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ROBERT PLANT PERFORMS STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN AT ANDY TAYLOR CHARITY CONCERT/MR JIMMY FILM/LZ NEWS/LED ZEP II AT 54/THE MAKING OF LED ZEP III/SONG REMAINS/TERRY REID REVIEW/ROLLING STONES REVIEW/WHO’S NEXT/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

25 October 2023 1,457 views 3 Comments
Robert Plant at the Cancer Awareness Trust with Andy Taylor October 21 2023…Stairway To Heaven first performance since 2007…
The former Duran Duran guitarist Andy has been having serious cancer health issues and staged this special concert to raise money for the Cancer Awareness Trust. it was staged at the Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds.
Robert Plant was a special guest and incredibly, he chose to perform Stairway To Heaven for the first time since the Led Zeppelin 02 reunion concert in 2007.
This is an incredibly emotional watch as are his words at the end:
‘I offer this up to Led Zeppelin -wherever they are’’ to which Andy Taylor replies ‘’God bless ‘em there’s a lot of drummers in the sky we love’’
Robert’s performance is just astonishing – Thank You, Black Dog, Stairway to Heaven and a brilliant Season of the Witch which reprises lines from Black Dog and moves into For What it’s Worth…all performed with total conviction.
The whole show was fantastic -great versions of Duran’s Wild Boys and Hungary Like the Wolf.
Well done Andy for bringing this concert together for a very worthy cause – those that were lucky enough to be there witnessed something very special indeed…
Many thanks to James Cook at LZ news for his coverage of this.
Here’s some YouTube clips:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEbJn8WylIg
Andy Taylor & Robert Plant – Stairway to Heaven (October 2023) – YouTube
https://www.facebook.com/DuranDuranArgentina1/videos/647109304204327/
Classic Rock posting here..
https://www.loudersound.com/news/robert-plant-perform-stairway-to-heaven-charity-event
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Some personal thoughts on this performance of Stairway To Heaven…
There was something profoundly moving watching the YouTube footage of Robert Plant performing Stairway To Heaven at the Andy Taylor concert.

This was the first live public airing of the song since the Led Zeppelin 02 Reunion on December 10 2007.

Before I delve in to this subject, Robert’s entire appearance was captivating. Thank you delivered with much emotion, Black Dog hammed up brilliantly and the version of Season of the Witch segueing into a reprise of Black Dog lyrics and Buffalo Springfield’s For What it’s Worth – as in the LA Forum 1970 Blueberry Hill bootleg.

Incidentally, bassist on the night Guy Pratt noted that he has now performed Black Dog with both Robert and Jimmy Page – he was part of the touring band on the Coverdale Page Japan visit in late 1993. The band line up on the night consisted of the aforementioned Guy, former Reef guitarist Kenwyn House (wearing a dragon patterned shirt shades of Jimmy perhaps), Rod Stewart’s drummer David Palmer, Andy Taylor plus Andy Taylor’s son Andy J Taylor on guitar, singer Anne Rani and musician Dino Jelusick on keyboard and backing vocals.

So back to Stairway To Heaven…

We have all had a journey with this song over the years. Mine commenced on April 4 1971 when I heard it on my radio listening to Led Zeppelin’s BBC In Concert performance on Radio One’s John Peel show. I’d heard Jimmy in an interview describing how it had come together in various sections building to a climax. Sure enough this tentative version did just that.

I first saw it performed live on Sunday November 21 1971 at the Empire Pool Wembley – an extraordinary night. It was of course one of the stand out tracks on their just released fourth album.

It went to attain legendary status – the most played record on American radio and from 1975 the rightful finale to every Led Zeppelin live performance.

Like many of their songs the arrangement was often toyed with, not least by the singer who over time added many an ad – lib to the lyrics. As it was performed on every Led Zep show, this enabled the song to retain a freshness.

The first ad-lib I recall was when he inserted the line ”you are the children of the sun” during the version to be heard on the classic bootleg Going To California from their performance in Berkeley  on September 14 1971. From 1973 onwards ‘Does anybody remember laughter?‘’ was an expected insert after the line ‘’and the forest will echo with laughter.’’

By 1975, Robert had changed the line ‘’your stairway’’ to ‘’our stairway’’ adding the line ‘’that’s all we got.’’ As I witnessed in awe from the side of the stage during their 1980 Over Europe performances , Robert added ‘’I keep chopin’ and changin’’’ as they led into the climax.

Post Zep, Robert has sang Stairway To Heaven’’ it a mere four times – at Live Aid in 1985, the Atlantic 40th anniversary show in 1988, a sweet truncated version with Jimmy Page in a TV studio in Japan in 1994 and at the Led Zeppelin O2 tribute concert for Ahmet Ertegun where he proclaimed after the song ‘’Ahmet we did it!’’

Well now he has done it again….

The obvious question is why now and why on this occasion?

There’s no doubt it was a special occasion being a concert staged by the ex – Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor. Andy has had serious cancer health issues and staged this concert in aid of Cancer Awareness Trust.  As well as performing on the night, Robert donated his personal gold disc of Led Zeppelin IV for the auction –as he put it ”our not so difficult fourth album.” A part of this was featured on the video stream and it had clocked an  initial £50,000 bid.“I love this music and I still love it now very much although I get a bit coy and shy when I have to go near it because it was such a long time ago,” he said.

In an  interview with Led Zep News guitarist Kenwyn House revealed that Robert Plant chose to perform Stairway To Heaven after a wealthy donor agreed to donate a six-figure sum to charity if he did so.

So, a special occasion deems a special song for a very worthy cause.

It says everything for Robert’s ease with the  Zep legacy, that he could perform this once millstone around his neck with such dignity.

As we know Stairway To Heaven became much maligned and a victim of much parody – and let’s not mention that farcical version by a disgraced not so all round entertainer.

Although he was quick to decry it in the immediate post Zep years, I happen to think Robert is rightly proud of the song, as he is the whole Zep legacy.

Who can forget his tearful reaction to the Wilson sisters and Jason’s performance at the Kennedy Honours in 2012?

So, with none of the pressure of  performing it on a big stage and at a pressurised Zep related occasion, he was able to slot it in at this charity event with little fuss.

It worked majestically….

With an ad- hoc line up with few rehearsals, the arrangement  was always going to be more  loose than tight. That mattered little, as his vocal phrasing was absolutely spot on and what a joy it was to hear him sing this song with a calm control. Some subtle backing vocals aided the tranquil mood.

Here’s the thing – Robert Plant  sang it as though he really meant it – confident in his skin at revisiting a major part of his past. Looking good with the mic off held in that familiar pose we know so well.

I wonder what was going through his mind? I know for me it prompted so many precious memories.

There were no ad-libs this time in what was out a fairly straight rendering – the guitar solo was neat and compact and they were back in for the grand finale. Here, Robert slowed things down and the key with it avoiding any strained vocals and he even sang the last section ‘’To be a rock and not to roll’’ for a second time – making it a unique arrangement. He did retain the ”our Stairway” sentiment.

