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24 July 2019 1,698 views 4 Comments

Chris Charlesworth Just Backdated blog:

Here’s a great piece by Chris Charlesworth on TBL 45…

No rock group protected its rights more fiercely than Led Zeppelin. Manager Peter Grant famously declared war against anything and anyone that might seek to deprive them of income, make money off their backs or hamper their progress in any way, and if this meant something might get broken or someone get hurt then so be it. You made an enemy of the mighty Zep at your peril, at least until Grant retired from the front line. One old writer friend of mine suffers the occasional nightmare even now that involves a phone call guaranteed to sends shivers down his spine. “Hello, Peter Grant here,” he hears in that calmly intimidating voice Peter had perfected. “Me and the boys didn’t much like what you wrote in that magazine of yours. Don’t do it again.” The dial tone follows and he wakes up in a cold sweat.

So it must have taken a bit of nerve on the part of Dave Lewis to launch his Led Zep fanzine Tight But Loose in 1978. Perhaps he wasn’t aware of the mighty Gee’s reputation, or perhaps he thought that Grant wouldn’t concern himself with a well-intentioned fanzine unlikely to sell more than a few hundred copies. Either way, he did send copies to Swan Song’s offices and, by issue four, word reached him that they liked it. That must have been a relief. By 1980 Dave had endeared himself to the group to the extent that he was made welcome at a few gigs on their final ‘Over Europe’ tour.

All of this seems pertinent to the July issue, number 45, of TBL which comes complete with a replica of issue number three which was published in October 1979 and was largely devoted to in-depth coverage of the two shows that Led Zep performed in the open air at Knebworth on August 4 & 11 that year. So what we have is a 40-page facsimile within a 24-page ’zine, 64 pages in all, the biggest TBL ever produced.

Read the complete blog at:

Chris Charlesworth the always illuminating Former Melody Maker journalist and much respected author and music chronicler will be joining us at the Led Zeppelin Kenebworth 40th Anniversary  fan gathering on August 4 – see below.

He will be  discussing how Knebworth was viewed from across the water where he was working at the time – plus his role at Omnibus Press in editing more rock books than any man on the planet.

TBL Issue 45 Feedback:

Many thanks for all the great feedback I’ve received regarding TBL 45 – here’s some examples

I have been reading through the latest TBL Magazine, which I think is brilliant; its great to actually see the original TBL 3 and enjoy what you all experienced back in 1979! It’s a really great edition. Mark

Many thanks to all Thanks so much for your continued enthusiasm. I’m constantly amazed at your dedication but so very grateful for the information and thoughts that you share with us (dedicated Led Zep fans) continuously via the website and also the TBL editions.Regards & very best  wishes Phil.


Just received my bumper double issue Tight But Loose Issue 45, 64 Summer Holidays ready packed pages of joy! Dave has surpassed himself yet again, this is a superb issue, concentrating on the upcoming 40th anniversary of the two Knebworth concerts. Bound in the centre of this magazine is a really high quality facsimile of TBL Issue 3, published in October 1979, which had extensive and contemporary coverage of the two concerts. Very cleverly colour photos have been blended into the reproduction, and it works really well. Whilst the two Knebworth’s get centre stage, there is still plenty more in this issue, with coverage of Robert’s solo work, and an exclusive interview with John Paul Jones, which is a major scoop! Always lovely to hear from Jonesy. There is an interview about the University of Kent concert on 10th March 1971, and with author David Hepworth. Paul Sheppard has his usual thorough and detailed look at the 79 Copenhagen and Knebworth CDs, and Andy Adams brings his vast knowledge to bear on the Knebworth vinyl releases. More Knebworth tape coverage and memories conclude this superb issue. Julian Walker

Here’s a summary for Andy Adams blog:

If you have yet to indulge…

This special issue is being produced in a limited edition run – all individually numbered. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Don’t miss out – be sure to pre -order now… not so much a magazine – more a mini book!


This is a very special issue and essential TBL summer reading – many thanks for all your support

With just over a week  go to the TBL Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 40th anniversary gathering, here is all the info:



Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 40 Years Gone:

No Sleeping Bag Required…

40th Anniversary TBL Celebration Day Event:

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Following on from last September’s hugely enjoyable Led Zeppelin 50th Anniversary ‘It’s been a Long Time’ TBL gathering, later this year we are going back to the excellent Atlas pub in Fulham,London to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin performing those two memorable shows at Knebworth – 40 years to the day of the first date, and this time around there’s no sleeping bag required….

Here’s the details:

Dave Lewis and Julian Walker Present:

Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 40 Years Gone – No Sleeping Bag Required…

40 Anniversary TBL Celebration Day Event

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Atlas Pub

16 Seagrave Road, Fulham, London, SW6 1RX

From 12.00 Midday to 8.30PM

Nearest tube: West Brompton (District Line, London Overground, and Southern train services)

This is a great opportunity to get together and celebrate those landmark last UK performances – of which many reading this will have attended.

