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ROBERT PLANT FATE OF NATIONS KINGS HEAD FULHAM 25 YEARS GONE/LZ NEWS/ PRELUDE TO EARLS COURT 1975/ EARLS COURT MAY 17 &18 1975 TURNING THE CLOCK BACK 43 YEARS/HEATHROW AIRPORT 41 YEARS GONE/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

17 May 2018 1,360 views 3 Comments

Fate Of Nations – King’s Head – 25 Years Gone – TBL Archive Special Part 2:

25 years ago this month, Robert Plant performed two warm up gigs at the King’s Head in Fulham. Gary Foy and I were lucky to be in attendance at both these memorable shows. It ushered in another great Plant period with the accompanying Fate Of Nations album providing a soundtrack to the summer of 1993.

To mark this 25th anniversary, here’s part two of our TBL Fate Of Nations archive special – more very passionate and enthusiastic text from yours truly that first appeared in TBL issues 8 and 9. This one covers the second warm up gig. summary.

Venue: Kings Head Fulham

Thursday May 20, 1993

Background: A much more high profile gig than the previous Friday, this date is a charity bash with all proceeds going to the Deaf Foundation. The pub venue is officially closed and admittance is by ticket only. For this date Robert redeploys The Band Of Joy pseudonym. Word of the gig begins to sweep the capital like wildfire after Robert hints very strongly to Richard Skinner during that morning’s interview on Virgin 1215 that he is playing ‘somewhere tonight’.

Mere matters such as a Cup Final replay pale into insignificance and a growing crowd converge outside the entrance from 6 p.m. onwards hoping to gain admission – a plea that proved fruitless for the majority of ticketless fans.

Soundcheck: With an MTV film crew in attendance Robert and band run through a variety of numbers from late afternoon and into the early evening including ‘Calling To You’ and a blues jam with Nigel Kennedy, plus ’805′ and ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ with Kevin Scott McMichael – all of which were aired on MTV’s Rockblock show on May 31. Interview segments were also conducted and later interspersed with various videos for the MTV screening – including a rare airing of the ‘Ship Of Fools’ video.

In the crowd/Backstage: Nigel Kennedy (who also joins them onstage for the encores), Dave Bates, Bill Curbishley, Chris Blackwell, Doug Boyle, Maureen Plant, Debbie Bonham, plus several Zephead vets (say hello Peter Jones, Nigel Glazier, Gary, Krys, Kam, Pasc and Diane, Rob and Liz). Plus numerous press and media types and representatives from Phonogram and BMG Publishing. Around 180 pack the venue.

Set List: Hurting Kind/Trampled Underfoot/Nirvana/Ramble On/If I Were A Carpenter/Going To California/I Believe/29 Palms/Tie Dye On The Highway/What Is And What Should Never Be/Tall Cool One/Whole Lotta Love. Encores: Promised Land/Calling To You/Shook Me.

Performance Notes: Much extended set than the previous week and with a high profile media audience, Robert seems very aware of the need to impress. Wearing the same garb as last week and with his hair tied back slightly, he’s on song from the off. Mini acoustic set sees the return of ‘Going To California’. ‘I Believe’ is superbly premiered from the new album. Robert loses the lyrics slightly during Tie Dye’ and there are no prompt sheets to aid him this week. The real fun comes with the encores as Nigel Kennedy joins them for a manic ‘Calling To You’. A second encore (“This must be the Led Zeppelin Convention” jokes Robert beforehand!) features a loose jam version of ‘You Shook Me’. Following a call and response rapport with the fiddling Nigel, Plant takes over Frankie’s guitar and plays a very competent solo (a feature that will become a familiar part of the tour).

A crazy end to a crazy evening and my sweat stained attire indicates that this must have been the best Zep related live experience I’ve encountered since . . . well since last Thursday at the same venue (DL).

