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8 August 2014 8,933 views 8 Comments

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John Bonham Memorial Fund concert featuring Deborah Bonham : St Stephen’s Church, Redditch – Saturday August 2nd, 2014.

During the past couple of weeks I had looked into how I might be able to attend the John Bonham Memorial Fund concert being staged in Redditch with Deborah Bonham performing. Things had not really worked out but then last Saturday around 3pm I had a text from my good friend Steve Way – at the time he was walking his dogs in darkest Kent and I was here working on text for TBL 38 – Steve suggested we shoot off and attend the John Bonham Memorial Fund concert in Redditch and offered to drive over and pick me up and bring me back. A wonderful gesture – so five hours later we were in the confines of the lovely St Stephen’s Church in Redditch watching Deborah Bonham…a very good call by Steve – it turned out to be a very memorable evening and a real tonic.

This was a benefit semi acoustic concert in aid of the John Bonham memorial Fund which is raising money for a statue of John to be erected in Redditch. The beautiful church setting was befitting a very spiritual and emotional evening – in the company of many a Bonham relation, fans and supporters of the cause, Deborah together with Pete Bullick on guitar and Gerard G’ Louis on keyboards, paid homage to the late John and brother Michael and her Mum and Dad with a remarkable performance – much more than a gig – more a genuinely uplifting celebration of a very special family…and being the 35th anniversary weekend of Zep at Knebworth…there was no finer place to be than sharing it  amongst the wonderful Bonham family and friends.

We arrived just as the support act Totem (Clem and Sam Dallaway) were closing their set with a version of Stairway To Heaven – this set the tone perfectly for what was ahead.

Given the intimacy of the surroundings and the sense of family occasion, it was lovely to hear, Deborah relaying many heartwarming family related anecdotes between numbers.  Prior to performing a superb version of  I Was in Chains which was recorded by Maggie Bell and written by Gavin Sutherland, Deb recalled how John had attended Maggie’s recording session of that track.

Explaining how Mick Fleetwood had played on Open Up You Heart from her Old Hyde album, Deb recalled how she had once been travelling with John in his Rolls blaring out Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk  which John loved.

Ten Steps Back (‘written for my brother Mick”) with Deb on harmonica and Waiting So Long (”about being left with our losses”) were also standout performances.

An especially poignant  Old Hyde was performed to a backdrop of cine film of the young Bonham’s – this was incredibly moving to watch. A nod to the Zep heritage came with lilting versions of The Battle of Evermore and Going To California. There were also video tributes from Carmine Appice, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ Frank Benbini, Paul Rodgers and  Zoe Bonham plus written tributes from Pat Bonham and Mick Ralphs (”we always saw him as our uncle” Mick noted).

Understandably emotions in the lovely church setting were running high throughout this memorable evening. Somewhere out there John, Mick, Joan and Jack Bonham will have been very proud….(DL)

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This is the planned location for the John Bonham memorial statue on the Church Green, behind St Stephen’s Church, next to the Bandstand and Bartleet Fountain, on land owned by Redditch Borough Council. St Stephen’s Church was the venue for last Saturday’s Deborah Bonham concert in aid of the memorial fund. It was a privilege to be in attendance. Big thanks Ros Sideway, Clem and Sam Dallaway for organising this memorable evening .

You can find out how to support the fund at this link:



Robert Plant US dates:

This via Robert’s official site ..

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters will tour the US & Canada this fall with music from the new album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar.  All tickets will include a copy of the new album when it’s released on Sept 5th (Europe) / Sept 8th (UK) / Sept 9th (North America), EXCEPT the September shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which are already on sale.

25 – The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY
27 – Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
28 – Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
30 – Massey Hall, Toronto, ON

02 – Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL
04 – Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
07 – Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA

General on-sales will start on Friday, August 15. Presale tickets will be available for Citi cardmembers beginning at 10pm Tuesday, August 12.


Robert Plant Interview on BBC 6 Music :

Excellent interview with Shaun Keaveny on BBC 6 Music on Monday.  Robert talks about meeting Elvis, all things Led Zep as well as the background to his new album ‘lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar’.

