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TBL ARCHIVE – ROBERT PLANT STORYTELLERS 2002 AND LED ZEPPELIN DVD & HOW THE WEST WAS WON 2003/JOHN BONHAM A CELEBRATION II REVISED PLANS/LZ NEWS/ IAN DIXON ON CLASSIC ALBUMS RE-ASSESSED/ON THE PLAYER/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

11 June 2020 1,226 views 4 Comments

 

world cup 2002

TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL 1: JUNE 2002 – STILL DREAMING OF WORLD CUP SUCCESS… 18 YEARS GONE… 

18 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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TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL 2 – THE LED ZEPPELIN 2003 DVD AND HOW THE WEST WAS WON RELEASES –  18 YEARS GONE:

It’s now some 18 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.

On the TBL website at the time, we asked for fans to feedback on their initial response to hearing the DVD and How The West Was Won album. Some of them are reproduced below – reading through them again captures the pure excitement that these releases generated back in 2003.

DVD/HOW THE WEST WAS WON FEEDBACK WATCH:

Here’s how the month of June 2003 shaped up for me…

A Celebration. A Revelation. A Sensation…

Led Zeppelin bring it on home.. What a couple of months…

A very hectic couple of months what with all the highs of the press playbacks -.organising the TBL ticket competition for the premeires (boy I put some hours in to get that one on track), attending the London premier (another memorable occasion in their presence)…not to mention starting a new job at the Virgin megastore in Milton Keynes and trying to fit work in on Celebration 2 in between it all.

Finally it was time to see it all in the comfort of my own living room. Saturday May 24 – always a special date in my calander…Mr Foy and family descended on Totnes Towers and we enjoyed the first playback in glorious 5.1 surround..(I’d purchased the Pioneer DVD set up on the Thursday – despite Janet’s ”where an earth are we going to put all that speaker wire!” outburst!).

In The Evening and Achilles were the immediate stand outs that early summer afternoon..

Moments to saviour: Plant walking up to the mic to hollar the opening lines of the former…Page’s arm flicking out the feedback on the latter. Knebworth relived. A few pints in the Fox and in the evening (as it were) Mr Tom Locke lifelong TBL crew member came over to view I’d warned the neighbours it was going to be loud. So 28 years to the very day that we’d both sat in Block AA row B in Earls Court …here we were watching a virtual re run of the some of our greatest times of our lives.It was an incredible experience to see and hear Led Zeppelin at Earls Court in such sonic splendour. Going To California- pure intensity. In My Time – pure bottleneck banshee. Stairway -pure emotion..

Next day was work and for me that meant late on the Sunday racking out the DVD and live album to ensure maximum impact on May 26 for customers of the Virgin Megastore Milton Keynes. Seeing all those copies of the DVD and album stacking up reminded me of other great retail Zep associations I’ve enjoyed over the years..ripping open boxes and being faced with the stunning covers of Physical Graffiti, Presence, In Through, Remasters etc. etc. The phenomenal sales experienced in stores across the world confirmed my long held belief that this was going to be a monster monster seller.

Over the next few days… well it was a case of non stop Zep Talk. I did two local radio interviews to plug the revamped A Celebration (and of course the DVD and live album) for Humberside and Stoke (accompanied on the journey by the trusty CD walkman blaring out How The West Was Won).

Then a meeting in Leicester to interview Priory drummer Andy Edwards for the next TBL (and would you know it we met outside HMV where the huge screens were playing the Earls Court segment; “This is bizarre”‘ said Andy ”I’ve played nearly a hundred gigs with that guy on the screen!”)…another interview for Radio Newcastle… more memorable playbacks to familyand friends continued unabated throughout the month. To cap it all they even made it on the Six O Clock News! A Celebration?..it really has been and a revelation… and a sensation.

The best Zep related period since Over Europe and Knebworth without question. Their inspiration is infinite and the DVD and live set is the conclusive long awaited proof. I feel proud to call myself a fan…. Dave Lewis – June 2003

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This might go on a bit but here goes.In 1979 I spent a night outside a shop in Bournemouth called setchfields waiting to get my hands on the holly grail(a ticket to a blind date with ZEPP) and it was with the same excitement and anticipation that I arrived at HMV in the same town an hour before it opened(on account of the fact I could,nt sleep) this morning

I had arranged for some friends to come round for a barbie this afternoon watch the mighty Wolves and then the DVD, I also said I would,nt have any sneak previews but as soon as I had it in my hands at 9.30 am I knew that was never gonna happen.Having always been a 1975 fan I went straight to the Earls court segment,2 minuets later I had tears streaming down my face I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing this is F****** awesome

I then preceded to flick through the Knebworth set in utter disbelief, my video of said gig never looked like this

I haven’t felt this happy since 4/8/79.

 Derek

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So, here I am, 46 years old, a sober, middle aged middle class guy who thought that his memory just played tricks – or until today.

I’d just thought it was my long lost innocence coupled to a naive teenage obsessions that had kept my one experience of a Led Zep gig (Coventry Locarno, December ’72) so high in my ‘best things in my life’ poll. But seeing the Albert Hall gig (twice now and its till only lunchtime!) has blown me away.

Firstly, the shere quality of picture and sound is a real tribute to Jimmy’s professionalism and perfectionism as a produce. Secondly,…well, what can one possibly say – but it was an absolutely phenomenal performance for such a young band. Only 4 guys? It’s always been the most powerful image and memory for me that three instrumentalists and a singer, using next to no electronic effects, could produce such an orchestrally magnificent performance of electric blues rock and acoustic folk/blues.

A reunion tour might be plausible, but to be honest, what could better this permanent record of THE truly great band?

Dr Simon Croom

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Finally the day is upon us – Bank Holiday Monday – The Kid (6 year old) still has school so I volunteer freely for the early start.

Straight across to the shopping mall nearby. Yes… good old Woolies has the stuff on the rack. Sales assistant stifles a laugh at an enthaused 44 year old with 2 special new toys. Home…I cant lie – to view & listen means that the grass has to be cut first – well it is a Bank Holiday! Grass done .. quickly!.. her indoors has stirred and goes shopping (she’s not a fan). Yamaha DTS amp fired up and …blimey the sound stuns me!! A fantasic job on the main events – drums awesome and loads of rear speaker activity- i would urge all fans to hear it on full 5.1 or DTS surround – super job Jimmy

Now back to reality – DVD i cant fault at all – content lives up to all expectation …and hype! …. packaging is good -;I like the 2 individual booklets and the general concept of the whole package…….However… the How The West CD whilst content wise;its a fantastic job;- great performances spliced to make a great ‘show’ I kinda felt underwelmed with the packaging; – this should have been the ‘official’ live release warranting a typical Zep ‘fancy wrap’ – smacks of cheap and cheerful. I’ve just bought Blighty – poor CDs but great packaging – perhaps a lesson should have been learned from the Japanese bootleg industry with regard to ‘wrapping the goods’. Anyway – i will NOT end on a negative note – i’m still taking it all in – i will submit a top 10 entry when can finally decide but there is a lot of fantastic material to get to

grips with. Its bloody good to look everywhere and see ads for Zepp and articles all over the magazines. The Kid is getting a good education believe me

 Paul Beattie

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I think the artwork for the DVD cover is really nice, but I do not personally like the CD Cover very much.

