ago on August 27,2021.

The response back then to his very sad passing was truly overwhelming though not unsurprising given Andy’s standing in the Zep community…

Reading back through all those amazing tributes and memories, it’s heartwarming to see the esteem he was held in by so many – and the way he brightened all our lives and still does.

It’s a tribute to Andy that his Celebration Days Facebook group has continued to be an enlightening platform for Zep related content – the likes of Paul Sheppard and Wanda Wooten and many others have kept Andy’s light shining on.

I really love the pic here – it was taken at the Coda tribute band gig in Redditch on September 19 2019 at the John Bonham Celebration event which was the last time I saw Andy – we are pictured with fellow Zep collecting comrades Chris Mayley, Chris’s son and Gary Davies. It was a fabulous night in his company – how sad it is to think it would be our final time together.

On this second anniversary of his passing here’s my thoughts..

In memory of dear Andy…

I first met Andy Adams in 1988 at the Robert Plant warm up show in Colchester.

His passion for all things Zep and rock music in general was apparent from the off. I thought I knew a bit about Led Zeppelin until I met Andy…

Over the next couple of years we kept in regular touch –I would see him regularly at record fairs. Andy’s knowledge of Zep bootlegs was just awesome – he was always one step ahead of the latest releases, both on vinyl record, the emerging CD format and of course cassettes.Cassettes in fact was the currency we dealt in and we began trading tapes.

When I was commissioned to write the Led Zeppelin A Celebration book in 1989 I knew I would need Andy’s help and he was so amazingly generous in unlocking his archive. In early 1990 I sent a memorable day at his Canvey Island home. There he showed me so many bootlegs and tapes –Andy had things like the Toasted Condor label video of the Royal Albert Hall 1970, Earls Court soundboard bootleg LPs and so much more. He told me about Luis Rey and his book of Zep tapes. Andy had been on the collecting scene or some years -I was amazed I had not connected with him earlier – but was so very pleased I had now.

All this info he shared freely – one of Andy’s many wonderful traits was his utter generosity.

Here’s an example…

It was a Saturday afternoon September 15 1990. I was over at Andy’s place to catch up the latest Zep news and collate the final updates for the A Celebration book – Andy had kindly offered to hav a final look and check everything before it was signed off. ‘’I have a new tape to paly you’’ said Andy and snapped in a cassette – volume up loud.

The strains of the opening of Led Zeppelin’s All My Love burst forth – but this was no ordinary version –this was an outtake alternate version that Andy, being the fountain of all Zep knowledge had secured.

We sat looking at each other in total awe at this wonderful recording and no more so than the part at 6 minutes 40 when instead of the usual fade of the official version –this outtake moved on into the most beautiful outro with superb lyrical guitar from Jimmy and Robert’s heartfelt pleadings.

It was one of those moments when the enjoyment of this special band totally bonded us – we had such massive smiles as the song finally came to a full end.

It was an incredibly special moment and Andy and I often spoke about it – it was the moment the two of us shared the experience of rare and unreleased music from the band we so loved.

I would not have wanted to share that moment back then with anyone else but Andy.

We both knew what it mean to us…and what it would mean to Zep fans across the globe when they heard it on the subsequent bootlegs that surfaced notably Studio Daze.

”Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find’’ sings Robert Plant in that beautiful song..

That about sums it up …

Andy always had such a warmth about him – he was always genuine, affable and engaged.

It’s those qualities and so many more that I will miss…

On another of my visits to Andy around the same time, we  talked about the idea of a UK Convention. The yardstick had been created by the staging of a US event in 1988 – this had been organised at the Meadowlands Hotel in New Jersey in Washington DC by Brian Knapp -another major Zep memorabilia collector who I had been in touch with for some years. I was also aware of a David Bowie event BowiCon that had been staged in the US.

Andy was at the time publishing his excellent Zep mag Early Days and Latter Days and was a regular stall holder at Record Fairs. Initially he was approached to stage a mini Zep Convention within a major London Record Fair. We both felt this would not fulfill the potential for the type of event we wanted to stage.

So in the autumn of 1991, Andy and I formulated a plan for what we felt was needed to stage a Led Zeppelin Convention. We both agreed it required two days and we aimed for a central London venue and the following January we made a visit to London to look at perspective venues. After looking at three potential venues we selected the Royal National Hotel in Euston. By then we had also enlisted the help of some key players in the UK Zep community.

I have to say that Andy’s enthusiasm during this period was absolutely inspirational – his vision of what we could achieve was right in line with mine and it was an absolute pleasure working with him. There were many ups and downs ahead and difficult moments that we faced together – it certainly wasn’t all plain sailing but Andy’s affable stance and belief always got us through.

The hotel, with it’s various exhibition rooms looked ideal and we put a deposit down to secure it for three days in May – Friday May 22, Saturday May 23 and Sunday 24. The Friday would be a setting up day and a press launch at night – the Saturday and Sunday the actual Convention days.

I’ll tell the full story of that amazing weekend another time..it will certainly be in the DL memoirs…

I have so many memories of time spent in Andy’s company – here is a photo which I am looking at with tears stinging my eyes of Andy and I on the early morning of May 22 1992 as we were setting up the Led Zeppelin Convention we staged at the Royal National Hotel in London.

Andy was so proud about what we achieved that weekend and we both loved remembering those times – nearly every conversation we had touched on this subject. Indeed we had talked about doing something for the 30th anniversary May.

Those that were there will know how amazing it was in bringing together Led Zeppelin fans for some unforgettable celebration days…It could never have happened without his passion and enthusiasm.

It was just one example of countless things Andy did to enhance the enjoyment of all this great music.

As with any enduring friendship there were some ups and downs along the way and we did have some differences of opinion on certain things  but we overcame them and always reconciled them – notably at an amazing gig by the tribute band Simply Led in Belfast on March 5 2001 to mark the 30th anniversary of led Zeppelin’s performance at the Ulster Hall. Andy and I had  beer or two beforehand and got right back on track – ran the stalls reveled in the gig and shared a Chinese takeaway and boy life was good…

I saw Andy at the Led Zeppelin DVD premiere in London in 2003 and at a couple of one day conventions but for a good while Andy disappeared off the scene -his health was not so good. He relocated to Eastbourne and we were back in touch around 2010. In 2014 I invited Andy along to the HMV  playback of the first three Led Zeppelin reissues I also saw him at the Jimmy Page book launch Q and A at the Cadogan Hall

 

We had a truly fantastic time on both those occasions and from there on Andy was right back in the forefront of it all – establishing his blog and the Facebook groups Celebration Days and Jimmy Page Session Man (”Can we roll it Jimmy?’)

I am so glad I had constant contact with Andy in recent years and was able to share his company on some memorable nights.

Andy was an essential addition to the lines up of the TBL gatherings held at the Atlas Pub in 2018 and 2019.

We had some really fantastic nights out notably the Coda at the Coda 50th anniversary concert to mark Led Zeppelin’s first London show. This was at the O’Neill’s Wardour Street, London on October 18, 2018. I love the photo of Andy and I with the good lady Janet before the gig.

 

Andy was in Bedford for the Coda gig at the Esquires club on March 9 2019 -another great occasion. I then hooked up with him at the John Bonham Celebration event in Redditch on September 21 2019. We met with Gary Davies, Chris Mayley and Ian Avey – again a top night –  that would sadly be the last time I saw him -here’s our last pic together in Redditch.

Andy was such a support to Janet and I when she broke her leg and was always a sounding board for my own mental health issues. There were some tearful conversations – Andy was a man I felt I could unburden too. I also knew he was having his own issues with his health and of course I was very concerned about that. We also helped each other in dealing with the pandemic and the lockdowns.

