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8 December 2017 1,494 views No Comment


Pic by Wyatt Brake

I Was There…



Just got back from Planet Zeppelin. That’s the only appropriate phrase to describe the incredible vibe that has prevailed at the Millennium Dome / O2 over the past two days.

Where to start?

The wonderful camaraderie of fans that extended from the queues for tickets / merchandise /gig entry over to the Pilot Inn pub which really was pure TBL come a live Sunday night and yesterday afternoon and early evening. So many people that came so far on another blind date.

And yes seeing was believing. Again.

Above – the 02 Arena forecourt with words from Kashmir -totally surreal – photo via Dave Linwood.

The atmosphere was electric as we queued to go in. A call from home revealed I’d been on the national BBC 6 o’clock news being interviewed in the build up. It was all happening.

I had an excellent view stage left to the side – it was great to see Kevyn Gammond, Bob Harris and Justin Adams all in attendance in my block. The performance: full of the integrity, humility, emotion and power that characterised the glory days.

And this might just be their most glorious day ever.

So many highlights: The opening thrust of Good Times / Ramble and Black Dog. In My Time Of Dying still pure bottleneck banshee with Jason’s incredibly powerful bass drum kicks… For Your Life an absolutely outstanding performance – one of my all time fave tracks finally given the live treatment it so deserved. Page, Jonesy and Jason grooving incessantly down on that plangent riff. Trampled…. another pure groove with Robert so on it as he was all night.

A Nobody’s Fault But Mine with all the stop start dynamism of the original and what an intro….No Quarter with the added touch of dry ice and Jimmy’s theremin hand signals…Since I’ve Been Loving You more fluency from Page… Dazed And Confused compact and concise and the revolving lasers during the bow episode reviving memories of Knebworth.

Stairway…have to say I completely lost it at that point and tears streamed down my face all the way through this and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

‘’Hey Ahmet…we did it’’

The Song Remains The Same lifted the tempo back up and was just magnificent. Misty Mountain Hop before which Jason sang the opening lines of I Can’t Quit You Baby kept the pace.

“There’s people here from 50 countries….here’s a song about the 51st”

Then blam! A version of Kashmir that engulfed the entire dome. The undoubted pride of Zeppelin sung with such intensity by Robert. “Fucking awesome” as Noel Gallagher described to me later.

They were back for Whole Lotta Love and again for a rousing (can it be anything else?) Rock And Roll before which Jimmy thanked everyone for an amazing night. At the end of it all Plant threw down the mic, they took a final bow ,Plant offered a final tribute to Ahmet and this utterly immortal night was over.

Thank you Jimmy,Robert, JPJ and Jason for an amazing night.

Yes the sound mix took a while to settle in, and a few cues got missed, but hey they were, are and always will be tight but loose.

Suffice to say this was one of the greatest nights of my life and probably thousands of others in the O2 Arena. John Aizlewood in the Evening Standard said it all with his testament:

“It was breathtaking and spine tingling – as good as popular music gets”

The newspaper reviews have been united in their praise today which has been a joy to see.

Right now Led Zeppelin must be the most popular band in the world.

Final thoughts: Jason throughout was exemplary capturing all the full throttle thwack required to support the power that surged from the stage. JPJ was typically JPJ, diligent in all his playing but totally unmissable. The backdrop screen projections – absolutely stunning. Well done Thinkfarm (hi Mike!) – and Jimmy’s Zoso symbol returning to his amp was a neat touch.

Thanks to so many fans who came from all parts of the globe who considerably enhanced this experience of a lifetime for me – in particular Brian K, the two Gary’s, Jose, Graeme H, JR, Pam, Paul, Lee, Steve and Jan, the irish lads, Jez and Michaela, and so many more.

Right I’m off to be bed…it’s back to reality and retail frenzy in the morning.

So yesterday they were Led Zeppelin. Now today they are once again Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham.

Tomorrow and beyond… who knows ?

One thing is for certain – their performance at the O2 Arena on December 10 2007 has created rock history. No other band could have staged such an event as this phenomenal tribute to dear Ahmet.