See link at:

Robert Plant on BBC Radio Two Chris Evans show :

Last Friday on BBC Radio Two aired  a brilliantly entertaining Chris Evans Radio 2 interview with Robert Plant, Ant and Dec and the band Mamas Gun – who did a superb version of Ramble Chris played  Rock And Roll and Stairway in full on vinyl, Robert plus Ant and Dec jamming on Let’s Get Ready To Rumble, Rainbow from Robert’s new album and Robert’s comments that Physical Graffiti was the Zep peak…absolute top stuff – hats off (Chris) Evans…. see  You tube clips below

Robert Plant with Fairport Convention:

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On Tuesday August 5th Robert  joined Fairport Convention at the pre Cropredy warm up gig at the Mill in Banbury. He performed  Little Sister and Jesus On The Mainline. (thanks Jon Dixon for info and photo)


Jason Bonham out of California Breed:

Jason Bonham has decided to pull out of touring dates with California Breed – he is currently on tour with Sammy Hager.  See link for full story here:


Mike Smith 1955 – 2014:

Sad to hear the passing of former BBC Radio One DJ and broadcaster Mike Smith age 59. Mike was a.  Mike was one of the DJ’s covering Live Aid for BBCTV and made the memorable live link announcement back in London following the Led Zeppelin Philadelphia segment …RIP


TBL Archive Special – Knebworth August 11th 1979 – Then as it really was…35 years gone…

To mark the 35th anniversary of the Knebworth August 11th performance here is an extract from the Led Zeppelin Then As It Was  -At Knebworth 1979 book:

This is the original text written for Tight But Loose, issue number 3.Whilst much of it bathes in a rose tinted glow, it certainly succeeds in capturing the pure wonderment of the event as seen through the eyes of a starry eyed twenty two year old fan eager to put pen to paper before it all became a blur.       

AUGUST 10TH 1979:

Thousands of fans have stayed on to camp out the week ready for the second concert…. By Friday night the familiar smell of campfire smoke once again fills the air…Unfortunately the night itself is wet and rainy…Morale at this point is not at its highest…

AUGUST 11TH 1979:

Early morning….morale is quite definitely not at its highest…The trek to the arena seems longer this week. Maybe it’s something to do with the sprinkling of rain that descends upon us….Inside the arena the rain gets heavier…For over an hour it pours, this is no fun…But miraculously by 9am the clouds begin to clear and by 10am the sun is shining…Thank you Lord….Chas and Dave open the live music to nil reaction…Commander Cody and his band follow and it’s loud…too loud, take a walk… The site is filling up but nowhere near as fast as last week… Southside Johnny And The Asbury Dukes arrive on stage and play (to these ears) a dull set…The sun is beating down strongly, it’s hot…Extremely hot….By mid afternoon most of the punters have settled in the arena, some eighty thousand this week…The atmosphere is not quite so vibrant and expectant as last week, but there’s still a lot of people here, many no doubt for their second week…A few clad in Stones T-shirts here for the Barbs…That’s a long way off though…

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia hit the stage, Todd, in a less wanger-showing outfit this week.  He performs an erratic but professional show marred again by his over-indulgence…Late afternoon, still very hot, The New Barbarians due at 6pm…6.30pm arrives and the stage set up is complete…still no sign of Ron and Keef though…Nicky Horne appeals to the crowd to cease the trading of cans by air, but he’s clearly talking to a frustrated audience….7.30pm still no Barbs…Makes me wonder if these stoned chaps are not knocking back barbs or something of their own….8pm.  At last they arrive on stage. Frankly it’s all a bit of an anti climax….Honest Ron proceeds to dominate the stage with his loony stage antics (boring after ten minutes), while Keef restrains himself to a low key power-chording.  ’Honky Tonk Women’, ‘Before They Make Me Run’ and an encore of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ get the required response but really it was a fuss about a whole load of nothing as far as I saw it.  Nicky-the-H tells us we’ve got an hour and fifteen minutes to wait for the change over…Well we’ve already waited longer for less.  Nearly time, the stage is set, my heart skips a few beats in anticipation…After all, this is Zeppelin’s first gig anywhere for a whole week…and it’s not often you can utter that statement is it?…

It’s after 10.30pm when the canned music dies down and the lights flash on to the stage, the signal means they are ready.  Nicky Horne is the man who announces (not unlike the way he did at Earls Court) “Ladies and Gentlemen…Jones, Bonham, Page and Plant – Led Zeppelin.”  Once again, the sight of them on stage again performing ‘The Song Remains The Same’ is incredible.  They go on to perform practically the same set as the previous week.  Robert is quick to backlash the music press when he states early on:

“Well, it didn’t rain, but it rained on us in the week from one or two sources, and we’re just gonna stick it right where it really belongs.”

The general atmosphere is not quite so electric as last week, and the band encounter one or two technical hitches early into the proceedings.  During ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ several speakers blow loudly’ just before the chorus and Robert is forced to swap mikes half way through.  To their credit they manage to plough on unaffected by this, but the last straw is when Jimmy breaks a guitar string during the closing bars.

The sound trouble continues through ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ but the band recovers well, and things are back to normal with the next track, a peerless ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’.  One other slight hitch occurs when the screen goes a bit crazy during ‘No Quarter’, but apart from that it’s all plain sailing.  Robert is in fantastic voice, Jimmy is sweating and grinning cheerfully – playing a feast, while Bonzo and Jonesy are keeping it rock steady behind them.  Incidentally, the entire band is wearing the same garb as last week.