Early in 2021  Andy and I liaised on the Record Collector Led Zeppelin special – Andy added a significant contribution to it and we were all so pleased the way it came out – as was the editor Jamie Atkins. Andy had been working on various projects -including a Zep at the Marquee book and a Zep on film project. Andy was also about to launch a new Facebook group

I was due to meet Andy in July 2021 at the Robert Plant Saving Grace gig in Bexhill but could not make it – Andy had met with Dave Ling in the afternoon and Dave alerted me to the fact he did not think Andy was well and would find it hard to make the gig. This is how it transpired as Andy was taken in to Eastbourne hospital for tests and kept in overnight. Again this was all very worrying.

A couple of weeks later Andy received the updated Evenings With Led Zeppelin book and messaged me to say to he thought it was superb and would be reviewing it on his blog – I was due to call him for a phone catch up this week…

Sadly that was not to be…

Andy’s relentless passion for Led Zeppelin , his generosity and kindness lit up so many of our lives. I personally shared so many wonderful moments with him over many years – and during difficult times here he was such a support to Janet and I.

The Zeppelin fan community lost a true fountain of knowledge and is diminished by his passing – he continues to be will be so sorely missed.

Above all, we have all lost a beautiful soul and friend…

Andy you gave us so much love and light and as the singer once said ‘’Everybody needs the light’’

Your light continues to shine on and on…

RIP dear Andy…

Dave Lewis August 24 2023


LedZep News

Here’s the latest Led ZepNews Update:

Led Zeppelin

BBC sells Maida Vale studios

The BBC has sold its famous Maida Vale studios in London, where Led Zeppelin recorded radio sessions on March 19, 1969 and June 24, 1969, to a partnership that includes well-known film soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer. The new owners have pledged to keep the venue as a music recording facility.

Jimmy Page

‘Mr. Jimmy’ film will be released in September

The feature-length documentary film “Mr. Jimmy” about musician Akio Sakurai who replicates the on-stage appearance and sound of Jimmy Page will be released worldwide on September 1.

The film has been doing a global circuit of film festivals since 2019 and has finally been picked up by distributors. The film heavily features Led Zeppelin music, something the band signed off on.

You can check for screenings of the film here (so far we’re only seeing US and Canada screenings listed) and there are more details about the film in its press kit here.

Robert Plant

Robert Plant released his first music with Saving Grace

Robert Plant released his first music with Saving Grace, the folk band he’s been touring Europe with off and on since 2019. On August 18, anyone who purchased tickets to the band’s newly announced November tour of the UK was sent a link to download an exclusive track: “As I Roved Out”.

That song has been a staple of the band’s live shows for years and you can hear a live rendition of it below:

Saving Grace will start its next tour on August 24 and tour Europe throughout September before a break in October before the band tours the UK in November.

With Plant’s solo career now encompassing touring with Alison Krauss, touring and recording with Saving Grace and also potential releases from Band of Joy and Honeydrippers, we wrote this guide for our premium Substack subscribers to Plant’s solo career and what to expect from all of those projects.

Here are all of Robert Plant’s current solo projects and what to expect from them
AUG 18
Read full story

Robert Plant to appear at history festival

Robert Plant will speak at Gloucester History Festival on September 17 about Anglo-Saxon history. Anyone wishing to attend the talk can purchase tickets for it here.

The announcement of the talk caused us to spot that Plant wrote the foreword for historian Martin Wall’s book “West: Tales of the Lost Lands” which was released in February. We posted the foreword on Twitter here.

Robert Plant’s front of house engineer speaks

Robert Plant’s front of house engineer Mark Kennedy spoke to Mix Magazine about his work on Plant’s tour with Krauss. You can read the first part of the interview here and the second part here.

John Paul Jones

New video surfaces of recent John Paul Jones music

A new video of recent music written by John Paul Jones has been published online. The video shows a 2022 live performance of “Cradle Song”, which Jones wrote.

The song had its live debut in 2017, which we covered here.

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.
  • 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– The documentary film “Mr. Jimmy” will be released in cinemas and 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.
  • September 17– Robert Plant will speak at Gloucester History Festival.
  • November 1– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Brighton, UK.
  • November 2– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Guildford, UK.
  • November 4– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Bert Jansch 80th birthday tribute concert in London, UK.
  • November 5– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Birmingham, UK.
  • November 7– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bournemouth, UK.
  • November 8– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Cardiff, UK.
  • November 11– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Salford, UK.
  • November 13– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Oxford, UK.
  • November 16– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Basingstoke, UK.
  • November 17– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Cambridge, UK.
  • November 19– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Grimsby, UK.
  • November 20– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Gateshead, UK.
  • November 22– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bradford, UK.
  • November 23– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stoke-on-Trent, 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 

The complete Led ZepNews email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

STOP PRESS:

Led Zeppelin at Shepperton 1974…

One more via LZ News -this is a fantastic piece of research regarding the Led Zeppelin filming at Shepperton in August 1974 of sequences for The Song Remains The Same film…

https://ledzepnews.com/2023/08/23/inside-the-filming-of-led-zeppelin-at-shepperton-studios-the-genesis-of-the-project/?fbclid=IwAR2aoPBM8X8naWl_cSB7sP2EcQv6V1WLbCvXn2moNX75YrTcuZg5ptt-YUU


In Through The Out Door – It was 44 years ago…

Led Zeppelin’s ninth album In Through The Out Door was released on Monday August 20, 1979. Here’s a Then and Now overview from the TBL archives… 

In Through The Out Door  ….Then:

The 1977 tour of America had given rise to a revival in the fortunes of the group. They were playing great, the on stage spectacle had reached new heights and plans for a new album to be recorded after the tour were in place.

The tour would subsequently be cancelled amidst backstage violence in Oakland and then the shocking news of the passing of Robert Plant’s five year old son Karac.

They were difficult days and Jimmy was at pains to explain that they would not be splitting and that Robert would work with the band again. Slowly they did pick up the pieces – though not before Robert had notions of giving it all up to go into teaching. With much support from John Bonham, he agreed to a group rehearsal  at Clearwell Castle in May of 1978.

As for me, with Zep off the road, I was busy with one or two other matters – for instance leaping up on stage at The Who filming in Shepperton. My summer was taken up writing and researching a major Zep ten years retrospective for Sounds music weekly. Working with Geoff Barton, it was a big thrill to see my work in print. The reaction spurred me on to move ahead with a long held idea to produce a Led Zeppelin fanzine. Built on the do it yourself ethics of the punk fanzines of the day such as Sniffin Glue and Ripped And Torn, I began hand writing what would become the first issue.

In the autumn rumours were rife that the group had resumed rehearsals at Ezyhire Studios in North London.

Robert 78 003

The opportunity arose for me to hear what plans the group had ahead from one of the principal players. On November 4 1978 Robert took part in the annual Goaldiggers Charity Five-a- side football tournament at Wembley Arena. I made it my mission to attend and wizzed over to the Wembley Empire Pool after playing soccer in the morning. I searched Robert out by the sidelines area and spent a memorable afternoon chatting to him and wife Maureen. Robert was more than amiable – laughing at the antics of the Page 3 ladies team and informing me that they were about to head for Stockholm to record a new album at Abba’s Polar studios. I came back from that encounter totally invigorated. This pic was taken by me on that afternoon.

By early 1979 two things had happened.

Led Zeppelin had a new album in the can (rumoured in some circles to be titled Look) and I had produced the first issue of Tight But Loose and it was already creating a platform of communication of like minded Zep fans.

Of course in true Zep style there followed a period of waiting..and more waiting..

Just as I was reporting in the second issue of TBL that there was no news of the album or any live shows, they surprised us all by announcing a comeback at  Knebworth.

It was the summer of Led Zep 1979 and what a summer it turned out to be.

Before we go any further one thing needs to be stated. The eighth Led Zeppelin album In Through The Out Door is intrinsically lined with those two Knebworth appearances.

Not least for the performances of two tracks from the then yet to be released album namely Hot Dog and In The Evening. The latter’s performance was a simply breathtakingly demonstration of their undoubted power. The still had it…and we all ready to lap it up on record.

