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27 February 2019 2,419 views 5 Comments

Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant-  The Alban Arena Friday February 22, 2019…

TBL on the spot report:

Saving Grace – Back To The Future…

Dateline : September 25,1999:

The Priory of Brion – The Boardwalk, Sheffield.

From backstage right Robert strides on as Kevyn Gammond strikes up the moody intro of Season of the witch

‘’When I look out my window

Many sights to see’’

Those are the words Robert Plant utters as he walks up to the mic

It sounds so right Simple as that it’s evident from the first note that Robert’s voice is as powerful an instrument as ever and for the next hour he employs it with the utmost effect making these sons sound his own. It was an immensely uplifting exep1experience to hear his voice sounding so good.

Dateline: February 22,2019

Saving Grace – The Alban Arena, St. Albans

‘’When I look out my window

Many sights to see’’

Those are the words Suzi Dain utters as she walks up to the mic

Behind her Robert Plant adds a suitably harmony and It still sounds so right.

For history is repeating itself somewhat because here I am nearly 20 years on and 50 more Plant gigs logged in between, watching Robert Plant in close proximity in similar circumstances to that Priory Of Brion appearance back in 1999. On that occasion he was performing the songs ‘’he has kept in his back pocket’’ as he put it with an unfamiliar line up in a series of low key appearances.

20 years on, he is again performing in an unfamiliar line up in a low key setting. Saving Grace as they are known, are performing the third support slot to Fairport Convention. This is the new unit Robert is amongst to perform more of those songs ”from his back pocket.” A welcome diversion before he goes back on tour with the Sensational Space Shifters in the summer.

The acoustic feel and deployment of singer Suzi Dian has provided the opportunity to revisit the hugely successful Raising Sand album and let it be said that the lady does an admirable job in creating the vocal foil that worked so well  for Alison Krauss

The full line up on The Alban stage reads Robert Plant on lead vocals and maracas, Suzi Dian on vocals, Tony Kelsey on mandolin, baritone and acoustic guitars, Matt Worley playing the banjo, acoustic and baritone guitars and cuatro and Oli Jefferson on percussion.

The aforementioned delivery of Donavan’s Season of the Witch is the fourth number in the set. By that time, they have already impressed with the opener Standing and a quite startling version of Satan Your Kingdom Must Come down. A suitably sparse outing for the Great Depression-era blues/country gospel song was first recorded in 1931 by South Carolina evangelist Blind Joe Taggart – and revived by Robert on the Band Of Joy album. Complete with In My Time of Dying insert.

‘’Meet me Jesus meet me’’

Watching Robert Plant sing those familiar lines in close proximity, some 44 years almost to the day I first heard them on Physical Graffiti was simply life affirming. It can take its place right up there in the most thrilling moments I have had in the company of the singer amongst the 123 occasions I’ve been lucky enough to see him perform live over these past 47 years

Oh my Jesus indeed…

Robert’s vocals throughout were absolutely exquisite – the resonance of his voice echoing out of the PA was truly something to behold. Suzi Dian provided the perfect foil for this material taking on the likes of Raising Sand’s Stick With Me Baby.

Robert’s solo delivery of Nature Boy the Nat King Cole standard was utterly mesmerising. It reminded me of  the sparseness of Stolen Kiss from the lullaby album and The Ceaseless Roar album. He made every note and syllable count…

A haunting version of Patty Griffin’s Ohio was another highlight. This was the song Robert contributed to on her ‘American Kid’ album. Incidentally Robert mentioned he had been listening to Patty’s  new album on which he sings harmonies on the tracks What Now and Coins.

It was back to Raising Sand with Your Long Journey Doc and Rosa Lee Watson early 60s The pair drifted in and out of the song supplementing each other with subtly and charm.

Robert used the maracas quite frequently (they look to be the same ones he can be seen holding in a pic in the 02 reunion programme). His on stage banter was relaxed and humorous – at one point he sang a few words of Hi Ho Silver Lining.

A sparkling slightly re-worked take on The Everly Brothers Gone, Gone, Gone raised the tempo. Quick aside – Fairport themselves cut a version fo this one on a BBC session in 1968 and can be heard on the Fairport at the BBC set

It all led into the group finale – the entire band gathered around the mics for I Bid You Goodnight the set closer during the Band of Joy era circa 2011.

So it was in the confines of this lovely venue, I witnessed another Robert Plant diversion – it was an absolute privilege to do so – a very special night when there really was magic in the air…

Fairport were great too –Robert introduced them on stage and highlights of their set include Walk Awhile, Matty Groves and a rousing finale of Meet On The Ledge

Coming away from the arena some words Robert Plant once said came to mind ‘’The past can look after itself –I go on undaunted’.

He certainly does and long may he continue to do so….

Dave Lewis, February 23, 2019

All pics by Krys Jantzen



Here’s a full overview of the evening by TBL contributor Ian Dixon:

4 of Us, Saving Grace and Fairport Convention – St Albans Arena February 22, 2019.

Almost 50 years after Fairport Convention opened Knebworth ’79, Robert Plant returned the favour, bringing his side project Saving Grace to three Fairport shows of their current Winter Tour, including to my delight St Albans.

First to the stage where The 4 of Us, the 4 being Irish brothers Brendon and Declan Murphy plus their guitars. As with many support bands down the ages they were earnest, more than pleasant, but never going to hold in the memory. Unlike what transpired after a swift stage reset. On walked Saving Grace, Robert looking slim, relaxed and more Celtic sage than raggle-taggle gypsy. Starting with Suzi Dian leading a strident, swampy bluegrass “Standing”, he provided trademark oohs, that soon sounded confident and meaty, as minor sound glitches (to these ears at least) were ironed out. It’s worth noting that because of the low key organisation and introduction, possibly not everyone in the audience was fully in tune with what they were witnessing. That soon changed. “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” started brewing up nicely, until seamlessly Robert interjected the “Meet me with another pair” verse from “In My Time of Dying.” So great a trick that I was mouthing along before the significance hit. This was the only musical reference to that period in the set, but to hear Robert Plant sing part of my favourite Led Zep track from row A of a provincial British theatre is something that will always live with me.

