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30 June 2022 2,037 views 4 Comments

A round up of reviews of the Robert Plant & Alison Krauss appearances at Hyde Park and Glastonbury…

This report from Jonathan Taylor 

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Hyde Park, 26/06/2022.

The band ease into “Rich Woman”, and as this exemplary group of musicians set the tone, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant walk onstage, their relaxed, confident demeanour and their smiles already an indicator of the show we are about to witness.

As “Rich Woman” ceases its prowl, “Can’t Let Go” brings its livewire shuffle, Plant and Krauss trading their vocals in their assured way. Robert Plant has rarely sung better, drawing on his lifetime of experience to use his rich expressive voice to mellow down or power up, whilst Alison sings with such purity and a precision edge that her voice could not only cut crystal but also engrave a heart.

Their vocal interplay is a delight throughout the set, exemplified on “Fortune Teller”, as Alison weaves her vocal refrain under and around Robert’s lead vocal. It’s the song in which the set really catches fire, and Robert and Alison know it as they exchange a meaningful glance on the “You’ll be looking into her eyes” line.

“Trouble With My Lover” sees Alison assert her prowess, her vocal warm and sultry, the band providing such a delicious rhythm for her to work over. Indeed, the band (drummer Jay Bellerose, upright bassist Dennis Crouch, multi-instrumentalists Stuart Duncan and Viktor Krauss and guitarist JD McPherson) are on point throughout, embellishing, energising, but never overstating.

These guys are good. Very good.

Next up “Rock And Roll” is the first moment from Robert’s planet-devouring past, though from the moment Stuart Duncan’s fiddle introduces it, the song is a keeping-it-Country hoedown. It’s a joyous version, and fits the vibe of the set perfectly.

And if we are talking vibe…Alison’s beautiful, dark lead vocal on “The Price Of Love” draws you in to a song that in the hands of these masters of their art has become an otherworldly lament.

It’s utterly sublime, a genuine highlight of this already remarkable show.

“Please Read The Letter” such a song of yearning, continues the heartfelt feel, as do Robert’s “High And Lonesome” and Alison’s “It Don’t Bother Me” before “Quattro (World Drifts In)” blows a wistful prairie breeze across the set, raising some sand. This is mesmeric stuff.

As if to break us out of that particular spell, it’s back to the Everly Brothers for a sprightly “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)”, McPherson’s guitar rumbling along nicely as Alison and Robert meet each other’s gaze again…they’re clearly having such a good time.

If the set up until this point had been wonderful in its mood and execution, it was about to send the emotional response meter off the scale.

“The Battle Of Evermore” sees Alison Krauss excel, her delivery of Sandy Denny’s original vocal lines taking them into uncharted waters of passion and longing…as Alison sings “Dance in the dark of night, sing to the morning light” it becomes a prayer of hope.

She again skilfully threads her voice in and around Robert’s, and this already incredible song transcends any other version I have heard. Robert is similarly inspired, adding such power and emphasis to his “Bring it back, bring it back” coda that it’s both a plea and a demand. This version of “The Battle of Evermore” brings a tear of love to the eye.

Draw a breath…and it is the brooding, deep Delta Blues of “When The Levee Breaks”, a song that Alison’s fiddle and Robert’s vocal take in search of its roots. They succeed, their navigation of the song’s feeling and intent purposeful and perfect. But then…as Stuart Duncan takes the fiddle solo, the band still the pace and allow Duncan to evoke the North African desert territory that Hossam Ramzy’s Egyptian Ensemble explored with Page and Plant back in the 90s. Spellbinding moments in a huge performance of this song.

There is no following those two set closers. The band take a bow, the smiles still visible on the faces of Robert and Alison.

This was a masterclass of a performance.

If Hyde Park had a roof, it would have been raised by Plant and Krauss.

Jonathan Taylor

This report by Michaela Tait…
Review of  Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Hyde Park
supporting The Eagles 
June 26 2002
Hyde Park was buzzing and bathed in sunshine. We met with friends who had secured a space about 30 feet from the barrier. The space in front was the Golden Circle so no way of getting any closer unless you paid and upgraded tickets. Gone are the days when you could camp out and be at the front of the stage!
There was mixed crowd, to be fair mainly over 40s as the main show was The Eagles, there were many younger though, many wearing Zeppelin shirts.
The band came onto the stage 10 minutes before the show time listed. I wasn’t sure Alison and Robert would follow, but a loud cheer from the front confirmed they had. ( being vertically challenged I need to stand on my tip toes to see)!
The massive screen however confirmed they were on the stage , Alison in black with a flowing printed tartan jacket and Robert , hair tied back in a bright blue shirt.
The music started and they opened with ‘Rich Woman’ which is the first track from the 2007 Raising Sands album. Their voices being carried across the park. Just stunning
Hey! Says Robert – ‘Thats feels better!”
Next was  ‘ Can’t Let go’ which got everyone dancing as well as singing — a lively track from the recent Raising the Roof album.
Robert then started  Fortune Teller’ which he tells us was ‘ from 1959’ 
Oh yeah ! Yells Robert 
Alison joins to harmonise , which live is even more beautiful than you hear on the  Raising Sand record. That lady has some voice! Almost ethereal!
Alison then leads on Trouble With My Lover’ and Robert plays two sets of maracas. 
At the end of the song , Robert bows to AC in thanks – there is a genuine appreciation from this gentleman of the talents of the stunning singer on the stage with him. Their voices really do blend so so well.
And now onto something that all the audience knows ,and comes with a massive cheer! 
The cover of   Led Zeppelins ‘Rock n roll’. Apparently it was first shared by the duo on June 1st in New York, so we  were given a rare gift, this being a new track in their set list. They did play this at Glastonbury Festival on Friday 24th!
It was a unique cover with Alison playing violin and bringing a new slant to this classic we all know and love- and the audience appreciated as it received the biggest cheer of the set so far ! 
We then get a slower and more mellow track ‘The Price of Love’ which Robert reminds us was written by The Everly Brothers’ ,and appears on Raise the Roof . Such a beautiful song , which again brings a great cheer to which Robert thanks the audience, with a ‘thank you so much’ . Genuine thanks  
Next is the Plant & Page track ‘ Please Read The Letter’ which they covered on Raising Sand . This is  one of my favourites;  Alison on violin brings a tender tone . Such a talented lady!
Next is the lovely High and Lonesome from Raising the Roof. With Robert singing, Alison on  Robert clapping along. All the time he is smiling at Alison , so appreciative of her talents 
Next is ‘It Don’t Bother Mme’ with Alison leading . Robert once again thanks Alison and asks the audience to ‘ Give it up for Alison Krauss’ …which we do!
Robert then introduces the musicians on stage 
Stuart Duncan , Victor Krause, Jay bellows,   Dennis crouch,  JB McPherson – an appreciative applause and then straight in to 
Quattro ( World Drifts in) from Raise the Roof 
Wee are then ‘back to the Everly Brothers’ with the foot tapping  ‘Gone Gone Gone’ which most people knew and were dancing and signing
Then we get to the most stunning track of the set …in my opinion. The start of the mandolin gets every  Zeppelin fan smiling for this is The Battle of Evermore. This was stunning ! Robert singing ‘Bring it back ! with the crowd echoing back to him
all the crowd clapping
At one point I shut my eyes just to take the sound in, their voices floating on the air with such power! Their voices blending  in a way you could never imagine , the tremendous  sound and lifting into the air. If there was a roof on Hyde Park , it would have been raised
What followed was the biggest cheer so far !
Then to end , they commence on ‘When The Levee Breaks’, So powerful , but so different . No Bonham thundering drums but Alison on violin.  A totally haunting sound !
Just tremendous!
They finish , the crowd cheers and Robert once again smiles and says ‘See you again soon ‘…Thanks for tuning in ‘
What a set.! I must have smiled all the way through!
A beautiful combination of beautiful voice s and a beautiful combination of stunning tracks, old and new, rock, bluegrass, country and folk.
I bought tickets to see The Eagles and then found out that Robert & Alison were supporting and was utterly delighted. I could have left that sunny, packed park at the end of their performance very very contented.

