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24 December 2015 4,534 views 4 Comments

santa two NEW2

So this is Christmas…

Christmas Eve is upon us – and it’s that final rush to get everything sorted for the next few days.

As is customary on Christmas Eve here – I’ll be wearing my Led Zeppelin Winterland 1969 tie brought for me by Larry Ratner in 1992 (hi Larry!) – and there may be another Zep related clothing accessory to parade (thanks Mr Lodge). After all the intense TBL activity of recent weeks, it will be great to unwind today in the company of visiting friends and along the way a beer or two may be drunk in one or two local pubs.

Once again it’s been a hectic year with all the thrill of the completion of the Led Zeppelin reissues and Jimmy’s many promotional events and his return to the stage in November – alongside all of that, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters have provided many a high on stage and John Paul Jones has continued to skip between various projects to much acclaim. All in all, it’s been another fascinating  year that took us all closer to the world of Led Zeppelin…

There will be time in the next few days to reflect on the events of the past 12 months before 2016 unfolds…meanwhile…

TBL 40:

TBL 40 should be landing on doormats across the globe in the next few days – the reaction to those that have already received it has been quite inspirational. here’s a summary from Leicester based musician Kevin Hewick:

on the streets!

It’s always exciting to receive a new edition of Tight But Loose the Led Zeppelin magazine edited by the ever amazing Dave Lewis – issue 40 is no exception with so much ground to cover of both the bands legacy and the surviving members current diverse activities – the extensive remastered reissues by Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones hitting a very youthful 70 and adventuring in the Artic Circle with members of REM and Robert Plant Sensationally Spaceshifting all over the place. There’s an enlightening and enticing 40 best boots retrospective – the 20 CD box set of the 1972 Australian/ New Zealand your anyone? – plus Zeppelin tapes and equipment accessed – and an intriguing history of the magazine itself and its beginnings when it was based on punk fanzine formats. Dave got the first 4 issues out before the John Bonham tragedy and he became a real insider with the band and their record label Swan Song. It’s remarkable how open they were to this eager fan, Bonham even giving him his home number and happy to talk about anything. Even Dave could not have guessed in 1980 that the loss of John and the bands decision afterwards to not go on did not mean TBL was over. 36 more editions and several books later the story is still unfolding and luckily we have the inexhaustibly Zeppelin inspired Mr Lewis to tell it!

Many thanks again for all the feedback.


News round up:

Boleskine House Fire:

Sad to report the major fire at Boleskine House – formerly owned by Jimmy Page – lots of coverage for this including …

Thirty firefighters are battling a blaze at a mansion formerly owned by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

The fire broke out at Boleskine House on the south-eastern side of Loch Ness at around 1.40pm on Wednesday.

A large part of the mansion, which was also once home to occultist Aleister Crowley, has been destroyed.

See more at:

Amazingly, long time TBL supporters Billy and Alison Fletcher were telling me that they paid a visit to the house earlier this week. We went up to Inverness for 3 nights to meet Michael Stendhal and  lady Billy told me. Wedrove the short distance from Inverness. Parked at the graveyard. Second we got out the car it started pouring down with rain. No one around so we all took a bunch of photos from outside the grounds ( now has trespassers will be prosecuted sign on gate now) I did notice the old gatehouse now has someone living in it. Had a good wander around graveyard. Got back in car and sun came out. We actually stayed there one night back in 2000, I kept the light on all night.

Thanks to Billy for that. It’s very sad that such a famous Zep and Scottish landmark has been devastated by fire.


Dates for Christmas:

BBC 6 Music airs Led Zeppelin 1969 BBC ‘One Night Only’ In Concert:

Monday December 28 at 2pm:

Jimmy Page on Radio 2 with Johnnie Walker:

Johnnie Walker Meets Jimmy Page‘, two hour special will be broadcast 17:00-19:00, December 30th, BBC Radio 2.


Jason Bonham – Led Zeppelin will play together again at some point in the future:

Plenty of coverage for this one:

Jason Bonham says he believes Led Zeppelin will play together again at some point in the future.

He tells Vanyaland: “In my heart of hearts I do believe we will play together again. It remains to be seen if it will be in public or privately, but I do think we will play again.”

Bonham, who has just wrapped up his Led Zeppelin Experience tour of the US, says playing tracks including Rock And Roll was a challenge as he had to change his style to suit that of his father’s.