Robert dedicated ‘Hot Dog’ to the Texas Road Crew, and makes a very interesting statement following that song, maybe hinting at something?

I’m never going to Texas anymore, but we will go to Manchester. Around Christmas should be good, and Nottingham, you’ve got a lot going for you already, and Worcestershire…, and Wolverhampton…yeah, I know…”

They leave out ‘Ten Years Gone’ (shame) this week but do a magnificent ‘Rain Song’, and as they hit the home straight the power of the performance just keeps on climaxing.


‘Kashmir’, ‘Trampled Underfoot’, ‘Sick Again’, ‘Achilles…’, Jimmy’s violin bow episode and ‘In The Evening’) – still fantastic second time around – leap from the stage…and of course Robert’s introduction of ‘Stairway To Heaven is full of sentiment.

“…and when it comes to the time now when we really gotta thank you for hanging about for four years, you English folk, and you French people, for hanging about since – Oh, I don’t know how long.  And I’d like to thank everybody who’s come from everywhere to create part of the atmosphere we’ve had. The other bands that we’ve had with us – Commander Cody, good, good, good, good. Todd, Keef and Ronnie… Peter Grant (come on!). Thanks everybody.”

‘Stairway to Heaven’ is an incredible finish tinged with sadness (this weeks ad-libs – “I’d like to say I hope so…Our stairway lies on the whispering wind…Sometimes that’s all you’ve got…”).  They encore with ‘Rock And Roll’, (“Good evening! Can you do the dinosaur rock?!”), and return a second time to perform the re-vamped ‘Whole Lotta Love’, that this week segues into ‘Let That Boy Boogie’.

Finally, an old chestnut is re- roasted…. …’Communication Breakdown’ crushes everyone.  It’s that sort of performance and it’s a fitting end.

With that Robert turns and with the rest of the band leaves the stage.  Led Zeppelin at Knebworth is over.

“It’s been great, thank you very much indeed…We’ll see ya soon…very soon. I dunno about the Marquee but somewhere soon – Goodnight – Bye.”

A triumphant return – no doubt about it.  Of course the majority of the critics slammed it, but Led Zeppelin don’t play for critics…they play for their fans.  It was all about the hundreds of thousands who came to see them at Knebworth, and it’s their reaction that mattered. Everyone who I saw loved it.

Led Zeppelin returned to the stage with a performance that didn’t rest on their laurels and this was no exercise in going through the motions.  They set their own standards and pushed themselves to the limits with a display of dynamic emotional rock and roll energy.  The very nature of the material they chose to play made it a joy to listen to.  Gone was the excess and self indulgence of the past.  I for one was not sorry to see the omissions of marathons like ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Dazed and Confused’.  What we did get was a balanced programme that included just a little spice of everything that is Led Zeppelin.  A performance that took you to the highest high, at its mightiest able to rock you ’till your bones trembled, while on the other side of the spectrum also move you near to tears.  And all this talk of being old and dormant…I just fail to see it.  Zeppelin more than lived up to their reputation and not only that…actually bettered it.  One of their best performances ‘In The Evening’, being a track previously unheard… proof that it was not a case of trading on former glories.

Enough of this though.  I don’t have to justify Led Zeppelin’s performance at Knebworth.  They did that themselves, and in doing so created a little bit of heaven for everyone to share, and after four years they can still do that…give thanks.

Dave Lewis, August 16th 1979.

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Extract from the book Led Zeppelin Then As It Was -At Knebworth 1979  -written and compiled by Dave Lewis.

To mark the 35th anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Knebworth , the book is on offer at a special discounted price of £10 off the normal price – you can order the book from this link:


DL Diary Update:

Firstly may I offer sincere thanks for all the supportive comments regarding my diary entry of last week. The empathy shown by so many has been very humbling and very supportive and means a lot to me.

A bit up and down here in the past week  but some very positive things going on – not least the John Bonham Memorial Fund gig in Redditch last Saturday. As mentioned above, at very short notice and thanks to my good friend Steve Way I was able to attend this incredibly moving evening. It was great to see Pat Lyons from Wales in attendance. I first met Pat back at the 1992 Led Zep London Convention – always fascinating company – it was typical of him to be wearing the actual jean jacket with patches and logos intact that he had worn at Knebworth 35 years previous to nearly the day. And it still fits!  It was also great to catch up with Carolyn Longstaff, Dawn Atherton and Paul Harper.

Big thanks again to all the organisers, Dave Hill and of course Deb and Pete and the utterly amazing Bonham crew. What a tonic that night was was…when a tonic was much needed. Biggest thanks of course to Steve..thanks mate. here’s a pic of Steve and the lovely Deb after a memorable night.