For such a classic show, I think the CD cover could have been better. This is only my personal opinion, but it would be interesting to hear other Fans opinions on this.

When I first watched the DVD, it was immediately obvious that the visual quality seemed far better than that seen at the recent Birmingham screening that I attended. The Colours seemed more vivid, and clearer.

I found the RAH material especially far more enjoyable on DVD, but feel that the Earls Court and Knebworth was the most amazing Zeppelin footage I have seen.

The 5.1 Surround Sound also sounded absolutely fantastic coming from every corner of the room.

I just hope that one day we get to see official releases of these complete shows in the same quality.

My only minor criticism would be some of the parts that were cut, which would have been nice to have had in the same quality (eg Denmark fades slightly early, Paris 1969 Rehearsal omitted, Australia 1972 Edited). It was nice to see the complete performance of ‘Dazed’ from Supershow though without the familiar edit.

Overall, I am ecstatic with the content of both the DVD and CD, and they will be played regularly for the forseeable future!.

Ian Avey

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I was initially disappointed that there was no booklet in the CD, but that feeling gave way soon enough. I have my fair share of Zeppelin bootlegs (although nothing from 72), and the band’s performance blew me away. Led Zeppelin has never sounded so amazing to me. I found myself skipping around a lot, being so impatient to hear the arrangement’s of different songs that I would jump to the next before the finish. When I finally did listen to the disc all the way through I was even more impressed.

As everyone has stated, I was blown away by Bonham’s playing throughout the album. But also I was very impressed with Jimmy’s solos, they sounded more inspired than other recordings I have heard of him. For all the credit heaped on Bonzo, Jimmy really deserves some accolades too for his contributions and innovations. I think this release will prove that.

Ted McCoy

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On the release day I bought it on the way to work;then had to wait through a shift of nine hours, an hour bus trip home and a walk of the dog before I saw it. I sat through the whole thing until the dawn chorus and drank a load of beer and constantly had to pull my jaw off

the floor. I’m still spending every spare moment watching it or thinking about it, unhealthy as that might be

The outstanding moment is the start. They walk on stage and Bonzo does that little roll, Robert Plant puts his fag out and says

“Good Evening” and then they begin. You feel relieved about the picture quality and the sound quality, you think it looks like it was filmed yesterday and then you’re there in the middle of it for five hours plus. From that high at thestart it never lets you down.

My only gripe is the MSG footage with the “hole-filling” to plug the gaps. Having seen TSRTS to death you can place where it all comes from. But its worth it for The Ocean and Misty Mountain Hop.

I’m thirty-six and never saw them live. I knew some who did and reverred them as special. A friend lent me an album in late 1981 and through reading and listening I got to learn about the Albert Hall film and the

Earl’s Court/Knebworth video -I’ve dreamed of seeing it for twenty years

plus (not able to afford to buy it on bootleg, but starting to get tempted to break the bank). And now this.

I hope this DVD puts the re-union demands to bed because, as they said when Bonzo died, you can’t have it without him. Part of the magic is the dignity with which the remaining members have resisted temptations to flog it to death on the road like most of their contemporaries. I’d rather they made new music and only played the old stuff as an aside when they felt like it.

I’ve got my DVD and I’m happy as a pig in shit. It’s back to when I was young and telling everyone I knew they were the best

band ever – I’m doing it all over again

David Seare

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Well, I waited until Friday night to watch the DVD. I went down to Tower records on Mercer St. in Seattle at 4 PM. I walked around looking for the DVD. I picked up a copy (on sale for and headed to the check out line. The young kid at the counter (maybe 20-22) said “wow, were sure selling a lot of these, they must be pretty good.” I said my generation has been waiting for decades for this. He said “no wonder! Said they were selling one DVD or CD about every 5 minutes!! I told him I saw Zeppelin in Seattle in 1977 (I’m 42.) He looked confused like “that was a long time ago! At that point a couple other people asked me for my memories of that show. I gave them as I remembered. Didn’t get the feeling these kids knew much about Zeppelin. Anyway, I got home and decided I wanted to watch this alone; feeling like

I need the memories and time to take it all in without others around.

I have a 52” windscreen with a decent Surround Sound System. I relaxed and listened to some blues while sipping on a few Crown Royals. After relaxed and ready around 9 I cranked it up. I didn’t know what to expect, and I wasn’t disappointed!

WOW WOW WOW. This just blew me away. The sound came through MUCH louder than expected. Were gonna groove was a fuckin killer opener for this DVD! I mean I wanted loud, but I was startled!

Overall, I just enjoyed every moment. I watched the entire DVD and after Robert said “thanks for the 11 years” I felt like crying! Wow. What a DVD.

This is going to be a monster seller and will put those critics to rest for good! Well, worth the price!!

Mike W

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Many of us reading this have dedicated entire bookcases stocked to the rafters with various and sundry illicit recordings of all sizes and shapes (and video for that matter) in the hopes capturing something remotely close to the gem we all knew would spring forth if Jimmy was to tackle this project and do it right. Did we after so long a wait ever doubt that the ‘ol wizard himself did not understand what held us under his spell, that he could not deliver?? Well folks , he nailed it to perfection. No point in even going into the CD which we all know in the first 7 songs alone is head and shoulders better than anything any band could deliver, any day, any era…..and there’s still 2/3 of the show to go! Go ahead and try to make me a liar. With due respect to ‘Trane’s nickname, they are The Undisputed Heavyweight Champions.

As to the DVD, I’m going to comment on just 3 songs from the Knebworth set and that’s enough. I sat in front of my TV, drinking it all in, and I literally choked up at the sheer majesty of it all. I’m a grown man of 36 for crissakes, I’m not supposed to get choked up by watching some band’s DVD! Well, Led Zeppelin does that, they move ya. We are still enthralled for a reason. In this one segment, given the best treatment we could expect from Jimmy and his team, we have before us the closest recreation of parts of that show short of being there. Folks, is this the sight and sound of a band trying to “recapture” the glory days???