Bonham continues: “What I try to do is play in his mindset – so it’s his ability to go for it on each night. Nothing is predictable.

“You keep the fundamentals there, but some of the fills you can change around and I basically take from every year that I remember and put them all into my performance.”

See link at:

For all latest Zep related news be sure to check out the excellent Led Zep News site at:


TBL Retro Christmas Reflection:

With Christmas always bringing with it that air of nostalgia, here’s a seasonal TBL retro reflection from 1972:


43 years ago on Saturday December 23rd  1972, I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the closest gig Led Zeppelin ever played to Christmas in the UK. It was a cold  dank day and the walk up Muswell Hill to the Alexandra Palace was a bit of a trek. All worth it of course as this very impressionable 16 year old was again in the company of musical giants.

The venue itself had not been used for a gig for years and was a little cold and impersonal – the sound also suffered a fair bit swirling around the high ceiling. Zep of course were brilliant – I had already read they were playing new tracks off of what was still being described as Led Zeppelin V (what would emerge as Houses Of the Holy the following March.) Hearing Over The Hills And Far Away,The Song Remains The Same,The Rain Song and Dancing Days was an immense thrill. The Jesus character who frequented many London gigs at the time stripped naked in front of me (ooerr!) and played a tin whistle during Jimmy’s Dazed violin bow solo and the Whole Lotta Love medley was memorable for a great Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Let’s Have A Party and a scintillating  I Can’t Quit You Baby. Zep gig number two was ticked and I wanted more…much more… though that opportunity would not come around for another two years. By then I had a new mantra..if Led Zeppelin were playing in the UK I wanted to be there…


Long time TBL contributor Phil Tattershall was also at the December 23rd show – here are his memories of his first Led Zeppelin concert…

The announcement of Led Zeppelin’s 72/73 UK tour was incredibly exciting.  I’d had a copy of the double LP, Live On Blueberry Hill for a while and I’d captured their 1971 BBC radio performance as it was broadcast using our family reel-to-reel tape recorder.  Both had been played to death.

I was 18 in 1972 and I’d recently started work, but my old schoolmate Dave* was still job hunting.  He had a bit of spare time, also a motorbike, which meant he was just the man to journey into London in the vain hope of securing tickets for one of the Alexandra Palace shows from Harlequin Records.  Unbelievably, he was successful and managed to buy three tickets, the third being for another schoolmate, Neil**.

I proudly announced to my colleagues in the office that I was going to see Led Zeppelin, but being much older than me, they didn’t share my excitement.  I was shocked to learn that none of them had even heard of Led Zeppelin!

My first wage packet had been spent on a battery-powered cassette recorder and I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to try concert recording for the first time.  Dave was a keen photographer and thought he’d try to take some pictures to complement my efforts.

The week before the show, we went for a ride on Dave’s motorbike to Alexandra Palace, to make sure that the ancient machine was capable of completing the 45 mile round trip.  It was a curious hybrid vehicle, self assembled from parts of two other bikes dating from 1936 and 1948.  It would need to transport three of us on December 23rd, so Dave had bolted an old sidecar to it.  I remember that reconnaissance expedition well; it was freezing cold and I sat in the sidecar listening to a cassette of ELP’s Trilogy album on both legs of the journey.  (I learned later that the sidecar was attached to the motorbike by a single bolt.  Dave was a bit of a slapdash mechanic!)

Come the 23rd, Dave, Neil and I undertook that intrepid journey from Hertfordshire to north London.  It was as cold as it had been the previous week, but the bike and sidecar served us well.  Outside the venue, I bought a show programme for 25p, which I later learned was unofficial (and is now very collectable!) and chatted to a guy from New York who had bought a ticket from a tout and was fearful that it might be a forgery.  It looked the same as mine though and I think he managed to get in OK.  My voluminous police-service surplus great coat served a dual purpose: it kept out the worst of the cold and effectively concealed my rather large cassette machine.  I gained access without hindrance.

Above the 1972 bootleg programme which I purchased outside the venue on the night – – the image is actually  Marc Bolan taken from a poster (thanks to Pete Burridge for that info).

Inside the hall it was apparent that there had been problems during the soundcheck and curtains had been hung from the ceiling in an attempt to tame the cavernous venue’s wallowing acoustic. It was an all-standing event and I was surprised that the hall was nowhere-near full, probably little over two-thirds of the floor space being occupied.  I later learned that fire regulations had limited the number allowed to attend.

