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LATEST TBL PROJECTS UPDATE/LZ NEWS/SAVING GRACE IN BRIERLEY HILL/ ZEP COPENHAGEN WARM UPS -IT WAS 42 YEARS AGO/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

28 July 2021 1,444 views 3 Comments

TBL /DL Projects Update:

Tight But Loose – chronicling the world of Led Zeppelin since 1978

I thought it would be a good idea to round up the various TBL initiatives and projects I am working on – as illustrated in the new TBL flyer…

2021 has already proved to be a very productive one with my involvement in the Record Collector presents Led Zeppelin special issue, the Classic Rock 50th Anniversary Led Zeppelin IV feature in Classic Rock and the writing of the Led Zeppelin at Knebworth feature for Rock Candy issue number.

Alongside all that, there’s been the overseeing with co author Mike Tremaglio of the Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded edition – this is now nearing publication so let’s begin with that one

Evenings With Led Zeppelin The Complete Concert Chronicle Revised & Expanded Edition by Dave Lewis and Mike Tremaglio (Omnibus Press):

This new expanded edition is extended by 48 pages bringing the total to 624 – including a brand new 10-page concert bootleg CD discography appendix, additional concert ads, handbills, ticket stubs, press reviews, venue photos have been added – many images updated and improved. More on stage photos have been added, including many never published before. This new updated edition is a major upgrade over the highly acclaimed first edition. Mike Tremaglio has done an incredible job in making a good thing even better with his diligent research that has uncovered yet more information to add to the accuracy of the book.

The book can be ordered via Amazon UK and Amazon US

Here’s the links:

UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Evenings-Led-Zeppelin-Complete-Chronicle/dp/1913172392/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2R021QCBPFOVG&dchild=1&keywords=dave+lewis+led+zeppelin&qid=1614595345&s=books&sprefix=led+zeppelin+dave+lew%2Caps%2C185&sr=1-1

US:

https://www.amazon.com/Evenings-Led-Zeppelin-Complete-Chronicle/dp/1913172392/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=evenings+with+led+zeppelin&qid=1619437826&sr=8-1

Dave Lewis /TBL edition:

For the UK only I am making available a limited run of 100 books. Overseas postage makes it difficult to send books elsewhere so I am restricting this to the UK

All of the 100  copies will be individually numbered and signed by me – and will include an exclusive  four page insert with a 4,000 word interview conducted with the renowned Zep chronicler Andy Adams with Mike Tremaglio and myself about how this revised edition came to fruition

This edition can be pre ordered via the link here:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/evenings-with-led-zeppelin-the-complete-concert-chronicle-revised-and-expanded-edition-pre-order-now/

Publication date is early September.

Don’t miss out- this is the Led Zeppelin story told from where their legacy was forged – live on stage…

” This book is an utter triumph, a vast pool of knowledge and amongst the finest publications on ANY band, let alone those myriad of tomes about Led Zeppelin. Very few books are completely essential. This is…”

Andy Adams – Celebration Days Facebook group/To Be A Rock blog

……………………….

Forthcoming Book Projects:

There’s also a couple of other major book projects that are at the work in progress stage – firstly…

Robert Plant A Life In Vision – From Zen To Now: A photographic collection written and compiled by Dave Lewis (Wymer Publishsing)

I’ve been talking with the guys at Wymer Publishing about this project for some time. We first had a plan for it back in the autumn of  2019 – however due to various issues not least the pandemic and the good lady Janet’s broken leg, it had to go on the backburner. However, I’ve recently returned to it and there’s now a firm plan to have this published in 2022. Robert Plant A Life In Vision will be a large format chronological photo book covering Robert Plant’s entire career from 1966 to 2021 with accompanying text. I have already collated a fair amount of material from various sources including several long term TBL contributors and there’s some great stuff lined up. I am very excited at the scope this book presents and I am relishing the challenge to produce an illustrated volume that covers all the key moments of Robert Plant’s illustrious career. I’ll be working on this in the coming months – more on it all as it unfolds.

Here’s the overview:

 Robert Plant – A Life In Vision – From Zen To Now is a photographic journey tracking the career of one of the most revered and visually flamboyant vocalists of all time – written and compiled by world renowned Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant authority Dave Lewis.

From his initial forays in the Midlands scene in the mid 60’s leading to his first record being released in 1966, through to his vital contribution to Led Zeppelin and on to an always compelling solo output, Robert Plant has occupied a unique position at the forefront of the rock music world for over five decades.

This book pictorially chronicles all aspects of his career from 1966 to the present day. His pre fame days, the extraordinary impact of Led Zeppelin, his diverse solo career during the 80s, the Unledded reunion with Jimmy Page, low key gigs with Priory Of Brion and on through the prolific touring eras of Strange Sensation and The Band Of Joy right up to his more recent activities with the Sensational Space Shifters and Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian – it’s all here.

Along the way, the book also shines the spotlight on the Led Zeppelin reunions and Robert’s various on stage collaborations with the likes of Alison Krauss, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Chrissie Hynde, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young, Paul Rodgers, Brian Johnson, Billy Gibbons and Nigel Kennedy.      

Presenting many rarely seen images and memorabilia, the visual content is complimented by relevant quotes and written summaries. It all adds up to a unique career spanning portrayal of one of the most acclaimed vocalists on the planet.

This is Robert Plant From Zen To Now – the complete visual record as never before presented.

Also in the pipeline…

A Whole Lotta Music = Life To My Ears: The Dave Lewis Memoirs

 

The DL Memories – this is something else I have had in mind for a good while (and I cannot let Prince Harry have it all his own way!)