This is a lumbering dinosaur??? Yeah, some dinosaur. How’s about a teeth-gnashing lean and mean velociraptor laying waste to all in its path? Go ahead, take a look again and bear witness to the supreme power and glory that is Rock and Roll, Achilles, or Kashmir. Zeppelin have the ability to enter the very fibre of your being, to elicit the highest highs and the lowest lows of the emotional spectrum….to, “take you there”. This IS sweet evidence. Go ahead and gloat, beat your chest, and show ‘em if there are any doubters left. Show them why that even today, 23 damn years after they last tread the boards, no one even comes close. Show ’em why we carry the torch just a little hgher than the other several million who also rate this bunch. This is the type of stuff that plays to 300,000 just as easily as it does 3,000 and Knebworth is the proof. No band ever could envelop a crowd with the ir sheer ability to transport and connect with it’s audience. It does that because they were simply huge. Their music, their skill (my god…Bonzo), and their stage presence is just HUGE. This is the power of Led Zeppelin Live and is the perfect yin to the perfect yang that are the studio works. Folks, if this is the sound and visual dynamic of a band that in the words of their own lead singer were trying to get their legs back, then god help the bands who had to contend with this beast in their alleged prime (ample proof thusly provided on the DVD’s remainder)! To paraphraise Jonsey’s words, this DVD doesn’t do anything to prove Zeppelin were the top of the heap, we already knew that. It just simply demonstrates how far ahead they were to whomever was supposedly number 2.

Chris Serratella

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The concert footage is absolutely superb, the sound quality is unbelievable; especially like the Earl’s Court material and the Albert Hall set.The amount of features, extras and ‘goodies’ is also excellent; you can spend hours going through these; the only thing perhaps missing is interviews with the band today to reflect on the release;

However, now the down points:- Although I thought that the cover art was good in both cases, the liner notes and photography was a major let down! I feel that the music has been compromised by a lack of detail in notes. For example, we have very little text to set all the clips, concerts, etc in context.I am also a big Deep Purple fan and rejoice in the sheer attention to detail their archive releases get with input from the DPAS – the Led Zep stuff looks like it has been rushed…

Karl Simpson

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The DVD is simply a dream come true. I am stunned, mesmerized, blown away, proud, awed and humbled all at the same time. I can now say that I have almost seen a Led Zeppelin concert. Bootlegs do not compare.

Thank you Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Dick Carruthers, Kevin Shirley, Bill Curbishley and especially John Henry Bonham (the undisputed star of the show).

Upon viewing DVD Disc 1, I love all of the menus as well as the actual Royal Albert Hall footage. It is so great to see Clive Coulson unloading the equipment off the plane in Iceland, and to see Jimmy greeted with a bouquet of flowers. I also loved Richard Cole running alongside the limousine like a Secret Service agent! Robert takes the time to shake a young boy’s hand getting out. Nice. I just wish that Robert’s

interview segment could have been included. I like seeing Jeff Beck backstage at the Royal Albert Hall, and the boys getting ready, along with that shot of Jonesy on the organ.

The Royal Albert Hall footage is absolutely stunning. This really is a Holy Grail. Like many, my central channel experiences crackling noises set in Dolby 5.1 from “Dazed” ’til the end, but it is pristine when set to DTS. I’m fine with that! Is that Henry “The Horse” Smith sitting behind Bonzo’s drum kit!?! I even love seeing/recognizing the roadies!

Speaking of Bonzo.that first unaccompanied drum roll hits you like a ton of bricks, and it makes you realize what type of sonic/visual treat is in store. Bonzo drops a stick & picks up a spare without missing a beat. There are so many great moments in this footage: Robert’s earnest delivery, everybody facing Bonzo before dynamic changes, Jimmy & Jonesy smiling & interacting during “How Many More Times,” Jimmy’s Black Beauty up close, seeing the youthful audience just eating it up.I could go on & on.

It’s great to finally have a crystal clear version of Danish TV on DVD, as well as Supershow & Tous En Scene. Although I love the “Communication Breakdown” mime from Swedish TV, I just wish it could have been a lower gen. It just doesn’t look like it’s from a master tape. It’s still great to watch on a big television screen!

The menus on DVD 2 are even more interesting. So many surprises. I love it all: the Iceland “Dazed” footage, the backstage at MSG, the boys crossing the street in 1970, the vault/editing footage, the home movie footage and day footage of the crowd at Knebworth, the assorted Starship clips, the 1977 gift from Jimmy, and especially the “Heartbreaker” credits montage. There is so much cool stuff there: Bonzo dancing in a hotel lobby, the fire dancer lighting the gong at MSG, the extras from Earls Court, and, most intriguing, two brief clips of another pro-shot ’73

show (maybe the Pittsburgh screen test?). Finally, it warms my heart to see all of the home movie footage used to such great effect throughout the entire disc. Thanks to the original filmers who avoided Peter Grant’s watchful eye.

What a way to start off DVD disc 2: Vibrant color footage from Australia! It adds a new dimension to the old black and white footage of “Rock and Roll” we see later. Using “Immigrant Song” from the live CD was a great decision. The editing is dynamic and it really is a good bridge between the early years and the superstar years. What stage presence!

On to New York. I can say without hesitation that “The Ocean” is my favorite clip on the entire DVD. Jimmy looks & plays like the guitar shaman he is, and Bonzo just blows it all out. I like the other MSG clips, but it’s a bit frustrating to see visuals not matched up to the soundtrack. I know that they did the best they could with what they had, but it’s hard to watch “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and know that they are using clips of Page from “Whole Lotta Love/Boogie Chillun”, for instance.

Enough complaining. The Earls Court footage is so crystal clear! Jonesy finally gets his due as Led Zeppelin’s secret weapon. The Earls Court segment shows him as a master of mandolin, stand up bass, fretless bass, clavinet and electric piano. Personally, this was the most anticipated part of the DVD, and it does not disappoint. Everything I love about Earls Court is represented: the Light & Shade of this incredible band.

Like just about everybody who wasn’t actually at that meadow north of London, I am most blown away by Knebworth. It warms my heart to finally see for myself how magical it really was. Robert is in great voice, and is in fine command of what’s going on behind him. We see a more mature band that is still proving how potent their chemistry is. They all shine here. My two favorites are “Achilles Last Stand” and a “Whole Lotta Love” with that awesome Knebworth riff. They still had it!

The interview footage is a nice counterpoint to all the frenzy of the live performances. They picked good bits; of course, I wish they were more complete! The 2 promos look great on DVD, but I wish the 1997 “Whole Lotta Love” video could be on there. I am a collector; therefore, I am a completist.I cannot help it!

