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14 December 2017 1,975 views 11 Comments

”Ahmet We Did it” –  Led Zeppelin 02 Reunion Ten Years Gone TBL Anniversary Celebration Day Event:

The whole story: How we came from the land of the ice and snow to celebrate ten years gone…

It was back in late August when I first began to formulate an idea to have some sort of pub meet to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Led Zeppelin’s 02 reunion concert for Ahmet Ertegun. Rather than sit at home and watch the DVD,  I though it would be a lot of fun to stage a fan gathering in London and find a pub venue with a room suitable to show video footage.

I mentioned this to long time TBL supporter Julian Walker. Julian had been involved in some of the one day Conventions Andy Adams and Eddie Edwards ran in the late 90s early 2000s alongside Fred Zeppelin events in Stourbridge. Being a real ale enthusiast, I also knew Julian knew a thing or two about central London pub locations. In September Julian set about finding a venue. A couple in the city proved way too expensive and we were beginning to lose heart.

Our search moved across to the Kensington area when Zep tribute band Boot Led Zeppelin told me they had plans to play a gig on the night of December 10 at Nells Jazz and Blues club venue. The idea at that point was for us to stage an afternoon event in the area and combine that with attending the Boot Led Zeppelin show – for which they would be performing the 02 setlist. We did think of holding it in the actual venue but the Julian then came across The Atlas pub. Just as we approached the pub, the Boot Led Zeppelin gig (through no fault of their own) was cancelled.

Undaunted, we decided that an afternoon and evening event at The Atlas pub in Fulham could work. To that end, I met with Julian in lateOctober to view the pub. With it’s two connecting upstairs rooms ,it seemed perfect for what we wanted. Steph and her staff at the pub were very welcoming and we confirmed it all there and then.

We now had an event on our hands – and my workload instantly increased. I alrady had enough on my plate with the distribution of the TBL magazine issue 43 plus ongoing work on the Evenings With book etc but hey – we had now committed to making something of all this.

Julia and I got down to the finer details. We decided to charge a nominal entry fee to cover our expenses – this was never intended as a commercial venture but we knew there would be costs – the hire of the pub, printing costs, travel etc.

In October we launched it all on the TBL website with tickets available via pay pal. TBL designer Mike Lowe came up with some great visuals and designed a flyer which I distributed to various places notably the Olympia Record Fair in London.

Initial ticket sales were fairly slow and realistically, we predicted we might get as many as 50 – which we both felt would be enough to create a good atmosphere. Choosing a Sunday was never going to be ideal with people due back at work the next day but I was keen for it to be staged on the actual tenth anniversary. I did think the Friday December 8 Robert Plant Royal Albert Hall gig might help us to attract some overseas visitors – which as it turned out, did exactly that.

I was never too worried about a timetable as I knew I had a lot of source material on the 02 Reunion. Julian got in touch with legendary author Luis Rey to come and talk about his Tape Documentary book. I asked Chris Charlesworth to come and do a slot – the former Melody Maker writer/author who was right there in the Led Zep mix of things back in the day  has proved to be a very good attraction at a fair few of Zep Conventions I’ve been involved in – stretching back to the 1992 London event. Simon Cadman who had covered the event backstage for Independent radio also agreed to do a spot.

As for footage, the resident man in the know on these things Gary Davies came up with a series of presentations spanning Zep’s career plus plenty of 02 related stuff. Sadly he could not make it himself but his contribution was was absolutely vital in making it flow. Gary also helped devise a quiz that we would run on the day. Thank you Mr Davies…

During November, I worked with Mick Lowe on designing the two sided programme we would give out alongside a TBL faves survey we would conduct. Long time TBL supporter Graeme Hutchinson offered a box of programmes from his Zep Express 2005 convention and this was all planned to be included in a goody bag we would give out to all attendees.

So far, so good. When we had visited the pub in October we had tested the screen via Julian’s lap top. At that point sound was not coming through but as the pub had a fairly substantial speaker set up and we were confident that it would hook up ok. Nearing the event I began getting a bit anxious about this so rather than hope all would be OK on the day, Julian went to the pub last Tuesday to test it all.

Alas, he could not get the sound to work despite trying various methods. I enlisted the help of Richard Grubb  – the Cardiff based TBL supporter and a man who I knew might know these things. There then followed  series of  rather worrying phone and email conversations.