I think it’s time to sit down and reflect on my personal 60 year association with music.  In effect, this will log the story my musical passion with tales of The Dave Clark Five, Led Zeppelin, The Who, record shops, creating the TBL magazine, the writing of my books and much more How my passion emerged how and how it’s been sustained with all the ups and downs that have entailed.

This is obviously a big project – I have collated a fair amount of background material so far and TBL designer Mick Lowe and I have discussed how it can be presented. As for the text and story itself, I am currently up to 1964 so there’s a long way to go. This is a longer term project that again I’ll be working away on in the coming months. Publication is planned for early 2023 so it’s a long way off yet. Again, I will reveal more as it goes along.

Here’s the overview of this one:

The Our Price record shop chain that Dave Lewis worked for used to have a slogan that read ‘’Mad About Music –See a Specialist’’

It’s an apt description as for over 60 years, Dave Lewis has been mad about music – make that a whole lotta music…and he has also been something of a specialist.

Recognised as a world authority on Led Zeppelin, his many much acclaimed books and magazines on the band have reached out to fans in over 30 countries. An  all-encompassing passion that ran parallel with a 35 year career at the forefront of the UK record shop industry.

This is a man who has been is consumed and inspired by so many great sounds and sights, musicians and people..

Now in this enlightening memoir, A Whole Lotta Music = Life To My Ears, Dave tells the story of these inspirations and passions.

It’s a passion that has led him to watching five a side football with Robert Plant, meeting Prince Charles backstage at the Dominion theatre, leaping on stage to share the spotlight with Pete Townshend and innocently cuffing Roger Daltrey in the process, waving Led Zeppelin off at Heathrow Airport, watching them in Europe from the ultimate vantage point, receiving a bear hug from John Bonham in a Munich hotel, conducting one of the last ever interviews with legendary Zep manager Peter Grant, co -organising the first ever Led Zep UK Convention with Andy Adams that became a Bonham family reunion, being serenaded by John Paul Jones on mandolin, talking record collecting with Jimmy Page, chronicling the world of Led Zeppelin and its members from the Empire Pool Wembley across Meadowlands Arena New York to the Bostansi Centre in Istanbul and a tent in Ashby de la Zouch – not to mention a glorious Zep swan song at the 02 Arena.

Alongside all that, there’s many a tale told from behind a record shop counter, including  the retail sales phenomenon’s of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis John Lennon Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Jam, Band Aid, Elton John, Oasis and many more – plus witnessing the changing face of the record industry at close quarters and indulging in over the counter banter such as the occasion Dave innocently explained to a customer that the new Four Skins album had been pulled back…

Football, and the varying fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur and England also get a look in as does Subbuteo table soccer, The Dave Clark Five, the continual pursuit of LP records, singles and CDs and the love and support of a very good lady.

This is the story of one man’s often unfeasible passion relayed with wit and candour and sometimes with a tear in the eye…

Dave Lewis continues to be mad about music and life continues to be music to his ears – get ready to share in these musical memoirs that will resonate greatly with all likeminded souls…

So that is two big projects I will be working on in the months ahead…

Meanwhile…

The Tight But Loose magazine:

Given the work required on the above projects, the TBL magazine is currently on a bit of a hold. Mick and I did begin work on TBL 46 which involved a reprint of the TBL  issue 5 Over Europe special.We will return to it when time allows. I also have a plan to at some point to reissue the first TBL magazine and produce a TBL compendium in book form. Those are some future plans for the mag I aim to get to when I can.

Back issue wise  TBL 44 is still available at this link:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tbl-issue-44-the-new-issue-limited-edition-run-order-now/

Some other ongoing TBL initiatives:

The TBL website Updates: This regular website updates  of which you are reading now will present  the latest news, views, TBL archive features and my DL diary blog update

TBL Market Place: Check out the link on the TBL website for one off items for sale from the DL Led Zep and related collection including past issues of the TBL mag and Zep books.

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tbl-market-place/

DL/TBL Facebook Page:

The DL/TBL Facebook page has regular updates on Zep related matters, retro charts and adverts, DL record collecting activity and more.

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

DL/TBL Podcast:

This is another project I am looking at – though I am quite sure yet what shape or format it will take.  More on this as it unfolds.

Summary:

As can be seen there’s a lot going on and I am going to be a busy man. It continues to be an absolute privilege to relay and share my passion for the world of Led Zeppelin and my musical obsessions – thanks as ever for all your support.

Dave Lewis, July 28,2021


July 24 – Robert Plant with Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian at Brierley Hill Civic Hall

On the spot report from long time TBL contributor Richard Grubb…

After three aborted attempts at catching Saving Grace (some diary related, some pandemic related), I finally managed to experience the latest chapter of Robert’s long and always engaging musical adventures.

Brierley Hill Civic holds just under 700 people but is surprisingly not sold out. It could be a combination of a cautious exit to lockdown and the luxury of having several Saving Grace gigs in the local area over the course of just a few weeks. No matter, those who were there witnessed a fabulous night. As the lights went down, it was clear there was a pent up energy that needed to be expelled and real sense of having missed the communal event that these shows bring.

The show was less folk infused than I was expecting, leaning closer to the country tinged Band of Joy sound than to Fairport. Indeed, quite a few of the songs were either faithful reproductions of the Band of Joy versions, or extensions of what that band was about. The soundscapes were intriguing – a banjo fed through effects pedals and amplification is a world away from the Deliverance soundtrack! It made for a unique experience.