“Stick With Me Baby” and “Your Long Journey” from “Rising Sand” had Plant flying on the band’s vibes and Suzi flying from Robert. The overall effect was wondrous. Suzi never tried to clone her illustrious predecessor, but added her own ingredient to the soup, such as with the Donovan cover “Season of the Witch.”

For me the set’s highlight was “Nature Boy” could Robert Plant handle the Nat King Cole standard? Every tingle to my spine and rising neck hair said Yes. His control and passion was something special. An oblique spoken reference of gratitude from Robert to musicians he’d worked with served as an introduction into Patty Griffin’s Ohio, followed by the train chug “Gone Gone Gone,” a song also recorded by Fairport another lifetime back, as part of a John Peel show. The final encore of “Goodnight” stuck close to the version by Robert’s favs, Incredible String Band and rounded things off, with Robert getting his laugh for “He ate all the children when they wouldn’t be good” line.

So how could Fairport top that? Well for starters they slipped Plant an extra fiver to introduce them! By playing an annual winter tour, including this venue, every year for over 20 years (my first gig was 1996) the band has built up a special relationship with their audience, and wherever possible stay on to do signings after their shows. Always at their most diverse in the years they are not promoting a new album, the 2019 set list was a shore-footed mix of old and new, familiar and obscure, underpinned by the exquisite musicianship and jovial camaraderie that are their hallmarks. Two new songs came from multi-instrumentalist and sometime lead singer Chris Leslie; Good time boogie “Shuffle and Go” and the rather lovely “Moondust and Solitude.” The latter written in honour of the Apollo 11 space mission 50 years ago and Michael Collins the astronaut who didn’t get to set foot on the moon. This song held musical and thematic echoes to a trio of earlier compositions from Chris relating to C19 century explorer Sir John Franklin, one of which “Eleanor’s Dream” was also played.

Stonewall classics, naturally well received included “Walk Awhile” and “Journeyman’s Grace” plus, of course “Matty Groves,” Like Saving Grace this was bluegrass lead, and with all 19 verses safely intact. While 2 more set-list highlights came from a period when Fairport first reformed at Dave Pegg’s Woodworm studios. These could be thought of as a nod to former member Maartin Allcock, who sadly passed away, far too young, in 2018. “Jewel In The Crown” sung passionately by Simon Nicol is always welcome and still relevant, while dug from their collective memory came “Honour And Prise” taken from “Gladys’ Leap”, Maart’s first album with the band. As is traditional, the evening was played out with Richard Thompson’s anthemic “Meet On The Ledge” The Murphy brothers taking on the “Guest Artist” slot in verse 2.

What next for Saving Grace? Should Robert feel so inclined it would be fascinating to discover what they could do with say “When The Levee Breaks” or “Friends.” The obvious though can be sidestepped, for example here Robert chose to play to a Fairport audience without Seth Lakeman, and if ever the stars had been aligned to roll out “Battle Of Evermore” this setting was surely it. No matter, Saving Grace, and to stress it is very much Saving Grace, not Robert Plant and Saving Grace, demonstrated they have the sound and guts to take on any song, regardless of genre or heritage, the song is a springboard to oral gymnastics and this time round does not remain the same.

If the low-key medicine show rattles by, make every effort to be there. Enter with an open mind and leave, just like the singer left the St Albans stage, with a broad smile.

Ian Dixon

Many thanks to Ian.



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

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.

A second email prompt has gone out – if you receive that and have yet to re-subscribe – be sure to do so as soon as you can.

The order link is here:


Dave Lewis Interview for LedZep News:

Here’s an interview I conducted with James Cook for the excellent Led Zep News site  – it’s a look back over 40 years of TBL and more…


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

  • The owners of Bron-Yr-Aur, the small cottage in Wales which previously hosted Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, are teasing a possible performance there. “Maybe a one off super exclusive gig at Bron Yr Aur this summer….tbc,” they wrote on Facebook this week.

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant played his final scheduled show with his new band Saving Grace this week. The band don’t have any upcoming dates, and their future is unclear. Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis attended the show and wrote about it on Facebook here and here.

Upcoming events:

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




Jack White, Maná, And Royal Blood Curated Playlists Available Now;
More Playlists Set For Release Throughout The Year

“Led Zeppelin Playlist Generator”Allows Fans To Make
Their Own Personalized Led Zeppelin Playlists
And Design Their Name In The Band’s Famous Font

In January 1969, Led Zeppelin was unleashed on the world with the release of their trailblazing debut album. Just 10 months later, in October 1969, the band’s equally groundbreaking follow-up album Led Zeppelin II was released. 50 years later, Led Zeppelin remains one of the most important bands in music history whose songs continue to be discovered and embraced by each new generation.

To kick off the celebration of the band’s historic golden anniversary, a new career-spanning digital album Led Zeppelin x Led Zeppelin was released last fall on all digital download and streaming platforms. Today, the band has kicked off a new playlist program that will allow fans and fellow artists to assemble their own, personalized Led Zeppelin playlists using the LED ZEPPELIN PLAYLIST GENERATOR. Via the generator, fans can build a playlist using any track from the Led Zeppelin catalog, including all their studio and live albums plus the deluxe editions released over the last few years. Once complete, the LED ZEPPELIN PLAYLIST GENERATOR will then create custom, personalized cover art to accompany the playlist and allow fans to share via social media. Fans can also use the program to generate their own personalized social media profile picture of their name in the famous Led Zeppelin font. Visit the site here.

The program launched today with playlists curated by Jack White, Maná, and Royal Blood, all of which cite Led Zeppelin as critical influences on their music, and will continue with playlists from other artists throughout the year.

