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5 July 2018 2,059 views No Comment


Here are the full details again of the John Bonham Celebration Festival set for Redditch on September 22:  


 Following the installation of a permanent bronze memorial statue in his hometown of Redditch, Worcestershire, a very special music event has been organised to celebrate the legendary Led Zeppelin drummer’s 70th Birthday, life and legacy.

 Organised by The John Bonham Memorial Friends and in partnership with Heart of Worcestershire College, the celebration festival will take place at Peakman Street, Redditch on Saturday 22nd September 2018.

A stellar line-up of Rock/Blues artists and Special Guests, all with a connection to John and the Bonham family, will take to the stage as part of a full day of live music, commencing at 13.00 until 23.00. Some acts will be revealed via but others will be saved and revealed on the day.

This memorable event will host a mix of well-known stars and upcoming musicians, all donating their time to remember John Bonham and to raise vital funds for Teenage Cancer Trust and their outreach nurse programme across the West Midlands.

Tickets are priced at £25 each (plus £1.50 booking fee) and will go on sale at 12 noon on Friday 29th June 2018 via

Proceeds in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust West Midlands to support vital services in memory of John. Ticket numbers are strictly limited to just 1000 on a first come first served basis. Over 18s only.



Evenings With Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin Live 1975 – 1977 books:

Many thanks for all the positive comments regarding the announcement of the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book – I’ll have more ordering details soon and more on the TBL Limited Edition.

The Led Zeppelin Live 1975 – 1977 photo book via ACC Editions/Iconic Images which I edited, is due out later this month. I have just had a preview copy through and it looks really excellent. More details on that one to follow shortly.


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

Jimmy Page

  • Jimmy Page also attended a poetry reading at The Troubador in London on June 25 with his girlfriend Scarlett Sabet. See a photo of Page here.
  • Jimmy Page has also done a new photoshoot in his London home, Tower House. See one photo here, and another here. The photographer works with British newspapers, so it seems likely that it could be for another interview about Page’s feud with his neighbour Robbie Williams.

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant ended his US and Canada tour with four performances. See the setlists below:

June 24: Pasadena, California
The Lemon Song
Four Sticks
Turn It Up
What Is and What Should Never Be
The May Queen
Going to California
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love

June 26: Troutdale, Oregon
When the Levee Breaks
Four Sticks
Turn It Up
The May Queen
Going to California
Please Read the Letter
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixing to Die
New World…
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love

June 27: Redmond, Washington
When the Levee Breaks
Four Sticks
Turn It Up
Going to California
In the Mood
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
New World…
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love

June 29: Vancouver International Jazz Festival
New World…
Turn It Up
The May Queen
The Rain Song
Please Read the Letter
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
When the Levee Breaks
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love

Upcoming events:

July 2 – The official John Bonham memorial T-shirt will be released.
July 6 – Robert Plant will be presented with the Integro Outstanding Award at the O2 Silver Clef Awards in London
July 17 – Robert Plant will perform at the Istanbul Jazz Festival in Turkey.
July 19 – Robert Plant will perform at the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Georgia.
July 22 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vielles Charrues Festival in Carhaix, France.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Paris, France.
July 25 – “Led Zeppelin Live,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be released and Robert Plant will perform at the Festival de Carcassonne in France.
July 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Milano Summer Festival 2018 in Milan, Italy.
July 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach, Germany.
July 31 – Robert Plant will perform in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
August 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Dresden, Germany.
August 11 – John Paul Jones will perform as part of Snoweye at the Varangerfestivalen in Norway.
September 7 – Led Zeppelin will released the remastered edition of “The Song Remains The Same” and new merchandise.
September 15 – Robert Plant will perform at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in Colorado.
September 16 – Robert Plant will perform at the KAABOO festival in California.
September 18 – “Scream For Help,” which features a soundtrack by John Paul Jones, will be released on Blu-ray.
September 20 – Dave Lewis’ new book, “Evenings With Led Zeppelin,” will be published.
September 23 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bourbon & Beyond festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
October – The official Led Zeppelin photo book will be released.
October 16 – “Bring it on Home,” a new biography of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, will be released.
October 26 – Robert Plant will perform in London, UK.
October 28 – Robert Plant will perform in Dublin, Ireland.

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


TBL Retro Archive: Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980: it was 38 years ago…

Concluding the TBL retro archive features on the final Led Zeppelin tour as chronicled in the Feather In The Wind Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 book.