Robert looks older, and his usual slow paced wander to the microphone as the band plays the intro to the first song seems slower than in the past. Any concerns that Father Time is catching up are soon dispelled once his voice appears. Rich and controlled, he hits every note with purpose and commitment. This being (another) local show, there are many references to pre-Zep activities in between songs, and those formative years are reflected in the setlist. There’s a genuine fondness for his origins, both musical and geographic. The (mostly) local crowd lapped it up, and there was a real sense of shared experiences being relived, strengthening the bond between the crowd and their favourite son.

Musical highlights included incorporating a passage from In My Time of Dying into Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down (worth the price of admission on its own), and a great version of Season of the Witch. Hearing Season of the Witch OTW reminded me of the Priory of Brion days. This Saving Grace project is similar in several ways: the untethered freedom of doing what they want, going where they want, with the sole purpose of playing music for an appreciative crowd, without fuss or frill. After the past nearly 18 months, we need the dependability of something like a Robert Plant gig to help us all feel a little more normal. It’s clear he’s missed it as much as we have.

Richard Grubb

Many thanks to Richard for the pics and  perceptive words…


LZ News

Led Zeppelin News Update:

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:

http://ledzepnews.com/

Here’s a round up via LZ News of Robert’s Saving Grace gigs…

https://ledzepnews.com/2021/07/26/watch-robert-plant-return-to-performing-live-with-saving-grace/?fbclid=IwAR2pGz8hGeuc0OvErYvoBZAN9zG7qJ3yUdTbhYjIaWTyOUivhzGg1XYHouA


The Prelude to Knebworth…the Copenhagen warm-ups – it was 42 years ago:

Here’s a couple fascinating first hand views of the Led Zeppelin warm up shows all of 42 years ago…

A 24 month break separated Led Zeppelin’s walking offstage in California on July 24th 1977 and their return to the concert stage in Copenhagen almost two years to the day on July 23rd 1979.

In a tactic that echoed Peter Grant’s original launch of the band in 1968, Led Zeppelin flew to Copenhagen on Monday July 23rd to perform two warm up shows for the big event. The venue chosen for the band’s first gig in two years was the Falkoner Theatre in Denmark’s capital. The venue had previously played host to the likes of Abba and it was also the venue where Judy Garland gave her last live performance in March 1969.

With a capacity of just 2,000, the low-key nature of these warm-up shows made it still possible to buy tickets on the door. Peter Grant gave promoter Arne Worsoe just 14 days notice to arrange this warm-up stint for Knebworth, which took them back to the scene of their first dates back in 1968.

The first night was littered with technical problems. The enormous lighting rig that the band had hoped to install was too big for the venue. This resulted in the persistent blowing of the generator, which led to long delays.

The show eventually ended at 1am the next morning. The set list read: ‘The Song Remains The Same’/’Celebration Day’/’Black Dog’/’Nobody’s Fault But Mine’/’Over The Hills And Far Away’/’Misty Mountain Hop’/’Since I’ve Been Loving You’/’No Quarter’/’Hot Dog’/’The Rain Song’/’White Summer’- ‘Black Mountain Side’/’Kashmir’/’Trampled Underfoot’/’Achilles Last Stand’/ Page Solo/’In The Evening’/’Stairway To Heaven’/’Rock And Roll’.

Predictably there were first night nerves as they worked on the set list that would be presented to the massive crowds due at Knebworth in twelve days time. From the new album there were debuts for ‘Hot Dog’ and ‘In The Evening’. The press reaction was decidedly mixed, Erik Von Lustbaden, writing for Sounds, described the show as, “Dazzling, staggering and sometimes awful.

‘’The subdued lights were still much better than most bands will ever have. The powerful ascending riff of ‘Kashmir’ and the group’s sense of simple melody and repetition combine to at least give an inkling of why they’ve attained such legendary status. Dazzling. Another Page solo, all without any backing. I went for a piss, bought a bar of chocolate, ate it, had a sit down, made some notes, went back in, and he was still playing it!!”

However Eric Kornfeldt, reporting for New Musical Express, delivered one of the most vitriolic reviews in their entire career. Under the headline “Dazed’n’Abused he stated, “They appeared sloppy and unrehearsed, sometimes seeming awkwardly lost, bewildered, stiff and reluctant to play. They were no more than a quartet of uninspired old men, a relic from the past. There was so little feeling inherent in the set that for the most part it was like watching a fully automated factory producing an endless string of chords that neither musicians nor audience cared about.”

The next night they returned to turn in a more consistent set. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ replaced ‘Rock And Roll’ as an encore and they also added ‘Ten Years Gone.’ The latter endured the only real technical hitch as delays occurred with setting up Jones’s effects pedals prompting Plant to comment: “We’ll very shortly be doing ‘Eleven Years Gone’.”

Again the venue was not sold out

Jon Carlsson reported on this gig for Melody Maker and was generally impressed – particularly Page’s solo. “The bow began glowing with an eerie green light that you could read a book by. It made Page look like a Crowleyite elf or perhaps Obe Wan Kanobe on exotic snuff. Page was then enclosed by a green pyramid of thin laser light, which on every fourth beat rotated through 90 degrees. It became faster in its rotations until it became a glowing green cone. Page stepped back into it and let the colour wash over him.”