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It’s been good to get down to some solid work and design on TBL 38 this week which is already shaping up – there’s some splendid contributions from Zep author Robert Godwin and Richard Grubb – the latter has waded in with a superb detailed look at the remastering of the Led Zep catalogue.

More work on going on this will follow into September – various other projects are also unfolding that will be make for a very packed autumn indeed. Before all that, in a few days time the good lady Janet and I will be getting away for a week on a much needed holiday break on the east coast of Ibiza.

On the playlist here –  Led Zeppelin Knebworth Fair, Maggie Bell Suicide Sal, Deborah Bonham Spirit, the brilliant Crosby Stills Nash & Young Live 1974 set -and in keeping with that theme my holiday reading will include the Graham Nash autobiography Wild Tales and Fire And Rain -The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel ,James Taylor, CSNY and the lost story of 1970 by David Browne.

I am not able to make this Saturday’s Robert Plant Glastonbury Abbey appearance as we will be celebrating Adam’s birthday here (happy 19th birthday young man!) Gary will be there representing the TBL crew. I will however be immersing myself in a dedicated listen to the new album over the next few days. More on that soon. I wish all that are attending a great gig – if you are attending, I welcome your reviews, comments and pics on the TBL Facebook page or email me direct at

DL -August 8th, 2014.

You tube clips:

Rainbow at Glastonbury;Robert Plant plays harmonica on an improvised version of Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble with Ant & Dec and Mamas Gun on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show at BBC Radio 2.

Mamas Gun perform an acoustic cover of the Led Zeppelin classic “Ramble On” live on the Chris Evan’s Breakfast Show in front of Robert Plant and Ant & Dec – 1st August 2014

Until next time…have a great weekend…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – August 8th , 2014.

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  • Steve Phillips said:

    To Ravenval

    Thanks for that, I’ve got that and as good as it may be, in parts, I think as a band they have improved ten-fold. And that gig suffered from the Patty Griffin mid section. See you at the Roundhouse..

  • Byron Lewis said:

    Roberts Glastonbury Festival, not the Abbey, is about to be screened on BBC4 at 22.45pm

  • paul aspey said:

    Hi Dave
    I think that is the first time i have seen Pat not wearing his Jimmy Page inspired jumper knitted from welsh wool
    Keep up the good work you know how much we appreciate you

    Best regards

  • ravenval said:


    I hope you have a fantastic time in Ibiza! Thanks for all you do for the Led Zeppelin fan community. You are truly amazing.

    This next bit is for Steve Phillips, who commented on the SSS live album

    RS was referring to Robert Plant presents Sensational Space Shifters Live in London ’12,(a live album, recorded on 12 July 2012 at the HMV Forum in London). It was released in digital formats on 13 July 2012. It can still be purchased on here:,8213/Robert-Plant-mp3-flac-download-7-12-2012-HMV-Forum-London-GB.html

  • Steve Hill said:

    Great review of the John Bonham memorial gig but since when has Redditch been in the Black Country?

  • Walter Cooney said:

    Hi Dave,

    keep up the good work and keeping the Zeppelin fraternity up to date with all things Zeppelin.I am looking forward to seeing Robert Plant at the Tower Ballroom Blackpool in November.

  • Steve Way said:

    Dave… could we not be there!!!! more to the point-when i heard about how down you were feeling-there was no question…i owe you so much thru your passion for zeppelin (that led thru the 90’s and 2000’s so many adventures the flames of which were started at that first-and best-convention not to mention friendships) that any trepidation in tackling the m25/m1/m6 late on a saturday summers eve went out the window. it was good to see you happy and relaxed-long may that continue…and as for the night….have seen Debbie Pete and the band countless times, and at the moment they are in the best form i have ever seen them….and those songs played in St Stephens church last saturday night took on a spiritual life of their own…it was genuinely a fantastic moment in time…as the sun set, and the summers eve darkness filtered thru beautiful stain glass windows of the church…..well…..we all were part of something special
    and hey….Dave……Friends- Led Zeppelin says how we all feel about you…..rock on fella…

  • Steve Phillips said:

    Great stuff as usual on the site.. And all factually correct unlike this from Rolling Stone this morning… Did I miss a live SSS LP? )I think he may be confused with ‘Celebration Day”!!

    By Nick Murray | August 6, 2014
    Robert Plant fans first met the former Led Zeppelin singer’s new backing band, the Sensational Space Shifters, on 2012’s Live in London LP. Two years later, the group is preparing to release Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar, a studio debut that their leader provocatively describes as “a celebratory record, powerful, gritty, African, trance meets Zep.” Produced by Plant himself, Lullaby contains 11 songs – nine of which are original – played on instruments ranging from banjo and guitar to synthesizer and djembe.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

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