I was still very much ”worried of Bedford” when Julian went back to The Atlas on Thursday to try again. I awaited nervously for his call around 11am -not sure what a plan B might be if it still failed. My mobile rang around then and the plaintive strains of Whole Lotta Love echoed out of it loud and clear. Julian was at the pub and the sound as I could now tell had all linked up – sorted!

That meant I could attend the Friday’s Robert Plant Royal Albert Hall gig in a much improved frame of mind – though disappointingly, the good lady Janet had been suffering a cold all week and had to pull out of attending what would have been her first Plant show since 2002.

Tom came off the subs bench and a great night was had. Before we went over to Kensington for the gig,I went to visit Mike Warry at the Think Farm design studio. Mike designed the Concert File book and Celebration day books and had also been the TBL designer from issue 13 to 16.

Think Farm were the company commissioned to supply the back drop projection at the 02 reunion show. I had got in touch with Mike to see if he could attend the TBL event. Mike could not make it along himself but he very kindly offered us the opportunity to show a slide show of the original storyboards presented to the band at a series of meetings leading up to the gig. He ran all this through me there and then. They looked amazing  and I came away knowing we now had another very nice exclusive visual segment to show.

I had been further inspired by the growing list of attendees which included fans from Canada, Norway, Italy and the US. Andy Adams also confirmed his attendance which again I was well pleased to hear.

It was all getting very exciting and all the hard work and effort Julian and I had put in looked set to be all worth it…and then everything turned fluffy white…quite literally.

The Robert Plant gig had been a great night – the pub meet beforehand was hugely enjoyable as was the 120th time I had seen him perform live. I was feeling a little hung over and tired on Saturday morning but there was no time to be tired – there was an event to present…


Snow fall had been reported on Friday in the north of England and the adverse weather was now predicted to hit the south on Saturday. As I packed everything ready for an early start on Sunday the BBC weather forecast for the next 24 hours made very bleak reading. Heavy snow in Bedford from 7am Sunday and throughout the day. Sleet and snow for London.

I had a very sleepless night rising at 5ish not daring to look out the window. When I did…it was not good – not good at all. Snow all around and falling heavily.

This was going to be a very challenging day.

I quickly decided that no matter what, I had to get to the pub regardless of who else turned up. At this point we were really on damage limitation – an early morning call to Julian followed – he was of the same opinion – let’s try and get there and then face the consequences.

So it was at around 8am I took a perilous taxi journey through the falling snow to Bedford train station. Amazingly the trains were all ok and I was able to get into London by 10 am. Julian had also managed to get in without a delay and we met around 11am at The Atlas. Richard Grubb who was staying over from the Plant gig in a nearby hotel also met us then. There was a few worrying minutes when the sound failed to come though but that was soon sorted.

So we were here -the three of us – and if we only watched the DVDs on our own, well so be it and to hell how we get back!

The things we do for Led Zeppelin…and the things others do for Led Zeppelin as it transpired…

As it turned out we were soon not alone. Graeme Hutchinson and Gary Foy arrived to help set up. We had assessed that a fair few of the paid attendees were in the London area and soon enough we had a few more – and then more from far and wide-  Luis Rey, Dave Fox, Andy Adams, Simon Cadman, Lee Matthews ,Ian Avey, Sue Wilson, Melvyn Billingham, Guy Haslem, Ian Saikia, Dick Lee, Dave Linwood, Phil Tattershall, Mark Lancaster, Tuhin Chouwdhury, Andrew Doyle, Eddie Edwards, Jonathan Carl and his two friends, Krys Jantzen, Trev Butcher from Cheshire,  Amanda Bruckshaw, Franco and his lady from Italy, Adam MacGregor from Canada, Hiroshi, Beth Brenner from Atlanta, Asle Gjeitsund from Norway, Gerd from Germany, Tiina and Kari from Finland, Dave Roberts and wife Cindy from Canada,

There was some fall out of people attending as expected – which was of course was a real shame but by 1.30 we had around 40 people in – certainly enough to make something of it..

And boy did we make something of it.

Maybe it was the fact that we had all made such an effort to get here and  we were all determined to now enjoy proceedings…well what can I tell you? It was feel good factor all the way.