A Day of Led Zep Celebration – Guest Speaker Forums, Video Playbacks, Led Zep Knebworth Quiz and more

Guest Speakers to include:

Former Melody Maker  journalist and much respected author and music chronicler   Chris Charlesworth

Legendary Zep Tape Documentary book author Luis Rey

The esteemed Andy Adams – fountain of Zep knowledge

Phil Tattershall presenting ‘Confessions of a Led Zeppelin Taper at Knebworth 1979

Joseph Whiteside from Vancouver relays the story of how he came to be mentioned by Robert Plant on the Knebworth stage

Mick Bulow and Pat Mount on their experiences out in the field

A Day of Led Zep Celebration – Guest Speaker Forums, Video Playbacks, Led Zep Knebworth Quiz and more


Advance tickets for this event are now on sale – price £12.00

Please note, there is a ceiling limited on how many we can accommodate – so order your ticket as soon as possible to ensure entry.

Order tickets via Pay Pal at the link here:

Please note, there is a ceiling limited on how many we can accommodate so order your ticket as soon as possible to ensure entry.

We look forward to seeing all that can make it along –

Dave Lewis & Julian Walker  – July 24 , 2019.

John Paul Jones announces Japanese performances:  

This via John Paul Jones website:

Sons of Chipotle cover an uncommonly vast area of the musical map and both John Paul Jones and Anssi Karttunen are thrilled to be making their Japanese debut performance in September in Tokyo at the famous Pit Inn, Shinjuku on the 3rd and the 5th September.

It is incredibly rare to find two of the finest musicians in the world performing in such an intimate setting for what will be a series of remarkable concerts. Both musicians are known to be curious minds, always ready to learn and to discover. When they improvise, borders disappear, they are free to migrate beyond prejudices, across continents. In a world where walls are being built and people are told where they cannot go, Sons of Chipotle want music to be a place of openness.

There will be two performances per day at The Pit Inn featuring John Paul Jones on piano and electronics, with Anssi Karttunen on cello and electronics. Sons of Chipotle are deeply honoured to have two extraordinary guest artists join them on both days:

Otomo Yoshihide (Japan)
Jim O’Rourke (USA)

These performances are not to be missed!

Tickets go on sale: SUNDAY 28th July at 10 AM Japan Time

Ticket Sales at Pia
Tel: 0570-02-9999,
P code: 159-113
See link at:

Robert Plant Digging Deep Podcast 4:

Episode Four: Robert talks about Like I’ve Never Been Gone from the Pictures At Eleven album – superb song….

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.

Jimmy Page has confirmed that a standard edition of his Sundragon Amp is being released

Robert Plant has attended a university graduation ceremony for booking agent Rod MacSween who has been awarded with an honorary degree

Upcoming events:

July 24 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
July 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Dublin, Ireland.
July 28 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the WOMAD festival in the UK.
August 4 – Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis will hold a fan meetup in London to mark the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s Knebworth performances.
September 13 – Robert Plant will perform at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton, Canada.
September 15 – Robert Plant will perform at the CityFolk festival in Ottawa, Canada.
September 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
September 20 – Robert Plant will perform at the Outlaw Music Festival in Indianapolis.
September 21 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bourbon & Beyond music festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
September 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Clear Lake, Iowa.
September 25 – Robert Plant will perform in Moorhead, Minnesota.
September 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Missoula, Montana.
September 29 – Robert Plant will perform in Spokane, Washington.
October 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Salt Lake City, Utah.
October 3 – Robert Plant will perform in Bend, Oregon.
November – The “Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock And Roll” exhibition will move to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
December – Jimmy Page’s new book, “Jimmy Page: The Anthology,” will be released.

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

Classic Rock – Led Zeppelin II special:

The new issue of Classic Rock has an extensive feature on Led Zeppelin II as it celebrates it’s 50th anniversary.

I contributed an in depth Led Zeppelin II track by track summary for this piece.

This issue also has a Led Zeppelin album by Album supplement book and a Zep poster – all in all an excellent edition and well worth checking out.


The Prelude to Knebworth…the Copenhagen warm-ups – it was 40 years ago:

A 24 month break separated Led Zeppelin’s walking offstage in California on July 24th 1977 and their return to the concert stage in Copenhagen almost two years to the day on July 23rd 1979.

In a tactic that echoed Peter Grant’s original launch of the band in 1968, Led Zeppelin flew to Copenhagen on Monday July 23rd to perform two warm up shows for the big event. The venue chosen for the band’s first gig in two years was the Falkoner Theatre in Denmark’s capital. The venue had previously played host to the likes of Abba and it was also the venue where Judy Garland gave her last live performance in March 1969.

With a capacity of just 2,000, the low-key nature of these warm-up shows made it still possible to buy tickets on the door. Peter Grant gave promoter Arne Worsoe just 14 days notice to arrange this warm-up stint for Knebworth, which took them back to the scene of their first dates back in 1968.