Michaela Tait

Photos by Peter Chow 

Robert & Alison at Glastonbury:
Great summary of last night’s performance by Neil McCormack of the Telegraph of which I agree with every word – they were superb…
Daily Telegraph review:
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss prove old lions can still roar ★★★★★
Masterclass: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss delivered an absolute masterclass of duet singing and organic lithesome groove at Glastonbury. Their early evening set beneath dreary skies and drifting rain on the Pyramid stage was not the most densely packed performance of the day, certainly not drawing a crowd of the scale that would be expected if Plant’s old cohorts Led Zeppelin ever decided to pummel Glastonbury into oblivion.
At 73, the man who practically invented heavy rock singing has shifted towards something more sensuous and understated. For her part, the fifty year old Krauss established her reputation singing country and playing bluegrass fiddle, and she knows exactly where to put a harmony to make a vocal fly. The multiple Grammy award winner may be the more accomplished musician, but she grew up listening to her brother’s Zeppelin albums and knows her place as the junior partner in this combo; indeed, she revels in it.
The odd couple arrived on stage as casually as a couple of old festival heads who had just wandered down from the stone circle bathed in patchouli oil. Krauss was wrapped in what looked like a flowery bedstead, Plant wore a paisley shirt and clutched a pair of maracas, his mane of grey ringlets tied back.
Backed by a fantastic band who could add piano, mandolin, banjo and violin to the swampy bass, drum and electric guitar grooves, they warmed up with some sublime roots Americana, their voices perfectly and artfully matched. But the set gathered power as they kept throwing in Zeppelin classics, including a rockabilly romp through Rock and Roll, an ethereally folky Battle of Evermore and a broody, moody When the Levee Breaks.
As the songs gathered pace, and the rhythms gained impetus, Plant would close his eyes and let out a hearty roar, voice drenched in echo, to remind us all that the old lion is still a frontman to be feared and revered. When he called out “It’s gonna break!” at the end of Levee, I half expected a deluge to descend. Fortunately the rain held off, and Plant and Krauss left the stage wreathed in smiled and basking in loud applause.
Neil McCormick

A view from the TV by Ian Dixon… 

Nostalgia Rust and Beauty – Plant and Krauss Glastonbury 2022

Glastonbury is back, a transient city, gathered in the name of music, convened again after 3 years and given prime time coverage on the BBC.  So it was easy to sit on the sofa and take in Friday’s performance of Plant & Krauss, up close and personal. With his hair pulled back and an air of seriousness about him, Robert looked less a Rock God than a crag of Rock itself, prowling the stage like an arthritic tiger,  clutching the mic stand, wielding maracas and drawing strength from his co-lead singer.

As with their albums, much of their televised set contained earnestly delivered mid pace folky, country, bluesy rock soup. When Robert was able to lose himself in that vibe, he relaxed and opened up, and boy did he fully let that show in a magnificent Rock and Roll.  Please Read The Letter also held its place as a superior mid pace number that then took a life of its own in the instrumental coda. Elsewhere the Purity of Alison’s voice shone, while at other times she reminded me of June Carter, keeping a close, maternal eye on Johnny. I stick by my theory that a happy Plant is an entertaining Plant and on this day Robert felt comfy with his past.

That classic mandolin intro brought about a spirted Battle for Evermore during which, in one spine tingling moment, Krauss channelled the full Sandy Denny. Wisely they did not try to replicate The 4th again when it came to Levee, and the results were interesting, particularly in Robert’s faraway look when he glanced at the low drum riser and later towards the guitar player, or was that just me?  Maybe this was not quite as successful as earlier reworks of Whole Lotta Love, but this is 2022 vintage Plant from a man who really stands still musically, even if he seems now forced to more physically.

Ian Dixon

LZ News

Here’s the latest Led Zeppelin News Update:

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

  • Brett Tuggle, the keyboard player who performed with Jimmy Page and David Coverdale on their 1993 tour of Japan, died on June 19 aged 70.

Robert Plant

  • Will Robert Plant and Alison Krauss appear or perform at the 2022 Americana Honors & Awards in Nashville, Tennessee on September 14? The new tour dates mean they will now end their tour in New York on September 12. They’re nominated in two categories at the awards and both Plant and Krauss have each performed at the event in the past.

Upcoming events:

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 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in London and 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.
September 6 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
September 7 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Franklin, Tennessee.
September 9 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Boston, Massachusetts.
September 10 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
September 12 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in New York, New York.
September 14 – The winners of the 2022 Americana Honors & Awards will be announced. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are nominated in two categories.
September 27 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in Los Angeles.
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.
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:

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

TBL Archive Special 1:

Knebworth 90 – It was 32 years ago:

Thoughts on the Record Store Day Robert Plant Live At Knebworth 12 inch single…

The 2021 Record Store Day Robert Plant Live At Knebworth 12 inch single was a timely reminder of a remarkable performance and it brought back many warm memories of what was something of a golden summer all of 32 years ago.

To backtrack on it all – it was certainly memorable  for us heree for a number of reasons – not least the arrival some six weeks early of our daughter Samantha Elizabeth Lewis on Monday June 4, 1990.

I was due to see Robert Plant at the Hammersmith Odeon that night and in something of an astonishing series of events, witnessed the birth of our daughter at 2.30pm and some five hours later made it on time to see Robert’s opening number -I also attended the second show the next night.

Looking back those were quite crazy decisions – however there was to be a reprise of this gig going activity when it was announced that Robert Plant would be joining an all star line up of Silver Clef award winners at Knebworth on Saturday June 30. Robert had just received the award – I was toying with the possibility of attending the show and my decision was swung when I had it on good authority that Jimmy Page would be appearing as a guest with Robert.

So once again I was on my travels. Gary Foy secured two tickets at late notice and we found ourselves back at Knebworth on a rather windy and dull Saturday.

The bill includeed Status Quo, Cliff Richard, Genesis, Phil Collins, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney.

Robert Plant was introduced by Radio One’s Gary Davies (the event was broadcast live on Radio One) as “A singer who is no stranger to big crowds – he played to 380,000 on his last visit here eleven year ago”. Plant hit the rather  the windswept stage at 4.45p.m. The first part of the set  ran as follows:  ‘Hurting Kind’, ‘Immigrant Song’, ‘Tie Dye On The Highway’, ‘Liars Dance’, ‘Going To California’, and ‘Tall Cool One’.