The vibe throughout the afternoon and evening was simply amazing. There we were in own own little world -the world of Led Zeppelin and as everybody reading this knows, this is not just a band – this is a way of life.

For the next seven hours our way of life was sharing experiences, listening intently to the guest speakers and revelling in the glory that was Led Zeppelin at the 02 reunion.

I can honestly say, against all the odds, this was the most enjoyable Zep meeting of like minded people I have been involved in for years –  going right back to the 92 and 94 London Conventions. Old friendships were renewed, new ones forged, and for all of us the question that didn’t take too much answering was…

How much do we love this band?

A whole lot and that was more than evident from the moment Luis Rey and Andy Adams undertook a hugely enjoyable and passionate talk about Luis’ book and Zep bootlegs and more. Luis colourful prose coming alive before our very eyes, matched with Andy’s always insightful observations. Listening to Luis and Andy  made me want to get back home and pull out some of the albums and recordings they were so passionately talking about -and I bet I wasn’t the only one..

All this talk of bootlegs was the perfect lead in for what we presented next. This was a video cut of the BBC 2 24 Hours programme first aired in April 1971.

24 Hours was a sort of Newsnight current affairs programme of it’s day. This particular edition focused on the boom in the sale of bootleg records in London record shops. It featured a short interview with Peter Grant and centred on the dealings of the bootleg king of the day Jeffrey Collins. Collins’ shop was visited by Peter and Richard Cole who er, politely removed the Zep bootlegs they had on sale.

A quick aside – I had invited Richard Cole to come along to the event as he lives not too far away. However, he could not make it – he rang me on Saturday but I missed the call. When he phoned back he shouted at me down the phone in mock anger  ”Can’t you put your pint down for one minute to answer yer fucking phone!” Richard, bless him, had actually very kindly rang to wish me all the best for the day.

Back to the story. The film also had quirky interviews with Pink Floyd and John and Yoko (well Yoko, John was in a bag!).

This 24 Hours film went down a storm and we were able to follow it by talking to a man who had been in that Jeffrey Collins bootleg shop and had dutifully reported the Peter Grant story in Melody Maker in his then role as news editor.

So welcome Chris Charlesworth – he was absolutely captivating with his tales of the aforementioned bootleg shop, travelling on the Zep starship, his inner dealings with them plus his new book about Elvis Caught In A Trap. When this man gets to publishing his memoirs I will be first in the queue. No doubt followed by everybody here who thoroughly enjoyed a musical racantour of few equal.

Following Chris’s chat, we aired the fascinating Think Farm storyboard back drop projection slide show.

By then it was late afternoon. We were somewhat behind in the schedule and aware that some people might have to leave early to get trains we decided to run the quiz as a shout out affair.

Eddie Edwards and Ian Avey both did well – through the lyric rounds often proving puzzling. Which brings me to another point about the day – it was filled with lots of laughter and good natured banter. We don’t take all this too seriously – you have to laugh at grown men reciting matrix numbers on a Sunday afternoon! So yes we do remember laughter and that’s always a great thing about these gatherings.

Simon Cadman did his spot unfolding the story of what it was like in the backstage media area during the 02 reunion show. This kick started a general chat amongst us with many coming forward of how they got the ticket etc, notably Adam MacGregor  who travelled back then and today from Canada.

We were joined by a couple of much welcomed late comers namely Beth who had just flown in from Atlanta and Gerd from Germany.

At this point, we presented the results of the TBL survey we had asked attendees to complete. Adding up all the voting this is how it all lined up:

Favourite Led Zeppelin 02 Performance  – a three way tie between In My Time of Dying, For Your Life and Kashmir

Favourite Led Zeppelin Track – Achilles Last Stand

Favourite Led Zeppelin Album – Physical Graffiti.

Then as a finale, we screened the fan cut of the Led Zeppelin 02 reunion concert in it’s entirety.

For the next two hours and ten minutes we were all totally captivated.

It was like being at the gig as we all enthusiastically clapped every number like we were back there…and that’s how it felt – as one of the reviews I brought along to show proclaimed – ”Popular music does not get any better that this.”

Finally it was time to call it a day -and what a day – fond farewells were exchanged and it was time to clear things up.

I made my way back across London in something of a daze. Luckily, the trains were running fine and I was back in Bedford by 11.30pm

These are mine and Julian’s respective posts on Facebook the next day:

Despite the snow yesterday it was a really good turn out, all things considered.