In closing, I just want to write that Jimmy Page is my favorite rock musician of all time, and that these projects make me more in awe of the man than ever. Thanks to him for finally giving the fans what they want. I wish I had time to review “How the West Was Won.” In a nutshell.stunning and extremely satisfying. What a great time to be a fan of this band.

Tommy Gamard

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Was lucky enough to have my first view of the DVD in a detached house in rural Norfolk with few/no close by neighbours. Why so lucky? My colleague’s son had rigged up his state-of-the-art four foot Mission speakers to the

TV, complete with all manner of extra sound boxes, to give the loudest and most chilling 3+ hours of surround-sound viewing imaginable.

I’m now 29 years old, a Zepp-head for the last 14, so never saw them as a 4-piece, but last night was as close to sitting in a third row seat for ‘an evening with Zeppelin’ as I’m ever likely to get. At one point during the RAH 1970 set I turned to my friend on my right and said “can you just imagine being in the audience right now? – I’d be doing my absolute nut!!”

This footage HAS to be seen on DVD for the best effect, as without the amazing sound it just cannot be the same. Most of us always thought they were the best, but this release takes us all to a new level and really drives it home that they truly are they best live band of all time.

You just run out of superlatives and none really do justice.

Many people regard the Beatles as being No.1, but for complete, pure dynamite, live-on-stage musical cohesion between four musicians, producing a sound that rocks you to your core, they are way out on their own. This

DVD is the ultimate rubber stamp, leaving its mark – “The No.1 Greatest Band in the World – Confirmed”.

Let the good times roll, again and again…

Greg Purling

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I wandered through a deserted Preston city centre at 9am this morning and I was first in to HMV – it felt like I had gone back thirty years to those days when a new Zeppelin album was released and I rushed off to the record store with my mates to be the first to grab the thing off the shelf. I`ve only had time to watch the first DVD and it has truly lived up to expectations — GOD they were a hot band!

I hadn’t expected it to be as good as this – and an excellent job seems to have been done with all the production and restoration. This really brings it all back – it really does ! !

Steve Wilde

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A stunning 2DVD set, it’s not really worth going into detail much – the quality of the material speaks for itself.

Two minor niggles are:-

Why is the MSG footage letterboxed (within a 4:3 frame) and not available as anamorphic 16:9 like TSRTS DVD is? The increased resolution of 16:9 Anamorphic would have made this section amazing.

The other is that the DVD defaults to 2.0 as opposed to 5.1 audio. It has to be manually selected.

These niggles are nothing really as the quality of both picture and the sound are really astonishing. Speaking of image quality I was suprised how well the EC footage has held up, in fact better than the Knebworth footage. Did you notice there are many colour flaws in the Knebworth footage? Try pausing it on a PC DVD player and looking for the coloured bands across.

Anyway, a superb DVD and well overdue. I love the menu footage and my favorite so far today is the Immigrant Song footage with it’s chaotic high-speed editing!. They should release that as a single, it sounds so powerful on my DTS amp.

Jim Sloane

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Can’t say exactly where in Connecticut I bought the DVD and new CD package, as they sold it to me on Saturday (three days before the “official” release date). They were selling like hotcakes around dinnertime and the store had a laptop playing one of the ‘extras,’ : a Dazed and Confused TV performance. I got the last “How The West Was Won’ from the place. No doubt they’ll be reordering…

Here goes:

After watching and listening for a couple of days, I’m much more impressed with the DVDs. The sound, particularly using the surround sound option, is really impressive. I always liked the look and sound of the 1978-80 band (more on that in my CD comments), so the Knebworth footage is a particular fave. We MTV viewers were teased back in ’90 when they aired Kashmir and Ten Years Gone from Knebworth and

since then have wondered “Why haven’t they put that concert film out?” Bonham’s drums and JPJ’s eight-string bass sound phenomenal on my stereo. I really wish they’d included such selections as “Ten Years Gone” and “Hot Dog” from Knebworth.

Knowing that Earl’s Court footage was nearly all close-ups, I was wary of what it could look like. To my surprise, the close-ups are good and the band sounds great.

Madison Square Garden in ’73/Song Remains the Same outtakes? My mind is boggled by the repeated statements that these are outtakes from the SRTS movie when it seems to have the same Black Dog as the movie and Since I’ve Been Loving You is also included (Is

this just another version from the same three nights they filmed the movie?). I AM glad they included The Ocean as I’ve never seen that one live and Misty Mountain Hop.

The band is in good form in the Albert Hall performance. I’ve heard so much bootleg audio from this period, that it’s cool to see it performed. Page and Plant hadn’t fully blossomed into the stage showmen they’d later become but musically, everyone’s playing well.

The “extras” are also worth watching. Though I’ve had bootleg versions of two of the TV performances for a long time, the DVD versions & sound are far superior. One other performance (Tous En Scene) is particularly amusing for the lack of audience reaction. Everyone is simply sitting and staring at the sonic assault before them, a far cry from what the band had seen in the states.

Bottom line on the DVD: It’s a must-own for any hard-core Zep fan. It adds credence to the long-standing claims that the band was not in top form in Song Remains the Same. I will be driving my wife crazy for weeks watching these things.

How the West Was won:

There is no doubt in listening that Page and Kevin Shirley put a tremendous effort into restoring these performances. The audio is top notch. The performances are among the better ones I’ve heard from this period too. I only wish that what is being billed as the ultimate live CD set from the band came from more than two performances in 1972. How the West Was Won has some excellent performances, I’m really fond of Bron Yr- Stomp in particular. Maybe I’m jaded but I’ve heard much of the rest of the songs in bootleg form for so long that I’m not blown away by the new CDs. But I will compare the sound quality difference to the official ‘BBC Sessions’ from the bootlegs of the same stuff I had, which is to say it’s a much better listen after Page and Co get their hands on them for mass release. Go buy ’em

JD

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When I arrived in the office this morning I had DVD and HTWWW (thank you Amazon) sitting on my desk and I just can’t wait to give it the full outing on my stereo/DVD at home. In the meantime I am listening to HTWWW on my PC and despite the lack of quality of my PC’s soundcard the thing is mind blowing. I am nearly finished with the whole set but probably keep it on a continuous loop until the day is gone. Highlights amongst the 18 highlights for me are Stairway to Heaven (never sounded better), Rock and Roll (just kicks arse), Dazed and Confused (already loved it on the bootlegs, but this is just wow) and The Ocean (just great from the entire band). The only negative points if you could call them so, are

the lack of a little booklet – would have been nice

  1. the two-second gaps – I find them a bit irritating.
  2. the title – HTWWW does not do it justice. Should more be like The best album in the world ever….:)

For a Zephead, who never had the chance to see them live this is probably as good as it gets. I will always love and listen to my bootlegs, but finally we Zepheads have an official release which shows the best band in the world at it’s peak.