Dave Lewis – December 11th 2007.




Tonight’s Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters gig will be the 58th occasion I have seen Robert Plant sing into that Shure microphone at a London gig-  through Zep and all the solo years and guest appearances – and the 120th occasion overall.

So the list below represents the 119 occasions I’ve seen Robert Plant sing live –commencing with the 14 initial Led Zeppelin gigs I was lucky enough to attend and the 15th at the 02 in 2007 , through the Page & Plant collaboration, solo tours, one offs and TV recordings.

119 is not a band tally, though I have to say as we were looking at his various tour itineraries, Gary Foy and I kept asking ourselves why we didn’t do a whole lot more. There looked to be many occasions we should have made the effort to get to say a Wolverhampton or Nottingham, Coventry or Birmingham – locations within relative ease, or  festival dates such as Cropredy, Womad and Canterbury that slipped through.

However, over the years the plain reality of life, circumstances, family, work commitments and finances frequently got in the way. Back in the day, with little responsibilities, zipping around the country when I was younger was no trouble – but as you get older you can’t do everything and compromises have to be made. Mind you quite how I got away with eight nights out in July 1995 when the good lady Janet was eight months pregnant I’ll never know. In retrospect there have been some moments of mild recklessness juggling work,family etc in this quest to see the singer sing his songs.

So let’s talk about that.

It’s a testament to Robert Plant’s unquenchable thirst for musical re invention that his latest album Carry Fire with The Sensational Space Shifters  finds him on yet another fresh wave of critical and public acceptance. The prestigious BBC 6 Music showcase, various TV and radio interview slots plus a rapturously welcomed UK tour has helped propel his profile sky high in the last few weeks.

Not for his achievements in the eleven years of life in Led Zeppelin (astonishing as they were), not for the six times Grammy award winning collaboration with Alison Krauss (as wondrously surprising as that was), not for a one off reunion with his old band mates at the O2 (as magical as that was). Nor for his being selected to be a Commander of the British Empire, his dedication to Wolverhampton Wanderers, or his nurturing of and support of local talent and matters close to his heart in his Midlands bolt hole.

Impressive as all these accomplishments are – it will be above everything for his role as Robert Plant Vocalist and musician that will demand attention and appreciation in the coming months.

‘’The past is a stepping stone ’’ he remarked recently ‘’Not a millstone’’

For me personally, from 1971 to 2017 these 1119 performances in the company of Robert Plant form a timeline of my life.

I was 15 years and 77 days old when I first heard him scream out the ‘’Bali-hi’’ war cry of immigrant Song at the Empire pool Wembley on Sunday November 21st 1971. When I settle down in my seat tonight at the Royal Albert Hall for performance 120 I’ll be 61 and 95 days old.

Nigh on 120 nights – it’s been to use the old cliché, quite a journey.

From the glory days of Led Zeppelin, through small club gigs with the Honeydrippers, his initial tentative solo tours, the mid 90s Unledded collaboration with Jimmy Page, back to the cubs with the Priory Of Brion,  esoteric nights with Strange Sensation, the remarkable one off Zeppelin reunion at the 02, Grammy award winning bluegrass musings with Alsion Kruass to the eclecticism of his latest success in The Band Of Joy.

I’ve been lucky to have witnessed some incredible nights.

Highlights? So many and all unforgettable:

Try these for example:

Led Zeppelin on a perishing cold Sunday night in November ‘71… in front of the golden god sitting on a limousine backstage at Earls Court May 25 1975… side of the stage in Frankfurt and Mannheim over Europe ’80… in the back of a rented hertz van in Sheffield with the Honeydrippers…in the presence of HRH Prince Charles Chares at the Dominion in ‘82… with the good lady Janet at the Tube in ‘83… the sheer excitement of the first Zep numbers sung live in Leicester University ’88.. Jimmy back next to him at the Hammersmith in ‘83 and ’88… the night at the Marquee in ‘88 when an unassuming chap approached me and said the immortal words ‘’Are you Dave Lewis?’’ (Yes Gary Foy that was me and we’ve shared some sketches since!)… toasting Sam’s arrival  in a pub near the Hammersmith Odeon hours after her birth… Wearing And Tearing with Jimmy at Knebworth ‘90… sitting on Robert’s monitor at the Kings Head pub the smallest stage I’ve seen him on…Dazed and Confused sung as a suprise in Birmigham ’93… weaving the Unledded Zep magic with Jimmy in August 1994… Thank You –opening number before my very eyes second night second row in Meadowlands Arena New Jersey… up against the barriers in  St Austell… escapades in Istnanbul followed by Shepherds Bush,Top Of The Pops and TFI Friday – three consecutive days in the company of P & P in the mad month of March of 98…. Night Flight and Trampled Underfoot at the ULU… No Regrets with the Priory at the Boardwalk Sheffield on the anniversary of night of Bonzo’s passing…. in a tent on a Halloween afternoon in Ashby De La Zouch (hi Kevin!)…. in a back street pub bar in Kings Heath on a Saturday night… Priory in Milton Keynes round the corner from my mate Phil’s house….that bizarre night of separate Plant & Page appearances at the Royal Albert Hall 2002….. World Cup fever before and after the Storytellers TV recording….TBL comes alive in the front rows of Hammersmith in 2002 when I had priority tickets and Frank Skinner telling me caustically ‘’shame he’s lost it’’ afterwards… Dermot O’ Leary interviewing Robert at the Recovered TV show before he and SS did a killer version of Love’s Seven And Seven Is….Tin Pan Valley at The Scala Radio Two recording…. Christmas cheer (too much so!) in Wolverhampton 2005…. warm vibes in Cornbury and Somerset House in the summer of ‘06…. back with The Honeydrippers for Roy Williams 60th at JB’s on Valentines Day 2007…… into the glow of the infinite glory that was theirs at the 02 six months later – watching his family members dancing to Rock And Roll in front of me….Black Country Woman with Alison at Wembley… reviving the marvellous Scott Walker’s  Farmer In The City and those lines  ‘’Who are you twenty one, twenty one, I’ll give you twenty one, twenty one’’ sending shivers down the spine at Abbey Road… revelling in a true Band Of Joy at Mayfair One and doing a little angel dance of delight at the London Forum, a life affirming gig at the Birmingham Symphony Hall with the same line, a redefining gig in Gloucester when he introduced The Sensational Space Shifters, a moving tribute to Bert Jansch in 2013, yet another Ceaseless Roar in Wolverhampton in 2014, performing Kashmir with Nigel Kennedy and Money with Paul Rodgers and Brian Johnson, yet another rebirth with a lunchtime date at Maida Vale studios on October 6.

Phew – it’s a mighty long way down rock’n’roll…

It hasn’t all been plain sailing of course. Missed trains, cancelled shows, battling the elements, freezing conditions etc (it’s likely to be cold tonight!)

The odd night when it didn’t really spark, that stage that looked like a block of cheese in ’85, Tom getting lost on the way back from Oxford in ’83 (Slough on a dark December night did not look good!) Mr Foy’s car near conking out in the early hours on the way back from Warwick in 1988 when three fan belt purchased quickly in succession couldn’t fix it (Gary you should have realised I brought trouble and strife!), and by his own admission some confusing moments as his career veered this way and that, well we valiantly followed suit.

‘’’It’s been real’’ as the singer once put it himself.

Of course, along the way there’s been the camaraderie of like minded fans. Indeed a fair few of you out there will have shared some of those memories above as they unfolded.  Many a friendship formed over the years, Many a pre gig and late night beer, many a curry, many a pre and post gig discussion of why this singer remains so inspirational in our lives. And that’s a trend I am sure will continue.

I am also by no means alone in stacking up the Plant gigs and memories – it’s something that has become second nature amongst countless followers – Gary Foy and Krys Janzen are no far behind me in their Plant gig going tally (in fact long time TBL supporter Paul Harper has just added another 7 gigs to his tally on this current tour) – as witnessed by the feedback and reports received from the UK tour and featured on the TBL website in recent weeks.