The album was due for release in the UK on Monday August 20. I was most fortunate to find a pre release copy on cassette awaiting for me upon my return from the second Kenbworth show

Listening to it in my bedroom remains one of the most memorable playbacks of my life.

Something like In The Evening heralded a new Zeppelin with new places to go… and I intended to be with them every step of the way.

DL aug79

The next challenge was to acquire the six differing covers to the album. The problem was that as the sleeves were pre packaged with the distinct brown paper bag, the purchaser therefore would not know which cover he had invested in until the album had been bought. Luckily I worked for a record shop -on Monday August 20 I duly waded through a fair few copies of the album unsealing them and sealing them back up until I had been through about a 100 to narrow down the six sleeves. Mission accomplished. This pic shows me on my bike outside Dec’s house on the afternoon of Monday August 20 – the HMV bag contained my six LP’s as purchased from WH Smith where I worked.

The press reaction to the album was unsurprisingly somewhat mixed.

As Plant commented somewhat cynically from the stage on the August 11th show, “You’ve probably read the reviews it’s tremendous.’’

Writing in Sounds , Geoff Barton went for the jugular. The feud between Swan Song and the paper probably did not help matters. A two star review (poor) had Baton summarizing, ‘’On this album Zeppelin sound like a band that hasn’t played together for three years. I feel no elation. I don’t wish to gloat. I’m sad, disillusioned, downhearted it’s the end of an era. The dinosaur is finally extinct.’’

Over at the Melody Maker there was no respite. ‘’Whole Lotta Bluff’’ read the headline as Chris Bohn stated, ‘’Led Zeppelin are displaying the first intimations of mortality and it’s time they accepted their fate like men. They squeezed their lemons dry long ago’’

Rolling Stone predictably waded in with a negative review. ‘’Sad Zep’’ headlined Charles M Young’s review. ‘’With the paucity of good music to work with Plant fails to create phrasing good enough to disguise the lyrics which are horrible.’’

In Creem magazine there was a more upbeat reaction. John Swenson observed, ‘’Led Zeppelin have never made a bad album and In Through The Out Door is no exception. You can call them stupid, you can call them wimpy, you can call them stupid, you can call them gimpy. Just don’t call them late for breakfast, because these guys bring home the bacon every time.”

The more no frills prose of Record Mirror were highly complimentary. ‘’Zep Zap the faithful’’ it stated and Robin Smith concluded that, “This album is for kids like you and me.’’

Finally to Nick Kent –in the past a loyal Zep supporter though now trying to run with the new pack of hot new wave hip journo’s dominating the NME. His review was not the hatchet job expected. ‘’They were so much older then’’ was the headline for what was easily the most balanced and perceptive review of the album ‘’In Through The Out Door’’ is no epitaph. When it’s bad as on the downright clumsy ‘Hot Dog’ its very bad but when it shines, it does so brightly enough. It only remains to advise the gentlemen involved to get back on the road and really start working at being a band again. Three year stretches of indolence are simply not on in rock’ n roll terms. More to the point there are potential points of departure on this album that deserve following through. The doctor orders a period of intense activity.’’

The next six months contained many an Out Door thrill. Hearing the Radio One UK chart run down where it was announced that the album ahd entered the Uk chart at number one (fending off Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming in the process)…the US reports of the sales of the album being a saviour to the US record industry – as all Zep albums went back on the Billboard chart…collecting the various configurations of the single Fool In the Rain/Hot Dog.

Bonzo 6

On November 28, I was also lucky enough to attend the Melody Maker Poll Awards at London’s Waldorf Hotel. Robert, Bonzo and Jonesy plus Peter Grant, Richard Cole and various Swan Song personnel attended. They received awards for Best Band, Best Live Act, Best Album, Best Male Singer, Best Guitarist, Best Producer and Best Composers. John Bonham can be seen in this pic accepting one of the awards from Monty Python’s Michael Palin.

Then there was the incredibly exciting Over Europe tour the following summer where All My Love was a welcome addition to the set list – a final approval of it being one of the pivotal tracks on the album. I vividly remember being at the side of the stage at the Frankfurt Festhalle a few feet from Robert as he sang this emotional song with such passion.

‘’Expectations fulfilled – credibility intact’’ was how I described the album in my review in TBL issue 3.

As far as I was concerned it was job done. In Through The Out Door had in fact not been the hardest way to get back in after all…

America beckoned …

I’d spoken to John Bonham a few times during the Over Europe tour – and on our last night in Munich as we all revelled in a night club, John wrote down his phone number and told me to call him when we got back in the UK (That piece of paper written on a German hotel note pad page with his name and number on remains one of my most treasured possessions). I remember vividly him giving us an affectionate big bear hug as we left the club that night.

On Thursday July 24, I phoned him at Cutnall Green. We had a long conversation. John was very happy with the way the Europe tour had gone and was now looking forward to a holiday. He told me there was a group meeting due the next day to discuss what was to happen next. He said to call during August for more news. During that second call in late August, John strongly hinted they would be returning to America in the autumn.

When the first dates were announced in early September I’d already made up my mind to go. I was planning on the Landover/Philadelphia dates. I was constantly in touch with Swan Song that month and on Thursday September 18 I visited the office to take in some early text of the forthcoming Tight But Loose issue. Jimmy Page was at the office that day and I spent over half and hour with him one on one in the inner sanctum of their plush interview room. He talked enthusiastically of their plans and showed me a model set up of their new lighting and stage rig. The model was complete with a miniature representation of each of them on stage. I asked him about the ongoing chronological live project and he told me he had been looking at some footage to go with the tracks. He also said that the outtakes from the last album were still under consideration to use in some format. An album and UK dates in 1981 were also planned.

I wrote down hurriedly the content of our conversation that early evening and one quote stands out: ”I feel there is a lot more to do simply because this band thrives on a challenge – you’ve only go to look at Presence for that”

The following Tuesday I phoned Unity at Swan Song for the latest news. Unity informed me they were commencing rehearsals in Bray Studios later in the week. Excitedly I took down notes on a piece of paper as she told me all this. I still have that note – a reminder of the optimism of that time. Unity told me there may be a possibility for me to attend rehearsals the next Tuesday. Now that would be something very special.

Tight But Loose 5 was to be an Over Europe special with a 10,000 word report of the tour formulated from the five gigs I’d witnessed. I’d been working on it fairly non stop since August and it was nearly complete. I spent the next two days finishing up the lay out – these were the days when I cut it all in myself scrapbook style to be printed. On Thursday September 25th (with huge irony) I finalised the opening editorial which I’d written on September 22th – it was the last piece of the magazine.

”By the time you are reading this” it stated, ”Zeppelin will be mid way through a 4 week trek across the US”

It was already to go. I was ecstatic and with good reason.

The mag was ready to print, there was a chance I may even get to see them in rehearsal the next week and America beckoned in October.

What could possibly go wrong…

………………

In Through the Out Door Now:

in thru six covers

So some 41 years on how does it all sound on reissue…

Much has been said over the years about the less than crystal clear mix – this certainly does sound sprightlier though not radically so.

In The Evening still retains that feeling of rebith so evident at Knebworth. South Bound Suarez is another of those hidden gems – much more to this track than first meets the ears. Fool In The Rain is a magnificent Bonham masterclass -marvel at the tympani drumming during the break and the way he comes back in for the final chorus. Jimmy’s solo is so off the wall. This is the Zep of new places to go and going there with renewed confidence.

Hot Dog sounds surprisingly fresh and would have made a great UK single had that been the game.

Carouselambra intrigues with it’s JPJ led dream machine keyboard effects. The vocal do sound slightly more upfront.

I still have great affinity for All My Love. The right song at the right time and Jonesy’s solo is prime JPJ.