The coverage of the Copenhagen shows gave UK fans a hint of what was to follow on August 4th…

TBL ARCHIVE –

NOSTALGIC RECOLLECTIONS FROM OUT IN THE FIELD (and from the Falconer Theatre, Copenhagen)

 For the thousands of fans who converged on Hertfordshire over the first two weekends of August 1979, Led Zeppelin at Knebworth was more than a gig. It was an adventure.

For many young rock fans it was their first experience of a large festival gathering. They came from all over the UK and beyond to pay homage to a band whose legacy was already assured. Seeing though, was believing and the prospect of witnessing first hand how Led Zeppelin would fare in the post punk musical climate of the day proved irresistible. They faced long coach trips there and back, primitive camping facilities, poor sanitary conditions and long queues for food and drink, not to mention t.shirts, programmes, badges etc.

And finally after enduring a variety of somewhat mediocre support acts, they got what they came for.

Every one of the thousands in attendance returned with a story to tell.

44 of those stories are relayed here.

The common denominator of them all is the proud boast to say all these years on…

“I WAS THERE”

MY COPENHAGEN WARM UP:

Nils Westerholt,

Roedby, Denmark.

‘’How was it then back in 79’?’’ ‘’What impression did it make on you?’’

‘’’I mean, you were only 15 ½ and it was your first full size rock concert, wasn’t it?’’

I was asked these questions and many more by Danish TV2 journalist Kasper Frische about a year and a half ago. He was doing a feature for the Danish TV2 News on October 1st 2007 and somehow he had traced me for an interview.  The subject was actually the ticket ballot for the Led Zeppelin O2 concert in London – Would I get tickets? (I was filmed several times during the day opening my e-mail account looking for a winner’s mail, but unfortunately without success), how were the chances of winning and how did I actually become interested in Led Zeppelin?

We started to talk about my first and only Led Zeppelin concert back in 1979 in Copenhagen, and as I talked memories came rolling along – starting as vague pictures in my mind and soon turning into a strange kind of 3D.

So freeze frame and let’s go back 40 years…

The Danish Connection:

The Copenhagen Warm Ups were arranged very quickly. Peter Grant contacted Arne Worsoe, the promoter here who had been dealing with Zeppelin since the first tour.  He was and still is a very well known and respected promoter and European tour arranger for stars like Liza Minnelli, Cliff Richard, Prince and many others.

Shaking Hands:

So what exactly happened?  Recently I contacted Arne Worsoe and he revealed how he came to be so important to Zeppelin in Scandinavia.

“I had worked with Peter Grant several times before.’’ he told me.  ‘’We never had a written contract or a piece of paper between us.  From the very first time back in 1968 it was just a chat and then he would offer me his enormous hand across the table and if I agreed we just shook hands and that was it.  I still remember his enormous hand almost surrounding half of my arm!  We did not exactly negotiate, actually he told me what was needed and how things should be and then he mentioned the fee.  So you can say it was always a kind of take it or leave it.  But I must say he was a most trustworthy and honest person, and also a very warm and friendly guy.  Of course I have heard of promoters and arrangers having problems with Grant, but to me he was always 100% reliable and very kind, and his word was even better than a contract of 80 pages which is the standard nowadays.

In 1979 I remember he phoned me around the beginning of July and asked for an arrangement within three weeks or so.  As usual I jumped on the next plane to London, and as usual we met at his office and had a nice talk during which practical matters were discussed. And then also as usual, he mentioned the fee and we shook hands. Nothing more to it – except for me having to arrange the concerts of the year back in Denmark!”

Worsoe also remembers picking up Peter Grant and the four band members at Copenhagen Airport in an enormous stretch-limo:

On the way to the hotel he asked me “Well, Arne, can you tell me how much is it we are going to make tonight?” I was not sure if he really had forgotten the exact deal or if he was just testing me, but anyway I mentioned the amount we had agreed a few weeks before in London when shaking hands and he just grinned, which meant something like “right my boy, that’s it”.

Concert Of The Year:

On Sunday July 8th 1979 the leading Danish newspaper Berlingske (a leading Danish newspaper) announced that the deal “with the biggest attraction of the music world” was sealed. The band had asked for the K.B. Hallen but it was not available for rock concerts in 1979 so instead it was announced they would play at the smaller venue, the Falkoner Theatre.

Again according to the paper, tickets and posters were printed quickly during the weekend to be ready to go on sale starting on Monday morning. Worsoe was quoted that it was the fastest arrangement of a major rock concert he had ever been involved in.

The Falkoner Theatre at Frederiksberg in Copenhagen was (and still is) a concert/congress hall with very good acoustics, having housed a lot of prominent stars over the years ranging from the likes of Sinatra and Liza Minnelli to Johnny Winter, Yes and The Firm.  At the time it was considered a very small place for Zep to perform in with a capacity of only 2,200 (all seated).  I also remember the staff as being extremely well dressed middle-aged people wearing nice black uniforms and caps.

Copenhagen Relations:

Copenhagen had been the launch pad for Led Zeppelin back in 1968.  It was no real surprise they should come here to warm up for their big Knebworth comeback.

All in all Led Zeppelin played in Denmark nine times during their career, most of them in Copenhagen. Alongside the strong relationship with Arne Worsoe, the free thinking attitude of the culture suited the band in more ways than one.  It was previously reported that the band had hired a club in Copenhagen during their stay to spend some hours enjoying the company of young blonde Scandinavian beauties.

Back in 1990 when Robert Plant played at Saga in Copenhagen with his band I remember Robert dedicating the song ‘Liar’s Dance’ to “a long gone Copenhagen love way back in the 1970’s”.