This is my overview of the gigs that I caught – this extract picks up the on stage action in Munich on July 5, 1980 for what would be their penultimate show with John Bonham…

When the house lights dim some 15 minutes later, I get the most incredible buzz from hearing the Wembley-like roar that echoes around the Olympic Hall. And there they are, walking the 30 yard stretch from the dressing room area up on to the stairs that lead to the stage. Ushered by torchlight and led as ever by manager Peter Grant. Bonzo is flanked by the ever present Rex. He’s shaved his beard (“I always do for the summer” he tells me later) and looks very much like he does in the concert part of the movie. He also looks nervous, and at this moment I can’t blame him.

Jimmy is stumbling his way through, once again wearing that baggy suit I first saw in Cologne. Robert strides forward head aloft, a bottle of orange juice in his hand, smiling. John Paul Jones does an Ali-like shuffle up to the stairs.

Seconds later Munich sees Led Zeppelin and the roar is frightening.

So too is the awesome power of the opening numbers Train Kept A Rollin’ (“And it kept on rollin’ ”) and Nobody’s Fault But Mine. It’s when they crunch down on numbers like these that you get into perspective the power that they can create.

Something like Nobody’s Fault with all its stop-gap acappella and soloing, has to be punctuated by the rhythm section at just the right moments. If Bonzo or Jonesy drop one or stitch one it would totally throw out the up-front euphoria of Jimmy and Robert… but they get it right every time and it makes me gasp in amazement. That power, which so easily could weigh them down, is manipulated with effortless ease, and it sounds so right. “No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no body’s fault.” Crunch! Jimmy winds it up, but then Jimmy winds it up every night.

Of course, one of their great assets is the ability to balance that power and shift into passionate, emotion-filled diversity. After Black Dog and In the Evening, they display this perfectly when performing Rain Song with all its shimmering double neck virtuoso playing from Jimmy, and on All My Love too, probably the best received song throughout the tour. You can actually hear the audience singing along on the chorus tonight. Of course, they’ve all got the album, and the dream of it being performed live is turning to reality with every movement of Robert’s outstretched arms, Jonesy’s string symphony, Jimmy’s emotive solo and Bonzo’s anchor man drumming.

“Eye thank yew” says Robert, taking this particular crowd through an unfamiliar sketch. Hot Dog has the boy doing his barn dance speciality and John Paul Jones adds some accurate piano work. During Trampled Underfoot Jimmy really lets loose. Pulling the most incredible notes from the Gibson, steely solos, juicy wah wah effects, you know, the whole works, and Robert loves it. Dancing his two-step across the stage, grinning and looning. “Push” indeed. Since I’ve Been Loving You is another Jimmy showpiece and it’s apparent how well this song has matured over the years, having been written something like a decade ago.

“James Patrick Page guitar! This is the first tour we’ve done in three years and it’s been quite an interesting sketch actually.” (Roars from the audience) “One more night then… who knows; maybe we’ll do this again very quickly; maybe not.”

munich live 2

Achilles Last Stand follows that speech. I close my eyes and it’s like being in a 1976 time warp. It’s got that sort of atmosphere having been recorded here in forced circumstances, and it still retains a sense of melodrama (right down to the point Robert echoes the “Atlas” line and leaves Jimmy to stalk the stage in time with the revolving, closing chord passage, flanked by a blue spotlight). After Jimmy’s White Summer/Black Mountain Side interlude, Kashmir explodes forth and Robert unleashes every ounce of drama from within the lyrics. Other highlights include that marvellous “Woman talkin’ to ya” ad lib; the combination of the two front men’s visual tactics; and finally Bonzo’s drumming – “Moby Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick” Robert teases.

Unannounced as usual, Jimmy plays two chords and as those two chords echo around the Olympic complex they’re soaked up by the Munich people and thrown back with a most volcanic-like roar that signals the anthem. “Does anybody remember laughter?” asks Robert on cue and, judging by the reaction, I think they do. Soon after, he’s thrown the tambourine and stands there arm outstretched in classic pose. Behind him Jimmy rips out that solo. By the end of Stairway to Heaven, Zeppelin receive an ovation that sounded like they’d scooped gold, silver and bronze in every event going.

“München… Goodnight!”

The band leave the stage, and Phil from Bad Co. and Mick Hinton proceed to set up Simon’s drum kit to the side of the stage near John Paul Jones’ keyboards. The audience look puzzled. Back come the group for the obligatory encore of Rock And Roll which crushes the hall.

