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IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO TODAY: LED ZEPPELIN AT EARLS COURT MAY 17 1975 /DL DIARY UPDATE

17 May 2015 1,688 views One Comment

may 17

TBL Celebrates the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

Turning the clock back 40 years:  Saturday May 17th 1975:

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog.

May 17th a dull rainy Saturday. Left Bedford around 4pm on the train and met then girlfriend Fiona in London for the long awaited return. I’d been counting the days down since March and now here we were hours from seeing and believing. We were inside the arena from around 7pm and the next hour was a slow one – I’d brought a programme and t.shirt.The programme with the illuminating text from Tony Palmer really whetted the appetite and had some amazing photos.

Finally when the stage burst into action following Bob Harris’s intro just after 8pm, well it was the moment my life switched into colour after the previous 18 years had been viewed in grainy black and white.

We had a good view high up to the right looking down towards Jimmy’s side. They were a little nervous and it was evident Jimmy was having lead trouble in Rock And Roll, but once they settled in it was all and more I’d hoped for. The video screen high above the stage was something I’d never seen at a gig before and I found myself gazing in awe at the memorable images flashing on screen- and wishing it was being broadcast on TV.  I’d played Physical Gaffitti non stop since it had come out so seeing In My Time, Kashmir and Trampled played live was just awe inspiring. Tangerine was an unexpected treat as was the whole acoustic interlude. Having no idea what the set list would be  only added to the pure wonderment of seeing Led Zeppelin live before my very eyes.

Initial opening night impressions:

John Bonham’s incredible drum sound, Robert’s warm rapport with the crowd and the way he totally dominated the stage.. After this somewhat shaky start they quickly regained confidence and the new numbers from Physical Graffiti, In My Time Of Dying and Kashmir set the standard. The latter’s Eastern-sounding riff rose into a thick, booming sound that reverberated throughout the entire arena. As the tapes of the shows so vividly reveal, that booming sound was very much an Earls Court characteristic, a sound so solid that when Page laid down a chord you could practically lean on it.

EC jr2

The marathon Dazed and the laser lights shooting through Jimmy’s violin bow. By the evening’s end the early nerves had all but evaporated, to be replaced by a relaxed atmosphere which found JPJ playfully offering a few bars of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic as Robert introduced ‘Stairway To Heaven. Plant was now regularly adding the line “That’s all we got” to the final verse prior to Page’s solo. Whole Lotta Love  featured a few riffs from The Crunge prior to Jimmy’s theremin battle. An unsurprisingly nervous start but with plenty to build on.

We got back to Bedford at 2am and I was already counting down the hours to when we would be back in their company again.  There were just 18 hours to tick off.

The Led Zeppelin Earls Court experience was underway…and boy life was good…

Dave Lewis – May 17 2015

“Apart from The Who and The Stones I can’t think of many bands who could have put on anything like it. During moments like Trampled Underfoot it seemed the whole stage was just going to fall forward and crush everybody in the hall.” Charles Shaar Murray, New Musical Express.

………………………..

DL Diary Update:

Excellent day at the VIP Record Fair at the Harpur Suite in Bedford yesterday. Sold a few bits and spread the TBL word and had some previews of the Earls Court photo book up. Cliff ‘the ticket man’ Hilliard was there – adding to his collection of Jimmy Page session appearance singles – which included a copy of Carter Lewis and the Southerners single Two Timing Baby on the Ember International label. Cliff also showed me a couple of his recent Zep ticket stub acquisitions – namely the Feb 25 1970 Stockholm gig and Goteborg Sweden March 4 1973 – mega rare indeed. TBL correspondent  Ian Avey was also there and picked up the rare UK Atlantic Flying High compilation with You Shook Me on. Fellow local publishing magnate Jerry Bloom had a look at the Funky Junction pays tribute to Deep Purple LP and informed me it was recorded by members of Thin Lizzy. Jerry’s new book on Deep Purple A Matter Of Fact is out now via Wymer Publishing.

It was also a cool moment when the plaintive strains of the classic Garnet Mimms As Long As I Have You drifted over from the stall across from me. This is of course the number Zep used as a set opener early on in their career. I’d have loved to have acquired that single – an original 1967 pressing on the United Artists label but the £100 plus asking price was way out of my league!

My vinyl treats included The Groundhogs Who Will Save The World album with fold out sleeve, plus in the singles I would have purchased had I had the funds available in 1969 -1972 I added Edgar Broughton’s 1970 minor hit Out Demons Out and I Will Survive by Arrival. My best find was  a very nice copy of Presence on US Swan Song – this has the lighter sleeve and Swan Song address on the back and textured inner sleeve. I’ve been looking for a  copy for a while. A very welcome addition to the Dl collection.

vip fair

The pic here taken on the TBL stall At the VIP Record Fair in Bedford yesterday – note the new TBL Five Glorious Nights 40th anniversary Earls Court T shirt – on sale very soon!

Today the May 17 CDs will be on as I revel in the Earls Court memories. There’s some final tweaking on the Earls Court photo book ahead and work on TBL 39 big time next week.

40 years…as the singer put it   ”It’s been a lifetime ..but a second..”

More Earls Court celebrations to follow…

Dave Lewis – May 17, 2015.

The way they were…utterly sensational…

To be continued….

Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –  May 17, 2015 

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One Comment »

  • Ed said:

    Thank you for the concert footage. By the time I was old enough to go to a concert, it was 1988. Since then, I would go see Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, or Page/Plant but it’s not the same as Led Zeppelin. My daughter, who turns 25 this year, is a Led Zeppelin fan, too. Unfortunately, she has only seen tribute bands. A Led Zeppelin tour would touch the lives of so many people. In closing, I will hang on tour your memories and continue to hope for a reunion.

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