I’m Gonna Crawl – another revelation – the interplay of all four here is just mesmerising. Some forceful Bonham sparring with Page brings a typical dynamic quality to the proceedings, while Jimmy is at his bluesy best on the solo. A pleading Plant vocal that peaks at 4 minutes 41 with the most angst of screams brings the track to a satisfying finale.

So to the Companion Disc.

in thru image ken

In The Evening (Rough Mix) 6.54

Alternate effects on the drone intro which recalls the live Knebworth arrangement giving it a more Eastern in feel. A much cleaner vocal track with less echo – this really adds a new majesty to the piece. The guitar is also mixed higher. On the slowed up refrain with Jimmy’s guitar effects, this mix allows you to clearly hear JPJ playing that beautiful flute like keybaord motiv that could be heard on the live versions. His bass playing is also exemplary. That whole sequence from 4 mins 25 through to 5.00 is another wonderful revelation. Moving into the finale the outro sounds very live and pure – all in all, this rough mix is a total joy.The opening statement with added clarity and intent.…magnificent…

Southbound Piano (South Bound Saurez – Rough Mix) 4.14

In this mix the piano is right to the fore and the solo from Jimmy is much more prominent. Overall this mix highlights how much is going on here with the vocal overdubs and stomping piano adding to the busy nature. Of proceedings. A once underrated track that will command deserved renewed attention now.Rollicking fun to be had here…altogether now ‘’Shala lala lalla la la’’

Fool In The Rain (Rough Mix) 6.13

Not too many differences on this – the solo is slightly clearer and more up front in the mix and generally the guitar effects are more pronounced behind Robert’s vocal. Bonzo is brilliant throughout of course. Always an off beat percussive feast…

Hot Dog (Rough Mix) 3.17

A much more punchier mix with the harmonised vocals sounding less harsh. Bonzo’s rimshots at the end of the chorus are more to the fore. Overall this zips along with renewed gusto – there are some minor extra parts to be heard on the solo. Jonesy’s final piano sign off motiv at the close is slightly cleaner in the mix. Expect to enjoy this a whole lot more than before. The once maligned hoedown that works – contrary to public opinion…

The Epic (Carouselambra – Rough Mix) 10.48

On this mix the guitar is the lead instrument with the synth work further back in the mix. Bonzo is also more to the fore. The link into the slowed down sequence at 4 mins 10, has Jimmy’s guitar runs chiming away with increased clarity At 6.45 there’s a double track vocal effect on the ‘’I heard the word I couldn’t stay..another day’’ line. The vocals are slightly higher in the mix but not radically so. The fade out has differing nuances from JPJ’s GX1 synth have improved separation with the synth effects echoing away. The epic just got a little more epic…

The Hook (All My Love – Rough Mix) 5.52

Not too much to report here – a cleaner vocal track is noticeably. However this is not the much bootlegged Monitor Mix and therefore does not have the extended fade out and full ending. This mix fades as the original version. Shame the long ending was not retained…

Blot (I’m Gonna Crawl – Rough Mix) 5.31

Less sheen on the vocal here and the solo is more upfront – highlighting the sheer brilliance of something of an underrated performance which will now enjoy rightful acclaim. Jimmy’s solo is just exquisite. Far from a blot on the landscape – this is another another performance worthy of re investigation…

Summary: 

retail aug 2 one

This very welcomed reissue puts In Through The Out Door right back in the spotlight. Sprightly and full of vitality -still with new ideas and musical themes to elaborate upon. Far from the so called tired finale, it’s an album that has solid foundations to point to a whole new era…with much to enjoy, and I have certainly enjoyed revisiting it all these past few days.

I could not miss the opportunity to re-enact that 1979 photo outside Dec’s house – so here I am same place -same bag with the new In Through The Out Door reissue

Dave Lewis – July,2015.

 

 

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Jimmy Page & Robert Plant MTV Unledded – 29 years gone….TBL Archive Special: 

29 years ago this month, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reunited for two performances filmed by MTV at the London TV Studios for their Unplugged series. Appropriately dubbed Unledded, this saw the pair roll back the years with an inspiring re-evaluation of the Led Zeppelin catalogue.

In its way this was every bit as significant as the 2007 O2 reunion as they sort to put into perspective their past achievements. The omission of John Paul Jones was in hindsight, a poor misjudgement but at the time, we were more than grateful for this reuniting of the pair. I was lucky enough to attend both days filming – indeed I was involved in supplying the TBL database for the ballot of ticket distribution. Looking back It was an incredibly exciting period that would lead on into more memorable nights in the company on the ensuing 1995/96 world tour.

This TBL archive special reproduces the passionate review of those two MTV Unledded performances I wrote for TBL issue 10 – it’s incredible to think that it’s all of 29 years ago as once again it seems like a second ago –but a lifetime. It was another of those truly fantastic times to be a Led Zeppelin fan again…..so let’s travel back to the late summer of 1994 and two very special August days.

Where to start? I mean, how do you begin to describe it all . . . The shivers down the spine when they did Rain Song with an orchestra . , . Robert’s dedication to Bonzo before Four Sticks on Thursday . . . the spontaneous applause for Jimmy’s solo on Friday’s version of Since I’ve Been Loving You . . . The running good natured banter between Robert and the audience throughout the event . . . the emotional intensity of the new Wonderful One . . . the last five minutes of Kashmir on Friday which was as good a section of live music I’ve been privileged to watch in my entire life .. .
So many highlights … so many disbelieving highlights at that. A clear seven days after it all, my mind is still reeling. Did it really happen? I mean, I’ve dreamed it enough times. But incredibly it DID happen. And what happened proved to be entirely in keeping with the legacy of what Led Zeppelin represented.

To backtrack on to all then: The weeks and days leading up to the timing had been pretty fraught tor me in being given some of the responsibility for assisting with the distribution of invitations. It was a responsibility I was more than happy to take on but the inevitable consequences of dealing with countless calls and demands surrounding the arrangements did prove to be a heavy burden to carry. Never before did the phrase “You can’t please all of the people all of the time” have such relevance. As somebody close to it all remarked to me – you can only get twelve to a dozen and there was always going to be disappointed fans by the size of the proceedings who were not going to be lucky on this occasion. Hearing such disappointments first hand was, understandably, not always pleasant.
My own personal arrangements to free myself to attend were somewhat rushed and flawed and it was only travelling down on the train on Thursday morning that I began to contemplate the enormity of what was happening.

The summary of events thus far had run like this: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had taken most of August to film the long-mooted MTV project, the end results of which would appear as an MTV Unplugged special in October. Location trips to Marrakesh and Wales would now be rounded off with two live performances before an invited audience at a secret London location set for the nights of August 25/26.

Feedback from those close to the project had been very positive. The filming in Marrakesh had gone very smoothly with the airing of three new songs – two untitled and one dubbed City Don’t Cry. In Wales, despite the rain they had managed to film some excellent footage with When The Levee Breaks proving particularly inspiring. A dress rehearsal for the London shows on Wednesday had also gone remarkably well, according to those in attendance. Confirmation of the deployment of a full orchestra and an Egyptian string and drum section certainly whetted my appetite it all sounded almost surreal. A few hours from now it would be a reality.

unledded south bank

Thursday August 25 1994 – Festival Pier 5 pm: The pic here is a rather weary looking me plus Gary , Terry and Kam.
This was the meeting point at which invited fans were advised to attend. From here we would be escorted to the location. Amongst the excited and expectant bunch of diehards I recognise and greet many familiar faces. An MTV official duly appears to take us to the nearby London TV studios – formerly LWT studios and home still for countless light entertainment TV recordings. Paul McKenna’s Hypnotism show is one such recording for tonight. An orderly queue awaits entry. “Hope Jimmy doesn’t get called in to appear or he’ll end up an Elvis impersonator”, shouts one wag – aware of McKenna’s penchant for ridiculing his contestants to imagine all sort of crazy roles while under his influence. I remember Paul McKenna myself when he was the morning DJ on the local Beds, station, Chiltern. In fact I used to do a weekly phone-in spot with him in my then role as local pop/rock informant. How strange our paths are crossing a decade later In somewhat surprising circumstances.
The other queue with their minds on more important matters are now being ushered into the studios by the mostly American imported MTV staff. Amongst them are 50 MTV/radio station competition winners flown all expenses paid from the US. They line up excitedly amongst the TBL fraternity and other lucky fans. The waiting in the corridor is long – predictably – but we warm ourselves to such ordeals by recalling the overnight wait at the first Knebworth. We’ve all waited longer for less – no gate-crashing tonight, though. The security is very tight – with everybody subjected to a metal detector test for obvious reasons. Around 7.45 we are finally allowed access to Studio 2. Interestingly enough the billing for tonight’s show on the ticket is “An Evening With Page And Plant”. Friday’s reads: “Plant and Page”… and the laminated passes have Page Plant at the top .. . and Plant Page at the bottom – a subtle method of solving the potential who gets top billing wrangle.