We didn’t quite have people from 51 countries like the 02 ten years back – but we did have fans from Canada, Finland, Norway and the US. It was great to see Dave Linwood, Phil Tattershall, Eddie Edwards, Mel and so many other long time TBL supporters. Andy Adams and Luis Rey did a great Q and A as did Simon Cadman – and Chris Charlesworth was absolutely captivating. Many thanks to Julian Walker for co organising and making this happen ,Gary Foy and Richard Grubb for their support on the day and Steph and co at the brilliant (mighty arms of) Atlas pub.

Led Zeppelin are not only the best band but they have the best fans and it was a privilege to be in the company of many yesterday as we celebrated that amazing night ten years on – and our love for this amazing band. Absolutely inspiring

Dave Lewis

Both Dave and I are so thrilled that everyone who was able to get to the Mighty Arms of “The Atlas” on Sunday had as great a time as we did. The weather on the day added to the stress of arranging an event like this and trying to ensure everything went as planned. It was not until we all sat down to watch Gary D’s superb reworking of the O2 Arena concert in full that the events of the day, and the great people and many old friends who came along, really sank in on me. Very moving to watch the DVD on the big screen and loud sound, with the enthusiasm, cheering and clapping of everyone in the room. All driven along by Dave’s boundless passion and enthusiasm during the concert! I was just very sorry that my good friend John M in Glasgow, who gifted me a ticket to the original show (£400 from his own pocket), was not there, as he is not well at present. Get well soon John! Thanks very much to everyone who came along, and both Dave and I really appreciate your extremely kind comments and words of thanks. Rest assured this will not be the only time we get together like this!

Julian Walker

Here’s some more feedback from those that were there:

It was a brilliant day Dave. Massive thanks to you and Julian for holding the event. It was great to hear the stories from Chris and Simon, and also the interview with Luis and Andy. Also great to hear all the fan stories shared of their memories of the event. I just cant believe that it was 10 years ago! Ian Avey

Congratulations for a good job yesterday… I think it was a very pleasant gathering and we all had a good time. Well done and I hope there’s another soon. Luis Rey

Thanks so much for a hugely enjoyable event yesterday.  It was great to  see the old faces and make some new friends as well.  I thought the BBC
feature on bootlegs was really interesting.  A fine example of the Beeb’s balanced and unbiased reporting (not)! Phil Tattershall

I wanted to say was that it was really good to catch up with a lot of old friends and a big Thank You to Dave Lewis and Julian Walker for organising the whole event. I think everyone had a really enjoyable time.  Dave Fox

A truly memorable day Dave , thank you for making it happen with Julian – and your enthusiasm is infectious!

Jonathan Carl

It was great to meet up with old friends and connect with new ones too. Here’s hoping for some great events and more in 2018. Andy Adams

Dear Dave & Julian,

Just wanted to say a big thank you to the two of you for a wonderful day at The Atlas yesterday.

Thanks for all your behind the scenes work organising a very special day – great company, plus very insightful & inspiring conversations from Luis, Chris, Andy, Simon & of course you, Dave & Julian.

Great venue too – Timothy Taylor Landlord on draft!! Result!!! A top day indeed !!

Wishing you both a lovely Christmas and a very happy 2018.
Ian Saikia

Well where to start?!
Thank you so much for all the hard work that you and Julian obviously put into getting the ‘do’ organised. I guess you will need a few days to recover from the stress. Despite the weather it was a great turnout and so good to spend time with fellow addicts! I guess the name of the pub was coincidental to that immortal line from Achilles Last Stand:
“Wandering & wandering, What place to rest the search,
The mighty arms of Atlas, Hold the heavens from the earth” Excellent.
We are indeed blessed to have such an enduring bond in the shape of LZ. I’m sure like me you get some odd comments from people who just don’t understand how much the band and their music mean to us. Their loss is our gain.  Still I was happy in my Zepplinesque world and indeed I still am. Great to spend time with you all on Sunday and I look forward to further celebrations along the way while we still can. Take care mate and thanks again for all your efforts they are greatly appreciated in this little part of Cheshire and, I’m sure, all around the world.
Trev Butcher
So fun to be in the company of others who share my passion for Zeppelin! Thanks to all that helped make it a great day and to you, Dave, for all your enthusiasm and all you do for us fans!
Beth Brenner

A wonderful day despite the weather. You enthusiasm helped make the day – as infectious as ever.