The first night was littered with technical problems. The enormous lighting rig that the band had hoped to install was too big for the venue. This resulted in the persistent blowing of the generator, which led to long delays.

The show eventually ended at 1am the next morning. The set list read: ‘The Song Remains The Same’/’Celebration Day’/’Black Dog’/’Nobody’s Fault But Mine’/’Over The Hills And Far Away’/’Misty Mountain Hop’/’Since I’ve Been Loving You’/’No Quarter’/’Hot Dog’/’The Rain Song’/’White Summer’- ‘Black Mountain Side’/’Kashmir’/’Trampled Underfoot’/’Achilles Last Stand’/ Page Solo/’In The Evening’/’Stairway To Heaven’/’Rock And Roll’.

Predictably there were first night nerves as they worked on the set list that would be presented to the massive crowds due at Knebworth in twelve days time. From the new album there were debuts for ‘Hot Dog’ and ‘In The Evening’. The press reaction was decidedly mixed, Erik Von Lustbaden, writing for Sounds, described the show as, “Dazzling, staggering and sometimes awful.

‘’The subdued lights were still much better than most bands will ever have. The powerful ascending riff of ‘Kashmir’ and the group’s sense of simple melody and repetition combine to at least give an inkling of why they’ve attained such legendary status. Dazzling. Another Page solo, all without any backing. I went for a piss, bought a bar of chocolate, ate it, had a sit down, made some notes, went back in, and he was still playing it!!”

However Eric Kornfeldt, reporting for New Musical Express, delivered one of the most vitriolic reviews in their entire career. Under the headline “Dazed’n’Abused he stated, “They appeared sloppy and unrehearsed, sometimes seeming awkwardly lost, bewildered, stiff and reluctant to play. They were no more than a quartet of uninspired old men, a relic from the past. There was so little feeling inherent in the set that for the most part it was like watching a fully automated factory producing an endless string of chords that neither musicians nor audience cared about.”

The next night they returned to turn in a more consistent set. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ replaced ‘Rock And Roll’ as an encore and they also added ‘Ten Years Gone.’ The latter endured the only real technical hitch as delays occurred with setting up Jones’s effects pedals prompting Plant to comment: “We’ll very shortly be doing ‘Eleven Years Gone’.”

Again the venue was not sold out

Jon Carlsson reported on this gig for Melody Maker and was generally impressed – particularly Page’s solo. “The bow began glowing with an eerie green light that you could read a book by. It made Page look like a Crowleyite elf or perhaps Obe Wan Kanobe on exotic snuff. Page was then enclosed by a green pyramid of thin laser light, which on every fourth beat rotated through 90 degrees. It became faster in its rotations until it became a glowing green cone. Page stepped back into it and let the colour wash over him.”

The coverage of the Copenhagen shows gave UK fans a hint of what was to follow on August 4th…


NOSTALGIC RECOLLECTIONS FROM OUT IN THE FIELD (and from the Falconer Theatre, Copenhagen)

 For the thousands of fans who converged on Hertfordshire over the first two weekends of August 1979, Led Zeppelin at Knebworth was more than a gig. It was an adventure.

For many young rock fans it was their first experience of a large festival gathering. They came from all over the UK and beyond to pay homage to a band whose legacy was already assured. Seeing though, was believing and the prospect of witnessing first hand how Led Zeppelin would fare in the post punk musical climate of the day proved irresistible. They faced long coach trips there and back, primitive camping facilities, poor sanitary conditions and long queues for food and drink, not to mention t.shirts, programmes, badges etc.

And finally after enduring a variety of somewhat mediocre support acts, they got what they came for.

Every one of the thousands in attendance returned with a story to tell.

44 of those stories are relayed here.

The common denominator of them all is the proud boast to say all these years on…



Nils Westerholt,

Roedby, Denmark.

‘’How was it then back in 79’?’’ ‘’What impression did it make on you?’’

‘’’I mean, you were only 15 ½ and it was your first full size rock concert, wasn’t it?’’

I was asked these questions and many more by Danish TV2 journalist Kasper Frische about a year and a half ago. He was doing a feature for the Danish TV2 News on October 1st 2007 and somehow he had traced me for an interview.  The subject was actually the ticket ballot for the Led Zeppelin O2 concert in London – Would I get tickets? (I was filmed several times during the day opening my e-mail account looking for a winner’s mail, but unfortunately without success), how were the chances of winning and how did I actually become interested in Led Zeppelin?

We started to talk about my first and only Led Zeppelin concert back in 1979 in Copenhagen, and as I talked memories came rolling along – starting as vague pictures in my mind and soon turning into a strange kind of 3D.

