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20 February 2019 2,331 views 3 Comments

Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant –Saturday February 16, 2019

The Forum, Bath

TBL on the spot report by Rob Whitmarsh:

Less than a month ago an unknown band called Saving Grace performed their debut gig at a very low-key show at Bishop’s Castle on January 25th 2019. Their line-up sounded very promising though, as the band consisted of: Suzi Dian (vocals), Tony Kelsey (guitar and mandolin), Matt Worley (banjo), Oli Jefferson (percussion), and Robert Plant (vocals).

I’ve heard of that male singer before and have been following his musical reinventions for decades, so when I heard through the grapevine that they were to play some more surprise shows I quite fancied trying to catch one of those gigs. It turned out that Fairport Convention were on their annual Wintour and for a select three nights only they were to have an additional band to the full tour support band, The 4 of Us. On Fairport Convention’s website there was an additional listing of Saving Grace for three nights, including The Forum in Bath. That was less than 2 hours drive away and a few tickets were still available, so I booked up the moment I heard about it. On the Fairport Convention gig page the additional band were listed as:

“Just announced: Saving Grace will be performing on 16th Feb, here at Bath Forum as additional special guest act.*

*Please note: special guest act Saving Grace, are not the New Zealand Christian Metal Band.

I found out about this gig on February 4 and on February 16h we were driving to the beautiful city of Bath full of excitement for this mystery gig. I don’t know what else was going on in this city on the same day, but it took about an hour to finally get a parking spot. No worries though, as we allowed plenty of time to look around Bath before the venue opened its doors to the public.

The Bath Forum is a lovely old-style theatre which has a capacity of 1640 seats, which includes an upstairs area too. There were no queues when we wanted to go in, which was a pleasant surprise, and we made our way to our seats at the back row of the stalls.

The night began with an introduction from one of Fairport Convention. He told us that we were in for a very special night as there were to be two opening acts this evening. The first opening act, The 4 Of Us, consisted of a talented pair of musicians on acoustic guitars. That’s right, just 2 of them! They played some very fine music and told us many stories of growing up near the Irish border during The Troubles. They explained how they tried to live normal lives as children, whilst growing up during that difficult moment in time and how some of their songs evolved from that.

At the end of their set they asked us to remain seated as the next band, Saving Grace, were coming on straight away. During this introduction, they informed us that Saving Grace were a new band and were only playing their third ever gig (this was actually to be their fourth ever gig, as they sneaked in an extra surprise appearance with Kiki Dee earlier in the week). I had to smile when they said that Saving Grace were only playing locations that began with the letter B. This was actually very true, as they had only ever played: Bishop’s Castle, Bewdley, Basingstoke, and now they were about to take to the stage in Bath.

I leant across to the couple sat to the left of me and said that Saving Grace was the main reason I was here. However, they had booked their Fairport Convention tickets ages ago and didn’t realise who they were about to see. I think this was the case for the majority of the audience, although a few did know beforehand. It was interesting to speak to them again after the Saving Grace set when they now they realised why I was so excited to see that band. The gentleman told me how he saw Led Zeppelin at the Pavilion in Bath in about 1970 or 1971, when they were playing a small thank you tour in smaller venues. I have collected a few tickets from the Back To The Clubs tour, so I realised he was talking about Bath Pavilion on March 13, 1971. He said something about a slope leading to the Pavilion and he saw Robert Plant arriving at that show in his Rolls Royce. I believe Robert drives less flashy vehicles to his gigs now.

This whole event had the air of those heady days in the year 2000, when Robert Plant was also playing low-key shows as The Priory Of Brion. I went to a couple of those gigs and those venues were both tiny and unusual when compared to the venues he could easily sell out. Then, as now, Robert Plant just seemed to be following his muse and performing just for the pure love of singing good songs.

The stage lights were set low as the five piece band walked onstage and took their instruments. Only the two singers, Robert and Suzi, were standing and they began their nine song set.

The setlist consisted of:

  • Standing
  • Satan your Kingdom Must Come (including In You Time Of Dying snippet)
  • Stick With Me Baby
  • Season Of The Witch
  • Nature Boy
  • Your Long Journey
  • Ohio (Patty Griffin song)
  • Gone Gone Gone
  • Goodnight

The whole set sounded very reminiscent to the Raising Sand album and tour with Alison Krauss; but much more stripped back in a kind of Priory Of Brion way. There were also a few songs tonight which were performed by the post Zeppelin version of The Band Of Joy. The whole sound and vibe of Saving Grace is quite ethereal and it was wonderful to hear how well Robert and Suzi’s voices complimented each other.