After Show: Robert and the band join Mr. Kennedy and co. for an upstairs party. Early on a shirtless Plant can be seen to be serving drinks behind the bar. He also takes time out to pose with manager Bill Curbishley and BMG Publishing moguls Andrew Jenkins and Nicholas Firth for an industry photo call to celebrate his signing a new worldwide deal with BMG Music Publishing International.

Press Reaction: “For those that were inside Plant and band could have played anything … what we got was pure rock’n’roll nirvana. Close your eyes and it could have been Boston, Anaheim or Madison Square Garden in the early 70s; open them and you appreciate that Plant has emerged from all the potential reformation/supergroup rumours with an integrity that many of his contemporaries have lost. We all knew he was the first, now he’s proved he’s still the best”. (Chris Collingwood/Metal CD)

“If this showing is anything to go by, the upcoming ‘Fate Of Nations’ tour should be Robert’s finest to date. Gig of the year and the best Plant performance since Led Zep at Earls Court!” (Xavier Russell/Kerrang)

Dave Lewis  

More Fate Of Nations 25th anniversary archive to follow

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Led Zeppelin News Update:

In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re- producing highlights from their weekly email update news summary. This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

May 17 – An updated version of Stephen Davis’ Led Zeppelin biography “Hammer of the Gods” will be released.
May 18 – “Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story,” the documentary which features Jimmy Page, will go on sale.
May 26 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bearded Theory Spring Gathering Festival in the UK.
May 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bath Festivals in Bath, UK.
June – The gold edition of “Five Glorious Nights” will be released.
June 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 9 – John Paul Jones will be interviewed at the Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas in Ireland about his upcoming opera.
June 10 – Robert Plant will perform in Richmond, Virginia.
June 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 15 – Robert Plant will perform in Toronto, Ontario.
June 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform in Vail, Colorado.
June 21 – Robert Plant will perform in Berkeley, California.
June 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Stateline, Nevada.
June 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Pasadena, California.
June 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Troutdale, Oregon.
June 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Redmond, Washington.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in Canada.
July 17 – Robert Plant will perform at the Istanbul Jazz Festival in Turkey.
July 19 – Robert Plant will perform at the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Georgia.
July 22 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vielles Charrues Festival in Carhaix, France.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Paris, France.
July 25 – “Led Zeppelin Live,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be released and Robert Plant will perform at the Festival de Carcassonne in France.
July 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Milano Summer Festival 2018 in Milan, Italy.
July 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach, Germany.
July 31 – Robert Plant will perform in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
August 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Dresden, Germany.
August 11 – John Paul Jones will perform as part of Snoweye at the Varangerfestivalen in Norway.
September – Official celebrations of Led Zeppelin’s fiftieth anniversary are expected to start this month.
September 14 or 16 – Robert Plant will perform at the KAABOO festival in California.
September 15 – Robert Plant will perform at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in Colorado
September 23 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bourbon & Beyond festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
October – The official Led Zeppelin photo book will be released.
October 16 – “Bring it on Home,” a new biography of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, will be released.
October 26 – Robert Plant will perform in London, UK.
October 28 – Robert Plant will perform in Dublin, Ireland.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

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It’s that time of year again…

 

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TBL Celebrates the 43rd Anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

With the 43rd anniversary of the first two Led Zeppelin appearances at Earls Court – to get you right in the zone here is a feature that first ran in TBL issue 15. It focuses on some of the key performances on the US tour of early 1975 that provided something of an indicator to the five glorious nights that would follow in May 1975…

PRELUDE TO EARLS COURT:

Led Zeppelin’s tenth American tour kicked off in Minnesota on January 18 1975 and initially their performances were hampered due to Plant’s bout of flu and Page’s injury to his finger. The situation began to improve when they reached New York some ten gigs into the tour. For the Feb 3 Madison Square Garden date Page felt sufficiently recovered to re instate Dazed And Confused to the set. Just over a week later, Plant’s relief at finally shrugging off his flu bug was evident in a very loose and informal Valentine’s Day performance at the Nassau Coliseum. As their newly released double set Physical Graffiti hit the stores they moved up another gear. March saw they really hit their stride with outstanding performances at Long Beach,Vancouver and Seattle -eventually culminating in a memorable three day stint at the LA Forum.

