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MOJO JIMMY PAGE COMPLETE BBC SESSIONS INTERVIEW/SUNSHINE WOMAN PREVIEW/LZ NEWS/UNLEDDED TBL ARCHIVE/ DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

25 August 2016 3,434 views No Comment

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The Complete BBC Sessions Mojo Review and new Jimmy Page interview:

The first review of the forthcoming Led Zeppelin Complete BBC Sessions has appeared in the new issue of Mojo.

Commenting on the Alexis Korner version of I Can’t Quite You Baby, Mark Blake observes ”The third version from that previously ‘lost’ Alexi Korner session is a revelation. The sound quality might be poorer but with Page’s flurrying guitar solos and John Bonham’s bionic right foot, it sums up in 5:26 minutes what made the early Led Zeppelin so exhilarating”

In a new interview with Mojo’s Phil Alexander, Jimmy Page reveals details of the sessions. Talking about the June 27 Playhouse Theatre recording he says ”We did what amounts to a pilot of an in concert programme They figured led Zeppelin could pull it off and when it worked they stuck with it. We were up for it because it felt like a concert with the continuity and the momentum of playing live was important because that’s what we were about”

Talking about Sunshine Woman he states ”That was basically made up on the spot. It was pretty brave, bearing in mind the circumstances. We played it as if we were in rehearsals, starting it around the riff and then working it out. It shows that we were evolving pretty quickly”.

As for achieve projects ahead – Jimmy reveals he has plans to revisit his Yardbirds recordings.

”I’m really keen to revisit the stuff I did with The Yardbirds” he tells Phil Alexander mentioning the band’s final sessions at CBS Studios in New York in may ’68 and the ill fated Anderson Theatre show from two months earlier.

”I’ve been working on that. I am in touch with the guys in The Yardbirds and I want to make sure that material comes out because those guys were so good and I really want that stuff out there, so let’s see.”

The full interview is in the new issue of Mojo – be sure to check it out:

More details at:

http://www.mojo4music.com/24512/new-mojo-is-a-beatles-on-the-road-special/#main-content

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Sunshine Woman is previewed today via The Guardian:

Waking up today with the sound of  Led Zeppelin as recorded at Madia Vale Studio 4 in March 1969 is an absolute tonic.

For here comes Sunshine Woman – virtually made up on the spot. Opening with a barrelhouse piano from John Paul Jones, it leads into a rollicking rock’n’ soul rumble with Robert Plant playfully telling the tale of his ‘sunshine baby’ throwing in a line or two of classic bluesolgy and then talking to the harmonica. Jimmy delivers the cascading riffs relentlessly throughout and John Bonham is the steadfast anchor that drives it all along.

The playful spontaneity of the four is more than evident – this is the sound of a band who not only know their capabilities but are all for expanding them. That, they would empathically do on the subsequent sessions they would record for the BBC.

Sunshine Woman breezes in this morning acting as a roller-coaster late summer delight…

The Complete Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions are coming – 22 days and counting…

Dave Lewis, August 25, 2016

UK link via The Guardian here:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/aug/25/hear-led-zeppelins-unreleased-sunshine-woman-bbc-session

Here’s the US link via Wall Street Journal:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2016/08/25/led-zeppelin-sunshine-woman-bbc-sessions/

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LZ News:

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.

Here are some highlights from the fifty-first Led Zeppelin News email. The complete version can be accessed by signing up at the link below. be sure to sign up for this excellent news service.

Hello! Welcome to the fifty-second 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
•The full testimonies of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones during the “Stairway To Heaven” trial have been posted online. They’re lengthy transcripts of court proceedings, but they do include gems like Robert Plant describing Bron-yr-Aur, and Jimmy Page explaining that he doesn’t use the internet.

Robert Plant
•Robert Plant has been announced as a performer at Bill Wyman’s 80th birthday gala in London on October 28. Mark Knopfler, Bob Geldof, and Mick Hucknall are also due to perform.

Upcoming events:
September 16 – “The Complete BBC Sessions” will be released.
October 8/9 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Festival of Disruption in Los Angeles.
October 15 – Robert Plant’s “Austin City Limits” performance will be shown on PBS.
October 28 – Robert Plant will performa at Bill Wyman’s 80th birthday celebration in London.

The Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here: https://t.co/yp9fGJMSGH

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London BluesFest confirm Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will appear at Bill Wyman’s 80th birthday show in October:

This one via Classic Rock website:

Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has been confirmed as one of the guests for ex Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s 80th birthday show in London later this year.
The October 28 concert at the IndigO2 is part of this year’s three-day BluesFest event, with a lineup including Van Morrison, Walter Trout, Jeff Beck, Bad Company and Richie Sambora.
Wyman’s guests include Mark Knopfler, Mick Hucknall, Bob Geldof and Imelda May, with more to be revealed. The set will feature music that’s influenced Wyman throughout his career.
BluesFest boss Leo Green says: “This concert is shaping up to be one of the gigs of the year. The addition of Robert to an already monumental lineup is a clear indicator of the vast influence Bill has had on the music world.
“We’re delighted that he’s chosen to celebrate this milestone birthday with us. Who knows who else might turn up on the night to jump up on stage?”
BluesFest tickets are on sale via Live Nation and AXS.com.