Graeme Hutchinson 
 Some amazing comments that have warmed my heart.

As I noted, given the circumstances I could never have envisaged such a reaction when I awoke on Sunday morning.

Can we do it again next year to celebrate 50 years of Led Zeppelin at some point? That’s one for another day to think on – but Julian and I would like to think we can.

Right now, I am still basking in the afterglow of a very special day that I won’t ever forget.

Ahmet we did it again – ten years on… and I am so pleased and grateful that our efforts to do so were so appreciated.

Dave Lewis – December 14, 2017


Led Zeppelin News Update:

In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re- producing highlights from their weekly email update news summary. This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook.

Led Zeppelin

  • A gold sales award given to Peter Grant for 25,000 sales of Led Zeppelin II in Sweden is being sold at auction on December 13. Bonhams estimates the value of the award to be between £600 and £800.

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

Robert Plant performing “House of Cards” in the Royal Albert Hall in London on December 8.
Robert Plant played two shows this week: Sheffield on December 6 and the Royal Albert Hall in London on December 8. For the London show he was joined by Chrissie Hynde for two songs. View the setlists and linked videos below:

December 6 – Sheffield
New World…
Turn It Up
The May Queen
That’s the Way
All the King’s Horses
House of Cards
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Funny in My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixin’ to Die)
Misty Mountain Hop
What Is and What Should Never Be
Bluebirds Over the Mountain
Whole Lotta Love

December 8 – London
New World…
Turn It Up
The May Queen
That’s the Way
All the King’s Horses
House of Cards
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Funny in My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixin’ to Die)
Misty Mountain Hop
What Is and What Should Never Be
Bluebirds Over the Mountain (With Chrissie Hynde)
2,000 Miles (With Chrissie Hynde)
Whole Lotta Love

Upcoming events:

December 11 – Robert Plant will perform in Portsmouth.
December 12  Robert Plant will perform in Birmingham.
December 13 – A gold sales award given to Peter Grant for sales of Led Zeppelin II will be sold at Bonhams in London
January 28 – The exhibition at Proud Central in London that includes photos of Led Zeppelin will close.
February/March – New Led Zeppelin photo book “Led Zeppelin Live Times” will be released.
February 1 – Robert Plant will perform at the UK Americana Awards in London.
February 9 – Robert Plant will perform in Raleigh, North Carolina.
February 11 – Robert Plant will perform in Charlotte, North Carolina.
February 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Norfolk, Virginia.
February 14 – Robert Plant will perform in New York.
February 16 – Robert Plant will perform in Boston, Massachusetts.
February 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Toronto, Ontario.
February 20 – Robert Plant will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
February 22 – Robert Plant will perform in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
February 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Denver, Colorado.
February 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Phoenix, Arizona.
February 28 – Robert Plant will perform in Oakland, California.
March 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Los Angeles, California.
March 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 30 – Robert Plant will perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia.
April 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Melbourne, Australia.
April 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Melbourne, Australia.
April 5 – Robert Plant will perform in Adelaide, Australia.
April 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Perth, Australia.

Many thanks to James Cook

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:

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


Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – final UK tour dates – on the spot reports for TBL:

Dave Lewis in London:

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – Royal Albert Hall December 8 2017:

The historic venue was well packed and we had a great view in the stalls to the side.

What can you say…he just does what he does with such consummate authority. New Song and Rainbow were early highlights – it was That’s The Way when the singer and the band really hit the heights and it soared from there. Richard Thompson’s House of Cards from the Band Of Joy album was a most welcomed addition to the setlist. Gallows Pole worked a whole lot better for me this time and as Gary Foy noted, had something of an Elvis Mystery Train approach. Carry Fire was just spectacular and on the home straight Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Fixin To Die and the delightful Seth inspired arrangement of Misty Mountain Hop all inspired a fervent crowd reaction.

Encores: What is And What Should Never Be was simply joyous. Then it was time for a surprise guest – Chrissie Hynde looking great and sounding great, adding her vocal to Bluebirds Over The Mountain as she does on the album. The lovely 2000 Miles was a seasonal bonus before a crunching Whole Lotta Love sent the audience home more than happy as they faced the December chill night air.

