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ROBERT PLANT PODCAST/TBL KNEBWORTH NO SLEEPING BAG REQUIRED EVENT/LZ NEWS/TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL LED ZEP DVD AND ROBERT PLANT STORYTELLERS/THE DAY I WAS THERE BOOK/CODA REDDITCH GIG/ ROCKETMAN FILM/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

5 June 2019 1,350 views No Comment

Robert Plant – Digging Deep Podcast Episode One now available:

The first episode of the new Robert Plant podcast Digging Deep is now available. Episode one sets the tone for what promises to be a hugely enlightening and entertaining podcast. In a relaxed conversation with BBC 6 Music presenter Matt Everitt, Robert discusses the song Calling To You from the 1993 Fate of Nations album. There’s due acknowledgment to the input of Francis Dunnery, Nigel Kennedy and the late great Michael Lee. He also touches on the song Too Loud from Shaken’n’Stirred and it’s less than enthusiastic radio phone in reaction. Honest, funny and self deprecating, these podcasts as the title implies, will dig deep into the backwaters of the singers colourful output. It had me reaching in my racks for both the recent superb Fate Of Nations Record Store Day reissue and the more challenging but often illuminating Shaken’n’Stirred album.

Matt: ”I think we are going to talk about some pretty good songs”

Robert: ”I’d like to think that some of them were alright. You are going back a long way. It’s 39 years ago when I was standing there going ‘What shall we do now?’ It was a lot to leave behind”

Matt: ”Well lets find out”

Robert: ”Okay”

I am already eagerly looking forward to Episode Two

Episode One is available to listen to here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=O0syTbXTU6s&fbclid=IwAR2TkPkVEzrbVHwn1aYykW9-91GGednoLkJSbsiqHU7rafti0copmLIGS_A

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With just a couple of months to go – don’t miss the opportunity to attend this TBL Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 40th anniversary gathering…here is all the info:

JOIN US FOR A DAY OF LED ZEPPELIN AT KNEBWORTH  40TH ANIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS…

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR THE LED ZEPPELIN AT KNEBWORTH 40 YEARS GONE CELEBRATION DAY EVENT:

Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 40 Years Gone:

No Sleeping Bag Required…

40th Anniversary TBL Celebration Day Event:

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Following on from last September’s hugely enjoyable Led Zeppelin 50th Anniversary ‘It’s been a Long Time’ TBL gathering, later this year we are going back to the excellent Atlas pub in Fulham,London to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin performing those two memorable shows at Knebworth – 40 years to the day of the first date, and this time around there’s no sleeping bag required….

Here’s the details:

Dave Lewis and Julian Walker Present:

Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 40 Years Gone – No Sleeping Bag Required…

40 Anniversary TBL Celebration Day Event

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Atlas Pub

16 Seagrave Road, Fulham, London, SW6 1RX

From 12.00 Midday to 8.30PM

Nearest tube: West Brompton (District Line, London Overground, and Southern train services)

This is a great opportunity to get together and celebrate those landmark last UK performances – of which many reading this will have attended.

A Day of Led Zep Celebration – Guest Speaker Forums, Video Playbacks, Led Zep Knebworth Quiz and more

Guest Speakers already confirmed:

Chris Charlesworth

Phil Tattershall presenting ‘Confessions of a Led Zeppelin Taper at Knebworth 1979

Mick Bulow on this experiences out in the field

More details of the day’s line up to follow.

TICKET DETAILS:

Advance tickets for this event are now on sale – price £12.00

Please note, there is a ceiling limited on how many we can accommodate – so order your ticket as soon as possible to ensure entry.

Order tickets via Pay Pal at the link here:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tbl-knebworth-40th-anniversary-event-no-sleeping-bag-required-sunday-august-4-2019-order-tickets-here/

Please note, there is a ceiling limited on how many we can accommodate so order your ticket as soon as possible to ensure entry.

We look forward to seeing all that can make it along –

Dave Lewis & Julian Walker  – June 5, 2019.

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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.

Upcoming events:

May 29 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Somerset, UK.
June 3 – The first episode of Robert Plant’s podcast will be released.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Stockholm, Sweden.
Mid-June – The partial soundboard bootleg of a Led Zeppelin show in Los Angeles in March 1975 will be released by Empress Valley.
June 15 – Robert Plant will perform at Bergenfest in Norway.
June 17 – Robert Plant will perform at The Big Challenge festival in Norway.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform in Harstad, Norway.
June 21 – Robert Plant will perform in Bodø, Norway.
June 23 – Robert Plant will perform at the Secret Solstice music festival in Iceland.
June 25 – Robert Plant will perform in Tromsø, Norway.
June 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Svalbard, Norway.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform in Svalbard, Norway.
July – The 45th issue of Tight But Loose magazine will be released.
July 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Halden, Norway.
July 4 – Robert Plant will perform at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.
July 13 – Robert Plant will perform at the Rhythmtree music festival with Saving Grace on the Isle of Wight.
July 18 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Galway International Arts Festival in Ireland.
July 25-28 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the WOMAD festival in the UK.
August 4 – Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis will hold a fan meetup in London to mark the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s Knebworth performances.
September 13 – Robert Plant will perform at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton, Canada.
September 15 – Robert Plant will perform at the CityFolk festival in Ottawa, Canada.
September 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
September 20 – Robert Plant will perform at the Outlaw Music Festival in Indianapolis and the first day of the 2019 John Bonham memorial concert will be held in Redditch.
September 21 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bourbon & Beyond music festival in Louisville, Kentucky and the second day of the 2019 John Bonham memorial concert will be held in Redditch.
September 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Clear Lake, Iowa.
September 25 – Robert Plant will perform in Moorhead, Minnesota.
September 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Missoula, Montana.
September 29 – Robert Plant will perform in Spokane, Washington.
October 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Salt Lake City, Utah.
October 3 – Robert Plant will perform in Bend, Oregon.
November – The “Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock And Roll” exhibition will move to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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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TBL Archive Special – The Led Zeppelin 2003 DVD Release – 16 years Gone:

It’s now some 16 years ago that Jimmy Page unlocked the Led Zeppelin film archive to present the five hour double DVD set simply titled DVD. Also released simultaneously was the triple live album How The West Was Won.

Looking back, it was in incredibly exciting outpouring of material.

When it was released on May 26 2003, I had just commenced working at the Virgin Megastore in Milton Keynes. We sold a whole lot of that DVD package in the first week of release and the How The West Was Won set. The latter was cleverly targeted as a Fathers Day gift. It was my last real great instore Zep event – I had experienced a fair few of those going back to 1975.

Andy Edwards the drummer in the Priory of Brion, reminded me recently that the week the DVD set came out we met to conduct an interview for my then in progress Celebration 2/The Tight But Loose Files book. We met in the Virgin Megastore in Leicester and the Earls Court footage was playing on the instore TV screens. It was simply amazing to be watching this sacred footage in a commercial setting in fantastic quality after years of watching the often less than crystal clear bootlegs.

In early April 2003, TBL then webmaster Dave Linwood and I were invited by Warner Music to attend an two separate exclusive playbacks -one for the DVD and another for the How The West Was Won set. The DVD playback took place at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick where the DVD film footage had been edited. It was hosted by the co director/producer of the DVD Dick Carruthers.

We were afforded a key insight into how Dick working closely with Jimmy Page, restored the original footage at their disposal into a coherent five hour edit. From the notes we took during a compelling playback, we were able to formulate an ongoing countdown preview on the TBL website running throughout the days leading up to the official worldwide release on May 26, 2003.

So here are some of the day to day countdown previews we presented on the TBL website at the time. It captures the creative process of the project as relayed by Dick and the sense of expectation surrounding this unlocking of the archive at the time.

So back in 2003, this is how we awaited one of the most illumination periods in Led Zeppelin history all of 16 years ago…

TBL/WEB: DVD PREVIEW COUNTDOWN: with exclusive comments from co director/producer Dick Carruthers: TBL Overview Dave Linwood/Dave Lewis

38 DAYS TO GO: The Arch(Angel)elology: Buried Treasure
THE CREATIVE PROCESS: There was a lot of footage to be reviewed. Dick described being confronted by 132 cans of film and video. In Dick’s words:”Buried Treasure”. All of the Albert Hall footage was silent – there was no soundtrack. Madison Square Garden was very fragmentary. There was only cursory labeling on the cans to describe what song/shots etc was in it.To start the process, every single can of video or celluloid was digitised and then categorised by shot type (Albert Hall-drums, USA-audience etc etc). Then an attempt was made by members of the band and Dick to cross-reference shots to guide soundtracks already provided by Jimmy Page.

Dick hilariously described the process: “On the silent stuff it was a case of “Oh! Page’s got the Gibson Sunburst on – is it ‘I can’t Quit You’ ?” etc. etc. Dick described initial program discussions with Page: “How do we make this into a 2 hour program?” (The answer is obvious now, Impossible!). Page was the main driving force behind the project, choosing performances suitable for the DVD as well as making major contributions to the look and feel – especially to the later footage.

Some of the footage need “serious digital restoration work”. Using equipment such as the Archangel video archive processor, the footage was gone through frame by frame. At first this was a cleaning up process. Although they had the original footage in most cases (more on this later), the film did have the inevitable scratches and spots. The cleaning up process, takes colour from a nearby area and transplants this over the damaged part – slowly. Over and over again. As Dick said “You just polish & polish”

All was going very well with the polishing on the Albert Hall footage until it was noticed that the process was erasing Bonzo’s drum sticks when he was thrashing around on his kit! Back to the drawing board! Or at least, back to a previously not-so-polished version.

Matching the visuals to the sound proved to be tricky: “We had to match a lot by eye” said Dick. “There are more obvious sequences where a visual provides a clue as to the song being played but sometimes you have to go with gut-feeling and the emotion of the music”.

GET READY TO MARVEL AT: Albert Hall 1970: * Those of you familiar with the bootleg DVD will be amazed at the way the audience sound fills your living room as the band walk onto the stage – the first feel of the surround-sound. * The sheer power of Bonzo’s hammerings as We’re Gonna Groove kicks in… * The subtle cross fade into I Can’t Quite You Baby * Page’s violin bow echoing as never before in full glorious 5.1 surround sound…i.e. not just left-right.