LED ZEPPELIN x JACK WHITE features 10 tracks encompassing many stages of the band’s career from their debut album (“How Many More Times”) and early BBC Sessions (“Traveling Riverside Blues”), all the way through to “Two Ones Are Won” and “St. Tristan’s Sword,” which were unearthed rare tracks released for the first time during the band’s recent reissue series. “They are an immovable force in music,” says White. “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like them.”

LED ZEPPELIN x MANÁ includes 16 songs selected by drummer Alex “El Animal” González, singer Fher Olivera, and guitarist Sergio Vallin. The list is a tour de force of classic tracks that plays like a Led Zeppelin greatest hits collection including “Kashmir,” “Rock And Roll,” “Black Dog,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Ramble On,” and “Communication Breakdown.” “Led Zeppelin is a band that was so innovative in its sound, composition, and live concerts, that it continues and will continue to inspire many musicians and many groups,” says González. “Undoubtedly one of the best bands in the history of rock.”

LED ZEPPELIN x ROYAL BLOOD spotlights seven songs selected by band members Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher including some of the band’s biggest hits such as “Immigrant Song” and “Good Times Bad Times” along with some beloved album tracks such as “In The Light” from Physical Graffiti. “Led Zeppelin’s magic has always been about the chemistry that existed between the four members,” says Kerr. “Nearly 50 years on and the quality of the songs, the guts and the swag on these recordings, is untouched.”

Led Zeppelin x Jack White
Track Listing 1.“The Rover”
2.“How Many More Times”
3.“Two Ones Are Won” (Achilles Last Stand) (Reference Mix)
4.“Since I’ve Been Loving You”
5.“The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair” (BBC Sessions)
6.“The Lemon Song”
7.“St. Tristan’s Sword” (Rough Mix)
8.“Traveling Riverside Blues” (BBC Sessions)
9.“Moby Dick”
10.“Out On The Tiles”

Led Zeppelin x Maná
Track Listing 1.“Kashmir”
2.“Immigrant Song”
3.“The Ocean”
4.“Rock And Roll”
5.“Dancing Days”
6.“Black Dog”
7.“Fool In The Rain”
8.“Whole Lotta Love”
9.“Communication Breakdown”
10.“All My Love”
12.“Over The Hills And Far Away”
13.“Ramble On”
14.“D’yer Mak’er”
15.“What Is And What Should Never Be”
16.“Since I’ve Been Loving You”

Led Zeppelin x Royal Blood
Track Listing 1.“I Can’t Quit You Baby” (BBC Sessions)
2.“Dazed And Confused” (BBC Sessions)
3. “Immigrant Song”
4.“In My Time Of Dying”
5.“Good Times Bad Times”
6.“In The Light”
7.“When The Levee Breaks”

I’m working on mine!



TBL Archive Special –Physical Graffiti 44 Years Gone:

DL thoughts:

The Reissued Graffiti: Physical Sequencing with no cherry picking required……

So this is it…the big one – an embarrassment of riches –

I played the vinyl version yesterday all in one sitting – as it should be and I have to say I was totally overwhelmed..… totally beyond expectation …so many moments of unparalleled greatness now heard in more clarity than ever before…absolutely incredible…they are, were and always be the best – this reissue of Physical Graffiti is yet further proof.

To backtrack 44 years: My Physical Graffiti:

Physical Graffiti. The very title indicated something mysterious and special when I first saw it announced in the NME in late ’74. Then there was the waiting. Ah yes the waiting. Initially it was set for November 29th 1974. That date passed and nothing. Then it was going to be January 10th 1975 and so it went on until finally on a grey February morning, Tuesday February 25,1975, I took receipt of the record boxes delivered that day at WH Smith where I worked  (the album had been released the previous day but copies had only made it out from the distribution centre on the Tuesday)

And there in a parcel marked WEA/CBS Distribution was a box full of that beautiful double album. Had it out of the box immediately –took it down the pub lunchtime to show Dec, Phil, Tom and co…oh yes this was the big one – a massive outpouring of new Zeppelin music.

It ushered in a memorable year that would peak with those five glorious days in May. Since then Physical Graffiti has been a constant in my life. Not long after its release, the WEA rep kindly gave me the original sleeve artwork mock up which still takes pride of place in my collection. On holiday in Spain that year I could not resist handing over a pocket full of pesetas for the Spanish pressing. I have it on cassette and 8 track cartridge. When I first got a CD player in 1988 it was the first CD I purchased.  The emergence of the Tangible Vandalism rehearsals bootleg in the early 80’s was a shot in the arm in a less than vibrant Zep period, and the first time I heard the 33 minutes of outtakes that surfaced in 1997 remains one of my most memorable listening experiences.

Then there have been the numerous live Graffiti moments -selections from Physical Graffiti played live over the years have also provided some of my all time fave gig going moments.

In My Time of Dying at Earls Court, Ten Years Gone and Sick Again at Knebworth, Trampled Underfoot at Leicester University in ’88, Kashmir at MTV Unledded, The Wanton Song at Later With Jools, Night Flight at the ULU in ’98 , In My Time of Dying at the 02 Reunion.

Last Saturday was the same sort of  sunny afternoon to that of 44 years – for back on Saturday February 22nd 1975  Alan Freeman previewed five tracks from the album. The previous night I’d had the Old Grey Whistle Test taped on a cassette to hear the previews of Houses Of The Holy and Trampled Underfoot. I was out at the Rainbow grooving to Black Oak Arkansas at the time.

On that Saturday Alan aired Custard Pie, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Down By The Seaside and Sick Again in that sequence with no break. As Robert uttered the opening line ‘’I received a message from my brother across the water he sat laughin’ as he wrote the ends in sight’’ I remember exclaiming ‘’Oh that voice!’’ in excited wonderment.

Here’s a pic of the young DL circa 1976 in my bedroom, surrounded by the posters and sleeves I acquired form the various instore displays we had at the shop.