London Bluesfest 2016
October 28
Indigo2 At The O2: Bill Wyman Birthday Gala
Brooklyn Bowl: Darrel Higham, JD & The Straight Shot, Big Boy Bloater
October 29
The O2 Arena: Bad Company and Richie Sambora
Brooklyn Bowl: Jo Harman, Lauren Housley, Hollie Stevenson
October 30
The O2 Arena: Van Morrison and Jeff Beck
Indigo2: Walter Trout and The Temperance Movement

See more at:

http://teamrock.com/news/2016-08-22/robert-plant-bill-wyman-london-bluesfest-2016

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This Day In Music:

Neil Cossar has been in touch to inform me that his excellent This Day in Music Radio channel has a three part Jimmy Page interview on there, free to hear and download.

Link is here:

http://www.thisdayinmusic.com/pages/tdim_radio_jimmy_page_documentary

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TBL Archive Special

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant MTV Unledded – 22 years gone….:

22 years ago this week, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reunited for two performances filmed by MTV at the London TV Studios for their Unplugged series. Appropriately dubbed Unledded, this saw the pair roll back the years with an inspiring re-evaluation of the Led Zeppelin catalogue. In its way this was every bit as significant as the 2007 O2 reunion as they sort to put into perspective their past achievements. The omission of John Paul Jones was in hindsight, a poor misjudgement but at the time, we were more than grateful for this reuniting of the pair. I was lucky enough to attend both days filming – indeed I was involved in supplying the TBL database for the ballot of ticket distribution. Looking back It was an incredibly exciting period that would lead on into more memorable nights in the company on the ensuing 1995/96 world tour.

Here’s my review of the first day’s performance:

unled ticket 2

This TBL archive special reproduces the passionate review of the first MTV Unledded performances I wrote for TBL issue 10 – it’s incredible to think that it’s all of 22 years ago as once agin it seems like a second ago –but a lifetime. It was another of those truly fantastic times to be a Led Zeppelin fan again…..so let’s travel back to the late summer of 1994 and two very special August days…

Where to start? I mean, how do you begin to describe it all . . . The shivers down the spine when they did Rain Song with an orchestra . , . Robert’s dedication to Bonzo before Four Sticks on Thursday . . . the spontaneous applause for Jimmy’s solo on Friday’s version of Since I’ve Been Loving You . . . The running good natured banter between Robert and the audience throughout the event . . . the emotional intensity of the new Wonderful One . . . the last five minutes of Kashmir on Friday which was as good a section of live music I’ve been privileged to watch in my entire life .. .
So many highlights … so many disbelieving highlights at that. A clear seven days after it all, my mind is still reeling. Did it really happen? I mean, I’ve dreamed it enough times. But incredibly it DID happen. And what happened proved to be entirely in keeping with the legacy of what Led Zeppelin represented.

To backtrack on to all then: The weeks and days leading up to the timing had been pretty fraught tor me in being given some of the responsibility for assisting with the distribution of invitations. It was a responsibility I was more than happy to take on but the inevitable consequences of dealing with countless calls and demands surrounding the arrangements did prove to be a heavy burden to carry. Never before did the phrase “You can’t please all of the people all of the time” have such relevance. As somebody close to it all remarked to me – you can only get twelve to a dozen and there was always going to be disappointed fans by the size of the proceedings who were not going to be lucky on this occasion. Hearing such disappointments first hand was, understandably, not always pleasant.
My own personal arrangements to free myself to attend were somewhat rushed and flawed and it was only travelling down on the train on Thursday morning that I began to contemplate the enormity of what was happening.

The summary of events thus far had run like this: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had taken most of August to film the long-mooted MTV project, the end results of which would appear as an MTV Unplugged special in October. Location trips to Marrakesh and Wales would now be rounded off with two live performances before an invited audience at a secret London location set for the nights of August 25/26.

Feedback from those close to the project had been very positive. The filming in Marrakesh had gone very smoothly with the airing of three new songs – two untitled and one dubbed City Don’t Cry. In Wales, despite the rain they had managed to film some excellent footage with When The Levee Breaks proving particularly inspiring. A dress rehearsal for the London shows on Wednesday had also gone remarkably well, according to those in attendance. Confirmation of the deployment of a full orchestra and an Egyptian string and drum section certainly whetted my appetite it all sounded almost surreal. A few hours from now it would be a reality.

This was the meeting point at which invited fans were advised to attend. From here we would be escorted to the location. Amongst the excited and expectant bunch of diehards I recognise and greet many familiar faces. An MTV official duly appears to take us to the nearby London TV studios – formerly LWT studios and home still for countless light entertainment TV recordings. Paul McKenna’s Hypnotism show is one such recording for tonight. An orderly queue awaits entry. “Hope Jimmy doesn’t get called in to appear or he’ll end up an Elvis impersonator”, shouts one wag – aware of McKenna’s penchant for ridiculing his contestants to imagine all sort of crazy roles while under his influence. I remember Paul McKenna myself when he was the morning DJ on the local Beds, station, Chiltern. In fact I used to do a weekly phone-in spot with him in my then role as local pop/rock informant. How strange our paths are crossing a decade later In somewhat surprising circumstances.
The other queue with their minds on more important matters are now being ushered into the studios by the mostly American imported MTV staff. Amongst them are 50 MTV/radio station competition winners flown all expenses paid from the US. They line up excitedly amongst the TBL fraternity and other lucky fans. The waiting in the corridor is long – predictably – but we warm ourselves to such ordeals by recalling the overnight wait at the first Knebworth. We’ve all waited longer for less – no gate-crashing tonight, though. The security is very tight – with everybody subjected to a metal detector test for obvious reasons. Around 7.45 we are finally allowed access to Studio 2. Interestingly enough the billing for tonight’s show on the ticket is “An Evening With Page And Plant”. Friday’s reads: “Plant and Page”… and the laminated passes have Page Plant at the top .. . and Plant Page at the bottom – a subtle method of solving the potential who gets top billing wrangle.