 

33 DAYS TO GO: Royal Albert Hall 1970: Footage Re-united
THE CREATIVE PROCESS: The aspect ratio of the original footage has been preserved, so Royal Albert Hall is in 4:3 aspect ratio. The Royal Albert Hall footage is still dark in places but thanks to Dick and his team it is now crystal clear. One of the main challenges with the footage were “re-uniting” the missing segments from Whole Lotta Love: “The original film was cut and used for a Whole Lotta Love promo by Peter Clifton” said Dick. (Clifton did the WLL promo as an example of what he could do with Zep footage when he was called in to work on The Song Remains movie…) The original film has since been lost. “We had to find a copy of the promo, sample it, and then colour match it with the original film and then paste it back in! Finally we had to substitute any missing frames!” A long and exhaustive processAt times, Dick expresses frustration at the “almost but not enough” segments he discovered. “We had more Albert Hall” he said, “but there were just too many holes in the footage”. “We did have to cheat now and again” he admits “but at least we did it honestly and with integrity”. Dick went onto describe some subtle and clever editing techniques whereby a two or three second gap in the footage can be filled by using slow motion and other clever effects. Having seen this for ourselves, all we can say is that the results are superb.
GET READY TO MARVEL AT: * The close up shots of Page’s speed playing during White Summer – now beautifully restored. * A wonderfully laid back What Is And What Should Never Be. * The electric intro of How Many More Times with Jonesy’s bass reverberating around the speakers..

 

28 DAYS TO GO: Madison Square Garden 1973: Remastered
THE CREATIVE PROCESS: “Despite all the previously seen footage from New York there were some big holes” admitted Dick. “Jimmy and I had to insert a bit, look for unusual shots, reprocess images to cover some of the gaps”. Presented in widescreen, fans will enjoy the re-working of Since I’ve Been Loving You and a particularly raunchy “The Ocean”. “We tried to stay away from any of the re-shot Shepperton Studios stuff – as much footage as possible is from the gigs”.“The reels we had were very fragmentary, it took us six weeks to get four songs! Some footage such as Over The Hills & Far Away were just too full of holes which was a real shame.”

Watching the visuals, it is great to see that the remastered Black Dog is pure stage action this time around. (Some of you in the UK may remember a version of Black Dog being shown on a BBC-TV programme called “Pop Quiz” which was all stage action: i.e. no New York cavalcade shots. This version is different again.)

Misty Mountain Hop works because as Dick described, some shots were borrowed from elsewhere on the reels to complete the overall effect. However, this effort is well rewarded – any “fills” do not stand out at all. Since I’ve Been Loving You is completely different from the film version. Page delivered a new soundtrack processed for surround sound, so viewers should not feel they’ve been shortchanged.

The Ocean was described by Dick as “This was a f*ck of a load of work…we just about got away with it”. Viewing it with Dick, TBL can conclude that it is absolutely stunning – a real highlight of what we saw.

GET READY TO MARVEL AT: * The Transition: From the 4:3 aspect of the darkened Royal Albert Hall footage to the 16:9 aspect and a more general openness of the 73 footage. Also, the difference in the band visually in just 3 and a half years is remarkable. This transition concept is something that reoccurs throughout the DVD package and is something that Jimmy Page designed from the outset and was very keen to ensure worked well.* The Ocean: Its encore time in New York. Watch Plant pick up the rose thrown onto the front of the stage, see him preen as he and Jimmy prowl the first few rows looking at the ladies. A really raunchy version. True Hammer of the Gods stuff.

* Since I’ve Been Loving You: It always lead to the great “Why wasn’t this on the Song Remains album?” debate. Still a wonderful version, and now with even better sound.

 

21 DAYS TO GO: Earls Court 1975: The Video Age
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:Taking on the Zeppelin DVD project “was a huge responsibility” admits Dick, only too aware that there are people who have been waiting for something like this for years. Getting the balance right was key here: there are collectors and casual rock fans alike interested – and both have high expectations. “Noel Gallagher (Oasis) can’t wait to see it” mused Dick.Dick quite rightly takes a great deal of pride in his work with Page. “I’ve spent nine months on this project” he says proudly pointing at the screen, “It’s beautiful – sorry – its such a shame the Telly’s f*cking dirty!!” he exclaims!

We asked Dick about the soundtrack. “Page delivered a guide video track for Earls Court and Knebworth for us to work with. Later on, he delivered the stereo version and the 5:1 surround version”. “Then it was up to us here at Metropolis DVD to re-sync, encode and match it to the footage.”

Looking at Earls Court, one is instantly drawn to the different picture quality. From the grainy film shots of 73, we now get smooth crystal clear video footage from 75. According to Carruthers “Earls Court was one of the more easier segments to work with”.

Although Earls Court was a multi camera source, there were occasions when only a single camera source was usable – sometimes for quite lengthy periods. Dick explained how was not ideal as it could make the footage seem lethargic and un-dynamic. To get round this, Dick re-shot some of the video footage in super 8 and reprocessed it giving a grainy audience bootleg feel to it. This combined with tasteful slow motion and very stylistic blurring covered any small gaps. The result is a very smooth and coherent playback which keeps the viewer on the edge of his seat.

GET READY TO MARVEL AT: * The stark contrast from the chaos of Madison Square to the intimacy of the acoustic set at Earls Court – a deft piece of sequencing that captures perfectly the light and shade element of the band. * The subtle link from 1973 to 1975 via a close up of a fan at Earls Court waving his Led Zep scarf* The interplay between Robert, Jimmy and Jonesy during California and That’s The Way

* The right out there on the edge delivery of In My Time Of Dying with fantastic close ups of Bonzo and Jimmy’s slide soloing.

