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TBL LED ZEP 1975 SNAPSHOT – PRELUDE TO EARLS COURT/LZ NEWS/BACK IN 1970/ COVERDALE & PAGE/PAGE &PLANT MAD MONTH OF MARCH 1998/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

2 April 2022 1,378 views 6 Comments
TBL ARCHIVE: 

 TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot: Prelude to Earls Court…

The last week of March 1975 all of  47 years ago saw Led Zeppelin on a real high – and thankfully these performances in Seattle and Vancouver have been captured on tape across countless bootlegs…

These are amongst my favourite Zep performances and listening to them this week has been an absolute joy. This was the prelude to Earls Court and they were just on firing on all cylinders……

Just to backtrack to a memorable snapshot from the Long Beach gig:

Date: MARCH 12 1975

Venue: CIVIC ARENA LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA

Performance: THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME (false start)/THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME

Bootleg Reference: TRAMPLED UNDER JIMMY’S FOOT (SILVER RARITIES)

Just to illustrate that not all went according to plan every night…. on this cooking performance in Long Beach their sheer enthusiasm got the better of them as they opened The Song Remains The Same….. only to bring it to a close some one minute in.

”Just a minute that’s it ….see you again Long Beach! Yes it happened for the first time in six and a half years…does anybody remember laugher?…. the first time we came here ..er we never seem to  get

things together in Los Angeles.

Ok as I was saying. Nevertheless The Song Remains …..nevertheless, ad infinitum to the power of three re occuring..The Same!’’

They did not get it wrong a second time.

What happened next was simply the business. A speed ride through the opening track of Houses and  as Plant might put it a reoccurring anthem. It sounded great here ,it sounded great in Earls Court and it still sounded great 20 years later when Page and Plant deployed it so effectively on their 95/96 world tour. This is a Zeppelin anthem that gets less acclaim than the Whole Lotta Love, Stairway and Kashmir -but on stage it always burnt and smouldered its way into the set. Pull it out and try it for yourselves on any night…the effect as those Houses ads read is still shattering.

MONDAY MARCH 17 1975

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

SEATTLE CENTER COLISEUM

Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

Background details: A  superb performance with the band totally on top of their game.

Hugh Jones, editor of Proximity, recalls: “The start of the show was extremely aggressive, and it was evident almost immediately that they were ‘on’. Nothing sluggish about this performance. Robert’s voice sounded surprisingly low, but he was singing well, and the whole band sounded very tight’’.

Snapshot Listen: How it sounds now…

Another prime 1975 performance – playful, inspiring and unpredictable. No Quarter with John Bonham pushing Jimmy to the limit, riffs of Fleetwood Mac’s Green Manalishi in a marathion Dazed And Confused (38 minutes and counting!) – Robert zipping in James Brown’s Lickin Stick during Whole Lotta Love.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 19 1975

VANCOUVER, CANADA

PACIFIC COLISEUM

Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

Background details; “Ladies and gentlemen… the Canadian return of Led Zeppelin” booms from the speakers as the band take to the stage, firing on all cylinders. “And how is Vancouver. Is it full of beans?” asks Plant. ‘In My Time Of Dying’ is excellent tonight and Plant extends the ending with vocal gymnastics.  ‘Kashmir’ is dedicated to… “Richard Cole, our tour manager – a good upright British citizen! This a song from Physical Vancouver – the new LP.   An extended ‘No Quarter’ is once again one of the highlights. Bonham tonight is introduced as “the king of jazz – one of the finest percussionists in Led Zeppelin today.”

Snapshot Listen: How it sounds now…

I remember Robert being quoted as saying ”By the end of the tour I felt I could sing anything”.

Listening to this utterly sensational performance of Dazed And Confused there is ample proof of that statement.

The San Francisco excerpt had long been a feature of the early part of the piece, but on this tour they began experimenting even further. Plant introducing another hippie anthem to proceedings -the Joni Mitchell pean to Max Yasgur’s farm and a hit for Crosby Stills, Nash & Young. The Zep arrangement was still built loosely on the melody employed for San Francisco-Plant bending the words to fit the structure. Against Page’s eerie minor chord strumming it became one of the most atmospheric parts of their performance. Plant’s repeated ”Back to the garden” refrain merging into the violin bow episode amongst the dry ice. The Vancouver performance was a blueprint for the equally dramatic versions performed at Earls Court run. During this part of the tour Plant also took to singing The Eagles Take It Easy and during the final LA stint he crooned a 50’s like To Be Loving  before moving into Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff. As he put it -he could sing anything…

THURSDAY MARCH 20 1975

VANCOUVER,CANADA

PACIFIC COLISEUM

Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Heartbreaker.

Snapshot Listen: How it sounds now…

Another outstanding performance. The pace was set by an aggresive stomp through ‘Rock And Roll’ and never lets up.

No Quarter is now reaching epic proportions, tonight extended to 26 minutes. Whole Lotta Love is highly improvised tonight and includes brief snatches of James Brown’s ‘Lickin’ Stick’, as well as a Plant war cry from ‘Immigrant Song’ and the riff from ‘Ozone Baby’. After a fierce Theremin battle with Plant, Page then leads straight into ‘Heartbreaker’. ‘Black Dog’ is not performed tonight.

FRIDAY MARCH 21 1975

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

SEATTLE CENTER COLISEUM

Set: Rock and Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Since I’ve Been Loving You/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. For What It’s Worth – Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge-Black Dog/Communication Breakdown – Heartbreaker.

Background details: It was back to Seattle for another steller show with much improvisation. ‘No Quarter’ is a highlight with Jones and Bonham randomly incorporating a jazzy rhythm during the solo improvisation. ‘Trampled Underfoot’ now includes some lyrics from ‘Gallows Pole’. ‘Dazed And Confused’ includes snatches of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth’ as well as ‘Woodstock’, and the longest encore section of the tour is performed tonight.

Hugh Jones of Proximity recalls: “Following ‘No Quarter’, Robert called for a change in the programme, causing a little confusion on stage. ‘There’s one song that we’ve done twice in, in… I suppose since we got ripped off for all that bread in New York, ages ago. And because we really dig playing here, and for no other reason, we’re gonna do it again now. I don’t think anybody else in the band knows about it yet, it’s a little bit of change in the… sorry about that, John! You see, right on the spot! It could be ‘Louie Louie’ but instead it’s a thing from the third album… ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’.

“Following a brutal ‘Trampled Underfoot’ and Bonzo’s marathon ‘Moby Dick’, more confusion appears to be occurring onstage. Robert shouts for an ovation for Bonzo, then asks in a casual tone, ‘Is everybody, uh, enjoying themselves?’ Jimmy is talking urgently with a group of people just off stage, and at one point seems to lift his guitar in the air as if to throw it down, obviously perturbed about something. Unfazed and still in his conversational tone, Robert observes ‘Mr Page is having a fit’. Apparently, we found out later, a local fan made Jimmy a gift of a beautiful Les Paul guitar, which turned out to be stolen from a high school music teacher. During the evening the instrument was confiscated at Sea-Tac airport as it was being shipped back to the UK (or so the story goes), and for some reason Page was interrupted during the show to be informed of this.”

