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KNEBWORTH 38 YEARS GONE – MORE MEMORIES AND RECOLLECTIONS /LZ NEWS/GLEN CAMPBELL 1936 -2017/ DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

11 August 2017 1,390 views 6 Comments

TBL Archive Special – Knebworth August 11th 1979 – Then as it really was…38 years gone…

To mark the 38th anniversary of the Knebworth August 11th performance here are further extracts from the Led Zeppelin Then As It Was  -At Knebworth 1979 book:

Book Extracts:

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.

Kneb

‘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.

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

To mark the 38th 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:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/books-t-shirts/knebworth-book/

Here are some more comments, recollections and memories from the out in that field…as featured in the book:

After a days’ work at HMV in Bedford, I drove down to Knebworth on the Friday evening of August 3rd with the naive idea that I could meet up with my friends Dave Lewis, Tom Locke, and Dec Hickey, (just like that in a crowd of thousands and before mobile phones!).  I was directed to a car park about a mile away so had to carry a large holdall of beer all the way on foot.  Needless to say, the planned meeting did not take place and as the beer bag was getting heavy I decided to start drinking it!  I did bump into a few guy’s from Bedford but decided to return to my car for a nights’ sleep.

I was woken early the next morning by a guy tapping on the window offering me a joint for breakfast (I think I might have taken a drag or two).  The long walk back to arena started with only two cans of beer for the day.  As I walked past the main car park almost the first car I saw was the Princess of the aforementioned Mr Locke (so near and yet so far in the dark of the previous evening).  Once inside, I found a strategic seating place for the day as ‘Billy No Mates’  – pretty much dead centre to the stage but quite a way back.

A bunch of guys from Wales were sat in front of me and one of them knocked over a pint of milk on their ground sheet.  When they saw my large sheet of bubble wrap they suggested I join them and covered their sheet with mine.  And very generously they said they would look after the drink supply for the day (result!).  I remember them making numerous trips back to their van and returning with back packs of beer and cider.  After a storming gig these guys left before the end to make their way home (sacrilege!  Surely like walking out before the end of a cup final!).

Then it was the long walk back to the car and an even longer escape from the car park.  But even without the company of Mr Lewis and Locke etc, it had one hell of a day and a half.

Phil Harris, Milton Keynes UK

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“This is a small little up-tempo ditty that we’ve been asked by some people in Vancouver – It’s all there in the end baby….  It’s called Trampled Underfoot’’ 

‘Robert Plant from the Knebworth stage August 4th  1979 

“Some people from Vancouver’’

My friend Roger Grais won the radio station competition on CFOX-FM our Vancouver rock music radio station.  Although we had only got to know each other that summer, he told me I was going with him as I met the two requirements – I was over eighteen and I liked Led Zeppelin.  His girlfriend met neither requirement.

So two weeks later we head to London for a week, airfare, hotel and two concert tickets in hand.  Roger even got a passport on three days turnaround.  We arrived on August 1st probably, and spent two days doing the tourist thing and visiting as many pubs as possible.  We lost count of the number of Green Man pubs in the environs of our hotel – The Whitehouse near Regent’s Park.

On the Friday afternoon we took the tube to the train station and headed out to Stevenage station where we got off ( I think).  We were loaded with three dozen beers, food, binoculars, a blanket and a crummy portable cassette recorder.  Grabbing bootleg t-shirts we headed into one of the massive campgrounds.  We wandered about chatting with people who couldn’t believe how we made it to Knebworth from Vancouver, Canada.  As darkness fell we guzzled beers and chatted with two lovely girls from Leeds.  After midnight we discovered that people were already gathering near some huge wrought iron gates.  Around 4:00am the gate came down and the mad rush along dirt paths began to the main concert site.  I lost a shoe and nearly lost Roger in the scrabble and charge but we made it and survived the jostling for what seemed like hours before we got in around 6:30 am.  Roger refused to surrender his ticket stub and retains his complete ticket to this day.

We charged down the hill and found a good spot, we thought, slightly stage right and well in front of the mixing board.

The cool day (who said it was warm?) passed quickly as we absorbed the building tension.  Hopes of a mid afternoon acoustic set sadly evaporated.  Fairport were excellent especially Swarbrick’s violin playing and Rundgren in his yellow jump suit was quite good we thought.  And then dusk came on, the gradual darkness engulfed the area illuminated by torches, matches and camera flashes.

Our anticipation was so tense as we watched the myriad of stage hands finalize the stage prep and the light and video crew ascended the ladders to the upper light trusses.

