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21 June 2017 2,165 views 5 Comments

Feather In The Wind – Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 book relaunch:

This week marks the 37th anniversary of the first dates of the final Led Zeppelin tour – a low key 14 date trek taking in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria and Switzerland.

To begin a month long celebration of that final tour, I am relaunching the Feather In the Wind book – the price is a bargain £10 including postage and packing.

Note -stock of the book is now running down so if you have yet to check out the book now is the time!

This is a fantastic opportunity to invest in the definitive account of the tour at a bargain price – essential  Led Zep summer 2017 reading.

For those who have yet to indulge, to give you a flavour of the contents – here is an extract of chapter three – my on the road account written at the time and first featured in TBL issue 5.

 Extract – Chapter Three: Rejuvenation Over Europe 1980 – Up close and personal: Cologne, June 18, 1980.

Raymondo straps on Jimmy’s Gibson. The audience are already in near frenzy as he steps on the wah-wah pedal and tunes up. Robert, straight to the right of the stage with both arms held aloft, is holding the microphone lead in that usual outstretched pose. Jimmy Page continues tuning up and eventually this becomes the chords for the opening bars of Train Kept A Rollin’, an old Yardbirds number and a track that was used as the set opener on the first Zeppelin US tours all those years ago.

As Jonesy and Bonzo crash in on cue, Robert, at once, is alive and totally immersed in the song. Let me tell you, it was a moment that crystallised the essence of rejuvenation this band has obviously undergone. The power, even for them, is awesome.   Train Kept A Rollin’ stops and Nobody’s Fault But Mine starts. Minus the sonic intro but including some marvellous Plant phrasing (“Nobody’s fault but maahyyne….”) and harmonica wailings and with the now expected cry of “Oh Jimmy….Oh Jimmy…”, before a shuffling, twirling, twanging solo from James Patrick.

Two songs in and a further shock. Jimmy Page speaks! Yes folks, it’s true. For the first time I can recall, Jimmy greets an audience. A bit muffled, but it’s there alright – “Good Evening! Gonna do an old one, it’s called Black Dog.”

Yes Jimmy, an oldie but goodie. Robert is outstanding on this one. All the old poses – my it’s loud. It’s obscene, it’s beautiful. But Jimmy too, more than I’ve seen, wants to share the spotlight. No longer content to confine himself to the left of Bonzo’s kit – no – he’s everywhere.

I’ve never seen him move so much. Playing up to the crowd, cringing, grinning – you know the stuff. I mean, we’ve already got one amazing front man, but this time around Jimmy is almost playing off him. The spectacle of the two is something else. Hey, John Paul Jones too, seems to be more upfront these days. No longer slipping into the shadows next to Bonzo. No, he’s more prominent, nearer the front of the stage, not moving too much of course, but jigging a merry dance up there with those amazing fluid bass runs that undercut Jimmy’s slippery guitar work.

“Since we came here last, many things have happened, one of the most important being the album called In Through The Out Door.”

In The Evening is played next, with exceptional intensity. The drama of the intro itself is masterful. Spotlight on Bonzo as he rolls on the tympani, Jimmy crouched over his blue Strat clawing at the tremolo arm to achieve that drone and Robert, arms upheld, slowly walking up to the microphone and holding the opening line for several bars until the moment all four crash down collectively on that cascading riff. Taken at a slightly slower tempo than last year’s gigs, it still rates as a classic in the Zep stakes and as a testament to the power of the new Zeppelin sound. Another magic moment is, of course, the point where the song slips into the slower passage, guided by Robert’s outstretched arm in the direction of John Paul Jones, who plays a beautiful keyboard passage (not featured on the studio version) over Jimmy’s jangling out-stretched tremolo chording.

“This is one from the Houses Of The Holy period” Robert tells the audience and a blue spotlight picks out Jimmy playing the opening chords to The Rain Song – a song that has some of Robert’s best lyrics (“you are the sunlight in my growing”) and also features some controlled tympani from Bonzo.

“That was a song about a love that went right, this is one about a love that went wrong.”

Cue for the hillbilly cat workout of Hot Dog for which Jimmy switches to red Telecaster. Funny old track this. As much as I find it undistinguished on record, on stage it always delights as a fun clapalong. It also gives Robert the opportunity to hoedown with some delightful foot stepping.

The next song is also from the last album. Unannounced, it still gets one of the best receptions of the night, the moment Jonesy plays the opening string symphony notes of All My Love. As on record, this is beautiful. Jimmy plays some memorable chords on the Telecaster and Robert’s singing is full of sincerity. When John Paul Jones gets the middle classical solo off to a tee, Robert looks over and gives him a knowing smile. It was just perfect, and the outro too, with Robert extending the “ I get a bit lonely, just a little bit, oh just a little bit lonely” lines to maximum effect.

“That song featured J.P. Jones on keyboards, so does this track, Trampled Underfoot.”

Complete with side stage revolving beacons, this remains a definitive high energy Zeppelin improvisation number. On that extended solo Jimmy seems to reap forth the most incredible guitar lines and Robert does a delightful two step strut across the stage shaking his head back and forth until he swings round and screams “Push!”, “Push”, “Push yeah.” Vibrant stuff indeed. (“Eye Thank Yew”).

They slow the pace with the next track, Since I’ve Been Loving You, where naturally Jimmy leads the way with some amazing smooth lead guitar. Robert’s vocals too, soar out this painful tale, holding and bending the notes in all the right places. John Paul Jones aids the mix on electric piano.   Towards the finish Robert really excels, “Ah I get down on my knees for you, fill my heart with pain, don’t make me lose, don’t make me lose…..” We got the booze, they got the blues remember?

From there it’s another high-spot. White light and smoke (one of the few effects employed) greet the intro of the epic Achilles Last Stand. Jimmy uses feedback to great effect, throwing his arm out in tune with the sound. Robert, meanwhile, is at his preening best unleashing the tale of where it all meets. “Where the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the earth.” For the “Ah-ah ah ah” repeat refrain, Robert and Jimmy cluster together in classic rock ‘n’ roll pose, swinging their heads back and forth showering in each others sweat.

Raymondo brings on a chair for Jimmy’s White Summer/Black Mountain Side segment, where he sits down with the Dan Electro. He gets so carried away that at one point he even drops his pick. On cue, the last refrain of Black Mountain Side is the moment when the band collectively leap back into action via a couple of flash explosions stage front and we are into Kashmir.

This is glorious. Robert does some incredible spontaneous choreography with Jimmy who is crouched menacingly over the Dan Electro guitar. Towards the end Bonzo leads the way out with a series of unbelievable drum fills, each one just a little more frenzied that the last, beating up to an incredible climax.

Just about the only song that could follow that is our anthem. Unannounced the opening chords of Stairway to Heaven get the expected response. Robert’s phrasing is, as ever, spot on and the tempo of the song is just slightly more speeded up than usual. He sings “Do you remember laughter, laughter,” and takes up a classic tambourine pose for Jimmy to weave the way out with a soaring double neck solo.

“Goodnight – It’s nice to be back on the road again.”