Once inside, the set looks extremely impressive – a lengthy stage set up with stylish and suitable abstract backdrop drapes. The whole thing is exactly like a gig set up bar one factor
everyone is in Block AA because that’s all there is room for – providing an excellent view from all parts of the studio. Above the mixing desk there’s a VIP gallery and already the Plant contingent are present – Logan, Maureen and a pregnant Carmen (no granddad jokes please!). Jason Bonham is also there. A blues album plays inoffensively over the PA: boom cameras glide above us in readiness for what is about to be captured.

Around ten to eight, Alex the MTV co¬ordinator does some cheer leading warm ups. “Let’s hear it for Rex King!’ shouts Alex and an appropriate cheer goes up for the long term Plant/Page aide who is marching around the stage checking last minute details – an appreciative cheer for the man responsible for many of us being here tonight.
Minutes later, with the camera angles tested and the subtle lighting set, a short no-nonsense announcement precedes what we’ve waited for fourteen years to hear. “Please welcome Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’ . . . and it’s a thunderous welcome.

Robert Plant strides on to the stage from the left followed by Charlie Jones and Michael Lee .. . Jimmy enters from behind a black curtain on the right, immediately taking off his suit jacket to reveal a Knebworth style blue shirt.

Robert and Jimmy . . . it’s taken so long. Of course there have been glimpses of them re-united – in particular the spirited spring ’88 jam at Hammersmith, and the Wearing And Tearing nutmeg at Knebworth 90. Separately not all has gone entirely well. Jimmy’s road to Studio 2 has been often turbulent – early ’80s drug busts, low key ramblings with Harper, the mismatch of The Firm, a fine attempt at winning back the audience with The Outrider project, and then, against all odds, the bizarre link with David Coverdale – the catalyst that certainly inspired his best post-Zepp playing. It could be viewed that such inconsistencies have only heightened the adoration within which he is held by the faithful. Mention of Page’s name anywhere and it’s instant legacy time. Still. And such is his fragile demeanour we seem to take a very motherly and protective view of our James Patrick.

unledded three

 

Knowing he can be brilliant and erratic in his performance within minutes of any given time is all part of the near masochistic pleasure in following his career. What we can never forget is, in the studio and on stage, Jimmy Page was the sonic architect (to use a rare warranted Coverdalism) of Led Zeppelin. His ability to create the perfect mood for the group (witness the remastering of the catalogue) was and never is in doubt. He was the true sound chaser – and it’s a title he still carries with much reverence. His ever onward stance in adding to the effects of his self-styled guitar army is also a major attraction for his countless admirers. Think of Jimmy and my most immediate mind picture will be that of him back in Earls Court 1975, flashing that cherubic smile as he emerged from the dry ice on May 24 to layer on that most exquisite solos during No Quarter.
Never as high profile as Robert in the past decade, any sighting is a moment to behold. Tonight’s is doubly so as he reunites with his old sparring partner. And the first thing I notice as he turns around to greet the audience is that familiar cherubic Page smile. He looks in excellent shape – and I d had my doubts after the Buxton show where he was carrying an uneasy amount of excess weight. No evidence of it now – he looks well fit with his hair jet blacked, permed and still with that side parting falling over one eye, ala 1969. Twenty-five years on he is still the quintessential English guitar hero. It’s sheer delight to be in his company again.

And the same goes for Robert Plant. Striding on stage with that angular bounce of his, crooked smile beneath the now customary retro shag pile hair, tonight given something of a new look by being parted to the side, brown leather trousers, overlong long-sleeved Indian top, waistcoat, he looks suitably regal and better than I remember from last year. My, this is all a long way from the jumpsuits and bouffoned hair of 1983 – The Tube. Big Log and all that. A different era. Who could have predicted today’s events back then?
over the past decade, but never less than Interesting. There have been some very odd phases, and some wild accusations and contradictions in his media statements, leading to him eating a sizeable proportion of his words on more than one occasion.

UNLEDDED TWO

But with Robert Plant what you get is what you get. And vocally he has matured like vintage wine. Last year’s Fate Of Nations album and tour was easily his most satisfying work in the post-Zepp period. His vocal prowess has if anything improved in recent years. Careful consideration in looking after this most precious instrument has paid off.
And perhaps the organic nature of the material, preserved on that album, led him to realise the potential there was for this opportunity to rework some of his finest compositions in the company of his former musical inspiration. And that’s how it’s turned out. Six months down the line maybe something of the affinity that he felt for Jimmy when they were ensconced in that cottage way back when has returned to the fore.

“He is the Paganini of the electric guitar – he’s brilliant”. That’s one of the best compliments I heard Robert pay Jimmy on MTV in the mid-’80s. A decade on, here he is linked with the station and in collaboration with the master. I can forgive him anything for making this decision – beatbox Heaven Knows remixes, that female walk-on part in Too Loud at the NEC, miming on TV, pretentious videos, you name it.

Above any solo career moves Robert Plant will always be best known as the voice of Led Zeppelin. It’s a role model he has not always carried easily over the past decade. Tonight, as he strides up to the mike (“one solitary mike and we all know who that’s for* – how I remember writing that statement after Knebworth), I get the feeling he has prepared himself very carefully to carry that status and use its power to happily reconcile the past with the present. Never before has the legacy of what Led Zeppelin represented rested so contentedly on his shoulders.

Looking slightly nervous but ready to do what’s got to be done, they briefly confer in the centre of the stage like newly-weds after signing the register. For this particular re-marriage the ceremony is about to begin.

“Good Evening . .. Let’s get, er, plugged in then” remarks Robert, tongue in cheek and immediately debunking the idea that this will be the familiar Unplugged arrangement. Jimmy straps on the cherry red Gibson and picks out the welcoming chords of Thank You, a tentative run through delivered in the arrangement employed on last year’s Fate Of Nations tour. Jimmy switches to the Gibson 58 prior to his ex-partner uttering the words “and if I say to you tomorrow” right next to him. You have to go back twenty two years for the last time such words were spoken on stage within the vicinity of the pair. What Is And What Should Never Be is a much welcomed if slightly flawed second number – Jimmy being particularly hesitant on the solo. It warms up towards the end as Jimmy scrubs across the strings for that familiar stereo panned Zepp 2 trademark.

Initial thoughts so far: They are understandably nervous and you get the feeling these two early run thoughts are mere warm ups. The sound however is absolutely crystal and the whole atmosphere of the studio feels like you’re almost in their backyard – privy to the best garden party you could wish to enjoy.
For the next song it gets rather interesting. Jimmy settles into his chair (the regal looking upright backed affair used on the Coverdale Page Japan tour and the Take Me video) and straps on an Andy Manson three necked guitar. This I haven’t seen before. Robert introduces Nigel Eaton on hurdy-gurdy, James Sutherland on Bodhran percussion and Pori Thompson on acoustic guitar, and welcomes to the far left of the stage an Indian female vocalist, Najma Akhtar. .. who will sing the duet parts with him. For this is Battle Of Evermore 1994. It’s a joy to hear Jimmy picking out the melody against the whirring Hurdy-gurdy and the interplay between Robert and Nashma is very effective. Towards the close they add a new coda refraining an “ah-a ah-a” sequence, ala Achilles. Never an easy number to project live back in ’77, this arrangement is the first fruits of the ambitious extended Plant Page alliance. And it work supremely well.