Once inside, the set looks extremely impressive – a lengthy stage set up with stylish and suitable abstract backdrop drapes. The whole thing is exactly like a gig set up bar one factor
everyone is in Block AA because that’s all there is room for – providing an excellent view from all parts of the studio. Above the mixing desk there’s a VIP gallery and already the Plant contingent are present – Logan, Maureen and a pregnant Carmen (no granddad jokes please!). Jason Bonham is also there. A blues album plays inoffensively over the PA: boom cameras glide above us in readiness for what is about to be captured.

Around ten to eight, Alex the MTV co¬ordinator does some cheer leading warm ups. “Let’s hear it for Rex King!’ shouts Alex and an appropriate cheer goes up for the long term Plant/Page aide who is marching around the stage checking last minute details – an appreciative cheer for the man responsible for many of us being here tonight.
Minutes later, with the camera angles tested and the subtle lighting set, a short no-nonsense announcement precedes what we’ve waited for fourteen years to hear. “Please welcome Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’ . . . and it’s a thunderous welcome.

Robert Plant strides on to the stage from the left followed by Charlie Jones and Michael Lee .. . Jimmy enters from behind a black curtain on the right, immediately taking off his suit jacket to reveal a Knebworth style blue shirt.

Robert and Jimmy . . . it’s taken so long. Of course there have been glimpses of them re-united – in particular the spirited spring ’88 jam at Hammersmith, and the Wearing And Tearing nutmeg at Knebworth 90. Separately not all has gone entirely well. Jimmy’s road to Studio 2 has been often turbulent – early ’80s drug busts, low key ramblings with Harper, the mismatch of The Firm, a fine attempt at winning back the audience with The Outrider project, and then, against all odds, the bizarre link with David Coverdale – the catalyst that certainly inspired his best post-Zepp playing. It could be viewed that such inconsistencies have only heightened the adoration within which he is held by the faithful. Mention of Page’s name anywhere and it’s instant legacy time. Still. And such is his fragile demeanour we seem to take a very motherly and protective view of our James Patrick.

Knowing he can be brilliant and erratic in his performance within minutes of any given time is all part of the near masochistic pleasure in following his career. What we can never forget is, in the studio and on stage, Jimmy Page was the sonic architect (to use a rare warranted Coverdalism) of Led Zeppelin. His ability to create the perfect mood for the group (witness the remastering of the catalogue) was and never is in doubt. He was the true sound chaser – and it’s a title he still carries with much reverence. His ever onward stance in adding to the effects of his self-styled guitar army is also a major attraction for his countless admirers. Think of Jimmy and my most immediate mind picture will be that of him back in Earls Court 1975, flashing that cherubic smile as he emerged from the dry ice on May 24 to layer on that most exquisite solos during No Quarter.
Never as high profile as Robert in the past decade, any sighting is a moment to behold. Tonight’s is doubly so as he reunites with his old sparring partner. And the first thing I notice as he turns around to greet the audience is that familiar cherubic Page smile. He looks in excellent shape – and I d had my doubts after the Buxton show where he was carrying an uneasy amount of excess weight. No evidence of it now – he looks well fit with his hair jet blacked, permed and still with that side parting falling over one eye, ala 1969. Twenty-five years on he is still the quintessential English guitar hero. It’s sheer delight to be in his company again.

And the same goes for Robert Plant. Striding on stage with that angular bounce of his, crooked smile beneath the now customary retro shag pile hair, tonight given something of a new look by being parted to the side, brown leather trousers, overlong long-sleeved Indian top, waistcoat, he looks suitably regal and better than I remember from last year. My, this is all a long way from the jumpsuits and bouffoned hair of 1983 – The Tube. Big Log and all that. A different era. Who could have predicted today’s events back then?
over the past decade, but never less than Interesting. There have been some very odd phases, and some wild accusations and contradictions in his media statements, leading to him eating a sizeable proportion of his words on more than one occasion.

But with Robert Plant what you get is what you get. And vocally he has matured like vintage wine. Last year’s Fate Of Nations album and tour was easily his most satisfying work in the post-Zepp period. His vocal prowess has if anything improved in recent years. Careful consideration in looking after this most precious instrument has paid off.
And perhaps the organic nature of the material, preserved on that album, led him to realise the potential there was for this opportunity to rework some of his finest compositions in the company of his former musical inspiration. And that’s how it’s turned out. Six months down the line maybe something of the affinity that he felt for Jimmy when they were ensconced in that cottage way back when has returned to the fore.

“He is the Paganini of the electric guitar – he’s brilliant”. That’s one of the best compliments I heard Robert pay Jimmy on MTV in the mid-’80s. A decade on, here he is linked with the station and in collaboration with the master. I can forgive him anything for making this decision – beatbox Heaven Knows remixes, that female walk-on part in Too Loud at the NEC, miming on TV, pretentious videos, you name it.

Above any solo career moves Robert Plant will always be best known as the voice of Led Zeppelin. It’s a role model he has not always carried easily over the past decade. Tonight, as he strides up to the mike (“one solitary mike and we all know who that’s for* – how I remember writing that statement after Knebworth), I get the feeling he has prepared himself very carefully to carry that status and use its power to happily reconcile the past with the present. Never before has the legacy of what Led Zeppelin represented rested so contentedly on his shoulders.