So to summarise:

From the glory days of Led Zeppelin, through small club gigs with the Honeydrippers, his initial tentative solo tours, the mid 90s Unledded collaboration with Jimmy Page, back to the cubs with the Priory Of Brion, esoteric nights with Strange Sensation, the remarkable one off Zeppelin reunion at the 02, Grammy award winning bluegrass musings with Alsion Kruass to the eclecticism of The Band Of Joy and sheer inventiveness of The Sensational Space Shifters. Plus guest appearances with the likes of Nigel Kennedy and Paul Rodgers.

A journey that has taken me from the vast fields of Knebworth to backstreet pubs in Birmingham. From New York to Istanbul, Paris to Dublin, Glasgow to Cornwall and beyond. From secret filming sessions, rare TV appearances, album launch gigs, the fabled 02 reunion, party nights in Kidderminster and homecoming gigs in Wolverhampton.

And as much as we look back, it’s still all about the next gig: The next musical high, the next Robert Plant vocal performance sung into that Shure SM58 microphone that will leave you breathless in admiration.

As he once astutely put it ‘’It’s still today’s work and tomorrow’s plans that give us all a reason for being – rather than a reason for having been.’’

Here are 119 occasions I’ve been in the company of Robert Plant on vocals…


”I’m going where this blokes going ”- the young DL  (7 gigs up and counting) in pursuit of Robert Plant May 18 1977 –  a trend that continues…

1: November 21 1971 Led Zeppelin – Empire Pool Wembley

2: December 23 1972 Led Zeppelin  -Alexandra Palace London

3: May 17 1975 Led Zeppelin – Earls Court Arena London

4: May 18 1975 Led Zeppelin – Earls Court Arena London

5: May 23 1975 Led Zeppelin – Earls Court Arena London

6: May 24 1975 Led Zeppelin – Earls Court Arena London

7: May 25 1975 Led Zeppelin – Earl’s Court Arena London

”Which way’s Kenbworth?”  DL provides another TBL service prior to gig number 8

8: August 4 1979 Led Zeppelin – Knebworth Park Stevenage

9: August 11 1979 Led Zeppelin – Knebworth Park Stevenage

10: June 18 1980 Led Zeppelin – Sporthalle Cologne

11: June 30 1980 Led Zeppelin – Festhalle Frankfurt

12: July 2 1980 Led Zeppelin – Eisstadion Mannheim

13: July 3 1980 Led Zeppelin – Eisstadion Mannheim

14: July 5 1980 Led Zeppelin –  Olympiahalle Munich

15: May 4 1981 Honeydrippers – Porterhouse Retford

16: May 12 1981 Honeydrippers  – Boat Club Nottingham

17: May 18 1981 Honeydrippers – Treeforest Polytecnic Pontypridd

18: May 26 1981 Honeydrippers  – Limits Club Sheffield

19: May 27  1981 Honeydrippers – Bradford University

20: July 21 1982 Robert Plant – Princes Trust Dominion Theatre London

21: June 22 1983 Robert Plant – Midsummer Night’s Tube TV recording Tyne Tees Studio Newcastle