So ends another Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters live chapter, which for me began with an early October lunchtime date in Maida Vale and ends in the confines of the always wonderful Royal Albert Hall.

”This is not a career this is a gift” he recently noted. Sharing that gift with Robert Plant continues to be a life affirming experience. Long may his creative fire burn brightly…

Dave Lewis – December 9, 2017. Pic by Rob Whitmarsh

Hiroshi in Portsmouth and Birmingham: Pics by Hiroshi.

Portsmouth Guildhall – December 11:

From Perth to Portsmouth — the second most southern part of the tour after Plymouth that was the starting place of almost one month’s road for Robert, and the tour is near the end now. My initial plan was going to the Perth show and that was it, but visiting London for the O2 Reunion Ten Years Anniversary meeting allowed me an opportunity to go down south and catch the tour finish. Seize the chance, seize the fire!

Like the other dates of the tour, it was sold out, but I was lucky enough to manage a great last minute ticket for the circle on the door.
As it turned out, however, the show left something to be desired, an unfulfilled feeling in the end, sort of. The Portsmouth crowd was quite reserved, their responses rather lukewarm, and Robert and the band apparently felt it. He looked frustrated sometimes, and one time addressed the audience, “Is anybody out there?” or something to that effect. A typical “dad rock audience” perhaps. All seating style didn’t help, either — the ground floor at the Perth show was standing, which encouraged the Scottish fans to respond lively.

The crowd’s reaction as such, the Shifters were going through the motion from time to time — or that was the impression I got. Instead of the regular Misty Mountain Hop, they closed the main set with The Lemon Song. An unusual choice and a delight to hear the song live for the first time, it was not enough to save the day for me, though. With two-song encore (they give three most of the times), the show finished a little bit shy of 100 minutes. I couldn’t but feel shortchanged TBHWY.

I still enjoyed the show overall, though. Attending a gig in an unfamiliar region I have never been to before is always fun. The Guildhall has a great rock ‘n’ roll museum inside, and they hold the Isle of Wight Festivals 68-70 exhibition now (Portsmouth is the closest city to the island — it has the ferry port to get there). An eye catching array of photos, articles, memorabilia etc. I wondered how many of the mature aged audience members that filled the majority of the seats tonight were those hippies who rejoiced and celebrated to full at these legendary events almost some fifty years ago. From their present settled look and calm manner, it was hard to imagine.

Birmingham Symphony Hall  – December 12:

There was a last minute release of the tickets again, and I booked another good seat on the venue website, this time back of the stall, but not too far from the stage.

Another homecoming gig after Wolverhampton. It didn’t start without glitches, though.
The show opener, New World… was plagued with sound problems. During the middle bit, some disturbing noises erupted from the PA, which prompted Robert to flip the bird at the sound men further back on the floor, remarking, “Well, well, well…”
The band continued the performance with Turn It Up anyway, which went down without any serious hitches in particular, but as the song finished, a crew member walked to Robert. After a brief discussion, Robert announced that they needed a few minutes for fixing the technical problems, and some bantering followed, his typically cryptic sense of humor and some local-related jokes, winning giggles and laughters from the crowd. Yes, we remember laughter.

Once the problems were solved and the show restarted with The May Queen, things seemed to be alright. When Robert and the Shifters guys took up the hand drums, it was the turn of Rainbow. Every time they play this tune, I am seized by its irresistible charm — undoubtedly one of Robert’s most accomplished, beautiful compositions to date, an unsung (pun unintended) highlight of the show, on par with the more talked-about, e.g. That’s The Way, Carry Fire etc.

Except for the initial hiccups, Robert and the band looked enjoying the performance themselves, a very loose, relaxed affair to his home crowd. The audience was not necessarily 100 % responsive (again, all seating here), but there was more interaction between Robert and fans than in Portsmouth, a higher level of intimacy felt through the evening. Setlist-wise no surprises, a good enough show that capped the tour nonetheless.

One more Birmingham report from Krys Jantzen: Setlist pic by Krys.