After this, Robert announces to the crowd: “Please welcome an old friend of ours from Bad Company, Simon Kirke!” Simon walks on, takes to the kit, does a few snare beats and before we know it the five man Led Zep are into Whole Lotta Love. This, I haven’t seen before. Incredibly though, it works! Even though this jam had been totally unrehearsed, Simon gets all the breaks right, with eyes fixed on Bonzo, and the sound is sizzling hot. Jimmy joins in on the vocals for the chorus, and then proceeds to fiddle about on theremin, battling with Robert’s vocal interplay. The famous five grind on into the Let That Boy Boogie segment and then it’s on to the home straight, Simon filling in, complimenting Bonzo’s hammerings.

At the close they all take a bow – “Thank you… oh, and welcome back on stage Simon!” Finally they leave the stage, grinning, sweating and satisfied. While the Munich mania continues, the band are already speeding towards the Hilton hotel.

A couple of hours later, the Hilton’s plush bar is doing hectic business in trying to satisfy the thirst of the Zeppelin entourage. Everyone’s here tonight. Bonzo, Robert and Jonesy are already propping up the bar, and not long after, Jimmy completes the line up. “Where’s Robert?” exclaims James, ambling down the stairs anxious to find his buddy.

Robert is holding court. His energy is phenomenal. Even after tonight’s exhausting show he’s still full of life. He holds up his hand to me forming a circle with his thumb and finger, signifying that the evening had been spot on. “Great tonight wasn’t it?… and Simon, well it was such a driving rock ‘n’ roll, I couldn’t believe it. Two drummers, I mean really!”

John Bonham is also well pleased. “Overall, everyone has been dead chuffed with the way the tour’s gone. There were so many things that could have gone wrong. It was a bit of a gamble this one, but it’s worked really well.” I enquire what the next move will be. “A holiday!” replies the beardless Bonzo. “We wanna keep working. There’s lots of possibilities and of course we want to do England. It’s down to a management decision really and we will have to talk about that when we get back.”

As the night progresses, the booze continues to flow, and everything gets a little hazy. Before I crawl back to my room, I can dimly recall Robert singing along to the chorus of Walking On The Moon, cries of “Eye Thank Yew” at regular intervals, and rapping with him about time, the wheel that rolls on… long into the night.

Sunday: the tour is winding to a close. Just one more gig in Berlin tomorrow and then it’ll be back down to the Golden Lion and a bit of English sanity. For me, today is a leaving day. The Spirit of Albion is calling once again. Down in the lobby just as I’m checking out, I literally bump into Jimmy Page as he’s trying to open a loo door! Last words, then James: “Yeah last night was the nearest feeling to that of the big American shows. Just so much energy there – How long did we play for? I tell him 2 ½ hours. “That’s about right isn’t it? We had to get rid of some of the effects really, I mean, it was difficult trying to get a leak in during Dazed And Confused!. I thought it was really exciting last night, really exciting.”

So that’s it. Fond farewells have been exchanged, luggage packed and the taxi ordered. Just as I’m about to leave I notice Fritz Rau again. He’s greeting the Santana crew who are booking in for their gig. For Fritz it’s just another rock ‘n’ roll band from where-ever… I’ll tell you one thing though; I bet he never thought Led Zeppelin were just another rock ‘n’ roll band, during their tour. Led Zeppelin are never just… anything. That’s why they’re special. That’s why they’re here still.

But earlier in the year, even I was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to get back on the road after the silence that followed Knebworth. This tour though, has taken them into the 1980s. Things may change for Zeppelin, but it’s their ability to retain the essence of their existence (ie. their roots), that helps keep it fresh.

Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 has been a return to the people. It’s a period of intense activity they all desperately needed. It’s been a rejuvenation, and above all it’s been fun.

It leaves Led Zeppelin in a very healthy position. They’ve still got it and they still care.

Boys… ”Eye Thank Yew… ”

Dave Lewis, July, 1980.

Extract from the book Feather In the Wind- Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1880.

The book is readily available at a bargain price – essential Led Zep summer 2018 reading

Here’s an interview I conducted with Gary Foy at the time of the book’s publication in May 2011:


In the summer of 1980, Led Zeppelin undertook what would be their final tour –a low key 14 date trek taking in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria and Switzerland. With a radically streamlined stage presentation and set list, the aim was to get back to being a working band after all the lay offs of recent years and grand scale of their 1979 Knebworth appearances.

This air of rejuvenation would inspire plans for a full scale tour of America in the autumn that would be sadly curtailed with the untimely death of John Bonham.

Vastly under reported at the time, the Led Zeppelin Over Europe ’80 tour has taken on something of mythical status over the years. It found the band anxious to stamp their authority on a changing musical landscape as their reputation tethered like a feather in the wind.