So freeze frame and let’s go back 40 years…

The Danish Connection:

The Copenhagen Warm Ups were arranged very quickly. Peter Grant contacted Arne Worsoe, the promoter here who had been dealing with Zeppelin since the first tour.  He was and still is a very well known and respected promoter and European tour arranger for stars like Liza Minnelli, Cliff Richard, Prince and many others.

Shaking Hands:

So what exactly happened?  Recently I contacted Arne Worsoe and he revealed how he came to be so important to Zeppelin in Scandinavia.

“I had worked with Peter Grant several times before.’’ he told me.  ‘’We never had a written contract or a piece of paper between us.  From the very first time back in 1968 it was just a chat and then he would offer me his enormous hand across the table and if I agreed we just shook hands and that was it.  I still remember his enormous hand almost surrounding half of my arm!  We did not exactly negotiate, actually he told me what was needed and how things should be and then he mentioned the fee.  So you can say it was always a kind of take it or leave it.  But I must say he was a most trustworthy and honest person, and also a very warm and friendly guy.  Of course I have heard of promoters and arrangers having problems with Grant, but to me he was always 100% reliable and very kind, and his word was even better than a contract of 80 pages which is the standard nowadays.

In 1979 I remember he phoned me around the beginning of July and asked for an arrangement within three weeks or so.  As usual I jumped on the next plane to London, and as usual we met at his office and had a nice talk during which practical matters were discussed. And then also as usual, he mentioned the fee and we shook hands. Nothing more to it – except for me having to arrange the concerts of the year back in Denmark!”

Worsoe also remembers picking up Peter Grant and the four band members at Copenhagen Airport in an enormous stretch-limo:

On the way to the hotel he asked me “Well, Arne, can you tell me how much is it we are going to make tonight?” I was not sure if he really had forgotten the exact deal or if he was just testing me, but anyway I mentioned the amount we had agreed a few weeks before in London when shaking hands and he just grinned, which meant something like “right my boy, that’s it”.

Concert Of The Year:

On Sunday July 8th 1979 the leading Danish newspaper Berlingske (a leading Danish newspaper) announced that the deal “with the biggest attraction of the music world” was sealed. The band had asked for the K.B. Hallen but it was not available for rock concerts in 1979 so instead it was announced they would play at the smaller venue, the Falkoner Theatre.

Again according to the paper, tickets and posters were printed quickly during the weekend to be ready to go on sale starting on Monday morning. Worsoe was quoted that it was the fastest arrangement of a major rock concert he had ever been involved in.

The Falkoner Theatre at Frederiksberg in Copenhagen was (and still is) a concert/congress hall with very good acoustics, having housed a lot of prominent stars over the years ranging from the likes of Sinatra and Liza Minnelli to Johnny Winter, Yes and The Firm.  At the time it was considered a very small place for Zep to perform in with a capacity of only 2,200 (all seated).  I also remember the staff as being extremely well dressed middle-aged people wearing nice black uniforms and caps.

Copenhagen Relations:

Copenhagen had been the launch pad for Led Zeppelin back in 1968.  It was no real surprise they should come here to warm up for their big Knebworth comeback.

All in all Led Zeppelin played in Denmark nine times during their career, most of them in Copenhagen. Alongside the strong relationship with Arne Worsoe, the free thinking attitude of the culture suited the band in more ways than one.  It was previously reported that the band had hired a club in Copenhagen during their stay to spend some hours enjoying the company of young blonde Scandinavian beauties.

Back in 1990 when Robert Plant played at Saga in Copenhagen with his band I remember Robert dedicating the song ‘Liar’s Dance’ to “a long gone Copenhagen love way back in the 1970’s”.

Thanks to my older brother I was well into Led Zeppelin. He wasn’t that big a music freak, but he introduced me to ’Whole Lotta Love’ through a set of headphones in the mid seventies.  Did I wake up?  Man I did!  What a sound and what a world of music.  Within a second Alvin Stardust and Bachman Turner Overdrive were out – Zep was in. From then on it was Led Zeppelin above every band for me.

My friends were mainly focused on the likes of Sweet and Slade, but their older brothers or sisters became a source to get cassette recordings of the early Zep LP’s. Then in 1976 I experienced the first release of a new album, buying Presence on cassette – a pink one!

By the end of the 1970’s Led Zeppelin was not as popular as they had been here.  It was a struggle to find out much information about them.  I was living in Roedby, a small town about a hundred miles south of Copenhagen which made it even more difficult to be updated on what was going on in the rock business.  Record releases and concert news were scarce.

I knew little about Zeppelin’s plans but then I saw it.  An advert – quite a small one, announcing that Led Zeppelin was going to play in Copenhagen on July 23rd and that tickets would be on sale the following day.

It was my summer holiday and I was working at the local woodyard.  For some reason I was not able to phone for tickets until the day after they went on sale.  “Sold out!” was the message – but very quickly they added a second show for July 24th. I ordered two tickets on the balcony at a price of 80 kr. each. Prices varied from 60 to 120 kr – about £6 to £12 at that time I guess.