22: November 28 1983 Robert Plant – City Hall Newcastle

23: December 12 1983 Robert Plant – Odeon Hammersmith London

24: December 13 1983 Robert Plant – Odeon Hammersmith London

25: December 18 1983 Robert Plant – Apollo Oxford

26: September 8 1985 Robert Plant – NEC Birmingham

27: September 10 1985 Robert Plant – Wembley Arena

28: January 23 1988 Band of Joy – Leicester University

29: January 30 1988 Band of Joy – University of Essex Colchester

30:  February 4 1988 Robert Plant – Marquee Club London

31:  March 17 1988 Robert Plant – Warwick University

32: April 3 1988  Robert Plant – Apollo Oxford

33: April 14 1988  Robert Plant -Town And Country Club Kentish Town London

34: April 15 1988  Robert Plant  – Astoria Theatre London

35: April 17 1988  Robert Plant – Odeon Hammersmith London

36: June 4 1990 Robert Plant – Odeon Hammersmith London

37: June 5 1990 Robert Plant – Hammersmith Odeon London

38: June 30 1990 Robert Plant – Silver Clef Knebworth Park Stevenage

39:  January 8 1991 Robert Plant – Town And Country Club Kentish Town, London

40:  January 9 1991 Robert Plant – Town And Country Club Kentish Town London

41:  January 10 1991 Robert Plant – Town And Country Club Kentish Town London

42: May 1993 14 Fate Of Nations – Kings Head London

43: May 20 1993  Band Of Joy – Kings Head London

44: July 14 1993  Robert Plant – NEC Birmingham

45: July 16 1993  Robert Plant – Brixton Academy London

46: December 23 1993 Robert Plant – Brixton Academy London

47: April 17 Page & Plant – Alexis Korner Tribute Opera House Buxton

48: August 24 1994 Page & Plant – MTV Unledded filming London Studios

49: August 25 1994 Plant & Page – MTV Unledded filming London Studios

50: April 6 1995 Page & Plant -Meadowlands Arena New Jersey USA

51: April 7 1995 Page & Plant – Meadowlands Arena New Jersey USA

52: June 6 1995 Page & Plant Palias – Omnisports Bercy Paris

53: July 12 1995 Page & Plant – SEC Glasgow

54: July 13 1995 Page & Plant – Sheffield Arena

55: July 15 1995 Page & Plant – Coliseum St Austell

56: July 16 1995 Page & Plant – Arts Centre Poole

57: July 22 1995 Page & Plant – NEC Birmingham

58: July 23 1995 Page & Plant – NEC Birmingham

59: July 25 1995 Page & Plant – Wembley Arena

60: July 26 1995 Page & Plant – Wembley Arena

61: March 5 1998 Page & Plant Bostanci Centre Istanbul

62: March 6 1998 Page & Plant Bostanci Centre Istanbul

63: March 25 1998 Page & Plant – Shepherds Bush Empire London

64: March 26 1998 Page & Plant – Top Of The Pops TV recording Elstree

65: March 27 1998 Page & Plant – TFI Friday TV recording Riverside Studios London Hammersmith

66: May 5 1998 Page & Plant – Later with Jools Holland TV recording White City London

67: August 26 1998 Page & Plant – The Point Dublin

68: August 28 1998 Page & Plant – Reading Festival

69: October 30 1998 Page & Plant – Molson Beer Competition winners gig ULU London

70: November 3 1998  Page & Plant – Evening News Arena Manchester

71: November 4 1998  Page & Plant – Wembley Arena

72: November 5 1998 Page & Plant – Wembley Arena

73: September 25 1999 Priory Of Brion – Boadwalk Sheffield

74: October 31 1999 Priory Of Brion – Ashby De La Zouch Leicestershire

75: November 13 1999 Priory Of Brion – Red Lion Kings Heath Birmingham

76: February 16 2000 Priory Of Brion – Junction Cambridge

77: April 3 2000 Priory Of Brion – Roadmender Northampton

78:  June 21 2000 Priory Of Brion – Hexagon Reading

79: September 6 200 Priory Of Brion – Charlotte Leicester

80: October 19 2000 Priory Of Brion – Woughton Centre Milton Keynes

81: February 9 2002 Strange Sensation – Teenage Cancer Trust benefit Royal Albert Hall London

82: June 6 2002 Strange Sensation – VH1 Storytellers TV recording Westway Studios London

83: June 10 2002 Strange Sensation – Astoria Theatre London

84: October 11 2002 Strange Sensation – Corn Exchange Cambridge

85: October 30 2002 Strange Sensation – Appolo Hammersmith London

86: February 28 2003 Strange Sensation – Recovered TV Recording Riverside Studios London

87: April 2 2005  Strange Sensation – Warwick University

88: April 4 2005 Strange Sensation  -Teenage Cancer Trust benefit Royal Albert Hall London

