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16 June 2011 11,561 views 4 Comments

Rejuvenation in Cologne: Wednesday June 18th 1980 -Photo by Tom Locke.

The magnificent city of Cologne, a mixture of hustling German efficiency and enthusiastic tourism, looks dull and hazy as our train rolls into the station on a June, Wednesday morning. It’s in the vicinity of the square that surrounds the impressive Cologne cathedral that the reality of what Tom and I are actually doing here really hits home.  Along a side street adjoining the square are a row of blue and red bill posters, each proclaiming the same message: “Lippman, Rau and Scheller present Led Zeppelin Concert 80.”  The slogan spells out clearly that Led Zeppelin are once again fully operational as a working rock ‘n’ roll band.

Yes it’s true. Led Zeppelin are coming over to meet the 80s.  Their first tour in three years is finally happening.

The decision to return to the European community after a seven year absence had been taken as far back as April.   The group booked extensive rehearsals at London’s Rainbow and New Victoria Theatre, then switched to Shepperton in readiness for a number of German concerts which were set up through Harvey Goldsmith’s Umbrella operation scheduled for late May.  However, the itinerary went through a series of revisions (in usual Zep style) before the final plans were laid for the group’s return to touring with fourteen gigs in mid June through early July across Germany, Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.  Following a further spate of rehearsals at Shepperton, the Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 tour carnage was ready to roll.

So cut back to Cologne, June 18th, 1980. The second day of the tour. The previous night the band had done the ritual, rust stripping in Dortmund, except this time around there hadn’t been a lot of rust to strip.  In Cologne’s plush Inter-Continental Hotel, Robert Plant is telling me that the first gig had been, in his words “brilliant!”, which for a Zep first night is nothing short of incredible. “I don’t know about tonight being so good but yes, it’s great to be back” adds Mr. Plant, clad in a good looking Brazil yellow soccer shirt, jeans and tennis shoes.

John Paul Jones has short hair again.  Similar to the 1975 model, making him look slightly younger maybe.  John Bonham looks as bold as brass in his “All Right Now” sweat shirt, his thick Midlands accent warm and familiar.  Jimmy Page looks weary in white.  Unshaven, unsteady and sweaty.  Any doubts about his fitness though are going to be completely dispelled a few hours from now.

About three miles away from the hotel, across the Rhine, is the Cologne Sporthalle. Usually reserved for the local cycling club, tonight it’s accommodating the radically cut-down Zeppelin P.A.  Just a basic stage layout with a black backcloth-no big lights or lasers. So, it’s just after 8pm, 170 days into the eighties, when Led Zeppelin collectively come out to face them.  The lights dim, the canned music fades and I get that familiar (but not experienced since last August) below the belt surge that travels through the whole body.  No-one introduces the group, but then again no-one needs to…


That’s the introduction to Rejuvenation Over Europe 1980, the third chapter of the Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind -Over Europe 1980 book. Incredibly that Cologne gig was all of 31 years ago on Saturday – it’s therefore somewhat fitting that all these years on from that very day, June 18th will mark the home launch of the book I have written and compiled about the tour.

The launch is a tie in with the  Whole Lotta Led gig on Saturday at the Civic Theatre in Bedford.

The TBL crew will be hooking up at the George & Dragon pub in Mill Street beforehand and then going over to the gig. I am looking forward to seeing the likes of Gary F, Cliff Hilliard etc for the first time in some months.

There will be a an array of TBL merchandise on sale and the always excellent Whole Lotta Led will be performing their Led Zep IV set and all the usual faves.

Doors open 7pm – Tickets are available via

Or visit the Whole Lotta Led web site for details at

Tickets will also be available on the night. We look forward to seeing all that can make it.

Quick aside: June 18th is a date that stick in my mind for a couple of other years: In 1970 it was on that day that I went to see The Beatles Let It Be at the cinema as we were off school that day as it was the General Election and Ted Heath was about to end Harold Wilson’s Labour rule, and ten years ago it was the day I went down with a mystery face and eye infection that led to a nine day stay in hospital.