Throughout those February /March dates they began to further develop the set clearly displaying points of reference in their playing that would be further explored when they returned to London to play the Earls Court shows.

So having evaluated the ’75 tour tapes, I’ve highlighted the key moments from seven performances that in hindsight, clearly provided a prelude to those five glorious nights that would follow in May 1975…

Date: FEBRUARY 14, 1975:

Venue: NASSAU COLISEUM UNIONDALE NEW YORK

Performances: KASHMIR/TANGERINE (snippet)

Bootleg Reference: NASSAU ’75 (TDOLZ)

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”This is one that regulars that come here know quite well…but you’ve still yet to hear the recorded version…this is a track about another of life’s journeys that never end..this time in Kashmir”

Kashmir was a new number that they were obviously itching to play live and with Plant’s voice suitably recovered they turned in a majestic Valentines’ Day performance in Nassau. Page strumming down relentlessly on the Gibson behind Bonham’s castinet like drumming.

Plant showing renewed confidence to throw in the echoed vocal naunces that became such an Earls Court trademark. Listening to this delivery re -emphasis my opinion that the best live versions of Kashmir  were all played in the year it was released on record.

Tangerine was of course a surprise inclusion at the Earls Court shows performed as a four part harmony. However perhaps they were already toying with the idea of bringing it back during the American tour. For on this night prior to Stairway To Heaven Plant let out a few lines from the long deleted Zep III stage fave. ”Measuring a summers day”…adding ”I’ve forgotten the words”. It was a brief teaser for a song that would again light up those memorable May days.

Date: FEBRUARY 28 ,1975

Venue: LOUISANA STATE UNIVERSITY BATON ROUGE

Performance: NO QUARTER

Bootleg Reference: FREEZE (TARANTURA) LED ASTRAY (SILVER RARITIES)

The May 18 and 24 Earls Court versions of the JPJ opus are amongst the very best they performed. The highlight being JP’s lengthy piano concerto that led to the loose jamming amalgamation with Page and Bonham. During the ’75 US that arrangement underwent much construction as it expanded in length. On this night in Baton Rouge Jonesy began applying for the first time that pleasing neo classical solo before Jimmy waded in with a long rambling solo. The improvisation of No Quarter would further develop later in the tour when Page and Bonham introduced an uptempo jazz tempo to the piece. This Feb 28 delivery was an early example of how the track would evolve to such huge effect a little under two months hence in London.

Date: MARCH 12,1975

Venue: CIVIC ARENA LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA

Perfomance: THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME (false start)/THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME

Bootleg Reference: TRAMPLED UNDER JIMMY’S FOOT (SILVER RARITIES)

Just to illustrate that not all went according to plan every night…. on this cooking performance in Long Beach their sheer enthusiasm got the better of them as they opened The Song Remains The Same….. only to bring it to a close some one minute in.

”Just a minute that’s it ….see you again Long Beach! Yes it happened for the first time in six and a half years…does anybody remember laugher?…. the first time we came here ..er we never seem to  get things together in Los Angeles.

OK, as I was saying. Nevertheless The Song Remains …..nevertheless,ad infinitum to the power of three re occuring..The Same!’’

They did not get it wrong a second time.

What happened next was simply the business. A speed ride through the opening track of Houses and  as Plant might put it a reoccurring anthem. It sounded great here ,it sounded great in Earls Court and it still sounded great 20 years later when Page and Plant deployed it so effectively on their 95/96 world tour. This is a Zeppelin anthem that gets less acclaim than the more overplayed Whole Lotta Love, Stairway and Kashmir -but on stage it always burnt and smouldered its way into the set. Pull it out and try it for yourselves on any night…the effect as those Houses ads read is still shattering.

