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20 May 2010 4,781 views One Comment



Chris Welch was the first journalist to interview Jimmy after he’d formed Led Zeppelin and was a loyal supporter of their work through his writings for Melody Maker. In this interview conducted with Dave Lewis in 2000 he recalls his Earls Court experience.

DL: You attended the first night at Earls Court – I seem to remember in your Zeppelin biography you mentioned something about a mix up over your tickets?

CW: There certainly was. When my wife and I arrived we were told there were no press tickets for the Melody Maker so I had to go and get a couple from a tout. We actually ended up sitting in the aisle which was OK for me but a bit insulting for Maralyn my wife!

DL: Was it a premeditated move by Peter Grant not to provide tickets for the Melody Maker because the paper’s press coverage had been less than enthusiastic at times.

CW: It was never quite proved but I know Robert in particular took umbridge to my review of Houses Of The Holy. I didn’t like ‘The Crunge’ or ‘Dy’er Mak’e’r. I couldn’t see how they fitted in with their style. Those, of course, were two of the numbers that Robert liked. The MM had been particularly supportive of the group from way back and I certainly still held them in high esteem. But as we know they were very sensitive to press criticism. My job was to be a critic and at time that meant criticising what I didn’t like. It’s a shame they couldn’t see that, especially as no paper did more to publicise them early on.

DL: Not having press tickets did not stop you giving the concert a rave review in the next week’s edition.

CW: Absolutely not. They were outstanding that night. A brilliant performance. The whole presentation with the lasers etc was electrifying. They really did seem to be enjoying themselves and the new material from Physical Graffiti added a whole new dimension to their show. I mean ‘Trampled Underfoot’ was just sensational.

DL: Do you know Robert had a sly pop at you in one of his onstage spiels during the second show – “Been away a long time gotta impress… got that Chris?”

CW: Yes I did get to hear about it He was always one for getting in his dig at the press when he felt like it though I think it was a good natured banter rather than any serious grudge. On the whole I enjoyed a great relationship with them.

DL: Was the Earls Court show the best Zeppelin gig you saw?

CW: One of them for sure. I guess my personal choice has to be when I saw them at the Carnegie Hall in ’69 because I ended up jamming with them on stage! Earls Court, though, was a real peak. They had such impetus in their playing. Looking back now the fact that I didn’t have a privileged press seat and sat amongst the fans only added to the event for me. I really did view them that night as a fan which I genuinely was… and of course all these years later I still am.

* Chris Welch’s new book Treasures of Led Zeppelin is published via Carlton Books

Originally written for Tight But Loose 15.

Copyright Dave Lewis 2010.

Not to be reproduced without prior permission

To be continued …


“Apart from The Who and the Stones I can’t think of many bands who could have put on anything like it. During produced moments like ‘Trampled Underfoot’ it seemed the whole stage was just going to fall forward and crush everybody in the hall.” – CHARLS SHAAR MURRAY/NME

“In its field, this is one of the most astonishing examples of pure theatre I’ve seen anywhere. There are moments during Zeppelin’s colourful, sometimes psychedelic non-stop show when Jimmy Page’s searing guitar carried by 20,000 watts of power, cuts right through the senses like some fast-acting drug and virtually blots out everything but the music. Led Zeppelin – number one in rock – and how they raised those eerie wastes of Earls Court to frenzy.” – RODDERICK GILCHRIST/DAILY MAIL

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One Comment »

  • Shayne Smith said:

    Looking and listening back; it looks like the Earls Court concerts may have been the absolute pinnacle of Zeppelin’s live performance capapbilities. Difficult to say but a peak must be identified. I’m personally a late period fan but many are early period fans.
    Long live Led Zeppelin!!

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