Looking slightly nervous but ready to do what’s got to be done, they briefly confer in the centre of the stage like newly-weds after signing the register. For this particular re-marriage the ceremony is about to begin.

“Good Evening . .. Let’s get, er, plugged in then” remarks Robert, tongue in cheek and immediately debunking the idea that this will be the familiar Unplugged arrangement. Jimmy straps on the cherry red Gibson and picks out the welcoming chords of Thank You, a tentative run through delivered in the arrangement employed on last year’s Fate Of Nations tour. Jimmy switches to the Gibson 58 prior to his ex-partner uttering the words “and if I say to you tomorrow” right next to him. You have to go back twenty two years for the last time such words were spoken on stage within the vicinity of the pair. What Is And What Should Never Be is a much welcomed if slightly flawed second number – Jimmy being particularly hesitant on the solo. It warms up towards the end as Jimmy scrubs across the strings for that familiar stereo panned Zepp 2 trademark.

UNLEDDED FOYUR

Initial thoughts so far: They are understandably nervous and you get the feeling these two early run thoughts are mere warm ups. The sound however is absolutely crystal and the whole atmosphere of the studio feels like you’re almost in their backyard – privy to the best garden party you could wish to enjoy.
For the next song it gets rather interesting. Jimmy settles into his chair (the regal looking upright backed affair used on the Coverdale Page Japan tour and the Take Me video) and straps on an Andy Manson three necked guitar. This I haven’t seen before. Robert introduces Nigel Eaton on hurdy-gurdy, James Sutherland on Bodhran percussion and Pori Thompson on acoustic guitar, and welcomes to the far left of the stage an Indian female vocalist, Najma Akhtar. .. who will sing the duet parts with him. For this is Battle Of Evermore 1994. It’s a joy to hear Jimmy picking out the melody against the whirring Hurdy-gurdy and the interplay between Robert and Nashma is very effective. Towards the close they add a new coda refraining an “ah-a ah-a” sequence, ala Achilles. Never an easy number to project live back in ’77, this arrangement is the first fruits of the ambitious extended Plant Page alliance. And it work supremely well.

“From here to Balies’s is not that far” jokes Robert in a reference to the cabaret circuit they have so far avoided. The same line-up (minus Najma) stays on for Gallows Pole. Long rumoured to be part of the new set, I Ve been really looking toward to this and there is no disappointment. Jimmy strums over the 12 and 6 stringed Ovation double neck, Charlie provides a steadfast bass anchor to the intricate arrangement, Pori handles the banjo parts and Michael Lee storms in, as the pace builds. This is the first display from the drummer that confirms once again his ability to bring just the right amount of dynamics to the rhythm section, striking the drums in a very Bonham-like manner that adds to the whole atmosphere. As the song speeds to a climax Robert really lets go, losing himself in the “Keep a-swinging” repeat refrain before it all dramatically stops.
“We’ll be back in a while” informs the singer, signalling end of part one. As the lights go up we excitedly exchange views. Everybody has been knocked out with the last two numbers and are similarly agreed that the opening pair of Zepp 2 standards had been merely a warm up. But, of course, we really haven’t seen anything yet.

During the break to the left of the stage the European orchestra, as it’s dubbed on the run-through sheet, sets up. A mixture of male and female string players more suited
perhaps to the surroundings of Henry Wood’s Promenade Concerts but ensconced tonight to provide accompaniment to what we might have described in 1969 as the Pop Proms. The orchestra is led by Ed Shearmur who performs on Hammond organ.
Jimmy and Robert reappear with Charlie and Michael. Charlie dons a huge double bass as the principal pair settle down, seated at the centre of the stage. “Perhaps this is how we should have done this song originally, all those years ago”, announces Robert. What happens next sends the biggest shiver down my spine since 1980. Jimmy picks out on acoustic guitar the intro of Rain Song.

Hang on – I think I’ll write that line again, just to make sure it really did happen. Jimmy picks out on acoustic guitar the intro of Rain Song. Robert comes in with the first verse and then the orchestra majestically glides in to replace the melletron parts of the studio version. This is quite breath-taking. Robert sings the lyrics beautifully and Jimmy plays like mint, fingerpicking in all the right places. As the song beefs up, Michael comes in with suitably dynamic tom-tom injections (early on in the song he’d employed the brushes, adding yet more Bonham authenticity). It’s left to Jimmy to close proceedings with that lilting sequence which he carries of, perfectly.
From one emotional moment to another. Jimmy restraps on the Gibson and picks out another familiar intro. This is Since I’ve Been Loving You and it’s played with all the intensity of 1971. This is a real crystallisation of the power of the Plant/Page alliance, aided subtlety by the string orchestra. On the chorus they strut forward over the mike, ala The Song Remains movie version. Plant is brilliant here, breaking into a fully-fledged mid-’70s pose with mike
in hand and Jimmy’s solo is a crescendo of notes, the like of which we haven’t heard for many a long year. This is almost Led Zeppelin in all but name and the spirit is alive and kicking. Compellingly so.