Man I was happy!  I phoned my best friend whom I had converted to Zeppelin but he was not able to go. Eventually I persuaded Jesper, a guy from the wood yard to go with me.  He did not know much about Zep so I taped The Song Remains The Same album for him.  The next day he came to me and said he liked the music – the songs were good he said, but the one at the end of the tape was the best.  I thought he meant ‘Whole Lotta Love’ until he started to hum ‘Love Me Do’, then I realized that I had recorded the stuff on an old cassette tape containing some old Beatles songs, one of which I’d left on!

The next challenge was how to go to Copenhagen.  I had to convince my parents that going to Copenhagen on my own at the age of just fifteen was a perfect way to spend a summer’s Tuesday night.  Once that was negotiated we sorted out the journey by train.  We arrived at Copenhagen Central Station after a two hour train ride.  It was early afternoon and we had some hours to spare.  Before leaving the station we saw some cinema posters – The Song Remains The Same was being re-shown at the cinemas.  Amazingly I had not seen the film yet.  I thought about going but it was too much in one day.

We saw a large crowd near the Plaza hotel near the station.  We quickly caught on that this was where the band was staying.  Huge white limos were lined up in front of the hotel.  We thought we might see them coming out but nothing happened.  Later on we heard that they had slipped away through the back door.

On our way to Copenhagen we had read the papers and the reviews of the first concert the night before with headlines such as “Led Zeppelin – fiasco beyond everything” and “Scandal Zeppelin premiere”.  Reviewers were all very disappointed:

First of all the show had been delayed for more than two hours without any explanation and when the band finally came on stage and played it did not go that well.  The words ‘under-rehearsed’ and ‘rusty’ appeared in the reviews and the band were described as being “old men hiding their insecurity and lack of abilities behind an incredible high volume of sound”.

Another leading newspaper, Berlingske, had the headline “I beg your pardon?” meaning that the reviewer literally had lost some of his hearing temporarily and still had painful problems when writing the review!  The reviewer claimed that he simply had to leave after half an hour because of the volume, writing “they did not play loud, they did not play tremendously loud – they simply made a noise like breaking the speed of sound”. Although he admitted that “Jimmy Page momentarily showed his great abilities as a guitar player” but that he could not understand “why nobody had shown him how to turn down the amplifier”.

The reviewer also criticized the sound crew stating “they had not made a full scale test of sound and light systems so that the technical problems causing the delay could have been avoided”.

Night Flight:

The main problem was the massive technical problems that hit the show on the first night:

Some of the staff at the theatre told me more about the problems the night before.  Thirty people had been working hard for two days to set up the stage, PA and lighting systems.  Everything was designed and prepared for the forthcoming Knebworth shows and it was simply too big for the dimensions of the venue – and there was little time to check it all properly.

When everything was turned on for the first time the entire electricity supply at the Falkoner Centre simply broke down (or blew up).  No explanation was given to the audience who had to wait for two hours before the show was ready to take go.  Meanwhile the technicians fought with the massive problems.  Eventually they succeeded in getting a large mobile generator from Frederiksberg Municipality transported to the venue (actually a generator dimensioned to supply a medium sized province town with electricity in case of emergency).  So just after 10 pm they came on stage and before they started playing Robert apologized to the audience for being late and having problems, and then said “there is not a lot to say but quite a lot to play after eight years” The band finished about three hours later, just after 1 am.

So to the second night Tuesday July 24th.  After spending some hours on the sidewalk in front of the Plaza Hotel we headed for the venue.  Lots of people were hanging out, many of them drinking and some of them smoking some kind of sweet smelling grass too.  Old hippies, Hells Angels-looking guys, some nice birds and chicks.

So what was it going to be like?  A scandal like last night as reported in the papers?  Would they be delayed again tonight?  We had to catch the train back to Roedby at quarter to midnight otherwise we would have big problems – two fifteen year old guys stuck in the middle of Copenhagen with almost no money and worried parents at home.  We made plans for a quick departure from the concert

We found our seats on the balcony. We were surrounded by some big heavy guys wearing leather vests. One of them had a tattoo of a big airship on his back. Apart from some loud shouting and smoking grass they were harmless.  Their shouts would soon be totally overshadowed by a thunderstorm of heavy and (my god!) loud music.  The one thing the critics were totally right about was the volume at the concert.  It was tremendously loud, ideal to reach out at Knebworth I guess but not for an indoor 2,200 seater arena in Copenhagen!

It was so loud that those in the front moved back as they started playing. It was too loud for even the hard core fans to stay there and even back on the balcony I remember we held our hands to our ears during the most intensive parts of the concert.

