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23 March 2010 9,226 views 8 Comments

John Paul Jones made a triumphant return to the scene of one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest performances as Them Crooked Vultures stormed the Royal Albert Hall in London last night.

Patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust Roger Daltrey set the tone for this tenth series of admirable shows with an impassioned speech regarding the charity’s achievements over the past decade. Acknowledging the musical feast ahead he commented ‘’I know Them Crooked Vultures are going to be great with somebody who was once in Nirvana and John Paul Jones who everyone knows is one of the best in the business’’  

Though there was little rotation of the set list of recent months, it was the sheer enthusiasm of the individual players of Them Crooked Vultures that once again impressed.

Kicking off with No One Loves Me & Neither Do I, the non seating flat area at the front was soon awash with swaying bodies. Scumbag Blues was an early vehicle for Jonesy to drift into a bass solo improvisation much to the crowd’s delight.

Once in their stride, the band began firing off a non stop onslaught of album faves. Dave Grohl paid a subtle tribute to John Bonham with a Moby Dick like intro to Elephants and when Josh introduced the band and ‘’Your fellow countryman John Paul Jones’’, there was another rapturous cheer.


Throughout the proceedings it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the sense of history of this venue –and more that once I looked around me in sheer wonder of what it must have been like to be here on that January night 40 years ago.

The one man who knew more than anyone, was down on the stage having a ball. Gunman was a quite ferocious din while the guitar solo from Alain Johannes that proceeded Bandoliers had a touch of the Page 1977 effects about it. The lighter Interlude With Ludes had JPJ stomping the stage with his eBay purchased keytar. Spinning In Daffodils provided the opportunity for Jonesy to flex the old keyboard muscles which again went down a storm. The final flurry of an extended Warsaw found Jonesy and Grohl trading licks in a way that mirrored the tactic so favoured by the previous rhythm section the bassist once reveled in.


A final communal hug amongst the players and Them Crooked Vultures were gone. Ahead lies a series of festival appearances that will considerably liven any of the mass outdoor gatherings they will encounter. A possible second album may provide the impetus for another bout of touring, though the inevitable call of the full time bands of Josh and Dave may limit that scope.

As for John Paul Jones, whatever lies ahead, his decision to return to performing in a rock band format has been inspirational – providing the perfect platform for the vast number of Led Zeppelin fans who have caught these shows to see at first hand, what made his role in his other band so indispensable.

And there was no finer venue to witness all that than in the historic surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall where the Zeppelin magic was once weaved.


In front of where the magic was weaved – then and now.

Earlier in the evening, the TBL pre gig meet at the Queens Arms had a strictly international flavour. Dave Roberts was over from Canada with his daughter and Michael Rae combined a business trip from Australia to check out the Vultures for the second time this year – he was at the January 23rd Melbourne gig. It was great to catch up with  TBL web founder Dave Linwood, ticket collecting legend Cliff Hilliard and the MK crew of Jez, Michaela, Kate and Dan. Various other fans dropped in to say hi including Rob from Poole and Russell Ritchin. Past gigs were discussed, speculation on Jimmy’s plans dissected, and a few of the amber nectars went down. As usual it was great to be in the company of like minded TBL souls from all parts of the globe .

The ultimate toast was of course John Paul Jones. His performance and that of Them Crooked Vultures was a heartwarming experience. As I bid fond farewells to Mr Foy and fell into a slumber on the train home, I had a flashback image of how I remembered JPJ on stage on the Over Europe tour back in 1980. With his short hair and Alembic bass he cut a figure back then not dissimilar to how he looked at the Royal Albert Hall last night.  

30 years on so much may have gone – but so much remains.

The ethic of Led Zeppelin carries ever onward and witnessing John Paul Jones in full on rock band mode has once again been an absolute thrill.

Dave Lewis, March 23rd 2010

More photos in the TBL Tour Watch

TBL Web founder Dave Linwood with DL and Gary Foy

Dave Roberts and his daughter over from Canada with DL

DL with far right, Michael Rae stopping over from Australia for his second Vultures gig of the year.