With that they’re gone. Ten minutes later they’re back with a rousing encore. “Good Evening! Never fails does it?” smiles Robert, adding the statement – “So this is what it’s like to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band! Then Bonzo thrashes the intro of Rock And Roll, which has Robert doing his pogo bit, and Jimmy leaping around the stage firing the Gibson at the audience.

After that, there is more than enough response to require a second encore, which they get. A compact, no nonsense Communication Breakdown remains faithful to the version on the debut LP, clocking in at no more than three minutes of energetic action.

“Not bad for a bunch of dinosaurs!… Goodnight Cologne… ”

That’s Robert’s final statement. That’s the second night of the tour. That was hot.

So how do you sum that one up? Folks – I’d say Led Zeppelin have gone full circle. Tonight in every aspect of their performance it was almost a ‘back to the roots’ approach. From the use of an old Yardbirds number to open with, right through to the choice of a twelve year old cut that still sounds good, to close with. In between was what I would consider to be just about the best set I’ve ever witnessed Zeppelin play.

There was a definite lack of self indulgence. A lack of excessiveness too. Five years ago it was exciting and relevant to include marathon numbers, the bow episode, the lasers, the effects, etc, but really they took that trip as far as it could go. The pendulum has swing in the other direction now. The throwback of the compact set Zeppelin performed tonight still had enough spice and vitality to satisfy and I applaud their conviction to do it that way.

It’s also a much needed return to feeling audiences again. By reducing the scale of the whole operation, Zeppelin have once again regained contact with the people. With the stage only six feet away from the nearest punter, it was a true platform of communication.

Another point – Knebworth was a magic event last year, there is no doubting that, but the size, grandeur and emotional experience of them appearing on a stage again, maybe glossed over the true spirit of their musical presence a little. Judging by the smiles on the faces of Robert, Jimmy, Jonesy and Bonzo all through the Cologne gig, that spirit is well in evidence on this tour and that’s an important aspect. The fact that they’re really enjoying playing together again. I mean, I’ve never seen Robert sweat so much on stage! They really want to please and it’s a great feeling to witness that.

Led Zeppelin have impressed me in many different ways over the years. As musicians, as performers, as writers, as people. Tonight they impressed me as a working rock ‘n’ roll band – above everything. That’s important.

Tight but loose? – you ain’t joking… And this is only the second night of the tour.



Extract from the book Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind – Over Europe 1980 by Dave Lewis.

 Book ordering Details – ORDER AT THIS LINK:



The Feather In the Wind book is also available as a bundle offer with the Then As It Was At Kenworth book for just £18 plus postage – order at the link below


John Bonham Plaque Unveiling: 

Here’s a couple of links to news stories of last week’s John Bonham Plaque unveiling here – most heartwarming indeed…

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

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

June 23 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Sun Station Vadsø festival in Norway.
June 24 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Sun Station Vadsø festival in Norway.
Mid-September – The new Black Country Communion album, which will feature Jason Bonham, is due to be released.
October – Andrew O’Hagan claimed that Robert Plant’s new album will be released this month.

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



It’s now some  14 years ago that Jimmy Page unlocked the Led Zeppelin film archive to present the five hour double DVD set simply titled DVD. Also released simultaneously was the triple live album How The West Was Won.

Looking back, it was in incredibly exciting outpouring of material.

On the TBL website at the time, we asked for fans to feedback on their initial response to attending the various screenings of the DVD that took place across the country in May 2003.

Some of them are reproduced below – reading through them again captures the pure excitement that these releases generated back in 2003.



From Dave Lewis (London)

For once I’m running out of words..seeing it all on the big screen was some experience – so many highlights..the Bonzo Moby Dick sequence (and Bonzo throughout for that matter)…Communication Breakdown at the Albert Hall, The Ocean at Madison Square Garden with Page’s swagger and the knowing arrogance of a band just so on top of it..the delicate intensity of Going To California at Earls Court ( 28 years ago today as I write – who knows where the time goes?)….Stairway..incredibly emotional and a performance to restore dignity for all time to the much maligned anthem….Knebworth…bloody hell!..Nobody’s Fault But Mine: “Everything about this track is perfection” is how I described this performance in my original TBL 2 Knebworth I know I was right..-and then Kashmir -capturing all the glory of the pride of Zep..and the finale of Whole Lotta Love with Jimmy, Jonesy and Bonzo crunching down on that great revamped riff sequence.

”Thanks for eleven years” was Robert Plant’s final comment to the multitude of fans out in that field on that August 4 blind date back in 1979 and the final image on screen at the end of this memorable premiere.

Thanks to them for a lifetime of great music and great memories which from May 26 we can replay again and again.

They are..were..and always will be the best….

DVD is the long awaited visual proof.

Dave Lewis – May 18, 2003

From Dave Linwood (London)

Put “Rock and Roll” out as a single! The promo video’s ready (obviously), the sound is fantastic – and the punky edgdy version sounds fresh and up to date. Go on Zeppelin! Give some of these “imposter” bands out there now a bloody good run for their money! Just can’t get over the Knebworth footage.

(On a technical note, at the London showing we suffered none of the glitches that others reported, the sound was primarily stereo with some surround. It will sound even better in your living room.)

From Ian Avey (Birmingham)

The screening was only around 3/4 full, which was a surprise. There were also posters on the doors advertising the premiere as a free screening. Nobody had to show their ticket to get in.

RAH was crystal clear and far better than the bootleg video we all know. The quality consistently got better as it progressed to the later shows.

There was a noticeable improvement when ‘Going To California’ from Earls Court started, which sounded fantastic.

‘In My Time Of Dying’ was incredible, and seemed to get the best response. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ looked and sounded amazing. I just wish that ‘Song Remains’ and ‘Rain Song’ could have made it onto the DVD. It would be great one day to get a full ‘Earls Court’ official DVD, and Knebworth for that matter!.

Knebworth has never looked or sounded so good, and the editing with the bootleg video was very well done. This was the only time I ever saw Zep (on 11th August 1979), and so it holds special significance for me.

The highlights for me were Earls Court, and Knebworth. I can’t wait for May 26th.

Only criticism was that the screen format didn’t seem right, as if it was zoomed on the centre of the cinema screen, with lots of details missing at the edges, eg you could not see the solo of Stairway, as the bottom of the double neck was below the bottom of the cinema screen. I’m sure this was just not set right at the cinema for some reason. Thanks again for the tickets TBL!.

From Paul Harper (Manchester)

We went to the premiere in Manchester and we were lost for words. The quality was just fantastic as you know. Jimmy has done an absolutely brilliant job.

Seeing the band up there on that big screen, what can I say.

It was wonderful to see such a clear RAH and I loved the Bonzo Moby Dick sequence from the side angle. He always will be the greatest drummer ever. The sound quality throughout is just stunning.

Why didn’t they keep the Ocean in TSRTS is what I want to know.

As for Earls Court and Knebworth well, just overwhelming. We discussed the sound at Knebworth being better now than we remember it being.