It was also unique for being the only time he has performed Stairway To Heaven without Jimmy Page…

The final ‘’and she’s buying’’  line was delivered with a delicate finesse – watching it prompted some instant flashbacks.

Momentarily I was back at Earls Court as the mirrorballs spun above them, back in that field just outside Stevenage when they came back to reclaim their crown (”so many people who’ve helped us over the years –  no more people more important than yourselves who who came here on a blind date -this is for you all of yer”) and at home in 1985 watching the TV as the camera panned out to 90,00 watching them re group in Philadelphia for Live Aid.

I  also thought about all the much missed friends and Zep comrades who are no longer around to enjoy this special moment…

All that was enough to prompt a huge lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.

Then Robert really sealed it.

Firstly he dedicated the performance to Andy

“I know that in this contemporary age of digital stuff there’s every likelihood that other people will see that,” he said, facing Taylor. “So if they do, I offer it up to you and your success and to the whole deal that has happened here today and the future of it all. And also so it’s not just that, I offer it up to Led Zeppelin, wherever they are!”

Andy Taylor replied ‘’God bless ‘em there’s a lot of drummers in the sky we love.’’

Let’s ponder on that statement…

”I offer this up to Led Zeppelin wherever they are”

It felt like he was giving the song back to his former bandmates and back to his audience – To the privileged few who were lucky enough to witness this special occasion and beyond that to countless fans like me and you.

Deep in the heart of the Cotswolds on an October Saturday evening Robert reclaimed a major part of his history and ours.

It’s likely he may never ever sing Stairway To Heaven this song again and if he doesn’t, it’s had a suitably poignant send off. There was none of the pressure of the previous post Led Zep performances. It happened for a great cause and for a great fellow Midlands based musician.

I am aiming to be up in the Midlands in a few days’ time for the Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian gig at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.

I am eagerly looking forward to it, not least after witnessing the YouTube video of this Andy Taylor tribute. For at 75 he is singing so brilliantly and his enjoyment as to where he is at in these advancing years is both inspiring and infectious.

Knowing that Robert Plant is at one with Led Zeppelin’s most famous song makes it all just a little bit more comforting.

As the song states  ‘’If  you listen very hard the tune will come to you at last’’

I’m still listening to Robert Plant intensely – as are countless others…

Dave Lewis – October 25  2023  

 

Here’s more excellent coverage via the LedZep News including an exclusive interview with Kenwyn House…

https://ledzepnews.com/2023/10/24/exclusive-the-story-behind-robert-plants-one-off-solo-performance-of-stairway-to-heaven/?fbclid=IwAR1rNZn9DaCMVZHbYcHS-simIf5JSk1Nx-cqtMiotSrdWFlC2KyFbSlMCP4

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More on the Mr. Jimmy screening…
Here’s a great compilation clip of the Mr. Jimmy film premiere at Olympic Studios Cinema last Wednesday with contributions from the director Peter Michael Dowd, guitar effects innovator Roget Mayer, myself, Coda tribute band drummer Simon Wicker and various attendees…
The whole Q and A session was filmed and will be shown at some point…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTURrUZJTA4
Some more pics from the Mr. Jimmy film premiere at the Olympic Studios cinema showing the Q and A session with Peter Michael Dowd and Roger Mayer plus some filming shots for the YouTube compilation – what a great night it was…thanks to Steve Livesley for the photos..
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LZ News:
Here’s the latest Led ZepNews Update:

Robert Plant:

Perhaps the subheading for this week’s email should be “Hell Freezes Over”. Last night, Robert Plant performed “Stairway To Heaven” solo for the first time. It was also the first time he performed the song since the December 10, 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion show.

Plant performed as part of a one-off band assembled for a cancer awareness fundraising concert organised and fronted by Duran Duran member Andy Taylor that took place yesterday, October 21, in the UK.

The small event saw Plant join the band to perform “Thank You”, “Black Dog”, “Stairway To Heaven” and then “Season Of The Witch”.

This rare performance was streamed live on YouTube and the show has been unofficially reuploaded to Facebook here.

What, if anything, should we make of Plant revisiting “Stairway To Heaven”, a song he has distanced himself from for decades? It’s tempting to join the dots with Plant adding four new Led Zeppelin covers to his live shows with Saving Grace in August.

Does this mean Plant has reached a new level of peace with his Led Zeppelin catalogue? As nice as this would be, we’re more inclined to believe last night’s show was a one-off and “Stairway To Heaven” came at Taylor’s request.

Robert Plant wrote the foreword to the book “Oh, Didn’t They Ramble: Rounder Records and the Transformation of American Roots Music” which was published on October 17. We’ve published the foreword here. Plant and Krauss are signed to Rounder Records.


Removing Band Of Joy and Honeydrippers from our schedule

For all of 2023, we’ve listed a second Band of Joy album and an expanded edition of the Honeydrippers album as being on the way this year.

We broke the news of an expanded Honeydrippers album in December before Plant’s official mailing list confirmed those plans along with plans to finally release the second Band of Joy album in an email sent weeks later.

“During and around all the events this year, RP has been busy working in the studio refining new work from the Honeydrippers collection and reviewing the progress that was made with Band of Joy Vol 2,” the official update from Plant’s team sent in December read.

But now, with November round the corner, we’re removing these releases from our schedule since it’s looking unlikely we’re going to see them in 2023 after all. Let’s hope we finally get them in 2024 along with the debut album from Saving Grace.

John Paul Jones

2 out of 3 Snoweye members announced a festival show

Could John Paul Jones be heading back to the Arctic for a music festival? Two out of three members of his musical project Snoweye are on the newly announced lineup for the Snow Station Vadsø music festival which will be held on March 14-17 next year. Both Lucy Parnell and Elle Márjá Eira, two thirds of Snoweye, are listed on the lineup. More contributors are set to be announced, according to the festival.

Snoweye was formed by Jones at the festival’s sister event in 2017. So it would make sense if Jones appeared at the festival in March. But Jones is already announced as appearing at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee both as a solo act and as part of Sons Of Chipotle on March 21-24. He may choose to focus on preparing for that festival instead.

Upcoming events:

  • October 27 – Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will be reissued on clear vinyl
  • 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 Southampton, 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 15 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Cardiff, 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.
  • November 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Wolverhampton, UK.
  • 2024 – Robert Plant will tour with Alison Krauss.
  • March 21-24 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee both as a solo act and as part of Sons Of Chipotle.
  • Summer 2024 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Vienna, Virginia.

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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/

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TBL Archive Special: Led Zeppelin II – it was 54 years ago …October 22,1969…

Led Zeppelin II – A Kind of Rock…

To celebrate the release of the Led Zeppelin II album this week back in 1969 – some thoughts 54 years on…

Led Zeppelin II:

A Kind Of Rock…. Still Flying

In the same way Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue defined the jazz genre, the second Zep album well and truly encapsulated rock music as we know it. Dave Lewis re appraises Led Zeppelin II on the occasion of its 51st anniversary.

In reappraising the second Led Zeppelin album 53 years on, it occurred to me that a parallel with the jazz giant Miles Davis is evident.