Thanks to my older brother I was well into Led Zeppelin. He wasn’t that big a music freak, but he introduced me to ’Whole Lotta Love’ through a set of headphones in the mid seventies.  Did I wake up?  Man I did!  What a sound and what a world of music.  Within a second Alvin Stardust and Bachman Turner Overdrive were out – Zep was in. From then on it was Led Zeppelin above every band for me.

My friends were mainly focused on the likes of Sweet and Slade, but their older brothers or sisters became a source to get cassette recordings of the early Zep LP’s. Then in 1976 I experienced the first release of a new album, buying Presence on cassette – a pink one!

By the end of the 1970’s Led Zeppelin was not as popular as they had been here.  It was a struggle to find out much information about them.  I was living in Roedby, a small town about a hundred miles south of Copenhagen which made it even more difficult to be updated on what was going on in the rock business.  Record releases and concert news were scarce.

I knew little about Zeppelin’s plans but then I saw it.  An advert – quite a small one, announcing that Led Zeppelin was going to play in Copenhagen on July 23rd and that tickets would be on sale the following day.

It was my summer holiday and I was working at the local woodyard.  For some reason I was not able to phone for tickets until the day after they went on sale.  “Sold out!” was the message – but very quickly they added a second show for July 24th. I ordered two tickets on the balcony at a price of 80 kr. each. Prices varied from 60 to 120 kr – about £6 to £12 at that time I guess.

Man I was happy!  I phoned my best friend whom I had converted to Zeppelin but he was not able to go. Eventually I persuaded Jesper, a guy from the wood yard to go with me.  He did not know much about Zep so I taped The Song Remains The Same album for him.  The next day he came to me and said he liked the music – the songs were good he said, but the one at the end of the tape was the best.  I thought he meant ‘Whole Lotta Love’ until he started to hum ‘Love Me Do’, then I realized that I had recorded the stuff on an old cassette tape containing some old Beatles songs, one of which I’d left on!

The next challenge was how to go to Copenhagen.  I had to convince my parents that going to Copenhagen on my own at the age of just fifteen was a perfect way to spend a summer’s Tuesday night.  Once that was negotiated we sorted out the journey by train.  We arrived at Copenhagen Central Station after a two hour train ride.  It was early afternoon and we had some hours to spare.  Before leaving the station we saw some cinema posters – The Song Remains The Same was being re-shown at the cinemas.  Amazingly I had not seen the film yet.  I thought about going but it was too much in one day.

We saw a large crowd near the Plaza hotel near the station.  We quickly caught on that this was where the band was staying.  Huge white limos were lined up in front of the hotel.  We thought we might see them coming out but nothing happened.  Later on we heard that they had slipped away through the back door.

On our way to Copenhagen we had read the papers and the reviews of the first concert the night before with headlines such as “Led Zeppelin – fiasco beyond everything” and “Scandal Zeppelin premiere”.  Reviewers were all very disappointed:

First of all the show had been delayed for more than two hours without any explanation and when the band finally came on stage and played it did not go that well.  The words ‘under-rehearsed’ and ‘rusty’ appeared in the reviews and the band were described as being “old men hiding their insecurity and lack of abilities behind an incredible high volume of sound”.

Another leading newspaper, Berlingske, had the headline “I beg your pardon?” meaning that the reviewer literally had lost some of his hearing temporarily and still had painful problems when writing the review!  The reviewer claimed that he simply had to leave after half an hour because of the volume, writing “they did not play loud, they did not play tremendously loud – they simply made a noise like breaking the speed of sound”. Although he admitted that “Jimmy Page momentarily showed his great abilities as a guitar player” but that he could not understand “why nobody had shown him how to turn down the amplifier”.

The reviewer also criticized the sound crew stating “they had not made a full scale test of sound and light systems so that the technical problems causing the delay could have been avoided”.

Night Flight:

The main problem was the massive technical problems that hit the show on the first night:

Some of the staff at the theatre told me more about the problems the night before.  Thirty people had been working hard for two days to set up the stage, PA and lighting systems.  Everything was designed and prepared for the forthcoming Knebworth shows and it was simply too big for the dimensions of the venue – and there was little time to check it all properly.

When everything was turned on for the first time the entire electricity supply at the Falkoner Centre simply broke down (or blew up).  No explanation was given to the audience who had to wait for two hours before the show was ready to take go.  Meanwhile the technicians fought with the massive problems.  Eventually they succeeded in getting a large mobile generator from Frederiksberg Municipality transported to the venue (actually a generator dimensioned to supply a medium sized province town with electricity in case of emergency).  So just after 10 pm they came on stage and before they started playing Robert apologized to the audience for being late and having problems, and then said “there is not a lot to say but quite a lot to play after eight years” The band finished about three hours later, just after 1 am.

So to the second night Tuesday July 24th.  After spending some hours on the sidewalk in front of the Plaza Hotel we headed for the venue.  Lots of people were hanging out, many of them drinking and some of them smoking some kind of sweet smelling grass too.  Old hippies, Hells Angels-looking guys, some nice birds and chicks.

So what was it going to be like?  A scandal like last night as reported in the papers?  Would they be delayed again tonight?  We had to catch the train back to Roedby at quarter to midnight otherwise we would have big problems – two fifteen year old guys stuck in the middle of Copenhagen with almost no money and worried parents at home.  We made plans for a quick departure from the concert

We found our seats on the balcony. We were surrounded by some big heavy guys wearing leather vests. One of them had a tattoo of a big airship on his back. Apart from some loud shouting and smoking grass they were harmless.  Their shouts would soon be totally overshadowed by a thunderstorm of heavy and (my god!) loud music.  The one thing the critics were totally right about was the volume at the concert.  It was tremendously loud, ideal to reach out at Knebworth I guess but not for an indoor 2,200 seater arena in Copenhagen!