In his forthcoming book, Dave Lewis brings a fresh perspective in chronicling this final era, setting the scene with the build up to the tour, combining on the spot reports of the gigs from the time and retrospective views from those that were there both out front and backstage. The book also includes an in depth gig by gig analysis, full bootleg appendix and is illustrated throughout with many rarely seen photos and images.

The book also offers a unique fans eye view of the era as re-told through Dave Lewis’ diaries of the time and his experiences of being in close proximity to the action during the tour.

It all adds up to an illuminating volume that offers clear light on the final days of Led Zeppelin as they attempted to rejuvenate their career by doing what they did best – performing live on stage.

This is the Led Zeppelin tour that time nearly forgot…remembered and re-assessed in greater detail than ever before.

In an interview with Tight But Loose web site editor Gary Foy, Dave Lewis explains how he came to be up close and personal with Led Zeppelin during their final days and his thoughts on the book.

GF: So how did you manage to be in such close proximity to the band on this tour?

DL: I guess it was a combination of fanatical enthusiasm, being in the right place at the right time, and sheer luck.

I had been an extremely fervent Led Zeppelin fan from the day I first heard Whole Lotta Love powering from the radio when I was just 13 years old. I was totally hooked, and from then on this band became an integral part of my life. I took in their shows at Wembley Empire Pool in 1971, Ally Pally 1972, five nights at Earls Court, and of course two weekends at Knebworth. Every album they released, every move they made I soaked up with near religious fervour. By 1976 I was already penning my own reviews and notes on the group and had begun to harbour a massive desire to channel my dedication into chronicling the group in print.

This initially bore fruit when I collaborated with Geoff Barton on a four part series marking Led Zeppelin’s tenth anniversary in the late summer of 1978 for the UK weekly music paper Sounds. I had been eyeing creating my own Led Zeppelin fanzine for about a year, and participating in this well received series was the kick start to getting things moving. Ironically, I was inspired by the do- it- yourself punk fanzines of the day such as Sniffin’ Glue and Ripped And Torn.

Led Zeppelin did not do fan clubs and gaining information was strictly down to whatever coverage Zeppelin were afforded in the then weekly music papers NME, Melody Maker, Sounds, Disc and Record Mirror. Back then, there was, of course, no internet, twitter or facebook and in the UK little radio coverage of rock music on TV or radio – and there were no blanket news channels, or even breakfast/daytime TV.

In search of info, and keen to put my thoughts on paper and connect with like-minded fans, I created my own magazine – Tight But Loose (so called after an expression used by both Page and Plant in 1977 to describe their music). I handwrote issue number one (an Earls Court Revisited special), advertised it in the music paper small ads and the response was pretty instant. There were many more like-minded fans out there across the world that wanted to buy into this hub of info I was committed to supplying.

Luckily for me, this self published magazine struck a chord within the band and their organisation. Within a year, I had developed the format from a hastily handwritten stapled booklet to a glossy A4 format with exclusive photos. The then most recent issue – number four published in April 1980, had gone down well within the hallowed walls of their Swan Song record company empire.

Along the way, I had developed a good relationship with their then press agent and office manager, Unity McLean. They saw the intentions of this venture were genuine and seemed more than happy for me to produce it.

With Led Zeppelin preparing to tour in Europe, the objective was a simple one that spring of 1980. To report on it all I needed to be right there where the action was. So I organised all the travel details and then their office via Unity were very helpful with passes.

GF: How many gigs did you attend?

DL: Along with my TBL colleague Tom Locke, we attended the second night in Cologne, plus dates in Frankfurt , two in Mannheim and the penultimate gig in Munich. There was a real relaxed feel about the affair and compared to previous Zep tours it was all very low key.

On the tour they had a tight knit team of people around them led by Harvey Goldsmith.

I was already on good terms with a number of Swan Song associates and security people. They were more than happy for us to be in close proximity.

For the Cologne show we were ushered into the photo pit to see the show – although bizarrely there were no photographers present.

The next four gigs we were allowed access to view the action from the side of the stage. It was incredibly exciting to be so close to the band. The fact we were accepted into their inner sanctum to the extent of being allowed on to the sacred area of the stage was remarkable. It probably says much about the low key nature of this tour. Could it have happened at Earls Court or Madison Square Garden? Probably not.

I do feel that the close-knit relationship the band shared with their crew and personnel on the Over Europe tour allowed for a certain extent of informality. Peter Grant had no problem with our presence and neither did any of the rest of their entourage. I would like to think that there was also an element of trust in place, knowing that anything I reported back for the TBL magazine would be done so with the highest integrity – a value I continue to uphold in all things I project with TBL to this day.

GF: Given all the press backlash of the last couple of years, what was the morale of the band on the tour?