Snapshot listen: How it sounds now…

This Seattle show is simply one of the best gigs of their latter era.

If proof was needed then the opening segment brings it all alive – as it epitomises what a potent three pronged entrance these songs really were. Rock And Roll segueing into the new sheer brutality of Sick Again with Plant teasing ”Do I look the same”, and then the opening speech followed by the ”Beginning of a dream and it starts here (R.Plant -Earls Court May*17) or on this occasion .”What we intend to do is to relive our pent uppedness on stage, and then to relieve it later on after the gig elsewhere. Now the thing is what we intend to do is to give you a cross section of what we’ve been trying to produce and write over the last six and a half years.

As you know the material varies greatly and so you will appreciate that we take it from one extreme to the other….and what better way to start than to gaze out onto the horizon and see what tomorrow may bring”

To quote Hugh Jones ”in those last few sentences Robert Plant may well have encapsulated Led Zeppelin as well as anyone ever has. The physical, the musical, the pretension and the arrogance-all backed up with music as varied and as good as his word for the next four hours”.

So the the regal intro of  Over The Hills And Far Away -the Page solo as always flickering and twisting into previously un investigated territory. Then a swirling finale with Plant crying out ”Samantha Samantha” perhaps a reference to the fun they were about to enjoy offstage as he put it And on this night in Seattle it all just burst forth with that knowing arrogance .

There is also a truly remarkable sequence to be heard during the middle section of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ on the night of March 20, 1975, at a show in Vancouver.

In the space of three minutes just before Jimmy Page’s Theremin solo, Robert Plant initially leads them through a spontaneous version of James Brown’s ‘Licking Stick’, which incorporates their own funk rhythm from the ‘The Crunge’. He follows that with a random war cry from  ‘Immigrant Song’. And then with equal spontaneity the Jones, Bonham & Page rhythm section interlock for a riff sequence that would be recalled some three years later for the track ‘Ozone Baby’ which eventually saw the light of day on the Coda album.

It was this air of unpredictability within their performances, which made Led Zeppelin such an engrossing live act throughout their career.

To use that old Zep’75 maxim it all underlined the fact that it wasn’t just a case of them being the number one band on the planet…the real point in question was just how far whoever was at number two lagged behind.

Dave Lewis , March 2022 

……………………………..

Still in 1975…

47 years ago on Saturday March 15, 1975  my very good friend Dec got up very early to travel to Earls Court to be in this queue for tickets to see Led Zeppelin – I was working so Dec did the job and a very good one he did too returning with second row tickets for the Saturday May 24 performance. The countdown was on – as was my quest to get tickets for the other four nights which I am pleased to say all worked out. Five Glorious Nights lay ahead…and I’m still reveling in them 47 years on…


LZ News:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

W/C March 7:

Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 for its long-running “Desert Island Discs” show. Plant’s episode was broadcast earlier today and is available to listen to online here.
  • Plant has written the introduction to a new 124-page magazine guide to his music produced by the makers of Uncut Magazine. “Zeppelin, in the grand order of things, was a combination of spirits, and didn’t last too long,” Plant wrote in the introduction to “The Ultimate Music Guide To Robert Plant” which was published this month.
W/C March 14:

Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant

  • Plant also spoke to Uncut Magazine for its May 2022 issue, sharing a story of borrowing Paul McCartney’s bass guitar while performing at one of the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea in London on December 29, 1979. “I was miming away furiously when the fucking strap broke. I thought that was it,” Plant said. “I have tremendous respect for Paul and the fact his work will never be over,” he said elsewhere in the article.

Led Zeppelin

  • The new Walmart-exclusive vinyl editions of three Led Zeppelin albums arrived in customers’ hands this week. Only Led Zeppelin’s debut album, its fourth album and Presence were released in the editions, which include replica backstage passes and a foil lithograph of the band’s logo if you buy the three-album bundle. The editions are already being listed on eBay for higher prices than Walmart continues to sell them for. The three-album bundle, for example, is being listed on eBay for around $150 compared to Walmart’s $77.97 price.

Jimmy Page

  • Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones paid tribute to Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who died aged 50 on March 25. Page and Jones joined Hawkins and the rest of the Foo Fighters on stage at Wembley Stadium in London on June 7, 2008 where they performed “Rock And Roll” (with Hawkins on vocals) and then “Ramble On”. Those performances were later released on the Foo Fighters’ Live at Wembley Stadium DVD. “I really admired him and he was a brilliant musician: his technique, his energy and spirited enthusiasm,” Page wrote on Instagram. “A lovely man and a great drummer, we will miss you,” Jones wrote on Instagram.
  • David Coverdale talked about his unreleased songs with Jimmy Page in a new interview. Coverdale has repeatedly discussed his plan to release a remastered and expanded box set of the Coverdale Page album that he released with Page in 1993. He plans to release the remastered album in 2023 to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the album’s original release. “We still have, I think, maybe four songs and a lot of jam sessions in the can,” Coverdale told Polish radio station Radio 357 in an interview broadcast on March 20.

Upcoming events:

2022 – “Robert Plant: A Life In Vision,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be published.
March – Jimmy Page’s two new fine art photo prints will be released.
April 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bexhill, England.
April 10 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Folkestone, England.
April 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in London, England.
April 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Hull, England.
April 15 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Scunthorpe, England.
April 16 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in York, England.
April 19 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bewdley, England.
April 20 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Rhyl, Wales.
April 22 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Liverpool, England.
April 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Middlesbrough, England.
April 26 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Halifax, England.
April 27 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stockport, England.
April 29 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Aberystwyth, Wales.
May 1 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in Cheltenham, England.
May 7 – The Black Country Beats exhibition at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which is set to include Robert Plant’s career, will open.
May 13 – The Tunespeak competition to win tickets for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ US tour will close.
June 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Canandaigua, New York.
June 3 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Saratoga Springs, New York.
June 4 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 6 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Clarkston, Michigan.
June 7 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 9 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Indianapolis, Indiana.
June 11 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 12 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
June 14 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Cary, North Carolina.
June 16 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 17 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
June 22-26 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England.
June 26 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at BST Hyde Park in London, England.
June 29 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark.
July 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Hamar, Norway.
July 2 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Bergen, Norway.
July 5 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Rättvik, Sweden.
July 8 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Cactusfestival in Bruges, Belgium.
July 10 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Royal Park Live festival in Baarn, Netherlands.
July 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.
September 4 – The Black Country Beats exhibition at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which is set to include Robert Plant’s career, will close.
October 5 – The French translation of “Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin” 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 – A remastered and expanded 30th anniversary edition of “Coverdale–Page” will be released.

Many thanks to James Cook 

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

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

http://ledzepnews.com/


TBL ARCHIVE – IT WAS 51 YEARS AGO…

MEANWHILE BACK IN 1970…

Now here’s a story….Goldrush and Stamford Bridge – and a young Led Zep fan in the crowd – 52 years gone:

52 years ago on March 21,1970 , Led Zeppelin flew out for the first date of their fifth US tour.

I was well aware of all this because I’d purchased a copy of Record Mirror the previous day when it came out. Under the front page headline of ‘Goldrush’ and a wonderful colour photo of Led Zeppelin from the previous December’s awards bash, it revealed the bands current plans. Interestingly enough it reported that a film crew would be on hand to capture the tour.