Before bringing on his special guest Robert stated : “Well, this little award given to me last week, not particularly for anything I’ve done but for what has happened between 1966 when I made my first record and today. I’ve been working for the last four years with these guys and it’s been a wonderful time and I owe a good portion of this to these chaps behind me. I also owe a major proportion to my good friend who has just joined me on stage… Jimmy Page.” With cherry red Gibson in hand, Jimmy Page proceeded to add vast influence to enthusiastic work outs of ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, a superb ‘Wearing And Tearing’ (never before played live) and a rousing ‘Rock And Roll’.

Jimmy Page said afterwards : “We were having a really good time. We’d had a rehearsal before we did it and that was great fun. It’s really good playing all the old numbers… especially ‘Wearing And Tearing’… it really was on a wing and a prayer that we went on with that at Knebworth. We were back to living dangerously again.”

It was incredibly exciting to see the pair back on stage and the performance of Wearing And tearing remains one of my all time greatest gig going moments.

So to the Record Store Day 12 inch single. It comes packaged in a low key black sleeve with minimal artwork – a generic design also used for similar Live At Knebworth Record Store Day 12 inch singles featuring Status Quo and Genesis. and that

It’s pressed on vivid yellow vinyl – the credits are retained from its previous release as part of the multi artist LP and CD set Knebwortht 90 – this has Jimmy Page listed as being courtesy of Geffen Records –back in 1988 his solo album Outrider had been released on that label.

It kicks off with Hurting Kind (I’ve Got My Eyes On You) – the rockabilly flavoured up-tempo opening track of the Manic Nirvana album and also the first UK single. It’s a good representation of where Robert and the band were at during the turn of the 90s. Manic Nirvana released earlier in the year was an enjoyable romp – harder edged than Now And Zen – a full on production with some heavy choruses of which this track was one.

Live on stage it was always a crowd pleaser and here Robert’s echoed vocal soars above it all and there’s a panache and swagger throughout. This version of the Plant band were well melded now Chris Blackwell’s elaborate drumming and Charlie Jones steadfast bass holding it together over the flamboyant keyboards of Phil Johnstone and the delightful guitar playing of Doug Boyle. He really was such a quality player. As for the singer he was perhaps in the last throes of his full on golden god phase – with lots of Zep like vocal gymnastics in evidence – he would refine this style with the emergence of the Fate Of Nations era and beyond.

On stage at Knebworth in 1990 with the wind blowing he cut an impressive figure.

Next up Liars Dance preceded by some Plant words about the days of festivals of old. This was a brave set list choice on the day – to perform an acoustic duo between him and Doug could have gone right over the heads of many in attendance – on the day it certainly didn’t feel like that and on record here the intensity of the performance shines though. Doug is exquisite on this and lyrically it’s another throwback with that repeated ”lady who’s sure” refrain.

Over on Side Two Tall Call One arrives in a barrage of Led Zep samples. This was another on stage crown pleaser of the time delivered here with total conviction and complete with Phil Johnstone’s Kylie Minogue I Should Be So Lucky insert. The finale see’s them zip into a slice of Custard Pie and ends with a decisive blast of The Ocean riff.

There’s a burst of crown applause and Wearing And Tearing kicks in. What a delight this was and is with Jimmy in total full on speed riff mode. Again there’s a total conviction in the playing and for a brief moment we had a Led Zep for the 90s. Outside of the 02 reunion this has to be right up there as one of their finest post Zep moments. ”Robert Plant and Jimmy Page” says the announcer who if I recall was the late Dave Dee.

This Record Store Day 12 inch single is welcomed reminder of a truly great performance. However, it does feel a bit of a missed opportunity  – it would have been preferable to issue the whole Robert Plant Knebworth 90 set  as a fully fledged album. – Pink Floyd took that stance with their Live At Knebworth release covering their performance that day.

Finally I’d like to dedicate this piece to the late Phil Johnstone – RIP…

Dave Lewis  – June 

Presence Alan Freeman radio find…

Gary Davies has been in touch to inform me that he has has recently discovered the full recording of the Presence album being premiered on the Alan Freeman show on Radio One as broadcast on Saturday April 3 1976 and has added it to his excellent Led Zeppelin Audio Media Archive site.

This is a fabulously nostalgic recording – I had it taped it on that Saturday afternoon back in April 1976 as I was working – I of course still have the original tape. Regrettably Alan Freeman’s opening and closing announcements were omitted so it’s a revelation to hear him in full on this newly surfaced version

His intro states:

”The brand new Led Zeppelin album called Presence – here we go”

The album is then played in it’s entirety. This was not a common practice by any means and reserved for very special releases only. This is likely to be played from an acetate – there’s is a slight edit in Royal Orleans on this version.

Alan’s closing speech goes as follows:

”And there it was music lovers – the new Led Zeppelin album Presence”

Always the epitome of heavy rock Led Zeppelin, I think on this particular album a little bit more simplicity than in the past.

And I think that possibly at this particularly at this moment a lot of you saying ‘well not as good as the last album’ etc but of course those opinions can soon be changed once you get into the album.

I think a great deal of the lyric content is very personal to Robert Plant after a period of thoughtful anxiety.

The tracks from the album are as follows – side one three tracks – Achilles Last Stands, For Your Life and Royal Orleans

On side two Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Candy Store Rock Hots On For Nowhere and the beautiful blues finale Tea For One

The Led Zeppelin album called Presence …I like it”

It’s interesting how Alan seems  very defensive about the reaction to the album with his comment  ‘’A lot of you  saying ‘well not as good as the last album’ etc but of course those opinions can soon be changed once you get into the album” perhaps contemplating a dismissive initial reaction and making excuses for them

Presence did have something of a  have a mixed reaction at the time and was not a big long time seller – however it has aged very well and for many – me included, it remains one of their most important statements.

Here’s the link to listen to this historic broadcast…

So with all that in mind it’s a timely moment to look back to the original release of the Presence album and the 2015 reissue…

TBL Archive Special 2:

Presence at 45:

45 years ago this week, Presence, the seventh Led Zeppelin album was released worldwide. To mark the occasion, here is a Then and Now perspective I collated for the 2015 reissue – 45 years on it’s still the true heart and soul of the Led Zep catalogue…


For me personally, the Presence album is and always be tangibly associated with my own circumstances of the time. Playing out my own soap opera, as an impressionable 19 year old caught up in my first love affair played out to the soundtrack of the new Led Zeppelin album.

Back in early August 1975 we were still bathing in the warm afterglow of Earls Court. That feeling was promptly curtailed when the news came through via the national press here, that Robert had been involved in a serious car smash on the Greek island of Rhodes.

It was in early September that I read in Rolling Stone that the band had decamped to Malibu to aid Robert’s recovery – and were planning to write and rehearse for a new album. Subsequent news reports had them sighted on stage in an ad hoc performance in Jersey. There was also the report in NME that they had recorded a new album in Musicland Studios – in a mere three weeks and it would be released in early 1976.