* The completely awesome delivery of Trampled Underfoot which prompted journalist Charles Shaar Murray to observe at the time ”Apart for the Who and Stones I can’t think of any group who could have put on anything like it. Producing moments such as Trampled Underfoot during which it seemed the whole stage was just going to fall forward and crush everybody in the hall”.

* Stairway performed with immense pride with knowing looks between Page and Plant

In summary the Earls Court footage captures Zeppelin at their most extravagant and thrilling- totally on top of their game and performing with supreme confidence. It’s just sensational viewing…..

 

13 DAYS TO GO: Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire 1979: The Dinosaur Revival
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:“We had a number of multi-camera angles for this – it was the best covered of the shows we had” admits Carruthers. “There was some audience footage which have used as well”. Page and Carruthers had the most to play with here. There were 16 camera sources complete with a guide soundtrack on each. In addition there was a fan-shot 8mm cine film too. Watching the film, there are some lovely touches interspersing close-up and footage from further back footage to great effect. Those of you familiar with the fuzzy bootleg videos will love the new presentation. At last, twenty four years on(!) we have a properly mixed and directed souvenir – courtesy of Page and Carruthers. Knebworth ’79..if you were there, get ready to relive it…if you weren’t you soon will be…
GET READY TO MARVEL AT: The sound presentation of Knebworth – Page has made it really come alive. The “dinosaur” lives! (Remember this was the punk era back in the UK in 1979 – many music magazines were declaring any song over 3 minutes long as irrelevant!)*Great atmospheric crowd shots as the action fades from Earls Court to that field outside Stevenage four years later

*Rock And Roll – Wonderful interplay between the four of them – lots of smiles and knowing looks – they knew they still had it and this performance is ample proof – Great audience shout backs enhanced by the 5.1 surround sound. Bonzo’s solo at the end – sheer percussive genius *Plant preening through Kashmir – with clever pan outs from clear pro-shot video to fuzzy audience 8mm – and then back again.. All seamlessly edited * Achilles – quite simply Jimmy’s show…sweating, cringing, thrilling…the spirit of the whole track dancing through his fingers -the drive from the whole band and their endeavour to get back to where they belong captured in this striking visual tour de force.

This footage will prompt fresh investigation of the 1979 Led Zeppelin….the In Through album…the Copenhagen warm ups..the Knebworth shows – musically erratic and under rehearsed they may have been, but on this part of DVD we see the spirit was still very much willing. More than enough visual evidence that they still had the desire to impress.

 

 

1 DAY TO GO: ALL THE OTHER BITS
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:“We had some really nice stuff that didn’t belong anywhere else” says Dick as he shows us the Heartbreaker end-credits montage. To the music of Heartbreaker we get an array of 2 to 3 second clips from 70,73,75 and 79 as well as “fan footage” and other news-reel type clips. The montage will no doubt will keep the visual historians interested – as well as shuffling back and forwards with the pause controls! Page and Carruthers have really bought into the whole DVD format: just browsing throught the menus throws up all sorts of interesting footage and “secrets” such as the LA Forum 77 cine of Song Remains The Same.One menu item shows what appears to be home cine film of a typical UK town (is it Edinburgh??) – and then four familiar looking blokes are seen strolling down the road on the opposite side.
GET READY TO MARVEL AT: The sheer attention to detail on each menu. They’re worth watching in their own right.The additional footage, understandably not up to the standard of the main presentations but still worth watching nonetheless.

A great menu showing the boys arriving in Iceland with Moby Dick blasting away in the back. Other menus show the boys backstage at various venues.

With thanks to Dave Linwood.

More 2003 DVD TBL Archive to follow.

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Meanwhile…one year earlier…

world cup 2002

TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL 2 : JUNE 2002 – STILL DREAMING OF WORLD CUP SUCCESS… 17 YEARS GONE… 

17 years ago, as the World Cup got underway in Japan, Robert Plant was back in the forefront again promoting the just released Dreamland album. Here in the UK we had a Storytellers TV recording and a one off London date in the space of a few days – all occurring at the time Sven’s England were attempting to triumph in the World Cup in Japan.

That summer of 2002 was something of a summer of love as our love affairs with England and Robert combined to produce some real highs. Looking back it was really good to have some fresh activity albeit with something of a retro songbook.

So let’s go back to June 2002 – this is how it was back in the Dreamland era when our combined passion for soccer and music created some joyous June days…

FROM ZEN TO NOW…HE’S ON THE BALL

Part 1: Solo rejuvenation followed by England’s win over Argentina…life’s good

Once again it’s been along time. A long time that is since I’ve witnessed Robert Plant perform as a solo artist in his own right. Sure we’ve had the Priory Of Brion diversions, and that bizarre evening at the Albert Hall earlier in the year when Plant and Page appeared separately on the same bill. This though is altogether different. This is Robert Plant solo artist in his own right supported by his band Strange Sensation recording for VH1′s Storytellers. You have to go back to 1993 for the last real Plant solo performances.

Fate of Nations.Ah yes..Francis Dunnery’s shorts…I Believe…29 Palms….What is And What Should Never Be….those were the days and we were relatively happy with it really. And then came that meeting with Jimmy and they were back…and there was Unledded followed by the world tour and then the Clarksdale album and tour.