In the same way that Miles Davis Kind of Blue was the jazz album of choice for those who thought they didn’t like jazz, Led Zeppelin II became the rock album for those who thought they didn’t really like rock.

After Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis went on to make continuing adventurous music (witness In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew), Led Zeppelin also would push the boundaries of creativity with the likes of Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti.

Neither artist though, quite replicated the sheer shock element of intent so apparent on Kind Of Blue and Led Zeppelin II. These are both works of massive influence that grew their respective audiences manifold.

The album came together in a most haphazard fashion as they toured the UK and US during 969. From April to August they stopped off to record and overdub this second album at no less than eleven studios as follows:

Olympic Studios London, Morgan Studios London, A & M Studios Hollywood, Mystic Sound Hollywood , Mirror Sound Studios Los Angeles, R & D Studios Vancouver, A & R Studios New York, Groove Studio New York, Mayfair Recording Studios, New York Juggy Sound Studio New York and Atlantic Studios New York. Two others -Goldstar Recording Studios in Hollywood and Quantum Recording Studios in Torrence were visited but proved fruitless. It says much for Jimmy Page and Eddie Kramer’s production and engineering skills that the finished album sounded so cohesive -despite being recorded in so many different studios.

It’s also worth noting that During that five month period they made 78 live appearances. In fact, during the whole of 1969 they performed a total of 150 gigs – almost as many as they would play in the next three years.

Put simply, during the early part of their career Led Zeppelin’s work ethic was second to none and it was this desire to be seen and heard wherever they could, that really forged their legacy.

Perhaps surprisingly Jimmy Page admitted to having lost a bit of confidence by the time the album appeared in October 1969 accompanied by an advert that proclaimed it be ‘’Now flying’’. He need not have worried. By the beginning of 1970, Led Zeppelin II had dethroned The Beatles Abbey Road at the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It marked the beginning of the band’s world domination. It registered over 130 consecutive weeks on the UK chart and remarkably was still holding court when Led Zeppelin III appeared a year later.

So what inspired this sales longevity normally reserved for the likes of The Sound Of Music or Bridge Over Troubled Water? Put simply Led Zeppelin II defined the rock genre in a way that Cream and Jimi Hendrix had hinted at. Here was a seamless forty one minute experience as track merged into track and sledge hammered the listener into submission. At the helm of it all was Jimmy Page. If the first album had laid down the foundations of what this quartet were going to be about, Zep II extended the notion with a brain crushing display of dynamics. And it was Page’s precision production that gave the record its real character, a standard he would uphold on successive Zep albums.

It was also his ability to adapt to the varying studio conditions they found themselves in that gave the album its distinctive sound. Page’s experiments in distance miking, a trick he picked up during his session days considerably enhanced the effect of John Bonham’s straight from the wrist drumming and Robert Plant’s wailing vocal. When it transferred to disc, it reproduced an air of electricity you could almost touch.

This was best personified on Whole Lotta Love, the catalyst opening track and smash US hit single. The lyrics may have been the work of Willie Dixon but the sound was pure Page/Zep. The swirling white noise middle section being the result of a weekend mixing session in New York with Eddie Kramer.

This second Led Zeppelin album also marked the emergence of Robert Plant as the group’s lyricist. He offered up compositional strength that would further flower on subsequent albums. The dreamy What Is And What Should never be ,the emotional love song Thank You with John Paul Jones excelling on organ and the Tolkien inspired Ramble On all sound as fresh today as they did five decades back.

Chris Huston was the studio engineer at Mystic Studios in Los Angeles where some of the tracks were cut. ‘’It was such a small studio’’ recalls Huston. ‘’I was very impressed with Jimmy’s ability to double track and create the sound he wanted first time every time. What you hear is the product of a lot of spontaneous chemistry in their playing’’.

Examples of that spark of chemistry can be heard in the smash and grab solos that light up The Lemon Song and the closing track Bring It On Home- the latter highlighting the band’s somewhat dubious practice for taking unaccredited old blues tunes (in this case Sonny Boy Williamson s song of the same name) and respraying them Zep style. Derivative as this tactic appeared, such arrangements always emerged unmistakably as their own.

Led Zeppelin II also contains one of the finest and few listenable drums solos committed to record in Moby Dick, Heartbreaker – plus a riveting Page guitar virtuoso piece and a kitsch rocker Living Loving Maid that they always said they disliked, but actually packed a tight incisive punch. Another winning factor: The album made memorable use of the newly found freedom stereophonic sound offered, making it an early hi fi buffs delight.

It would of course been easy to replicate this formula on their next record but that was never an option. As the gold and platinum albums began lining their walls, Page and co had already moved on. Refusing to stick to one particular groove, with their second album they had already made the definitive hard rock statement. Mandolins, Martin acoustic guitars, Mellotrons and a date with ‘’A lady who’s sure’’ now beckoned.

The intervening 53 years have done nothing to diminish the startling air of tension that signifies the opening cough and riff of Whole Lotta Love and the commencement of an album that continues to defy the wrath of time.

It’s a kind of rock…and a kind of legend and it’s still flying.

It’s Led Zeppelin II – go and wish it a happy 53rd birthday and play it right now …

Dave Lewis – October 22, 2022

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More on Led Zeppelin II from the TBL Archive:

The Led Zeppelin Reissues: Now And Then

Dave Lewis offers some personal recollections and current thoughts on the first Led Zeppelin reissues…

The Led Zeppelin Reissues Then And Now: Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin II: A kind of Rock then – a kind of rock now …even more so…

THEN:

Led Zeppelin II came in to my life very soon after the release of Led Zeppelin III. I had initially been alerted to the sound of Led Zeppelin a year previous when DJ Alan Freeman played Whole Lotta Love on his Pick of the Pops Radio One show –the effect was to be a lasting one.

As I eagerly devoured any news about Led Zeppelin via the weekly music papers, hearing and acquiring their music as a 13 year old was not so simple.  They were rarely on the radio and the necessary funds to invest in an album was not forthcoming – I was a singles buyer and guess what? Led Zeppelin did not release UK singles…

However, after the watershed of hearing Led Zeppelin III, my mission was to acquire Led Zeppelin II as soon as possible. It was duly purchased from Braggins department store in Bedford for two reasons – I was able to hear the opening track on their in store record booths (you may recall in my Zep I tales, the store’s policy for youngsters was to be able to listen to track one side one only) and Braggins sold their LP’s in very nice pvc covers. Result!

This copy was on the German Atlantic label for some reason although given the timespan (November ’70), with the album at the top of the charts it may well be that demand had forced Atlantic in the UK to source copies elsewhere.

Anyway, the fact was I had the album with its imposing fold out cover and grandiose inner cover with their names emblazoned across the sleeve like royal headstones.

The following 12 months my listening pleasure was divided by Zep 1 and II and later a reel to reel recording of their BBC Radio One In Concert show broadcast in April 1971.

Upon the arrival of the fourth album, the first two Zep albums did take a back seat and not long after that I commenced my mission (on LP and cassette) to hear as much live material by this extraordinary group as possible.