The story read as follow:

‘’Off to America on Saturday go Led Zeppelin. And with the group will be a film production unit which is making a film of the month long tour. The team has been trailing the group since their appearance at the Albert Hall in January. So far in the can are shots of their European tour, Jimmy Page in the studio, and Robert Plant at home on his farm. Not to mention the presentation of gold discs for million mark sales of their albums. The film, which has already been sold in America , is to tie in with the release of their next LP at the end of the year. Which could easily sell another million. And which is why some people are nicknaming it ‘’Goldrush’’. 

Film of their European tour? Jimmy in the studio?, Robert on the farm?

A film crew with them in America? There’s no evidence to suggest much of that occurred…but if  it did where’s the footage now…?

I digress: On that Saturday March 21st 1970, at the same time Zep were about to wow the audience at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, I was in a capacity crowd of 61,479 (their highest of that season ) at Stamford Bridge watching Chelsea triumph 2-1 over Manchester United.

It would have been nice of course to be down White Heart Lane where Martin Peters was making his debut for Spurs against Coventry (he scored in a 2-1 defeat). Peters had transferred to Spurs as part of a swap deal that took Jimmy Greaves to West Ham (who also scored two on his debut for West Ham that day at Manchester City–I’ve just watched it on you tube!). As it was, my very good friend Dave Corp in Dents Road was where I lived was (and still is as we are still in touch) a big Chelsea fan and I was more than happy to tag along with his relation to see some prime Division One action. It was incredibly exciting to see the 70s superstars of the day in action – Alan Hudson, Peter Osgood, Ian Hutchinson, George Best, Bobby Charlton,  Alex Stepney,  Denis Law,Willie Morgan etc.,

It was one of those occasions from an impressionable age that remains ingrained on my brain – not dissimilar to the way Zep memories of Empire Pool and Earls Court etc are lodged in there forever.

I can remember so much about that day in detail: the records played over the PA before the teams came on which included hits of the time Brotherhood Of Man’s United We Stand and Steam’s Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, the atmosphere in the Chelsea paddock where we stood (a fantastic view right in the front side on to the goal) as Ian Hutchinson scored twice in the first half, the pie we had in a café after the game and the hitch hiker we picked up on the A1 going home. 50 years have done nothing to dull the memories of an awesome day for this then 13 year old.

I’ve just searched YouTube and amazingly the match is on the Chelsea TV channel – the original ITV Big Match coverage with the late great Brian Moore commenting and lo and behold imagine my delight and surprise when as the camera pans in for a Chelsea throw – I am in view second on the left with my arm across the barrier as Ian Hutchinson takes one of his then famous long throws. This is in the exact spot where we were – the pic here is a bit blurry off YouTube but that’s me – a young Led Zep fan viewing the action.

Little did I realize that aside from the match programme, three years later I’d have another remnant of that day. This was in the form of the bootleg LP Mudslide that captured highlights of Zep’s Vancouver show of March 21st. In fact whenever I hear the opening drum roll from Bonzo,Jimmy’s guitar warm up  and Robert’s ‘’Everybody feel alright!’’ intro, I always think back to that spring Saturday in March 1970 when I was in amongst the then soccer elite in Stamford Bridge.

I of course kept the copy of Record Mirror from that week, and have the trade mark of quality vinyl bootleg of Mudslide. I also have the Chelsea v Man Utd programme.

Looking at those remnants I can almost smell the atmosphere of that day back in 1970. I can honestly say that Saturday March 21, 1970 was one of the pivotal days of my life. A day where my eyes were truly opened to the adult world .

Precious memories indeed…and now I can now add the YouTube clip to that list of memories – filmed proof that I was indeed right there…the crowd clip with me with my arm on the barrier is at 4mins.44 as Ian Hutchinson takes one of his long throws…

I’ve just spoken to Dave recently and shared again those memories of 51 years ago today…one day we would both like to go back to Stamford Bridge and watch another match…..

Here’s the YouTube clip link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEx3B7Zvj34&fbclid=IwAR06sm-Hd1R6FeIOD0K1ANAO521HG_JwZLpKg61cXG_Tzo5jXg7V6GMagUY

Dave Lewis – March  2022.


 

Coverdale Page – it was 29 years ago:

I have great affinity for this period. Like many of us, I was very unsure about David Coverdale and I am not a big fan.I do recognise he is a class vocalist and he certainly brought the best out of Jimmy when it was really needed.

Here’s my very enthusiastic review from the time that appeared in Record Collector.

‘’If you were one of the many who began to lose faith in Jimmy Page in the mid 80s’’ I stated,’’ this is where you can start to pick up the pieces. Coverdale Page is simply his most substantial project since the demise of Led Zeppelin’’

Back in that early spring of 1993 I can vividly recall the excitement of receiving an advance cassette of the album via journalist Chris Welch. That wide screen riffing  soared out of the speakers and it was so re assuring because we had the true Lord Of The Strings back. Despite one or two dips – Feeling Hot and Whisper A Prayer For The Dying grated a bit there was some amazing playing and most of it holds up well.

Given the egos and management demands on both sides,iIt was probably destined to be a short lived venture and as we all know, it was not too long before Jimmy rekindled his association with Robert – the Coverdale Page album is a unique one off  and one is till get a great buzz from.

In my review I went on to say:

‘’I defy any Zep fan not to break into a huge grin when confronted with the delightful idiosyncrasy of Page’s riffing on the opening track Shake My Tree. It’s archetypal jimmy Page as we know him best – a status maintained throughout this very welcome return to form’’ 28 years ago today the Coverdale Page album was released – at the time I heralded this as a massive return to form for Jimmy Page…

28 years on when I played this track today that grin remains the same…

Here’s an extract from the chapter Jimmy Page In The 90s that appeared in my book The Tight But Loose Files -Celebration II – this chronicles the Coverdale Page saga…

In early 1991 meetings were held with Plant and Jones to discuss a reunion. Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin was earmarked for the hot seat at the back but much to Page’s frustration Plant eventually vetoed the idea, opting to pursue his solo career.

When it was evident that Robert would not relent, Page shifted his thoughts to putting together a new band. He waded through scores of demos from singers but couldn’t find anything that inspired him. Then, in a bizarre twist to the story, he linked up with ex-Deep Purple and Whitesnake singer Dave Coverdale. Plant and Coverdale had been involved in several press spats over the years, with Plant criticising Coverdale for aping his style. Even Page was bemused by Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg using his trademark violin bow technique. “When I saw the video for that track (‘In The Heat Of The Night’) and the part where the guy starts playing with a bow, I actually fell around laughing. That’s how silly it had become.”

In what may have appeared as an act of sheer spite, Page defected to the Coverdale camp. It was more likely a marriage of convenience. “I got a call from my manager suggesting I meet with David Coverdale. So we had a meet to just see how it went socially. We thought we’d give it a couple of weeks – and if it didn’t work out we’d shake hands – I just hoped it wasn’t going to be me that couldn’t pull it off.” Conveniently, both artists were signed to the Geffen label whose A&R man John Kalodner instigated a meeting in March 1991 in New York. Page had been seen around the area jamming with local band The Reputations at the China Club and Les Paul at Fat Tuesday’s club.

