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6 October 2012 3,471 views 2 Comments

To mark the impending momentous worldwide screening of the Led Zeppelin Ahmet Ertegun 02 reunion concert on October 17th, we are counting down to the day with a daily Celebration Day Newsletter post. This will feature relevant news and updates plus the TBL Countdown Collection – a daily celebration of Zep moments, memories and artefacts.

Countdown to the Celebration Day…11 days to go.

Here is another little taster of what is in store…..


Here’s link to a news story in the New York Times about the impending New York Premiere and Press Conference


Beatles bits. It was 50 years ago this weekend that The Beatles first single Love me Do was released on an unsuspecting public. The rest is history…BBC 4 has a documentary about Love Me Do airing on Sunday night here. See preview at

Tonight BBC 2 also is aring a special documentary on their 1967 TV film Magical Mystery Tour – see preview link at

A little over two months after the release of Love Me Do on the night of December 13th 1962, The Beatles performed at The Corn Exchange Bedford supported by Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. This afternoon, as a little respite from sticking stamps on envelopes for the impending TBL 33 mail out, I am going to pop in to the annual Bedford Beer Festival which is held at the Corn Exchange (I also paid a visit Thurday night – you gotta do it!) – the scene of that Beatles show of night on 50 years ago.

As I take up a drop of the real ale, I am going to have a good look around and imagine John Lennon up on stage playing that rasping  harmonica as they performed their then only (minor) hit. They are the act we’ve known for all these years and they are still timelessly brilliant…

Inside the Corn Exchange for the Beer Festival where 50 years ago the Parlophone recording artists from Liverpool appeared -pic Phil Harris.



The stunning Sydney Showground cine footage matched to the Long Beach How The West Was Won 1972 live recording as featured on the 2003 official DVD.


Number 16 in the countdown to Celebration Day:

Today’s choice is Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won – here’s an overview of this superb live set…


“Led Zeppelin The Forgotten Giants?” was the headline that jumped out of Melody Maker in late June 1972. It contained Roy Hollingsworth’s remarkable report from New York where Led Zeppelin had just performed two shows at the Nassau Coliseum. He witnessed a three-and-a-half hour marathon show that included four encores and heard first hand the disappointment the group were feeling at being ignored in the press.  In a moment of rare irritation John Paul Jones commented: “Here we are slaving away constantly getting incredible reactions and nobody back home cares.”

Hollingsworth’s description of the Nassau show remains one of the most evocative of their entire career: “The noise cajunked and beefed outwards, filling each corner of the circular space aged Nassau Coliseum. 16,000 people didn’t know whether they were coming or going. Led Zeppelin had been off stage four times and four times an unnatural din had brought them back for more. It was one of the most amazing concerts I’d seen from any band at any time. Nothing had gone missing. It had been the complete act. There had been power, climax after climax, beauty, funk, rock, boogie, totally freaked passages and such constant snarling energy that on this evening Led Zep could have provided enough human electricity to light half of America. Does anybody really know how big Led Zeppelin are?”

Who would have thought that 31 years on, this period would inspire a belated live album set that would top the US charts instantly?       But that’s exactly what happened following the release of How The West Was Won  in the spring of 2003.

Before we get to that, it’s worth reflecting on Zep’s frame of mind at the time. As Plant told Hollingsworth: “Something has really clicked here. The spirit within the band is fantastic. They’d never believe how good it is here a back home. They’d just never believe what happened tonight.”

Zeppelin’s US tour of that June took in a compact 17 dates. It was all but ignored in the press (bar that Melody Maker  feature) and vastly overshadowed by the Rolling Stones’ comeback US tour that kicked off at the same time. As Bonzo reflected a couple of months later to the NME’s Roy Carr: “It’s the Stones this, the Stones that… it made us feel we were slogging our guts out and for all the notice we were getting we might as well been playing in Ceylon. Kids in England didn’t even know we were playing the States.”

The lack of press coverage would inspire Grant to hire a proper PR firm for the next US tour, and with Danny Goldberg on board it would be a very different story in 11 months time.

Despite the low key coverage, the tour found Zeppelin on fire musically.  Fresh from the trip to Australia and a break back in England, and fuelled by the progress they made on their fifth album during the spring, the momentum within the band was at a new high.

Their eagerness to present the new material resulted in them premiering five songs from their fifth album, Houses Of The Holy, which would not be released for another ten months. With the acoustic set still intact, the shows consistently ran to three hours and over. This tour also allowed them to showcase material from their six month old watershed fourth album.

