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2 April 2020 170 views No Comment

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – Back in the USA – 25 years gone


25 years ago this spring , Jimmy Page & Robert Plant were on the first leg of their Unledded No Quarter tour. The tour opened in Pensacola and ran through until Vancouver on May 26 before moving into Europe, going back to America and eventually ending in Australia and Japan in early 1996

Given all that has happened since, not least the 02 reunion, the Celebration Day film and the Zep reissues, it’s easy to forget the impact this reunion had at the time. 15 years on from their last tour together, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant recaptured the imagination of Zep fans around the world. On stage they extended the creative edge of the MTV Unledded shows and combined it with the dynamic rock foundation that Led Zeppelin built their reputation on. The deployment of the Egyptian ensemble and orchestra added a unique exotic edge. I was lucky enough to see two shows at the Brendan Byrne Arena Meadowlands on April 5th and 6th. Along with thousands of other fans, it was massively exciting to be given the opportunity to see and hear the Zeppelin catalogue re interpreted with such  panache and viguor by the principal songwriters of much of the original material.

To mark the 25th anniversary here’s my on the spot report from Meadowlands Arena that first appeared in a TBL Newsletter in May 1995..and some posts form my Facebook page:

It was 25 years ago today…

25 years ago today on April 6 ,1995, I was lucky enough to be in New York to attend the April 6 and 7 1995 performances by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey. Gary Foy and I travelled on a group trip from a company in Rotherham – it was all very well organised.

We also hooked up with a fair few fans including Dardo Simone and photographer Larry Ratner who published the Led Zeppelin Live Dreams photo book.

This was my only trip to the US and it was absolutely mind blowing. The crowd reaction on both nights was truly remarkable.



Here’s my review that appeared in Mojo…

It was 25 years ago today…

25 years ago today I was lucky enough to be in New York for the second performance by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey.

During the day Gary Foy and I were taken around the Greenwich Village area by our very gracious hosts Larry Ratner and Kim.

We visited Electric Lady Studios and the offices of Atlantic Records. Here’s a pic taken inside Electric Lady Studios in front of the studio console and by the Jimi Hendrix backdrop mural. It was incredible to be inside the very studio Hendrix had created his magic…and where Led Zeppelin visited in June 1972…such great memories from this New York visit all of 25 years ago today..

April 7…

25 years ago today I was lucky enough to be in New York for the second performance by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey. The very kind folks at Atlantic Records secured us second row centre seats.

In this photo taken I think by Christophe Le Pabic behind the stage – I can be seen in the second row looking up at Jimmy,Robert and the late great Michael Lee just above Jimmy’s guitar neck.

Unsurprisingly, this occasion is right up there in my all-time fave gigs…they were simply astonishing that night all of 25 years ago…what a memory…

And more Page & Plant…

TBL Archive :Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: US Tour 1995.

Here is a piece that originally ran in TBL 11:

With the MTV film in the can, the next logical move was to take the show out on the road.,

The pair decided to extend the formula used for the MTV shows, employing the Egyptian string and percussion ensemble led by Hossam Ramzy and dubbed The Egyptian Pharaohs. Under the direction of Ed Shearmur they enlisted the assistance of local orchestras in each area they performed, thus enabling them to repeat the successful formula used for the Unledded filming which allowed fresh interpretations of the Zeppelin catalogue.

Just prior to the tour opening in February, Page and Plant reunited with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for an appearance at New York’s Waldorf hotel to accept Led Zeppelin’s induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame. Jonesy’s comment – “Thanks for my friends for remembering my phone number” – during his speech was a curt acknowledgement of his displeasure at being ignored.

Rehearsals for the Page Plant tour took place in London, and a preview of what was in store occurred when the pair did a live link up for the American TV Awards, performing ‘Black Dog’.