9:30pm and the cheers and applause kept building as we awaited the event.  I had seen Zeppelin in Seattle on the 1977 US Tour but this would be even more special.

9:40pm and the hand held torches signalled stage activity.  Guitar notes and drum rolls sent us into a frenzy and then the opening sustained note of ‘The Song Remains the Same’ began and what seemed like every light came on and bang there they were, our four heroes on stage again at last and sounding awesome.  Plant dressed in black and Page in slacks and the soon to be sweat-drenched shirt.

The massive backstage screen was amazing as close ups of Page, Plant Bonham and Jones flashed across.

Plant’s quip about Jimmy doubting people would come at all was warmly received.

Many others have gone through the set list song by song but for us the early highlights of ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, ‘Black Dog’ and ‘The Rain Song’ were special indeed.

‘Hot Dog’ was well received as the first new number but when they brought out the stool and Jonesy’s triple-neck I knew what was next.  ‘Ten Years Gone’ was amazing and Jimmy’s phrasing on the overlays was sublime.

Regardless of the beer cans and wine jugs flying in our area we were all riveted to the stage and the stunning audio and visual spectacle before us.  Roger snapped pictures frequently, and I tried my best to keep the lousy mike in the air to record it all.

Then our special moment arrived.  Plant said this next song is for “some people from Vancouver”.  We were ecstatic – our request had gotten through.  The radio station had given us Danny Urweider of Atlantic Records as a contact if we needed help.  We phoned him as a courtesy and he asked what he could do.  So as Zeppelin had not played ‘Trampled Underfoot’ in Seattle, I asked if he could ask them to play it for us.  Special thanks forever to Danny for getting the request passed on and to Robert who remembered us – some people from Vancouver.

So with, “a ready Mr. Jones”, it began and Page’s solos on ‘Trampled’ were amazing indeed.

‘White Summer’ segued into ‘Kashmir’ as every light came on as that opening ‘Kashmir’ note was struck and there was the sway back from the audience and ‘Kashmir’ just blew us over.

Page’s violin bow solo heading to the drum intro for ‘In The Evening’ was another highlight.  And then probably the best song of the show, a truly unbelievable ‘Achilles Last Stand’.  Bonzo’s drums on that one were in a different class, and Page by that time was joyous but exhausted, just kept pushing it on.  There is a smile from him mid point on that song that just exemplifies for me Page at his best.

And then ‘Stairway’ with the clock now well after midnight.

To get three encores was astounding and as Plant said over 100,000 people in a chorus of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is was spine-tingling.

So after a final bow from a clearly very satisfied band, the stage lights changed, ‘Communication Breakdown’ came over the sound system.  We gathered our stuff, and bid farewell to the people we shared the day and the experience with and headed toward the exits.  Surprisingly we met up with the two girls from Leeds who somehow had ended up a short distance from us.  They invited us back to their tent but we thought it best to head to the train station – big mistake in hindsight.

After train delays we headed back to London and talked about the show with everyone.  Roger, a drummer raving about Bonham’s powerhouse effort and me revelling in Page’s guitar genius.  Into London late Sunday morning, we then staggered into our hotel – dishevelled, lacking sleep, and me hobbling on one foot as the other lacked a shoe.

We slept and then phoned the radio station to report on the best concert ever.

We enjoyed our last few days in London talking through highlights and listening to our terrible recording.  On knowing we were going, we promised ourselves a visit to the Marquee Club to see some band – any band.  Luckily it turned out that that Monday August 6th was Simple Minds first London gig.  Our music tastes have always been very broad and to see the best band ever – Led Zeppelin, and a very good up and coming band was great.

We returned to Vancouver with great memories of a great time.  Roger and I remain steadfast friends and music compadres.  We have been to hundreds of shows since (from the Grateful Dead to Dream Theater), but nothing has come close to that wonderful August night in a field in England.

It was special indeed, and to see video of it today brings back so many good memories.  With a special “thanks again” to Danny Urweider and to Jimmy, Robert, John Paul and John (so sadly missed) thank you thank you.

By the way, who were all those lucky people on the stage riser to the left of Jimmy’s amplifiers? They must have been deaf by the end of the night!

Joseph Whiteside and Roger Grais

 “Some people from Vancouver”

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“It was an April morning when they told us we should go…”

In late April 1979 the air crackled with an electric expectation; whispers grew to a muted roar and, as the supercharged clouds of rumour gathered, finally the news broke.  Full page ads in that familiar long-legged typeface bestrode the music press: Led Zeppelin would play Knebworth Park in August.