So in January 1976, I rang the Swan Song office in London to find out a release date and more details. March was sited – the Melody Maker ran a news story not long after that the album would be titled Obelisk and released in February. They were on the right lines with the title –as we know an obelisk would be the distinctive feature of a simply bizarre cover design.

Before all that, Robert Plant had given some ‘good to be alive’ interviews in New York. He mentioned one track to be titled Achilles Last Stand ”You know immortal but for the heel -or for being a heel. I mustn’t joke about it because I’m very proud of it”. 

The very nature of the title laid down its credentials – I just knew it was going to be an epic. In his review of the Presence album in Sounds, Jonh Ingram declared it would be ”A motherfucker live”. Both these forecasts would prove to be entirely correct.


Jimmy Page’ s press interview for the album staged in March were equally positive. ”It really does sum up a period for the band  A little bit of the past, a little bit of the future”.

Achilles Last Stand was indeed an epic – as I was to find out on the evening of Saturday April 3 1976. Alan Freeman had played the entire album on his Saturday afternoon show – alas I was working that day but we taped it and – the first time I heard that opening salvo unfold was in a car travelling the byways of Bedfordshire on a bright spring Saturday evening.

It sounded like something from another planet. It sounded simply magnificent.

I still have that original BASF tape. Somehow it sounded more impressive than the LP. I think it may be a slightly different mix – and there is a slight edit in Royal Orleans. During that broadcast, Alan Freeman let the whole album run without gaps or links between the tracks – there is some noticeable surface noise in evidence indicating it may have been an acetate playing.

Upon its arrival in the record department of WH Smith where I worked, Presence caused a sales rush I’d not seen in the store since – well the release of their last album Physical Graffiti. The store had a side window and that space was reserved for an entire display of the album put in by the WEA display team. How I wish I had taken a photo of that window and the bemused reaction of passers-by as they gazed a the Higpnosis sleeve design in some bewilderment.

object 3

The WEA rep that called on the WH Smith store also kindly arranged for me to receive a stand up counter display and hanging mobile – ordered direct from Swan Song in New York.  What a moment that was when it arrived and after it’s use in the shop, it was to eventually appear in my Zep shrine of a bedroom.

A week after the release of Presence, my then girlfriend Fiona and I went to London on a Saturday to hang around the Kings Road Swan Song office -just to be near their aura -it’s what I did back then! I remember peering into the basement window of the office and seeing a poster for the album framed.

Presence went on to become our soundtrack of that very hot summer of 1976.

On in the mini bus when we went to see The Who at Charlton Athletic football ground, out on the Phillips portable cassette player by the bank when we swam in the river.

I also took the album to every party we went to, including one memorable 18th birthday party of a friend staged at a sedate village hall Here, the pulsating tones of Achilles Last Stand momentarily replaced the more dulcet tones of The Real Thing’s current disco smash You To Me Are Everything – much to the astonishment of the rather less rock orientated young ladies to be found dancing around their hand bags!

I also made a rather bizarre Presence fashion statement. In November ,when it came to showing my colours as it were in dressing up to attend The Song Remains The Same film premiere at London’s Warner West End (where we had queued overnight to get tickets), I came up with a rather novel idea. The cardboard black obelisk Object that had come with the aforementioned hanging mobile was strung arund my neck to join the Page like white scarf I was wearing. It must have looked faintly ridiculous though Jimmy seemed impressed when I thrust it his way when they came up the stairs to take their seats at the cinema that night!

Unsurprisingly, bits of cardboard obelisk mixed with scarves did not catch on around the Kings Road. However, my empathy for the seventh led Zeppelin album did not wane one bit.

The release a mere six months after Presence of The Song Remains The Same, did overshadow the Presence album for a while. I was all over the live soundtrack and subsequent screenings of the film – but when I returned to it a year or so later, Presence still sounded the business.

In the intervening years, I’ve remained incredibly loyal to Presence, often justifying its greatness in print and in the pub!

It was one of the first Zep albums I acquired on CD around 1988 and by then, it had become my near fave Zep album.

I for one was not surprised when at the 02 reunion, the previously unplayed live For Your Life enjoyed all the plaudits it so deserved as being one of the evening’s undoubted highlights. I’ve always had a great affinity for that track.

I have a fair few copies of this album, including one that retains the original shrink wrap –and another that has an inscription by Aubrey Powell the co-designer of the sleeve –this says ‘’What’s that obelisk exactly?’’ –a reference to the mysterious sleeve. This was signed for me by Po when he came here to film some memorabilia for a Robert Plant video in 2005. Recently I’ve picked up a Chile pressing with a single sleeve and full title and track listing sticker. I also have a copy personally signed to me by Jimmy Page.

So to the album:

The thing about Presence  is that it was the product of adversity. On the run from the UK tax system, Plant injured in a car accident, tour cancelled, all energies quicky funnelled into making an album as quickly as possible.

For Jimmy Page,this adversity spurred on a surge of creative drive.

It was an act of defiance and protection. Their whole existence as a band was now in question. Plant’s car cash had rendered them unable to perform live –  something they had always taken for granted. Page suddenly became the absolute leader again. It was at that point he must have realised above all the craziness that surrounded them, it was the band, the music and the ability to perform together that was the whole reason for being in Led Zeppelin. Indeed for him inventing Led Zeppelin in the first place.

That realisation ignited Page’s creative muse and motivation to the extent that he wanted the album to be completed quicker than anything they had recorded since the debut album. His reaction was to take a firm hand grip of the Munich recording sessions, leading them in much the way he had at Olympic in 1968, many of the arrangement occurred in the studio as they were recording. When the studio time ran over, he wrapped it up with a massive overdub session with engineer Keith Harwood.

That urgency and spontaneity made for little time for the experimentation of the past.

For on Presence there are no boogies with Stu, no hat’s off to Harper’s. No funk or reggae parodies – no mellotrons or synths. Just full on full power Led Zep. The basic bass/drums/guitar/vocal approach gives the record a very live feel – leading to my conclusion that Presence is the nearest they got to capturing over a complete studio album, the unpredictable edge and power of their on-stage performances.

It’s also stock full of Jimmy Page’s genius guitar rages. Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life and Nobody’s Fault But Mine are all as good as anything he has ever applied himself to.

Given the circumstances it was recorded under, this seventh Led Zeppelin album was an amazing achievement – it’s an album that reflects the real heart and soul of Led Zeppelin.

Presence… Now:

unboxing four

So to this new remaster – and as was the way with Physical Graffiti, I played it through non stop at full blast. Sound wise, it has the same new sheen that has characterised the previous reissues.

Achilles retains the majesty and mystery that so transfixed us way back.

For Your Life has that undeniable dark lyrical edge has it grinds its way through its six minute duration. The Page solo here still sounds like one of his best …maybe THE best – unfolding with incredible venom.

Royal Orleans is full of funk on a lighter level punctuated by Page Jones and Bonham pounding out the riff, over which Plant unfolds the humorous story of road fever goings on in a New Orleans hotel. Bonzo’s conga drumming is right to the fore half way through and benefits greatly from this new remaster.