In early April I was lucky enough to catch their two day stint at the Meadowlands Arena in America (see my review for Mojo below). The second night where they strolled on to the stage and moved into ‘Thank You’ remains a defining memory. Further shows in Paris, Glasgow, Sheffield, St Austell, Poole, Birmingham and London proved conclusively that despite their advancing years the duo’s ability to recreate the power and grace of Zeppelin was without question.

It was a glorious period as long time fans and those too young to have seen Zep in their prime revelled in what was all in name the Zeppelin reunion we had all hoped for. By the tour’s end it was evident that Jimmy Page was playing better than at any time during the previous fifteen years. Indeed for a project that began as a request to strum a few Zep tunes unledded style for MTV’s acoustic showcase, when played live night after night this reappraisal of the Zeppelin catalogue developed into a fully ledded experience. A trend that would continue when they returned to the live action in 1998.

With so many tapes at our disposal, there is ample scope to take a retrospective view of the tour. Having listened to hours of material drawn from the many tapes of the tour, I have compiled an imaginary four-CD compilation that takes in all the major developments along the way. It includes the one-off gems slotted in, the stand-out performances, the offbeat sequences and all the historic moments building into a true overview of the entire tour. It features 53 extracts drawn from 26 different locations spread over 28 shows; nearly five hours of musical Page and Plant highlights that capture the often barely believable events that thousands of fans were privileged to enjoy during those 370 days.

So this is Page and Plant on tour together at last in 1995 and 1996. Proving conclusively that the evolution of Led Zeppelin continues…

Part One

CD1: US Tour First Leg:

Intro: Tales of Bron – Robin Williamson poem

‘Immigrant Song’ intro/’The Wanton Song’

(Thompson Bowling Arena, Knoxville, Tenessee, March 3 1995)

The previous date in Atlanta had seen the amalgamation of ‘Immigrant Song’into ‘Wanton Song’ as the set opener. On that occasion they had some trouble sorting out the ending (it was after all the first live airing of ‘Wanton Song’ in 20 years!). In Knoxville it all came together with Page leading the way with some dexterous runs. The atmospheric opening introduction poem that proceeded became a familiar opening ritual to a majority of the US first leg and some European dates. The choice of the little known Incredible String Band album extract recalled Plant’s fondness for this Sixties outfit, and by the time Robin Williamson had got to the line “There is the flavoured haunt of pleasure, no haunt or threat or malediction, but sweet of music strikes the air” the fans knew what was coming next as the silhouettes on stage burst into life.

‘Wanton Song’ went on to become the favoured set opener, clocking over 80 performances during the tour.

Achilles Last Stand’

(The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, February 28 1995)

‘Achilles’ was always a prime contender for reworking on this tour so it was no real surprise when it turned up in the set lists of the two opening dates in Pensacola and Atlanta. More baffling was the fact it was never played again. On the evidence of the passion they brought to this performance there appears no logical reason why. It was a more than competent display that kicked along with all the verve of the best Zep deliveries circa 1977.  Robert introduced it as “One of the first songs Jimmy and I wrote relating to travel” – a similar spiel would be given over to introducing The Song Remains The Same which effectively took over the Achilles slot the next night.

Watching the video shot from the show, it’s clear they were enjoying reliving this crucial Zep track – the pair could be seen clustered together in a classic pose during the “Aha… Aha” refrain.

At times the February 28 delivery of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ recreated the spirit of Led  Zeppelin better than any other single performance on the tour. Maybe that’s why they decided to drop it. Perhaps they both felt it was just a little too close to what went before…

‘House Of The Rising Son’/‘Good times Bad Times’

( UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisanna, March 11 1995)

From the moment Plant casually walked up to the mic and oozed into the traditional local blues standard ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, this second night in New Orleans was destined to be special.

They then switched straight into ‘Good Times Bad Times’, the only performance of the rarely played Led Zep I opener. And it was a joy to hear them rumble through the familiar stops and starts of the track with Michael Lee on drums proving his worth.