In today’s social media internet driven world of instantly accessible everything, it’s easy to forget the impact a mere record could have.

A mere record? Physical Graffiti was and could never be a mere anything.

It’s a living breathing, masterpiece.

So happy 44th birthday Custard Pie, The Rover, In My Time Of Dying, Houses Of The Holy, Trampled  Underfoot, Kashmir, In The Light, Bron Yr Aur, Down By The Seaside, Ten Years Gone, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Boogie With Stu, Black Country Woman and Sick Again.

These 15 performances continue to enrich my life and countless other fans across the globe.

To backtrack 44 years: Their Physical Graffiti:


In the scheme of things the timing on the recording of this album was just so right.

There was nothing like the pressure they had in following Zep IV with Houses Of The Holy. The lukewarm press reaction to Houses would only spur the four  to greater on stage heights. The touring period from March in Europe through to the lengthy US jaunt in the summer of ’73 saw Led Zeppelin perform to overflowing audiences with increasing confidence.

There may have been a period of burn out following the US tour – the initial sixth album sessions were scrapped due to John Paul Jones illness/reticence – but it can be clear that the vigour and vitality they displayed during that US tour was more than in evidence when they came to park Ronnie Lane’s mobile studio outside Headley Grange in early 1974.

The decision to work at their own space with no pressure of a tour to prepare was a crucial one. Jimmy’s wry comment that ‘’1974 didn’t really happen’’ was a something of a smokescreen – as creatively it very much did happen and it would set the seal on a six month period in 1975 that would see them conquer America yet again and present five shows at London’s Earls Court that really did capture them at the peak of their powers.

All this and Physical Graffiti too. A double album idea that Page had been eying for some time  as he commented recently:‘’ I hoped it was going to be a double album because other people had put out double albums and I thought it would be good to do that. I knew that we already had material left over the material was coming out and it was clear that we were working towards a double. I did want to do a double album that would really show a working band at a really creative process”.

The eight recordings honed at Headley Grange were merged within seven older tracks held over from previous albums. We now know that had been the clear intention with Houses Of The Holy as Page recently revealed ‘’ It was left off the Houses Of The Holy album on purpose. It was saved for whatever the next album was going to be which turned out to be Physical Graffiti’’. The rest…they were never mere leftovers as such a thing did not exist. These were quality ideas ready to be unleashed

All that was required was a final mix and a song selection and sequencing. This is where Physical Graffiti really triumphs

You could just never envisage Physical Graffiti not being played in the sequence that Jimmy Page prepared back in 1974. .

It’s akin to a whole symphony greater than the sum of its parts – take any song away and it loses its thread.

So let’s be under no illusion, the arrival of this new remastered reissue is principally all about those 15 tracks – the Companion Disc is of course a very  welcomed dessert but the main course kicks right off with track one side with a chew of the Custard Pie and closes with the brutal last gasp salute of Sick Again.

And that my friends, is the way to listen to Physical Graffiti – there’s no cherry picking required. It’s the whole first course in one sitting and no messing. That is the way it should be.

This is no mere 40 year nostalgia trip. Physical Graffiti could be no mere anything. It’s a living breathing beautiful sounding testament to the sheer greatness of Led Zeppelin.

Every facet of the spectrum beautifully detailed – every moment wonderfully sequenced.

Now sounding better than ever via the dutiful care taken to represent this landmark album by Jimmy with John Davis at the helm. Weather you are listening to a top of the range Hi Fi lounge unit or on something a little more basic…the effect will be shattering…

Moments to marvel at on this new reissue:

Custard Pie

Just so much raunch to the riff and John Bonham’s jigging hi hat driving it all the way through… and the solo cuts in across the speakers with so much verve and swagger.

The Rover

Utterly fucking sensational. The drum sound – on first play it took my breath away simple as that.

In My Time Of Dying

The forcefulness of that opening drum part…it has to be heard to be believed. The clarity of the bottleneck parts – we are right there in that hall in Headley. The echo on the first solo…glorious.

Houses Of The Holy

So much brightness and colour in the lyrics and performance.

Trampled Under Foot

Jones’s clavinet all the way through – pure musical arranging brilliance.


The moment they come out of the middle sequence and that elongated Plant howl…oh yes!

In The Light

We now know how much work went itto n this with varying tempo changes. The closing two minutes with Page’s multi overdubbing cascading around Bonzo’s drumming might be the best two minutes of their recorded career – here it sounds utterly sensational. As does the opening drone.

Bron Yr Aur

Acoustic perfection…

 Down By The Seaside

Love the keyboard sound from JPJ, now even more accented.

 Ten Years Gone

The intro – totally stunning…

 Night Flight

”Oh mama well it must be time….”  what a vocal.

 The Wanton Song

The way they come back from the Leslied guitar effect solo back into the riff.. masterful.

 Boogie With Stu

The percussion at the beginning now more powerful than ever.

 Black Country Woman

The mandolin so precise.

Sick Again

The final onslaught from John Bonham ..oh yes!

The Companion Audio Disc:  


Brandy & Coke (Trampled Under Foot – Initial Rough Mix) 5.39:

To me this has the feel of of a radio friendly single mix – and hearing Brandy & Coke aka Trampled Underfoot in this way makes  Zep sound like the greatest singles band ever. Imperious funk meets revved up riffing with refreshing clarity…

Sick Again (Early Version) 2.22:

There’s a also a delightful ‘’wooshing’’ effect on the riff at 0.55. Overall this flexing of the riff foundation brings out the melodic tendencies of Page’s plangent riffing. You really want this to go on for another ten minues. Wonderful work in progress riff exercise for a sometimes underrated part of the Graffiti wall..not anymore..