Out On The Tiles:

8.00 pm The lights went out.  Heavy clapping.  Tension.  Awaiting.  And then, at 8.15 pm the strident sound of Jimmy’s thundering guitar intro to the ‘The Song Remains The Same’ tore the darkness.  It felt like we were thrown back in our seats by the sheer sound wave.  Then as the song reached the first break (by the start of the vocal parts) the dark theatre was enlightened by heavy spotlights.

The sound was incredibly loud but aside from a delay before ‘Ten Years Gone’ (Robert joking it will soon be eleven years gone) it went smoothly.  The brand new ‘Hot Dog’ was played at maximum volume in a heavy staccato-like energetic version. ‘In The Evening’ from the new album was also inspired.

The only time I felt the concert lost some momentum was during Jimmy’s long Dan Electro solo performing ‘White Summer’/’Black Mountain Side’.  I did actually go out to get a drink and when I got back Jimmy was still in the middle of this solo!

Jimmy’s bowing section, standing enclosed by this green laser pyramid as it started to rotate faster and faster was just amazing.

‘Stairway To Heaven’ closed the show and then we had a powerful version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as the encore.

Three hours later, at about 11.15pm we rushed out of the theatre after the last distorted tones of ‘Whole Lotta Love’’ had faded out. We got a cab then headed for the central station just in time to catch the last train back home.

We were both totally blown by this experience.  I had just seen (and heard) my favourite band of all time.  We discussed the concert again and again during the train ride home, how great and overwhelming everything had been that night.  Aside from ‘Rock And Roll’ we had everything and more than we could have wished for.

Back home I made frequent visits to the local record store to ask for the new album but it was some weeks before I was able to hear the likes of ‘In The Evening’ again.

Since 1979 I’ve seen bigger concerts like Pink Floyd in 1988 and 1995, more heartfelt performances such as Robert Plant in recent years…but never louder, never more overwhelming, breathtaking or defining to me than that night in Copenhagen 30 years ago.  And most important of all I can proudly say “I was there…’’

My Copenhagen …and Knebworth

Christer Fahlström

He looked pretty unexceptional, but he was the first person I’d met with a genuine interest in music and who knew which artists were good and which bands you should definitely see. His name was Ove Stridh and he became my best friend during our military service.

The year was 1978 and in our spare time we argued over the relative merits of tracks like “Midnight Rambler” and “Kashmir” emanating from the cheap little speakers that we had put up in our barracks.

We were both engaged as telegraphists and we were young and reckless. We would often broadcast Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones via shortwave radio even though radio silence was enforced on major military exercises. Ove and I were convinced that we had been placed in our particular military unit because we wouldn’t have fitted in an ordinary Swedish regiment. Ove was a music poet. I was a crazy drummer.

One evening Ove told me a remarkable story. Aged seventeen in 1975, he had travelled alone to England to fulfil his life’s ambition: to visit Knebworth to see, hear and experience Pink Floyd. At that time there were neither mobiles, YouTube, Ryan Air nor internet. It required a lot more work back then to get hold of tickets, collect information and get where you wanted to be. Now, 34 years later, I realise that this particular evening was the origin of the amazing Zeppelin expedition that would follow.

It was spring 1979. Ove and I had left the military and our paths had separated. We were reunited again by a common contact, Anders Lindman, who I had met at my new job at GDC (The Gramophone Company’s distribution centre) where we were usually packing mountains of Abba records for shipment to record stores. Anders was a close friend of Ove and they both came from the same small town in Jämtland. Through Anders I kept in contact with Ove who forwarded tips on places where you could order bootlegs. Ove built Stones and Floyd collections and I was trying to build my first Zeppelin collection.

Zeppelin had recently been in Stockholm to record “In Through the Out Door” in ABBA’s Polar Studios. I had tried to meet them at the Sheraton where they were staying. I brought their album “Presence” with me and was hoping to get it signed, but their road manager informed me through the reception that they had left the hotel just an hour earlier.

Soon after, a colleague at work told me about a rumour he’d heard that Zeppelin would return to Stockholm for a one-off concert. The rumor turned out to be wrong and instead, two gigs at the Falkoner Theatre in Copenhagen were announced as a warm-up for the band’s scheduled comeback concerts in Knebworth two weeks later.

I was not slow to act. Just a few days later I had tickets in my hand. I hadn’t managed to get tickets to the first show but I found tickets for the second one (which turned out to be the best of the two). Meanwhile, Ove and I had also got tickets for Knebworth and we had started planning our trip there: I to see Zeppelin and Ove to see Keith Richards perform with Ronnie Wood in their side project, The New Barbarians.

But first I was completely focused on Copenhagen to see Led Zeppelin, the Gods, for the first time.

Ten days before my first trip to England, I was in Copenhagen. I had spent my childhood in Malmö, Sweden and I knew Copenhagen pretty well, but this would be my first visit to the Falkoner Theatre. I spent the day at a seedy hotel behind the Grand Central Station together with Lars Norén, a friend of Ove who had tagged along.