DL: Compared to previous tours, one thing is for sure. This was a vastly different Led Zeppelin that came out to face the 1980s on the night of June 17th of that first year of a new decade. Firstly, there was the scaled down set list and presentation. No big lights, no large stage, no lasers. No Dazed And Confused, no Moby Dick or No Quarter. A slicker, neater, more compact operation that indicated fresh thinking and something of a rejuvenation within the ranks.

For example, lined up against the run of shows just three years earlier at the Los Angeles Forum, there was much less swagger about them. Too much had gone on not for them to have been affected by the tragedies and lay-offs. Jimmy as can be seen from the photos was very thin. We did see a fair bit of them at the hotels. They all seemed pretty relaxed and just keen to get on with the job of getting out there again and playing again.

GF: Musically how did it compare to say Earls Court in 1975?

DL: As I said this was something of a different band from that glory era. They were somewhat erratic at times but on any given night on the tour they came out packed with intent.

On the nights they really nailed Achilles Last Stand (check out Munich July 5th) or Kashmir (check out Frankfurt June 30th), John Bonham was at the nerve centre of it all and playing with the abandonment of say, the Royal Albert Hall ’70. He still cared as did John Paul Jones, the steady anchor with the Billy Fury haircut (as Plant put it). Performances such as Nobody’s Fault But Mine (check out Brussels June 20th) and the beautifully melodic All My Love (check out Zurich June 29th or Munich July 5th) showcased his undisputed musicianship.

For all his prior misgivings, Robert Plant in the main seemed to be having a great time. The sweat-stained green cap sleeve tops he wore bore evidence of the effort he was putting in. Robert Plant may have been less the hippy Adonis but he was totally immersed in the band again – a full-on interested Plant could always sway the balance – there’s no finer example of that than his performance at the 02. In Europe 1980 he was never swamped by the enormity of the music. He led from the front and yes it did work…contrary to what the critics might have said.

As for Jimmy: stick-thin and enigmatic in white suit, baggy suit, and red or blue sneakers. Jimmy’s application, though not always 100 per cent in delivery, still saw him pushing the songs in different directions – the semi-jammed guitar masterclass performances of Trampled Underfoot being a vivid example. On stage he was still the man to watch. Grinning, cringing, side stepping, duck-walking and constantly battling to be in sync with the music in amongst of the shapes he was throwing.

Musically erratic he may have been at this point, but again when he was on it such as the sonic thrust of Train Kept A Rollin’ (their best opener since Immigrant Song?), the theremin-led Whole Lotta Love, or the night in Zurich when he pulled out all the previous stops that had made Heartbreaker such a compelling tour de force, Jimmy Page recaptured the sparkle and excitement that first lit up the ballrooms of America a decade previous.

Yes, they were erratic and there were nights when it did not always come together with the fluency of their earlier years. When it was good though, the 1980 Led Zeppelin was still very impressive indeed.

I know because I was lucky enough to be there.

GF: Aside from your own recollections what does the book include?

DL: There are also a number of recollections from fellow fans who attended the shows out front –alongside a series of retrospective views from those that were backstage tasked with ensuring the wheels of the slightly reduced Zeppelin juggernaut rolled on across Europe that summer of 1980 -including Phil Carson and Showco sound engineer Rusty Brutsch.

Central to the book is the 58 pages that form the detailed gig to gig analysis of the 14 shows. This documents everything from the set lists, what they wore to what was said in between songs.

From across the water, US fan Larry M. Bergmann Jr. relays some passionate observations of the way this final European jaunt sounded to the ears of a fervent American fan (one of thousands who were somewhat in the dark on the proceedings unfolding in Europe). For many American fans their affair with the band was abruptly cut short with the untimely curtailment of the 1977 US tour.

The final chapter looks at the aftermath effect of the Over Europe tour leading to the tragic events of September 25th, 1980 and the subsequent fallout that would result in that statement of December 4th, 1980 that explained ‘They could not continue as they were.’

There’s also an extensive appendix section that logs the multitude of bootleg CD’s that have emerged plus an illustrated guide tol the tour memorabilia, posters, tickets etc.

GF: I take it there many rare photos featured in the book?

DL: Yes the book is illustrated throughout with an abundance of rarely seen colour photos. It’s something of a paradox, but this Over Europe 1980 tour was one of the least professionally shot of their career. Few official photographers were on hand to capture the shows; however the tour was captured by many fans in attendance on the small instamatic type cameras that were easy to get past security. It’s these photos that light up the book including many of the photos my colleague Tom and I took from the side of the stage are featured that

These photos whilst not professionally shot images capture this era in a candid and honest way that only adds to the mystique of this era. Many of the photos my colleague Tom and I took from the side of the stage are featured.