DL with the MK contingent – always guaranteed to liven up TBL proceedings:  Dan, Jez, Michaela and Kate

All photos Gary Foy/TBL 2010

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  • Dave Roberts said:

    Got back to Toronto Tuesday evening. Dave I can’t thank you enough for arranging the get together prior to the TCV show. My daughter Ashley was amazed at how friendly everyone was. You certainly have a great group of mates. It was a pleasure to meet you in person, as I have been following your efforts through the website and magazine.
    I thought JPJ was excellent Monday evening. Ashley got a small sample of the value he brought to the mighty Zeppelin. I noticed there were several cameras shooting the show. It would be great if they distributed it.

    I am missing England already. Once again Dave thanks for giving Ashley and I a memory that will last forever. Not quite Knebworth or Earls Court, but pretty special.


  • russell ritchin said:


    it was brilliant to meet you all and discuss all things zep related +
    other gigs we had all been to,as usual it was nice to meet up with the guy who is the glue that holds it all together (mr dave lewis)
    where would we be without dave & the excellent tight but loose magazine it was all part of a great evening.


  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    It was indeed a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for those very kind comments which mean a lot to me and make it all worthwhile.
    The fact is the best band also have the best fans. It was a really special night made possible by the musical integrity of JPJ and TCV- and the fans who know this thing is something to cherish and rejoice in – and we do so with much verve and humour. Thanks again.

  • Michael Rae said:

    I’ve been an avid Antipodean reader of (and very infrequent contributor to) Dave’s great books, magazine and website for many years.

    I can heartily recommend TBL readers – near to and far from Bedford – to make the effort to get to a TBL meet if they have half a chance. The camaraderie of last night’s gathering in the Queens Arms was like catching up with old friends, even though I had never met any of them before!

    My chance to see TCV again this year was blind good luck but the joy we all had at the TBL meet was very much down to Dave’s professionalism and enthusiasm for keeping us informed and engaged with Led Zeppelin and its aftermath.

    For that Dave deserves our thanks and our continued financial support for Tight But Loose, the best source of Led Zeppelin information on the planet.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    It was great to meet you too and really enjoyed our conversations of gigs past – your story of getting engaged at the Knebworth 90 show was a classic! Look forward to keeping in touch and be sure to invest in the 2010 TBL’s!

  • Rumpeller said:

    The pre-gig meet up at The Queen’s Arms was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting some of you TBL folk – Dave Lewis, Gary Foy, Dave Roberts and his daughter. I briefly met Dave Linwood, but other than saying hello I didn’t have the chance for a chat. All good people.

    The show itself was very funky; I really enjoyed this one. The band were tighter than the 2 previous times I’d seen them – Brixton surprise show & Plymouth. They were also having real fun on stage.

    I got a nice little bonus at the end of the show. I was in the centre of the arena floor about 5 rows back. When the band were soaking up the applause I looked around the venue at the audience. Suddenly everyone around me was going beserk and looking downwards. I looked down too and there was the guitar pick between my feet. I casually bent down and picked it up … ta very much. I nice little souvenir of the night (I guess it was Josh’s – as I said, I was looking the other way when it was thrown).

    All in all a fantastic night. I had a very happy drive back to Poole. Once again, it was a real pleasure to meet some of you.
    All the best,
    Rob Whitmarsh. (And there I am in the back of the photo above with Dave Linwood, Dave Lewis and Gary Foy – behind DL & GF).

  • Tatan said:

    Seems you had a great time! I wish I could join 🙁

  • Michael Brazee said:

    So glad you finally got to see them. I’ve been blessed to see them twice (Toronto, Oct 9 and NYC, Feb 8). Just found out yesterday they are playing Toronto again in May, but no way can I swing a 3rd time. Me and the Missus are going to visit my sister in New Orleans and go to Jazz Fest (went last year – finally saw Neil Young – incredible, they got older and rock ever harder). In June, is the Rochester International Jazz Fest (I work in Rochester, NY) for 9 consecutive nights of jazz and various other genres. Even seeing Jeff Beck then. But if I could, I’d be back in Toronto for the show.
    Ever onward.

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