In My Time Of Dying (Initial Rough Mix) 10.48:

A cleaner intro – the vocal coming in with added clarity to the version we know. Double tracked at times. The delicacy of the bottleneck parts are more evident. Jonesy’s bass accentuated behind the bottleneck riff parts is also high in the mix. As it moves into it’s stride, Robert’s vocal are striking clear and crisper providing a real live in the studio atmosphere. Mesmerisingly spacey mix of a towering performance…

Houses Of The Holy (Rough Mix With Overdubs) 3.51:

What we have here is a rough mix with overdubs and it’s a fascinating listen – Robert’s initial vocals have less echo and are pleasingly upfront and clear. Bonzo’s cowbell is much more pronounced in this mix.  The backing vocal ”oooh oooh” is also higher in the mix and you can clearly hear a tambourine as additional percussion towards the close. Jimmy had yet to layer on his solo and it fades at 3.51. Bright and breezy mix of one of their most commercial outings…

Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light Early Version/In Transit) 6.29:

The complete alternate version that was previously bootlegged on the Physical Graffiti outtakes that surfaced in 1997.

A totally different work in progress arrangement with John Paul Jones’ Elizabethan harpsichord keyboard sequence being later replaced by the drone links.  The closing moments from 5.42 to 6.29  with John Bonham’s relentless drum fills are some of the very best applied to any Led Zeppelin track. Those that have heard it before already will know this is a phenomenal piece – those that haven’t… well the pleasure will be all yours -it’s just sensational. An unabashed joy from start to finish – this pleasingly inventive initial arrangement adds new colour to the canvas of one of their finest achievements …

Boogie With Stu (Sunset Sound Mix) 3.39:

The mandolin is well to the fore in this mix – you can hear the precise plucking right from the off while the piano and vocals are both further back in the mix. A barrelhouse of mandolin and piano led fun…

Driving Through Kashmir (Kashmir Rough Orchestra Mix) 8.41:

That intro is immediately grandiose -the vocal remains in the centre of the mix while in the riff parts and the  strings are more prominent. From 4.06 to .25 it sounds altogether crisper and chunkier and all beautifully dramatic and the closing orchestral overdubs are clearer going into the fade. Progressive rock in the true sense of the word and this mix is further confirmation of the fact that this composition remains the pride of Led Zeppelin…


Put simply -the paintwork on this particular piece of graffiti remains as fresh as ever… now it’s been recoated to give it an even brighter sheen the end result is simply magnificent…

Dave Lewis – February 25th 2019


On this 44thd anniversary of Physical Graffiti – here’s the Story Behind The Song piece I did for Classic Rock. It spotlights the unreleased Swan Song composition recorded during the Physical Graffiti sessions…and here it is:

Swan Song: the secret history of Led Zeppelin’s lost masterpiece

Jimmy Page dug up several unheard gems for the recent Led Zeppelin reissues. But there’s one song that still remains unreleased – Swan Song

The fertile sessions for Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album produced a number of landmark songs, including In My Time Of Dying and Kashmir. And among them was another track that had the potential to be a Zeppelin classic. An ambitious, virtuoso instrumental titled Swan Song, it was sketched out and partially recorded during the album sessions but, frustratingly, never completed – even though, like many of his ideas, Jimmy Page would not quite let it rest.

The seeds of Swan Song were sown in early 1974 when Zeppelin reconvened to begin work on Physical Graffiti at Headley Grange, the 18th-century workhouse in Hampshire where they’d recorded their fourth album.

The band had endured a crisis the previous autumn when John Paul Jones announced that he was fed up with the relentless touring and was planning to quit the band. He even suggested, albeit with his tongue firmly in his cheek, that he was considering becoming choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral. It took all the efforts of manager Peter Grant to talk him out of it.

But by the time the four band members got back together they were once again firing on all cylinders. Reunited, they began pooling ideas. “Some of the tracks we assembled in our old-fashioned way of running through a track and realising before we knew it that we had stumbled on something completely different,” recalled Robert Plant.

By contrast, Page had grand plans for a lengthy new track he was calling Swan Song. The guitarist had already plotted out the instrumental piece at his home studio in Plumpton Place, East Sussex. Even at that early stage, his vision was clear. According to Page, it featured “a number of sections and orchestrated overdubs”.

The track was broken up into sections, two of which were recorded in late February 1974 (and which can be heard on various Zeppelin bootlegs and on YouTube). The first part opens with Page’s drifting acoustic guitar, before the John Paul Jones/John Bonham rhythm section kicks in with the sure-footed syncopation that characterised their greatest work. The second segment commences with Page again leading off, his descending riff hinting at the song’s majestic potential. Tantalisingly, he would later reveal that this epic-in-waiting would not necessarily have remained a purely instrumental track – there were plans to add other sections and even lyrics.

So why did they leave the piece unfinished? The simple truth is that Zeppelin’s creativity was at an all-time high during the Physical Graffiti sessions. At the same time, they had also been working on Ten Years Gone, another lengthy track that incorporated similar guitar orchestration. Faced with an abundance of quality material, they could afford to leave Swan Song for another time. Consequently, it was Ten Years Gone that ended up on Physical Graffiti.

But the Swan Song story didn’t end there. Zeppelin were planning to launch their own label and rumours abounded that it would be called Shag or Slut Records – a lewd reference to their notorious on-the-road antics. Instead, at a press reception in New York on May 7, 1974, it was announced that the new label would be called Swan Song, after their unfinished song. “I’d been recording this long instrumental and somebody shouted: ‘What’s the title?’” revealed Page. “I shouted back: ‘Swan Song’. And everybody stopped and said what a good name that would be for the album. From there it got carried over to being the name for our label.”

Never one to let go of a good idea, Page talked about returning to the incomplete song to finish it off. “I’ve spoken before about a long piece I’d written,” he said in 1976. “I wanted to orchestrate the guitar and put it through various treatments. The original idea was to have four sections coming back to the same theme each time. There would be four separate melody lines dealing with the seasons. Robert will do the lyrics. I know I can work the whole thing out from the trial runs I’ve laid down. It’s a really exciting prospect.”