The stage presence gave no clues to just how new this band really is. As I said earlier, this was only their fouth ever public performance.

The audience were quite typical for a folk music crowd and, although they remained seated, they were very appreciative of the very special moments unfolding in front our very eyes.

Robert Plant gave us plenty of Planty Plantations and chatted quite happily between songs. Some of his chat was funny and some of it was informative. I remember him introducing the Patty Griffin song Ohio and discussing the Appellation Mountains.

Prior to performing Nature Boy, which I’ve never seen him sing live before, Robert gave us a musical history lesson. Back in the day this song gave someone an unexpected royalty cheque, which allowed Nat King Cole to record it with full orchestration.

There was some funny chat too. Robert joked when he introduced the band as Saving Grace and told us that they might have to change their name soon; before it gets construed as a reunion.

Robert also said that he had known Suzi for a while and now they finally get to “build a shed together”.

Robert Plant’s association with Fairport Convention goes way back to before his Led Zeppelin days and he told us that he used to perform in a band with John Bonham and Dave Pegg (Dave is the bass player with Fairport Convention). Like all of us, Dave is a fair few years older now, but Robert informed us that back in the late sixties Dave still had long hair, which he could actually tuck into his trousers.

Dave Pegg and Robert Plant are obviously still good friends and, just before their encore with The Incredible String Band’s song Goodnight, Robert had a few playful words with Dave, who was stood just behind the mixing desk at the back of the stalls.

For this final song the whole band stood up and gathered around their centre-stage microphones to perform it. It reminded me of how I’ve seen old videos of CSN&Y performing in a huddle.

The fantastic Saving Grace set was over now and the audience gave them the great send-off that they had both earnt and was well deserved.

After a brief intermission Robert Plant took to the stage again to introduce Fairport Convention to us. Robert told us how, in the early days, he had played on the same bill as Fairport Convention at the Middle Earth club in Covent Garden when they were still quite a new band. When Robert left the stage, as Fairport Convention took to it, you could tell by the mutual grins that they shared just how friendly they all were. This wasn’t like a typical television awards ceremony introduction. It was a friend introducing his mates to us.

How does a band follow that? Fairport Convention have been going since 1967, so they’re all seasoned performers with a theatre full of their own devoted audience. They did what they do best and a great night was had by all. There were plenty of stories and jokes between songs, whilst their playing was superb. A very fun filled night and they ended their set with their traditional finale of Meet On The Ledge with their tour support band The 4 Of Us joining them on stage too.

As I took the long drive home this thought struck me. In the great old folk tradition of story-telling, Robert Plant can share a good story too. Although he very much crosses musical divides and genres, part of his delivery is in the ways of a traditional English folk performer.

This night in Bath proved once again just how Robert Plant is always searching for new ways to perform and it’s always a grand adventure to hitch a ride on his musical coat-tails with him.

Rob Whitmarsh, February 17, 2019  – photos by Rob.

Many thanks to Rob for that first hand view of this new Robert Plant venture.

I am attending this Friday’s Saving Grace support slot to Fairport Convention at St Albans Arena. prior to the gig I’ll be in the Wetherspoons pub  Waterend Barn which is right of the Area, as you are coming off the High Street. I look forward to seeing all that can make it along.



TBL issue 44 is hot off the press and out on the streets…

I’ve been extremely busy in the TBL distribution centre (our dining room actually!) sticking on stamps and labels and packing the pre -orders ready to leave here.

TBL distribution update:

All pre-orders are now in transit – that includes Europe, America and Australia. All orders now being received are processed immediately to ensure a swift turnaround.

Just to clarify –if you were a previous TBL subscriber all subscriptions ended with the last issue 43. So now is the time to re-subscribe –TBL 44 is a one issue subscription. This issue is in a limited edition run – don’t miss out – order now! The ordering link is below. There are still a number of past TBL subscribers who have yet to come back on board –  many thanks in advance for all your support.If you have yet to indulge -you would be well advised to do so as this issue is packed with essential Led Zep reading – and don’t just take my word for it – here’s some satisfied reader comments:

”As ever, there’s back cover pics of readers from around the world – Berlin, Canton, Naples, Toronto, New York and Cropredy in this issue – pledging their allegiance to what is unquestionably the best informed and most lovingly produced Led Zep fanzine anywhere, or – to the best of my knowledge – on any other band for that matter.” – Chris Charlesworth

”Yet another superb magazine, as one expects from Dave, really high quality printing and paper, this is vital reading for all Led Zep fans” – Julian Walker

”TBL 44 is here. 32 thick, glossy, text rich pages; This new issue is a reminder to appreciate the Led Zep related joys we have today and those unleased over the past 50 years. The touch and feel of a solid (in every sense) magazine is akin to that of a gatefold album sleeve. Something to return to and glean from over and over again.”  Ian Dixon

”That is a stunning cover for the mag my friend. As always TBL continues to be the constant thread for all Zep related thoughts. It’s hard to believe that TBL has been with me since the Knebworth gigs. Your dedication and enthusiasm all these years has been truly inspirational Dave.”- Ken Macalpine  

It’s coming your way soon…let me know what you think….