On June 19 they played a remarkable show at the Seattle Coliseum. One of their longest ever sets saw them preview ‘The Ocean’, ‘Black Country Woman’ (prepared for Houses but eventually issued on Physical Graffiti), ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ plus ‘Dancing Days’ (the latter was actually performed twice – as they revived it as a final encore). A week later they were on their favoured west coast stomping ground for dates in San Bernardino, San Diego, , the Los Angeles Forum and Long Beach Arena.

That summer found Zeppelin in absolute prime form. ‘‘1972 was a particularly great year for us. We were right on top of what we were up to,’’ reflected Plant in the promotion for the new set.

Whilst researching the DVD project, Page delved deep into the Led Zeppelin tape archive.  He discovered various soundboard recordings including their September 29 Festival Hall, Osaka Japan show in 1971 and a recording of their January 22, 1973 date at Southampton University.  There were also the tapes of two complete shows recorded at the LA Forum on June 25 and Long Beach Arena on June 27 from their American tour of 1972.  Both the latter dates were well known to ardent Zep collectors.  The LA gig had been held in high esteem via an excellent audience recording released on a bootleg CD set titled Burn Like A Candle.  Three soundboard extracts from the Long Beach  gig – ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’, ‘Dancing Days’ and ‘Moby Dick’ – had seeped out on bootleg, giving rise to rumours of the existence of the full tapes.

Eddie Kramer was the recording engineer on the shows as he recalled: “Alongside The Song Remains The Same I did two live recordings with them in 1972 at Long Beach and the Forum.  That was always a challenge. You want to do a good job and recording any band live is a challenge because you want to get their shit down right.  If their performance is right, if my mic’s in the right place and I’m supposed to have done what I should do then it should work.  It was a special time.  I do remember that what became How The West Was Won was a set of stunning performances – as to why it didn’t come out at the time, well Jimmy is in charge of the band’s destiny and always was.’’

It was the America 1972 live recordings that Page decided to work on for an official release, and together with engineer Kevin Shirley, he edited the two shows to form a three CD set that finally captured the real deal of Zeppelin live.  It’s quite breathtaking to hear how far the band had developed barely a year on from the BBC 1971 In Concert show.  They were simply on fire that summer of ’72, brimming with confidence and a knowing arrogance that they had elevated to new heights of onstage telepathy. The set featured three previews from their forthcoming fifth album, Houses Of The Holy, which would eventually emerge nine months later. The assured deliveries of ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, ‘Dancing Days’ and ‘The Ocean’ are typical of the wave of optimism they were rolling on. An experimental, marathon-length ‘Dazed And Confused’ includes spin-off improvisations on ‘The Crunge’, another Houses preview, plus the newly recorded backing track ‘Walters Walk’, which would not see the light of day until the posthumous Coda album. The version of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ featured an elongated Page solo and the three track acoustic segment – ‘Going To California’, ‘That’s The Way’ and ‘Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp’ – offers further evidence of their growing acoustic maturity. CD 3 is an absolute tour de force with covers of ‘Let’s Have A Party’, ‘Hello Mary Lou’ and ‘Going Down Slow’ within the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ medley, a storm through version of ‘Rock And Roll’, the full on riff power of ‘The Ocean’ and a rare (for the time) outing of ‘Bring It On Home’.

The release of How The West Was Won on May 26, 2003 conclusively redressed the lack of a fully representative official live Zeppelin album. The fact that it entered the Billboard US chart at number one was a fitting testament to Zeppelin’s longevity.

This is the official live album Zeppelin fans had craved. From the drone noise as they walked on stage through to a breathless ‘Bring It On Home’, this is a complete Zeppelin on stage experience.  Individually, they are bursting with creativity. Plant’s vocals would never again match the high register range he propels here, Page is off on a tangent at every turn of the way and Jones and Bonzo are locked together in familiar tight but loose fashion.  The whole affair is superbly mixed with just the right amount of crunch and bluster.  The last word goes to Jimmy Page, the creator of all this outpouring of material: ‘‘Playing the west coast was always fantastic.  Each member of the band was playing at their best during those 1972 performances. And when the four of us were playing like that, we combined to make it a fifth element. That was the magic – the intangible.”

Dave Lewis

Taken from the book Led Zeppelin – From a Whisper to a Scream (Omnibus Press)

Order here:

To read more about the making of this remarkable album and the 1972 USA tour be sure to invest in the new issue of the TBL magazine

Order here:

Until tomorrow…keep reading – keep listening… 

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

October 6th , 2012

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  • Pete Leigh said:

    Thanks to your site guys i got sum tickets for the london premiere, stunned. Pete leigh

  • andrew said:

    you know I may be biased but show me an act more vital than Zeppelin in this period? they blew every wannabee off stage

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