Pandemonium.  Tickets were sold out almost instantly and clutching ours, we were overwhelmed with anticipation and pride.  It was to be a day-long festival, not that anyone cared about any other of the bands playing.  We would see Led Zeppelin play on English soil, the first time they had done so since the Earls Court 1975 concerts.

This was it, but, nearly two hundred miles north and without personal transport, this would also be a bit of a problem.  Trains were out of the question.  There was no way we’d get back in the early hours.  Hitching was not really a possibility, as there would be four of us and none were blonde and good looking.  We’d go by coach.  But no. After ringing around none of the coach operators had a clue what we were talking about. Hmmm?. After a bit of head scratching an idea broke.  We would hire our own coach and, as well as getting ourselves to the gig, we’d fill up the remaining seats with Zeppelin fans from the North East.  We rang the local coach hire company and a 44-seater was booked. To advertise the trip we stuck an ad in the local paper The Evening Gazette. You had to have your own concert ticket, which by now were gold dust, and for £5 you’d be taken from Guisborough to Knebworth and back.

It seems we were not the only ones who had been stuck for travel to the gig.  Just over a week after the ad had appeared the seats were sold.  Still enquiries came.  We rang the coach company.  Yes, we could have a bigger coach; were we sure we could fill it?  Yes, not a problem.  The extra seats sold the next day.  We were to travel overnight to be there for the whole of the day.

The weeks to the concert soon passed and come August 10th, the coach was parked and ready in Guisborough.  Everyone had been asked to meet up at the coach park.  A few late comers from out of the area arrived at my parents’ house.  This involved my mum dispensing tea and biscuits to various bemused put polite leather and denim clad blokes and their girlfriends as we waited for the departure time to draw nearer.  Then, after a short walk down the lane to the coach we could see the result of our bit of private enterprise as a few dozen disparate souls bound by a common desire to see their favourite band assembled to board the coach.  Names were ticked off and everyone climbed aboard.

Myself and my good friend and Zeppelin nut, Graeme Hutchinson, sat near the front of the coach.  My other friend Graham and my very lucky twelve year old brother Kenny, sat in the seats in front of us.  It seemed hours before Kenny settled and he was the target of largely good-natured encouragement to ‘pipe down’ as he knelt, hanging over the back of his seat chatting to us about everything and nothing.  A watering stop en route was uneventful as tired looking eyes blinked in the alien light at a quiet service station.  On we drove through the night.

We arrived to a bright morning and thousands of fans.  A village of tents and sweet smoke; a gathering of the clans.  We took a place in the grassy amphitheatre and ate and drank through the day.  Trips for more provisions or to answer nature’s call required bearings to be taken from flagpoles dotted throughout the vast crowd; proclamations from the attendant tribes.

The concert passed too quickly, but my memory is punctuated by vivid moments.  Most memorable for me was Jimmy threading his way through the intro to ‘Achilles Last Stand’ and John Bonham tripping his bass pedal and detonating hurtingly bright lights, blinding and white into the night.

And the return home?  Well,…… I counted them all out and I counted them all back.  A very successful campaign.

Mike Robinson, Guisborough UK.

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By the time the Knebworth concerts were announced in May 1979 I had developed into a real “Zep head”. I discovered Zep in 1975 when a lad at school was selling off his “old” rock albums to concentrate on new bands like The Ramones (he soon became the school’s number one punk rocker). Having initially bought Led Zep 1, II, IV and Physical Graffiti for £1 each I now had the complete Zep album catalogue plus the US singles and even a few vinyl bootlegs and live cassette tape recordings. At the tender age of sixteen and still with a half decent paper round, I spent every penny I earned on all things rock music related and most of it on Led Zeppelin.

So when I heard on The Old Grey Whistle Test that Led Zeppelin were to play Knebworth my heart starting racing with the possibility of seeing Zep live for the first time.

I was desperate to go but £7.50 was a lot of money and I had no idea how the hell I was going to get to Knebworth and back – the furthest I’d been on my own was Newcastle. By the time I’d got my act together tickets to the first (and at the time only) concert were sold out. My good mate Mike Robinson and I were devastated as we were addicted to Zep and just couldn’t miss this opportunity to see our band. But the gods were on our side and in early July a second Knebworth date was announced and we made sure we got tickets to the  August 11th event.

Soon after Mike came up with a cunning plan to hire a coach and sell seats though advertising in the local newspaper. This went so well that we ended up hiring an even bigger coach that took our merry men (and even some women) from the North East of England on a magical mystery tour to Hertfordshire to see the “power, glory and the hammer of the gods” that is Led Zeppelin.