The whole two hours was just mindblowing. People I know ask what Zeppelin were like live and why am I still so passionate about them, they will only have to see the DVD and I believe they will understand.

Memories came flooding back from EC & Knebworth and this filming just confirms everything for me about the greatest band ever, live no one could touch them and

I’ve seen the biggest bands around, no contest, no arguments.

The evening was however spoiled by quite a few glitches when the film stopped, we lost count of how many times. It started during the EC shots and then continued throughout, extremely annoying but met with good humour by the audience once we got used to the fact that it was going to keep happening.

It couldn’t spoil the overall evening though and the release date cannot come soon enough. There will not be anything else watched on the tv for quite some weeks.

Just stunning.

From Jonathan Wood (Sheffield)

I think I’ve just been to Rock and Heaven and back, well I was lucky enough to attend the advanced screenings of the DVD in Sheffield last night.

It all got off to a strange start in that the film started at the end of the Ocean and moved quickly to GTC at Earls Court, after a few minutes the film was paused and began to rewind. Was I the only one checking for secret satanic messages as the footage went on rewind? Alas no messages. The sound was not presented in 5.1, which was a shame, but still beggars can’t be choosers. Another technical gremlin was that all the footage was presented in widescreen, which had the habit of cutting of the heads of the band as the image was stretched to fit the screen. I’ll stick to my trusty 4:3 tele.

So on with the screening. First up was Albert Hall. Throw away all those bootleg videos! This is a stunning improvement. Gone are those trendy speeded up panning shots that make you go a bit queasy. Say hello to glorious colour, new camera angles and a really raunchy soundtrack. I know it’s all been said before but here was a band just playing its balls off, no flashy stage effects or dramatics. Some points that stick in my mind are Roberts startled look as Pagey starts hammering out Communication Breakdown. I think Robert was all for calling it a night and has to run back on stage to join in. I hope I’m not been sentimental but Bonzo just dominated everything. Jimmy seemed to be doing an impression of those characters in Wacky Races, was it Rock and Gravel? The cavemen who appeared to be a ball of hair with eyes protruding. I think I saw Page’s face twice! The songs previewed were We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You, Heartbreaker, Dazed (edited), Moby Dick (Edited), WIAWSNB, WLL (edited, I think), Bring it On Home, and Finally Communication Breakdown. Best bit, Moby Dick and Bring It On Home.

There was then a nice segue into Immigrant Song from HTWWW dubbed over some colour footage from Sydney 72, this was a revelation and would make a great promo video.

Next up was MSG 73. They’ve really done a fantastic job with this, especially to see Black Dog in all it’s two-verse glory. Misty Mountain Hop followed and then the highlight for me, The Ocean. You can see how this wouldn’t fit into the original film, which was made up of more moodier pieces. This is Zeppelin having fun and what a joy to watch.

This segment then moved very nicely into the Earls Court segment. This was a great disappointment. I can’t believe I just wrote that. What was presented was a very nice GTC with different angles from the bootlegs, followed by IMTOD and Stairway. The latter two just seemed so dark! It was a real struggle to see what was going on. I’m sure the bootlegs are better. Stairway only came alive during the solo when the lights appeared to be turned on. I hope this was just a feature of the DVD/cinema presentation. (TBL Webman Comment: It is dark but I think it will be better when you see it on a TV).

Then on to the real revelation of the night for me, Knebworth. I can only say that there must have been a Knebworth 3 on 18th August 1979!! How 200,000 fans could have kept this secret gig under wraps all these years amazes me, as this is where the footage must have come from. I can’t begin to describe the amazing visuals and sound. The video footage actually looked as though is was celluloid, similar to the snippets in the WLL promo video in ’97. The energy was just incredible, I thought at one point I was going to pulled out of my seat and thrown around the cinema. The use of fan footage is just brilliant and actually enhances the experience. Did I miss Knebworth 3?

For me, the best segment was Knebworth, best song was the Ocean, and most disappointing was Stairway at Earls Court. I hope my neighbours are away when I get the DVD on the 26th as the surround system is going to be in overdrive.

From Geoff Adamson (Newcastle)

Spellbound. Its difficult to describe the emotions watching something visually that takes you back so far. The brilliant MSG footage, 27 years since I saw TSRTS for the first time. It was very, very moving.

The clarity of the Albert Hall stuff was a real surprise and being reminded of the power they had at that time. The beautiful version of California at Earls Court. The only downside was Stairway, it had to be on but visually it was a little hard to follow. It must be better on the DVD the time that’s been spent in preparation.

One thing that was evident to me for the first time was how hard they were trying at Knebworth. I think time’s played a trick on Robert’s memory because he was certainly enjoying himself. I remember on the 4th August encore for WLL him rushing on stage slightly before the others and waving them on and the DVD shows they were all having a ball. There were chuckles all round when he said “I don’t think the people in Newcastle can Hear what I say”.

This was a night to remember and on a personal note I took my older brother who introduced me to Zep in 1970 . It was a lovely way to say thanks for 33 years.

From John Webster (London)

What a great night. Royal Albert Hall magnificent in particular White Summer. Not my usual favourite but listen to Bonhams drumming in parts. MSG Black Dog, The Ocean stood out, MMH not far behind. Earls Court IMTOD exceptional, Stairway also. Don’t know what Robert thought. He must have enjoyed it.

Knebworth: Rock & Roll a blast, Kashmir great. I have to say no low points so get out and get it.

Sat in row behind Bill Curbishly and he was enjoying just like a fan. Said his fave was IMTOD.

Also claimed a nice inflatable blimp which were on bannisters as we arrived.

P.S. Watch the young kids at front of stage at RAH. Takes you back to being 15 again and the sheer excitement of watching Led Zeppelin live

From Mat drummer in Boot Led Zeppelin (London)

Sure enough at 6.30pm light’s went down and a guy walk’s out to welcome everyone (don’t know who he was sorry!!). He start’s to talk about the film when he stop’s mid sentence to say that the best people to talk about it are actually making their way to the stage. Everyone looks round to see Robert, Jimmy, and John-Paul walking down the side of the theatre. I doubt very much if the theatre had ever seen a reaction like the one they received. The place went nuts. I can’t remember too much of what they said but they were obviously really comfortable and in great spirits. Jimmy all in black, Robert in brown leather jacket and silk shirt, John Paul in dark blue suit with light blue tie. Jimmy did a short intro speech about the film saying that he had “cut White Summer and Dazed down to everyone’s relief”. Got a knowing laugh from the crowd. Then Robert said a few words along the lines of “I hope that everyone watching this will get a real sense of the fun that we had for 12 years together”. A few calls for a speech from Jonesy but didn’t happen. One last word from Jimmy to enjoy the show, they then walked up the centre of the theatre to a huge round of applause.

I don’t want to say too much about the in’s and out’s of the film as most of it has already been covered. However the first thing that hit me was the sound. This really was hearing Zep as they should sound. Whether you think it’s a good performance or not they sound huge. The drums at the start of “I Can’t quit You” are beyond belief. Forget the bootlegs, forget the 5th gen versions on video, believe me above all of the visuals you are going to love the sound. The “Dazed” bow solo truly sounded spectacular, reflecting the delay all around the room. I had to keep checking between songs if it was actually the crowd on the film that were clapping or the people in the theatre. It was like sitting in The Albert Hall.