Dave Lewis, February 20,2019

Here’s a very nice piece on  TBL issue 44 by  Chris Charlesworth via his Just backdated blog:



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.

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

February 22 – Robert Plant will perform in support of Fairport Convention with Saving Grace in St Albans, UK and the Led Zeppelin Vans shoes will be released.
February 24 – The Tate Britain’s Edward Burne-Jones exhibition, which features two tapestries owned by Jimmy Page, closes.
March – The Fender Custom Shop recreations of Jimmy Page’s Dragon and Mirror Telecasters will go on sale.
March 7 – Robert Plant will perform at the Love Rocks NYC benefit concert in New York.
March 8 – Patty Griffin’s self-titled new album, which features Robert Plant on two tracks, will be released.
March 28 – John Paul Jones will perform in London with Thurston Moore.
April 8 – The “Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock And Roll” exhibition, featuring Led Zeppelin items, will open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Stockholm, Sweden.
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 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Halden, Norway.
September 20-21 – The 2019 John Bonham memorial concert is scheduled to be held in Redditch.
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:

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


Led Zeppelin newly surfaced live recording – Green’s Playhouse Glasgow December 3,1972:

I’ve just having a listen to the newly discovered Led Zeppelin Green’s Playhouse December 3,1972 tape. A typically vibrant performance from that tour. The recording is a slightly muddy audience tape but very listenable.

Setlist as follows: Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (medley including: Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have a Party, That’s Alright Mama, Heartbreak Hotel, Going Down Slow), Encores: Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker (incl. Mona), Mellotron Solo ~ Thank You.

Highlights include an Immigrant Song encore complete with closing vocal adlibs from Robert Plant – and a storming Heartbreaker. This is a very unique version as during Jimmy’s solo they break into a version of Bo Diddley’s Mona.

For that reason alone, this is a significant find and much welcomed addition to the expansive unoffcial Led Zep tape library. Hats off to everyone involved in bringing this one to the surface.

Many thanks to Julian Walker and Michel “Mitch” Duterck for bringing it to my attention.

You can listen to the tape on YouTube via Led Zeppelin Boots at this link:


Evenings With Led Zeppelin – The Complete Concert Chronicle by Dave Lewis and Mike Tremaglio:

A commentary by Larry M.Bergmann, Jr.

So you have the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book before you  – and if you are reading this and have yet to indulge – you really should do – ordering details below..

So with book at the ready – here’s an excellent commentary by long time TBL contributor Larry Bergmann that will guide you through the extensive contents…

PART FOUR  –  1972:

2-16-72 in Perth – cool (but too small) press photo of fans onstage with the band…it seems from newspaper reports that security was all but non-existent in both Perth and Adelaide which understandably left the band annoyed.

Nice entry on Melbourne 2-20, excellent press commentaries and photo layouts are presented, quite enjoyable.

2-25 Auckland is another exceptional entry. Ditto Sydney 2-27…and of course the pro shot video from this gig is surely one of the essential moments.

Great press photo from 2-29 Brisbane of Page and Plant at the foot of the stage with the crowd splayed out in front of them.

May 27 Amsterdam features a nice press photo which includes all four band members, and another has Plant picking a tune on Jimmy’s Les Paul during the soundcheck.

There’s an excellent intro/overview of the 1972 US Tour on Page 317.

June 9 in Charlotte is one of the nicer audience tapes of the band, and a fine performance.

Baltimore 6-11, a terrific show and two separate reviewers had a fan throwing a beer at Bonzo during Moby Dick, which apparently struck his gong and sprayed beer on the drum kit! The guess here is that Mr. Bonham was thoroughly nonplussed. This is one of the better shows of a very good tour, with a vibrant audio document as a memento!

June 14 & 15 – Interesting comment from Peter Grant about Nassau Coliseum on Long Island vs MSG in NYC. Zep didn’t play MSG on this tour and it seems that Grant sent the venerable hall a strong message in an interview with the Melody Maker. The unhappiness between the two sides wouldn’t last long however, and Zep’s next appearance there in 1973 would be an everlasting one…

Roy Hollingworth in the pages of Melody Maker provided one of the greatest and most insightful reviews ever filed on the band, a joy to read even now… The Nassau Coliseum 1972 passage on pgs 323-24 is one of the best in the book.