We set off late Friday night and arrived at Knebworth in the early morn’. As I recall it was a relatively damp morning though it soon cleared up and the afternoon was beautiful and sunny. As we entered the Knebworth natural amphitheatre I remember my disappointment when the people at the gate took BOTH halves of my ticket. I’m not sure what the reason for this was but it meant no ticket memento from the most important gig of my life.

I was with a group of about half a dozen and we found a good spot centre stage and about 80 yards back to park ourselves for the day. Even this far back the stage was amazing and the PA looked massive.

The excitement and anticipation was palpable. There was terrific banter and tomfoolery throughout the afternoon. I remember smoking a packet of Marlboro red tops. I’d previously been an Embassy Regal smoker until I’d read somewhere the Jimmy Page smoked Marlboro’s and so I switched brands. It’s pathetic when you think about it but I was a kid and in total awe of Led Zeppelin and so you did these kind of things.

I wasn’t particularly interested in the supporting acts though I tried to get into The New Barbarians given Keef and Woody were involved but they were a bit too loose for my liking.

As it got darker the anticipation grew and grew. We had a good idea what to expect in terms of the set list from the reviews from the Copenhagen concerts and first night and this just added to our hunger. At about 10.30pm (I can’t recall exactly) the band came on stage and the crowd went beserk. A strum of the guitar, a roll of the snare drum and then the opening chords and sheer power that is ‘The Song Remains The Same.’ Thirty years on I can’t remember lots of detail but I do remember the butterflies in my stomach and the total euphoria I felt when I saw Led Zeppelin live for the first time – even at a late stage in their career.

It’s hard to pick highlights as the entire performance was my ultimate concert highlight however a few things stand out; the opening with ‘The Song Remains The Same’, Jimmy breaking a string break at the end of ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, everything about ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’, the power of ‘Kashmir’ , the intensity and bright white lights of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ (and another broken string), Jimmy’s bow solo and the revolving green laser pyramid and the finale of ‘Communication Breakdown.’ What a night. What a day. What a fucking band!

I know it is generally understood that the first night was better and  also featured ‘Ten Years Gone’ but it doesn’t matter to me. Led Zeppelin at Knebworth on the  August 11th 1979 was and forever will be the greatest rock performance I have seen and heard.  I’ve listened to and watched a number of recordings of the concert, so I know that there were mistakes made by the band. But on the night it all sounded perfect – I didn’t hear a single fluff other than a guitar string break. The sound was great, the band looked the part and the sheer power from the stage and 100,000 watt PA could have launched a Saturn V rocket.

I will forever remember my Knebworth with the best of memories and as my best concert ever. No one could touch Led Zeppelin then, nor since.

Graeme Hutchinson, Middlesbrough UK.

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Knebworth was the first and only time I saw (the original) Led Zeppelin live. The first album I got was ‘Physical Graffitti’ in 1976, and so I therefore missed out on the magic of Earls Court.  It is also now hard to believe that Led Zeppelin played in what was my home town of Edmonton at the ‘Cooks Ferry’ Inn in March 1969, although I was only 8 at the time and more interested in Football..

I went with two friends – Colin and Tony to Harlequin Records in Barnet to buy our tickets for Knebworth.  We had just missed out on tickets for the first show, and so ended up with 3 tickets for the second show on 11th August.

We all had motorbikes at the time, but Tony had recently got a rusty old Ford Cortina MKII.  We all piled into his car on the Friday evening and headed towards Knebworth.  Tony unfortunately thought that Knebworth was on the M1, so we ended up having to take a detour at J12, and eventually ended up at the site entrance just off the A1(M) J7 at around 10pm. The site entrance was gridlocked due to thousands of pedestrians and cars arriving.  I had never been to any concert before and was only 18 at the time, so this was a whole new experience!

We eventually were allowed to drive onto the site.  This was after being diverted around the roundabout three times by the Police, who were tightly controlling access to the site.  We then parked up and pitched our tent next to the car, and tried to get some sleep.  I couldn’t sleep with the excitement though, and went for a walk at around 3am to buy souvenirs, such as badges, Knebworth scarf (which I still have), and the essential program.  I was disappointed at the time, as I unwittingly bought the red ‘bootleg’ program which at £1 was more expensive than the official program.  I hadn’t realized there were 2 versions.  (NB: That bootleg programme is now worth around £80!).

I can remember what seemed to be a very long walk to the field where the stage was set up.  We found a place dead centre, around two thirds  of the way back.  I had taken a (primitive) camera and took a few pictures throughout the day.  The day itself seemed to be extremely long as there was only 1 band we had come to see!.  There was plenty going on to help get through it though. I can remember hippies wandering around shouting ‘pot for sale, hash for sale’.  The food was not like at the well organised events these days.  The toilets were worse, and were no more than an open pit over which wooden cubicles had been constructed.  The vile smell wafted over us whenever the wind blew from that direction.