Date: MARCH 19, 1975

Venue: PACIFIC ARENA VANCOUVER

Performance: WOODSTOCK (insert)

Bootleg Reference: PLEEASE (SILVER RARITIES)

”By the end of the tour I felt I could sing anything”.

Proof of that statement came nightly within Dazed And Confused. The San Francisco excerpt had long been a feature of the early part of the piece, but on this tour they began experimenting even further. Plant introducing another hippie anthem to proceedings -the Joni Mitchell pean to Max Yasgur’s farm and a hit for Crosby Stills, Nash & Young. The Zep arrangement was still built loosely on the melody employed for San Francisco-Plant bending the words to fit the structure. Against Page’s eerie minor chord strumming it became one of the most atmospheric parts of their performance. Plant’s repeated ”Back to the garden” refrain merging into the violin bow episode amongst the dry ice. The Vancouver performance was a blueprint for the equally dramatic versions performed at Earls Court run. During this part of the tour Plant also took to singing The Eagles Take It Easy and during the final LA stint he crooned a 50’s like To Be Loving  before moving into Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff. As he put it -he could sing anything…

Date: MARCH 21, 1975

Venue: SEATTLE CENTER COLISEUM

Performances:ROCK AND ROLL/SICK AGAIN/OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY

Bootleg Reference:SEATTLE SUPERSONIC (GEMA) 207.19 & 214 (COBLA STANDARD)

This Seattle show was simply one of the best gigs of their latter era.

Proximity editor Hugh Jones was there and relayed the events in a superb feature titled ”At The top of their game” in issue Vol 6 no17.

If proof was needed then this opening segment brings it all alive – as it epitomises what a potent three pronged entrance these songs really were. Rock And Roll segueing into the new sheer brutality of Sick Again with Plant teasing ”Do I look the same”, and then the opening speech followed by the ”Beginning of a dream and it starts here (R.Plant -Earls Court May*17) or on this occasion .”What we intend to do is to relive our pent uppedness on stage, and then to relieve it later on after the gig elsewhere. Now the thing is what we intend to do is to give you a cross section of what we’ve been trying to produce and write over the last six and a half years.

As you know the material varies greatly and so you will appreciate that we take it from one extreme to the other….and what better way to start than to gaze out onto the horizon and see what tomorrow may bring”

To quote Hugh Jones ”in those last few sentences Robert Plant may well have encapsulated Led Zeppelin as well as anyone ever has. The physical, the musical, the pretension and the arrogance-all backed up with music as varied and as good as his word for the next four hours”.

So the the regal intro of  Over The Hills And Far Away -the Page solo as always flickering and twisting into previously un investigated territory. Then a swirling finale with Plant crying out ”Samantha Samantha” perhaps a reference to the fun they were about to enjoy offstage as he put it And on this night in Seattle it all just burst forth with that knowing arrogance .To use that old Zep’75 maxim it all underlined the fact that it wasn’t just a case of them being the number one band on the planet…the real point in question was just how far whoever was at number two lagged behind.

Date: MARCH 25 1975

Venue: THE FORUM INGLEWOOD LOS ANGELES

Performance: TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT

Bootleg Reference: THE SEX MACHINE (LEMON SONG)

The May 24 ’75 delivery of Trampled was an incredible Page tour de force and again one of the most potent performances of their latter era. All through the US tour though, they were stretching the limits of the improvisational possibilities of this piece rendering the album version almost redundant. On this penultimate night of the tour Page, Jones and Bonham locked horns to produce a frightening barrage of noise over which Plant ad-libbed in required style. ”Give it to me, give it to me”

Nobody described the live delivery of this track better than noted US scribe Lisa Robinson when she astutely observed that ”Trampled with its Come Together like rhythm sounds as if The Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot – and Led Zeppelin won”