Over on side two, Nobody’s Fault But Like Mine is graced with a truly startling introduction as good as any track anywhere. For all their early blues musings they never dressed up an old blues tune more inventively than when they re wrote Blind Willie’s Nobody’s Fault. Lemon squeezing Delta dealings merge with Page’s sonic guitar technology. Absoluyely masterful.

In the 50s singer Ral Donner skit Candy Store Rock, we find them just turning themselves on – playing on a 50s groove in the manner they approached the countless off the cuff juke box faves within many a Whole Lotta Love live medley. On the new remaster this a revelation – as the echo effect of Plant’s vocals zip right across the speakers.

The pure intuitive swing of Hots On For Nowhere reflects its very live in the studio construction and as Charles Shaar Murray so astutely noted in his NME review of the time, brings to mind ”What Glenn Miller would have sounded like if he had played in a murderously heavy four piece rock band”.

Leaving the understandably downbeat Tea For One, a slow blues reflecting Robert Plant’s hurt at being away form his family. ”Time goes very slowly when you cant kick a ball or kick a roadie even kick your drummer so time has been the teacher and I’ve been the pupil” he noted at the time.

Summary: This new Presence remaster only goes to emphasis how great an achievement this seventh Led Zeppelin album was, and is. A crucial album in the catalogue which will rightly attain many accolades in the coming days and weeks. Folks – you are going to absolutely love this one…

Companion Audio Disc Content:


So to the Companion Disc Audio content:

For Your Life (Reference Mix) 6.28

As the riff halts each time, there’s a pronounced echo effect. Altogether a  denser mix. At 3 mins 18 additional vocal nuances from Robert. Again the overdubs are more upfront. The solo is an alternate version – the final stinging one has yet to be added. This one bends and twists on to the canvas creeping up on the listener in the process. Always on the edge…and essential in any mix..

10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) (Reference Mix) 6.48

Opens with low key piano from John Paul Jones. Instantly reminded me of the JPJ piano concerto type solos applied to the live versions of No Quarter in 1975 notably at Earls Court. The plaintive piano arrangement also recalls to mind his playing on Ice Fishing At Night on The Thunderthief solo album.

Mournful, forlorn and reflective, it creates a beautiful atmosphere. Jimmy drifts in at 2mins 39 with some minor descending electric strumming, quite possibly courtesy of the Telecaster B bender. Behind all that there’s an acoustic guitar – all very autumnal and Ten Years Gone- ish. Then John Bonham enters at 3 mins 01 and like Jimmy says, it will make you smile – it might even make you cry. It all leads on to something of a crescendo in an All My Love outro tempo.

So Jonesy did take the piano out of the flight case for the Munich recordings – it’s emergence throws a new light on what had previously thought to be an  18 day frenzy of guitar, bass and drums arrangements.  There was indeed some subtly going on down at Musicland Studios and here it is. One for the theorists indeed – but one things for sure, with a suitable Plant lyric this has all the makings of a classic Zep romantic offering in the Ten Years Gone/In The Light vein. An absolute revelation.

Royal Orleans (Reference Mix) 3.01

A‘3-4’ count in and hi-hat from Bonzo and we are off for a reference mix that features a very different vocal delivery to the officially released version.

Robert Plant applying the lyrics in a harsh bluesy manner which reminded me of Dr John. The final gruff snarl at 2.52 of ‘Oh whiskers’’ brings to a close a very unorthodox Plant vocal performance. Robert taking on the role of the New Orleans night tripper…

Hots On For Nowhere (Reference Mix) 4.47

Both the vocal and bass are much more upfront in the mix which makes for a grittier texture. There are no vocal overdubs on the outro section just Roberts ‘Oh- ho-ho’’ – right through to a full ending after Jimmy’s guitar part as Robert adds a final ‘’Aha oh- oh- ho’’ phrase. Still swinging without the overdubs…

Which leaves one performance left to dissect:

Ones Are Won (Achilles Last Stand ( Reference Mix) 10.28

The vocal track is more upfront and with less echo and sheen making for a different texture to the vocal. The stereo effect of the guitar overdubs has a slightly different resonance. Slightly alternate overdubs in the mix at 5 min 53. The ‘’I know the way, know the way, know the way’’ overdub has yet to be added.

On the ‘’Aha aha-a’’ Robert refrain, Jimmy plays right along with the vocal creating a call and response sparring effect. At 9 mins 12, there’s an extra Robert vocal croon and more echo effects – all leading to a more defined   jangling Page finale. The guitar army cometh – and the grandiose just got even more grandiose…

So let me leave this overview of  Presence on an Achilles note. 

So much has happened since I first heard that epic performance for the first time some 42 years ago on a spring Saturday evening. In a world where the only thing that’s constant is change, for me Achilles Last Stand still acts as something of a standard bearer of their music.

The defining moment of the defining band…and now the final mesmeric chord progression performed by Jimmy Page at the close of a Led Zeppelin masterpiece, marches relentlessly on in this new remaster of the Presence album – still searching for that place to rest the search….

”Where the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the earth”

Dave Lewis – April 1,2021


The Mystery Of The Object: That Bizarre Sleeve.

In the January 17 issue of Melody Maker, a news report suggested that the forthcoming Led Zeppelin album would be titled Obelisk and was due for release on February 20. Although they were a good six weeks out with the release date, and the eventual album title, the rumour of Obelisk gave hint to the actual sleeve design. For the sleeve would feature an obelisk (dictionary defined meaning: monolithic shaft of stone, square or rectangular in section with pyramical apex or simiar shape) or as Swan Song would dub it “The Object”.

The first visual evidence of this was leaked to Sounds in early March. “US adverts for the new Zeppelin album look like a scene from an early Sixties breakfast cereal ad” is how they described the illustration. By now the album had been officially titled Presence and Atlantic’s marketing team were advising of the delays in a press release as they tried to co-ordinate their sales campaign, stating that “Led Zeppelin oversee all and every detail of the production of their albums to ensure the end result is nothing short of excellent. Finally, on April 6 1976, the full extent of the bizarre gatefold sleeve was revealed alongside the seven new compositons it housed.

Zeppelin had created a series of enigmas with their controversial and striking sleeve designs. For Presence they went right out on a tangent. The idea was conceived by Storm and Po of the Hipgnosis design team who’d worked on the Houses Of The Holy sleeve. The concept came about after a group meeting between Hipgnosis, Peter Grant and George Hardie (a fine art designer who had worked on the first Zeppelin sleeve). It was apparent to Storm and Po that Zeppelin projected an almost unseen presence of power – the brief was to translate that presence into a visual illustration.

Storm takes up the story. “What we came up with was the idea of placing an item from one time or another into a surrounding from another time. So we chose all those pictures from the Forties and Fifties and contaminated them with the presence of the black obsessional object. The black object stands as being as powerful as one’s imagination cares it to be and we felt Zeppelin could rightfully feel the same way about themselves in the world of rock music. So, in those scenes The Object. as we dubbed it, was essential to all parts of the society. And those people in the scenes were trying to discover what The Object was – and how its presence was felt.