Proceedings take yet another slant when Robert offers stage right to the arrival of the Egyptian string and drum section, led by Hossam Ramzy who is handed the mike to personally introduce the boys in the band. He develops an instant rapport with the audience as he runs through the team sheet and causes much amusement when humorously he gets a plug in for his brother s Indian restaurant. “I think we should dedicate this to the original drummer with Four Sticks” says Robert, to rapturous cheers. An ambitious arrangement of Four Sticks follows with Michael tearing along with two stick in hand – a lovely tribute. To hear this long lost nugget in a totally new arrangement is another highlight, with Robert accurately interpreting, in a slightly lower register, every nuance and phrase of the original lyric.
Jimmy again derives the riff on acoustic guitar and it all speeds up to a compelling climax as the three sections (European strings/ band/Egyptian strings) compete for authority.

Robert asks Jimmy to introduce the next number and in usual fashion he humbly greets the audience before handing over to the Egyptian section to move into a lengthy intro. This is shades of Bombay orchestra ’72 -and those familiar with the Bombay CG CD will know how the 94 attempt at Friends sounds, with Jimmy awaiting the call to strum out the familiar riff. This is a little unsettled in tempo early on but unravels successfully enough by the second verse. If Friends appeared just a trifle laboured, the next number wipes out any minor misgivings completely.

Robert duly gets into a lengthy and revealing speech regarding this new alliance and their desire to look back and revisit some past glories. And they don’t come any more glorious than Kashmir.

unledded six

This is no mere Atlantic-like stroll through. The Pride Of Led Zeppelin is radically reworked for the ’90s, opening with Robert singing the first verse in a slow tempo, accompanied by Jimmy on the Trans Performance Gibson, creating a phased gizmo effect on the pedals. This merges into the Hossum percussion of the East -and then on into the familiar and invigoratingly performed riff and they’re off on that road to tan tan again. What makes this exercise so fulfilling is the interplay between band and orchestra – on numerous occasions Jimmy and Robert halt the band performance and glance over to the Egyptian players who take it all into a different time zone. The finger cymbal player merrily jigs around to the riff, much to Jimmy’s amusement. As we get to the fade and the “Let me take you there” refrains, the whole thing speeds up into a truly memorable climax which sees Jimmy playing a rumbling, Achilles-like, riff off against Michael Lee s stop-start drumming. In turn they pass the riff over to the Moroccan brass and string players, formulating a call and response sequence that threatens to take the roof oft. It the TV cameras have got the right angles, this will look sensational on screen.
With that number successfully captured, they leave the stage together, smiling and waving as they go. That appears to be the end -particularly when the background blues music strikes up again. Bill Curbishley himself signifies otherwise as he rushes up to the mixing desk. “Fade that, they’re coming back on again” he demands. Minutes later they appear from behind the black curtain at the side of the stage and make their way on stage again.

Jimmy straps on the Ovation double neck. Robert makes another little speech. “This was written on the side of a Welsh mountain in a cottage, about half an hour before the young lady furiously taking pictures in front of me was conceived” (a reference to Scarlet in the front row). “Was I there? Possibly!” laughs the man, with Jimmy grinning behind. “See, we’re happy again!” – a memorable statement which the entire audience would certainly endorse.
A lovely lilting laid back arrangement of That’s The Way follows with Michael Lee adding a new drum accompaniment and Porl taking up the banjo. Robert picks up the tambourine and strikes up that classic pose – a pose I’d long since give up ever seeing again. Jimmy meanwhile rocks back and forth as he strums out the chords to a song that was last performed live by the pair nigh on twenty years ago.

Smiles, handshakes, cheers, waves goodbye and it’s all over. “Thanks for coming along – hope to see you tomorrow” says the man from MTV. The crowd begin to filter out, still disbelieving at some of the events that have appeared before their very eyes. “That really was something” an excited Aussie, Peter, tells me near the stage. Scarlet’s there too, beaming with the pride ot her father’s performance.

Predictably there’s a buzz in the air as we disperse – a buzz so strong you can almost touch it. It recalls to mind the afterglow present as we all deserted the Knebworth site after the first night, fifteen years back. It’s a buzz that signifies that tonight has been another very special night – a night that truly encapsulated the affinity Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and its audience still has for the music of Led Zeppelin.

And, incredibly, there’s more to come tomorrow …

Dave Lewis – August, 1994. 

To be continued…

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DL COUNTDOWN TO 60:

With my 60th birthday rapidly approaching , the countdown is on. Every day up to September 5 I’ll be posting a countdown (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) of my favourite 60 singles , favourite 60 albums and gigs …the 60 at 60 DL faves…

The Gigs: At 12…

Prince-11

PRINCES TRUST CONCERT – DOMINION THEATRE JULY 21, 1982.

An all star line up that included Pete Townshend, Midge Ure, Phil Collins, Japan’s Mick Karn, Madness, Kate Bush and Robert Plant…
This was the night Robert performed on a London stage for the first time since the demise of Zep. My good friend Tom and I were there on the evening of July 21st 1982 to witness him romp through a spirited delivery of Worse Than Detroit from the still very fine Pictures At Eleven album with Robbie Blunt on guitar and all star line up that included Midge Ure and Phil Collins.
The night was made very memorable by the attendance of his Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales. As the photo shows, at the aftershow reception the TBL two were duly introduced to Prince Charles himself. Shame I didn’t have any TBL magazines on me as I could have passed one for the Prince to read in between the feeds of the then month old Prince William. All in all it was another very memorable occasion.
Here’s the pic:
”One publishes a splendid Led Zeppelin magazine doesn’t one” – The TBL 2 meet HRH, July 21st 1982.