“From here to Balies’s is not that far” jokes Robert in a reference to the cabaret circuit they have so far avoided. The same line-up (minus Najma) stays on for Gallows Pole. Long rumoured to be part of the new set, I Ve been really looking toward to this and there is no disappointment. Jimmy strums over the 12 and 6 stringed Ovation double neck, Charlie provides a steadfast bass anchor to the intricate arrangement, Pori handles the banjo parts and Michael Lee storms in, as the pace builds. This is the first display from the drummer that confirms once again his ability to bring just the right amount of dynamics to the rhythm section, striking the drums in a very Bonham-like manner that adds to the whole atmosphere. As the song speeds to a climax Robert really lets go, losing himself in the “Keep a-swinging” repeat refrain before it all dramatically stops.
“We’ll be back in a while” informs the singer, signalling end of part one. As the lights go up we excitedly exchange views. Everybody has been knocked out with the last two numbers and are similarly agreed that the opening pair of Zepp 2 standards had been merely a warm up. But, of course, we really haven’t seen anything yet.

During the break to the left of the stage the European orchestra, as it’s dubbed on the run-through sheet, sets up. A mixture of male and female string players more suited
perhaps to the surroundings of Henry Wood’s Promenade Concerts but ensconced tonight to provide accompaniment to what we might have described in 1969 as the Pop Proms. The orchestra is led by Ed Shearmur who performs on Hammond organ.
Jimmy and Robert reappear with Charlie and Michael. Charlie dons a huge double bass as the principal pair settle down, seated at the centre of the stage. “Perhaps this is how we should have done this song originally, all those years ago”, announces Robert. What happens next sends the biggest shiver down my spine since 1980. Jimmy picks out on acoustic guitar the intro of Rain Song.

UNLEDDED 7

Hang on – I think I’ll write that line again, just to make sure it really did happen. Jimmy picks out on acoustic guitar the intro of Rain Song. Robert comes in with the first verse and then the orchestra majestically glides in to replace the melletron parts of the studio version. This is quite breath-taking. Robert sings the lyrics beautifully and Jimmy plays like mint, fingerpicking in all the right places. As the song beefs up, Michael comes in with suitably dynamic tom-tom injections (early on in the song he’d employed the brushes, adding yet more Bonham authenticity). It’s left to Jimmy to close proceedings with that lilting sequence which he carries of, perfectly.
From one emotional moment to another. Jimmy restraps on the Gibson and picks out another familiar intro. This is Since I’ve Been Loving You and it’s played with all the intensity of 1971. This is a real crystallisation of the power of the Plant/Page alliance, aided subtlety by the string orchestra. On the chorus they strut forward over the mike, ala The Song Remains movie version. Plant is brilliant here, breaking into a fully-fledged mid-’70s pose with mike
in hand and Jimmy’s solo is a crescendo of notes, the like of which we haven’t heard for many a long year. This is almost Led Zeppelin in all but name and the spirit is alive and kicking. Compellingly so.

Proceedings take yet another slant when Robert offers stage right to the arrival of the Egyptian string and drum section, led by Hossam Ramzy who is handed the mike to personally introduce the boys in the band. He develops an instant rapport with the audience as he runs through the team sheet and causes much amusement when humorously he gets a plug in for his brother s Indian restaurant. “I think we should dedicate this to the original drummer with Four Sticks” says Robert, to rapturous cheers. An ambitious arrangement of Four Sticks follows with Michael tearing along with two stick in hand – a lovely tribute. To hear this long lost nugget in a totally new arrangement is another highlight, with Robert accurately interpreting, in a slightly lower register, every nuance and phrase of the original lyric.
Jimmy again derives the riff on acoustic guitar and it all speeds up to a compelling climax as the three sections (European strings/ band/Egyptian strings) compete for authority.

Robert asks Jimmy to introduce the next number and in usual fashion he humbly greets the audience before handing over to the Egyptian section to move into a lengthy intro. This is shades of Bombay orchestra ’72 -and those familiar with the Bombay CG CD will know how the 94 attempt at Friends sounds, with Jimmy awaiting the call to strum out the familiar riff. This is a little unsettled in tempo early on but unravels successfully enough by the second verse. If Friends appeared just a trifle laboured, the next number wipes out any minor misgivings completely.

Robert duly gets into a lengthy and revealing speech regarding this new alliance and their desire to look back and revisit some past glories. And they don’t come any more glorious than Kashmir.

UNLEDDED FOYUR

This is no mere Atlantic-like stroll through. The Pride Of Led Zeppelin is radically reworked for the ’90s, opening with Robert singing the first verse in a slow tempo, accompanied by Jimmy on the Trans Performance Gibson, creating a phased gizmo effect on the pedals. This merges into the Hossum percussion of the East -and then on into the familiar and invigoratingly performed riff and they’re off on that road to tan tan again. What makes this exercise so fulfilling is the interplay between band and orchestra – on numerous occasions Jimmy and Robert halt the band performance and glance over to the Egyptian players who take it all into a different time zone. The finger cymbal player merrily jigs around to the riff, much to Jimmy’s amusement. As we get to the fade and the “Let me take you there” refrains, the whole thing speeds up into a truly memorable climax which sees Jimmy playing a rumbling, Achilles-like, riff off against Michael Lee s stop-start drumming. In turn they pass the riff over to the Moroccan brass and string players, formulating a call and response sequence that threatens to take the roof oft. It the TV cameras have got the right angles, this will look sensational on screen.
With that number successfully captured, they leave the stage together, smiling and waving as they go. That appears to be the end -particularly when the background blues music strikes up again. Bill Curbishley himself signifies otherwise as he rushes up to the mixing desk. “Fade that, they’re coming back on again” he demands. Minutes later they appear from behind the black curtain at the side of the stage and make their way on stage again.

Jimmy straps on the Ovation double neck. Robert makes another little speech. “This was written on the side of a Welsh mountain in a cottage, about half an hour before the young lady furiously taking pictures in front of me was conceived” (a reference to Scarlet in the front row). “Was I there? Possibly!” laughs the man, with Jimmy grinning behind. “See, we’re happy again!” – a memorable statement which the entire audience would certainly endorse.
A lovely lilting laid back arrangement of That’s The Way follows with Michael Lee adding a new drum accompaniment and Pori taking up the banjo. Robert picks up the tambourine and strikes up that classic pose – a pose I’d long since give up ever seeing again. Jimmy meanwhile rocks back and forth as he strums out the chords to a song that was last performed live by the pair nigh on twenty years ago.

Smiles, handshakes, cheers, waves goodbye and it’s all over. “Thanks for coming along – hope to see you tomorrow” says the man from MTV. The crowd begin to filter out, still disbelieving at some of the events that have appeared before their very eyes. “That really was something” an excited Aussie, Peter, tells me near the stage. Scarlet’s there too, beaming with the pride ot her father’s performance.

Predictably there’s a buzz in the air as we disperse – a buzz so strong you can almost touch it. It recalls to mind the afterglow present as we all deserted the Knebworth site after the first night, fifteen years back. It’s a buzz that signifies that tonight has been another very special night – a night that truly encapsulated the affinity Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and its audience still has for the music of Led Zeppelin.

And, incredibly, there’s more to come tomorrow …

DATELINE: FRIDAY AUGUST 26

“I Want My MTV”.

Twelve hours later I’m sitting in the Dog And Trumpet pub off Carnaby Street as the appropriate soundtrack of Sting’s voice cuts across the smokey bar from the Dire Straits juke box choice.