There was one other Zep II related initiative –and that was to acquire the US single of Whole Lotta Love backed with Living Loving Maid. This challenge was eventually met via an advert in Sounds for US import singles. So it was in early 1972 that I sent off a postal order to a guy in Newcastle for the princely sum of £1.25 to invest in this hallowed piece of vinyl imported all the way from the USA. Eventually after weeks of waiting (no predicted arrival dates ala Amazon in those days!), this seven inch single in a very attractive Atlantic Records sleeve arrived. It was the beginning another love affair – the collecting of all manner of Led Zeppelin vinyl be it on 7 inch or 12- an obsession that is still rife in my life over 40 years on.

Unsurprisingly I have a variety of Zep II pressings – the original brown bomber with the Lemon Song credits, the rare UK pressing that lists Living Loving Maid as Living Loving Wreck – and a very nice US pressing on thick cardboard acquired earlier this year from a local charity shop. It remains an iconic piece of Zeppelin art.

As for the listening credentials of the album – again in my scheme of things I tend to play it less than some of the later albums – however I can say I have experienced notable moments when I have completely lost myself in its greatness. Again unsurprisingly this has been when I have immersed myself in writing about it – notably on the 35th anniversary back in 2004 when I did extensive retrospective features on Zep II for both Record Collector and Classic Rock. Five years later I celebrated the 40th anniversary of its release with a major feature in TBL 25 which coincided with me meeting and interviewing the director of engineering on the album Eddie Kramer.

In reappraising the second Led Zeppelin album forty years on, it occurred to me that a parallel with the jazz giant Miles Davis was evident.

In the same way that Miles Davis Kind of Blue was the jazz album of choice for those who thought they didn’t like jazz – Led Zeppelin 2 was the rock album for those who thought they didn’t really like rock.

After Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis went on to make continuing adventurous music (witness In A Silent way and Bitches Brew), Zeppelin also would push the boundaries of creativity with the likes of Zep 4, Houses Of The Holy and Physical Graffiti.  Neither artist though, quite tapped in so effortlessly again with a statement of intent absolutely and completely of its time as they did with Kind Of Blue and Led Zeppelin 2 respectively.

Here’s how I re- appraised the album back in 2009:

Led Zeppelin II was an instant success going on to spend 130 consecutive weeks on the UK album chart and was still riding high in the top 20 when Led Zeppelin III was released.

So back in 1969 what inspired this sales longevity normally reserved for the likes of The Sound Of Music or Bridge Over Troubled Water? Led Zeppelin 2 defined the rock genre in a way that Cream and Jimi Hendrix had hinted at. Here was a seamless 41 minute experience as track merged into track and sledgehammered the listener into submission.

At the helm of it all was Jimmy Page. If the first album had laid down the foundations of what this quartet were going to be about, Zep 2 extended the notion with a brain crushing display of dynamics. And it was Page’s precision production that gave the record its real character, a standard he would uphold on successive Zep albums.

It was his ability to adapt to the varying studio conditions they found themselves in that gave the album its distinctive sound. Pages experiments in distance miking a trick he picked up during his session days considerably enhanced the effect of John Bonham’s straight from the wrist drumming and Robert Plant’s wailing vocal. When it transferred to disc, it reproduced an air of electricity you could almost touch.

Another winning factor: The album made memorable use of the newly found freedom stereophonic sound offered making it an early hi-fi buffs delight.

It would of course been easy to replicate this formula on their next record but that was never an option. As the gold and platinum albums began lining their walls, Page and co had already moved on. Adamantly refusing to stick to one particular groove, with their second album they had already made the definitive hard rock statement. Mandolins, Martin acoustic guitars, Mellotrons and a date with ‘’A lady whose sure’’ now beckoned.

The intervening 40 years have done nothing to diminish the startling air of tension that signifies the opening cough and riff of Whole Lotta Love and the commencement of an album that continues to defy the wrath of time.

…………………………

 NOW:

So the shadow of Led Zeppelin II has loomed large for decades around these parts. The long awaited arrival of this newly remastered version with companion audio disc is most welcome.

As with Zep I the sound just takes over the room from the start. I’ve played this album countless times but hearing it blaring out on a mid week early June morning, the clarity and sheer sonic thrust of this second Led Zeppelin album ensured yet another memorable listening experience.

For example: the delicate bongos behind the beat on Whole Lotta Love, the always impressive stereo panning of the outro of What is and What Should Never Be, Jonesy’s bass throughout The Lemon Song, the delicacy of Jimmy’s acoustic picking on Thank You.

Over on side two and at this point it’s worth mentioning the sheer mastery of Jimmy’s sequencing of the album as one performance crosses into another – Heartbreaker kicks in  vibrantly, then there’s the precise backing vocals on Living Loving Maid and then the sheer beauty of Ramble On…

Oh yes Ramble On – signifying a complete lump in the throat tears welling up moment here as the sheer enormity of their achievements just engulfed me.

Another point of reference: listening to these remastered albums I am constantly reminded of the quality and deftness of that heavy chorus technique they applied to so many of their songs – the aforementioned Ramble On being one such delight.

On the home straight, Moby Dick still sounds like the best drum solo ever committed to record, while Bring It On Home is yet another revelation –  the pure blues of the intro never sounded so pure and when the riff kicks in …well it’s a  majestic moment.

The Companion Audio Disc: The embryonic version of Whole Lotta Love  is just stunning in its sheer naivety and sparseness. This tells us so much more than we already knew about the Zep II opener, and as I predicted, has elevated this early Zep anthem to even greater status (also aided by the Dior Homme advert).

Thank You- It’s wonderful to hear the precision of Jimmy’s chiming Vox guitar. The acoustic picking has yet to be overdubbed on this version. On Living Loving Maid the spaces in between where the vocal should be are marvellously offbeat. It’s worth noting that these backing tracks are much more than mere ‘karaoke’ fodder- they genuinely bring it out the instrumental nuances in a way we haven’t been privy to before. Ramble On has that  delightful ‘’I ain’t telling no lines ‘’adlib from Robert in more clarity. The fade is a simpler mix with again a few overdubs yet to be applied notably the ‘’Bluebird ‘’ insert. It fades to a full ending.

La La –totally nonscript in a quintessentially Jimmy Page manner. Like I said before,  La La is what the phrase ‘tangents within a framework’ was invented for…

Summary: In short, peering into the portal of where Led Zeppelin were at during 1969 opens up a whole new perspective. Led Zeppelin II is still a very special Kind of Rock and now there’s even more of it to enjoy…the phrase ”embellishment of riches” springs to mind…yet again.

DL – June 18th, 2014.   

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To celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin III here’s the second part of the making of Led Zeppelin III feature I wrote for Record Collector in 2010. 