It’s easy to forget that Robert had carved a very credible if somewhat erratic solo career between 1981 and 1993. By that time he’d already spent more years as a solo artist than he had being a member of Led Zeppelin. On that Fate Of Nations tour he had entered the most fruitful period of that solo venture. The accompanying album was by far the most satisfying solo outing. Blending the familiar histrionics with a folk rock purity that can now be viewed as a definite reference point to where he would land post Page with Dreamland.

Musically that ’93 tour saw the call of the Zeppelin looming large. By the end of it, the Zep quota in the set list was 60 -40 in favour of Zeppelin with the likes of  Ramble On, Thank You, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Going To California and Whole Lotta Love ever present.  In retrospect perhaps we should not have been too surprised when he opted to continue the evolution of Zep with Jimmy for the Unledded filming and subsequent tours.  Four years later came yet more re- evaluation and changes. No more led anything once again – and in it’s place the desire to reach back before Zep to go forward. The songs that he’d carried for years in ‘his back pocket’ as he wryly put it came out to live and breath again. First in the Priory and then with Strange Sensation.

Now it all lands here at the Westway Studios in London.

The new album Dreamland is ready to go and the artist and record company naturally are keen to promote it. With his intelligent spieling always worthy of attention the opportunity to perform for VH 1′s  Storytellers is a perfect one. Which is where I once again pick up on Robert Plant solo artist for the first time in nearly nine years. Just as Unledded acted as a catalyst for the whole rejuvenation of the Page and Plant partnership, this similar low key filming will do the same to rejuvenate Plant as he unleashes the Dreamland campaign. Like Unledded it’s a privilege to be in attendance. And as with Unledded many in attendance have qualified by TBL association.

At short notice we were asked to run a competition on the TBL Website  with the first 100 receiving tickets for tonight’s show. Therefore there’s a lot of familiar faces as the TBL crew meets up in the afternoon. It’s also a pleasure to have the good lady Janet in attendance for a timely opportunity to see first hand just why her husband sustains the enthusiasm to still do all this still.

storytellers

So less than 200 gather around the tiny studio area where the band are set up. There’s no stage and you are right in the eyesight of the singer. The deal for Storytellers is this – audience packs closely around the artist. Artist performs a selection of songs – unveiling stories surrounding the choices. Audience get to ask questions on camera ala those  ITV ‘Audience With’ TV specials, artist wraps it up with more songs. VH1 producer Bill Flannigan (a long time TBL subscriber) comes on to explain a few background details on how the evening will run – and enthuses greatly on Robert’s album .”We are so pleased to have him here and the album well…..it’s going to be the album of the summer”

Around 8pm from our wonderful vantage point front of stage second row, the artist formerly part of P and P walks on accompanied by the band. He plays with the mike stand and laughs when he fails to  unravel the mic- ”Can someone adjust this or I wont be able to do my tricks”  All goes quit as the cameras begin to roll…and Justin and Skin pick out some minor chords…and very soon it becomes apparent that this is Ship of Fools for 2002.  I have to say the sheer thrill of hearing Plant sing the opening line ”On waves of love my heart is breaking”  just a few feet in front of me is nigh on a par with that moment when they broke into Thank you at the first night of the Unledded filming eight years back.  This is a rejuvenation….this is a solo re acquaintance. This is a re-assurance and boy life is good.

Ship is performed fairly faithfully to the original -unlike the meandering  ’93 version. Hearing this sparks instant Plant solo nostalgia. Always a stand out from the Now and Zen era it can rightly take it’s place as one of Plant’s best compositions in or out of Zeppelin.

From there Robert begins explaining the origins of the journey of the next song from up that Delta via Bukka White. Justin takes to percussion and that neo Cajun intro that has resounded repeatedly out of the Totnes deck in recent weeks is alive and vibrant right in front of us as the Strange Sensation run down track one of  Dreamland Funny In My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixing To Die) expertly performed with the eclectic drive of the studio version. Further roots are divulged before Arthur Crudup’s Win My Train Fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky). Another already familiar Sensation signature tune. Robert wraps the aching vocals all the way around Justin’s mesmerising mantra.

More influences and roots are up for discussion prior to going way down inside. The bluesy You Need Love Willie Dixon intro is suddenly undercut by a razor burst of riffing from Skin and Justin and hey it’s welcome back that mother of all riffs that is Whole Lotta Love. As much as I love the original, live Page- less re-workings often leave me cold. At best they can sound  hackneyed, at worst they edge on self parody. Not so tonight  and not so in this new arrangement. The riff itself is played with conviction and for all it’s cock rock drama, Plant plays it straight and serious. This arrangement also benefits greatly from omitting the overplayed ”way down inside”call and response finale and instead the band spiral off into a sonic improvisation led by Plant which slows and slows to a point where Plant lowers the tone and himself to the floor and the song  just stops….and you can hear a pin drop. A knowing grin and  then it’s mass applause. Masterful.

From one rejuvenation to another.

Come in Tall Cool One for a similar overhaul. Back in ’93 and before that in ’88 this rockabilly pastiche was nothing more than a kitsch crowd pleasing stomper – memories of Phil Johnston uttering those immortal words ”I should be so lucky, lucky in love ‘ in mid song reference to Kylie in hindsight may not have the best moment of that particular partnership. The Sensation version I’m pleased to report has much more in common with Gene Vincent than Kylie. Dirty and slick, mean and moody it rocks with a vengeance Plant in his best Ral Donner/Evis mode. Totally authentic, totally believable. Who would have thought it.