Date: MARCH 27 1975

Venue: THE FORUM INGLEWOOD LOS ANGELES

Peformances: IN MY TIME OF DYING/SINCE IV’E BEEN LOVING YOU/STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN/WHOLE LOTTA LOVE/BLACK DOG

Bootleg Reference: TOUR DE FORCE (RABBITT)

The final riot night of the US tour was a mass celebratory affair with the band fully aware that with this tour they had turned adversity into triumph. From the moment Linda Lovelace cutely introduced them onstage to Plant’s parting ”We’re coming back baby” comment, this was a true prelude to what the UK was about to be served.

They even gave a hint of Earls Court fashion by introducing his Miss Selfridge cut off shirt and Page wearing the Dragon suit trousers that would become such a visual imprint of May ’75.

Their confidence was subsequently overflowing as they attacked the new In My Time Of Dying, Plant throwing in a few lines of You Shook Me.

”Anybody remember?” he asks at the end as he would a month later in SW5.

The version of Since I’ve Been Loving You was a real bonus and something sadly that Earls Court did not receive.

”A change in the programme- we were gonna do…..but this is a blues and I think this is where we first came in”. An impromptu set revision that delighted the LA audience.

A rare latter day stand alone delivery (in 1972/73 it had been segued with Misty Mountain)) recalling the majesty of Blueberry Hill at this very venue five years back. Rarely played in ’75 they ached their way through the old Zep III standard -Page’s solo as precise and inventive as that night back in September ’70.

On the home straight it was nothing less than a victory stomp. Stairway played as was the case as Earls Court as though Plant believed every word, and the final incendiary Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog medley with the added visual spectacle of that neon lit sign. Images and sounds that London would soon delight in.

Acknowledging their enthusiasm,  Plant told the final LA audience ”It’s really nice to know that we’re giving you what you are giving us because after tonight I think we’ve got three gigs in England. I don’t believe well work again for quite a long time, so this has got to be good”.

That last night in  LA  was indeed good…very good ….and Earls Court would be even better.

Dave Lewis – first published in TBL issue 15

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And then…

may 17

TBL Celebrates the 43rd anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

Turning the clock back 43 years:  Saturday May 17th 1975:

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog.

May 17th a dull rainy Saturday. Left Bedford around 4pm on the train and met then girlfriend Fiona in London for the long awaited return. I’d been counting the days down since March and now here we were hours from seeing and believing. We were inside the arena from around 7pm and the next hour was a slow one – I’d brought a programme and t.shirt.The programme with the illuminating text from Tony Palmer really whetted the appetite and had some amazing photos.

Finally when the stage burst into action following Bob Harris’s intro just after 8pm, well it was the moment my life switched into colour after the previous 18 years had been viewed in grainy black and white.

We had a good view high up to the right looking down towards Jimmy’s side. They were a little nervous and it was evident Jimmy was having lead trouble in Rock And Roll, but once they settled in it was all and more I’d hoped for. The video screen high above the stage was something I’d never seen at a gig before and I found myself gazing in awe at the memorable images flashing on screen- and wishing it was being broadcast on TV.  I’d played Physical Graffiti non stop since it had come out so seeing In My Time, Kashmir and Trampled played live was just awe inspiring. Tangerine was an unexpected treat as was the whole acoustic interlude. Having no idea what the set list would be  only added to the pure wonderment of seeing Led Zeppelin live before my very eyes.

Initial opening night impressions:

John Bonham’s incredible drum sound, Robert’s warm rapport with the crowd and the way he totally dominated the stage.. After this somewhat shaky start they quickly regained confidence and the new numbers from Physical Graffiti, In My Time Of Dying and Kashmir set the standard. The latter’s Eastern-sounding riff rose into a thick, booming sound that reverberated throughout the entire arena. As the tapes of the shows so vividly reveal, that booming sound was very much an Earls Court characteristic, a sound so solid that when Page laid down a chord you could practically lean on it.