They are the last great evocative images of the band in action. They help unfold the story with an authenticity that compliments the low key nature of the tour. These last remaining live on stage images of Led Zeppelin as a working unit only adds to the fascination for this little chronicled period of their history.

Another function of this book is that I hope it inspires the reader to search out these recorded remnants, which in the modern age are not too difficult to track on the internet. There are many delights to be found.

Listening to Led Zeppelin performing in Europe all those years back reveals an endearingly vulnerable quality unique to this tour. The cock-sure knowing arrogance of 1973 and 1975 was long gone. Instead, what we hear over those performances is a purity and honesty in their playing.

That mistakes occur only lends to the humility of these four players who had long since needed to prove themselves.

GF: How do you think Led Zeppelin would have fared in the 1980s had John Bonham not have died?

DL: Well I think the planned autumn American tour would have seen them reclaim their crown there. America was a whole different ball game to the climate in the UK. Punk and new wave never fully penetrated there, and they would have been on decidedly more safer ground than here at home.

Looking back, it’s apparent that a proportion of their once loyal home grown fan base was probably fed up with waiting for them to play with some sense of regularity like their earlier days. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, some had chosen to side with the new emerging face of rock.

The musical landscape they one stood over like a colossus, had changed radically. The onset of punk rock and new wave had challenged the status quo of the mega-bands – the so called dinosaur acts.

In fact, Robert Plant made reference to the dinosaur tag on more than one occasion on this tour. Aside from the new wave of bands who relied on sharp, incisive three minute blasts of power pop, a new movement of rock outfits, spawned on the hard and heavy riffs that powered Zeppelin to the top, were in the wings ready to dislodge their crown.

The so called ‘’New wave of British heavy metal’’with the likes of Leppard and Maiden were taking hold. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, David Coverdale’s Whitesnake, the maturing Rush, the durable Queen and the likes of AC/DC and Motorhead were all ready and primed to take up the interest of lapsed Zeppelin enthusiasts.

The sheer lack of activity over the past two years, and even the ten months that divided their successful Knebworth comeback and the Over Europe dates, did reek of complacency. After the success of Knebworth, it was rumoured they would cash in on that wave of support by staging a UK tour that Christmas. Nothing happened and the news that they were planning a European tour with no sign of any homeland appearances must have beguiled many of their UK fans.

Whilst there’s little doubt they would have gone to America and enjoyed huge acclaim again, it’s quite feasible they may well have struggled to retain their heavyweight crown in the UK come the dawning of 1981 and beyond.

By his own admission, Robert Plant was finding life in Led Zeppelin much less of an attraction than prior to the tragedies that befell him post-1975. So there may well have been solo projects

Led Zeppelin may well have found it difficult to have reigned supreme in the manner they did from 1970 to 1980 . The layoffs, the changing musical landscape, the attitude of personalities within the band may well have taken their toll. However given the freedom of solo projects they could well have come back together periodically, perhaps in the way Genesis did, and sustained the challenges of a new era and continued to make inspiring concert performances and innovative music.

Within the 270 pages of this book of this latter Zep era, I hope some indication of where it might all have headed is revealed. It’s a contentious topic and one ripe for discussion. The spirit was still willing for sure, and there was enough evidence on stage in Europe that they still had it. What they really needed to do was get out and play – and a week at the City Hall Newcastle or London’s Rainbow, or even a ‘’Back to the clubs’’ tour (something Plant undertook himself with the Honeydrippers in the spring of 1981), could well have been all that it would have taken to prove they still cared, still wanted to be seen, and could still cut it. Such a move I personally feel would have put them right back on track.

As it was, the tragic events of that late September day in 1980 rendered all of the above mere speculation. What we do know is that their instant demise would eventually lead to them being rightly heralded and admired for producing a remarkable catalogue of work that has proved to be the absolute barometer and yardstick of all things rock and beyond – as well as an ongoing inspiration for musicians young and old.

We also know from the events at the 02 Arena on the night of December 10th, 2007, that the principal players alongside Jason Bonham are still capable of recreating the magic of their glorious past – and in a way that made it look entirely contemporary. As Q magazine’s Paul Rees commented in his review of the show, ‘’How can they possibly leave all this behind again?’’

That they (or principally Robert Plant) resisted a full scale tour, only enhances that night of December nights, and what went before in the years 1968 to 1980.

GF: Final thoughts on it all?