Page continued to incorporate elements of Swan Song into his live improvisational piece White Summer/Black Mountain Side during Zeppelin’s 1977 tour. It would reappear again during the band’s Knebworth shows in 1979, and even as late as their final European tour, in 1980. Had Zeppelin not disbanded following the death of John Bonham on September 25,1980, there’s every chance that Page would have gone back to work on the song in the studio.

But even that wasn’t the end of his great lost opus. Page’s first major live appearance following the dissolution of Zeppelin was as part of an all-star nine-date US tour in 1983 in aid of the ARMS charity to help multiple sclerosis-stricken ex-Small Faces bassist Ronnie Lane. With Paul Rodgers on vocals, Page performed a lengthy song called Bird On A Wing, which featured some chord structures that clearly dated back to Swan Song.

By the time Page and Rodgers formed their blues-rock supergroup The Firm, it had been revisited once again. “It was reworked with Paul Rodgers, who supplied some inspired lyrics, and it became Midnight Moonlight,” said Page, referring to the song which closed The Firm’s self-titled album in 85.

Today, Swan Song has passed into Zep legend as one of the band’s great lost masterpieces – albeit one that has, tantalisingly, filtered into the ether in various incarnations. As with other unfinished Zep treasures such as Sugar Mama and Fire, it’s difficult not to wonder how significant Swan Song would have become had they actually finished it.

Dave Lewis

See link at:


Physical Graffiti 44 Years Gone:

1975 Snapshot Retro Review:

Jaan Uhelszki, Creem, 1975

ROCK’S BIGGEST bruisers, Led Zeppelin, have got another album. In rock chronology this is an Event, since the defending champions of the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll draw have released only six albums in the past seven years. In fact, we’ve spent eighteen excruciating months between products, pacifying ourselves with heavy rock’s second prizes – Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, and BTO. And these heavy metal hitmen couldn’t begin to plug up the leaks Led Zep left when they took on an extended, self-imposed exile to some musicians’ netherworld.

Now, just as cold turkey has begun to lose its chill. Zep are back with a package deal: a double album and an American tour. The announcement provoked unchecked carnage in the under-eighteen age group, primarily directed at long black limousines, uniformed adults, and popcorn sellers. Throngs of potential ticket-buyers foamed with anticipation, their palms growing sweaty, their eyes glassy.

Days passed without the appearance of Physical Graffiti. Then the first shipment arrived late one Thursday. The fans descended on Marty’s Records downstairs from CREEM like dragonflies, clustered around the cash register, furtively clutching the album to their heaving bosoms, slobbering and drooling down the shrinkwrap. Worried parents contemplated a vaccine, but once Physical Graffiti touched the turntables the mysterious malady subsided. The stricken nodules were lulled into a state of tympanic euphoria.

Physical Graffiti can stand on its own historically without the support of Zep’s five other million sellers, but inevitably the cuts on this album will be scrutinized with Nancy Drew-like precision in search of a successor to ‘Stairway’ or an equal to ‘Rock and Roll.’ Graffiti is, in fact, a better album than the other five offerings, the band being more confident, more arrogant in fact, and more consistent. The choice of material is varied, giving the audience a chance to see all sides of the band. Equal time is given to the cosmic and the terrestrial, the subtle and the passionate.

The exotic and musky ‘Kashmir’ is intriguing in its otherworldliness. Jimmy Page’s grinding, staccato guitar work sounds like a cosmic travelog to spiritual regeneration, swelling around the lyrics, which are heavily laden with mystical allusions and Hessean imagery. Although ‘Kashmir’ is certainly the best cut on the album, it could be trimmed without losing any of its mesmeric effect, because at some point the incense grows a little murky, and the slow burning guitar degenerates into opulent cliches, causing the instrumental interludes to echo an Exodus soundtrack.

Not all of the cuts are exercises in advanced audial basketweaving, but trace a musical cycle running from Page’s grandiose productions to basic drunken boogie. ‘Trampled Underfoot’ is seemingly effortless funk that is rescued from mediocrity by the elaborate punctuation of Page’s guitar. His fingers traverse the neck of his instrument with a velocity so violent that only a machine could improve upon it. Each batch of notes he pulls from his guitar is uniquely his own, personal as a thumbprint. Just as unique are Plant’s laments and his sexual heaves and sighs that turn the lyrics of a simplistic rocker like ‘Wanton Song’ into an introspective, personal statement. ‘Custard Pie’ and ‘Boogie With Stu’ are macho masterpieces in the tradition of the strutting, swaggering English flash blues formula pioneered on Zeppelin’s early albums. ‘Night Flight’, ‘Sick Again’ and ‘Ten Years Gone’ smack of pop picaresque, much in the manner of Rod Stewart’s ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ – vignettes and transient insights, slices of a popstar’s life.

Led Zeppelin moves in strange ways. Sure they’re gutsy, ballsy, and flamboyantly aggressive, always spiked with a lot of eroticism, but they’re also cerebral…by way of the glands. They have this unique ability to wind you up and prime you for a full-throttled tilt. You rocked, you rolled, and oh mama those juices flowed – but you also listened to the words.

Surprisingly, in an era where disposable bands and itinerant musicians constantly play a game of musical chairs, Led Zeppelin is a unit – the same four members for the past seven years. Their longevity is due to a kind of magnetism, magic if you will. That rare chemistry was evident even at their first rehearsal, where they fit together like jigsaw pieces, transcending their common R&B backgrounds to achieve a gut-wrenching new synthesis. Lisa Robinson describes it as a case in which “the Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot and Led Zeppelin won.” Zeppelin make more noise, has more guitar gimmickry, more sexuality, more flash, and generates more violence than any of their competitors, so that they are more than mere musicians, simple superstars. They have become the longest-lasting model for those culturally bankrupt ‘trendies’ to follow. Underage masses walk, talk, dress and dope like Zep. They have become a necessary trapping for the terminally hip, as well as providing the audial backdrop for any social gathering.