(UNO Lakefront Arena New Orleans Louisanna March 11 1995)

When the first set lists were posted on the Internet many presumed this was a new song and listed it as ‘Spiderman’. In actual fact  it was a revivial from Porl Thompson’s Cure days. It worked as an offbeat interlude amongst the Zep numbers with Plant immersed in the lyric and Page cutting fine precise lines against Porl’s rhythm work. ‘Lullaby’ survived in the set until the early part of the Europran dates before being deleted.

‘The Song Remains The Same’

(UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Lousinna, March 11 1995)

“There’s a ….”

At the beginning of this mid-period Zep classic, Plant twice taunted the crowd with the opening line from the well known Rolf Harris cover. Instead Page led them into a powerful rendition of the Houses Of The Holy opener. This was a definite highlight of the US leg with Page and Porl Thompson trading licks most effectively, with the latter’s speed on the Gibson jumbo guitar really pushing the song along. Plant reached the high notes with ease as it led it into a glorious finale. “Can you feel it?” asked the singer afterwards. Absolutely.

Tangerine’/’Hey Hey What Can I Do’

(US Air Arena, Landover, Washington, March 23 1995)

Two superb performances lined up back to back during this show. ‘Tangerine’ made its only appearance on this leg performed in a full band arrangement. The crowd reaction as Page hit the familiar notes was nothing less than euphoric. Porl played some suitably laid back electric parts against Page’s Ovation acoustic strumming. A nostalgic first outing for the Zep III standard that was last performed live twenty years back at Earls Court.

The underrated Zep III leftover (and subsequent US B side to ‘Immigrant Song’) ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ was another revelation with the crowd egarly joining in the chorus. Videos from the tour of this track show Page beaming with pride and duck walking along the stage.

Boogie Chillun’ sequence

(Skydome Arena, Toronto, March 27 1995)

“One night I was laying down”… The John Lee Hooker standard was an integral part of the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ medley in the Zeppelin era. This was its only appearance on the tour, emerging during the ‘Calling To You’ medley. The way it developed out of a lengthy Page solo was invigorating and for those in attendance a rare revival for another part of the Zep live canon.


‘Calling To You’ including ‘Break On Through’/’As Long As I Have You’/

Dazed And Confused’ inserts

(Brendan Byrne Arena, Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 6 1995)

‘Calling To You’ had previously been a highlight of Plant’s Fate Of Nations tour. With Jimmy on board it quickly developed into an extended piece that included a compelling guitar battle with Porl, a seminal riff exercise and then into an anything-could-happen medley sequence in the grand Zep tradition. This night in Meadowlands was exceptional for the inclusion of Garnett Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’, a staple of the first two Zeppelin American tours but not performed by Page or Plant since. It followed the now customary delivery of The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’ and then merged with a few lines from ‘Dazed And Confused’. Another  memorable sequence.

‘Shake My Tree’

(Great Western Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

On the face of it this was a rather bizarre choice for inclusion on the tour. A highlight of the 1993 Coverdale Page album, it says much of Plant’s compatibility with Page at the time that he agreed to sing the Coverdale lyrics, albeit in a slightly amended form. ‘Shake’ was actually a great riff exercise which allegedly was first conceived during the Zep In Through The Out Door sessions. On stage it gave Plant the chance to pull out the old “Suck it!” refrain at appropriate moments and for Page to weave those weird sounds from the theremin.


(Great Western Forum, Inglewood Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

When Page and Plant breezed back into the Forum some 17 years after the night of Listen To This Eddie, a tradition of spontaneity was upheld. During ‘Kashmir’ they were joined by guest violinist Lili Hayden who brought a impulsive virtuoso feel to the end section as she pitted her talents against the Egyptian Pharaohs. “Ladies and gentlemen Lili Hayden appears at the Viper Room in Holly wood every Sunday night,” Plant informed the audience at the close.


Part 2 to follow


LZ News:

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

  • Two rarely seen before video clips of Led Zeppelin have emerged in the past week. Footage of Led Zeppelin performing at the Texas International Pop Festival on August 31, 1969 is available here (from 1:30). And a brief video of Led Zeppelin performing in Philadelphia on June 13, 1972 is available here.