Then it finally happened.  It was absolutely pitch black…, the anticipation, and then those wonderful opening chords to ‘The Song Remains the Same’ ringing out from Page’s double neck.  It was like being hit by a sledgehammer! I still remember the excitement whenever I see the bootleg video, although it took me around 13 years before I eventually tracked down a copy.  It is so easy these days on the Internet!

I can remember on the screen seeing Jimmy smile when his guitar string broke at the end of ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’. I can also remember the new songs that I had never heard before – ‘In The Evening’ and ‘Hot Dog’.  ‘White Summer’ was also unknown to me, as I did not possess any bootlegs at that time.

Tony also swears that he can remember John Bonham taking a running jump and literally jumping over the drum kit, which I have no recollection of at all.

Sadly, we never got to see the encores.  Tony decided we all needed to leave just after the end of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as he wanted to avoid the rush leaving the car park.  We tried to change his mind, but were in no position to argue as home was a 35 mile walk away.  We therefore could only listen to the encores gradually getting quieter as we made the long walk back to the car park, where we found the car was wedged in with no chance of going anywhere for hours!

For this 18 year old, it was a truly magical evening that will never be forgotten.

Ian Avey Hitchin, UK.

Pic above of Ian with Colin

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I went to the August 11th show.  I was fifteen, and it was my very first gig – some debut!  At that age it was a huge adventure.  My mate Andrew Dillon got the tickets and his dad took us down in the car the night before.  I’d spent the previous month on a crash course of Zeppelin albums being a Genesis fan first and foremost at that time.  It was a real eye-opener camping out alongside all the hippie-types on the Friday night.

Inside the arena we found a spot on a raised mound.  It was a strange support act line up, and as the day went on the arena kept filling up. The toilets were dreadful, and finding your way back to your own spot was also very difficult.  I had my first (and last) joint which I have to confess did nothing for me at all.

Then there was the long wait for The New Barbarians who proved to be a real disappointment.  As the stage was set up for Zeppelin the adrenaline kicked in and any tiredness disappeared.  I’d seen The Song Remains The Same movie but this at last was the real thing.

The roar of the crowd when they came on was just unbelievable and the combination of that and the lights and the sound inspired a rush of tears through the sheer emotion of it all.  To be honest the gig was a bit of a blur.  Jimmy’s laser bow being the most vivid memory.

Over thirty years on the critical view is that they were great but a little rusty but I prefer to remember it just as an incredible emotional experience that has stayed with me ever since and has led me to many more fantastic Zeppelin related experiences.

Gary Wade, Cheadle UK.

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Kneb 8

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My story starts a few days prior to the gig.  I am a cousin of Ronnie Wood, and as a result of him playing support together with Keith Richards in the New Barbarians, I knew that I had a good chance of getting a ticket for the show. I contacted another cousin of mine who happened to be Ronnie’s PA in the UK and politely asked her for a ticket.  She told me that Ronnie would be over at his mother’s house the Friday before the show and that I should pop over and that he would give me a pass. I was an 18 year old long haired kid who loved my rock music ever since I had been blown away by Hawkwind’s In Search Of Space and Sabbath’s Master of Reality some years before. And now being a total rock convert, I wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity to see the greatest rock band that will ever be. So suffice to say I was at my Aunt’s house nice an early that Friday awaiting Ronnie’s arrival. Sure enough he showed up. I asked him if he had a ticket for me. To my delight, Ronnie produced for me a rather superb back stage pass. It was beautifully coloured and was of a woven material with a sticky back.  I think it had all the bands that were to play on it. It was very cool. I took it, and right at that moment in time it was probably my most treasured possession.

I remember Ronnie saying he had a bit of a panic on because up to that moment the New Barbarians hadn’t gotten a bass guitarist for the show. Ronnie said to me “You can’t play bass guitar can you?” Regretfully I could not!

I often wonder what would have happened if I could.

The next thing that I really recall after all these years is actually going into Knebworth itself.  I remember waiting my turn in a long line of people hoping to God that the pass that I had now stuck to my shirt would get me in. You can imagine my delight when the guy checking tickets looked at it and waved me through. At that point I knew for sure that I was going to get to see Zeppelin. I kind of milled around for a while amongst the crowd and then I got to wondering where the pass I had would allow me to go. I approached the front of the stage area which I believe was fenced off with only a couple of heavily guarded access points.  I thought I’d try my luck, and hey presto I was waved straight through no questions asked whatsoever.  I suddenly found myself behind the scenes…an awesome experience!