The making of Led Zeppelin III Part 2:

When the group reconvened for studio sessions at Olympic in late May e they had a good ten numbers at the ready to record stage. ‘’We’ll be recording for the next two weeks and we are doing a lot of acoustic stuff as well as the heavier side’’ John Bonham told Melody Maker’s Chris Welch from the studio. ‘’There will be better quality songs than on the first two albums’’

On the recommendation of their office secretary Carole Browne, they decamped to Headley Grange in East Hampshire. Originally built in 1795, Headley Grange was formerly a work house for the poor, infirmed and orphaned. In 1870, the building was bought by builder Thomas Kemp for £420, who converted it into a private residence and named it Headley Grange. In keeping with the then trend of band’s getting it together in the country’’, Fleetwood Mac had recently rehearsed there as page commented on

‘’Headley Grange was somewhat rundown, the heating didn’t work. But it had one major advantage. Other bands had rehearsed there and hadn’t had any complaints. That’s a major issue, because you don’t want to go somewhere and start locking into the work process and then have to pull out.’’. Zeppelin would use this location more extensively on the recording of Led Zeppelin 4 and Physical Graffiti.

For the Zep 3 recordings they employing the Rolling Stones mobile studio and tackled the wealth of song ideas at their disposal. Aside from the softer numbers they also had a series of full on rock numbers to work on. Material such as Immigrant Song , Celebration Day and Out On the Tiles would showcase the more familiar side of the band.

They supplemented the Headley Grange sessions with continued work at their regular studio haunt Olympic Studios and in mid July they also took advantage of the newly built Island Studios in Basing Street London. The Studio Two facilities had opened there the previous March – Zeppelin had the distinction of being the first band to use the Studio One facility when it opened allegedly beating Country Joe in booking the sessions. There was a rumour at the time that Page would assist Country Joe in the recording of his album at De Lane Lea Studios.

Rchard Digby Smith was a trainee engineer at Island Studios. I remember the recording of Since I’ve Been Loving You, he told Phil Sutcliffe. ‘’It was a steep learning curve for me. You were in the studio with such greatness and I was only 20 years old. I assisted on that track when Robert did the vocal in Studio One. It was like a spaceship flight deck looking down through the glass. He did two or three takes and would then go back and patch up the mistakes or bits that needed a bit more work. I’d say it was a team effort but Jimmy Page Page had the final say. When Robert was singing, Page would be at the desk talking to Robert not telling him what to do but working with him.’

John Paul Jones was a man of few words. I remember one time they were in for a couple of days and I engineered because Andy Johns was not around. I can see him there, hand on his chin just going ‘’Mmmmm’’ and you would never really knew what he was thinking.

The studio had a high ceiling and there was a Bayer M50 mic suspended about six feet above the drums. That picked up a lot of the drum sound though the whole kit was also miked. Bonhams drumming was so loud he never took the front skin off and put coats in like a lot of drummers. You knew you were in the presence of greatness. Look behind you and there was Peter Grant sitting on the sofa. The whole of the sofa! There was hugeness about everything they did’’ Andy Johns had worked with them on Led Zeppelin 2 recalled ‘’Those guys worked really fast. You could get two tracks an evening and not be working too late We did one or two mixes just Jimmy and myself. He was really easy to get on with. I remember a big black Gibson violin bass which he played’’

It was around this time a series of break up rumours began circulated. The lay off gave fuel to the idea that all was not well with the band. Publicist Bill Harry was keen to squash any such notion. He arranged for John Bonham to be interviewed by Roy Carr for the NME a week before their Bath Festival appearance. ‘’To put a complete end to these break up rumours,’’ Bonzo informed Carr ‘’Anyone who goes to Bath will see and hear Led Zeppelin as they’ve never seen or heard us before’’

The band played their first show in three months on June 22nd in Reykjavik. This show at the Laugardalsholl Sports was part of a cultural exchange visit organized by the British Government. Brief black & white Footage of the visit can be seen on the 2003 official Led Zeppelin DVD..This show was part of a cultural exchange extravaganza organised by the British government and promoted by international booking agent, Jasper Parrot. Led Zeppelin were the official representatives of the UK pop industry. The venue was later to host the famous 1972 World Chess Championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky Rare black and white footage of their arrival in Iceland and performing Dazed And Confused was discovered and cleaned up for use in the official Led Zeppelin DVD.     During this trip, Robert was inspired to write the lyrics for Immigrant Song. Plant: “We went to Iceland and it was one of those times when you go to bed at night, but you don’t sleep because the daylight’s still there – a 24-hour day. There was just an amazing hue in the sky and it was one of those things that made you think of Vikings and big ships and John Bonham’s stomach!”

Five days later they topped the bill at the Bath Festival performing to an audience of over 100,000. It was reported that they turned down US appearances at New Haven and Boston to fulfill this prestigious date. Zeppelin had appeared way down the bill on the event a year previous. The fact that they returned just twelve months later as the star attraction was ample proof of their growing status. Peter Grant made sure they appeared just as the sun went down pulling the plug on the previous act Flock in the process. They went down a storm garnering five encores.    They closed the set, as was the custom, with the extended ‘How Many More Times’ medley. Plant made a speech to the crowd prior to the final encores: “We’ve been playing America a lot recently and we really thought that coming back here we might have a dodgy time. There’s a lot of things going wrong in America at the moment, that are getting a bit sticky. It’s really nice to come to an open-air festival where there are no bad things happening and everything’s turned out beautiful.”

Allegedly the concert was filmed on Grant’s insistence for possible use in their in progress film project. Nothing has ever surfaced from this official source – a minute or so of amateur cine footage is the only filmed remnant of the land mark appearance. The next week’s   Melody Maker reported ‘Five Encores For Zeppelin’: “Led Zeppelin stormed to huge success at the Bath Festival. About 150,000 fans rose to give them an ovation. They played for over three hours – blues, rock and roll and pure Zeppelin. Jimmy Page, in a yokel hat to suit the Somerset scene, screamed into attack on guitar, John Paul Jones came into his own on organ as well as bass, and John Bonham exploded his drums in a sensational solo. And the crowd went wild demanding encore after encore… a total of five!”

John Bonham enjoyed his Bath night: “The atmosphere was fantastic really when you consider it was cold and windy. And even when it rained they sat through it and could still be happy. I did’t think you could get an atmosphere like that at a concert.”   Peter Grant remembered later: “Bath was great. I went down to the site unbeknown to Freddie Bannister and I found out from the Met Office what time the sun was setting and it was right behind the stage and by going on at 8 in the evening, I was able to bring the lights up a bit at a time. And it was vital we went on to match that. That’s why I made sure Flock or whoever it was got off on time. Not that we had anything to lose as we’d been paid £20,000 up front!

‘’Bath was a turning point in recognition for us’’ Page stated ‘’There have been one or to magical gigs and Bath was one of them’’.

The Iceland and Bath dates saw them incorporate the newly written Immigrant Song as a set opener – a status it would retain up until late 1972. That’s The Way was the first introduction to their acoustic side and word was out that this forthcoming album would see something of a change in direction. A week later they travelled to Germany for a successful four-date tour, capitalising on their success in one of their most lucrative European markets where the Whole Lotta Love single had been a number one smash alongside the Led Zeppelin II album. Following those dates the band readied themselves for a lengthy sixth American trek. Just before they left it was reported by Melody Maker that Jimmy Page would complete the mixing and editing of the third album in New York. Peter Grant was quoted as saying it would be ‘’Entirely different ‘’from their previous albums. It was also hinted that they would perform in Japan and Australia at the end of the year –it would actually be a year later when they would reach those territories.