89; April 27 2005 Strange Sensation – BBC Radio Two recording Scala Theatre London

90: December 4 2005 Strange Sensation – Hammersmith Palais London

91: December 6 2005 Strange Sensation – The Forum Kentish Town London

92: December 13 2005 Strange Sensation – Civic Hall Wolverhampton

93: February 23 2006 Blue Juice – MAS Records Launch night Town Hall Kidderminster

94: July 8 2006 Strange Sensation – Cornbury Festival

95: July 10 2006 Strange Sensation – Somerset House London

96: February 14 2007 Honeydrippers – JB’s Club Dudley

97: June 22 2007 Strange Sensation – Fiddlers Club Bristol

98: December 10 2007 Led Zeppelin – Ahmet Ertegun Tribute 02 Arena London

99: May 22 2008 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Wembley Arena

100: February 25 2010 Robert Plant – Sound & Vision Cancer Research Charity Event Abbey Road London

101: September 1 2010 Band Of Joy album launch – Mayfair One London

102: September 2 2010 Band Of Joy – HMV Forum Kentish Town London

103: October 27 2010 Band of Joy – Symphony Hall Birmingham

104: October 29 2010 Band of Joy – The Roundhouse London

105: November 16 2010 Band of Joy Later with Jools Holland TV recording White City London

106: May 8 2012 Sensational Space Shifters Guildhall Gloucester

107: July 12 2012 Sensational Space Shifters Forum London

108: August 29 2013 – Sensational Space Shifters Colston Hall Bristol London

109: September 2 2013 Sensational Space Shifters Wolverhampton Civic Hall

110: October 31 2013 Sensational Space Shifters Blues fest Royal Albert Hall London

111: December 3 2013 A Celebration of Bert Jansch tribute concert Royal Festival Hall London

112: September 8 2014 Sensational Space Shifters iTunes festival The Roundhouse London

113: November 12 2014 Sensational Space Shifters The Roundhouse London

114: November 20 2014 Sensational Space Shifters Cambridge Corn Exchange

115: November 21 2014 Sensational Space Shifters Civic Hall Wolver hampton

116: March 14 2017 Guest appearance with Nigel Kennedy Royal Albert Hall London

117: May 14 2017 Guest appearance with Paul Rodgers and Brian Johnson Apollo Theatre Oxford

118: October 6 2017 Sensational Space Shifters – BBC6 Music radio session performance –Maida Vale London

119: November 20 2017 – Sensational Space Shifters Civic Hall Wolverhampton

And tonight…

120: December 8 2017 Sensational Space Shifters Royal Albert Hall London

‘’This not a career – this is a gift’’ – Robert Plant 2017


Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters -Royal Albert Hall Friday December 8, 2017:

TBL pre gig meet Details:

As mentioned above – tonight’s Robert Plant show will be the 58th occasion I have seen Robert Plant sing into that Shure microphone at a London gig through Zep and all the solo years and guest appearances – and the 120th occasion overall.

The prospect of this London appearance, just as it was back in 1971 on that first experience at the Empire Pool Wembley some 42 years ago… is awesome.

As ever there are fans converging from all parts of the globe for  this one -I know of a fair few coming in from European locations and it will be great to say hi.

The venue for the TBL pre gig meet is as follows – we aim to be there around 5.30pm

The Queens Arms

30 Queens Gate Mews,




From The Albert Hall: Walk past the Albert Hall towards Kensington, turn right into Queens Gate, and take the next right onto Queens Gate Terrace the first right into Queens Gate Mews. The pub is in front of you.

From Gloucester Road Tube Station: Turn left, cross over Cromwell Road then take the 4th turning on the right (Queens Gate Terrace) approximately 150 yards on the left is Queens Gate Mews. The pub is in front of you.

Here’s more info:

Looking forward to seeing all that can make it along…


To be continued – more 02 Reunion Ten Years Gone thoughts tomorrow…

YouTube clip:

Led Zeppelin -Trampled Underfoot


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