On Tuesday it was to a hot and sweaty London to appear live on Nicky Horne’s show on Planet Rock Radio. It was great to see Nicky and fellow presenter Liz Barnes. Nicky was fantastically enthusiastic about the book as can be heard. I used to hang on to Nicky’s every word listening to his show in my bedroom when he had his show on Capital Radio in the mid 70s so being interviewed by him (for the second time) was a terrific buzz.

If you missed it, here’s the Listen Again link via Planet Rock

With Nicky Horne and TBL product -Planet Rock Studios, London June 14th 2011.

The book has been incredibly well received and if you have yet to invest – the ordering link is here:

Feather In TheWind Over Europe 1980 The Book

Before hooking up at the Planet Rock studios, I dropped a book off to Tim Marten at his guitar workshop. Tim of course was Jimmy’s guitar tech from the 1980 Over Europe tour up to the mid 80s and contributed a superb interview that can be seen in the book. While there, Tim showed me the highly impressive  custom guitar he designed a few years back – the Tim Marten VH1. I asked him if he ever designed a guitar for Jimmy and he relayed a great story of how he created a custom built guitar for Jimmy built on elements of the Dan Electro that was ultimately never used on stage.

With Tim Marten and TBL product – London June 14th, 2011

Tim Marten with the custom made VH1 guitar -London, June 14th 2011

Plenty going on here with the book to promote and The Who Who’s Next feature to get stuck into. Also beginning to map out the content of the next two issues of the TBL magazine and there’s some great stuff lined up.

Have to say TBL 29 has got a little lost amongst all the book activity. If you have yet to re subscribe now is the time (and a fair few regulars have yet to do so) – don’t miss out – once again this is essential Zep reading and don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a review from the Zep Underground Uprising web site that hopefully will prompt lapsed subscribers and new readers to invest:

Tight But Loose Issue 29

The issue of every new release of Tight But Loose from the highly elequent pen of Dave Lewis is always an event to be savoured. And this latest release is no exception. In fact I am of the opinion that this is one of the very best ever issues of this venerable organ, as they say in Private Eye! There are so many extremely interesting articles crammed into the 32 pages (printed on extremely high quality art paper) that it is difficult to know where to begin.  Not surprisingly there are several articles and references to the Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind –Over Europe 1980  book, which is a landmark in its coverage of a single tour by the band, and tragically their last one too.
Bringing fans right up to date are articles about Black Country Communion (with an exclusive interview with Jason Bonham), and also Robert Plant with his Band of Joy. These are followed by an interview with DJ Bob Harris, always a joy to hear him speak about the good old days. And then a major article about THAT song, which was first aired in public forty years ago. And Gerard Sparaco has his usual highly insightful review of recent underground CDs. The magazine finishes off with a major and detailed coverage of the 1971 concerts, an extremely important period in the development of the band, and one of my favourite era’s. So many people first heard about the band from their Paris Theatre BBC broadcast from 1 April 1971.Already looking forward to the coverage of the latter part of 1971, especially their legendary first tour of Japan.
So once again a cracking read, and highly recommended(Jules Mctarinspotter).

Here’s the ordering link to subscribe to the 2011 TBL magazines commencing with issue 29 as reveiwed above:

Tight But Loose OneYear Subscription


Last week I attended the funeral of Colin Garner the former manager of our football team Wallbangers FC which ran from 1976 to 1981(and in a revival format from 1986 to 1995). It was more than a football team, indeed at times it was like playing for the Keystone Cops –my lifelong friends Dec, Tom, Phil, Max etc were all part of it and we still have the photos to remind us how brilliantly mad it all was. Colin was a larger than life character who lived life to the full. As well as being our manager, he ran a driving school and even attempted to teach me the noble art of handling four wheels. Those that know me well will know that this was ill advised as I function best on two wheels (the trusty pushbike). He was also a big Liverpool fan and the playing during the service of You’ll Never Walk Alone was a fitting and moving tribute.