We sat in our room and read the negative Danish press reviews of Zeppelin’s first concert the previous night, which had been seriously held up by a power cut. Many irate journalists – and press photographers who weren’t allowed to take photographs – had missed flights and trains back home thanks to the delayed start to the concert.

I just wanted to be able to take some secret pictures. I had to get me a pretty neat camera that wouldn’t take up too much space. Just a single lens, selection of light-sensitive slide film and choice of clothing so that the equipment could be hidden and smuggled. Throughout that spring I had been listening to their repertoire on the complete bootleg box from their US tour in Cleveland 1977 (“The Destroyer” Smilin’ Ears Records, Inc.) to get an insight into how their performances would be.

Finally we were there – Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen, Tuesday July 24th, 1979, about 15 metres from the stage. A third of the seats were empty but we were still around a thousand fans gathered. The concert was late in starting and the mood was pensive after the bad reviews.

Suddenly the silence was broken, “The Song Remains the Same” opened with a bang! Everything unleashed. Bonham sat flush with the audience and you could feel the pressure wave created by his right foot pounding the skin on his mighty Ludwig 24″ bass drum. I couldn’t have been more alive! Just to see Jimmy with his twin-necked 1971 Gibson EDS-1275 got the blood boiling in my veins. What pressure, what power! Now they are on stage with a vengeance!

At one point in the concert the lights were extinguished. It was pitch black so you could not discern whether the band had left the stage. Three red spotlights suddenly lit to show Jimmy Page sitting alone with his 1960 Danelectro. He started to play “White Summer/Black Mountain Side.”

It sounded wonderful and brought to mind the bootleg I had played throughout the spring. I had been completely blown away by the contrast when Jimmy’s controlled guitar playing on “Black Mountain Side” was followed by an explosive version of their brutal juggernaut track, “Kashmir.” Would it happen again? I gambled. When Jimmy was approaching the end of “Black Mountain Side,” I stood up on my seat seat, stretched out my arms to the sky and shouted as loud as I could: Kashmiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrr!

I had not finished my roar when we were dazzled by a dozen spotlights mounted on Bonham’s drum riser. It brought the rest of the band on stage again to the overwhelmingly heavy sound of Kashmir. Everyone else in the audience had now risen and was roaring with me. In the shockwave of the sheer volume coming from the stage it felt like we would be bent like trees in a hurricane. That transition, the incredible power – I will never forget that moment!

Two weeks later, I was with Ove and some friends of his on a giant campsite in Knebworth Park near the enclosure where Zeppelin would play the following day. When the gates were opened in the morning, the guards took our tickets and we managed to find a spot about 50 metres to the left of the big oak tree in front of the stage. Before us the ground sloped down toward the stage, which meant we had a better view than the crowd in front of us. I was just 20 years old. It was my first extended trip abroad and I was enjoying being in the midst of music fans from around the world.

The mood was friendly and people around us were offering us all kind of drugs – cocaine, grass, and even poppers they sniffed from small glass bottles. We politely declined but Ove countered by opening a tin of Swedish snus. This is a tobacco product similar to what the English call snuff, which is in a dry powder form and is sniffed up the nose. Snus however, is tobacco in a moist form which is placed under the upper lip.

A friend called Pepe and I each put a large pinch under our upper lip, to our neighbours’ great surprise.

“What is that drug?”, asked one of them.

“It’s called snus,” I replied, “it dates from the Viking Age.”

Word spread quickly about the Swedes with the mysterious drug. Suddenly there was a line of French, British and Americans eager to try this new high.

The hours rolled by and there were many fine performances on the main stage. But I was there to see Zeppelin and when the sun started to go down I knew it was time for Led Zeppelin to take the stage. Suddenly lights came up, and there they were on stage with Jimmy dressed in a blue silk shirt and white pants. Around his neck hung his legendary double-necked Gibson SG and he hit the first chord to “The Song Remains the Same” in the exactly the same way he did in Copenhagen. Later into the concert Robert Plant delivered two Presence racks: “Achilles Last Stand” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” both of which worked better on the big stage in Knebworth.

After over two hours, they completed their set with “Stairway to Heaven.” The lights went down but the fans continued to call for more. After more than 10 minutes of this, Robert Plant could be heard singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the stage and suddenly a spotlight picks him out. Behind him is John Bonham marching with a drum major’s stick. It was a great feeling to be singing along with nearly 200,000 others.

Suddenly there is the thunderous bang of a guitar cable being plugged into an already cranked-up amp and seconds later they launched into the best “Whole Lotta Love” I’ve ever heard followed by “Rock ’n’ Roll.” Two policeman who had stood near us throughout the concert could no longer hold back as they started dancing and waving helmets.