TO BE CONTINUED…


song-vinyl

The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack at 47:

47 years ago, on the afternoon of Thursday October 21 1976, I anxiously tore open the box marked Warner/ Elektra/ Atlantic Records at the WH Smith record shop where I worked to reveal for the first time the gatefold sleeve of, as the label spine gloriously put it ‘’The Soundtrack To The Film The Song Remains The Same‘’.

Yes the only official live album released during the band’s life time is 46 years old.
I have much affection for that original double live album – it captures a certain era of innocence when we knew a lot less about the actual construction of such things and just enjoyed it for what it as – four sides of live Zep to accompany the release of their long awaited film The Song Remains The Same. Whilst the on stage experimentation of their 1972 US tour had levelled out, these New York ‘73 concerts a year later capture all the swagger and verve of a band in the throes of conquering the world.

In those innocent days I was completely immune to any criticism of the boy’s work. I was therefore absolutely incensed with Nick Kent’s less than complimentary review of the film in the  NME. So much so that I wrote a letter to the paper the next week pointing out an inaccuracy on his part. This was duly printed – I used the pseudonym ‘Ace Wallbanger’, a reference to the soccer team I played in, the infamous and much feared in a keystone cops sort of way Wallbangers FC.

nick-2

Left: Angry Ace Wallbanger of Bedford has the right of reply…

Thanks to the esteemed Eddie Edwards we now know a whole lot more of how the live set was assembled via Eddie’s amazing Garden Tapes analysis.
of a few years back

See link at http://www.thegardentapes.co.uk/tgt.html
I know Eddie was far from happy with the revised version of the album that was issued in 2007. It cooked up a lot healthy debate at the time.

I was actually ok with Kevin Shirley’s mix. He cleverly kept the excitable crowd reaction high in the mix which adds a real ‘right there’ front row authenticity heard to great effect on the opening blast of Rock And Roll, Celebration Day and Black Dog. In extending the original double album, the six previously unreleased performances included a very fluent Over The Hills And Far Away, the riotous The Ocean and of course it finally gave a home to the brilliantly sublime recording of Since I’ve Been Loving You –always a stand out performance in the film and one of their best ever live moments.

I’ll be  playing  through both versions of the album this week – and there is much to admire – pull them out yourselves for a nostalgic blast of prime era Zep on this 47th anniversary.

Dave Lewis – October 26,2022


Terry Reid in Kinross by Hiroshi
Here’s a review of  Terry Reid’s recent appearance in Kinross by regular TBL contributor Horishi…
For this realm of fandom, Terry Reid is, of course, part of the Zep folklore. But in a bigger picture, he is more than “the man who almost made it”.
When I came across the information about his rare and imminent U.K. appearance only a week before the tour’s opening, which suggests how low-key his profile is nowadays, and knew the tour stops included Kinross of all places, a wee regional town in Scotland and not too far from where I live, I was convinced that this would be a gig not to miss.
Backstage, the venue at the back of the Green Hotel on high street, is a local rock legend in itself. The visitors are greeted by a wealth of memorabilia, e.g. electric guitars once owned by some name musicians hanged on the wall, concert posters all around and high up to the ceilings — a best kept secret in an unexpected part of the country, and well worth a visit for any self-proclaimed rock fans to indulge themselves. For the record country rock guitar virtuoso Albert Lee had finished a four-night residency in this space the previous week.
October 18, Wednesday night. The 120 seats were fully occupied by the time Terry and the group took the stage a few minutes after eight. I had seen Terry twice in 2012, in Sheffield and Heaton Chapel, south side of Greater Manchester. Both occasions were solo performances at small venues, Terry singing and playing acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars. This time he was backed by a full band of five musicians, electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, keyboard, bass and drums. The pedal steel guitar guy also picked an electric guitar on some songs, playing plenty of solos. The show was two-part, 45 minutes first, and, after a 20-minute interval, 65 minutes next, resulting in an hour and 50 minutes’ set altogether excluding the mid-show break. It was all over around 10:15pm, the proposed end time.
Terry Reid released only six studio albums between 1968 and 1991. He hasn’t put out a record of original material for thirty-two long years, which beats The Rolling Stones who have just delivered the long overdue new album, their first one in eighteen years, by further fourteen years! In that alone, enough making him a living legend. His first two albums, Bang, Bang You’re Terry Reid (1968) and the eponymously titled Terry Reid (1969), were produced by Mickie Most, and bear a similar aura around them to the other Most-produced albums from the era, The Yardbirds’ Little Games and Jeff Beck’s Truth for example.
However, with his third album released after four years’ hiatus, the Tom Dowd-produced River (1973), Terry stepped into the new territory. Earthy and swampy, the album paved the way for his future direction, setting America in the wider musical scope. I recall that, around that time, Robert Plant was quoted in the press as calling Terry “the best singer” and praising River as the best album he had heard recently. Terry moved to America in the 1970s and have settled in the West Coast thereafter, deepening friendships with David Lindley, Graham Nash, Waddy Wachtel et al. And the music played on stage in Kinross reflected that.
Often tinged with strong country flavour, these songs could now be aptly classified into “Americana” in terms of their taste and delivery. Zeppelin fans may find something in common with Plant’s current musicality represented by his activities last 10-15 years with Alison Krauss, Band Of Joy, Saving Grace and even certain phases of the Sensational Space Shifters, their latest output, Carry Fire, in particular. That’s how both English men were won by The West.
Terry played three guitars alternately — one acoustic, one Fender custom-made Jazzmaster (sky blue) and one Gretch semi-hollowed body (navy blue). While the evening went forward in a relaxed mood, interspersed with jokey between-song banters, once he started singing Terry belted out verses and choruses from his guts, giving a glimpse of what he once was — a powerful and soulful blues-rock vocalist with unmistakable swaggers here and there, the voice that impressed Page as well as even the young Plant. The singer remains the same.
My only gripe of the night is the omission of Seed Of Memory, the title track of his 1976 fourth album and arguably his greatest composition to date, one of those songs for the ages.
 Always a highlight of his show, and despite the title being put on the bottom of the setlist, it was dropped for whatever reason. Curfew perhaps? Considering the venue is situated in the hotel, presumably the regulation has to be strict in consideration for the other guests, which is understandable. Nonetheless, the cake was still there to enjoy even without the icing on it.
Venue Information: Backstage at the Green Hotel Kinross
https://www.mundellmusic.com/venue-backstage-at-the-green/

Many thanks to Hiroshi for that very informative report.

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VIP Record Fair at the Harpur Suite Bedford this Saturday October 28:

VIP RECORD FAIR RETURNS TO BEDFORD SAT 28 OCTOBER!

I am aiming to be popping in to this one.

Here’s all the info…

 VIP Bedford Record Fair on Saturday October 28

The Harpur Suite, Harpur Street, Bedford MK40 1LE

Doors 9am to 3.30pm.

The UK’s finest selection of record sellers are now making their final preparations to deliver you a great, fresh, vinyl selection in Bedford on Saturday. From Reggae and Dance to rock Pop and Soul its all there.