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The marathon Dazed and the laser lights shooting through Jimmy’s violin bow. By the evening’s end the early nerves had all but evaporated, to be replaced by a relaxed atmosphere which found JPJ playfully offering a few bars of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic as Robert introduced ‘Stairway To Heaven. Plant was now regularly adding the line “That’s all we got” to the final verse prior to Page’s solo. Whole Lotta Love  featured a few riffs from The Crunge prior to Jimmy’s theremin battle. An unsurprisingly nervous start but with plenty to build on.

We got back to Bedford at 2am and I was already counting down the hours to when we would be back in their company again.  There were just 18 hours to tick off.

The Led Zeppelin Earls Court experience was underway…and boy life was good…

Dave Lewis – May 17, 2018

“Apart from The Who and The Stones I can’t think of many bands who could have put on anything like it. During moments like Trampled Underfoot it seemed the whole stage was just going to fall forward and crush everybody in the hall.” Charles Shaar Murray, New Musical Express.

may 18

TBL Celebrates the 43rd anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

Turning the clock back 43 years..

Sunday May 18, 1975

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

In the morning I’d got the Sunday Observer with the colour suppelment magazine with that Tony Palmer feature in.

”Led Zeppelin bigger than The Beatles?” proclaimed the front cover. What a compliment…and a rightful accolade.

On the train at 5pm in the afternoon with fellow fan Nic and his girlfriend.

Hung outside Earls Court amongst the the programme sellers and poster stalls before the show -bought a bootleg badge which was as big as a dinner plate. Wore it with pride for years!

The second night saw them settled into the run. Over The Hills And Far Away developed into an early set template on each successive night. Loaded with rock steady authority, with Page at his most spontaneous, supplemented by  Bonham and Jones holding down the bottom line, and hinting at the rhythmic tempos they would develop for Candy Store Rock on the Presence album. Page’s double-neck guitar poses during The Song Remains The Same and would give the attendant photographers plenty of famous images while The Rain Song saw the guitarist draped in blue light, casting another memorable portrait, a solitary figure in the spotlight ringing out some sweet familiar notes. Add to that an intensive and incessant In My Time Of Dying (Plant’s ”I must have done somebody good” line resounded in my ears all the way home).

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The outstanding performance of May 18, though, was No Quarter as immortalised on the subsequent Red Devil vinyl bootleg. Never before had JPJ immersed himself in this showpiece with such subtlety and grace, the defining moment being the point where he came out of the classical sequence, at around 3mins 45, to play a cluster of descending notes that rippled from the grand piano and into the Earls Court air.

The acoustic section found Plant at his loquacious best, unfolding tales of the origins of Going To California (“So we went to Wales and when we got there we wrote songs about California”) and That’s The Way (“So we were sitting on a grassy bank looking across the unspoiled countryside”). Dazed And Confused was also developing its own unique Earls Court quality. Page’s delicate, melodic guitar passages leading into Woodstock remain an evocative reminder of the times that still brings on the chill every time I hear the tape 41 years on.

During Whole Lotta Love they kicked into the rhythm of The Crunge as they had done briefly the previous night but now further developed Plant’s echoed “I’m just trying to find the bridge” lines. A crunching Black Dog brought show number two to a close after some 195 minutes on stage.

We just managed to get the last train back and in for 2.30pm. Two down and incredibly…three still to go!

Dave Lewis – May 18, 2018

“In six and a half years Led Zeppelin have grown to be the biggest band in the land and judging by the excellence of their performance at Earls Court, one of, if not THE most exiting live act in the world. I guess I came on the right night. It’s difficult to describe the magic or atmosphere of that Sunday. It was one of those gigs that will remain scarred on my brain forever.” Pete Makowski, Sounds.