A Led Zeppelin album is like a select invitation to a key club of rock ‘n’ roll, where the kohl eyed gypsy Jimmy Page is finally accessible through his smoky guitar solos. Robert Plant preens and moans, lusts and longs for lost memories…and takes you along. Like a sonic vortex, Zeppelin draws you into their private caprice, spiraling, coaxing your willing psyche into a suprasensory haven where you can taste and savor this dream stuff that superstars thrive on. This is not pop music, but a harder stuff, more heady and potent, like a round of whiskeys and coke. Zeppelin are avatars in a cultural vacuum.

© Jaan Uhelszki, 1975

One from long time TBL supporter and well known Leicester musician in his own right Kevin Hewick:

There is one track which for me encapsulates everything that is ‘Zeppelin’. It’s one of their less celebrated songs and ironically never even got a full live performance – yet it captures so much of their unique qualities. It feels like countless bands since them have tried to get the ‘Tight But Loose’ feel of ‘The Rover’ but nobody can get that elusive groove. Pages riff is downright filthy, his solo a phenomenal statement, weaving scales only he could think of, as sonically sure footed as a mountain goat. Plant is not the high pitched wailer of earlier albums, here he is the ‘man of the world’ who has lived and seen it all, asking us to “just join hands” across the globe. The new 2015 master version gives clarity to the nimble but understated bass of John Paul Jones, he is so often the power behind the glory. All this rests in the mighty arms of John Bonham,in this remastered take you can feel the workings of his very bones and his flexing of rhythmic muscle, the drum hardware yielding to it’s master. I felt like I was having an out of body experience, this stumbling, lumbering, funky 16 limbed thing called ‘The Rover’ feels like a mystical gateway to the whole Zeppelin myth.

Kevin Hewick







Background Details: Bob Harris presented two exclusive previews from the Physical Graffiti album. Houses Of The Holy and Trampled Underfoot cut to abstract films.

The Trampled Under Foot clip was  compiled by Philip Jenkinson of Filmfinders depolyed old black and white footage of 1920’s dancers and would be an often repeated item on the programme.

The very title indicated something mysterious and special when I first saw it announced in the NME in late ’74. Then there was the waiting. Ah yes the waiting. Initially it was set for November 29th 1974. That date passed and nothing. Then it was going to be January 10th 1975 -that date passed and nothing.

Finally came the news that the Whistle Test  would be airing teo previews form the album on the evening of Friday February 21st. On that particular evening I  was out at the Rainbow Theatre  attending the Black Oak Arkansas gig with support form Sassafras. I arranged for the Whistle Test to be taped on my trusty Sanyo unit (with microphone up against the TV speaker. The next morning fighting off an expected hangover I was able to marvel at the commercial groove of Houses Of The Holy and the funk rock of Trampled. Bob harris ahd also announced Alan Freeman would be airng five more tracks from the album on his Saturday afternoon show on Radio One.

On that Saturday Alan aired Custard Pie, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Down By The Seaside and Sick Again in that sequence with no break. As Robert uttered the opening line ‘’I received a message from my brother across the water he sat laughin’ as he wrote the ends in sight’’ I remember exclaiming ‘’Oh that voice!’’ in excited wonderment.

There was one more preview ahead – John Peel aired Kashmir on his early afternoon show – he co hosted a documentary  type show I think called Rockweek.

To say I was overawed by all this would be a complete understatement. All that remained was for the physical product of Physical Graffiti to be in my hand. Surely that would be soon…

Dave Lewis February 2015

More TBL Led Zep US 1975 Snapshots: 

Led Zep Houston 1975 by Mark Bowman Images Edit 2




Set: 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/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

This one from our TBL friend and associate Mark Bowman – he also took the pics here from that night.

Background Details; After Robert and Jimmy spent a holiday in Dominica for 10 days, while Jonesy and Bonzo flew home to their families, a well rested Led Zeppelin, Peter Grant and the crew reconvened in Houston, Texas to start the second leg of the 1975 USA tour on February 27th, 1975.

This night was special as it was the first live show after the US release of the eagerly anticipated double LP, Physical Graffiti.  By all accounts, they played a ferocious show that night that clocked in at nearly 3 hours and 45 minutes.  Reporters mentioned in the newspaper the next day that the “kids went crazy”, and the crowd definitely spurred the band to greater heights that night…   One concertgoer mentioned – “This was the FIRST concert I have ever been to where the live sound in the arena was equal to greater than the sound on the Led Zeppelin studio recordings that were recorded so well…”

Robert mentioned to the crowd that “we were off for a few days, but we’re back, well rested and in our glory.!”  Very prophetic, looking back 40 years later….  Unfortunately, no bootleg recordings have ever surfaced of this particular show to document the power they were playing with that night, so it just will remain a very special evening for the ones who were there….

First Hand View from Mark Bowman:

JP and JPJ Houston 1975 by Mark Bowman

The beauty of this show – there was none of the violence and aggression from the fans that had marred some of the earlier dates in the Eastern US gigs on the 1st leg.  Robert specifically commented about how the crowd had a “very happy and a good feeling vibe” that night for the band, which kept them focused on the task at hand….which was to rip the roof off the arena that evening.  I only had a little Kodak 110 Instamatic camera with me at the time, so all my photos are grainy and low resolution.  You still get the general idea by looking at them – but what I would have given to have my 35mm with me that night to truly capture this incredible evening.  It turns out to be the only time I ever saw the mighty Led Zeppelin perform live…  As fantastic as it was to attend the reunion O2 show in London in 2007, this gig was the COMPLETE package….  It is burned into my memory banks for life. Mark Bowman





Set: 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/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

Background Details:

Plant comments that Physical Graffiti has finally been released: “The egg has been laid… or is it the guy who got laid?’