I remember seeing Lemmy walking about.  He is a good mate of Ronnie. Many years ago before, Ronnie showed up at his mum’s house with Lemmy and asked her if she could put him (Lemmy) up for a few days as he had nowhere to go. Not sure exactly about the time scales but I believe he ended up staying with Ronnie’s mum for a couple of years. There’s quite a few “soon to be Rock stars” that she did that for, bless her.

Anyway, I remember going up to Lemmy and introducing myself. We walked off towards a load of cars talking about Hawkwind and how he got thrown out of the band. We made our way over to a makeshift grassed car park. We headed over to an old beat up burgundy coloured “Maxi.”  It containing Fast Eddie Clarke and Filthy Animal Taylor. Both of them were totally wasted… I left Lemmy with the other two members of Motorhead and headed back off towards the back stage area to see what I could find.

I went over to the New Barbarians mobile unit. There was a big guy standing at the door on security.  I thought to myself ‘this is the big test’ as I approached him. To my surprise, he opened the door, stepped aside and waved me in.  I stepped inside and to my amazement there was Keith Richards sitting all alone. He looked up at me and said something like “Hello mate, sit down.” Now bear in mind here… I am an 18 year old kid. Totally and completely out of my depth to say the least. I wouldn’t say boo to a goose in those days…..and suddenly here I am one to one with the legend that is Keith Richards!!!  I sat down and we spoke undisturbed for the best part of an hour I guess. I told Keith that Ronnie was my cousin and he kind of warmed to that and I think he ended up asking more about me than I ever did about him. I remember at one point some people outside who couldn’t get in the unit knocking on the window. Keith and I ended up feeding them fruit from a huge bowl. When I say feeding them, I mean we were throwing it through one of the windows at them!  It was all good fun and all very well-natured. Keith seemed a great guy. He is one of the easiest people I have ever met to talk to – just an awesome bloke… He is the kind of guy you could meet for the first time, go down the pub with and feel you’ve known your whole life.

The New Barbarians eventually came on and I stood at the side stage and watched the whole thing.

At one point during the Barbarians set I was aware of someone standing behind me. I turned around and standing there alone was Robert Plant. I said “Hi” and we shook hands. I remember thinking to myself “Ooh my God, I’ve got Planty standing just behind me !!!  Robert said to me “They were a little late on stage I believe,” I said “Yes they were,” and that was it. I turned around to face the stage really not knowing what else to say. It’s kind of weird. I mean, I love Zeppelin with a passion. I had spent many hours thinking about how talented these guys were, how I’d love to meet them. How I’d have so much to say if I ever did meet them. They were my hero’s then and still are today I guess, and  yet when it actually came down to it I couldn’t really think of anything to say! A couple of minutes later I turned around and Robert had gone. I had not seen him leave.

The Barbarians finished their show and I wanted a grandstand view of Led Zeppelin. The side stage was good but I wanted to see Zeppelin full on – to take it all in head on. I found out that there was a press enclosure which gave a brilliant view of proceedings. I got in there with my trusty pass and waited for Zeppelin.  I remember the anticipation from the crowd was electric.  It was infectious.  It was like having a ticket to the World Cup Final…only better. Better because you knew what was coming, better because the outcome wasn’t in doubt, better because you knew Zeppelin were gonna rock the foundations.

When Zeppelin came out on stage the excitement I felt was fantastic.  I wish I could have bottled the emotion and adrenalin that I felt. It was the best gig I have ever been to in my entire life.

After the event, I left the gig along with everyone else and having missed the last train spent the night crashed out on the concrete floor of the train station, but I didn’t care. I had just experienced an unforgettable day, one that I will always take with me.  I had seen Zeppelin and I felt privileged to have done so…still do, to be honest.

What happened to my beloved backstage pass ?… Now this bit still rankles with me to this day.  I remember tearing it off my shirt at the train station, screwing it up and throwing it away…What the hell was I thinking?!   But it’s a fact, that’s what I did with it.  I regret that more than you can know. But I thought to myself at the time, ‘’It’s not a problem I will see Led Zeppelin again…’’

None of us knew that John Bonham would pass away the following year and Led Zeppelin as a live act would be no more.

Mark Stanley -Stevenage, UK.