It was so loud that those in the front moved back as they started playing. It was too loud for even the hard core fans to stay there and even back on the balcony I remember we held our hands to our ears during the most intensive parts of the concert.

Out On The Tiles:

8.00 pm The lights went out.  Heavy clapping.  Tension.  Awaiting.  And then, at 8.15 pm the strident sound of Jimmy’s thundering guitar intro to the ‘The Song Remains The Same’ tore the darkness.  It felt like we were thrown back in our seats by the sheer sound wave.  Then as the song reached the first break (by the start of the vocal parts) the dark theatre was enlightened by heavy spotlights.

The sound was incredibly loud but aside from a delay before ‘Ten Years Gone’ (Robert joking it will soon be eleven years gone) it went smoothly.  The brand new ‘Hot Dog’ was played at maximum volume in a heavy staccato-like energetic version. ‘In The Evening’ from the new album was also inspired.

The only time I felt the concert lost some momentum was during Jimmy’s long Dan Electro solo performing ‘White Summer’/’Black Mountain Side’.  I did actually go out to get a drink and when I got back Jimmy was still in the middle of this solo!

Jimmy’s bowing section, standing enclosed by this green laser pyramid as it started to rotate faster and faster was just amazing.

‘Stairway To Heaven’ closed the show and then we had a powerful version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as the encore.

Three hours later, at about 11.15pm we rushed out of the theatre after the last distorted tones of ‘Whole Lotta Love’’ had faded out. We got a cab then headed for the central station just in time to catch the last train back home.

We were both totally blown by this experience.  I had just seen (and heard) my favourite band of all time.  We discussed the concert again and again during the train ride home, how great and overwhelming everything had been that night.  Aside from ‘Rock And Roll’ we had everything and more than we could have wished for.

Back home I made frequent visits to the local record store to ask for the new album but it was some weeks before I was able to hear the likes of ‘In The Evening’ again.

Since 1979 I’ve seen bigger concerts like Pink Floyd in 1988 and 1995, more heartfelt performances such as Robert Plant in recent years…but never louder, never more overwhelming, breathtaking or defining to me than that night in Copenhagen 30 years ago.  And most important of all I can proudly say “I was there…’’

My Copenhagen …and Knebworth

Christer Fahlström

He looked pretty unexceptional, but he was the first person I’d met with a genuine interest in music and who knew which artists were good and which bands you should definitely see. His name was Ove Stridh and he became my best friend during our military service.

The year was 1978 and in our spare time we argued over the relative merits of tracks like “Midnight Rambler” and “Kashmir” emanating from the cheap little speakers that we had put up in our barracks.

We were both engaged as telegraphists and we were young and reckless. We would often broadcast Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones via shortwave radio even though radio silence was enforced on major military exercises. Ove and I were convinced that we had been placed in our particular military unit because we wouldn’t have fitted in an ordinary Swedish regiment. Ove was a music poet. I was a crazy drummer.

One evening Ove told me a remarkable story. Aged seventeen in 1975, he had travelled alone to England to fulfil his life’s ambition: to visit Knebworth to see, hear and experience Pink Floyd. At that time there were neither mobiles, YouTube, Ryan Air nor internet. It required a lot more work back then to get hold of tickets, collect information and get where you wanted to be. Now, 34 years later, I realise that this particular evening was the origin of the amazing Zeppelin expedition that would follow.

It was spring 1979. Ove and I had left the military and our paths had separated. We were reunited again by a common contact, Anders Lindman, who I had met at my new job at GDC (The Gramophone Company’s distribution centre) where we were usually packing mountains of Abba records for shipment to record stores. Anders was a close friend of Ove and they both came from the same small town in Jämtland. Through Anders I kept in contact with Ove who forwarded tips on places where you could order bootlegs. Ove built Stones and Floyd collections and I was trying to build my first Zeppelin collection.

Zeppelin had recently been in Stockholm to record “In Through the Out Door” in ABBA’s Polar Studios. I had tried to meet them at the Sheraton where they were staying. I brought their album “Presence” with me and was hoping to get it signed, but their road manager informed me through the reception that they had left the hotel just an hour earlier.

Soon after, a colleague at work told me about a rumour he’d heard that Zeppelin would return to Stockholm for a one-off concert. The rumor turned out to be wrong and instead, two gigs at the Falkoner Theatre in Copenhagen were announced as a warm-up for the band’s scheduled comeback concerts in Knebworth two weeks later.

I was not slow to act. Just a few days later I had tickets in my hand. I hadn’t managed to get tickets to the first show but I found tickets for the second one (which turned out to be the best of the two). Meanwhile, Ove and I had also got tickets for Knebworth and we had started planning our trip there: I to see Zeppelin and Ove to see Keith Richards perform with Ronnie Wood in their side project, The New Barbarians.

But first I was completely focused on Copenhagen to see Led Zeppelin, the Gods, for the first time.

Ten days before my first trip to England, I was in Copenhagen. I had spent my childhood in Malmö, Sweden and I knew Copenhagen pretty well, but this would be my first visit to the Falkoner Theatre. I spent the day at a seedy hotel behind the Grand Central Station together with Lars Norén, a friend of Ove who had tagged along.