There was enough rapport from that initial meeting for them to decamp to Coverdale’s Lake Tahoe home where the ideas started flowing. “The first day we wrote ‘Absolution Blues’ and it got better from there,” he said. They next went to Barbados where they penned ‘Barbados Blues’, later to be retitled ‘Pride And Joy’, and a whole batch of other songs.

In May the pair appeared on stage at a Poison/Slaughter show in Reno. The encore jam included Zep’s ‘Rock And Roll’. Page also turned up at a cub in Reno to jam with local band Solid Ground.

Within weeks they had began rehearsals that led to recording sessions commencing in Vancouver. They initially sought The Who’s John Entwistle to play bass at the sessions but when he was unavailable they brought in former Montrose and Heart drummer Denny Carmassi and Bad English bassist Ricky Phillips. The album’s recording was somewhat fragmented due to personal reasons – Page’s marriage was breaking down and Coverdale’s mother died. In early 1992 Page attended the Hall of Fame induction of The Yardbirds in New York, joining an all star jam that included Neil Young and Keith Richard.(he would return in 1995 with Plant and Jones to accept Zeppelin’s induction). In March he joined Harry Connick Jnr on stage at Miami’s Knights Center, jamming on a couple of blues numbers. Further sessions for the album took place in Miami and it was eventually mixed and completed at London’s Abbey Road studio in the autumn. Page also took time to compile the second box set of Led Zeppelin studio recordings, bringing in Coverdale Page engineer Mike Fraser to mix the previously unreleased Zep 1 outtake ‘Baby Come On Home’.

Reflecting on the Coverdale Page album he said, “I wanted to present the best I could get out of myself. And there is no doubt that we coaxed the best out of each other. It’s the best I’ve played since the days of Led Zeppelin.”

The completed Coverdale Page album was issued on Geffen in March 1993. It was the most focused performance on an album by Page in years, his playing ranging from the nondescript ‘In Through The Out Door’ leftover riffs of ‘Shake My Tree’ to the descending chord passages of ‘Take Me For A Little While’. It was a remarkable performance, encompassing all the dynamics that lit up his best work. Coverdale’s agile style made it easy for Page to weave his finely tooled riffs around, a throwback to the days when hard rock meant just that.

Coverdale and Page undertook a round of promotional interviews and ambitious plans were unveiled for them to play a 45-date tour in the US. The optimism soon petered out, however, when the album soon faded from the charts and disappointing ticket sales led to the tour’s cancellation. They did get to play a seven-date Japanese tour in December but by then the short-lived collaboration was at an end. The inability of the pair’s respective managements to agree on a future strategy was the root of the problem, as Page noted: “It’s the powers that be, the relative managements involved. All I know is what is recommended to me at the end of the day. I was up for playing anywhere but there’s nothing on the table after our Japanese dates.” With the planned Coverdale Page tour unable to hold off the effects of a US recession, what was conceived by Geffen as an obvious money raking exercise now had less potential. The powers that be, as Page put it, obviously saw little commercial future in the project.

The gigs in Japan (with a band compromising Guy Pratt on bass, Brett Tuggle on keyboards and Danny Carmassi on drums) featured a cross section of Zeppelin and Whitesnake tracks plus material from their album. Page’s performances were very encouraging. He was clearly rejuvenated, hammering out old Zeppelin numbers such as ‘Kashmir’ and ‘In My Time Of Dying’.

There had been rumours that Page would next undertake a solo project with Killing Joke’s Jazz Coleman and the Cairo Orchestra but that came to nothing. With the Coverdale link looking less likely to progress, Page received a surprise call from Plant who had received an offer from MTV to appear on their Uplugged series. He felt to do justice to the Zeppelin material in this setting it would require the vital ingredient of his old partner.

On route to rehearse with Coverdale for the Japanese tour, Page met with Plant in Boston in late ‘93 and agreed to renew their partnership for the MTV show, later to dubbed Unledded.

By the early spring of the following year Page and Plant were back rehearsing together. In April they appeared on stage together at the Alexis Korner benefit show in Buxton. The MTV project gave them ample scope to reinterpret the Zeppelin catalogue with the assistance of an Egyptian ensemble and English orchestra. Two special shows in late August at the London Studios provided the bulk of the material for the show. They also recorded additional songs in Marrakesh and Wales.

The Coverdale Page alliance was to remain a one album project.

Dave Lewis  from the Tight But Loose Files – Celebration II book published by Omnibus Press in 2003.

Postscript 2022:

Recently David Coverdale has stated his desire to work with Jimmy on a remastered 30th anniversary edition of the album for release in 2023.

This  report posed on February 24 via the Blabbermouth website last year:

David Coverdale  has offered an update on the proposed 30th-anniversary re-release of his collaboration with Jimmy Page. The well-received COVERDALE PAGE set was recorded in several studios on both sides of the Atlantic over the winter of 1991-92 before it was finally released in March 1993.

Asked during a February 18 appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” if there has been any progress on a possible reissue of COVERDALE PAGE’s eponymously titled LP, David said: “Well, I’ve gotta tell you, there’s been immense progress. I finally reached a very positive agreement with my former record company regarding missing assets. And I got the rights to the COVERDALE PAGE album. So, of course, my first phone call was to Jimmy, and I said, ‘We’ve got it. We’ve got it back, and we can do with it what we want.’ And, of course, Jimmy is in lockdown in the U.K., where it’s really very heavy duty [with the pandemic]. So he’s in his country estate… I literally just texted Jimmy two days ago, and I said, ‘Jimmy, I’m so sorry I haven’t been in touch.’ But we’re resuming contact starting next week to discuss. I’ve got a couple of ideas. I wanna see if we can write courtesy of FaceTime or Zoom. I’ve got a couple of ideas which I think would be good for if indeed we can get back into the studio and plan for a very big, luxurious, complete box set [for] the 30th anniversary in 2023.”

As for what extra material might surface on the expanded “Coverdale Page” set, the WHITESNAKE singer said: “We’ve got four unreleased tracks, which just need to be mixed. But since we reconnected, I’ve been messing around, writing at home. And I have two ideas which could make really fun tracks — just to throw at him and ‘see what you can do with this.’ The way we did it before — we wrote really very potent music together.

“The other thing that I recommended to him was, ‘Let’s remaster the original, but I’d love you, in England, with a mixer of your choice, to do the Jimmy Page mix of the album, and I’ll do the David Coverdale mix as bonus stuff,’” he continued. “And I think that’d be great. He trusts me, I trust him, and I think it would be great for the fans to get Jimmy’s take on it, ’cause we did everything 50/50 on the project. It was an amazing three years together. I loved it. So, yeah, that’s definitely in the pipeline.”

According to David, it is unlikely that work on the “Coverdale Page” reissue will begin in earnest for several months while the entire world is struggling to come out of the colossal impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this moment in time, at his country estate, I don’t think [Jimmy] has a studio,” he said. “And he certainly doesn’t wanna drive into London. He and I are target ages for this dreadful virus. So I completely support him in that scenario, ’cause there isn’t any rush. Nothing is gonna be going on this year. Even if we have the opportunity of recording, I can record stuff over here, send him the drive for him to do his part, and we can mix it through the technology now, which is something you couldn’t do before. But I have a studio at home, and Jimmy doesn’t. So I’m hoping we can get some new bits and pieces and ideas and put that into play next year when it will be safer to get around.”