Full event info – http://www.vip-24.com/venues/bedford.htm

Bedfordshire’s very own BIG Record Fair – come and join us! Fantastic selection of sellers from around the UK with both rare and discounted records through to CDs and collectable items.

More info –
http://www.vip-24.com/venues/bedford.htm

https://www.facebook.com/events/630761895143963

Admission – £3.00 Doors open 10.00am – 3.30pm.

Early Entry Special. £6 – 9am. Grab a bargain and beat the crowds!

FREE ENTRY 1PM

Fast Track advance tickets –

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/406096213707


My thoughts on the new Rolling Stones album Hackney Diamonds…
On the player – what else – The Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds…
Here’s my initial thoughts on the album so far…
First thing to note is that the album packs it all in on two sides – none of this three tracks a side spread over two albums – it feels like a traditional proper album with a Side One and a Side Two…
Here we go…Side One:
Angry:
Great opener – classic Keith riff –wide screen production –co written by producer Andrew Watt.
Get Close:
Delightful shuffling funky drumming from Steve Jordan – lovely descending chorus – Mick at his leering best then in comes James King on sax –Elton’s in there on piano. This would not have been out of place on Exile…
Depending On You:
Plaintive Jagger vocal – one in the grand tradition of Stones countryish star crossed lovers tales. Sweet slide guitar adds to the mood and sweeping strings synths – a real stand out performance.
Bite My Head Off:
Aggressive rocker –similar in feel to Angry with shouty Jagger vocals – fuzz bass from Macca leads to a stinging Ronnie guitar solo. Knockerbout ending.
Whole Wide World:
Straight into another fast paced rocker. Defiant lyrics ‘’when the whole wide world’s against you.’’ Multi layered guitar solos coming in from all angles…
Dreamy Skies:
Low key vocal from Keith –Jagger on backing vocals and harmonica – reminded me of Sweet Virginia off Exile.
Side Two:
Mess it Up:
Charlie on drums and of course he’s good tonight inee…incessant chorus. This would not have been out of place on Some Girls…
Live By The Sword:
Charlie on drums and welcome back Bill Wyman on bass. Shades of It’s Only Rock’n’Roll in the riff department. Stomping outro with Elton on piano.
Driving Me Too Hard:
Another Jagger vocal tour de force – solid back beat from Steve Jordan – drifts off into a melodic Gram Parsons influenced like musical sunset.
Tell Me Straight:
Gentle piano opening – Keith vocal – bit of a moody Bruce feel here. Lovely lilting solo.
Sweet Sounds Of Heaven:
The epic. Gospel arrangement with Stevie Wonder on piano. Yearning vocal feel that builds to a crescendo. Lady Gaga joining Mike to reach the summit. False ending and then back in for a Jagger/Gaga vocal trade off with brass aiding the final blow out – most impressive.
Rolling Stone Blues:
And finally the fab three Mick ,Keith and Ronnie back to the roots Muddy Waters blues cover with harmonica. A sweet coda…
’’Gonna be a Rollin’’ and they sure were and still are…
Summary:
The whole album benefits greatly from a very contemporary production from Andrew Watt. It never feels like a hackneyed re-tread of former glories.
The star for me is Michael Philip Jagger who throughout sounds as committed to giving his all to The Rolling Stones as he was in that glorious 1968- 78 period.
The best recommendation I can offer is that as soon I’d finished this initial run through, I immediately wanted to put the needle back to Side One again….
There’s a whole lot of precious diamonds on this Hackney offering. Thank you Mick, Keith and Ronnie for making the world seem a much brighter place again…
Dave Lewis –  October 20 2023

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The Who Life House Super Deluxe Edition listening experience update:
This is really is an embarrassment of riches with so much to enjoy…
I’m jumping to Discs 9 and 10 – as it was 48 years ago today that I saw The Who at the Empire Pool Wembley
An amazing performance as is this incendiary show from the Civic Auditorium San Francisco December 12 1971…
My good friend and Who expert Chris Charlesworth has summarised this performance better than I ever could – check out the post below on his Just Backdated blog at this link…

https://justbackdated.blogspot.com/…/the-who-civic…

What a line up on these two discs….
Disc: 9
1 Introduction (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
2 I Can’t Explain (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
3 Substitute (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
4 Summertime Blues (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
5 My Wife (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
6 Baba O’Riley (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
7 Behind Blue Eyes (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
8 Bargain (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
9 Won’t Get Fooled Again (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
10 Baby Don’t Do It (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
11 Magic Bus (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
Disc: 10
1 Introduction to Tommy (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
2 Overture (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
3 Amazing Journey (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
4 Sparks (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
5 Pinball Wizard (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
6 See Me Feel Me (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
7 My Generation (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
8 Naked Eye (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
9 Going Down (Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Francisco – December 12, 1971)
I’ll be backtracking to checkout Discs 5,6,7 and 8 of this amazing set – and what a feast instore…

Dave Lewis – October 23 2023

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DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday October 19:

A couple from yesterday – in the excellent Olympic Studios Records shop in Barnes with owner Roger Miles and director of the Mr. Jimmy film Peter Michael Dowd – be sure to check the shop out in your are in the area.
I of course could not leave the Spanish pressing of Led Zeppelin IV that was on the wall waiting to be snapped up – and Roger purchased an original Led Zeppelin Earls Court ’75 programme – top result all round…
Check the shop out at www.olympicstudiosrecords.com

Friday October 20:

A Friday treat at the Slide Record Shop…
A bit of rainfall was not going to deter me this morning in getting on my bike and heading in to town for a special purchase at the always excellent Slide Record Shop…
I’ve been buying the new Rolling Stones albums on the day of release since 1973 – all of 50 years ago. On August 31 1973 a few days off my 17th birthday and seeing them live at the Empire Pool Wembley, I went into Carlows Records in Bedford and purchased Goats Head Soup.
Subsequent new Stones albums I purchased on the day of release at WH Smith, Our Price and Virgin Megastore where I worked and more recently the Blue And Lonesome album which I got in London at Sounds of the Universe.
The Slide Record Shop can add to that list as this morning I invested in Hackney Diamonds – their first original studio album since 2005. This copy an independent stores exclusive on diamond clear vinyl – and Nery’s added in a free poster – thank you!
I am very much looking forward to getting acquainted with this new opus which has already had great reviews.
The sheer musical joy The Rolling Stones have provided me over so many years is off the scale – and in an ever changing world they are a constant to behold – in effect you gotta love The Rolling Stones and I do with a passion.
Right time for track one side one – I’m ready for Hackney Diamonds…

Friday October 20:

More Rolling Stones…just arrived…
I could not resist the Hackney Diamonds zoetrope limited edition picture disc.
Looks very cool indeed…

Saturday October 21:

Great night at Esquires in Bedford last night in the company of the Absolute Bowie tribute band.
This is always a nostalgic one for us here as the first major gig Janet and I attended together was David Bowie at Milton Keynes Bowl on the Serious Moonlight tour in July 1983 – all of 40 years ago, so it was great to be back in front of live Bowie music again in celebration of the Golden Years…and it was a splendid evening.
Front man John O’ Neill took on the Bowie role with supreme confidence – the period costume changes from Ziggy Stardust through to the Serious Moonlight period and latter era were all totally convincing.
As was the music, with Andy Marr handling the Mick Ronson guitar parts with genuine empathy.
The first set was a Ziggy Stardust blast with a set list line up of Hang On To Yourself, Suffragette City, Moonage Daydream, Changes, Time, The Jean Genie, All The Young Dudes, Starman and Life On Mars.
The second half centered on the post Ziggy era with Blue Jean, Fashion, Ashes To Ashes, China Girl, Let’s Dance Hello Spaceboy, Space Oddity and Heroes.
Highlights included a communal All The Young Dudes and a superbly extended Ashes To Ashes.
John O’Neill interacted with the crowd throughout the sets. It made for a great atmosphere and inspired the enthusiastic crowd (including our gang) to put on their dancing shoes and revel in the golden years Absolute Bowie so brilliantly recreated.
Pete Burridge continued the 70s and 80s theme with a highly enjoyable hit laded post gig DJ set.
All in all a fabulous night at the always excellent Esquires venue.
What with The Who’s 1971 opus Who’s Next on the player, Mr. Jimmy up on the big screen taking us back to Led Zeppelin circa 1973 , the arrival of The Rolling Stones new album Hackney Diamonds yesterday and Absolute Bowie last night, it’s been like being back in the 1970s this past week and hey that’s no bad thing…

Saturday October 21:

Saturday is platterday – it has to be this beauty…

Saturday October 21:

At at the always excellent Empire Records in St Albans – I was well pleased to find this copy of the 1971 Island Records double album sampler El Pea complete with its original 1971 £1.99 Double Album sticker

Saturday October 21:
Memories of Sir Bobby Charlton…
Very sad to hear the passing of the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton…
On Saturday July 16 1966 I as a nine year old, I watched the TV in awe as Bobby Charlton fired England’s opening goal of their 1966 World Cup campaign – a blockbuster against Mexico in a 2-0 win.
I saw him play once – on March 21 1970 I was lucky enough to be in a 63,000 capacity crowd with my friend Dave Corp when Chelsea beat a star studded Manchester United side including Charlton, Stiles, Best and Law 2-1…
His passing leaves just Geoff Hurst as the sole surviving member of the boys of 1966…
Bobby Charlton was a true giant of the game of football in every way and beloved by so many…
R.I.P Bobby.

Sunday October 22:

It was 54 years ago today…

On the player marking its release 54 years ago today on October 22 1969, Led Zeppelin II and sounding as magnificent as ever…

Sunday October 22:

It’s a Happy Birthday to our very dear friend Mark Harrison – an incredibly knowledgeable and inspiring Led Zeppelin fan, long time supporter of all things TBL and all round top man – Happy Birthday Mark from Janet and I and have a great day mate!

Monday October 23:

It was 48 years ago today…
48 years ago today on October 23 1975 I was lucky enough to be in attendance at The Who gig at the Empire Pool Wembley – a sensational performance that cemented my lifelong love of the band.
Here’s the set list from an amazing night all of 48 years ago today…
Substitute/I Can’t Explain/Squeeze Box/Baba O’Riley/Behind Blue Eyes/However Much I Booze/ Dreaming From the Waist/Boris the Spider/Amazing Journey/Sparks/The Acid Queen/Fiddle About/Pinball Wizard/I’m Free/Tommy’s Holiday Camp/We’re Not Gonna Take It/See Me, Feel Me/Summertime Blues/Bargain/My Generation/Naked Eye/My Generation Blues/Won’t Get Fooled Again
Monday October 23:
That will do nicely – Spurs 2 Fulham 0 – Spurs back on top…for now!
Update here…
As I mentioned early, what with The Who’s 1971 opus Who’s Next on the player, Mr. Jimmy up on the big screen taking us back to Led Zeppelin circa 1973 , the arrival of The Rolling Stones new album Hackney Diamonds last Friday and the Absolute Bowie tribute band at Esquires , it’s been like being back in the 1970s this past week – and then Robert Plant performing Stairway To Heaven for the first time in 16 years…and this Friday the reissue of that not so difficult fourth album (as Robert described it) Led Zeppelin IV on clear vinyl.
As Jethro Tull once sang ”Let’s go living in the past” and it’s making for a brighter present and future … long may this 1970s renaissance continue…
Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis – October  25 2023

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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3 Comments »

  • Chris Serratella said:

    Wow! That’s was one helluva news update, almost like reading thru 30% of a print TBL, and with the video accompaniment, quite amazing. I was rummaging thru my trunk of Zep related Zine paper one lazy weekend day and decided to read thru the entire set of Pure Blues zines which brought back into focus both the drama of the Knebworth shows and the release of ITTOD. Several notes in those newsprint zines about a certain Dave Lewis about to start his own handwritten Tight But Loose mag Issue 1, and notes on how to order those early issues. So, a toast here in 2023 to say thanks Dave Lewis for still being Dave Lewis, and still giving us all the news that’s fit, for 45 odd years, even if it ain’t to print anymore.

  • VHP said:

    Dave,
    Great page as ever & nice report on Robert singing ‘Stairway’ once more. Yes – a lovely version and i really liked the re working after the guitar solo, which I think worked very well. A great cause and I am sure everyone there enjoyed hearing that song again.

    I can almost hear Jimmy saying ‘3 guitarists on stage – I can do that by my self’ – well that probably was true at the O2 (which I was lucky enough to be at) – but now?? Who knows how well Jimmy can still play?

    It does sadly seem that the O2 may be his final full length concert – I hope it won’t be – but now nearly 16 years later (and 25 years since his last new studio release) it does make you wonder if he should be referred to as the “retired guitarist” Jimmy Page?

    Enjoy Robert at B’ham Town Hall Dave.

  • Tim Coffey said:

    For me, Zeppelin’s Big Three has always been, in order, “Achilles Last Stand”, “Stairway to Heaven”, and “Kashmir”. As a boy, I remember listening to the fourth album with my older brother and being transfixed by “Stairway” and the sound of Page’s guitars. For my generation in the US, “Stairway” was a fixture at middle school and high school dances. Many of my friends are sick of it and mock it. I don’t and I still love it. I’m sure the band had no idea what they were about to unleash in 1971. They simply knew they had a great song on their hands, and it isn’t their fault that their future imitators took the formula of “Stairway” — quiet, acoustic intro building up to an electric, explosive finale — and repurposed it for their own means. There is nothing contrived about the song. Fifty two years later, it still sounds sincere. Jimmy once said it crystalized the essence of the band, and he’s right. “Achilles” will always retain its place as Zeppelin’s greatest epic — the sound of the band in full flight and going for it. “Kashmir” has majesty and grandeur, and remains awe-inspiring and foreboding. But “Stairway” evokes so many memories from an earlier time and place in a way those two other songs don’t and successfully marries the two sides of Page: the tender acoustic side, and the ferocious electric side, with a sprinkle of fairy-dust electric 12 string. Kudos to Plant for dusting it off one last time.

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