The past 38 years and all of its ups and downs notwithstanding, there is no denying the awesome power of Led Zeppelin at Knebworth.  As we’ve touched on, the emergence of the official DVD as well as both full shows on bootleg leaves it all there for anyone who have an interest.  But forget the video footage for a moment…listen to the audio of the gig…at the beginning of the August 4th tape, the audio picks up before the stage lights have gone down, and the crowd is hearing ‘Tuesday’s Gone’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd being played over the PA.  As the song fades and the lights go down, the deafening, monstrous and passionately heartfelt roar of the fans as Led Zeppelin takes the stage tells the tale.

Those thousands of fans in that field, on that night in 1979 understood……  And all the fans, old and new, thirty years on still do today. Tuesday may be gone…but Saturday remains the same…

Larry M. Bergmann Jr, Arlington USA

More Knebworth 38th anniversary thoughts to follow… 

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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.

Hello! Welcome to the 100th Led Zeppelin News email. We email out a summary of the week’s news every weekend so that you don’t miss anything.

Led Zeppelin

“Deus Ex Machina” (Twitter/yuminori0616)

Upcoming events:

September 22 – The new Black Country Communion album, which will feature Jason Bonham, is due to be released.
Early Autumn – The next issue of Led Zeppelin magazine Tight But Loose, issue #43, is scheduled to be released.
October – Andrew O’Hagan claimed that Robert Plant’s new album will be released this month.

Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

http://ledzepnews.com/

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Glen Campbell – 1936 – 2017:

It was very sad to hear the passing of the legendary Glen Campbell. A brilliant musician and singer of so many memorable songs – with one of them, Wichita Lineman being amongst the very finest songs ever sung….RIP

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Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant  – T-Shirts – For Sale

Russell Cherington has the following T shirts for sale:

O2 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute – Line Up Shirt XXL Black £25.00

O2 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute – Circle Atlantic Records Logo with Line Up on back, Black XXL £25.00

O2 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute – It’s a Great Life, This Life of Music Shirt with Line Up on back, Black XXL £25.00

O2 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute – Polo Shirt with Led Zeppelin Logo embroidered XXL £30.00

Led Zeppelin Knebworth 1979 circle logo on green shirt XL £10.00

Led Zeppelin Knebworth 1979 Icarus logo on white shirt XL £10.00

Led Zeppelin 1971 US Tour Shirt in Black XXL £10.00

Led Zeppelin Electric Magic logo on black shirt XXL £10.00

Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven Crest Shirt in Grey XXL £10.00

Led Zeppelin Four Symbols Shirt in Black XL £10.00

Led Zeppelin Tight But Loose Celebrates Earls Court 30th Anniversary Shirt in Black XL £10.00

Led Zeppelin Misty Mountain circle logo on black shirt XXL £10.00

Robert Plant – Mighty Rearranger album cover on black XL £10.00

Robert Plant with the return of the Honey Drippers – The Proton Effect, Black XL £15.00

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy – Europe 2010 text shirt Blue with dates XXL £10.00

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy – Clown Logo (Left Breast) black with dates XXL £10.00

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy – Europe 2010 Wings Logo with dates Grey XXL £10.00

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifter – 2013 RP Image Black with dates XXL £15.00

Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation Logo – light Blue XL £5.00

Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation Logo – Green XL £5.00

Them Crooked Vultures – Making The Possible, Totally Impossible Black XXL £15.00

Them Crooked Vultures – Follow What Is Hear – 3 Vultures Black XXL £15.00

Them Crooked Vultures – Blackpool Lithograph – £50.00

All shirts are in fantastic condition and the O2 Shirts are new.

For more information contact Russell Cherington  on email at r_cherrington@talk21.com

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 DL Diary Blog Update:

The good lady Janet and I had a few days holidaying at Santa Eulalia on the island of Ibiza. We booked it at fairly short notice – and I’m very glad we did as we both needed a break.

We first went there with Sam and Adam in 2005. We went back on our own in 2014 and 2015. We were a little unlucky with the weather two years ago when we had rain four days out of seven. Thankfully, for the most part this past week, we basked in very hot sunshine.

The hotel we stayed at The Catalonia was fantastic -very close to the sea with very friendly staff. As we’ve experienced before, many of the local bars have rock and pop tribute acts on. This time around we caught a Freddie Mercury tribute act – this guy had all the moves and Freddie like campness but lacked it in the vocal department. Far better was a singer named Johnny Dee who did a very good ‘sings the songs of Neil Diamond’ act.


We also caught the Rod Stewart tribute singer Garry Pease. He has played locally near Bedford in the past but we had yet to see him. He was a real revelation – looking and sounding the part with genuine likeable conviction. The set list was a mix of the big hitters such as Maggie May, Sailing etc with lesser known gems such as Handbags And Gladrags and Gasoline Alley. Throughout his act Garry, displayed real empathy for the material and that was evident in the most enjoyable chat we had with him and his wife Karen after the gig.