Wallbangers FC September 1979 – the late Colin Garner back row far left. DL the goalkeeper back row second right. Dec’s dog was sub.

On the player: The crystal clear Seattle March 17th 1975 show that has just turned up. As Proximity’s Hugh Jones once so rightly put it, this is Zeppelin at the top of their game – and he should know he was lucky enough to be there. Also got stuck into some Small Faces/Humble Pie after reading the excellent Small Faces/Steve Marriot feature in Uncut magazine plus the Carole King Tapestry reissue (thank your Terry B.) Vinyl wise I’ve dug out Gary Wright’s Dream Weaver LP (he is currently on tour with Ringo Starr’s All Starr band),the aforementioned Humble Pie’s Rockin’ The Fillmore  which led me in turn to the box set Fillmore The Last Days which I purchased for £3.49 in WH Smiths in the summer of 1972 when I had just started work. This has some great stuff on their from Santana including the awesome Incident At Neshabur/In A Silent Way– I also really enjoyed the BBC4 Santana documentary screened last Friday – what a guitarist – and I know I’ve said it before but an all star guest vocalist type album ala Carlos’ 1999 smash hit album Supernatural, might well be a suitable vehicle for Jimmy Page to get his teeth into.

It was an incredible thrill to be up close again and in front of the guitarist at the Donovan Royal Albert Hall show. The response on the site to my report of that surprise appearance was proof again of the massive respect and interest he commands. Details of the launch of the official Jimmy Page web site should be through soon.

Photo – Larry Ratner

It was great to hear from Larry Ratner for the first time in a long while this week. Larry published a pioneering large format limited edition photo book in 1994. I have great memories of him coming over to Bedford in early 1993 to show Gary and I the original slides deployed in the book from the many photos he took at Led Zeppelin gigs he attended. I was privileged to write the forward for the book. Larry and partner Kim also graciously guided Gary and I around New York when we came over to see the Page Plant shows at Meadowlands Arena in 1995. Larry has now transferred the contents of the book on to an impressive and recommended new app. It combines the original book images alongside new text and info.

Here’s a couple of links to check out

More on this soon.

I was most concerned to hear from Anita Mylett this week that Howard is in hospital with heart problems. I am sure I speak for all TBL web readers in offering our best wishes to Howard –if you would like to send a message to Howard his email is

Howard’s amazing archive aided the photographic content of the Feather In The Wind book manifold. Mate we are all thinking of you.









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  • Pat Lyons said:

    Just looking at the Zeppelin Cologne gig from June 18th 1980. I had just watched Genesis in London in May 7th 1980 and was planning to go and see Zeppelin in Cologne with my mate. The firm I worked for went bankrupt when I returned from London and it wrecked the finances. My memories of the craziness of wanting to get to the show recall how me and my mate tried to get a job picking strawberries in a last ditched attempt to go. Looking back it seems so mad but at the time it felt a perfectly rational thing to do. If I had a permanent job it would be unlikely I would get time off and I guess the picking was a commission basis with plans to work dusk till dawn. Did not get the job but still wish I went !! Hmmm

  • Alan Cousins said:

    I am sorry to here Howard has passed away, I spent may an hour with Howard in the nineties at Led Zeppelin conventions and record fairs and having the great pleasure of staying with Howard and Anita, talking and going through his Led Zeppelin collection and stories. Thanks for those memories and friendship,my condolence to Anita

  • Denzepp58 said:

    Get well, prayers are with you, a heart patient myself. We are special people who have heart problems, you are only born with ONE and they are not exactly easy to replace. The spaces between heartbeats are what separate you from eternity and when anything threatens that it is serious business. People with heart problems are a little more aware of thier mortality than 99% of the rest of the population. Peace and best wishes from a fellow LEDHED…. Randy

  • Simon Cadman said:

    Hope the launch goes well, Dave. Would love to join you, but catching The Sonics at the South Bank. All together now, ‘Psycho… AAAAAAARRGH’.
    Cheque in the post come payday for FITW….

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