The Singles: At 12…

GOING UNDERGROUND – THE JAM

Straight in at number one – their best single and they made a few. The intro inspires great memories of the spring of 1980…

The Albums: At 12…

TUSK – FLEETWOOD MAC

So much quality here spread over four sides – Lindsey Buckingham’s finest hour (and a bit). Highlights include Over & Over, Think About Me, Sara, That’s All for Everyone and the title track – like all great double albums, it becomes a total listening experience as one track rolls into another. I’ve been playing it this morning and boy does it sound good on this hot and sunny day…

The Gigs: At 12…

THE WHO –SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 23 1978
The stuff that rock’n’roll dreams are made of.

We got on this venture through a friend of Dec’s sister. We were all ferried out from London in coaches to Shepperton. After food and wine we were led into the soundstage for an afternoon with The Who. We were right at the front. After running down Won’t Get Fooled Again a few times they decided to stay on and make it into a gig.

Who DL

Exciting doesn’t even come close…as for my leap of faith – the camera track was right in front of me so completely spontaneously I climbed up and the next second I was in Pete’s arms – and an accidental slight cuff to Roger later – the job was done.

Afterwards, we all lined up outside behind The Who for an idea for the cover of the Who Are You album – though that shot was shelved. We went back the next day to see the Won’t Get Fooled Again laser sequence filming –this was just with the film crew in attendance – it was amazing watching Keith Moon so close up.

In August, at the Who’s Who exhibition at the ICA, the director Jeff Stein told me he had loved my leap of faith and was keeping it in the film. Lo and behold next summer our gang all went to see The Kids Are Alright film at the Granada Bedford and right at the closing credits…on I leap…I’ve been dining out on that clip ever since!

Hey I had to do something when Zep were off the road….!

The Singles: at 13

YOU BETTER YOU BETTER YOU BET – THE WHO

Something of an underrated Who single ushering in a new era with Kenney Jones on drums. All the great Townshend trademark are here: the alluring synth pattern, the power chords, the swift changes of tempo and autobiographical self mocking lyrics ‘’ I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T-Rex- who’s next?’’. Another midlife crisis – another top ten hit. A great Top of The Pops performance too and one look at this and I am right back in early 1981… oh and happy birthday Keith…
The Albums: At 13…

THE WHO BY NUMBERS – THE WHO
An intense Who album led by some of Pete Townshend’s most self-autobiographical lyrics. On the likes of How Much I Booze, Dreaming From The Waist, , Imagine a Man, Blue, Red and Grey and How Many Friends, he lays his soul bare and behind him Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon cook up an absolute storm.

Pete’s problems were themes as a young teen I could relate to and at the time (late 1975) this album acted as therapy for my ascent from boy to man. Like all great albums, this became much more than a mere record…it was a close companion and still is…

The Albums:  At 14..

WHAT’S GOING ON – MARVIN GAYE
The pure majesty of Marvin – a timeless album

The Gigs: At 14..

SIMPLY LED -ULSTER HALL BELFAST MARCH 5 2001

simply led 4

15 years ago popular tribute band of the time Simply Led came up with a very clever idea – they decided to book the Ulster Hall in Belfast to perform a special anniversary concert 30 years ago to the very day Led Zeppelin had staged that opening night of their UK tour when Stairway To Heaven was first played – and in the very hall that first echoed to the sounds of what would become such an iconic composition.

I was invited to go over to cover the event for TBL – it was a fantastic success. There was a genuine sense of history in being in the vicinity where Led Zeppelin had performed all those years ago. Simply Led played superbly and the people of the city were incredibly friendly and receptive. The comment from one fan afterwards ‘’Thanks for bringing Led Zeppelin’s music back to Belfast’’ said it all.
There’s a poignancy about reflecting on this occasion as sadly, Simply Led’s drummer Paul Kelvie passed away in 2006.

This entry  is dedicated to Paul who 15 years, ago along with Eddie Edwards, Keith Lambert and Phil Eldridge reunited the Led Zeppelin fans of Belfast in fitting style –all in the very place where Stairway To Heaven was first performed live.

The Singles Gigs: At 14

DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO – THE FOUR TOPS

Great version of the Jimmy Webb song from the Motown legends – I could have picked a fair few of their singles – my favourite Motown group.
The Gigs: At 15.

ROY HARPER – ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL – NOVEMBER 5 2011

Another very special occasion – here’s my review for TBL: Pic by Michael Rae

harper and jimmy

Jimmy Page on stage with Roy Harper -Royal Festival Hall London Saturday November 5th 2011. Photo by Michael Rae for TBL.

Roy Harper was joined by Jimmy Page for his 70th birthday concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London last night. They performed a superb version of The Same Old Rock

On a night seeped in emotion, the 70 year old singer songwriter whose career has been intrinsically linked with Led Zeppelin, took to the stage to huge acclaim from the sold out audience.
‘‘I was as actually 70 on June 12th’’ he laughed. ‘’So this is my official birthday’’.

Roy was quick to pay homage to the sadly recently departed Bert Jansch (‘’I loved the guy more than words’’) and arranger David Bedford who had planned to be with him for this special show. ‘’He said he’d be here and on the Sunday he was gone’’. In tribute Roy dubbed the group of orchestral ensemble behind him ‘’The David Bedford Players’. An intensely moving delivery of North Country prompted Roy to state ‘’I seem to be having an emotional night.’’
He was later joined on stage for guest spots by his son Nick and Joanna Newsom. ‘’This could be about any patch of ground in England’’ announced Roy before a peerless When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease.
This brought forth it’s own emotion ties for me as this was the song we chose to play at Janet’s Dad’s funeral last year and I haven’t been able to play it since. I had a big lump in my throat as it’s beautifully meandering lyric filled the hall. Other highlights of the set included Commune and 12 Hours Of Sunset. Throughout the show Roy kept up a good natured banter with frequent affectionate calls from the audience.