Upon its release, “Coverdale Page” sold strongly, peaking at No. 4 on the U.K. album chart and No. 5 in the U.S.

So there it is – here’s hoping this project comes to fruition – you can me in for a copy for sure…

Dave Lewis March 2022


TBL ARCHIVE:

PAGE & PLANT AND THE MAD MONTH OF MARCH 1998:

It was 24 years ago this week – so here’s the Mad Month of March text from TBL 13 that chronicles this intensive period that saw them stage the showpiece Shepherds Bush gig plus appearances of Top of The Pops and TFI Friday.

1998 really was a fantastic year for Page and Plant activity – for some of  us in the TBL crew perhaps the last carefree period before we got a bit older and a bit more responsible (not!).

Personally looking back over this text it almost seems like another age – it was the age for me of balancing a frantic music retail job along with all the TBL capers – my I must have had some energy back then –or maybe it was the pints of fosters! I was running on adrenalin that’s for sure but it was incredibly exciting at the time…amazing to think that back then that our Sam was only 7 years old and Adam just over 2.

As for Jimmy and Robert …you forget how good they were together at this point – and the late Michael Lee was integral in making their performances so enjoyable – he really kicked the whole thing along…

Hello to the many TBL crew members who shared all this back then – prepare to get most nostalgic and most high in recalling the time when we were walking into everywhere with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant back in March 1998:

The DL/TBL  retro diary picks up the events as they announce the Shepherds Bush gig.

Wednesday March 11 1998

There have been rumours of a special Page Plant launch gig for the album happening in London for some time. They did attempt to book the Shepherds Bush Empire back in January. Locations in Islington and Kilburn have also been checked out in recent weeks. An early morning fax from the PP PR office confirms that on March 25 they will be playing a special gig at a London venue.

Tickets will be made available on a first come first served basis from 8am on Saturday at the Virgin Megastore in London – limited to just two per person. The London Forum (formerly known as the Town And Country Club where Plant played in the late ’80’s/ early ’90’s) is named as the venue – but this is quickly retracted by mid day when it becomes official that the gig will now take place at the popular Shepherds Bush Empire. Jimmy and Robert announce the fact during an excellent early afternoon live interview on the alternative rock London radio station XFM. For me this kick-starts a hive of TBL activity as I speedily mail out a stop gap Newsletter Extra and inform many others by phone. It’s soon becomes apparent that to ensure entry it’s going to mean an early morning trip to London to buy tickets. Fellow TBL crew member Gary Foy and I plan our strategy. Only 1,000 tickets are going to be sold and as the news spreads it’s evident that many fans are making a big effort to get in line.

Saturday March 14 1998:

Well I really thought my queuing days were over! Overnight stays for tickets for Earls  Court, Song Remains Premiere, Knebworth etc. were all part of the game, way back. (Trivia note: It’s 23 years, almost to the day, that tickets went on sale for Earls   Court; and 3 years since the tickets were released for the ’95 UK tour.) The advent of credit card bookings had rendered that method all but redundant. Not today. Luckily it’s a very mild mid-March morning as I leave Bedford on the train at 5.30am I must admit my heart was beating pretty fast as I ventured up the tube steps at Tottenham Court Road – just how long was this queue going to be and were we in with a chance? Well the queue was certainly long, with about 150 already in line, but it looked as though we would be OK. Many at the front of the queue had camped out all night

The atmosphere is really excellent – something of a Led Zepp Convention reunion as many TBL subscribers and faces come over to say “Hi”. Many have travelled overnight form far and wide: Pat Lyons is here from Wales; Gary Woollard from the West Country; Anne Marsden from Stockport. By 8am the queue is moving forward into the Virgin Megastore. (Incidentally this is a place I know well as I’ve attended many meetings here for work – though I never thought I’d end up queuing to get in!)

It’s a funny old feeling to shuffle by a display of Zeppelin titles CD’s and books including Concert File and Celebration. Finally at 9.15 we get served and the tickets are in our hands. The tickets themselves sport the new Page and Plant logo script writing. Myself and Gary celebrate with a McDonald’s breakfast, a quick look around the record stores and a couple of lunch-time pints. Then it’s home to watch the Most High video which has been aired that morning on the Chart show. The job is done. Next stop Shepherds Bush.

Wednesday March 25 1998:

As usual before a period of PP activity the days leading up to the events had been a little fraught.

In fact I have to say for me personally it was a real strain that often had me wondering if all this was worth it. (at least for two minutes anyway).

Trying to arrange everything at work so I could get away was a constant pressure – the previous week I’d put in a 66 hour week (I kid you not -this retail manager lark is hard work!) .Then there were the many arrangements to make for the next three days and the repeated phone calls for tickets info etc. The night before the show I took 14 calls in two hours including one when I was in bed!

There’s no doubt that this particular show has spurred a huge wave of interest and the desire to get tickets is quite staggering. I do my best to help all those I can which does begin to cause concern when one or two options don’t go as planned As well as the gig, other events have unfolded: they are recording a Top Of The Pops segment at Elstree tomorrow night; and a live appearance will follow Friday on the popular Channel 4 show TFI Friday. Days of worry over gaining entry to the latter (and ensuring as many other key fans could gain entry as well) have ensured – not least being the little problem that TFI’s regulations adopt an 18 to 30 age limit! A call from their office asks me just how old those wanting to attend really are. I manage to convince them that we are young thinking thirty something’s (nearly).

But first there is the little matter of the first proper Page Plant show in London for three years. The gig itself is being used by Mercury as something of launch for the new album – with over 800 tickets being made available for European press and media. In the delightfully titled Moon On The Green on a grey March afternoon, it’s very apparent that this is a real hot ticket. Touts are asking, and it would seem selling tickets for up to £200. or two late arrangements see old TBL stager Tom Locke in        There’s a real buzz in the air, this one really does feel like an event.

I’ve already seen Luis Rey and Howard Mylett, but to complete the Zep author line up it’s great to bump into Robert Godwin, coupling some London business to catch the show. The venue itself is excellent – a real theatre (it was formerly owned by the BBC and used for countless TV variety and music shows) – while the downstairs area is very intimate and in close proximity to the stage where-ever you are. The TBL crew decide on a down the front strategy and within minutes I’m in a superb vantage point in front of the stage to the left by the PA.

This is going to be very exciting indeed. And sure enough the excitement mounts as the lights go down ,the spotlights flash on the assembled and that Egyptian music (boy how I love than tune!) signifies the beginning of the Page Plant return to London.

From my view I can clearly see Jimmy Page with Gibson strapped on in the darkness at the far side of the stage waiting for the cue and for Robert to fly on as is the custom as they hit the intro of Wanton Song. And fly on he does, dressed in identical garb to the Istanbul second night, black leather trousers tucked in the boots, dark rimmed T-shirt. And we are off. Bring It On Home, Heartbreaker and Ramble On follow in quick fire succession. Plant may not be quite as immediately vibrant as he was in Istanbul, pacing himself maybe for what’s to come. Page though is already lighting up the stage – seemingly lost in the noise of his own creating.