Ove nagged that we had to leave the area and I insisted they will surely play Heartbreaker at least. We walked away in the August darkness to avoid falling into the same chaotic situation when we arrived. Ove shrugged when I repeatedly tried to persuade him that we should stay. When we approached the gates a few minutes later, about 500 yards from the scene, I heard Jimmy Page start to play Heartbreaker. It was too late, and too many people to return. When I listened to Jimmy Page’s brilliant one hand solo in the middle of the song, I could not hold back the tears. How could I be so stupid? And my words to Ove were not very gracious.

What I did not know back then was that I would get another chance to see them.

This time in London. But that’s another story…

More Knebworth memories to follow…

Text extracted from the book Then As It Was Led Zeppelin At Knebworth 1979 

I am currently working on a new package of the Knebworth book – this should be available in late August/early September – more details on this to follow soon.

Here’s some news from Letz Zep’s Billy Kulke:

Letz Zep are  excited to announce that they will be sailing on the ’70s Rock & Romance Cruise, sailing  from 15 to 22 February 2020.

Rocking out from Miami to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti. With bands such as Cheap Trick, America and Jefferson Starship, It’s gonna be the ultimate trip back to the ’70s.

Use promo code LETZZEPFAN for special savings!

New Billy Kulke book:

Letz Zep singer Billy Kulke has a new book out – here’s the info:

The second book in the ‘Backstage’ series by Liverpool born Billy Kulke, best known as the charismatic vocalist for Letz Zep. The number one tribute to Led Zeppelin. Even Robert Plant said it was like watching himself onstage ‘I walked in, I saw me’ was his comment.

This book tells of the bands rise from humble beginnings to performing on the biggest stages in the world, From London to Sydney, Moscow to Paris, also performing at the Official Led Zeppelin launch Party for the Mothership CD. Letz Zep where also honoured and humbled to headline at the ‘John Bonham – A Celebration’ Concert to remember the life and legacy of the great Zeppelin percussionist.

In this sequel, Letz Zep are about to embark on their biggest and most ambitious tour to date. To drive their ship to new lands. A tour that take in 40 countries on 4 continents. So, what is it like to be part of a band that tours the world? Meeting the members of Led Zeppelin. An insightful  view from the stage, the crowds, backstage….but what goes on behind the scenes?

Full of highly amusing ‘laugh out loud’ tales from one of the hardest working and successful bands touring today. Billy continues to spill the beans on the backstage antics of the band with great hilarity. The scrapes they get into, but more importantly, the way they get out of it!  An insightful and fascinating read for anybody with an interest in the genre.

Available on amazon in paperback and kindle versions, also available on New World Music.

More from The People’s Front Of LZ:

George Fludas on the latest clips from the Peoples Front – and very good they are too:

We’re Gonna Groove/I Can’t Quit You Baby    –
Bron Yr Aur –     I think Ivan played this exquisitely.

DL Diary Blog Update:
Last Saturday it was great to hook up with Julian Walker today for a planning meeting at the excellent Atlas pub in Fulham where we are staging the aforementioned TBL Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 40th Anniversary Gathering on Sunday August 4. We are looking forward to seeing all that can make it along.
Here’s a pic taken at StudioMix last week  working with TBL designer Mick Lowe. Now TBL 45 is a wrap and out there it’s ever onward onto the next TBL projects which includes working on the programme for the TBL Atlas Pub Knebworth 40th Anniversary gathering on August 4 and the new 40th Anniversary package of my Then As It Was Led Zeppelin At Knebworth book – more on all this soon

On the player, Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti which I note has been voted number one in the 100 Greatest Albums Of The 70s poll in the new issue of Planet Rock. I would entirely agree with that result…it’s sounding as brilliant as ever –




1969 DL album picks:

All this 1969 50 years ago Man on the Moon media activity ( which has been amazing to watch) got me thinking what a memorable year it was in music with so many fantastic album releases -almost on a par with 1971. To that end, I’ve been searching out some prime 1969 albums for the player – so in an ongoing 1969 DL album picks – the first one  is the brilliant Willie And The Poor Boys album by Creedence Clearwater Revival – and sounding superb.

There was more vinyl record delights to be and last night at the monthly Pete Burridge Record Club staged at The Castle. The Slider album by T. Rex being one of many very fine albums on the player -here’s Pete and myself digging some Bolan boogie…


Dave Lewis  – July 24,2019

Until next time –  have a great  weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Paul many thanks!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Oh yes I need to add those!

  • IanD said:

    Honourable additions to your 1969 list Dave, I feel duty bound to mention one time Zep warm up act Fairport Convention released 3 crackers in the same calendar year; What We Did On Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking and Liege and Lief. All with differing line ups! Great times, just ask Bryan Adams.

  • Paul Gross said:

    Hi Dave,
    Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying the new TBL #45! Essential reading from cover to cover. I absolutely LOVE the reprint of TBL #3, very nice for the anniversary of Knebworth!(I only wish I could’ve been there!)
    Very enlightening interview with JPJ, and I always enjoy the collectors and bootleg columns.
    Thanks and keep up the fine work,

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