Pgs 326-27 on the Vancouver/Seattle saga is also great reading.

Great review of the Denver concert on pg 328 by the renowned “Pillow”.

Brief review of the San Bernardino gig, which was one of my all time favorite boots, the double LP Berdu which featured a cover shot of Plant with the dove from Kezar Stadium 73…a great gig and tape from this tour, which maybe flies under the radar a bit.

Terrific full page color shot of Jimmy from San Diego 6-23 with his beautiful and ornate Giannini Craviola acoustic which he was employing on Tangerine.

The San Diego entry features a shot of the gig’s original concert poster, one of the best and most rare of the Zep posters. John Sweeney, reviewing the gig for the San Diego Union, compared Plant to Rosalind Russell (!), a famous and versatile American film actress, successful from the early days of Hollywood, and later an honored fixture on Broadway. Not quite sure what Sweeney was on about, but there you are.

The Forum 6-25, one of the all-time greats and also the prime source of the official release How The West Was Won (2003, and remastered in 2018). This is simply one of the greatest shows they ever played, and the audience tape is one of the best and most exciting documents ever captured of the group. The passages in the book about this and the Long Beach gig two nights later (also recorded and partly used on HTWWW) are of course essential reading. The worst mistake on HTWWW was the omission from the medley of the riotous version of Slow Down, a couple of the most smoking minutes in the history of the band.

The savage, hysterical gig from Tucson which closed the tour on 6-28 is certainly worthy alongside the more acclaimed concerts from LA and Long Beach.

Pgs 334-35 offer an excellent analysis of How The West Was Won.

The section on Japan 1972 is also interesting for the photos of the venues…also near and dear to my heart is the Oct 2 gig, showcased on one of the all-time (and rare) bootleg LPs of yesteryear Live At The Budokan, which featured a very clean recording of that show.

It has to be said here that the Japan section of Evenings With suffers from the lack of media reviews which are present throughout most of the book…but it’s ok I can’t read Japanese either!

There’s an excellent passage on the two Montreux dates in October 1972.

Superb full page color shot of Jonesy in Newcastle 11-30-72 on pg 344…and terrific three page spread on the two gigs at City Hall.

The entry for Green’s Playhouse in Glasgow on Dec 3 & 4 warmed yours truly’s heart with a vintage photo of the venue featuring its marquee heralding “JOHN WAYNE IN THE SEARCHERS”, one of my all-time favorite films.

Cardiff Dec 11 & 12 features a great review from Nick Kent of New Musical Express as well as an outstanding and atmospheric photo of John Bonham at the kit.

The Dome in Brighton (12-20) was one of the more striking venues (inside and out) the band had the pleasure of playing in the UK.

Then it was on into 1973….

Larry M.Bergmann, Jr.

To be continued…

Another satisfied customer:

I just received your Evenings With Led Zeppelin book. What an impressive effort. The attention to detail, endless information, the many photos I have never seen, the memorabilia, the layout and overall quality of the book. You have just set the standard for encyclopaedia music publications and publications in general. Well done!

To order the book:

Stock Availability Update:





Zavvi/Virgin Megastore – Ten Years Gone..Today…

Ten years ago today, on Friday February 20, 2009 the doors on the Zavvi/Virgin Megastore in Milton Keynes were closed for the last time – the chain was in administration and we were all made redundant.

It brought to a close my 35 year career in music retail.

I did try and reinvent myself very briefly at Borders but I knew the game was up for me – I lasted two weeks. At 52 years old, It was time to say goodbye to working in retail and take on a brave new world…

Having written the TBL magazine and various books for some years, I subsequently turned my attention to doing that full time as a career and living and went self employed as a freelance journalist, Led Zep author and publisher. Back then in 2009, it felt like brave and somewhat scary move but luckily, I managed to carve out a new career and I have been working on all that non stop since.

Over the past decade, alongside producing the TBL magazine, I’ve been involved in the publication of  a number of books and have contributed various features to Record Collector, Classic Rock etc. With the recent publication of the mighty Evenings With Led Zeppelin book I co -authored with Mike Trmaglio and a new TBL magazine just out, I am pleased to say I am as busy as ever.

Ten years…It still feels like only yesterday that a sizeable reason for my being was centered around 9 Midsummer Place Milton Keynes and before that the Harpur Centre in Bedford. Great days indeed, particularly the last few years when I worked with an amazing bunch of inspirational people.  Here’s me with the team on that final memorable day ten years ago today as we were about to leave for the last time.