“Well the old devils are back,” laughs Plant. Walking To Clarksdale featuring Page on the new PRS guitar with McCarty neck follows, complete with that supercharged tempo change and then it’s into No Quarter. Here Page drifts through the solo, eyes closed, slightly leaning back and oozing out that much missed solo.

So far so good. Then an early magic moment. It occurs when Page lets out a couple of heavily reverbed tremolo chords, and those in the know can tell what’s coming. It’s the world premier of the new ballad When I Was A Child. This is masterful as Plant unfolds the reflective tale with ease. It’s always a real privilege to witness a piece of Page Plant history unfolding and that’s how it feels as they delicately offer up this new one. There’s a great moment right at the close as Robert goes into the final lines “When I was… when I was a…’’ stepping back from the mic each time as Jimmy’s final chords echo around the theatre.

Robert has a humorous running banter with our own resident TBL barrack boy responding to a shout of “California’’ as they take to the chairs. “No it’s Birkhamstead actually!” Memories swim before us as they deliver a wonderfully melodic Tangerine, causing instant Earls Court retro lump in the throat for this particular viewer. An urgent stomp through Gallows Pole follows.

From there the on in they can really do no wrong. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You enjoys it’s first UK live airing by the pair for some 29 years. Burning Up is dominated by Page scrubbing out that repeated riff and How Many More Times is just outstanding. I have a perfect view of Page leaning back and step-ping on the wah wah for the intro – an image that I will retain and store alongside other great visual moments in their history (such as the same guitarist stepping on the wah wah for Trampled Underfoot down the road in Hammersmith ten years back). The violin bow episode is greeted by huge cheering and the moment it all speeds up is another great one with Michael Lee proving his worth yet again. Most High is next as we hit the home straight. This month’s signature tune as I stated before that really brings the best out in Plant. A cocksure Whole Lotta Love signals the end of the main proceedings.

Then they’re back on and it’s another premiere – an incessant drum track booms out and then Page holds down the most delightfully grunge like wah of wah of House Of Love. This one really swings live with Plant screech-ing out the chorus line “It’s just a little too much,’’ and Page hitting those descending chords. A Sick Again for the millennium.

“So this is the alternative to Radio Two,” laughs Robert. “It’s been great, thank you!’’

They’re back on again and Page begins pumping out some fast urgent lines. For one minute I thought this was going to swing into Sons Of Freedom from the new album, instead it heads into a blistering rendering of Crossroads performed · la the Cream version.

Finally we get an emotional (can it be anything else?) Thank You which has Page again taking on the solo in his own time and Plant commenting at the close “Just some silly old buggers singing some love songs!’’ Rock And Roll then proceeds to inspire the best reaction from a London crowd I’ve heard since… well you name it… They take a bow and exit right.

The aftermath glow as we slowly disperse soars through the atmosphere. By coincidence, or maybe not, a couple of long tern fans Dena and Nigel D joyously echo the same state-ent to me. “The best since Earls Court.’’ Now that is some accolade.

It’s easy to get carried away with the sheer presence of the occasion. But let’s not beat about the bush (no pun intended!), this really was a special occasion. A real intimate reconciliation with their audience. Let’s face it for the paying fan this was an audience that really wanted to be there, given the effort needed to get tickets.

For me personally it’s been a real revelation to be in such close proximity to it all. To experience once again that feeling that makes everything (including all the negativity and stress running this thing causes) worth-while. This has been a very memorable evening. Best since Earls Court? Well I have to say for pure out-and-out enjoyment this one will take some beating.

 Thursday March 26 1998:

A day of drizzling rain brightened up by several excited calls from those in attendance last night.

Then it’s to Elstree, which handily isn’t too far down the Bedford Thames link train line. A dull and wet Elstree 7pm on a Thursday night inspires the usual “What the hell are we doing here’’ cry amongst Mr and Mrs Foy and myself. What we are doing here is getting ready to line up in the queue to gain entry to the special recording of Page and Plant for BBC’s Top of The Pops. That’s right, Top Of The Pops, the programme Led Zeppelin stoutly refused to appear on, and by default the programme Whole Lotta Love (in a big band rock version) became the signature tune of throughout the ’70’s.

They are filming tonight for what will be an exclusive live performance insert in the coming weeks of their new single Most High. Radio One gave out a phone number to ring last Friday to ring for tickets. Luckily the TBL crew have been on the case (Thanks Rob D and Mr Linwood), and here we are in line. The regular Top Of The Pops has already been filmed earlier in the evening, we now wait to gain access to the studio. We are let in out of the rain at 8.30 and ushered into a cloak-room area. The crowd does seem to be an odd bunch. Around 20 or 30 are known to me – the rest seem to have jumped on the Radio One ticket bandwagon – I’d love to have asked a few of them the depth of their interest in Zeppelin/Page and Plant.

Anyway, after nearly 3 hours of waiting – at 10pm we are led into the small studio. A small stage set up with a cut down Page amp run (one Fender amp, two cabs and oddly, the Theremin set up) features a large Jimmy Page Robert Plant logo on the actual floor which will no doubt be captured by the overhead camera.

A pair of warm up announcers relay the instructions “We want you to make the most amazing noise possible when they come on.’’ To get us in the mood, the studio version of Rock And Roll is given a playback. The rent-a-crowd behind me push forward giving me a rather splendid vantage point right in front of Jimmy. Last night was close, but hey, how much closer can you get?

Rock And Roll fades and on they walk – Robert wearing the long sleeve shirt he had on at the first Istanbul concert. Jimmy has his first noticeable change of clothes on the tour – pin stripe trousers and a nice dark silk shirt sensibly worn outside the strides. They move forward shaking out stretched hands at the front. I had wondered if they were going to do a mime playback to Most High. From the moment Jimmy slugs out the opening chords I know I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is most definitely live and we are most definitely high!

From Istanbul via Shepherds Bush to Elstree. Most High has travelled a bit in the last few weeks and now, here at 10 past 10 on a Thursday evening, not far off the East Enders set, well it sounds a very British experience despite the ethnic feel. To the left Phil Andrews adds the oriental keyboard solo as Jimmy turns to Michael Lee to add some rough-shod rhythm. Its all over too soon, and what we want is a little bit more. Robert looks over to Jimmy and nods – a guitar change ensures as the familiar Gibson is brought on. A smiling Jimmy straps on – “Here’s a new one from our latest tablet of stone’’ laughs Robert. The backing drum track of House Of Love duly rolls out but hold it- Jimmy has a problem. He waves his arms “No hold it – I can’t see my cue!’’. It would seem the cameramen leaping in and out of them has covered the cue sheet that rolls on one of the monitors. Second take and they’re off. This is turning into a great live number with Robert’s “It’s just a little too much” refrain’ incessantly hitting home.

Is that it?… More milling around on stage ensures… will they or won’t they? They will! Jimmy goes off to change his sweat soaked shirt. He returns wearing an Abbey Road T-shirt. Meantime, Robert enjoys some banter with the crowd. “Wolves for the cup’’ shouts one wag, “’You don’t mean that!’’ he laughs. “Where’s Pans People?” (a reference to the old all girl dance troupe the programme featured years back) is another cry that inspires a laugh on stage.