We sat in our room and read the negative Danish press reviews of Zeppelin’s first concert the previous night, which had been seriously held up by a power cut. Many irate journalists – and press photographers who weren’t allowed to take photographs – had missed flights and trains back home thanks to the delayed start to the concert.

I just wanted to be able to take some secret pictures. I had to get me a pretty neat camera that wouldn’t take up too much space. Just a single lens, selection of light-sensitive slide film and choice of clothing so that the equipment could be hidden and smuggled. Throughout that spring I had been listening to their repertoire on the complete bootleg box from their US tour in Cleveland 1977 (“The Destroyer” Smilin’ Ears Records, Inc.) to get an insight into how their performances would be.

Finally we were there – Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen, Tuesday July 24th, 1979, about 15 metres from the stage. A third of the seats were empty but we were still around a thousand fans gathered. The concert was late in starting and the mood was pensive after the bad reviews.

Suddenly the silence was broken, “The Song Remains the Same” opened with a bang! Everything unleashed. Bonham sat flush with the audience and you could feel the pressure wave created by his right foot pounding the skin on his mighty Ludwig 24″ bass drum. I couldn’t have been more alive! Just to see Jimmy with his twin-necked 1971 Gibson EDS-1275 got the blood boiling in my veins. What pressure, what power! Now they are on stage with a vengeance!

At one point in the concert the lights were extinguished. It was pitch black so you could not discern whether the band had left the stage. Three red spotlights suddenly lit to show Jimmy Page sitting alone with his 1960 Danelectro. He started to play “White Summer/Black Mountain Side.”

It sounded wonderful and brought to mind the bootleg I had played throughout the spring. I had been completely blown away by the contrast when Jimmy’s controlled guitar playing on “Black Mountain Side” was followed by an explosive version of their brutal juggernaut track, “Kashmir.” Would it happen again? I gambled. When Jimmy was approaching the end of “Black Mountain Side,” I stood up on my seat seat, stretched out my arms to the sky and shouted as loud as I could: Kashmiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrr!

I had not finished my roar when we were dazzled by a dozen spotlights mounted on Bonham’s drum riser. It brought the rest of the band on stage again to the overwhelmingly heavy sound of Kashmir. Everyone else in the audience had now risen and was roaring with me. In the shockwave of the sheer volume coming from the stage it felt like we would be bent like trees in a hurricane. That transition, the incredible power – I will never forget that moment!

Two weeks later, I was with Ove and some friends of his on a giant campsite in Knebworth Park near the enclosure where Zeppelin would play the following day. When the gates were opened in the morning, the guards took our tickets and we managed to find a spot about 50 metres to the left of the big oak tree in front of the stage. Before us the ground sloped down toward the stage, which meant we had a better view than the crowd in front of us. I was just 20 years old. It was my first extended trip abroad and I was enjoying being in the midst of music fans from around the world.

The mood was friendly and people around us were offering us all kind of drugs – cocaine, grass, and even poppers they sniffed from small glass bottles. We politely declined but Ove countered by opening a tin of Swedish snus. This is a tobacco product similar to what the English call snuff, which is in a dry powder form and is sniffed up the nose. Snus however, is tobacco in a moist form which is placed under the upper lip.

A friend called Pepe and I each put a large pinch under our upper lip, to our neighbours’ great surprise.

“What is that drug?”, asked one of them.

“It’s called snus,” I replied, “it dates from the Viking Age.”

Word spread quickly about the Swedes with the mysterious drug. Suddenly there was a line of French, British and Americans eager to try this new high.

The hours rolled by and there were many fine performances on the main stage. But I was there to see Zeppelin and when the sun started to go down I knew it was time for Led Zeppelin to take the stage. Suddenly lights came up, and there they were on stage with Jimmy dressed in a blue silk shirt and white pants. Around his neck hung his legendary double-necked Gibson SG and he hit the first chord to “The Song Remains the Same” in the exactly the same way he did in Copenhagen. Later into the concert Robert Plant delivered two Presence racks: “Achilles Last Stand” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” both of which worked better on the big stage in Knebworth.

After over two hours, they completed their set with “Stairway to Heaven.” The lights went down but the fans continued to call for more. After more than 10 minutes of this, Robert Plant could be heard singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the stage and suddenly a spotlight picks him out. Behind him is John Bonham marching with a drum major’s stick. It was a great feeling to be singing along with nearly 200,000 others.

Suddenly there is the thunderous bang of a guitar cable being plugged into an already cranked-up amp and seconds later they launched into the best “Whole Lotta Love” I’ve ever heard followed by “Rock ’n’ Roll.” Two policeman who had stood near us throughout the concert could no longer hold back as they started dancing and waving helmets.

Ove nagged that we had to leave the area and I insisted they will surely play Heartbreaker at least. We walked away in the August darkness to avoid falling into the same chaotic situation when we arrived. Ove shrugged when I repeatedly tried to persuade him that we should stay. When we approached the gates a few minutes later, about 500 yards from the scene, I heard Jimmy Page start to play Heartbreaker. It was too late, and too many people to return. When I listened to Jimmy Page’s brilliant one hand solo in the middle of the song, I could not hold back the tears. How could I be so stupid? And my words to Ove were not very gracious.

What I did not know back then was that I would get another chance to see them.