Thank you Jimmy, Jonesey, Robert for making this possible and I am sure if we all turn it up to full volume even Bonzo can hear it tonight. I am definitely going to do so….

Cant’ wait to get home to see the DVD….

Andreas Stocker

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I went to see the screening at the cinema in Oxford on Sunday night, so I got to hear how it should sound – properly loud! The first bomb strikes of Bonzo’s bass drum were enough to tell me that things were going to be excellent and indeed they were! I’ve got my own copy too, now, and my favourite bits at the moment are; We’re Gonna Groove (Bonham IS Animal from the Muppets!), Misty Mountain Hop & The Ocean (incredibly sharp guitar sound and Plant’s voice sounds great), the Communication Breakdown promo from 1969 (no wonder they didn’t do much telly!), In My Time Of Dying (Page drew a couple of good-natured laughs at the Oxford screening as he appears to be, er, ‘compensating’ for something with his slide work!!) and Whole Lotta Love from Knebworth.

I think the 1970 RAH Moby Dick deserves a special mention – words fail me to describe how awesome a drummer Bonham was, and being that close to him (albeit on screen) while he goes all-out is an amazing experience. How long did each drum kit last, I wonder? I mean, the Who were renowned for trashing their equipment but Bonham seemed hell-bent on destroying his drums just from the force of his playing! An awesome spectacle – there’s just something about seeing him whack that cow bell round on its stand!

Mark Herdman

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I couldn’t sleep much last night, I was looking forward to today so much. I’d been lucky enough to go to the London “DVD” premiere, so I had seen half of it already. However, this made me me even more restless to see the rest!!

At 10.55am today I was standing outside Virgin Megastore in Camden Town, looking through the window at the copies of “DVD” on the shelves. After what seemed like 5 hours (it was actually 5 minutes!), I ran in, bought it, and ran home again in a state of feverish excitement!

Five-and-a-half-hours later, I am trying to sum up what I feel about the footage I’ve just seen. It’s so difficult… a hundred highlights, so many incredible moments… but here goes, after first viewing.

Firstly, “DVD” offers conclusive proof as to why Led Zeppelin can never reform. John Bonham was, is, and always shall be the most inventive and powerful rock drummer of all time. His sticksmanship in “Trampled Underfoot”, to use just one example, is simply breathtaking…

“The Ocean”- from Bonzo’s thunderous “We’ve done four already, but now we’re steady…” onwards, this is essential viewing for anyone not familiar with the legend of Led Zeppelin… the song really motors and swings, and Page looks like a man who knows he’s in the best band in the world playing at the peak of its powers…

“White Summer” – I feel like shoving all those Satriani-worshiping knuckleheads who say Page was overrated in front of the TV and telling them “WATCH THIS AND LEARN!”. Pagey is in blistering form and plays so fluently… the master at work.

“C’mon Everybody” – Maybe a surprising choice as a highlight, but I think it rocks!! What with the current fashion for garage rock bands, it shows that Zeppelin could play punk rock better than most of the bands that came after them and said they were dinosaurs… raw, ragged and brilliant!

“That’s The Way”- It’s quite some feat to make Earls Court sound intimate, but Zep managed it on this number. It’s always been in my top 10 Zep tunes, and their performance is superb. I loved the smiles between Page and Plant as they were playing it… they were obviously so in love with what they were doing.

“Trampled Underfoot” – Possibly my absolute highlight so far. What a staggering performance… it sums up everything that is great about Led Zeppelin. Bonham and Jones shifting into gear like a well-oiled machine, Page pushing and pulling the song into new directions with almost telepathic speed, Plant careering over the top… “PUUUSSH!! PUUUSSHH!”

“Rock And Roll” – Whew, slow down lads!! Whether it was Knebworth-nerves, or something else, the band speeds through the song like they were Motorhead! Unbelievable energy… I was literally hanging off the edge of my seat watching it!

“Kashmir” – Whoa!! OK, this footage has been on MTV, so is relatively familiar, but seen in this edit… even more magnificent. Bonzo is so fired up on this… he really is the cornerstone of what makes it possibly THE all-time Zep classic. I loved Pagey’s grin as the audience goes ballistic at the opening riff… “Oh, so you like this one, do you?!!”

“Whole Lotta Love” (Knebworth) – Brilliant idea to include the song twice… it really helps to bookend the band’s career. The Knebworth version proves why Zep will always be the greatest… Pagey includes two new riffs in the song that would have kept most bands going for an album or two!! Robert’s interaction with the crowd was brilliant… I just wish I could have been there!

Well, all in all, I really don’t think “DVD” could have been much improved upon. I would have loved “Over The Hills And Far Away” (onstage footage) and “Ten Years Gone” to have been included, but what is on there is well-nigh perfect. The presentation of the set is top notch, the attention to detail excellent (the menus are beautifully done) and the sound and visuals absolutely magnificent. Jimmy Page and Dick Carruthers should give themselves a pat on the back, as they’ve done the Led Zeppelin legend proud, and then some.

Better sign off now… that PLAY button on the DVD player is begging to be pressed again….

Patrick Crowther

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The DVD has taken over my life. After purchasing it we got home and the DVD was on, the second disk first and I watched it

with increasing astonishment. I got to Knebworth, I was there as a sixteen year old, who’s musical outlook and appriciation of what was possible was changed on that day in a field in Hertfordshire. For me seeing Zeppelin was a religous thing and I don’t mean that in a small way. I talk about it as a defining moment in my development like the first time you fall in love or the birth of your children. That important. Well Knebworth did not disappoint, this is how I remember them, power, light and shade, having fun if a little nervously. But who else could transmit an emotion like that nervousness to 210,000 other souls.

The Earls court stuff is brilliant the contrast between the acoustic stuff and the electric, sensational.

Finally last night got to RAH. what a band, my eldest daughter sat up trying to get what it was about this that had excited me so much. She watched and was amazed by the looseness, something nobody does now, wandering about into and out of songs at will, and how tight they were whilst doing that. The RAH footage is awesome a band who know they are the best in the world and are not afraid to show it.

Overall my conclusions are that while it is a band display Bonzo does the things that make you go “wow” most often. If there was ever an arguement why Zeppelin could never reform this is it. It is a shame that we can never see them again live but nobody today can play that well.

Would anyone really argue after seeing this that Zeppelin were not the greatest rock and roll band in the world ever? I think not. Thank need to go to Jimmy, Robert and JPJ, and in the words of Robert (well almost) thanks for 35 years.