Jimmy appears and Robert explains the origins of the next number “OK here’s one that was written even before we were born’’. A compact run through Crossroads which is fast becoming the cover version standard of the ’98 tour follows.

Right at the close Jimmy holds the Gibson aloft, and even before he has had time to finish the song a member of the audience jumps on stage to shake his hand, to be followed (a little foolishly) by a handful of others who hug Robert and add to the on-stage chaos. Fearing “Zeppelin stars in stage riot at Top of the Pops” type headlines assorted roadies and road managers disperse the crowd and Jimmy and Robert lead off. It would seem the mini invasion might well have curtailed anything else they might have been planning.

“Well that was absolutely fucking brilliant!’’ shouts the announcer back on stage. Are they doing anymore… hold on, no, that’s if for tonight. Thanks for coming!’’

It’s all happened in under 20 minutes, and no sooner than being cut off in our prime we are walking along Elstree High Street in search of the nearest chippie. (We later hear Jimmy had gone off to eat at the local Wimpey!).

Well that was bizarre. Did it happen? Well it did but the whole night holds something of a dream like atmosphere. It all happened so quickly. But yes, they were there, on Top of the Pops on a Thursday night, just like it used to be when I religiously watched it each week hoping for a glimpse of something decent… perhaps Free, or the Stones doing their new single. But never surely Jimmy Page and Robert Plant together. Surely that would be a sell out.

How times have changed. And incredibly, there’s more TV fun to come tomorrow.

Friday March 27 1998:

And so it goes on. This week really is turning into one of, if not the most, memorable Zeppelin related since Earls Court and today it’s Friday so it must be TFI Friday. That’s right, the immensely popular music show hosted by the incredulous Chris Evans and scripted by big Zepp fan Danny Baker. Now I have much admiration for Evans – one of the most gifted broadcasters of the last 15 years. I also never miss the show – it’s brand of celebrity interviews, sketches and live music is never less than interesting. Page and Plant were announced for the show a couple of weeks back. Pleasingly the opportunity arose to ensure some TBL representation at the show (a situation that once again was not without it’s stress for me but I guess it was worth it in the end).

It’s nice to be taking along the good lady Janet today – it was 15 years ago in a similar TV studio setting such as today (The Tube in June ’83 – my word that seems a lifetime ago!)) that she first became acquainted with the live Robert Plant experience. So it’s fitting that we should be going back to a TV studio to see not just Robert but Jimmy too, an opportunity for her to enjoy the event and perhaps view at first hand the reason for all the endless phone calls that disrupt Coronation Street and many other things in the Totnes household.

Lunch time in Hammersmith. Unfortunately the TBL crew meet has gone a little off course. The pub we were advised to meet in has, er, well, been renamed! Luckily we all manage to catch each other in the Wetherspoons pub and from there it’s off to the near-by Riverside Studios.

Another queue begins but finally we are in (and no problems with the age situation, so Zimmer-frame rock rules after all!) Then it’s more excited waiting outside the studio and eventually we are moved in around 4pm. (Not before the strains of a Most High run-through have been heard earlier). Once in, we quickly gather around the stage that they will be performing on. Which is not too hard to decipher. Clues: Ludwig drum kit, Jimmy’s effects panel and one solitary microphone at the front (and we all know who that’s for).

A studio announcer runs us through pro-ceedings and gets the rules out of the way. We’ve got to keep smiling and dancing throughout whichever bands on. “I know a lot of you are here to see one special act’’ says the man to a huge cheer. Before long it’s ready to roll, red light on and cue the music.

Chris Evans is giving the programme run down… he’s already making a big thing of Page and Plant being on – and as he’s doing that, it all starts happening down the front. Tim, Charlie and Michael are in position, Jimmy climbs up to the stage and straps on the Gibson. Robert hugs the mic waiting for the cue. (Fashion notes: Jimmy retains the pin stripe trousers and reverts to the black T-shirt; Robert has a similar T-shirt on to Wednesday, but opts for the baggier trousers similar to those worn early on the Eastern Europe dates. “They sold 100 million albums… second only to The Beatles and Woolworths! They raised rock on high, they juggled both Led and Zeppelin… and they’re here now, and now with Rock And Roll here are Jimmy Page and Robert Plant!’’

tfi pic

And it bloody well is – right in front of our eyes. How close can it get! Bedlam follows as we rock it up with them – Jimmy looking supremely confident as he struts around – Robert mic off within a minute – all the old poses. It’s absolutely glorious.

Three and half sweat soaked minutes later and they finish to rapturous cheers. Phew now that was pretty exiting! “Led Zeppelin!’’ proclaims Evans. “Led Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll by Mr Jimmy Page and Mr Robert Plant!”

The rest of the show follows – we nod along to The Smiles and Divine Comedy, cheer to a montage of Gary Lineker’s goals that are shown during his interview and also get well excited everytime Evans mentions Page and Plant – everytime he does the riff of Whole Lotta Love is played, inspiring mass air guitar movements from Evans and those in the bar. After an interview with Full Monty star Paul Barber (who says he’s a fan) it’s time to welcome Page and Plant for their interview. We see them walk along the gantry into the bar. The interview is an excellent one. Plant has a Wolves scarf tied around his wrist and dryly comments that “Old men do it better!’’ in reply to Evan’s question on how they keep it up. Evans brings in Steve from Manchester, a fan who had rung into to his radio show in the morning. (The popular Virgin Radio show had turned into a 45 minute spontaneous Zeppelin showcase.) He asks about the chronological live album “Yeah it could happen in the future” replies Page. Jimmy is really good humoured throughout the interview, another example of the fun they seem to be having. Chris manages to get their names mixed up in his own excitement (Robert Page and Jimmy Plant) and asks a question faxed by Jeremy Clarkeson: “Is it true you once cancelled a tour due to the hose pipe ban,’’ gets a hoot of laughter from Plant, “That’s a good one!’’

Plant does his own Midlands accent describing how the Wolves fans comment to him “Alright Planty, still doing a bit then!’’

Down on stage the cameras have been moved allowing us the ultimate vantage position right under Plant’s monitor. How close can you get! (again). Evans introduces the finale, “Page and Plant playing the new single Most High’’. Charlie and Michael kick into a riff as the boys climb down the stairs and up on to the stage.

Our signature tune kicks in yet again. Page’s guitar sound so pure and clear as he strikes the strings just feet away is just awe inspiring. Robert meanwhile wheels the mic stand around just avoiding the top of our heads. On the solo oriental part Jimmy crunges out the most amazing riffs leading where the oriental part usually leads. And then the finale – with Plant extending the lyrics (rolling up on the monitor in front of us incidentally) and it’s over. Huge cheers, big smiles. They’ve done it once again.

As we shuffle away from the stage I feel a real pride – the same pride I felt on the last night of Earls Court… at Knebworth when we sang You’ll Never Walk Alone… in front of the TV at 1 am in the morning as the camera panned away during Stairway at Live Aid… after they demolished Wearing And Tearing at the Silver Clef show… at Meadowlands Arena during the ovation they received after a stinging Song Remains The Same three years back… and now yet again in this little TV studio on a Friday night – 23 years to the day when they played that famous last night at LA in ’75.