There was time for one more special guest. Speculation had been rife that Jimmy Page might well grace this occasion (at very late notice I had taken it upon myself to buy a ticket to be here) and for once the rumours proved correct. The place erupted when he ambled on with acoustic guitar in hand to join Roy for a performance of The Same Old Rock – the song Jimmy originally performed on under the pseudonym S. Flavious Mercurious on Roy’s 1971 Stormcock album.

By my reckoning this was the first time I’d seen Jimmy play an acoustic guitar since the Page & Plant Unledded tour in 1995. His delivery was superb – moving into a flamenco picking sequence with all the fluency of old. Looking down on him performing on a Martin acoustic guitar – (which I’m told is a custom made D28 that along the fret board has his Zoso symbol and astrological sign ), inspired flashbacks of the same view all those years back in Earls Court for this particular writer. Suffice to say for the duration of him performing, the atmosphere was electric.

All too soon it was over but not before the audience had bust into a spontaneous chorus of Happy Birthday to Roy. ‘’It’s been a wonderful night – to me, my planet is my heaven’’.

This 70th birthday event duly brought a little bit of heaven to those lucky enough to be in attendance. Roy Harper’s quiet dignity and humility coupled with the appearance of the Lord of the Strings on acoustic guitar, made this a Saturday night to remember.
Dave Lewis
November 6th, 2011

The albums: At 15…

SIREN – ROXY MUSIC

Loved this from the moment I first heard it in late 1975 – Love Is The Drug, Both Ends Burning, Sentimental Fool, She Sells (shades of Trampled Underfoot on that one) End Of The Line – peak period Roxy at their best
The Singles: At 15..

A WHITER SHADE OF PALE –PROCAL HARUM
A beautiful record which I’ve been admiring for five decades
The Gigs: At 16..
ROBERT PLANT – HAMMERSMITH ODEON – JUNE 4 1990

I should never have really been at the gig but somehow I managed to combine the birth of my daughter with seeing Robert Plant on stage. I’ve told the tale many a time and forgive me for relying it all again but it was a mad day for sure..

26 years ago on Monday June 4th 1990 I awoke with the prospect of a couple of Robert Plant gigs ahead over the next two nights. These were the London dates Robert was playing in support of the Manic Nirvana album. Tickets were sorted, arrangements made – I was planning to hook up with the TBL crew in Hammersmith.

It’s actually worth mentioning at the time I was ensconced in writing the A Celebration book as well as managing the local Our Price record shop. It was as full on then..as it is now…

The good lady Janet was pregnant and our first born was due in July. Well it didn’t quite work out like that. On that morning of June 4th twenty four years ago, Janet informed there were stirrings… and sure enough there were. So off we went to Bedford North Wing hospital where we were informed that our forthcoming bundle of joy was ready to enter the world. With all notions of the gig ahead banished (honest!) I steeled myself for a lengthy labour (well not me as it were!)

Things moved quickly and at 2.30 pm with impeccable timing, our daughter Samantha Elizabeth was born.

A lot of you out there know the rest… Sam is tiny and beautiful….mother and baby are doing well…anxious new father will only be in the way and heads on the train for …yes you guessed it Hammersmith Odeon – arriving to the shock of the TBL crew…just in time for the gig.

As I mentioned this was the only time I’ve ever seen R. Plant upstaged – as good as he was he didn’t match the afternoon proceedings!

Sam3

It wasn’t too long before Sam realised this Led Zep caper was a little bit important to her Dad. Here we are together in 1991 on the publication of the A Celebration book –which was being written as she entered the world on the same day as Robert Plant performed at the Hammersmith Odeon –what a 24 hours that was…!
The Singles : At 16..

IN THE MOOD/PLEDGE PIN (LIVE)
Early on in his post Zep career, Robert Plant was more than keen to step outside his comfort zone. This very 80s sounding synth led piece is one such example. Plant cleverly works around the hypnotic quality of the song with a vocal performance of deft agility.
It also made for a great opening live number on his early solo tours. The B side is an absolute gem – a live performance of Pledge Pin – it brings back vivid memories of the 1983 tour -it was new days for him and new days for me as it was issued just around the time I was first going out with the good lady Janet. This live clip is ample proof of the vibrancy of his performances at the time….all these years on at 68, it’s a vibrancy he still effortlessly projects
Happy Birthday Robert…
The Albums : At 16..

FATE OF NATIONS – ROBERT PLANT

His best album…from rock to eastern scales, through folk acoustic beauty to emotional lyrical content.. .this one has it all…
I’ll certainly be playing this today to mark Robert’s Birthday…
The Gigs: At 17
PRINCE – WEMBLEY ARENA AUGUST 1 1988
A memorable occasion – an audience with Prince on the Lovesexy tour in the round at Wembley Arena – the energy of the man was phenomenal.
The Albums : At 17

GLASTONBURY FAYRE – VARIOUS ARTISTS

glas 2

I bought this triple album on my 16th birthday from Harlequin Records in town for £3.99.