“Moby Dick” was humbling. If you don’t care much for drum solo’s at least at long last you can see why this great man could never have been replaced. These were the stand out point’s for me anyway. I think that what is going to be a big issue for most people is the use of stills and slo-mo action. During the RAH stuff i actually found it to be quite unobtrusive. It is obviously there to serve a purpose ( hiding blank spots) but it is actually done in a tasteful way. Thumbs up for Dick on that one.

‘Immigrant Song” sounds raucous and dirty with real MTV style cutting and editing from Aus ’72. Think of the promo’s for OTHAFA and Travelling Riverside Blues except this time they’re taken from one gig. Got a feeling this may be used as a promo vid??

Onto MSG. ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Misty Mountain Hop’. I have to say that this was the only time where i felt that they were scrambling for footage. The bootleg shot’s look terrible and IMHO pointless. Also some of the band shot’s were taken from other point’s in the film. If you’ve watched it as many times as i have you’ll be able to spot them too. A bit cheeky but they are only quick cut’s so not too distracting.

‘The Ocean’ is an absolute masterpiece and i reckon will be worth the price of the DVD alone. Out of the three it seemed to be the most intact footage wise, so not much need for the fancy stuff.

In terms of video quality Earls Court is the best. Very sharp and detailed. IMTOD is from the now easilly recognisible 24th show. This gave a perfect example of how the footage was cut from the original. Lot’s of rejigging and facial close up’s that weren’t there before. Also a beatiful version of ‘Going To California’, (I can’t wait to see the rest of the acoustic set).

Knebworth was the biggest surprise. I honestly think that out of what I saw this was my favourite. It seems like all of the tracks played were from the 1st night with a little bit of cut in footage from the 2nd (check the start of Kashmir). A few new camera angles including a great over the shoulder type shot from Bonzo. The bootleg footage is used really well for this performance. Really felt like being in the crowd watching the big screen behind the band. Standout track was easily Rock and Roll. Absolutely ball busting! Also loved the teases from Robert in WLL for a bit of ‘Boogie’.

All in all no-one is going to be disappointed. Definitely something there for everyone no matter what era you’re into. The overall feel of the film is very modern. Lot’s of energetic cuts and directing. It really brings the music up to date. Jimmy look’s absolutely fantastic with loads of cueing and arm waving. I was actually quite relieved to see that they weren’t just putting out the show as they were originally filmed, but had actually taken the time to direct them and emphasise point’s in the music that maybe the director’s of the time hadn’t picked up on. You’re gonna feel the cosmic energy maaaan.

Anyway curtain’s close and onto the aftershow party ( yes i know lucky fooker). Held at the “Soup Bar” on Shaftesbury Avenue (very trendy, Josticks everywhere and crap music). Unfortunately the band didn’t show but there was a VIP section so maybe they were hidden away with a few select friends.

So there you have it – the passion and enthusiasm as relayed by TBL fans during that initial period of release all of 14 years ago. Many thanks to Dave Linwood.

More to follow..



TBL  Archive – June 1977: A week for Badgeholders 40 years gone: 

LA 3

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of those six Los Angeles Forum shows of June 1977, here is the first part of a lengthy overview of the 1977 tour that first appeared in TBL issue 9. The pre-amble sets the scene on the state of play inside Led Zeppelin at the time and leads on to a summary of three of those June performances – as heard via the legendary Listen To This Eddie bootleg plus the two Last LA Forum sets issued back in the mid 90s.

Thanks to the late Mike Millard’s superb audience tapes, we can hear lasting evidence of the sheer excitement of the 1977 Led Zeppelin, capturing a week where the sense of on the road fun was never more evident. Read this…and get those 1977 CD remnants on your player…..




Against the background of three of the best live Zep CD’s, some recollections and viewpoints on the state of play as Led Zeppelin made what would be their final trek across America…

“It’s changing now. I mean playing live – that whole stimulus has been missing. When we did that first rehearsal it just clicked all over again. I just feel I’ve cleaned out a load of problems and now I’m ready to get back in the fray, so to speak. Something epic is going to happen musically. That’s what I feel. The next tour. . . you’ll see . . .”

So spoke Jimmy Page at the Swan Song office in November 1976 during an interview with the NME scribe Nick Kent. As can be viewed from the above comments, there was a new wave of optimism around the band as they came back together following the enforced lay off due to Robert’s accident. After all the various promotional interviews for the launch of ‘Presence’ and the ‘Song Remains’ film, the socialising at movie premieres, and the holidaying in tax havens in Montreux and the South of France, finally they were back to what they knew they did best. Playing music.

The formal return to arms occurred in a North London rehearsal studio in the autumn of 1976. And such was their enthusiasm to get back to work this time around instead of re-acquainting themselves musically by easing back in to rehearsals with familiar material of 50s covers – as was the norm on such occasions, they went straight into the fray by immediately attempting to restructure ‘Achilles Last Stand’; for live performance. ‘Achilles’ of course was the killer opening track from their latest studio album. In his ecstatic review of ‘Presence’ in Sounds (possibly the best description of any Zepp album by any critic during their career), John Ingram had noted somewhat astutely if rather blatantly, that Achilles Last Stand’ “would be a motherfucker played live”. It was obviously a notion shared within the band. When confronted with adapting a live arrangement for their multi dubbed epic, Jimmy Page assumed it would require the deployment of the Gibson double neck. Upon rehearsals it was the trusty Les Paul that surprisingly proved most appropriate for the piece, aided by a few timely flicks of the eventide harmoniser.

That autumn’s rehearsals marked Led Zeppelin’s initial preparation for a planned world tour that would open in North America and move to Canada before stretching into South America and winding its way back to the UK. Further rehearsals took place at ELP’s Manticore Studio in Fulham in the early weeks of 1977. Here the band developed a totally new set list, reviving the long deleted full acoustic set and rearranging tracks such as The Battle Of Evermore’ and ‘Ten Years Gone’ for their debut as live performances. For the latter track Jonesy brought in a new custom made three necked guitar while Jimmy toyed with the idea of playing pedal steel guitar on stage (an idea that was eventually dropped). For Robert they brought in a new toy – a vocal harmoniser that allowed him instantly to double track his voice. Much planning went into creating a balanced programme that would present a new look to America. With no new album to play alongside the tour (‘Presence’ being a year old already), the group took to the road to present what they would ultimately dub simply as An Evening With Led Zeppelin’.

The Fulham rehearsal location allowed them to venture into central London at night to view the then emerging Punk scene – checking out the likes of The Damned and Easter at the Roxy club in Soho much to the bemusement of the UK rock press. Visitors to the rehearsals in Manticore include Billy Idol and Generation X and Steve Marriott – the latter jamming with them on old Muddy Waters numbers, an experience that freaked Robert out – such was his admiration for the late, great ex-Small Face and one time number one choice as a vocalist during Jimmy’s attempts to get the first Led Zeppelin incarnation off the ground in 1966.

