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The Waldorf Hotel, Led Zeppelin And Me

29 November 2007 1,773 views No Comment

28 years ago today on a late cold November afternoon,I walked into the plush surroundings of the Waldorf Hotel in London and ordered a vodka and lime at the bar just behind Richard Cole who was organising drinks for three quarters of Led Zeppelin.

The occasion was the annual Melody Maker Poll Awards for which Peter Grant had rounded up Robert, Bonzo and Jonesy to accept a remarkable seven awards.

I was there reporting it all for what would become Tight But Loose issue number 4. Some of the text of that report (unbeknown to me) would years later be suitably exaggerated in The Hammer Of The Gods book.

I remember spotting Robert wearing the pair of bright yellow and blue Nike trainers he’d acquired at the Wembley Goal Diggers soccer tournament the previous Sunday which I’d been along to watch. I made a mental note to seek out a similar pair on my return to Bedford – they were my style gurus as well back then and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one though I drew the line at investing in a dragon suit!

There was an air of supreme confidence amongst the Zep camp that afternoon – their delight in scooping so many awards in those post punk days could be clearly seen. It really did feel like ‘The 1980’s Part One’ was ready to usher in a new exciting era for us all.

That same optimism has been clearly in evidence again in recent weeks judging by the many positive and upbeat quotes Jimmy Robert and John have provided to the media.

Jason Bonham also echoes that confidence – in a recent interview in Drummer magazine he stated ‘’I joke about it in rehearsals, but I think after the first couple of songs Robert should ask the audience to close their mouths. That’s how confident I feel and not just for me but for them too. I’m telling you if we play half as good as day one in rehearsal people will be speechless’’

It’s comments like those that make the ever nearing enormity of what is about to happen simply awe inspiring.

In preparation as I noted last week, it’s been full on Zep on the player round these parts -this weeks revelations: Fool In The Rain with that middle section and the way Bonzo brings it all back….Out On The Tiles – pure Zep power…. Nobody’s Fault But Mine – is there a better guitar intro to any track anywhere?…..No Quarter from Earls Court May 18….The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song from the new soundtrack…my word they were brilliant – are brilliant!

I’ve also re discovered the perfect pre gig reading matter. It’s a book titled Suzy, Led Zeppelin And Me which I reviewed in TBL 16. It recreates author Martin Miller’s rites of passage journey as Led Zeppelin perform in Glasgow in 1972. The build up to that Greens Playhouse gig carries the same wonderment and expectation to that being experienced all these years later. The book is now out of print but if you see it snap it up – it’s a gem.

Elsewhere we are working flat out to bring the new TBL mag to fruition – keep an eye on the web site for an announcement of the 2008 schedule soon. As mentioned on the site, I’m trying to sort out a meet up around the 02 show – it will be great to hook up with the many fans due in from all a parts and put faces to names of people who have been in constant touch over the years. For latest details of this email me at Davelewis.tbl1@ntlworld.com

Right it’s back to text for the mag. I also need to get into town to get some new shoes – so if you see someone stalking around the 02/ Docklands area in about ten days time in a pair of bright yellow and blue Nike trainers…that could well be me.

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