DL: It’s worth pointing out that producing this book has also been something of a rite of passage for me and a cathartic experience in reliving it all. This book is without doubt a personal journey in recounting one of the times of my life and the various personal photos I have included reflects that. As much as it’s a book about Led Zeppelin, it often unavoidably slips into being something of an autobiographical account of my experiences in being very close to the action back then.

The fact remains that these memories are ingrained on my brain. Being so close to the action that summer of ‘80 left an undeniable stamp on me as a person. I was a mere 23 years old and there was a lot of growing up type personal stuff was going on in my life at that time. As can be seen in the actual diary entries I have reproduced, their music and the whole fabric of Led Zeppelin was a huge part of my world – and the fact that I was able to dip into the inner workings of their organization was also a huge thrill – in between my job as the manager of the WH Smith record department. selling records . There’s no finer example of that than the astonishing events that unfolded when I visited the Swan Song office in Kings Road, London on the afternoon of Thursday, September 18th, 1980.

Jimmy Page was holding court there that very afternoon and I spent half an hour talking to him in the top floor meeting room. Whilst there he showed me a working model of the lighting rig they were assembling for the forthcoming American tour, complete with models of each member. On reflection that was an incredibly poignant episode. For that same time the very next week – seven days on – the tragic events that would bring to an end to all such hopes and dreams of a new era for Led Zeppelin would be unfolding.

That’s just one of so vivid many memories I have from this era. It has long since been my plan to encapsulate all this in book form, and the forthcoming publication of Led Zeppelin Feather In The WindOver Europe 1980 is the result of many years of research and collation that has led to this extensive documenting of the final Led Zeppelin tour.

It all adds up to what I hope is an illuminating volume that pours fresh light on the final days of Led Zeppelin as they attempted to rejuvenate their career by doing what they did best – performing live on stage. Something that they could still do better than any other band on the planet.

This is the Led Zeppelin tour that time nearly forgot until now…remembered and re-assessed in greater detail than ever before.

This is their last journey…If you weren’t there then, you can be now…


Pic below with designer Mick Lowe working on the book at StudioMix March 2011





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 £14 plus postage – order at the link below


Stairway To Heaven -Led Zeppelin Masters UK Tour 2019: 

‘Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters’ Return in 2019 for a UK & European Tour to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s Debut Album

Marking fifty years since the release of Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album – and its follow-up, Led Zeppelin II – Australia’s celebrated live concert event Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters will return to the UK for ten-dates in April 2019 as part of their European tour.

Fronted by powerhouse vocalist Vince Contarino and bolstered by the breathtaking might of the thirty-five-piece The Black Dog Orchestra, Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters features no fewer than eighteen Led Zeppelin classics.

From the raw, metallic blues of Whole Lotta Love to the epic Stairway to Heaven and the sheer exhilaration of Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters celebrates the timeless musical legacy of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones with a no-holds-barred concert performing the masterpieces of Led Zeppelin.

Having performed numerous sold-out shows at the Sydney Opera House and nationwide tours across Australia, Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters’ debut UK tour in 2017 was so successful their 2019 return will preceded by eight dates in mainland Europe for the first time.

Vince Contarino said, “To be able to come back to the UK means the world to us. We were welcomed graciously and treated with the utmost respect when we toured the UK for the first time in 2017, despite being an unknown and unproven act in the UK. To be asked back for an even bigger tour is hugely gratifying. We are feeling the love, and we’re going to be coming back over to give it back by the truckload.”

Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters’ debut UK tour received glowing praise from both Led Zeppelin fans and the music critics alike – including Dave Lewis the editor of the world-famous Led Zeppelin fanzine Tight But Loose, who said the band’s performance of The Rain Song was “quite simply one of the best performances of a Zep song performed by a band that were not Led Zeppelin I’ve ever witnessed.”

Vince said, “We were taken aback by the reception we received. We loved that the UK audiences are so demonstrative – the energy is amazing. We are also still in disbelief when we look back at the reviews the press gave us throughout the first tour. They were so positive and encouraging. In fact, as the reviews were coming in we just kept trying harder and harder each night, so as to keep the standard up.

With the tour falling in between the anniversaries of Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album and its follow-up, Led Zeppelin II, released in March and October of 1969, respectively, Vince admits the timing of the tour is a happy coincidence, “It was only when we saw the tour dates that we realised the timing was perfect. Look at it this way, spending time with friends is a blessing and a great thing to do, but if there is a good reason to celebrate, like a birthday or an anniversary, then crack out the champagne and let’s party!”

The ten-date UK tour will begin at Liverpool’s Philharmonic on Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, and end at London’s Eventim Apollo on Sunday, 14th April.