I want my MTV? You bet I do. Last night had been truly remarkable. I can hardly believe it has actually taken place. I mean I’ve dreamed it often enough. Sharing our fresh memories around the Royal National Hotel (which seems to have become something of a Zepp stop off landmark since the Conventions) in the afternoon with TBL staffers Gary and Kam, Grant from Canada, Billy Fletcher from Scotland and Liz and co., well it certainly did happen – and despite a period of daytime fatigue which reduced me to drinking water(!) I was now ready to gird my collective loins for another memorable evening.

Festival Pier 5 p.m.:
Here we go again. The waiting this time out takes place in an orderly queue along the Thames. It’s a markedly more relaxed atmosphere amongst us – many are here for the second night and we know what to expect. The prospect is mouth-watering and aids the good natured banter amongst the faithful. It’s good to see so many familiar faces again – fans I’ve been in touch with for years – Howard Mylett, Luis Rey, Tim Ellock, Andy Adams – this gathering is a mini convention in itself.

Over at the London Studios the demand for entry seems to have heightened considerably with many more red ticketed guests in line. Lining up towards the door is a tense time with more than a little confusion of who is eligible to go in and who is not. Once inside studio 2 it’s evident there is far more in attendance tonight with many standing around the doorways at each corner of the studio. The warm up music is one of Robert’s Indian choices. Once the big door is shut with a boom and the red light goes on, it’s also evident that those assembled are a lot more relaxed tonight and in the mood to enjoy every moment of this last night of filming.

This state of mind transcends to the players involved and, after a polite intro, Jimmy and Robert stride up and take the stand. Looking well at ease, Robert throws a nutmeg to the intended set list by switching into What Is And What Should Never Be and then Thank You. The opening number is marred slightly by some feedback but Thank You is spot and inspires the first spontaneous cheer of the evening when Jimmy turns his back towards Michael and spits out a fluid Gibson solo. As Luis Rey might put it – tonight Jimmy Page is definitely on!
The set list for the rest of the proceedings is similar to last night. The Battle Of Evermore is perfection – a modern day mantra that puts any previous precarious incarnations well in the shade. During a break following a false start for Gallows Pole, Robert sings the opening line to When The Levee Breaks explaining that “this was one we did to eight people including two sheep in Wales last week”. Gallows duly follows and is again heightened by some intensive Plant scat singing at the close.

The end of part one break allows again for some exchange of views amongst the crowd. The consensus of opinion is that the latter two takes will surely end up in the finished article.
Back on stage with the orchestra. Rain Song is performed with much subtlety if not just slightly more hesitantly than the previous night. “This is one of everybody’s favourites ‘ is the signal for them to take it up a gear for another startling delivery of Since I’ve Been Loving You the solo of which inspires another spontaneous burst of applause from the appreciative audience.

Another considerably enjoyable factor tonight is he relaxed on stage banter between Robert and the audience. The intimacy of the studio allows for a clear rapport – inspiring heckles from the likes of Mr Gary Foy – “Tell us a joke, Jimmy” – “He doesn’t know any” replies Robert – “I know you’re here David . . . although I can think of one . . . Dear David . . what would we do without our Dave .. .

Another sketch revolves around Robert’s comment on his in-between song rap on the various bootlegs – “Have you heard some of the talking on the bootlegs – crap isn’t it?” – “Especially last night” shouts out some wag – “Oh wait till I tell Jimmy that!” says Robert, moving over to where Jimmy is tuning up.
The Moroccan roll of Four Sticks and Friends bursts forth with the latter infinitely better than Thursday’s version. I am sitting next to the wife of one of the string players and her enthusiastic whoops and hollers confirm the fact. During another change over of gear Robert muses on a call from the audience on what it’s all about. .. “What’s it all about? Well . . . it’s a way to spend a life.”

unledded six

 

Indeed, and for the next fourteen minutes, my life is considerably enhanced, spent in the company of messes Plant and Page as they deliver a new revamped version of Kashmir. This really is awesome. A mesmerising performance complete with retro “Woman talkin’ to ya!” adlib from Plant during the drawn out section and an Improvised last five minutes which really does reincarnate the spirit of Led Zeppelin with dazzling accuracy as they Improvise dangerously around the speeded up finale. Page In particular Is so spot on, laughingly aping the dance steps of Mr Finger Cymbals – and then tearing nonchalantly Into a battering blistering clatter of notes against the similar battalion ot Michael Lee. It brings to mind the crazed unpredictability of middle period Zepp live epics such as Dazed and No Quarter – and all the while Plant undercuts It with the pleading charm of the lyric and the Egyptian section bring It on home, quite literally. It’s a devastating statement that had me hugging and shaking hands with fellow devotees at the finish In glazed triumphant abandon. Truly, this Is the pride of Plant and Page.

A standing ovation Is nothing less that they deserve. Back they stride for the new look That’s The Way . . . and off they go again as the lights go up. Some people think it’s all over… but a welcome announcement to return to our seats signals the arrival of Jimmy and Robert who group seated at the front of the stage. Jimmy dons the Ovation double neck. A tape loop recreating the absent Moroccan musician due to play on this number revolves around the studio. This Is the starting point of the premier of the new Plant/Page composition Wonderful One. The loop has a repetitive percussive feel similar to the opening of Come Into My Life from Fate Of Nations. The song itself develops mournfully as Jimmy drifts over the strings. Plant sings, poeting couplings In the All My Love vein as the gentle love song washes over. It’s shivers down the spine time yet again for me.
Intact the exercise Is repeated when they decide to run through that number again for the benefit of the camera angles as Plant baits the technical crew – “Mike we need the loop now but not that loud.”

Wonderful One Is the first newly premiered live Plant Page composition since they ushered In Hot Dog and In The Evening in Copenhagen and Knebworth. I feel the same Instant affinity for Its as I did for the latter epic. If this Is where the future lies then let them take you there,.,

Exit stage left and again It seems all over, ., until an MTV official consults with the outside Manor Mobile Studio and realises there need to be more , and back they stride again, “We’re going to do one number again and then one we didn’t think we were going to do. So here goes” I for one have no objection for them doing another take of That’s The Way with Jimmy weaving some beautiful descant chording around those familiar lyrics. Finally, and this time it really is finally, with help from Paul on guitar and the hurdy-gurdy man, Robert leads them through a welcomed Nobody’s Fault But Mine (“Another one we did in Wales to eight people Including two sheep”). However this is not the heavyweight blues stomping Presence arrangement but a swinging rootsy semi-acoustic run through with Jimmy on the Ovation double neck, In fact this arrangement has far more In common with the Blind Willie Johnson original than any other version I’ve heard them attempt and It all flows to a satisfying climax, “We’ll see you again soon.” There’s a great moment for the cameras as they make their way from the stage – Jimmy and Robert cuddle together both smiling gleefully. It’s a moment that crystallises the spirit of the whole event.

The lights go up, revealing so many similarly smiling happy faces. As the technical crew move In, talk goes around that Jimmy and Robert will reappear once the crowd has dispersed to re-shoot Gallows Pole minus the audience as some of the camera angles didn’t quite come off. In the end they decide against it – staying In the studio canteen to meet and greet the well-wishers before exiting the building after twelve, For Robert, It’s back to the Midlands to follow the latest fortunes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, A relaxed looking James Patrick emerges with chauffeur, happy to pose and sign autographs.

For me It’s all too much – along with several fellow shell shocked members of the Zepp fraternity it’s down to the pub to celebrate and dissect Just what It’s all meant, “Dancing Days are here again” Is the repeated chorus. And really I guess that’s how It’s been.

It’s a strange feeling that prevails In the 48 hours that follow me back to Bedford and relative normality. “Daddy, how did you get on in London?” asks Sam – one day I hope she will grasp the enormity of It all. But, like all key Zepp related events, It’s virtually Impossible to explain the feeling that has been evident throughout these remarkable days. But it did happen and that Is happened with the utmost Integrity for the legacy of Led Zeppelin makes me feel so good.