Next up, Robert  takes to the stool camera centre to take questions from the audience. These questions have been filled in earlier from a cross section of the audience. Robert answers them with surprising candour getting put right on the spot from the start.

”Is there going to be a further live Zeppelin official release or will we be left with just The Song Remains The Same soundtrack ?” is the perceptive first question.

”No… Song Remains won’t be the only thing” replies Plant going on to explain that Jimmy is searching out tapes not a million miles from here. ”Latest news is two more shows discovered” is Plant’s revelation ”I hope to be joining him soon”. NB – This is a reference to the work in progress DVD and How The West Was Won projects that would surface the following May.

Our own Phil T asks if there will be extra tracks on the album in foreign markets and Robert offers the record company market forces view. Other questions revolve around the chances of Honeydrippers vol 2 (Can’t see it no”) and his latest touring plans.

Robert then remains on the stool for a sensitive rendering of another Dreamland staple Morning Dew followed by an equally intense and superbly sung Song to The Siren. Darkness Darkness completes a trio of Dreamland extracts and like the album version, this is an absolute stand out performance. Justin takes up the mandolin and there’s no surprise to what’s coming next – the plaintive chords of a simple arrangement of  Going To California signals a welcome Zep revival.

Sticking with Zep 4 the band then takes it all back up with a real storming Four Sticks. The memory of the former lead singer of  Led Zeppelin screeching out that ”Oooooh yeah” finale directly in front of me at eye level is another one to be stored right up there with the highest highs this thing has provided me with over the last 30 plus years.

The band walk off stage left but there’s no way we want this to end. Repeated calls of  ”More more” bring them back on for a scorching A House Is Not A Motel . The middle section with Justin again to the fore makes considerable more sense than at did in the heady atmosphere of the Albert Hall earlier in the year.

VH1′s Bill Flannigan comes on to talk to Robert and notifies him there’s a couple of retakes required. ”We have to do Morning Dew again Robert tells us. That’s no hardship and neither is a repeat run through of the revamped yet again Whole Lotta Love.  Robert smiles continually as Bill Flannigan thanks him and us for making it quite a night.

Lights up and way. We excitedly relay the events in the nearby pub. It’s been a great night and the good vibes prevail throughout the next 12 hours.

Next day around 2 pm, as I’m walking to the pub to celebrate post England match, I take a call on the mobile from Mr Linwood. Amongst the babble of noise from the London bar he’s watched the game from, I can just about make out his excited banter. England have just beaten Argentina 1-0. ”Plant last night England today! How good was all that” relays the ecstatic TBL webman. How good indeed.

From the solo rejuvenation in the most intimate of surroundings…to the stirring Beckham led three lions victory against the Argentinians. Over those 18 hours of June joy, both Robert Plant and the England eleven were definitely on the ball.

It couldn’t last….could it?

Part 2: Tentative Plant London work out before the nervy England Nigerian encounter…

CALM AFTER THE STORM

Robert’s Astoria London gig had been organised some weeks before but the official announcement was embargoed until after the Isle of Wight Festival. Unfortunately that co incided wth the double bank holiday of the Queen’s Jubilee. Ticket details were hurriedly announced via ticket agencies and the TBL web – with the short lead time to the gig on Monday June 10 the decision was made that all tickets would be call collect.

So it is that a snaking queue greets us on arrival at the Charing Cross venue. This prompts a rather extended visit to the nearby Royal George where the usual faces are located so it’s high to various Simply Led’s, a Whole Lotta Led or two,Luis Rey, Andy Adams, a near full complement of TBL crew Gary, Tom etc and after the  partner filled VH1 treat this night is something of a stag. So beers are drunk, memories revived and debates such as ten solo numbers you never want Plant to play live again (come in Messin’ With The Mekon, Billy’s Revenge and Mystery Title to name three on my list), we attack the queue and shuffle in.

It has to be said that the arrangements to call collect is a  wholly unwise one – many punters are still in the queue as Plant and band get ready to come on. The late arrangements have done little to affect the actual attendance. It’s well full in the downstairs arena and on the balconies too. The actual attendees made up of a cross section of invited guests and the usual enthusiastic crowd. It’s good to be amongst the converted once again and though it’s clear that this will be an altogether different experience to that of last Thursday’s VH1 bash, this is still a big night. A launch night for Dreamland as is evident by the hugh album sleeve backdrop that covers the stage. This is Robert’s first headlining London solo appearance for nine years.

Dreamland 2

The band arrive onstage – new man Skin to the left – Justin to the right and the moody swirl of Win My Train Fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky) signals the arrival of the white shirted Plant. An ugent techy 7 And 7 Is follows before the first departure. Down To The Sea that bizarre second track from Fate Of  Nations gets a live rendering. With it’s stop start construction it does pose a difficult challenge live – a quaint delve into the old solo songbook that needs a few more run through before really clicking.

Four Sticks has already been well honed though it’s evident that Justin is having some tech trouble with his guitar as the band wait for him to come in on the intro ”This is where you need an harmonica” states Plant realising there’s a problem. He then begins scat singing ”oh baby..oh baby…” before Justin finally comes in. They recover as best they can but there’s a couple of  disjointed breaks mid song.