I still miss the fun and camaraderie that I shared with working with so many great people – right back to when I started at WH Smith in 1974 through Sound FX, Our Price, V. Shop, Sanity and finally Virgin/Zavvi. It was never just a job – it was a way of sharing a great passion. Hi to all those that I was lucky enough to work with over those years…they were the golden retail years and I loved every minute of them…

Dave Lewis – February 20,2019.


Harlequin Records meet The Who:

Amongst many other record related things I collect, I am always on the lookout for interesting original record shop bags.

I was therefore well pleased to pick up this gem at the Victoria Record Fair a couple of weeks back.

It’s a seven inch single bag for the Harlequin Records chain. One side has the Harlequin Records logo while the other is a promotional plug for Sounds music paper. It states’’ Complete coverage of contemporary music every Thursday from your newsagents 5p’’.It’s accompanied by a black and white live action shot of Pete Townshend Roger Daltrey of The Who taken around 1969 – possibly their Royal Albert Hall appearance . As Sounds began publishing in October 1970 I would date this record bag around late 1970/early 1971.


The Harlequin chain were on the march at the time opening branches around the UK. The Bedford store opened in late 1971 and lasted to 1974. The Harlequin chain sold out to Our Price in 1980 with the majority of the stores continuing to trade under the Our Price Records banner.

Birthday Honours:

It was a Happy Birthday last week to Mr Mike Tremaglio – the man who made those Evenings With Led Zeppelin come alive again…

and to Mr Melvyn Billingham a passionate Led Zep fan and long time supporter of all things TBL – join the 60 club mate!










DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – at the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday morning I was well pleased to find a copy of the Donovan double album box set A Gift From a Flower to a Garden – US Epic label 1967 pressing plus the very fine Dave Clark Five Everybody Knows album original pressing on UK Columbia – thanks Darren!

Massively busy here with the TBL issue 44 mail out with frequent trips on the bike down to the local post office to spread the TBL world across the globe. The guys there have done a great job in processing all the envelopes to be sent. That quest continues with hopefully a whole lot more orders to come. As mentioned above, if you have yet to come back on board be sure to do so – this issue is another TBL outpouring that I am very eager to share. Many thanks to Julian Walker, Chris Charlesworth, Paul Sheppard, Andy Adams and James Cook at LZNews for their assistance in getting the message out there.

On the player here:

Led Zeppelin – Greens Playhouse Glasgow December 3, 1972 CDRs

Led Zeppelin – 929 – How The East Was Won Osaka 1971 (Eelgrass 2CD)

The Beatles – Let It Be – The Movie LP


Fairport Convention – What We Did On Our Holidays LP

Fairport Convention – Liege & Lief

Robert Plant – Band Of Joy

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Raising Sand

The latter four setting the scene for Friday’s venture out to see Saving Grace….more on all that next week…

Dave Lewis – February 20, 2019

Until next time, have a great weekend

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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

And follow TBL/DL on Twitter

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Dan I think I am too old for that!

  • Dan Firth said:

    Ordered my Vans shirt already.
    Amazing collaboration.
    Get some of them shoes, Dave!

  • Hiroshi said:

    So Led Zeppelin played two encores, the first with Immigrant Song and Heartbreaker, the second Mellotron Solo/Thank You, in Glasgow, Dec 3, 1972, after all?

    This new source of audience recording from Glasgow first night 1972 sheds a new light on what actually happened surrounding the group’s only appearances in Scotland’s largest city in their entire career. As explained in the Evenings With LZ book, it has long been told that on the first night at Green’s Playhouse, the group didn’t give an encore, allegedly for punishing the audience on account of publicist BP Fallon being punched by some fans who were refused entry to the venue with counterfeit tickets. It is clear from the press report back then that this assault on Fallon indeed happened on Sunday (Dec 3) — however, now that it has turned out that a fair number of songs were delivered for the encores of the first night, the group’s reported act of shortchanging for whatever reason must have happened the day after, Monday 4. And the date mentioned in the letter from a disgusted fan, published in the NME (and quoted in the Evenings book), was correct, after all. His (or her) writing is somewhat misleading as it gives an impression as if the group hadn’t given an encore at all on the given night. The fact is, they did play one encore — Heartbreaker — and that was it. They didn’t come back again and left the building after that, leaving the frustrated audience who wanted more.

    And, I’m afraid to say, it is now almost certain that Immigrant Song and Communication Breakdown, the possible additional encore numbers on Glasgow second night noted in Martin Millar’s novel, Suzy, Led Zeppelin And Me, were not performed in reality.

    The truth explodes…still. After all these years.

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