By the end of January the set had been honed to perfection and Robert, aware of the physical demands about to be put upon him tor the first time since his accident, booked in a weekly bout of training with the Wolverhampton Wanderers soccer team. Everything was set for a Feb 27 opening at the Convention Centre, Forth Worth, Texas and their equipment was meticulously packed and airlifted to the Showco HQ in Dallas for a final PA test. Then the troubles started.

In early February Robert contracted a severe bout of laryngitis and the tour schedule was postponed. During the next few weeks the tour itinerary went through various revisions. At one point they looked set to hit Toronto on April 1 and the West Coast in the summer. Eventually that idea was scrapped in favour of them opening in Dallas on the same day. Back in the UK, Earls Court promoter Mel Bush was hopeful of persuading Peter Grant to secure the group to top a one day festival due to be staged in late August at Wrotham Park near Potters Bar. It was to be an entirely unsuccessful quest as their US commitments beckoned.

With all their equipment in America including all of Page’s guitars, there was no room for further rehearsals leading up the opening date. It was therefore a very nervous Led Zeppelin who gathered in the wings of the Dallas Memorial Auditorium on the evening of Friday April 1 1977. (For visual evidence, take a look at the group photo from Neal Preston’s ‘Portraits’ book which captures the moment – also reproduced on the ‘Coda’ gatefold sleeve). So many questions remained unanswered in their minds. Would Robert’s injured foot take the strain? Would the long gap between rehearsals affect their co-ordination? And would America still crave for Led Zeppelin as they had done in previous years? . . . They really needn’t have worried.

From the moment Page slayed across the double neck to pick out the chords for the newly ensconced opening number ‘The Song Remains The Same’ that spring evening in 1977, it was plain for the group and its entourage to see that America’s love affair with Led Zeppelin was far from over.

From Dallas the tour progressed to Oklahoma and a four night stint at the Chicago stadium. From there the statistics began to blur. 40,000 in Cincinnati over two nights, 36,000 in Cleveland – leading to the remarkable 76,229 who attended the group’s appearance at the Silverdome Pontiac in Michigan on April 30 1977. This set a new record for a single act performance beating the previous best of 56,800 who had attended a concert at Tampa, Florida by . . . Led Zeppelin’.

In early May the group split for a two week break. Jimmy spent a four day holiday in Cairo, returning to be in attendance for the presentation of a prestigious Ivor Novello award along with Jones, Plant and Grant at London’s Grosvenor Hotel. By then the tour reports that had been filtering back to England had certainly fuelled my own curiosity to find out just exactly what they were up to. Reviews of the show from Chicago and St. Louis in Sounds and Melody Maker revealed the introduction of Ten Years Gone’, ‘The Battle Of Evermore’ (with Jonesy on vocals), the medley of Black Country Woman’ and ‘Bron Y Aur Stomp’, Jimmy’s guitar solo leading to ‘Achilles Last Stand’, and the link of ‘White Summer’ played live for the first time since 1970 leading to ‘Kashmir’.

With little hope of them playing in the UK, I hatched a plan to fly to New York to catch one of their June Madison Square Garden gigs. This being way before the days of organised overseas rock concert travel (and cheap shuttle air fares), the sheer economical logistics made the idea impossible – despite much assistance from Swan Song’s Unity Maclean to arrange tickets, etc. Instead I decided to wave them off from Heathrow as they flew back to America on May 17. Calling in to the office earlier in the day, I was despatched to find a copy of that day’s edition of the London Evening Standard from the local King’s Road newsagent. The reason was for Swan Song to check that a retraction of a story printed on Monday had been inserted.

The story centered on an alleged incident involving Robert Plant being arrested in Atlanta for pulling a knife and being drunk at Hartsfield Airport. The story was actually perpetuated by a 19 year old youth impersonating Robert – who on the day had been horse riding in Wales! The retraction was printed with an apology which was duly telexed to the Plant home.

A few hours later I arrived at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 and met up with the group and entourage as they awaited the call to fly to Alabama. Robert was on peak form, talking to all and sundry and sending up the late arriving Jimmy (“Where’s Patti Page Colesy?”) displaying a swagger and verve that would never quite be the same after this tour. Jonesy, resplendent in a Union Jack cardigan, happily posed for photos and unfolded tales of the three necked guitar. Bonzo seemed a little nervous and detached, anxious to get away. Jimmy arrived late in a misfitting white suit, sweaty and unshaven, hardly a picture of health, but ever articulate and anxious to meet with Robert.

heathrow 77 retouched

Above -The young DL with half of Led Zeppelin – Heathrow Airport May 17 1977 – Note dinner plate size Led Zep badges on wide lapelled jacket.

20 hours later they were back on stage at the Coliseum in Birmingham, Alabama. The remarkable cine home movie footage that has surfaced from that show illustrates the transition that Jimmy underwent once on stage. On that scratchy film he is literally everywhere, duck walking, dropping to his knees, spinning, turning … the perfect toil for Robert to narcissistically weave between. That Birmingham cine film certainly hones in on the two contrasting images of the tour. On stage they were capable of supreme moments, but off stage all was not so well. The state of health of Jimmy Page was a high topic of contention amongst the entourage throughout the tour. Indeed the second of the four Chicago shows had been cut short when Jimmy collapsed during Ten Year Gone’. This lapse was put down to food poisoning – Page having stated on the day of the gig that he was having trouble arranging a healthy diet on the road. Other problems centered on the addition to the security set up of London criminal John Bindon which caused much unrest amongst the roadies. His presence would of course have even greater consequences when they reached the Oakland Stadium in July. . . It would seem that being the biggest band in the world dictated that they had to have the most notorious minders … the most outrageous road crew behaviour… and of course the most amount of drugs.

Perhaps then it’s even more remarkable how impressive their performances and Page’s in particular could be during this era. It was as if each member of the band possessed an inner strength that drew and fed from their collective power. No matter what craziness was happening off stage, somehow as soon as they faced their audience something clicked. Not that it clicked without some inconsistencies showing through. As on any tour some nights were distinctly better than other nights. As an example – though just days apart, the difference in, say, Bonzo’s performance at San Diego on June 19, where he is surprisingly uncoordinated at times, is fairly striking compared to his domination at the LA shows. No doubt the old road fever was taking effect. The indulgence of certain parts of the set also made for a lack ot urgency. Brian Knapp tells me of the atmosphere of the 77 shows he saw pales against the more intense drive of ’75. The marathon excess of ‘No Quarter’ and ‘Over The Top’ often inspired a mass walk about for certain sections of the audience, unable to focus on the stage for too long amongst the excitement. The repeated problem of firecrackers being thrown at the stage also angered the band – culminating in Jimmy having to stop playing for treatment after being struck on the arm at one show.