If  Down To The Sea is yet to be honed they have well and truly nailed another Fate highlght Come Into My Life. Another of my all time fave Plant solo moments it’s a real joy to hear this one live for the first time. Plant soars here and Justin takes on the exquisite Richard Thompson licks with considerable aplomb.  Hey Joe is performed in the now familiar eccentric arrangement and it’s around  here that Robert seems to be having a little trouble of his own. Just slightly hoarse towards the end, he seems to recover with a fine Going To California and  the now equally familiar Morning Dew.

So far it’s been something of a muted affair with sound problems perhaps hampering the overall effect but the best is yet to come. The home straight is where proceedings really take an upturn. First up there’s Calling To You, yet another Fate revival and it’s plangent Eastern riffs come tailor made for a Sensation update. The closing coda receives an intense Sensation re write as Justin and Skin veer for the spotlight and Plant gets in some typical vocal traits. The stripped down Tall Cool One retains the momentum led by Skin’s grunge like wah wah work.

Next an old favourite. Zep 3′s Celebration Day – played in England my reckoning for the first time since….is it Knebworth ’79? It might well be but it’s just great to hear this old flame played with real gusto and sung superbly by Plant. The utter conviction he displays here is proof if it were needed that this is a man who still cares immensely about his fabled back catalogue. Led Zeppelin still means a lot to this audience and it would appear on this showing it means a lot to the singer as well.

A House Is Not A Motel rounds off a great half hour last blast. Their back for two encores Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is up first – the semi acoustic blend suits the Sensation sound but I personally find this song a little overplayed now. Song To The Siren is a gracious final step and the band walk off. The lights are quickly up and the taped blues tracks echo out of the PA and it’s all a rather low key finale  – a far better conclusion may have been achieved by shifting say Tall Cool One to the close or a bluster through Whole Lotta Love. It’s not to be.  Overall the post match verdict is that this has been perhaps an average night .There were moments of real magic: Come Into My Life and Celebration Day displaying both sides of the coin. The former a delightful delve into his solo songbook, the latter a Zep a crowd pleasing blast.

As a London album press launch it may have not been entirely spot on – indeed of the eleven tracks on the album only  four were aired -hardly a full representation of the album. Darkness and Fixin’ To Die being conspicuous by their absence. The resulting press coverage is well positive so as an exercise in gaining the required column inches it has done the trick. Robert himself looked happy enough at the post gig lig holding court on a stool with well wishers a plenty. Overall these two Dreamland influenced evenings have offered more than enough evidence that this project has new places to go and the journey ahead is never going to be less than interesting.

On the way home attention turns to England’s nervy encounter with Nigeria that lies ahead on Wednesday morning.  As we know a predictably nervy performance ensued though it was enough to set up that quarter final meeting with Brazil. We all know what happened then – a 2-1 defeat and World Cup exit.

Before that ultimate disappointment well life was good ….very good indeed and musically with Plant and Strange Sensation entertaining and educating in equal measures it’s going to be very good again come the autumn when they head back our way.

For two early summer weeks we really were on a roll. Hearing that ”In the summertime… in the summertime” refrain on Darkness Darkness will always instantly recall these joyful June days of 2002 when our passion for soccer and music collided to create something of a Dreamland in itself. After all the highs and lows of the past couple of years, right now it’s so good to have had first hand evidence that Robert Plant as a solo artist can still be so utterly captivating.

Dave Lewis  – June 28th, 2002 – First published in TBL issue 16:

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Led Zeppelin The Day I Was There new book due June 16:

This previously mentioned new book is now due out June 16 – here’s the info:

Led Zeppelin – The Day I Was There – Special limited edition hardback numbered from 1-500 and signed by the author.

Richard Houghton’s sixth book in the I Was There series is a collection of over 500 eyewitness accounts of seeing one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock groups in history – Led Zeppelin.

With fans recalling memories of the earliest Yardbirds and Zeppelin shows at UK and European clubs right through until the O2 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in 2007. With personal photographs, memorabilia, fascinating anecdotes, and fan stories that have never been published before.

Publication date: June 16, 2019. Price: UK £24.99 US  $32.00

See video clip here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FlG1kEcZS4

Pre ordering details at:

https://thisdayinmusicbooks.com/books/led-zeppelin-the-day-i-was-there/

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Coda Redditch gig confirmed:

CODA – the Led Zeppelin tribute act have confirmed their appearance at the Queen’s Head pub in Redditch on September 21. Details here:

http://www.codaledzeppelintributeband.co.uk/gigs.html

 

 

 

 

………………………………..

My thoughts on the Elton John biopic Rocketman

To the Vue Cinema in Bedford with the good lady Janet

I once witnessed at very close quarters, the extent of Elton John’s shopping addiction.

Around 1989, I spent a few days working at the Our Price record shop in the Kings Road Chelsea. I was told that being in that vicinity, they often had celebrities in. It was a Monday morning – new release day and I was on the end of the counter and who should come in but Elton John accompanied with a male friend. He was dressed fairly conservatively. I immediately noticed he had a pile of CDs – and many of them about three of each title. One of the regular staff told me he purchased multiple copies to have one for each of the houses he resided in. I had been briefed not to make any fuss of any celebrity visits –to the regular staff it was a common occurrence for the likes of Michael Caine or Kylie to be in the shop. I looked over and nodded acknowledgment of him and Elton smiled as the assistant wrapped his vast purchase.

So, I am very much aware of Elton’s shopping addiction which is one of a number of addictions that Elton John played brilliantly by Taron Egerton admits to in the opening scene of Rocketman, the much anticipated new biopic of his life.

