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Wimbledon Finals Now and Then

7 July 2008 1,731 views No Comment

When I got in from work on Monday night Andy Murray was two sets down against Richard Gasquet. Watching him come back to win 3-2 made for one of the best tennis matches I’d seen in a long time. That is until I turned up from work tonight to see Federer battling back eventually in vein to Nadal tonight – what a match. One of Wimbledon’s finest.

It was a final to rival the one I watched 28 years ago from the comfort of a hotel room at the Munich Hilton. On that occasion Bjorn Borg edged John McEnroe out of victory in an amazing five set thriller which saw Borg crowned champion for the fifth time. It was an exciting prelude to the evenings entertainment where I witnessed Led Zeppelin’s penultimate gig of their Over Europe tour at the Munich Olympiahalle.

I chatted to John Bonham in the bar downstairs after that Wimbledon final. He had also been watching the match and seemed relaxed and ready for the final two shows. He did tell me he was missing home badly and was keen to get back to the UK on Tuesday.

Of all the Over Europe shows I attended, Munich seemed a much bigger deal. There was a definite feeling of this being a very important show – with their past association with the city having recorded Presence there in late ‘75 they seemed very eager to please. The backstage area was packed with well-wishers and of course this was the gig that Bad Company’s Simon Kirke jammed with them on Whole Lotta Love.

I remember seeing Peter Grant standing out front on the stage before they came on eying the crowd – thoughts I’m sure were running through his head that they could take all this to America and recapture former glories.

After the show we hooked up with them all at a night club in the city. As we came to say fond farewells, Bonzo scribbled down his phone number on a sheet of hotel paper and told me to ring him in a couple of weeks.

I called him a couple of times that summer and he was very enthusiastic revealing that that they would be going back to America in the autumn. I have that hand written sheet framed on my wall with a photo of John. I often look at it and remember the optimism of that last few days in Europe all those years ago. 

So much has gone but so much remains…

That’s more than evident as I’ve been wrapping up text for TBL 21 – looked at the great Mojo Awards clips on You Tube – Jimmy looks so well and in to it and that prompted another blast on the iPod of the O2 gig – how impressive that still sounds…and with all the memories of 1980, I dug out the vinyl copy I have of the Cologne gig which at times sounds as good as any Zep performance of the latter years…plenty of other stuff on the player including Zavvi sale bargains such as The Yardbirds 1965 Roger the Engineer album, Sandy Denny’s Live At the Royalty and the Cream I Feel Free compilation.

The tennis delayed a chat with Mick Wall on the phone and we’ve just spent a good hour and a half discussing the usual subject. It never stops…       

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