 Oceanbridge

So there it was…an incredible outpouring of Led Zeppelin material. Re -reading that has certainly inspired me to dig out the DVD and the How The West Was Won album and immerse myself in it all again…I won’t be the only one I am sure…

Dave Lewis, June 2020

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John Bonham A Celebration II Revised Plans:

Stop Press: Just received this news. I had spoken to Ros earlier in the week and she was explaining the unsurprising difficulties they were facing. Ros will keep me informed of further updates ahead.

Revised Plans for John Bonham A Celebration II Announced

With just over 3 months to go, organisers of John Bonham A Celebration II are having to re-visit their plans for the event this September due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Headline Acts performances at the Palace Theatre in Redditch scheduled for Friday 25th & Saturday 26th September have been postponed until Saturday 25th September 2021.

“In discussions with the Theatre Manager last week, it became abundantly clear that social distancing measures would likely result in us having to reduce audience numbers to a point where it would not be financially viable to go ahead “ explains Event Director, Ros Sidaway. “Moreover, the Health & Safety of all our Artists, Audience members, Staff, Volunteers & Suppliers is of paramount importance, and the team felt it better to postpone now rather than delay a decision. This still gives us enough time to revise our plans for the rest of this year’s Festival”.

An Outdoor Music event had already been programmed in for the Saturday afternoon in the former covered Market Area, behind Debenhams, for around 1500 fans. The team are now preparing a detailed proposal for Redditch Borough Council about staging a “Covid-Secure” Festival for a smaller audience. Tickets for the event will need to be purchased in advance, and will be refundable should Government restrictions not be relaxed in time to go ahead.

“2020 sees the 40th Anniversary of John’s sad passing and we, as fans, wish to commemorate the date” adds Ros “We are compiling a video film to celebrate John’s life to be aired via our YouTube channel and Facebook this September for fans in the UK and overseas.”

Meanwhile, all tickets for the postponed theatre shows will be rolled over to 2021 and it is hoped to retain the existing line ups. Friday evening tickets will be valid for a matinee show on the Saturday, while Saturday evening tickets will be a straight transfer. Refunds will be available to those unable to attend next year’s date (25th Sept 2021). Full details will be published on the event website, www.JohnBonhamAC.com, in due course.

See link at:

https://www.johnbonhamac.com/

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LZ News:

For all the latest Led Zeppelin News check out the LZ News website at:

http://ledzepnews.com/

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Ian Dixon’s classics albums re -assessed…

TBL contributor Ian Dixon has been re- assessing some perhaps overlooked classic albums in his collection so here is Ian’s overview on the following:

On The Rolling Stones Exile On Main Street…

So having time and leisure, and inspired by their brilliant You Can’t Always Get What You Want telecast, I’ve pulled out Exile On main Street for the first time in about five years. I have never got on with this album and coming out the other side, while I still don’t think it’s patch on Sticky Fingers or Beggars’Banquet, I must say parts  are better than I remember. But it’s a tough slog. Decent Hi-Fi is a must and to get anything from it I had to concentrate, not let the music wash over me. So many tracks start with a killer Keef two or three note riff then disintegrate, Mick gets bored, the mix is horrible  or the horns just swamp everything.

The two stone wall classics could have been better, Tumbling Dice is sloppy, not tight but loose and Shine a Light cries out for Charlie. While looking at the album sleeve notes where the hell was Bill to give some bight and direction half of the time? But I did find slightly tarnished gold in Torn and Frayed, Sweet Black Angel and Stop Breaking Down. My reduced track listing for another time is therefore Rocks Off, Shake Your Hips, Tumbling Dice, Sweet Virginia, Torn & Frayed, Sweet Black Angel,  Happy, Ventilator Blues, Stop Breaking Down and Shine A Light. Sensible or sacrilege?  Having partially made friends with this blind spot I plan to try the same with Quadrophenia (the original album not the excellent film) next.

On The Who’s Quadrophenia…

As planned, I have just come out the other end of Quadrophenia and am ready to report back… Like Exile On main Street what the album needed was time, concentration  and a pair of headphones. Give it that respect and it is not as turgid as I recalled. In particular Roger’s vocals are top notch throughout the whole thing and the cans bring out the bass more. I always thought the general concept was that the 4 band members were parts of Jimmy’s personality but that at the same time Jimmy had a relationship with a band called The Who. That never worked for me, so I dumped my search for a non-existent narrative and just listened to a series of sound sketches, pressure off and light dawns.

The beautiful melodies in the title track and I’m The One, some of Pete’s best emotion tugging.

Punk and the Godfather – almost as if someone else had analysed what makes an ‘OOO song, stuck the bits together and made it work.

I’ve had Enough – what an extended fade out

5:15 always the one that floated to the top, still great mid period Who

The guitar sound on Sea and Sand, wow

Headphones bring proper sparkle to Love Reign O’er Me, finally getting why it’s considered a classic.

So take away the smoke and mirrors and it’s basically cynical ol’ Pete musing on the trimmings and emptiness of fame, the 2 way relationship  between band and audience and the tensions within the group.  It’s not a Rock Opera it’s The Who’s Plastic Ono Band.

On Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti…

 

Having time… I have been seeking out some classic albums. Ones that perhaps, don’t get pulled from the shelf as often as they should, or become comforting background to other tasks, or fall foul of the CD program button. My self-imposed rules are simple. Play the album complete, under headphones and listen, really listen. I have now reached Physical Graffiti.

I first encountered this slab of sound in the early 1990’s and where it is good it is well and truly A1 grade awesome. But it is not a record that gives up all its secrets as immediately to me as say Led Zeppelin 4. A rag grab of years, different recording settings, mixes, vocal techniques. It is therefore time to square the circle, starting with side 1, track 1.

Custard Pie – A slap of funk and a cry that Jonesy is going to be a major part of the proceedings. It rocks and it strops, but that throaty growl of Robert’s vocal is very different from the swagger of a couple of years back. This is very much the morning after.

The Rover – hooks just oozing from Page’s guitars, Plant’s cracked crystal vocals fit the mood perfectly. Bonzo drives the whole thing relentlessly onwards and the guitar wah paves the way for…

In My Time of Dying – The first of the big guns, and if push came to shove my toppermost Zep tune (somedays) Lazy bottleneck and then that unearthly crash from the drumkit. Robert’s voice and the mix are both spot on. As the track ebbs and flows, my stomach and neck hairs following. Oh My Jesus.

Houses Of The Holy – The orphan. Dumped from its own album and never in the live set, I have always held a candle to the simple and gorgeous melody line. The lightweight delivery makes the lyrics more remarkable. Should this have trumped Dancing Days in ’73?

Trampled Underfoot – The air of funk that has breezed through the record so far is storm force 10 here. What a riff. Stomps all over the track and yet a close cousin would gently swirl in Tom’s Diner. The mid 70’s Plant throat is starting to feel more familiar and my headphones are uncovering layers easy to miss.