First things first -this is a vastly different proposition to that of Bohemian Rhapsody – last years mega successful Freddie Mercury bio pic. I found the Freddie film to be something of an emotional roller coaster and loved it for it’s celebratory telling of the story.

Rocket man is altogether a much darker film. There are very few lighter moments – instead we are faced with a tale that deals in Elton’s many personal issues – the fundamental themes of which are of rejection and recognition (themes I can well relate to) As his career goes from strength to strength, Elton’s personal life spirals out of control. Fuelled by drugs and booze, his insecurities increase when he meets John Reid portrayed here by Richard Maddon as a manipulative manager and lover. Elton’s sexual preference is another re- occurring theme – admirably the short lived 1984 marriage to Renate is treated with the integrity and respect it deserves.

So far, so expected. Unlike the Bohemian Rhapsody film though –the musical numbers are given a strictly come dancing feel and that means big musical productions. This gives the film the feel of Mamma Mia meets Billy Elliot meets Stardust (the 1970s David Essex film).

Now, I am not a big fan of musicals and feared the worst from this tactic – however, once I got my head around it I found much to admire in the set pieces. It’s worth noting at this point that any semblance of chronology to the story goes right out of the window from the off.

Therefore do not be surprised when Daniel(1973) and That’s Why They Call it The Blues (1983) turn up early in the story at Elton’s audition with the man who gave him a record deal Dick James

James is portrayed as a boorish foul mouthed bully – and his son has already lambasted this perception of his father who by all accounts was actually a gentlemanly old school music man who of also helped The Beatles early career. Don Arden he was not.

Such artistic licence is rife in Rocketman. Elton’s mother and father both appear as unfeeling parents which must have been hard for the real Elton to watch. His song writing partner Bernie Taupin is treated much more sensitively and emerges as the real hero of the story – staying loyal through all the many trials and tribulations of the former Reg Dwight.

I’ve been loving Elton’s music since 1970 when I first heard Border Song – big set pieces or not, the songs sound absolutely superb in this big screen setting and as mentioned, Egerton is incredibly good as Elton. Lyrically, the songs are astutely dropped in to match the mood – particularly affecting is a delivery of I Want Love sung by the young Reg and his mother and father. Tiny Dancer and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word are further highlights. Some of the scenes bordered on the fantasy and as a veteran of seeing such visual delights in Zep’s The Song Remains The Same film, I was ready for the crowd levitating during the brilliant live at the Troubadour club delivery of Crocodile Rock and a surreal underwater sequence to Rocket Man as Elton makes one of his suicide bids.

There does seem to have been a missed opportunity at incorporating some lighter moments – something like Philadelphia Freedom might have been played out with an uplifting scene involving Billy Jean King –an example of Elton’s love of tennis and there is surprisingly no mention of Elton’s beloved Watford FC.

The finale, as the main characters return to haunt Elton in a rehab scene, does bring some reconciliation to proceedings and it all ends on a high with I’m Still Standing. The closing sequence of Elton’s achievements since his 1990 sobriety is a heart-warming testament to the fact that that he finally found deserved salvation.

For much of this film though there’s a distinct lack of joy, periodically lifted by the startling set pieces. The good lady Janet felt much sadness for Elton’s plight as portrayed here.

Rocketman is a suitably complex, flamboyant if dark adventure into the mind of an often troubled superstar. It might lack the feel good factor appeal of Bohemian Rhapsody but it makes up for it with a far more challenging script. I might make for uneasy viewing but it’s an ultimately fulfilling and entertaining experience – though I don’t think either of us would want to sit through it again…

Dave Lewis – May 31, 2019

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DL Diary Blog Update:

At the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday, I was well pleased to find a copy of Jazz Explosion – A Panorama of Contemporary British Jazz complete with 16 shillings price tag. A 1969 Columbia/EMI compilation featuring some rare performances from the likes of Ian Carr and Stan Tracey. Top stuff – thanks Darren!

DL charity shop find: I was also well pleased to see the four CD Taste I’ll Remember box set featuring the late great Rory Gallagher in the local Oxfam shop – 57 tracks for £19.99? I’ll take it!

Football – flippin’heck….

Watching the Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur Champions League Final in the nearby Fox and Hounds was some night to say the least. The atmosphere was incredible -I have never seen the pub so packed. The good lady Janet, Adam and his mates plus our friends Max and Julie and Dave Collins (he first went to see Spurs in 1961!) were all there hoping amongst hope, that Spurs could pull it off. Alas, that first minute penalty changed the whole game. Spurs tried to get back in it but it was not to be..and that late Liverpool goal sealed for them. Oh well, it was still great to be part of it all and I am proud of what Spurs have achieved this season. Here’s a pic of the rather crest fallen TBL editor after the game…there’s always next season…

The football is not quite over as there is the matter of the Nations League and England’s semi final tomorrow ght against Holland – plus the Women’s World Cup kicking off this weekend. Come on England!

It’s been another full on week of text collation for the forthcoming TBL issue 45 – so much so, that it has now extended to a bumper 64 pages – be sure to pre -order your copy at the link below. Many thanks for all your support in advance.

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tbl-45-special-60-page-knebworth-40th-anniversary-issue-including-complete-reprint-of-tbl-issue-3-limited-edition-pre-order-now/

Dave Lewis – June 5 , 2019

Until next time, have a great week

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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