This time in London. But that’s another story…

More Knebworth memories to follow…


New bootleg CD sets due: 

These new bootleg CD releases are due out via a European label next month – count me in…


DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday July 22:

Latest DL 8 Track Cartridge acquisition – Led Zeppelin III UK 8 Track Stereo Cartridge on the Atlantic label complete with outer box -purchased from the excellent Mod Pod retro shop at 98 Bromham Road Bedford – be sure to check it out if you are in the area…

Friday July 23;

Another rather splendid 8 Track Cartridge acquisition – Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti original UK Stereo Cartridge on the Swan Song label complete with outer box – what a beauty…

 

 

Friday July 23:

Latest DL seven inch vinyl acquisition– a very nice copy of the 1970 Jimi Hendrix Experience three track maxi single ( as they were known) in the original pic sleeve which reveals a 6 shilling price tag and an error in the quoted opening lyrics – ‘’ledge of my hand’’ should read edge… thanks Paul Cox for this copy

Friday July 23:

It was 50 years ago today:

On this day in 1971 Stray supported by Home was the line up at the Addison Centre in Bedford.

I was not at this one but I did get to see Home a few months later when they were among the support acts (along with Stone The Crows ) for the Led Zeppelin performance at the Empire Pool Wembley on November 21 which I was very pleased to be in attendance at. Stray’s guitarist Del Bromham is still out there playing and recently appeared at Esquires club in Bedford.

Advert from the Beds & Bucks Reporter via the Paul Cox archive.

Saturday July 24:

Saturday is platterday…

Record Store Day Delight…

On the player from Record Store Day Drop Two, the Cat Stevens album Songs From The Original Move Harold And Maude – a superb collection of his songs including Tea For The Tillerman, Trouble, Don’t Be Shy and On the Road To Find Out…

Saturday July 24:

Another Record Store Day delight…

On the player from Record Store Day Drop Two, the brilliant Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà vu Alternates album – the alternate version of the classic 1970 album with early mixes and outtakes from the sessions – you can never have too much of this album…

This is a superb package one of the best RSD releases of recent years in my view…

Saturday July 24:

Just read the superb feature and interview in the new issue of GQ magazine by Dylan Jones with the director Peter Jackson talking about the forthcoming The Beatles: Get Back film.

This will now be a series of three two hour films to be shown via the Disney + channel airing on November 25-27.

This is going to be something very special – here’s hoping it will also get some sort of cinematic and DVD release too.

Sunday July 25:

Sunday sounds on CD – remembering the late great Peter Green one year gone today so loading up the brilliant Then Play On remastered CD from the excellent Fleetwood Mac 1969 – 1974 eight CD box set released last year…

Monday July 26:

Celebrating Mick Jagger’s Birthday here – not only are The Rolling Stones the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world (along with perhaps one other!) they are also the greatest singles band in the world and here’s some Rolling Stones 45 RPM selections from the DL collection….Happy Birthday Mick…

Tuesday July 27:

It was great to have a visit this afternoon from the esteemed local musician, fellow record collecting comrade and all round top man Mr Mat Roberts…

Mat had very kindly picked up my latest acquisition from record dealer Ross in Kettering –a batch of vintage 8 track cartridge tapes.

Amongst them The Beatles White Album, Wings Band On The Run and Venus and Mars, John Lennon Rock ‘n’Roll, The Rolling Stones Some Girls, Bryan Ferry Let’s Stick Together plus others by Joe Cocker, The Average White Band, Neil Young, Joan Baez, The Move, Elvis, Elton, Rod Stewart, Frank Sinatra, Bread, Simon & Garfunkel, Greg Allman and more.

Hours of stereo 8 track cartridge retro fun assured – thanks for bringing them over Mat!

Some particular inspirations this past week…

Watching the very moving Reclaiming Amy documentary last Friday on the tenth anniversary of  the passing of Amy Winehouse…

A lovely gift from Ian Saikia – thank you mate..

Phone catch ups with Richard Grubb, Pat O’ Reilly, Pete Gozzard, and Barry Farnsworth…

Update here:

As can be seen above there’s been a lot of planning and preparation for the TBL projects ahead and I am very excited at the prospect of getting stuck in to them. Elsewhere, it’s a case of trying to keep safe and make the right choices -getting that balance of trying to do the inspiring things that aid our wellbeing and being careful in doing so is not easy – and we’ve had a lot of conversations about that here as I am sure many have…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – July 28 ,2021

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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3 Comments »

  • Ralph Hunt Sidway said:

    Dave, GREAT NEWS about all the TBL projects! This is a staggering series of not merely worthy but essential publications (and podcast!) in the pipeline. The Robert Plant book sounds like a real breakthrough volume, and your personal music memoirs would be such a delightful read (as we all know from your installments here on the website), and could even become a cultural classic, an impassioned look at decades of great music and personalities, experienced and told by a zealot in the front row (and who even dared to jump onstage with some of the giants!).

    Best Wishes and watching closely from across the pond!
    Ralph Hunt Sidway
    Cincinnati OH, USA

  • Steve Hall said:

    Thanks for the updates on all your upcoming publications, looking forward to when they are issued.

    Looks like Robert’s Saving Grace gig at Birmingham Town Hall is postponed to a future, as yet unknown, date. Just had an e-mail to say that someone in the ‘entourage’ has been ‘pinged’ so they all have to go into isolation for 10 days!!! Was looking forward to this one, our first gig since, ironically, his last gig at the Town Hall in 2019!!!!! Bought tickets to see James Taylor in February at the NEC (Resorts World Arena now) which is someone I’ve wanted to see for many years now, so hopefully nothing thwarts that one!!

    Stay safe, Dave, and all the best to you and Janet.

  • Colin Martin said:

    Saving Grace at Birmingham Town Hall on Monday has been postponed due to Covid contact.

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