There was no support act, just a children’s cartoon shown on a small screen above the stage.  I remember the cheer from the audience when one of the cartoon characters swallowed the contents of a bottle labelled ‘Super Speed Pills’.  Hmmm… that certainly wouldn’t be allowed in these days of political correctness and child protection.

The lights dimmed, I pressed the record and play keys of my cassette machine and hoped for the best.  As the band took to the stage, the bloke standing next to me was hit on the head by a beer can thrown from behind, prompting a stream of foul language from him and his companions.  The can’s impact and the subsequent profanities are perfectly captured on my tape.  Sadly the music, at the time the loudest noise I’d heard in my life, is less well preserved.  The poor cassette machine was overwhelmed by the volume and the recording is hopelessly overloaded.   The tape tangled 25 minutes into the show anyway, so it’s hardly an indespensible document.  Dave fared little better in his efforts to capture the visuals and his pictures were disappointing too.

The show itself was astonishing.  Of the songs from the yet-to-be-released Houses of the Holy LP, I remember being particularly impressed by Dancing Days, while friend Neil, a guitar player himself, was blown away by The Song Remains The Same.  The high point for me was the violin bow sequence in Dazed and Confused.  Thanks to my bootlegs, I was very familiar with the live version of the piece and always imagined each “da-da da-da” element being generated by a bow strike.  When I witnessed every other ‘da’ blasting out as the bow hit thin air, I genuinely thought some sort of sorcery was afoot.  (It wasn’t magic, of course, but an Echoplex unit.  I was so disappointed when I found out.  Jimmy was a mere human after all!)

Luckily, another amateur recordist was on duty that night and his results were infinitely better than mine.  My first experience of Led Zeppelin live was preserved for posterity and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.  One thing the taper missed as he flipped tapes was Robert’s “Goodnight – we’ll see you next year”.  I remember it well, because I was thrilled that it wouldn’t be too long before I could see them again.  As it turned out, I had to wait until May 1975, but I’m sure Robert’s intentions were honourable when he gave me what seemed a personal assurance.  I also recall narrowly missing out in the scramble to grab the tambourine he threw into the crowd at the end of the Whole Lotta Love medley.

The motorbike journey home in cold rain was deeply unpleasant, but we didn’t care; we’d seen the greatest band in the world.

When safely home, I extracted the tangled mess of tape from my recorder and reassembled it into a spare cassette shell.  As already described, the sonic results were disastrous, but, forty years hence, I still have that souvenir.

A couple of days later, back at work, the office manager, who was ten years my senior at 28, asked, “How did your pop thing go Phil?”  “Pop thing!??!!”, I thought to myself.  This wasn’t a “pop thing”: this was Led Zeppelin.  But there was no point in entering into lengthy discussion on the topic.  The older generation would never understand.

*Dave had another go at photographing Led Zeppelin in 1975 and was rather more successful.  The photos can be seen in TBL issue 15.

**Those familiar with one of the better audience recordings of the first Knebworth show will have heard a voice loudly proclaiming  “I can’t hear the bass, can you?” during The Song Remains the Same. That’s Neil.

Phil Tattershall.



Here’s the Alexandra Palace lowdown via Mike Tremaglio’s concert logs  which appeared in TBL issue 30.

Friday, December 22nd, 1972 Alexandra Palace, London, England

Setlist (from 130 & 58 minute audience recordings):

Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Out on the Tiles (Intro)/ Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco),  Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love Medley (incl. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have a Party, Heartbreak Hotel, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Going Down Slow), Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Mellotron Solo/Thank You

 Once again, Chris Charlesworth of Melody Maker reviewed the concert in the “Caught in the Act” section of Melody Maker (January 6, 1973).  Charlesworth praised the group as “about as perfect a band as you could hope to hear.”  He wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about the venue, saying it was “never built to rock” and that the “atmosphere inside this giant hall seemed cold and forbidding…there was a diminishing sound that flew up into the rafters and returned as a disjointed series of echoes.  My guess is that only about half the fans heard the music as it should have been heard.”

Saturday, December 23rd, 1972 Alexandra Palace, London, England

Setlist (from 131 & 28 minute audience recordings):

Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Out on the Tiles (Intro)/ Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco),  Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love Medley (incl. The Crunge, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have a Party, Heartbreak Hotel, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Going Down Slow), Heartbreaker

 The band played the second of two shows at the “Ally Pally.” The setlist is virtually identical to the prior evening, except the Immigrant Song, mellotron solo, and Thank You were all dropped from the set.  The Crunge, which had typically been played during Dazed and Confused, was incorporated into the Whole Lotta Love medley.