It’s still valid and it still inspires and moves us. Even some of the younger fans here for The Divine Comedy picked up on the vibe. It feels so good to be part of it, knowing that a UK audience of four million are about to see it on the small screen themselves.

7pm Outside Riverside Studios. Robert comes out to applause and walks along with his five year old son Jesse. Eventually he straps into his Gold 500s Mercedes pausing to make a call on his mobile, and drives off with Jesse in the back. Bound for the Midlands and a Sunday rendezvous at Molineux for Wolves against Portsmouth. Jimmy is in an upstairs hospitality room behind Cedrics Cafe. A swelling crowd of well wishers, press photographers and autograph hunters await. Eventually he strolls out looking very relaxed happy to sign for all and sundry -posing with a small child and parents,

Then he’s driven off in a blacked out car.

The TBL crew head back to the Wetherspoon pub for some rousing aftermatch talk passing Hammersmith Odeon (or Apollo as it’s now known)on the way. Ten years ago almost to the month it was there that we witnessed one of the major reunions of the ’80’s when Jimmy joined Robert for that famous segment. They played Rock And Roll that night too. Back then in our wildest dreams we could not have predicted the remarkable series of events we’ve witnessed these past three days. Around the Hammersmith flyover railings there are already poster flyer boards advertising the new single (though not as many once Mr and Mrs Foy and Rob D have been passed). Once in the pub the ale flows. I feel a huge relief that the last three days have gone so well – and at last it’s a time to unwind. Many a beer is drunk in celebration. Luckily the good lady Janet is around to ensure the train doesn’t keep on rollin’ when we head back.

Saturday March 28 1998:

It’s back to work with a predictable hangover. However it looks as though TFI Friday has had the desired effect. “When’s the new Led Zeppelin album out?’’ asks a genuinely interested punter “Weren’t they great on TFI last night’’!

Page Plant, Led Zeppelin… I guess now it all blurs into one. Watching the video on Saturday night brings it all back. Catching ourselves on camera and many other familiar faces. One clear fact emerges from this very special TV appearance – it was a real Event with a capital E. To his credit Chris Evans played it up appropriately knowing he was in the presence of men with a legendary past – and a great future. Once again it was a real privilege to have been luckily enough to witness it all. It brings to a close a week that really does in hindsight rank alongside those heady days in SW5 23 years back.

 Final Reflections: Three Days After:

Once again Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have exceeded my expectations. These past three days have produced so many highs, so many moments of absolute pure musical magic.

Can it ever be this good again? Has it been this good before in recent years? Who knows. Perhaps not, but the fact I was able to witness it all is a major triumph and relief. A triumph and relief that for me personally succeeded in successfully re-evaluating the reason why I devote so much time and passion to this thing, and put it all firmly back into focus.

The memories that I and all those that shared in it can now be stored- taking their rightful place in the category marked “Unforgettable’’. Because this mad month of March really was, and is, as good as it gets.

Dave Lewis, April 2nd, 1998.

Postscript:

So that is the way it was back in 1998…

Incredibly this was all of 24 years ago this month …amazing times they were…

Dave Lewis – March 2022


DL Diary Blog Update:

Update Here:

I have not been posting on Facebook or updating the TBL website lately as after having Covid and dealing with other issues, I’ve been feeling physically and mentally drained so I feel I need a break.

Last month when I had a nasty bout of covid, It was imperative that I did not pass it to Janet – this would delay any potential operation date for her – not that we had one but we were aware and hoping that it could happen.

To that end, I isolated away from Janet in a separate bedroom here for nine days -during that time we had no face to face contact speaking only on the phone. Thankfully Janet did not get it.

As the events of the past few days unfolded, the importance of her not contracting covid from me then is now much more apparent…

Here’s the full story…

Last autumn, it was identified by the doctors that Janet had suffered a major setback with her broken right leg recovery (she had a bad fall in December 2019 and fractured her neck of femur bone). She had been doing fairly well but during the summer Janet began limping badly. We knew something was going wrong.

In October Janet was referred back to the hospital for a consultancy and an X- ray revealed that serious complications had arisen – Janet was advised to have a full hip replacement. After all she had been through this was distressing news.

We were then put on the waiting list and in the last five months Janet has been struggling on one crutch to aid her limited mobility and has been in constant pain  and discomfort – it’s been heart breaking to witness this.

As usual, she has dealt with it all with such amazing fortitude and never complains.

Despite being a priority case due to her condition, we knew the waiting list was backlogged due to the pandemic and expected a long wait ahead  – however, we did state we would take a cancellation should it arise.  Amazingly, on Wednesday March 23, the hospital rang to advise that there was a cancellation for the very next day and could we take it?

That was a big yes so early on Thursday March 24, Janet checked in at Bedford hospital and that afternoon had a lengthy full hip replacement operation – the screws previously inserted to mend the broken neck of femur bone also had to be removed.

All has gone ok with the operation so far and Janet was discharged from hospital after five days. Understandably having undergone extensive surgery, Janet is very sore and tired.

It’s early days yet but we already have lot to contend with. We are trying to navigate around a number of mobility issues with Janet on crutches and trying to get into a routine. We know we face some big recovery challenges ahead.

We are both feeling incredibly blessed and relieved that the operation has been completed. As you can imagine, it’s been a roller-coaster of emotions in the past few days.

Looking ahead, I of course will be concentrating on her wellbeing and doing all I can to help her recover in the coming weeks and months.

I do have some ongoing projects – including my career spanning Robert Plant photo book and my DL memoirs book project and there also plans to update the Five Glorious Nights Led Zeppelin at Earls Court book I compiled in 2015 via Rufus Stones Limited Editions.

However, all that is firmly on the backburner now and will remain so until the time is right. I will update the TBL website and my Facebook page when I can.

 

 

My absolute priority is looking after Janet and after all the pain and discomfort she has gone through with her leg mobility issues in the past couple of years, this amazing lady deserves every bit of love and care I can provide.

Thanks for listening and for all your support – much love from Janet and I xx

Dave Lewis – April 2, 2022

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

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

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6 Comments »

  • Graham Walker said:

    Glad the operation went well for Janet, hope the recovery goes well.

    Really enjoyed this update, thank you.

  • Ed Dowling said:

    Wishing your Good Lady Janet a rapid and complete recovery! My mom had a hip replacement several years ago and it was a huge help to her so I hope Janet has the same result. Also glad to hear you’re recovered from the covid, too! Take care.

  • Steve Hall said:

    Glad to hear things seem to be going OK again, Dave.

    Welcome back, but make sure Janet is your number one priority for the time being, mate. Our needs for news are very much secondary to what your and her needs are.

  • Augusto said:

    Welcome back , my friend Dave!

  • Marcel Gootjes said:

    Another great read Dave!!

    I wish for a quick recovery…

    Love from Schiedam, Holland.

  • Michaela Tait said:

    Thank you so much Dave for a fabulous piece. Sending love to you and Janet – especially. Wishing her a very speedy recovery
    Looking forward to seeing you both soon x

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