“The front and back pictures were shot by us. The back cover girl was the same child model we’d used in the Houses Of The Holy shoot. All the inner spread photos were lifted from US magazines such as Life and Look. The object was pointed on by Richard Manning – Jimmy Page actually asked us to alter the shape of the design of it and the title Presence was their suggestion. I think the whole sleeve concept was very appropriate for Zeppelin. The band are a very powerful band, musically and socially, and the black object is a definite thing of power. Its pervasive presence and mystery appealed very strongly to them.”

Jimmy was in agreement with most of their ideas. “It came out of that conversation when Hypgnosis said we had a very positive force. The fact that four people can create an effect. there’s definitely a presence there – and that was it. They came up with The Object and wanted to call it Obelisk. I held out for Presence. You think about more than just a symbol that way.”

In designing The Object, Hypgnosis were commissioned by Swan Song to have around 1,000 of them made as a three dimensional promotional items. Not all of them were welcome in the Zeppelin households.

object one

The mystery prompted Rolling Stone reporter Cameron Crowe to call the London Swan Song office. He reported the following: “Richard Cole answered the phone ‘I’ve no idea what it all means. I’m not sure they even know. Hold on for Robert”. Cole clamped his hand over the phone and returned to the receiver. ‘This is great’. Plant came on and exclaimed, ‘I’m glad people are wondering what it means. The most I can say though is that everybody should work it out for themselves – it’s not hard to work out especially for our Kubrickian fans.’ Plant’s comments seemed a clue that The Obiect is Zeppelin’s miniature modified version of the monolith featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Designer Aubrey Powell denied this. ‘Didn’t think of that – I just had a tremendous feeling when we took it to them that this design was absolutely right for the band at this point in time’. Back to Plant ‘Whatever you want to say, it says it. The Object can be taken in many ways. Let’s just say we like plucking these mysteries out. We used symbols on the fourth album. They’re fun and add to the music. But there’s not much fun in knowing everything is there?’”

The Kubrick 2001 theme was also taken up by an hilarious Earth News radio special broadcast in the US at the time of the album’s release. Here’s some of that dialogue: “The Object is black… and twisted and obviously worse for wear and tear since its original appearance in 2001. To look at it on the pictures decorating the new Led Zeppelin album it would seem The Object is now back in the year 1950 or thereabouts. Robert Plant has contemplated The Object perceiving in it the messages that others might discover in The Pyramids of Egypt. ‘It’s been ever present throughout time,’ he told us. ‘We just took one moment in time in which to illuminate its presence in society.’

“The Object may not be welcome everywhere – it appeared recently in the home of John Bonham who told us this story. ‘While I was away my wife received one of these Objects in the post and put it on the table. There was tape machine running, recording the children singing, and when they played it back, there was another sound on the tape altogether so there’s something to think about. In fact Pat put it outside the house we won’t have it in the house at all.’ So be forewarned! If Led Zeppelin’s music is sounding a little strange to you lately it may be because of that Object on the cover. If so, follow the lead of John Bonham’s wife and put the album sleeve out of the house.”

In the UK this speculation was taken up by Sounds who asked readers to write in with their own explanations. The results are published here in full – glancing at them some 20 years on, one can only marvel at the eccentric reaction all this Object scrutiny prompted. It was another episode in the grand Zeppelin guessing game. Did it really mean something, or was it all part of their playful desire to add to the mystique?

Whatever it was, you can hardly imagine anyone getting worked up about a sleeve design in this miniatured CD jewel box age. Back then these things seemed to matter as anyone weaned on double gatefold sleeves in the Hipgnosis/Roger Dean/lsland era will testify. However, just when it seemed we were all about to get mixed up in the pretension of all this Object lark – it was firmly debunked by popular satire rockers of the time Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias. In a superb spoof on the artwork of the official Zeppelin UK ads, the group advertised their new album with the illustration of “The Thing” – an upright version of The Object all under the slogan “The Albertos Give It To You Straight”.

After seeing that, I can imagine the likes of the more down to earth Bonham reversing his decision to keep that obelisk out in the garden, laughing out aloud at this scam and explaining something along the lines of “I think The Objects a load of bollocks”.

Great art or a load of bollocks? The mystery of The Object (if indeed there was one) certainly kept us all bemused and amused long after the album had drifted from the charts during the late summer of 1976.

And finally…

As mentioned above, In 2005 I met with Hipgnosis co -designer Aubrey (Po) Powell when he came here to film some memorabilia for a Robert Plant promo video. While he was here, he kindly signed some of my Zep album sleeves and when it came to the Presence sleeve he wrote on it mysteriously ”What’s that obelisk exactly ?”Here’s a pic of the sleeve.

Dave Lewis – April 1,2021


TBL Archive Special 3:

It was 42 years ago – Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980: 

This month marks the 42nd anniversary of the final Led Zeppelin tour – a low key 14 date trek taking in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria and Switzerland. I was lucky enough to attend five of those gigs. This is all chronicled in my Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind Over Europe 1980 book


Here’s is a further extract – my on the road account written at the time and first featured in TBL issue 5…

TBL Retro Archive: Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980:

Concluding the TBL retro archive features on the final Led Zeppelin tour as chronicled in the Feather In The Wind Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 book.

This is my overview of the gigs that I caught – this extract picks up the on stage action in Munich on July 5, 1980 for what would be their penultimate show with John Bonham…

When the house lights dim some 15 minutes later, I get the most incredible buzz from hearing the Wembley-like roar that echoes around the Olympic Hall. And there they are, walking the 30 yard stretch from the dressing room area up on to the stairs that lead to the stage. Ushered by torchlight and led as ever by manager Peter Grant. Bonzo is flanked by the ever present Rex. He’s shaved his beard (“I always do for the summer” he tells me later) and looks very much like he does in the concert part of the movie. He also looks nervous, and at this moment I can’t blame him.

Jimmy is stumbling his way through, once again wearing that baggy suit I first saw in Cologne. Robert strides forward head aloft, a bottle of orange juice in his hand, smiling. John Paul Jones does an Ali-like shuffle up to the stairs.

Seconds later Munich sees Led Zeppelin and the roar is frightening.

So too is the awesome power of the opening numbers Train Kept A Rollin’ (“And it kept on rollin’ ”) and Nobody’s Fault But Mine. It’s when they crunch down on numbers like these that you get into perspective the power that they can create.

Something like Nobody’s Fault with all its stop-gap acappella and soloing, has to be punctuated by the rhythm section at just the right moments. If Bonzo or Jonesy drop one or stitch one it would totally throw out the up-front euphoria of Jimmy and Robert… but they get it right every time and it makes me gasp in amazement. That power, which so easily could weigh them down, is manipulated with effortless ease, and it sounds so right. “No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no body’s fault.” Crunch! Jimmy winds it up, but then Jimmy winds it up every night.

Of course, one of their great assets is the ability to balance that power and shift into passionate, emotion-filled diversity. After Black Dog and In the Evening, they display this perfectly when performing Rain Song with all its shimmering double neck virtuoso playing from Jimmy, and on All My Love too, probably the best received song throughout the tour. You can actually hear the audience singing along on the chorus tonight. Of course, they’ve all got the album, and the dream of it being performed live is turning to reality with every movement of Robert’s outstretched arms, Jonesy’s string symphony, Jimmy’s emotive solo and Bonzo’s anchor man drumming.