Dave Lewis Diary Blog Update:

empire records dec 19 2015 3

To the fine city of St Albans last Saturday  – and while the good lady Janet was shopping, I checked out the always excellent Empire Records, and lo and behold behind the counter there was already a crop of Robert Plant vinyl waiting me…thanks Simon Pitcher!

While at Empire Records in St Albans this afternoon I also searched out three beauties – all US pressings: the classic Free Live and Fairport Convention Full House on A & M plus Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek & the Dominos on US Atco…lovely stuff!

With Sam back, we had a viewing of the DVD of the Amy Winehouse documentary film Amy which she had as an early Christmas present. I’ve never really followed the story but this put her legacy firmly in place for me – brilliantly filmed and paced with some stunning footage -and ultimately very moving as her route to self destruction unfolded. An amazing talent whose light went out for too early…

The last few days have been taken up with keeping up with pre Christmas orders, frequent trips to the post and generally getting things organised in preparation for the next set of TBL initiatives. There’s a lot to get stuck into in the new year with January already looking well busy as I kick start various TBL projects. More on all this soon…before all that…

So this is Christmas Eve…


santa one NEW2

…And it always has that air of expectancy around it as we all get ready to bring the draw bridge up and retreat for Christmas Day. We will all be all here on Christmas Day with Janet’s Mum Betty with nary a thought for this thing called Led – at least for a day!  Sam is back from London to be with us until Sunday and Adam is already back from Uni until early January – it’s very nice for us all to be back together. Here’s a rare pic of a relaxed TBL editor with the good lady Janet…it won’t last!

Christmas is always a time for reflection and I am sure like me, you’ll be remembering loved ones not around to share the Christmas season. That’s the real message of Christmas. As I always observe at this time of year, amongst all the commercial hype – this is the season’s true meaning. Reflecting on those no longer around for whatever reason and seeing and thinking of family, friends and people who make our respective lives revolve in the way they do.

For me that includes many of my very good friends here and a whole host of people from far and wide, who once again over this past year, have given time and support to make TBL what it is –and of course the subscribers and purchasers of the TBL magazines and books these past twelve months.

I’ll be raising a glass or two in the coming days in acknowledgment of the amazing and inspiring community that surrounds the Tight But Loose magazine, books, web site and Facebook/Twitter pages…

On behalf of Gary and all here, I wish you all a hopeful, peaceful and Merry Christmas.

Dave Lewis – December 24 , 2015.

YouTube clip:

Robert Plant – Santa Claus is Back in Town:

Have a great Christmas…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – December 24, 2015.

If you are reading this and have yet to link with the Tight But Loose Facebook page be sure to request/add us. The TBL Facebook is another key part of the TBL set up with updated stories/additional pics etc to keep you on top of the world of TBL.

To view additional photos and TBL info be sure to hook up with the Tight But Loose Facebook page (add us as a friend) at!/profile.php?id=1611296783

Many thanks to James Cook for news input – for the latest Zep news updates be sure to check out Led Zep News at

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • Colin said:

    Merry Christmas Dave. Received #40 in time for
    the beach on Christmas Eve. As good as ever. All the best.

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    Very nice Christmas sentiments expressed, Dave, in particular to take notice of those who have left us. This past year saw the departure of a beloved and inspiring uncle, a heroic submariner father and a dear lovely mother-in-law (not many could say this, I know); all in the span of ninety days. Its almost a case of not knowing where to start, the voids left behind in the hearts of those who remember these fine people who have touched all of our lives in so many ways, large and small. So I second Dave’s Christmas message, and would simply add that life is such a precious gift, because of the time we have with each other. Merry Christmas!

  • John Webster said:

    Hi Dave and all,

    Happy Christmas to you all. Dave, thanks once again for your efforts in keeping the Zeppelin flag flying.

  • Richard Grubb said:

    A very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year to TBLers past, present and (you know it makes sense – SUBSCRIBE!) future.

    Huge thanks and appreciation to Dave & Gary for keeping the Zeppelin Express charging full steam ahead. Another packed year passes too quickly with highs, lows, and trials and tribulations, but on reflection as someone far more erudite once noted, “it’s a great life, this life of music” isn’t it? Let’s do it all again in 2016..!

    Best wishes everyone, wherever you are…


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