We could not resist entering the disco music quiz at the hotel – our knowledge of Aimie Stewart’s Knock on Wood and Andrea True Connection’s hit More,More,More were amongst the correct answers that won it for us – and the prize of two rather splendid Blue Lagoon cocktails . To seal the victory I did have to go on stage and do one of those look at the board and memorise as many pics as you can sketches – luckily I did fine with that.

There was not a Vinyl Barn in site anywhere (and I looked believe me!) but the good lady Janet found more than one handbag and shoe shop!

Amongst the playlist on the iPod as the sun beat down upon my face on the sunbed were the following:


David Bowie – The Gouster, Bob Marley & the Wailers – Legend, Led Zeppelin – Coda Companion Disc, Robert Plant – Pictures At Eleven, Rod Stewart Every Picture Tells A Story (inspired by Garry’s Rod tribute act!) and Elvis Presley – From Elvis In Memphis.

The books I took along included Stuart Maconie’s Cider With Roadies, Carly Simon’s autobiography Boys In The Trees and Mike Gale’s excellent holiday rights of passage novel Wish You Were Here.

We did hear Stairway To Heaven playing in a bar one night so there was no getting away from it entirely (in a good way!) -and in between soaking up the sun and sea, there was a spot of text checking on the in progress TBL 43.

As mentioned above the weather was very kind to us  although the final day was overcast with a sprinkling of rain  – this got progressively worse as the night went on. Subsequently our early morning flight from Ibiza was delayed by two and a half hours due to adverse weather conditions. We boarded the plane in torrential rain and then had a nervous 90 minute wait on the runway as an electric thunderstorm raged outside – that was a bit scary to say the least. Thankfully the storm calmed down and we touched down in Luton at 4am yesterday morning –  we eventually arrived in via the Luton to Bedford train at 6am.


It’s been back to work here in the TBL distribution centre with a backlog of orders to process –they will be coming your way soon.

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – it was great to hook up with my good friend Tom Locke at the Vinyl Barn this morning – Tom was with me in that field at Knebworth all of 38 years ago today and alongside remembering that memorable occasion, there were vinyl purchasers made. Tom got a rather splendid Midnight Cowboy soundtrack album plus albums by King Crimson and Budgie. In light of his sad passing I could not leave a couple of Glen Campbell albums in the racks – his 1990 set Walkin’ In the Sun and the definitive 20 Golden Greats EMTV compilation which I recall selling many copies of when I worked at WH Smith back in the mid 70s. Thanks as ever Darren Harte The always excellent Vinyl Barn stall will be at the Bedford Pop Up Record shop event at The Herd in Bedford next Saturday.

Right -it’s back to catching up on the backlog of orders and emails to answer etc.

Santa Eulalia is already feeling a long way away…!

 Dave Lewis  – August 11, 2017

Until next time –  have a great  weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tightbutloose.loose

The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out.

And follow TBL/DL on Twitter

YouTube clip:

Led Zeppelin – You’ll Never Walk Alone/Whole lotta Love at Knebworth 1979: 

 

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6 Comments »

  • VHP said:

    Dave,

    I completely agree with you comments regarding the sad loss of Glen Campbell. Wichita Lineman is a truly great song, beautifully sung by Glen. One of many he will be remembered for. Another sad loss for music.

    Knebworth 38 years gone! Wow, being only 15 and knowing no one with a car who was going I didn’t go saying I will see them next time they play the UK. And luckily I did. But little did I know that ‘next time’ would not be until December 2007 at the O2! But it was more than worth the wait. Jason did his Dad proud. But wow, where has the time gone since that gig?

  • Ray said:

    In that field again seven days later, just 22 years old. can’t believe we are 38 years gone, don’t know if it’s me the world seemed a better place then. I supposed most of the people there over those two weekends have rode the Roller Coaster that is life, and endured the ups and downs. A few won’t be with us anymore, but most who are will cherish those memories i know i do. Think i’ll go and spin some vinyl.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Catching up with everything after my hol – Deus Ex Machina thoughts will follow soon!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    There was! I think!

  • Zoso said:

    Dave,

    No thoughts on Deus Ex Machina? This was a major Zep event!
    Was interested to know if you liked it.

  • Byron Lewis said:

    Was there a mirror ball lighting effect used during Kashmir at Knebworth, please say I didn’t imagine it.
    Must say, at 15 years of age, to have our Friday night camp fire shared by a couple of nice girls and chat about music was certainly nothing like a dreary wet low morale evening. Simple pleasures are always the best! Cheers

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