Glastonbury Fayre is a triple album released in 1972, comprising performances by acts who had appeared at the Glastonbury Festival in 1971 and a fair few others. The album came in a fold-out poster sleeve inside a printed PVC outer sleeve, with a 32-page illustrated booklet, a poster sheet and a fold-out Silver Pyramid

It was another immense musical education for the young DL with performances from the Grateful Dead, Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, the brilliant Mighty Baby etc -some simply amazing stuff that opened my ears to all sorts of new sounds. There’s also some one off tracks by Pete Townshend, Marc Bolan and David Bowie.
Foolishly in the mid 70s it this was one of the few albums I ever sold. Subsequently I was on a quest for some time to get it back and have the reissue (thank you Andrew Ricci!) which looks and sounds superb. I play selected tracks off this frequently. It’s a goldmine of awesome music.
The Singles : At 17

WILD WEST HERO – ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA

Magnificent single for Jeff Lynne and co – I have vivid memories of buying this and playing it endlessly during the summer of 1978…
The Gigs: At 18…

tube ticket

ROBERT PLANT – TV RECORDING FOR THE MID SUMMER NIGHTS TUBE – TYNE TEES STUDIOS NEWCASTLE JUNE 22, 1983
The first sighting of the new era for Robert Plant – it was incredibly exciting to be witnessing his first live performance with the new band line up. The filming was ultimately not screened on Robert’s wishes. I was glad to see a bootleg LP turn up of the audio recording around 1984 – a valuable remnant of an amazing day.
The Albums : At 18

GOING FOR THE ONE – YES
At the height of the punk rock movement in the summer of 1977 this album effortlessly made number one here– a case of the dinosaurs remaining intact. This is one of their most cohesive works – the title track, Turn of the Century and Parallels are some of the highlights on this superb set from a band who have been a constant on my playlist since 1971.
The Singles : At 18

SUMMER IN THE CITY – THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL
Great track from another great 1960s American band – and a topical subject as it’s fairly hot here today
The Albums : At 19

DETECTIVE – DETECTIVE
I got this album on the day it came out in 1977 –as I did all albums and singles on the Swan Song label…it turned out to be a gem – Michael Des Barres and co on a real groove on tracks such as Recognition and the Grim Reaper while Nightingale has a Zep like light and shade about it. I have several copies of this album – UK and US promos etc – in fact only last week at Hitchin Market I came away with a mint US sealed copy I picked up. As another Swan Song act put it ‘’Can’t get enough’’ – Detective is a case in point around these parts for sure…

hammersmith robert and jimmy

The Gigs: At 19

ROBERT PLANT – HAMMERSMITH ODEON – DECEMBER 13 1983

Another memorable occasion.
Following a steller Hammersmith Odeon performance on the Principle of Moments tour, Robert Plant made an announcement as he came out for the encore.

“I’ve got an old friend here who’s unused, as he is, to public speaking – Jimmy Page,” They then launched into Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right”. Watching the pair back onstage together in the UK for the first time since Knebworth was a moment of true magic…

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DL Diary Blog Update:

aug 20 studio mix

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn last week – at a rather wet Vinyl Barn some corkers last Friday including Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland original sleeve Polydor pressing , The Rolling Stones Through The Past Darkly Decca hexagonal sleeve, James Taylor Sweet Baby James original UK pressing and a Kinney/Atlantic 1972 UK sampler both Darren and I had not seen – I also snapped up a fair few singles circa 1968 – 1972. That was the weekend playlist sorted! Thanks Darren.

I was at StudioMix on Saturday working on the Evenings With book with designer Mick Lowe – and on the occasion of his birthday, a pic here with some of the past TBL covers featuring Robert Plant through the years…

It’s actually been a bit of  a tricky few days – the juggling of all many plates I am spinning had a somewhat adverse effect early Saturday morning when I awoke with a bad panic attack. I really did not feel well but thankfully managed to get over it quite quickly.

I am not sure what it all was but it was well worrying and it led to a revision of workload here as I was plainly taking too much on. With all the planning for my birthday and everything else going on I needed to calm down a bit.

So while the show goes on it’s been in a more measured manner – with work on the Evenings With book ongoing, TBL 42 text prep and all the other TBL matters to address – but at a more sensible pace. We also had a sad day last Tuesday reflecting on what would have been our much missed Betty’s 90th birthday.

On a brighter note…it’s been great to see the first reviews of the forthcoming Complete BBC Sessions release and very positive they are too. Wonderful too to hear Sunshine Woman as previewed today.

On Monday night, I checked out the local White Horse nearby. They have an open mic night led by the excellent local musician Mat Roberts. Whilst in there I hooked up with a local Zep fan I have not seen for nigh on 30 years – we recalled how I went to see him perform his version of Dazed And Confused at his house when he was around 17. Crazy memories.

It was a very good night and it will be at this event at the White Horse on Monday September 5 that on the night I will celebrate my birthday – in fact one of the guest lady singers who attends the open mic nights is going to perform a version of the song that was number one the day I was born back in 1956….

As the song says ”whatever will be will be!”

A busy week ahead – there’s a pre birthday little event coming up Saturday when my good friend Max and I will undertake a pub crawl around Bedford on our bikes – visiting some of the pubs we hardly get around to. We used to do the bike pub crawl a few years back and now seems the right time to bring it back – careful on that bike Mr L!

Next Wednesday is the good lady Janet’s birthday and we will be out and about celebrating her special day.

By then my countdown will have reached four days to go..

Dave Lewis – August 25, 2016

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YouTube Clip: The Complete BBC Sessions…preview:

Until next time…have a great weekend,

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – August 25, 2016.

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