“Eye thank yew” says Robert, taking this particular crowd through an unfamiliar sketch. Hot Dog has the boy doing his barn dance speciality and John Paul Jones adds some accurate piano work. During Trampled Underfoot Jimmy really lets loose. Pulling the most incredible notes from the Gibson, steely solos, juicy wah wah effects, you know, the whole works, and Robert loves it. Dancing his two-step across the stage, grinning and looning. “Push” indeed. Since I’ve Been Loving You is another Jimmy showpiece and it’s apparent how well this song has matured over the years, having been written something like a decade ago.

“James Patrick Page guitar! This is the first tour we’ve done in three years and it’s been quite an interesting sketch actually.” (Roars from the audience) “One more night then… who knows; maybe we’ll do this again very quickly; maybe not.”

munich live 2

Achilles Last Stand follows that speech. I close my eyes and it’s like being in a 1976 time warp. It’s got that sort of atmosphere having been recorded here in forced circumstances, and it still retains a sense of melodrama (right down to the point Robert echoes the “Atlas” line and leaves Jimmy to stalk the stage in time with the revolving, closing chord passage, flanked by a blue spotlight). After Jimmy’s White Summer/Black Mountain Side interlude, Kashmir explodes forth and Robert unleashes every ounce of drama from within the lyrics. Other highlights include that marvellous “Woman talkin’ to ya” ad lib; the combination of the two front men’s visual tactics; and finally Bonzo’s drumming – “Moby Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick” Robert teases.

Unannounced as usual, Jimmy plays two chords and as those two chords echo around the Olympic complex they’re soaked up by the Munich people and thrown back with a most volcanic-like roar that signals the anthem. “Does anybody remember laughter?” asks Robert on cue and, judging by the reaction, I think they do. Soon after, he’s thrown the tambourine and stands there arm outstretched in classic pose. Behind him Jimmy rips out that solo. By the end of Stairway to Heaven, Zeppelin receive an ovation that sounded like they’d scooped gold, silver and bronze in every event going.

“München… Goodnight!”

The band leave the stage, and Phil from Bad Co. and Mick Hinton proceed to set up Simon’s drum kit to the side of the stage near John Paul Jones’ keyboards. The audience look puzzled. Back come the group for the obligatory encore of Rock And Roll which crushes the hall.

After this, Robert announces to the crowd: “Please welcome an old friend of ours from Bad Company, Simon Kirke!” Simon walks on, takes to the kit, does a few snare beats and before we know it the five man Led Zep are into Whole Lotta Love. This, I haven’t seen before. Incredibly though, it works! Even though this jam had been totally unrehearsed, Simon gets all the breaks right, with eyes fixed on Bonzo, and the sound is sizzling hot. Jimmy joins in on the vocals for the chorus, and then proceeds to fiddle about on theremin, battling with Robert’s vocal interplay. The famous five grind on into the Let That Boy Boogie segment and then it’s on to the home straight, Simon filling in, complimenting Bonzo’s hammerings.

At the close they all take a bow – “Thank you… oh, and welcome back on stage Simon!” Finally they leave the stage, grinning, sweating and satisfied. While the Munich mania continues, the band are already speeding towards the Hilton hotel.

A couple of hours later, the Hilton’s plush bar is doing hectic business in trying to satisfy the thirst of the Zeppelin entourage. Everyone’s here tonight. Bonzo, Robert and Jonesy are already propping up the bar, and not long after, Jimmy completes the line up. “Where’s Robert?” exclaims James, ambling down the stairs anxious to find his buddy.

Robert is holding court. His energy is phenomenal. Even after tonight’s exhausting show he’s still full of life. He holds up his hand to me forming a circle with his thumb and finger, signifying that the evening had been spot on. “Great tonight wasn’t it?… and Simon, well it was such a driving rock ‘n’ roll, I couldn’t believe it. Two drummers, I mean really!”

John Bonham is also well pleased. “Overall, everyone has been dead chuffed with the way the tour’s gone. There were so many things that could have gone wrong. It was a bit of a gamble this one, but it’s worked really well.” I enquire what the next move will be. “A holiday!” replies the beardless Bonzo. “We wanna keep working. There’s lots of possibilities and of course we want to do England. It’s down to a management decision really and we will have to talk about that when we get back.”

As the night progresses, the booze continues to flow, and everything gets a little hazy. Before I crawl back to my room, I can dimly recall Robert singing along to the chorus of Walking On The Moon, cries of “Eye Thank Yew” at regular intervals, and rapping with him about time, the wheel that rolls on… long into the night.

Sunday: the tour is winding to a close. Just one more gig in Berlin tomorrow and then it’ll be back down to the Golden Lion and a bit of English sanity. For me, today is a leaving day. The Spirit of Albion is calling once again. Down in the lobby just as I’m checking out, I literally bump into Jimmy Page as he’s trying to open a loo door! Last words, then James: “Yeah last night was the nearest feeling to that of the big American shows. Just so much energy there – How long did we play for? I tell him 2 ½ hours. “That’s about right isn’t it? We had to get rid of some of the effects really, I mean, it was difficult trying to get a leak in during Dazed And Confused!. I thought it was really exciting last night, really exciting.”

So that’s it. Fond farewells have been exchanged, luggage packed and the taxi ordered. Just as I’m about to leave I notice Fritz Rau again. He’s greeting the Santana crew who are booking in for their gig. For Fritz it’s just another rock ‘n’ roll band from where-ever… I’ll tell you one thing though; I bet he never thought Led Zeppelin were just another rock ‘n’ roll band, during their tour. Led Zeppelin are never just… anything. That’s why they’re special. That’s why they’re here still.

But earlier in the year, even I was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to get back on the road after the silence that followed Knebworth. This tour though, has taken them into the 1980s. Things may change for Zeppelin, but it’s their ability to retain the essence of their existence (ie. their roots), that helps keep it fresh.

Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 has been a return to the people. It’s a period of intense activity they all desperately needed. It’s been a rejuvenation, and above all it’s been fun.

It leaves Led Zeppelin in a very healthy position. They’ve still got it and they still care.

Boys… ”Eye Thank Yew… ”

Dave Lewis, July, 1980.


One more Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 post:

It was 42 years ago…the only UK review of the Led Zeppelin Over Europe tour – filed by Steve Gett for the Melody Maker from the Munich gig on July 5. I was with him at the gig and he said he would get a plug in for Tight But Loose which he duly did.

‘’Quite often the playing was short of perfection but there was such a raw energy feeling to the concert that one never worried about the odd bum note from Page –‘’Tight but Loose’’ (the name of Zeppelin’s number one fanzine incidentally) summed it up’’

I was well pleased when I read that in the next week’s issue of Melody Maker – the review took up the entire back page – I showed it to all and sundry here as I was so proud to see them receiving such positive coverage – I can still recite whole chunks of it.