Tickets are on sale now, available from

Don’t miss this explosive celebration of the music of Led Zeppelin as one of the most ambitious concerts ever to meet the stage returns to the UK. Way, way down inside, you need it!

The full list of European tour dates for Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters’ is as follows:


Sat 23rd            Bergen             Grieghallen     (

Sun 24th           Oslo                 Konserthus     (

Wed 27th          Utrecht            Tivoli              (
Thu 28th           Groningen       De Osterpoort (

Sat 30th            Brussels           Cirque Royal   (

Sun 31st           Eindhoven       Musiekgebouw (

April 2019

Tue 2nd             Liverpool        Philharmonic              0151 709 3789  

Wed 3rd           Cardiff             St Davids                     029 2087 8444  

Fri 5th               Newcastle       City Hall                       0844 811 21 21 

Sat 6th              Edinburgh       Usher Hall                   0131 228 1155  

Sun 7th            Manchester      Bridgewater                 0161 907 9000  

Tue 9th             Nottingham     Royal Concert Hall     0115 989 5555  

Wed 10th         Portsmouth      Guildhall                     023 9387 0200  

Fri 12th             Southend        Cliffs Pavilion            01702 351 135  

Sat 13th            Birmingham    Symphony Hall           0121 780 3333  

Sun 14th           London            Eventim Apollo          020 8563 3800  



Roy Carr RIP 

I was very sad this week to hear the passing of the music journalist Roy Carr.

His work in the NME in the 1970s was an absolute inspiration to me.

I can recall so much of his work and indeed still constantly revisit it.

He did some great Zep stuff including memorable reviews of Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy and, the Wembley Empire Pool Electric Magic show and interviews with John Bonham and Robert Plant.

He produced (with help from the legendary Howard Mylett), the illuminating ‘’Everything you wanted to know about Led Zeppelin’’ spread in the NME the week they played Earls Court in 1975.

His review of The Who By Numbers album was another compelling piece of writing. He also wrote the brilliant Illustrated Guide To The Rolling Stones album by album book and co-authored others on The Beatles, and David Bowie –this was the sort of detail and perspective I wanted to strive for in my subsequent Led Zep writings.

His compiling of cassette compilations for the NME was also influential bringing a host of music styles to prominence – the Night People and Smile Jamaica cassettes issued in the early 80s led me to appreciating jazz and reggae far more than I had previously

He was truly a man of music and I’ll be searching out those aforementioned cassettes and the many examples of his writing I have in my archive over the next few days – alongside the likes of Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent, Chris Welch and Chris Charlesworth, Roy Carr  was such an inspiration in my own aspirations to put pen to paper…RIP Roy…


DL Diary Blog Update:

On behalf of Mike Tremaglio may I offer a big thanks you for all the complimentary comments regarding last week’s TBL website post concerning our forthcoming Evenings With Led Zeppelin book.

This week there’s been more work here on a major feature I am collating with Mike T and more planning ahead for a fair few projects.

On the player – plenty of great stuff and the following are amongst the DL July playlist – these have been, or will be soundtracking the next few weeks here

Graham Nash – Songs For Beginners/Wild Tales  – I am very much looking forward to attending Graham’s London date on July 22

Stephen Stills & Judy Collins  – Everybody Knows CD

David Bowie – Welcome To The Blackout -Live at Earls Court 1978 – triple album Record Store Day release

Led Zeppelin – How The West Was Won 4 LP set

Robert Plant – Fate Of Nations LP

When The Day Is Done -The orchestrations of Robert Kirby – superb CD compilation of the late arranger/orchestrator best known for his work with Nick Drake

Bob Dylan – Slow Train Coming LP – timely Dylan re- discovery with the 40th anniversary of the Blackbush event that i was lucky enough to be at this month.

The beautiful game -what can you say ? This World Cup has just been incredible with another week of unforgettable action – the Germans out, Portugal  and Spain following them…watching it all unfold has been mesmerising…and then there’s England…

Tuesday night against Columbia – and what a night – another in a long line of very long night’s I’ve experienced watching England going right back to 1966.




For once it all came good – very good indeed and I am able to say with pride that in my lifetime, England have won a World Cup penalty shoot -out. Watching it here with the good lady Janet was incredibly exciting. A quick one afterwards in the Fox And Hounds provided the opportunity to toast the sweet taste of England World Cup penalty shoot -out success. It now all leads to the Quarter Final tie with Sweden on Saturday afternoon  – and that will not be easy of course but here’s hoping Gareth’s boys can raise their game yet again…it really has been some ride so far…

Dave Lewis – July 5, 2018

Until next time, have a great weekend

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio and James Cook

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