As the second part of the tour rolled on, they were all eying with much relish the thought of settling in to the late June string of LA shows. After the trauma of the abandoned date in Tampa when rain stopped play after 20 minutes, matters improved for a six night run at Madison Square Garden. This latest triumph was faithfully reported back to the UK via a centre page spread by Ray Coleman in the Melody Maker issue of June 25. (I vividly remember rushing into the newsagent and excitedly buying up a bulk lot of copies to see how it was all progressing.) By that date they were back in their second home for what can be viewed in retrospect as their last truly great US appearances – and some of the very best of the post 1972 era. And thanks to the delights of those silver rarities, such performances are now available to reassess at the flick of the CD scanner button – providing the listener with the opportunity to travel back to the LA Forum and share again in the madness of the 77 tour.

When it comes to the underground documentation of this era, there have been a crop of ‘releases’ over the years. Many fans will already be familiar with The Destroyer’ soundboard April 27 Cleveland show, which is fine in itself but not the most inspired performances of the tour. 20 more minutes of soundboard quality exists from the June 11 Madison Square show (available on the ‘Silver Coated Rails’ CD) and the other prize catch up to now has been the two volume vinyl doubles ‘For Badge Holders Only’ capturing material from the June 23 LA show including the Keith Moon jam.

Listen To This Eddie’ was previously available on two hard to find vinyl sets. Now for the first time, the whole of this dynamic opening show from LA June 21 1377 is packaged on three CDs with a total playing time of 190 minutes. The sound source is from an audience tape – but it really is an excellent recording – very clear and over spilling with the sort of auditorium atmosphere that cleaner soundboard tapes often lose. The visuals for the inlays are also first class being reproductions of the photos to be found in the 1977 Tour programme.

‘Listen To This Eddie’ is very much the genuine article. A complete Led Zeppelin concert experience, a thrilling aural record that puts you right there on the spot.

The pure excitement of the event is evident from the moment the exuberant crowd noise filters through as the first CD commences. If there was one period in Zeppelin’s live concert history that I could be magically transported back in time to relive, then right now I would select the moment captured here when the group walk on to the stage for this opening LA Forum 1977 date. The expectation level must have been immense. Bonzo is the first to be heard rumbling the Ludwig into action. Then Jimmy scrubs his hands over the Gibson double neck to tease the crowd with a few well chosen chords. Those tantalising warm up chords became something of a Zep on-stage trademark when they employed ‘The Song Remains The Same’ as a set opener post 75. It was the same tactic we home-grown fans would finally revel in at Knebworth two years on.

Those chords eventually mould into the stinging intra of ‘The Song Remains The Same’. Immediately your senses are further assaulted by the quite brutal percussion of John Bonham. He rides alongside the galvanised guitar effects eventually breaking into the most inscrutable snare roll that underpins Jones’ bass patterns and Page’s role to emerge as the pivotal effect of the whole track. From that moment on, his playing dominates the proceedings. As I earlier observed, his performance a few days earlier had been decidedly lackluster in San Diego. Plant later explains he has just recovered from a bout of food poisoning and it’s obvious in LA John Bonham is back firing on all cylinders. The ‘Song’ swings into ‘Sick Again’ via ‘The Rover’ riff link as was commonplace at the time. They take a while to get into the groove here, but eventually with Robert teasing the crowd the momentum is increased leading to an extended outro that finds Page reeling off a series of telling phrases. “Good Evening” says Plant sedately before a more celebratory “I mean Good Eveeeening! Well, we finally made it. Haven’t seen you since. …. Anybody here when we played with Bad Company? That was the first time we ever managed to get back on stage again … So tonight no beating about the bush. We’re just gonna play ‘coz that’s what we’re here for.” But before they play there’ a pause of over a minute as Jimmy gets in check. Then it’s ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ and again it’s a Bonham led fusion as the drummer blisters alongside Jones and Page on this most intense dynamic excursion. Plant meanwhile screams and grapples with the stuttered lyric.

There’s a telling no-nonsense stance about Plant’s next introduction. “It is indeed a great pleasure to be back in California for many many reasons, among those it’s very hard to see the sun in a basement in New York. This is a song about. . . well, it’s not even worth telling you what it’s about. YOU know!”. That statement says much about the affinity the group shares with its LA audience. Plant knows and they know that this is the tale of the passage of man . . . ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’. One of the few inflexible parts of the 77 set, this number was brought in at the June Madison Square stint and was employed in rotation with ‘In My Time Of Dying1. One of my all time fave live pieces, it’s good to hear it in this setting. Jonesy’s eight string Alembic patterns can be heard very clearly and Jimmy steps on the eventide to double up the effects of the solo – which is not quite as impressive as the June 23 ‘Badge holders’ cut but mighty fine nonetheless. “That was a song that speaks for itself. This is a song that comes from what you might call the urban blues of the United Kingdom. A song that you probably already know but a song very close to all of us in the band from time to time and things like that.” The ’77 incarnation of Since I’ve Been Loving You’ as captured on the opening LA show just might be the version to live or die by. The reason is simple. Jimmy Page’s playing throughout is just so precise, with every lick charged with vivid intensity. Over which Plant delivers a flowing vocal and John Bonham again delivers a truly devastating performance. Just marvel at the closing coda as he scatters his arms around the kit forming a barrage of power and glory.

“Welcome back to the world, John Bonham, who had a terrible fit of food poisoning”, acknowledges Plant. “He’s been taking too many rhinestones. That by the way featured Jimmy Page on guitar. . .” The noise and sheer bravado that greets the latter statement is quite startling, prompting Plant to later mimic the crowd any time they begin to get out of hand. “I didn’t say Jimmy!”. “No Quarter’ follows, the first of the marathons. The ’77 version for me suffers from just a little too much instrumental freedom as Jonesy romps through boogie woogie and neo- classical themes before Page returns to add some undisciplined guitar work.

One interesting addition to the song is the “Dogs of doom are howling more” refrain which finds Plant in a call and response mode with Jimmy during the final movement. This arrangement was retained for Knebworth and even survived the rather bizarre Plant solo rendition employed on some of the ‘Manic Nirvana’ 1990 shows. A final observation here: when one considers the song’s gruelling half hour length, it’s perhaps not too hard to see why it inspired some restlessness amongst the crowd. ‘No Quarter1 lacked the visual anything-could-happen appeal of the other lengthy live opus Dazed And Confused’ and it pushed I’d take the compact ’73 version and the majesty of the Earls Court deliveries over anything performed post 75.

Robert battles with the restless crowd (“I didn’t say Jimmy!”) to explain that the next track came out of rehearsals as they looked to perform material they’d previously ignored. “Jonesy most kindly went out and bought a three necked instrument which since then has often hurt his back in many a hotel, so with the aid of Jonesy’s three necked instrument we’re gonna try a thing from ‘Physical Graffiti’ called Ten Years Gone’”. Robert delivers an outstanding vocal here set against some immensely fluid Telecaster work from James P. Unfortunately the effect of this track is then marred considerably by an untidy fade and edit at 5.28 into the song which misses part of the final verse. The acoustic set is thankfully all intact as Robert sets the scene. “It brings to the front of the stage a man who had a very bad stomach complaint – John Bonham. The Rhinestone Cowgirl. I guess he’s a Cowgirl In The Sand . . .” The latter reference inspires a “bring on Neil Young” plea from a wag in the crowd. Instead they perform The Battle Of Evermore’ with Jonesy on vocals and Bonzo hitting the tambourine with gusto towards the end.