Dave Lewis, June 30 2022

John Bonham with Tim Rose radio find…

This report from George Fludas…

This is some very rare audio of Tim Rose from an alleged BBC performance on John Peel’s show. The date is given as recorded on July 1, 1968 and broadcast on July 7. As far as I know, there is no other known recording of Bonzo with Tim Rose, nor are there any photos that I could find of Bonzo playing with Tim Rose. Apparently he only played with him for a brief time in mid 1968. There is a video here on YouTube that is also from BBC broadcasts of Tim Rose, but that does not sound like Bonzo on drums, to me. This recording however is unquestionably Bonzo, IMO. Here is a link to the website where I found it, and the complete audio.…

Paul McCartney at Glastonbury…view from the TV by Ian Dixon…

Well that was worth staying up for. Pyrotechnics, lots of mid period classics and a half hour overrun. The man has turned 80 but is still Rock and Roll. Before the broadcast I was worried the performance would not live up to expectations. I enjoy McCartney III as an album but the changes in his voice are apparent, especially where he was overdubbing old material. This Glasto set was about Mak Show and he put on a stormer.

I think a lot of it was down to a very canny and interesting set list. Lots of rockers, but ones where he can almost croon them. Juniors Farm is probably easier to sing than Jet, especially when you have another 2 hours playing time to go. I don’t think I’ve quite appreciated how tight his band are before, Drummer Abe Laborial  was doing a lot of heavy lifting with harmony vocals and it took me a while to realize Macca was not playing the riff on Let Me Roll It. His voice held up fantastically well, especially in the guitar numbers, where (I think deliberately)  he was mixed a little farther back in the overall sound.

Only in 1985 and Maybe I’m Amazed did I notice any serious cracks, and he basically had to do the latter. Wisely I feel we got Let It Be but not Yesterday. The other tributes worked for me to. Here Today (like Blackbird) sounds fine with a catch in the vocal and age is not the only reason for it being there. Something on a ukelele is not the stunt I thought it maybe, but works, especially when the full band crash in. I Wanna Be Your Man completed the set, although oddly Ringo never got a name check on the audio feed.

I loved the Dave Grohl guest spot but Springsteen doesn’t do it much for me, never has and I cant work out why. Having read some on line reviews, what sounded like crowd boos was actually the faithful chanting Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce! While the Free as a Bird style duet with John on I’ve Got a Feeling was very special.

Final Random observations.  I’m sure he was doing the Abby Road medley in the 90s, despite what he said from the stage, Mr Kite! rocked and Valentine is a bit of lost gem. It was hard to keep in mind Macca is  80 and in all likelihood he is not going headline at Glastonbury again, but last night he certainly passed the audition.

Ian Dixon

DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday June 24:

Superb performance by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at Glastonbury – Robert’s vocals just supreme …

I’ll drink to that spotted by Melvyn Billingham.








Saturday June 25:

Saturday is platterday – after their superb performance last night at Glastonbury – on the player Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raise The Roof and sounding mighty fine…





Saturday June 25: 

Saturday is platterday – after their superb performance last night at Glastonbury – on the player Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand – can’t make it to Hyde Park tomorrow myself but I am sure it will be brilliant and to all that are going – have a fab time…

Saturday June 25:

Paul McCartney at Glastonbury…simply awesome – this will surely go down as one of the best performances at Glastonbury in it’s long history – perhaps the best ever…so many highlights – Something played on George Harrison’s ukelele, the John Lennon lament Here Today (”what about the night we cried”)  Band On The Run with Dave Grohl, Glory Days with Bruce, I’ve Got a Feeling with Get Back john footage, Golden Slumbers and so many more.-I watched with absolute awe knowing we really were in the presence of greatness not to mention musical history unfolding before our eyes…

Sunday June 26:

It was great to have a visit today from our very good friend Alan Stutz – as usual we shared more than a few stories and laughs.…

Monday June 27:

It’s a Happy 60th Birthday today to our very good friend Mr Graeme Hutchinson.
Long time TBL supporter and contributor, massive Zep collector, co organiser of the 2005 Zep Express UK convention and all round top man
Graeme is pictured here by me with Jason Bonham – Happy Birthday from Janet and I have a great day mate!
Monday June 27:
It’s a Happy Birthday today to the legendary music journalist Charles Shaar Murray.
I was lucky enough to interview him for the TBL magazine back in 2013. We chatted for hours in a lovely West Hampstead pub garden on a hot July afternoon. A wonderful memory and one of the best interviews I have ever conducted.
During the interview we discussed his early writing career at the underground magazine Oz, how he got to play on the Oz benefit single in the company of John Lennon, his reviews of Led Zeppelin in the NME, Rolling Stones, Who, Beatles etc. He also added great insight into the times he saw Zep in LA in 1973 and at the Kezar stadium gig.
All fascinating stuff and a huge thrill for me to meet and interview a writer whose work was such an inspiration to me in first wanting to put pen to paper and write about rock music myself when I was a mere teenager back in the 1970s.
As Robert Plant advised from the Earls Court stage in 1975 ‘’Charles Shaar Murray – keep taking the pills’’…have a great day CSM…

Update here:

A week where the power of music to connect, thrill and inspire was more than evident. We absolutely loved watching the BBC’s excellent Glastonbury coverage here Robert and Alison superb on Friday night, Paul McCartney simply amazing on Saturday and Diana Ross very entertaining on Sunday afternoon.  So wonderful to see the massive crowds back. Then there was The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park – my record collecting comrade John Parkin was in attendance and it was great fun reading his ongoing text and pics he sent on the night.

On Sunday evening it was great to read the incoming reports of the Hyde Park Robert & Alison appearance and  big thanks go Michaela Tait, Jonathan Taylor and Peter Chow.

Even though I could not be there at these events I still felt very connected thanks to the the various social media platforms and inspiring feedback. As the great Ahmet Ertegun put it – ”It’s a great life this life of music”

Just over three months on from her hip  surgery I am pleased to say that Janet is recovering well and now walking unaided without her crutches. The leg muscles need strengthening and physiotherapy is ongoing. After seven months on crutches we are feeling blessed about this as you can imagine – in fact of the last two and a half years following her initial leg break , Janet has been on crutches at one time or another to what adds up to 14 months.

As usual, the good lady  has been incredibly stoic and positive throughout – it’s a pleasure and privilege to look after her and I am incredibly proud of her. Here’s a pic of us suited and booted at a party at Janet’s cousins last weekend.

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

Dave  Lewis – June 30  2022

Until next time…

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Ralph Sidway said:

    Dave, wonderful to hear Janet is doing so very well. Great photo of the two of you, and you sound suitably energized. Thanks for the epic coverage of Glastonbury! – Best wishes!

  • Steve Hall said:

    Hey Dave, it’s great to see that photo of you and Janet having a great time at her cousin’s party. I’m so glad that it’s all progressing well, and here’s hop0ing the physio gets the muscles back to full strength sooner rather than later.

    Love and best wishes to you both, mate!



  • Niki said:

    Absolutely top class !!!
    Thoroughly interesting and so informative .
    Thankyou !!
    Love the Glastonbury review Dave .
    Keep up the great work and best wishes to yourself and your good lady


  • Patrick Cullen said:

    Great to hear Janet is on the mend Dave – trust this progress will help you too.

    Presence going on the turntable this weekend !

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