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant’s May 4 show in Poole with Saving Grace has been cancelled, and their May 12 performance in Minneapolis has been postponed. You can see the remaining scheduled performances below, but all of these dates are subject to change.
  • Robert Plant is scheduled to perform as part of Saving Grace in the Isle of Man on July 12.

Upcoming events:


May 8 – Mark Lanegan’s new album “Straight Songs Of Sorrow,” which features John Paul Jones, will be released.
May 12 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
May 15 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Chicago, Illinois.
May 19 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in New York.
May 20 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in New York.
May 23 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Washington DC.
June 14 – John Paul Jones will perform as part of Minibus Pimps at the Lost Music Festival in Italy.
June 19-21 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Black Deer festival in Kent.
July 8 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival in Whitley Bay.
July 10 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Platform Festival in Yorkshire.
July 12 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in the Isle of Man.
July 14 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Edinburgh.
July 19 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Inverness.
July 21 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Aberdeen.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Fort William.
July 24 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Perth.
July 26 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Glasgow.
September 25-26 – The next John Bonham celebration event will be held in Redditch.

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


Mike Appleton RIP:

I read on David Hepworth’s blog the very sad news that Mike Appleton the producer and editor of The Old Grey Whistle Test BBC 2 TV show has passed away.

Mike was responsible for bringing so much great music to UK TV screens over many years –including the BBC’s coverage of Live Aid in 1985.

He was not often front of camera but he did appear on this memorable clip. Originally aired in November 1976, Mike replaced the ill Bob Harris to conduct a rare TV interview with Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant on a boat on the River Thames. The subject matter was mainly the forthcoming Zep movie The Song Remains The Same.

I remember watching this the night it aired in complete awe. Led Zeppelin on the TV in our living room…an unheard of notion back then.

He was not afraid to ask some slightly prickly questions and it all made for a humorous and insightful interview in the grand Whistle Test tradition – RIP Mike…

Here’s the link to watch the YouTube clip of the Old Grey Whistle Test interview by Mike with Robert Plant and Peter Grant…


Paul Carrington RIP:

Janet and I were so very sad to hear the passing of local Bedford musician Paul Carrington.

Paul was responsible for a creating a moment of true musical magic for us.It occurred on the evening of my 60th Birthday party at the White Horse in Bedford on Monday September 5,2016.

The esteemed Mat Roberts was the musical host that night and did a great job- a few guest musicians appeared too including Paul.

Right at the end of the evening Paul got out his acoustic guitar and we all huddled round for a final musical swan song. Paul performed an incredibly moving rendition of Peter Sarstedt’s 1969 number one Where Do You Go To My Lovely, one of my all time fave songs.

It was a moment of true magic – we all sat round spell bound by Paul’s beautiful delivery. It was a touching emotional end to what had been an emotional evening. We will never ever forget it. Just thinking about it now is making me well up with tears.

Whenever we hear that song we are always transported back to that magical performance on a memorable night.

I’ve just played Peter Sarstedt’s version of Where Do You Go To My Lovely and as usual, it sounded beautiful – but not as beautiful or quite as moving as Paul Carrington’s version did on the night of my 60th Birthday. RIP …


Chris Robinson RIP:

There was further sad news yesterday when another local musician Chris Robinson passed away aged 58.

Chris was a regular at Pete Burridge’s Record Club at the Castle in Bedford. He was always great to chat to and conversations about Pink Floyd albums were often on the agenda – he was a big Floyd fan. Here’s a pic of us at the Record Club a couple of months back – Chris is second on the right with myself and Pete Burridge and Mat Roberts

He will be sorely missed by the whole Bedford musical fraternity –and always much loved and remembered…RIP Chris



DL Diary Blog Update:

Another tough week where the news of the passing of local musicians Paul and Chris greatly saddened me.

I know everybody reading this has their own circumstances that they are having to cope with and our thoughts and prayers are with you all as we continue to face the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Dave Lewis – April 9, 2020  

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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