Final notes on last night… apart from usual strong setlist, favourite moment was when the gig came to a complete standstill after just two songs whilst they fixed problems with the sound. Unflustered, Robert filled the gap in the concert by telling stories of growing up, much to the audiences delight. Notable quotes… introducing Justin Adams as ” The guy that turned my world around in 2001 and saved from from a fate worse than Alice Cooper” and introducing MMH Robert said he learned from his first trip to America “with the guys” to “never take a drink with Janis Joplin”.


TBL Archive :

Golden Lion Reunion 36 years gone…

December 15 – that is a date that always revives memories of the first public reunion of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones which I was lucky enough to be in attendance.

Here’s the story:

Back in the early months of 1981, Lynn Sizemore who was PR to the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Association, the charity formed from the Fulham pub often frequented by the Zep / Swan Song entourage, approached me to publicise in the next issue of TBL, a children’s charity raffle being held in December. I was only too willing to help and we began planning how this would all work. The raffle was duly featured in TBL issue 6 which came out in the late summer of 1981. I had a few meetings with Lynn during this period including one memorable occasion at the Golden Lion pub in Fulham. Robert’s sound man Benjii Lefevre was in attendance and I was introduced to John Bindon the notorious London character who had been with the Zep entourage on the 1977 tour and involved in the infamous Oakland fracas. Robert and John Paul Jones had already promised to attend and give prizes out on the night set for December 15th, so it was always going to be a special evening.

Even more so after the call I made to Swan Song the week before the event. Sian at Swan Song informed me that Jimmy was also due to attend. It duly turned into something of a grand Swan Song reunion – in true Zep style.

On the night itself, Peter Grant arrived with Jimmy around 8.30. A combat attired Robert and smartly dressed JPJ were already in tow. Various roadies, Swan Song employees and guests (including Cozy Powell) were there as was John Bindon again. Tom Locke and I spent a memorable night in the pub as Jimmy, Robert and JPJ mingled by the bar and duly got up on stage to present the prizes of Jimmy’s Yamaha acoustic guitar (wonder where that is now?) and a set of personally signed albums. The main winner was an American guy ( pic above) while runner up was, Steve Simmons, a TBL subscriber from Bristol. Here’s a pic below of Steve on stage receiving his prize.

golden lion 1

Jimmy looked in slightly better shape than he had in Europe the previous year and told me he was working on the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. As a Christmas present I gave Robert a copy of a large format History Of The Blues book (wonder if still adorns his book shelf?) to which he acknowledged with the classic “Eye Thank yew” catchphrase so prevalent on the Over Europe tour. I took the opportunity to tell Peter and Atlantic’s Phil Carson of my plans to write a major reference work on the band’s music though it would be another eight years on in the Marquee (at a Jason Bonham gig) when I was able to tell the pair of them that the book (Led Zeppelin A Celebration) was soon to be a reality.

It may have been a strictly non playing role, but this unexpected Led Zeppelin reunion was full of warmth and good cheer. Underlying all that though was the definite feeling that they now all had separate plans – Jimmy with the soundtrack, Robert with the in progress recording of his debut album and Jonesy who wryly informed someone at the bar that he was now on permanent school run duty for his daughter’s back in Devon. It would be another eleven years before all three appeared in public together in the UK again to attend the 1992 Q Awards to collect the outstanding achievement award, and another 26 years before they played together on that night of nights in December 2007.

Fast forward to August 29th, 2013 and the Colston Hall Bristol.

golden lion 2

As we were making our way into the arena for Robert’s Sensational Space Shifters show amazingly enough I bumped into Steve Simmons for the first time since that night at the Golden Lion back in 1981. Steve was carrying a photo book of the pics he took back then – we had a good old chinwag about how he had been the runner up in the competition and the signed albums he was presented with on that night all of 35 years ago. The first, but not the last grand reunion…

DL December 14 2017.


DL Diary Blog Update:

Well it’s been some week – celebrating the 02 Reunion tenth anniversary has been hugely enjoyable – and also pretty draining. Orchestrating the daily postings on the TBL site and organising everything for the Sunday event was all full on – add to that the Friday Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters gig at the Royal Albert Hall – and coming off the back of the Wallbanger day out and Dec staying here -well it’s certainly not been dull around these parts. Thanks again to everyone who has made the last few days so amazing – notably Julian Walker, Richard Grubb and Gary Foy and a whole host of fans – events that once again proved that this really is not just a band but a way of life…

The pic here is the TBL crew of Tom, Gary, Dave Linwood, Alan and Richard Grubb outside Albert’s place before last Friday’s gig.