Kashmir – Bit good this one! Don’t think I can add anything to the mountains of words that have been given over to this epic. Simply let myself drift from the East, via Middle Earth to touch down at the 02.

(Half time, grab a coffee, comfort break, wash hands for 20 seconds.)

In The Light – The one that got away. Following and similar to, Kashmir I am guilty of overlooking a complex and rewarding piece. The drones suggest someone has been listening to George Harrison, then textured vocals that for once work for me before Robert really open ups. The rising guitar scales remind me of Queen, and that is a good thing.

Bron Yr Aur – Like a welcome bridge Page’s metallic claw-hammer skids across the headphones. Somewhere, in another land, Donovan provides a catchy lyric.

Down By The Seaside – What first grabbed me as an accessible pleasant stroll feels superficial when compared to earlier riches, then the middle swerve makes it interesting again. Jury still out.

Ten Years On – ‘How strange the change from major to minor’ great sequencing, a deep river to submerge in and with the power of water, come out of it refreshed.

Night Flight – Insert smile emoji here. Hold my hand up, the song hand completely passed me by before and I am delighted to now shake its hand. Superb cymbal work from Bonzo, a chugging bass, Robert’s cascading lyrics and Jimmy keeping the piece together. Would have been completely out of its comfort zone on The Forth, but a snug fit now.

The Wanton Song – What could have been a lesser Trampled goes down a rabbit hole via Page and lesie speaker.

Boogie With Stu – Well yes, a necessary stepping stone to Rock N Roll, but if Graffiti had not been a double I don’t feel this odd and sod would have seen the light of day. File under for completests only. Nice mado though…

Black Country Woman – In which Zep does Beggars Banquet on the Stones Mobile. I love the juxtaposition of an old world blues vibe fighting a passing aircraft. Bonzo is clearly enjoying his place in the sun.

Sick Again – The Knebworth take first opened my ears to this one. Just a bit too grimy, though a lovely Page solo skates over the top. Towards the end the band find another gear that could have made this a grabbing opener rather than a pleasing sign off.

So on reflection the collection makes more cohesive sense than memory served. The Rover and Night Flight have gone up in my estimation, to the slight expense of Down By The Seaside. While the cream of the crop will always sit very high in any ‘greatest hits’ splurge, Physical Graffiti as an album is a puzzle that deserves to be unwrapped in all its breadth. For me, not a perfect record, but one that could not exist in any other way.

Many thanks to Ian

I would welcome other contributions to this idea  – the brief is to listen again at what might be an overlooked classic in your collection.  Send your thoughts on an email to davelewis.tbl1@ntlworld.com

DL

………………………….

On the player:

June 3:

It was 47 years ago today…

Led Zeppelin at the LA Forum June 3,1973…

On the player –Led Zeppelin Three Days After bootleg double album on the Trade Mark Of Quality label – the title refers to the fact it was recorded at the Los Angeles Forum on June 3, 1973 three days after the bootleg known as Bonzo’s Birthday party.

These LA Forum gigs were a highlight of their 1973 US tour. The Three Days After package also added two performances That’s The Way and the then unreleased acoustic instrumental Bron- Y- Aur taken from the September 4 1970 LA show famously known as Live On Blueberry Hill.

However, it was the 1973 US tour material that was the real attraction. I got this double album in 1974 via a mail order from a company called Flamingo Records based in Earls Court. Side four is an absolute tour de force with encore performances of The Ocean, Communication Breakdown and an amazing extended delivery of Thank You. I played that side constantly. It was first hand evidence of their incredible prowess on that tour and did much to extend my all-encompassing Led Zep passion – a passion that would soon lead to the first of many peaks when I attended the five shows at Earls Court the next year.

Back in my bedroom in 1974 as an obsessed 17 year old fan, Three Days After (along with the aforementioned Bonzo’s Birthday Party) provided me with a thrilling insight to how good Led Zeppelin were live on stage on that US tour and boy did I want to hear more…much more…

It sounds wonderfully nostalgic today…

June 6:

It was 25 years ago…

Loading up to listen again to the brilliant Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Paris ’95 2 CD bootleg set on the Silver Rarities label – as recorded 25 years ago on June 6, 1995..

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the Omnisports Bercy venue in Paris that night and what a night it was – Jimmy Page was on blistering form.

A couple of highlights that stand out for me from this performance:

Zep’s ‘Dancing Days’ had been included in the set in an all electric arrangement early on the US tour and then in an alternate arrangement with the Egyptians from mid May. It’s the latter version that Plant introduced in both French and English on this opening night in Europe. A wonderfully relaxed affair with the shrill Egyptian violins merging with Jimmy’s powerful riffing.

‘Down By The Seaside’ was a regular insert into the ‘Calling To You’ medley. It was presented in the new slower arrangement Plant had used to record the version with Tori Amos that appeared on the then just released Encomium tribute album. Plant’s vocal delivery in Paris was sheer perfection, adding all the original nuances (“Yes she will, yes she will”) to a song that was enjoying renewed recognition during this period.

With the tour due to arrive in the UK in July, this was an amazing period and oh how we lapped up – as Andy Adams and a fair few others reading this will no doubt agree..…

June 9:

On the player here – Marc Bolan…inspired by some great reading matter:

This month’s issues of both Mojo and Uncut have excellent features on the story of Marc Bolan’s breakthrough in 1970 which took him from bopping elf to glam rock king.

John Robinson’s piece in Uncut is headed The Wizard while Simon Goddard’s in Mojo is Electric Wizard and both are well researched and presented features..

Reading them inspired me to dig out some 1970 era Marc and so on the player this rather splendid US copy of the Tyrannosaurus Rex A Beard Of Stars album on the Blue Thumb label complete with a free copy of a promo pressing of Ride A White Swan – a little Marc in your heart is always a good thing…

 

June 10:

While my preferred method of listening is the vinyl LP record, I still love CDs and you will not be surprised to know that I have a fair few of them. As my fellow music enthusiast Chris Wright has mentioned, it’s a good time right now to explore the far corners of the collection so I’ve been sorting out some CDs to play – I’ll be posting the fruits of my finds.

So first up in the DL CD sanctuary …

In the light of the previously mentioned Marc Bolan features in Mojo and Uncut this month – I was immediately drawn to this gem.

Marc Bolan At The BBC is a superb 2 CD overview of his recordings at the Beeb from 1967 to 1976. As can be seen, this was a bargain £3 from Fopp Records. There’s some really interesting stuff here as recorded for various radio shows and aired at the time going back to his stint in John’s Children, the Tyrannosaurus Rex era and the big hitters with T. Rex -complete with detailed recording info and sleeve notes.