There are a few unusual dedications. A heavy and dramatic version of ‘Kashmir’ is dedicated to “Mr Royston and Mr Harold who are travelling with us” and ‘Trampled Underfoot’ is dedicated to “Sam Martel – a wild cat.” John Bonham is introduced as “The man with a bicycle clip caught in his sock… the greatest percussionist since Big Ben!”

‘Dazed And Confused’ clocks in at 33 minutes and just keeps getting better and better. The ‘San Francisco’ section has now been dropped and instead Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’ is performed. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ now includes a Theremin/’Crunge’ section prior to the link with ‘Black Dog’.

Plant: “Baton Rouge – a really good audience… and Led Zeppelin, just a fun-lovin’ bunch of boys. It’s been more than our pleasure.”

Snapshots Listen: How it sounded today:

I have this on the Rampaging Cajun CD set – another steller soundboard from 1975.  The undoubted highlight is the 18 minute version of No Quarter – Jonesy is awesome on this -it swings into the grand piano solo with such ease building the template for the majestic Earl’s Court versions. Jimmy is also just exquisite. The whole show is another favourite 1975 night of mine.


Mark Hollis 1955 – 2019 RIP:

It was very sad to hear the passing of Mark Hollis of Talk Talk aged 64. The good lady Janet has just reminded me early on in Talk Talk’s career we met him when he came to the WH Smith recorded department we worked at during a promotional tour with the EMI rep.
Talk Talk were one of the most imaginative bands of the 1980s and this still sounds brilliant…RIP…


Peoples Front of Led Zeppelin:

Dave Linwood reminded me of this excellent YouTube channel that features superb instrumental versions of the Zep catalogue – these guys are very good …


Coda tribute band at Bedford Esquires:

I am looking forward to the visit of the Coda tribute band at the excellent Esquires venue here in Bedford on Saturday March 9 2019. The good lady Janet and I saw them last October at the 50th anniversary gig in Wardour Street and they put on a real show – there’s an enthusiasm and verve about how they perform the songs and present themselves.  I look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

Ticket details here:



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 1971 King Curtis album Live At the Fillmore West –UK plum and orange Atlantic label pressing – this incudes While Lotta love – one of the first Led Zep cover versions – I’ve been looking for this for a good while – top stuff thanks Darren Harte!


At the Saving Gace/Faiport Convention gig in St Albans last Friday it was great to catch up with Mick Bulow and Berni, Steve Way and Krys Jantzen – what a night!

In the days when I used to write match reports for the Wallbangers FC for the local paper as Dec Hickey would remember, one of my stock in trade expressions was that the ball ‘’fairly flew into the net’’ .Watching Adam play for Bedford Albion v Cranfield last Saturday afternoon, this free kick he took ‘’fairly flew into the net’’ – here he is lining it up –it was a cracking goal in a 4 -1 win…well played Adam Lewis!

Shame Spurs were not on it that day going down to Burnley 2-1. Their title challenge has all but slipped  away.

Suffering a bit at the moment with the old hay fever. I get it early-  something to do with the trees. There’s certainly been a whole lotta sneezin’ these past few days.

Another busy week here on the TBL 44 mail out distribution and I am working hard to keep on top of it all. If you have recently ordered – it’s coming your way soon…

Dave Lewis – February 27, 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.

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Hiroshi thanks for another view!

  • Hiroshi said:

    A third comment in a row onto this now old post, a (not so) stealth attempt, hopefully and purposefully not to annoy visitors that much LOL.

    “You could just never envisage Physical Graffiti not being played in the sequence that Jimmy Page prepared back in 1974. .”

    Really? I have always felt the track order of this double album somewhat if not altogether unconvincing. One of my guilty pleasures as a music fan is changing the sequence of songs on rock’s classic albums in my head according to my taste, a carefree pastime for me. The order of the day: Physical Graffiti.

    Side 1: as it is.
    Side 2: In The Light/Trampled Underfoot/Ten Years Gone
    Side 3: Houses Of The Holy/Down By The Seaside/Bron-Yr-Aur/Kashmir
    Side 4: as it is.

    Sounds blasphemous? Well…though undeniably an ambitious work in its own right, I don’t rate Physical Graffiti as impeccable and untouchable a masterpiece as is regarded by many fans in the first place — the end result is a mixed bag at best in my estimation. At the end of the day I would pick any of the previous five albums over this one. Rant over.

  • Larry said:

    Nice catch, Hiroshi! Now we only need to find Don R! 😉

  • Hiroshi said:

    One more info:

    Below is a quote from the Concert Timeline page on, posted by Don R. on Nov 22, 2017 — the comment is about the Met Center show, Bloomington (outskirts of Minneapolis), MN, Jan 18, 1975;

    “I was at this concert and, being young and stupid, I carried in a cassette tape recorder strapped to my back (it was winter and I was wearing a big coat). Recorded the whole thing (minus the encore) and digitized it a few years ago. When I saw them again in 1977, I didn’t bring a recorder (it was April). Both were incredible concerts as the Met Center was acoustically perfect for rock.”

    So an audience recording of the first night of the 1975 US Tour does exist out there…

  • Hiroshi said:

    Speaking of Physical Graffiti…the setlist of Ahoy, Rotterdam, Jan 11, 1975, the first of the two warm-up dates for the forthcoming US tour, was up on the day-by-day entry on early this year. My gut feeling is that it looks quite plausible.

    01. Rock and Roll
    02. Sick Again
    03. Over the Hills and Far Away
    04. When the Levee Breaks
    05. The Song Remains the Same
    06. The Rain Song
    07. Kashmir
    08. No Quarter
    09. Trampled Underfoot
    10. Stairway to Heaven
    11. Whole Lotta Love
    12. Heartbreaker

    The Wanton Song and In My Time Of Dying yet to be added, the show must have been even shorter than Brussels the following night. Also worth noting is the omission of Black Dog — Whole Lotta Love is put here as a stand-alone number.

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