“This next song we should dedicate to a lot of good friends we’ve met along the way, some are going back to New York tomorrow . . . Dear Danny (Goldberg?), we’ll miss you so much and your American Express card. Lots of good people who we’ve met – especially the people who made us write this song (wah).” ‘Going To California’ is noticeable for yet another Joni reference (“They say she plays guitar and cries and sings and she lives in Bel Air”). “I wonder if she still lives there”, he can be heard to mutter off mic after the song. A couple of teasing choruses of ‘Hangman’ from Robert ushers in the medley of ‘Black Country Woman’/’Bron Y Aur Stomp’, which then leaves the stage to Jimmy Page. From the delightful opening strum of the modal tuned Dan Electro he turns in an aggressive solo rendition of ‘White Summer/BIack Mountain Side’. Played faster compared to the rather sedate politeness of the box set BBC version – and for the first time in LA for seven years, it builds the tension before swinging directly into ‘Kashmir’ (another ’77 set ritual that stayed with them for the rest of their touring days), Unsurprisingly on this occasion it’s Bonzo who again comes to the fore adding the power to match Robert’s impassioned final pleading.


Moby Dick’ re-titled ‘Over The Top’ for the marathon delivery on this tour is preceded by an hilariously obnoxious Plant introduction as a delay occurs in setting up. Witness: “That was called Kashmir… Let me take you there. Bit of trouble with the musical equipment here. Right now the man who fought against the elements. The man who fought food poisoning. The man who drinks Heineken . . . The man who doesn’t get out of bed . . . the man who hasn’t got a cymbal . . . the man who’s having a chat with this man who knows the man who tunes Jimmy’s guitar and comes from Scotland and doesn’t know the man they call Tim but does know Audrey from Dallas thank you. The man who now learns to construct his own drum kit . . . the man who’s not very professional . . . shudd-up wait a minute … the man who said he could go back to a building site anytime and we all agreed … the man who’s holding up the show … the Rhinestone Cowgirl . . . C’mon Bonzo get on with it … the man who played the Los Angeles Aztecs and beat them 10-1 by himself. . . C’mon you silly fucker. . . the man one wonders is he worth waiting for. . and doesn’t realise there’s a curfew here … a childhood friend .a man who many people once said . . never heard of him . John Bonham Over The Toppppppll!” It’s an introduction that hones in on the off stage silliness of this part of the tour. Over The Top’ is just that as Bonzo powers on and on

Next up a rare ’77 tour bonus. Heartbreaker’ made only fleeting appearances in 1977 first being introduced on the June 10 Madison Square appearance. Predictably there’s a genuine desire to perform it for the LA crowd and it positively leaps from the speakers. Bonzo brings a subtle difference to the Page solo by serenading the high neck guitar chops with a crash of hi hat and snare. On into the home straight Page performs the showpiece ‘Guitar Solo’. This opus signified the end of ‘Dazed And Confused’, as it incorporated the violin bow episode into a lengthy solo extravaganza. Obviously more of a visual piece, it does make for some decidedly uneasy listening as Page attains an abusive howl of noise from the guitar. ‘Star Spangled Spanner’ performed with a nod in the direction of James Marshall Hendrix moves into the bow episode which eventually makes way for the introduction of ‘Achilles Last Stand’. Needless to say this is yet another Bonzo tour de force. After that it’s Robert’s closing speech. “Achilles Last Stand … at least we thought . . . very nice to see some friends just arrived from England – Mr. Phil Carson, a man who played bass in Japan with Dusty Springfield a long time ago. See we know all the Oldies (off mic) and all the pushers!”

LA 1

“Well no doubt you picked up on the atmosphere at least on stage tonight. It’s like a high point of the whole tour to be back here. Maybe after six nights it may not be so easy to say that but at the moment …. we give you this song . . . .” ‘Stairway To Heaven’ ’77 style includes some great ad libs (“Does anybody remember forests?”) and moves its way into an evocative Page solo. Rigorously crafted against Bonzo’s hi hat jiggling it moves through rock, flamenco and Latin influences and includes that great moment when everything just stops . . .

As the kids froth . . . it’s an apocalyptic encore medley of Whole Lotta Love/Rock And Roll’ that bursts forth with a great repeated and harmonised final “Lonely Lonely Lonely” refrain which leaves a breathless Plant to wave farewell. “LA, it’s like a good woman – Good Night!”

And that was only the first night. As a complete concert souvenir, ‘Listen To This Eddie’ is probably the most authentic slice of live Zep explosion packaged for the underground market since ‘Blueberry Hill’, and I can think of no higher recommendation than that.

Dave Lewis

Part Two to follow


Chris Charlesworth Elvis Presley book:

Chris Charlesworth has a very interesting semi fictional book about Elvis Presley due to be published in August – here’s the details vis his Just Backdated blog…

Last October I announced that I had written a novel, a mixture of fact and fiction that purported to reveal the truth about the 1975 kidnapping of Elvis Presley, and that I would be publishing it privately as an e-book, available in time for Christmas. It didn’t happen because I was persuaded by some friends who had read it that this was the wrong approach, and that I should seek a ‘proper’ publisher that would put it out as a ‘proper’ book, ie one with a cover and printed pages. It was, one friend told me, ‘a bold literary conceit’. I rather liked that.

To this end, in the early months of this year I approached several publishers, both in the UK and USA, only to be told that they only read manuscripts sent in from literary agents. So I approached several agents, all of whom I had dealt with as Editor-in-Chief at Omnibus Press, a position I held for 33 years until the beginning of last year. None wanted me as a client. I was told by those that had the courtesy to respond that they weren’t seeking any more authors right now or that my Elvis book wasn’t the kind of thing in which they were interested. The vast majority simply didn’t even bother to get back to me at all, quite a contrast with the reaction I used to get when I ran Omnibus. It also occurred to me that if someone with my track record in music journalism was unable to get anyone to even read my work, let alone publish it, then what hope for anyone without my background? If that sounds like sour grapes, then so be it, but at Omnibus I always made a point of acknowledging unsolicited proposals and, although the vast majority were turned down, in most cases I tried to offer some guidance to would-be authors. It was a matter of civility.

Chastened by the absence of interest from the publishing world of which I was once a member, by the end of March I was resigned to going back to Plan A, the e-book route, and had even made inquiries with a company called Matador that prints your books for you and tries to sell them – but at some cost to their author. I wasn’t enthusiastic about this and was also keenly aware that the optimum time for publishing my book was August 16 this year, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death, when the King’s profile might just go up a notch or two.

Then a miracle happened. My friend Neil Cossar, whose company Absolute PR had at one time handled the Omnibus publicity and promotion, read the book and brought it to the attention of another of his clients, Red Planet Publishing, which publishes quality rock books. Their MD read my book in one sitting, couldn’t put it down he said, and made me an offer. I had lift-off at last.

So, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the book will be published in time for August 16, now re-titled Caught In A Trap: The Kidnapping Of Elvis. (ISBN: 978 1 9113 4658 6, extent: 304 pp, dimensions: 198 x 129mm, paperback, price: £8.99 or $15.95.) A front cover is being designed as I write and an advance information sheet for the book trade reads as follows:

Caught In A Trap draws back the veil of secrecy on the most dramatic event in the life of Elvis Presley. In October of 1975 Elvis was abducted and spirited away to a cabin in the Kentucky mountains where he was made to sing for his supper. After a week in captivity a ransom was paid to ensure his release, a bizarre episode that was hushed up on orders from the White House, no less.

       This psychological thriller not only reveals the dramatic details of how Elvis was snatched but also delves into the innermost thoughts of the King of Rock’n’Roll. How does Elvis react when he is treated like an ordinary person, told to sweep floors and chop wood? How does he interact with his kidnappers? Will his songs grant him his freedom? And how do those close him, among them ex-wife Priscilla and manager Colonel Tom Parker, respond to the crisis?

       Caught In A Trap is so believable you’ll be asking yourself why it has taken so long for the real story to get out.

Last year I posted a couple of extracts from the book on Just Backdated, together with news about it, under its working title Elvis Kidnapped, but since that has since been changed these can now be found here under Caught In A Trap. The book has been revised quite a bit since then. I will post another extract closer to the publication date.

See Chris’s excellent blog at:


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – at a sunny Vinyl Barn last Friday, the rich pickings included The Yardbirds Singles Hits – a very nice ten inch pressing on the Charly label plus ahead of his 75th birthday on Sunday June 18, the 1987 Paul McCartney 12inch singe Once Upon A Long Ago –this includes two bonus tracks Midnight Special and Don’t Get Around Much Anymore from the one take rock’n’roll sessions Macca conducted that year all with great sleeve notes from legendary NME writer Roy Carr – top stuff – thanks Darren!

We had a rather splendid couple of days last weekend in London with our good friends Max and Julie. This included a soul music cruise down the Thames. on Saturday night. Max is a bit of a soul music connoisseur and we are well partial to the likes of Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Maze etc. I got into a lot of that when I sold a lot of dance music in the WH Smith and Our Price record shops I managed in the 1980s. We had been on this trip last October and it was again great fun. Alongside the music, as we travelled down the Thames on the boat we had splendid views of many a London landmark in the evening sun and later illuminated by the lights.

The boat swung it’s way up to Greenwich and it was a was a poignant moment when the O2 building came into view  – many a memory there of course. On the dance floor the crowd soaked up many a soul/dance anthem – it was a reminder of the sheer joyous power of music -whatever the genre.

On Sunday we had a very relaxing time strolling along a very hot and sunny  South Bank by the Thames. It was back on to TBL projects on Monday with further work on TBL 43 and the Evenings With LZ book project.

Glastonbury is upon us – I’ve never been there myself -in fact I missed out on seeing Page & Plant there all of 22 years ago (I did attend five P & p gigs that summer!) I do love watching it on TV and I’ll be clocking in at various times over the weekend.

On the player – For Badgeholders Only and Listen To This Eddie naturally, plus a variety of recent DL vinyl and CD acquisitions – here’s the line up:


Love – Love Story 1966 – 1972 2 CD

Blue Note -Relaxin’ Blue 2 CD

Blue Note –Feelin Blue 2CD

Blue Note -Evenin Blue 2CD

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – No Quarter Japanese SACD

Ars Longa Vita Brevis Progressive Rock 1967 – 1974 – 3 CD

Dr John – Remedies

Best Of The Nice

Nick Drake – Bryter Later

Nick Drake – Pink Moon

Wishbone Ash –Argus

Sandie Shaw – Me

The Supremes – Produced And Arranged by Jimmy Webb

New Magic In A Dusty World – Elektra sample

The South’s Greatest Hits Vol 2 – Capricorn label

I always enjoy the next few days of June as the dates reflect the six nights Led Zeppelin performed at the LA Forum in 1977. Along with the Earls Court and the Japan 71 shows, these six nights are some of the best run of concerts Led Zeppelin ever performed.

In fact I’d say there is no finer example of the sheer out and out onstage excitement Led Zeppelin were capable of attaining than the opening minutes of their performance at the Los Angeles Forum on the night of June 21st 1977. I’ve just listened to it again and from the moment Jimmy slays across the double neck and they break into the intro of The Song Remains The Same and that stupendous percussive flurry from Bonzo through to Robert’s entry…well it just doesn’t get any better (see YouTube clip below).

Subsequently as mentioned above, the playlist here over the next few days will be reflecting Led Zeppelin at the LA Forum 1977. Six of their very best nights from Listen To This Eddie to Badgeholders Only and more…and thanks to Mike Millard’s remarkable tapes from the time we can relive that week for Badgeholders – six nights at LA Forum where Led Zeppelin really did reigned supreme – all of 40 years ago…

Dave Lewis – June 21 , 2017.

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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YouTube clip:

The Song Remains The Same from Listen To This Eddie…June 21, 1977:  


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  • bis White horse said:

    I think what you said made a toon of sense. However,
    what about this? what if you typed a catchier post title?

    I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to ruun your website, but what if yoou added a post title that makes people want more?

    I mean Tight But Loose » Blog Archive
    You could glance at Yahoo’s front page and see how they rite news titles to
    get viewers to click. You might add a related video or a picture or two to
    get people interested about everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    spot on Larry!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Ian!

  • Ian D said:

    Thanks for a great, well rounded insight into the ’77 tour, can’t wait for part 2.

  • Larry said:

    LA 77 is definitely one of the milestones for the band. Mike Millard’s recordings really convey the enormity of the event. 77 was an “up and down” tour in some ways, but if you were lucky enough to be there it was an unforgettable experience. Page’s expositions prior to Achilles in 77 fall perfectly into that category. A lot of the impact is lost in some of the audio tapes. But to see it on the night was a show stopper. And then Achilles immediately following…wow!

    Would be nice if the long rumored video of the Pontiac show from the old Silverdome ever saw the light of day. Maybe one of these eons…

    The highlights of the first 3 nights in LA are enormous. From the 21st, it’s right from the top thru to the end of Ten Years Gone, then another peak during an unforgettable Kashmir and right on thru to the end of the show. While we don’t have a Millard recording from the 22nd, the lesser quality audio of Dying Time and Over The Hills (an apparent late set audible from Page) are two of the most stunning live performances ever captured on tape. And again the highlights are endless from the Badge Holders show, including what many seem to feel is the ultimate No Quarter, the looning of Keith Moon, and this fan’s personal favorite version of Stairway (Bonham threatening to crumble the famous columns which ring the outside of The Forum).

    It’s too bad we don’t have pro-shots and multitracks from those L.A. nights! I agree this run (as well as the 77 MSG run) belongs right up there with Japan 71, West Coast 1972, Earls Court etc.

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