June 10:

Marking the late great Ray Charles Birthday today I’ll be indulging in this magnificent set.
This has to be one of my favourite CD packages – Ray Charles Pure Genius The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952 -1959).

It comprises of seven CDs and 1 DVD housed in a beautiful replica period hi fidelity record player with flip lid complete with Ray’s Mess Around Atlantic 45 on the turntable – plus a highly informative hard back book with full track details…

I got this for the bargain price of £25 at last year’s VIP Music Mania Record Fair in Harrow last October …what a bargain and what a beauty…

June 10:

CD Sanctuary:
From the DL CD archive…

Loading up the excellent 2 CD compilation set The Music Weaver – Sandy Denny Remembered which I purchased when it came out in 2008.

36 track career spanning anthology of the late great songstress including her work with Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and the duet with Robert Plant on Led Zeppelin’s The Battle of Evermore…perfect wistful listening for a dull Wednesday afternoon.

………………………

June 11:

On the player – the Paul McCartney and Wings album Venus And Mars which I bought 45 years ago this week and inspiring many a summer of 1975 memory. The track Rock Show has that immortal line ‘’What’s that man movin’ ‘cross the stage? It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page’’…you gotta love it…

June 11:

CD Sanctuary: From the DL CD archive…

It was 48 years ago today…

 

Loading up the 3 CD bootleg set Led Zeppelin Triangle Of Love which captures their performance at the Baltimore Maryland Civic Center on June 11,1972, all of 48 years ago today.

I remember back then reading the Melody Maker review of their Nassau show and harbouring to know what it all sounded like.

This is from a fairly good if noisy audience tape – there are better quality recordings of gigs further on in the tour but it’s a joy to be reminded today of just how good they were during this period.

Dave Lewis Diary Blog Update:

 

I was really struggling towards the end of last week and into the weekend …I posted this on my Facebook page last Sunday…

Update here:
I’ve not been posting on Facebook in the last couple days as I have been struggling…

I’ve been incredibly anxious, depressed and low – in bed for a lot of the time hiding away – I could not face anything …it just beat me as it sometimes does…

I feel very selfish feeling like this and hate myself because I know I have a lot to be thankful for and there are many people worse off and I am not looking for sympathy.

I have to accept that sometimes this is how it is. Looking back, I was carrying depression issues for a good while before Janet’s accident when she fell and broke her leg in front of me – but when that happened last December it really did take me over the edge.

I know what the triggers are, counselling has helped and I do have coping mechanisms but sometimes they just cannot stop the anxiety and depression becoming all too much.

It makes enjoying all the normal things so hard. I do make an effort and do try very hard to focus on the positives and see the good things and I will continue to. As is evident on my postings here and on the TBL website, writing about music, Led Zeppelin in particular, chronicling and sharing the joy of it is my DNA and also my job. It’s distressing when I lose sight of that.

My anxiety often overwhelms me in attempting to do what were simple enjoyable tasks. As we all know in this current situation, things we did that we took for granted often seem like mountains to climb.

So that’s the way I’ve been feeling. In these very testing times we are all experiencing emotional difficulties and everyone has their own set of circumstances they are dealing with. As I said, I am certainly not looking for sympathy – many have far worse things to deal with.

It’s not all doom and gloom by any means and as I said, I have so much to be thankful for – not least much support from friends far and wide and in particular of course the amazing good lady Janet – I am a very blessed man to have her love and support -and that of Sam and Adam. Janet has also been incredibly strong in coping with her ongoing recovery from her broken leg these past six months for which I have been doing my utmost to support her – we are hoping the healing process is taking it’s course.

So…in the light of a difficult few days, I know I have to dust myself down and get on with my job (I have some Zep/TBL projects ahead) and try and relish in listening to so many great albums and singles and CDs that I am lucky enough to be surrounded by – and share all that in the way that provides me with much inspiration – and posting my thoughts on here.

It does helps me considerably to unburden how I am feeling and try and make some sense of it…so many thanks for listening.

Much love from here and stay safe and well you lovely people…

Dave Lewis, June 7,2020

Since then…

I’m not looking for sympathy, as I know I have a lot to be thankful for – but sometimes I find it hard to think and act rationally. There was some incredibly supportive reaction to my post above which of course has been very inspiring.

Coupled with the good lady Janet’s unflagging love and understanding, this has enabled me to see things a bit clearer this week. Like everyone reading this, the ongoing situation takes it’s toll – it’s sometimes hard to see the light ahead -and as the man once sang –  ”everybody needs the light”…

As can be seen above, getting stuck into the music has been a further inspiration. I’ve  made an effort to start sorting out some choice CDs and have uncovered some amazing stuff from the DL CD archive. There’s also been some liaising on the phone with TBL designer Mick Lowe as we chip away at a future TBL project. Mike Tremaglio has also been in touch – he is busy on another project we are hoping will come to fruition.

And finally…

Some inspirations this past week…

Celebrating Sam’s 30th Birthday last Thursday…

Watching Channel 4’s re- run of the 1966 World Cup Final with the good lady Janet on Sunday afternoon..

Inspiring phone conversations with Hayley Martin, Pat O Reilly, Melvyn Billingham, Nick Carruthers  and Richard Cole …

Great support from TBL website tech man Mike Mackechnie when we had some problems…

Playing the Page & Plant Paris June 6 1995 CD set -what memories…

Playing the Paul McCartney and Wings Venus And Mars album and my mind drifting back to the glorious summer of 1975…and all that went with it…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave Lewis –  June 10, 2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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https://www.facebook.com/tightbutloose.loose

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

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4 Comments »

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Hiroshi

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Rick

  • Rick Key said:

    Thank you for all the wonderful memories, reviews and stories about all things Zep. After a rough day TBL always brightens up my evenings. Really hope you get better soon and definitely my thoughts are with you and Janet! Let the music be your master 🙂

  • Hiroshi said:

    Hi,
    Sorry for the last minute comment; on the postponed John Bonham Celebration II event. 25 September 2021 coincides with the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s first Japanese tour. In the afternoon on this day in 1971, after finishing the two successful Tokyo shows the previous days, the group and the entourage rode on Shinkansen (the bullet train), moved to Kyoto, the country’s old capital, and enjoyed a two-day sightseeing (although the second day was maligned by rain, and they were stuck inside the hotel most of the day). A number of photos from the day show the group members in a relaxed, unassuming tourist mode. In the evening they played an impromptu instrumental performance at the rock club they visited.
    On top of that, by pure coincidence, 25 September is Saturday on both 1971 and 2021! Can the committee consider incorporating a mini-section, at least an announcement to the guests, to inform what happened and where John was fifty years ago? Just suggesting.

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