UNLEDDED ONE

AFTERMATH
Just twelve months ago, such events of course would have been beyond the wildest expectations. With Jimmy seemingly set to hit the road with Coverdale and Robert committed to the Fate Of Nations World Tour – that was until fate took a hand Itself with that meeting In Boston last November. And then came the Initial rehearsals, the Buxton appearance and now this.
What was most striking about the MTV filming was the sheer integrity with which they approached the whole affair. Without all the hyperbole of a fully-fledged Led Zeppelin reunion, Jimmy and Robert have managed to recreate the key ingredients of the Zepp ethic by cleverly reinventing the catalogue. In recycling those original songs for ’90s consumption, the pair have brought a respect to this project that has been sorely lacking in the mega tour reunions of their ’70s peers. It also goes to prove what dividends a lengthy period of rehearsal can provide. The chemistry of this re-alliance was more than plain to see and perhaps it put into perspective once and for all the shortcomings of the ill-prepared Atlantic 1988 reunion. You can’t expect it all to come flowing back within days – but given a responsible period of preparation and the affinity these long term musicians and friends have for each other becomes very evident.

Finally in employing the extra trappings of the orchestra and Egyptian players, this MTV project has definitely proved to be a case of them completing the painting of a previously unfinished picture. The experimenting with those numbers is something that maybe would have emerged had there been a 1980s tour Part One. This was always the beauty of Led Zeppelin – never a vehicle for mere rock music. Time and again they transcended the genre. Now 14 years on in the hands of two of the main components, the group’s legacy has been reborn. And they have ultimately proved that they really were the very best. Page and Plant. . . Plant and Page . . . whichever way it lines up, the chemistry remains.

It’s been an undoubted privilege to witness this artistic rebirth at first hand. And when I recall the intensity of performances such as the reworked Kashmir and the newly created Wonderful One, I’m filled with the hope and pure joy that this really is a new beginning and that very soon both on screen and on tour, every one of their followers worldwide will get the opportunity to bask in their glory.

For never before in the post 1980 years, has the spirit of Led Zeppelin shone so vividly than when Robert Plant and Jimmy Page recreated the magic within the intimate surroundings of Studio 2 in the London TV Centre over August 25/26 1994.
And when it’s subsequently aired on MTV, I’m sure seeing will be believing.

Dave Lewis  September 7, 1994


Toyah and Robert Fripp performing Kashmir at Cropredy Festival…

This is rather brilliant -Toyah and Robert Fripp performing Kashmir at Cropredy – apparently witnessed by Robert Plant who was in attendance at the festival…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTd92kv57fM

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DL Diary Blog Update:

Saturday August 19:

Saturday is platterday and there were plenty to wade through at the excellent Bedford VIP Record Fair. Here’s the TBL crew including Ian Saikia, Phil Harris Steve Livesley and Patrick Crowther  taking a pub break before further purchases were made. Our much missed record collecting comrades Tom and Alastair were duly toasted. Always remembered and always missed…and always loved…

Saturday August 19:

One of my record fair acquisitions today – Led Zeppelin in Jazz cover version album – thankfully receiving the good lady Janet’s approval!

Sunday August 20:

Thinking of our much missed friend and record collecting comrade Alastair Chorlton on the occasion of his Birthday today – always loved and remembered…

Sunday August 20:

Thinking of our very good much missed friend and ex Our Price Records colleague Hayley Martin on the occasion of her Birthday – always loved and remembered – RIP you lovely lady…

Sunday August 20:

Not to be…the better side won …but the Lioness’s have done us proud …

Monday August 21:

It’s a Happy Birthday to the great Glenn Hughes. I’ve been lucky enough to interview him on a few occasions for the TBL mag regarding his involvement in Black Country Communion and has always been very supportive of the mag over the years…

Tuesday August 22:

It’s a Happy Birthday to my oldest dear friend Mr Dave Corp – pictured here back in our childhood manor…
You can take the boys out of Dents Road but you can’t take Dents Road out of the boys…
Happy Birthday from Janet and I and have a great day mate!
Thursday August 24:
It was great to have a visit from my oldest friend Dave Corp earlier today.
Whilst here I could not resist showing Dave my latest 7 inch single acquisition (well 10 of them actually).
This is the rather splendid box set package All The Hits – The 7 Inch Collection by The Dave Clark Five.
Back in 1964 when Dave and I were seven and eight year old pop mad youngsters in Dents Road, The DC 5 were one of our favourite groups and all these years later they still are.
Dave your visit made us feel glad all over – cheers mate!

Update here:

We had a fantastic week on our favourite holiday spot of Santa Eulalia in Ibiza – a lovely laid back quiet area – our raving days are long gone!.

We first went there in 2005 with Sam and Adam. We’ve been back on our own a few times since, most recently in 2019 – so this was our first holiday in four years and much needed. A few things had changed post pandemic but most of the bars we knew were still there and doing a good trade.

Though there was no vinyl records or CDs to be found there was plenty of music going down…

Amongst our favourite bars we enjoyed re- visiting was the Liquido cocktail bar run by Mick, an old school mod/Jam fan with a great playlist of mod. Motown and Northern soul faves.

Another of our must visit bars is The Mirage which offers a nightly entertainment of quality tribute acts. During our stay we saw a Lionel Richie tribute, a soul outfit that covered well choregraphed 60s Motown/60s soul to more contemporary output such as Justin Timberlake.

The Beatles tribute we saw was a one man Fab with an interesting set list that included the lesser known I Will from the White Album through to solo Beatles era renderings of Ringo’s Photograph and the Travelling Willbury’s Handle With Care.

The Boy George tribute was really excellent – this was a real nostalgic fest for Janet and I as we sold many a Boy George & Culture Club single when we worked together at WH Smiths record department back in the early 1980s

On our last full night an Abba tribute filled the floor and you cant really go wrong with the likes of Super Trouper, The Winner Takes it All and Dancing Queen.

I was also able to watch both Lionesses games and the Brentford v Spurs 2-2 draw at the excellent Bar Dona Ana.

There was many an hour spent relaxing on the sunbeds facing out to the sea – a glorious site.

On the people watching side and with fellow holiday makers wearing less clothing in the heat, it was quite striking how many of them had tattoos of all shapes and sizes. Though they are not for me personally – my days of thinking of adding the Zep four symbols to my arm or leg are long gone -they do look impressive and Janet and I began to feel the odd ones out in not partaking.

The hotel bar and pool had an 80s playlist going down and the likes of Rick Astley, Tears For Fears, The Police, Aha etc were the backdrop as we took our daily dips in the pool. On our walkabouts there was always some cool sounds  emerging from the bars we passed – including The Rolling Stones Beast Of Burden, Miles Davis So What and an instrumental violin led rendering of Bob Dylan’s Hurricane – very quirky…

There was also a number of people sporting rock orientated T shirts and I spotted the following:

Def Leppard, Metallica, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, System of a Down, Michael Jackson, Iron Maiden –  the latter a rather fetching cap, T shirt and shorts Number of The Beast combo, plus a FAC 51 Hacienda Club one and an Exorcist film one.

Oh, not forgetting the Led Zeppelin and Who T shirts I wore with pride…

All in all it was so good to be away – the hotel was great, the weather fabulous – thank you Santa Eulalia, you remain a very special place in our hearts…

It’s been back to reality here with a lot to catch up and the need to get into a positive mindset ahead amidst the usual life challenges. My focus will be returning to the DL memoirs project and various other things.

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…have a great bank holiday weekend

Dave  Lewis – August 24 2023

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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One Comment »

  • Brian Ross said:

    Great wrap up as always Dave. Did you take any pictures during your visit with Jimmy in September 1980? Seeing the mock up of the autumn 1980 tour stage would be a real trip! Take care

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