More Earls Court Archive next week…

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And then this happened…

TBL Archive : Heathrow Airport – 41 years Gone:

41 years ago today, I awoke with the day’s mission being to hook up with the members of Led Zeppelin – and incredibly that is exactly what happened.

As this story that appeared in TBL issue 18 explains, any plans to actually go out and see them perform live in America had been thwarted by a serious lack of funds. My then wages of £22 per week earned working on the record and tapes department at WH Smith in Bedford was never going to get me to Madison Square Garden.

As a mad keen fan of just 20 years old, I knew there had to be another way to see them. With invaluable help from Unity McClean at the Swan Song office, I hatched a plan to go to Heathrow Airport to wave them off as they began the second leg of the tour.

I got the idea from all those newsreel films of The Beatles being waved off from airports by loads of screaming girls. I did not envisage too many screaming girls being there but I did think it was a relatively feasible way of seeing them.

Unity very kindly supplied me with the timings and so it was on Tuesday May 17, I set off from Bedford to achieve my quest. I stopped off at the Swan Song office to catch up with Unity. I even got involved in running a few errands – not uncommon whenever I visited. I was dispatched to the local Kings Road newsagent to buy copies of the first day’s edition of the Evening Standard. This was to check that they had carried an apology for a mistaken identity story involving a false Robert Plant story they had run with the previous day.

Unity was well pleased to find it in there and immediately biked over a copy to Peter Grant. Back in the office Unity gave me various photos to get signed. I then took the tube to Hatton Cross and boarded a bus from there to get to the terminal. Back then there was no direct tube line into Heathrow.

I arrived at Heathrow just after 4pm. A Welsh fan Russ Rees and a couple of friends were there. Outside the main doors John Bonham was holding court by one of the limos chatting to Richard Cole. John Paul Jones arrived wearing a union jack cardigan – it was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year and patriotism was well high. Unity later told me Jonesy had laughed when he had seen the pics I took as the jacket had fallen to pieces soon after.

 

Robert kept up the royal theme wearing a badge of the Queen. Robert arrived soon after looking every inch the rock god. The first photo shows me following him across the road -Robert carrying his own luggage –  he only had to ask and I’ve gladly helped him out !

The mood was very upbeat and friendly. I talked to Robert about how the tour was going and he relayed how much they were enjoying it. A roadie came in on the conversation and Robert mentioned how much he liked Maria Muldaur’s Midnight At The Oasis song.

Robert and JPJ were more than happy to sign my photos and pose for a pic. I’m carrying the photos I took along and look at those badges – dinner plate size! I’m wearing the jacket I regularly wore for work.  I look as proud as a peacock and that’s exactly how I felt. It was just incredible to be in their company – my idols right next to me!

Robert kept on joking about Jimmy’s whereabouts as he was running late. ”Where’s Patti Page ”? he kept repeating. Jimmy arrived in a Range Rover driven by his driver Rick Hobbs. He looked a little unsteady in a white suit but soon began joking and chatting with the others. I chatted to him for a couple of minutes.

I finally left them as their flight was called around 6pm. it was an absolutely thrilling experience and I made my way back to Bedford in something of a daze. I was due to play in a Wallbangers football match that night but arrived too late -not that it mattered too much as we won 11-0!

The next day I relayed these tales to my Mum and Dad and then girlfriend Fiona. In the morning I was back behind the counter selling records at WH Smith while Led Zeppelin took to the stage in Birmingham Alabama. There’s some amazing cine film of that gig and when I watch it I always marvel at the fact that I was one of the last people to talk to them in England before they left for yet another trail blazing tour of America.

Exactly two years to the day of the first Earls Court concert, I had experienced yet another incredible occasion in their company. Like all these occasions, it enhanced my enthusiasm to follow this group and it’s music with increasing passion love and devotion.