It’s been back to TBL projects this week as we roll relentlessly into 2018 with a lot to do. I am fending off a bit of a cold but there’s no time for colds with Christmas fast approaching. So it’s been a case of packing the last minute book orders that have come through and getting back on track with the Evenings With book project and a fair few other things to catch up with and plan for next year.

Until next time, have a great weekend

Dave Lewis  – December 14 ,2017  

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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  • Mark Williams said:

    Superb Dave,love the loyalty to the band and lifetime friendships as a result !

    Just saw Robert & SSS have extended European dates into late July.Truly,that is brilliant, but I suppose ( as opposed to ‘ guess’ ) that cans any LZ 50th action in the 2nd half of 2018. Resigned to this, but always hang out a hope ! (2007,Robert played ‘Green Man’ festival in the Black Mountains,then….well, December 2007 blew us all away.).Will have to assume that lightening doesn’t strike twice. So much want to hear fro Jimmy & JPJ (ideally together) in 2018.

  • Walter Cooney said:

    Good to hear you had a successful day in London, shame about the change in weather,I would have loved to attend but I live in Blackpool.I remember the coventions in the 90’s they were very enjoyable events.Keep up the great work on keeping the Zeppelin flying, I can imagine the work load on arranging the event is time consumming,hopefully the next one will be at a better time of the year if you are willing to take on another commitment on top of your existing workload to the Zeppelin community.Thanks for all your enthusiasm and keeping us all informed on our favourite band.

  • John Ponter said:

    Hi Dave, an interesting review of the Portsmouth concert, my wife & I were somewhat underwhelmed too. Maybe the weather played it’s part as by the time we arrived we were thoroughly frozen. Also, from our position at the extreme right hand side of the upper stalls the acoustics were appalling, and to cap it off the seats were too close together so we had nowhere for our legs. Not the best venue.

    The last time we saw Robert Plant at the Cambridge Corn Exchange a couple of years ago he and the band were totally brilliant, we could tell they were struggling this time.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great to see you mate!

  • David Linwood said:

    What a terrific day it was. Despite the rubbish journeys in the snow, it was so worth it to catch up with so many old friends and make new ones in the process.
    A big thanks to Julian and Dave for all the hard work. These kind of things take a lot of organising and you nailed it boys!!
    Until the next one…

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great to see you Hiroshi!

  • Hiroshi said:

    The gathering was like a mini-convention. Many thanks for Dave and Julian to make it happen. I wish I had had more time to have a chat with other like-minded people.

    BTW has anybody got hold of the setlist sheet at the Portsmouth show? I am curious to know what other song they were to play for the encore (and eventually dropped). I would be very grateful if someone posts information here.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great to see you Gerd!

  • Gerd Zaunig said:

    Words cannot describe what a wonderful Zeppelin weekend it was.
    To me, normally it was only planned to see the fantastic Robert Plant & SSS show at the impressive Royal Albert Hall – my first concert visit in that venue and exactly on my birthday so … nothing can go anything wrong!
    I was happy to meet Dave and many other friendly Zep enthusiasts before the show at the Queens Arms pub.

    So far, so good.

    The weather conditions on Sunday were responsible for many cancelled flights from Heathrow airport. After 4 or 5 hours of waiting my flight back to Berlin was cancelled, too! That was the chance! Got a replacement flight next day, booked another hotel night, took the next subway back into the city and attented the O2 celebration event for the last couple of hours.
    Very, very happy to meet Graeme Hutchinson in person. Very, very happy to spoke to Eddie Edwards. The Atlas is a very fine pub, indeed.
    Sometimes it’s fate. I don’t like winter, snow and all that … but this time a few centimeters of snow gave me the opportunity to add another highlight to my 35+ years Led Zeppelin fandom.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Andy many thanks!

  • Andy Adams said:

    What can I add Dave?! A great day, a reunion in more than one sense. Meeting old comrades, putting faces to names from social media and indulging in that intangible thing called Led Zeppelin!
    It was wonderful mate and here’s to keeping the flame burning bright. Thanks to you and Julian for getting it together, and for getting me involved with Luis’ wonderful Q & A too.
    Here’s to 2018 and beyond…

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