41 years on from that remarkable experience, that passion love and devotion remains ever strong….and that afternoon in Heathrow Airport is a memory that shines ever brightly…

DL – May 17, 2018

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Farewell John Motson:

Three days after that memorable trip to Heathrow back in 1977, I watched the FA Cup Final on TV which saw Manchester United beat Liverpool 2- 1.  That was the first of 29 FA Cup Finals that the BBC commentator John Motson would commentate on in his own brilliant way. Last weekend he retired from the job…

So it’s farewell to the brilliant football commentator John Motson (and his sheepskin coat) who commentated on his Match Of The Day today at Crystal Place last Sunday. The soundtrack to mine and countless others football viewing over so many years…who can forget his description of Michael Owen’s hat trick against Germany in Munich in 2001 – ‘’This is getting better and better and better’’ as England beat Germany 5-1. The voice of so many wonderful football memories – thanks Motty…

 

DL Diary Blog Update:

Yesterday I zipped out to St. Albans to hook up with my very good friend Phil Tattershall – who many reading this will know.

I first met Phil in the late 80s /early 90s at the Camden Record Fair. He was a man of top Led Zep credentials having been to Ally Pally in 1972, three of the five Earls Court nights and Knebworth in 1979. He took some great photos of the Earls Court shows and Knebworth which were used in various TBL mags and books.

This was during the era of the bootleg CD explosion and we would avidly soak up these silver rarities. Phil’s knowledge and enthusiasm for obtaining Zep concerts on CD was absolutely inspiring. He produced his own guide Led Boots – this was an extensive listing of his bootleg CD acquisitions with track info and ratings. Back then the likes of Andy Adams, Dave Linwood, Julian Walker. Eddie Edwards, Paul Sheppard, Dave Fox amongst others and myself would scour it intensely at every Camden and Victoria TBL gathering. Fantastic days.

Phil went to live in Cockermouth in 2005 to take on a dream job of being a tour guide for a local brewery. Now retired, he was back visiting his parents this week so we took the opportunity to meet up.

As can be seen by our pic, the usual subjects were discussed -it was a real inspiration to get out for a bit amongst what has been a tricky week on the book front. During my meet with Phil there were various calls coming in for issues to be dealt with – so it was back to Bedford on the train to pick it all back up.

The Evening With book is at a difficult stage – it’s been a frustrating few days for myself, co author Mike Tremaglio and designer Mick Lowe as we try to assess every aspect of the text and design – not all has gone smoothly and I’ve felt a bit stressed with it all. Hopefully we will get through this stage and move to a conclusion as we really do need to look to the finishing line soon.

It was good to see Spurs confirm third place and a Champions League spot after their remarkable final game against Leicester -a  5-4 win. Next season they will be playing a the newly built Tottenham Stadium. Here’s hoping they can secure a trophy in that first season in their new surroundings.

The FA Cup Final is once again upon us – some of you will know of my party pieces is to name at random the FA Cup winners from 1950 to 1998 – after that year, it all get’s a bit hazy what with switches to the Cardiff Millennium Stadium , the return to the new Wembley not to mention the kick off switching to 5.15pm from the traditional 3pm. It used to be one of the few live matches shown on TV and a real event – that has of course all changed.

For me it’s still an important date in the calendar and I aim to be tuning in for the Chelsea v Manchester United encounter – as I’ve been doing for nigh on every FA Cup Final since 1966. Oh and before all that, earlier in the day there’s a little matter of a Royal Wedding – best wishes to the happy couple…

Dave Lewis – May 17, 2018

Until next time, have a great weekend

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio and James Cook

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3 Comments »

  • Ian D said:

    At the risk of completely bemusing our US friends, thanks for the Motty tribute Dave – my fav quote is of course “And Smith must score”

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Thirty Years Gone…. Led Zeppelin reunite with Jason for Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in New York. Despite the naysayers, it was a great performance.

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    Those serene Heathrow pics are amazing to contemplate, given the swath of destruction in 1977 America they were about to resume. Ah, yet another business trip. Although regrettably this was to be their last in North America.

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