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18 July 2014 5,635 views 7 Comments

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Announcing the new TBL T-Shirt design: Pre order now!

The new TBL T-Shirt is now under production and pre- orders are being accepted now –  the new TBL T-Shirt should be ready to despatch early to mid August. I will update on distribution in the coming weeks.  

This special TBL T-shirt is a two colour black Gildan heavy cotton T-shirt depicting the new TBL Mag logo expertly designed by Mick Lowe with the slogan ‘’Not just a band…more a way of life…’’ –  white and gold print on black T-shirt.

Sizes are available in both men’s and ladies – all ordering details are available at this link – pre-order now!

Don’t miss out – be seen in the coolest Led Zep T-Shirt around …


Lullaby …and The Ceaseless Roar: Album Trailer:

There’s an official trailer in which Robert talks about the influences on the album and Justin Adams adds his thoughts – see You Tube clip below.

Robert Plant European tour dates reports:

Here’s a couple of first hand reports from Robert’s European tour dates – note additions to the set list have included No Quarter, Nobodys Fault But Mine  and Communication Breakdown ( see sound clips below) and from the forthcoming album Pocketful of Golden and Turn It Up (see You Tube clips below).

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters in France – June 22nd Paris, le Bataclan, and July 5th Cognac, “Blues Passion” Festival

Set list : Babe I’m gonna leave you – Tin pan valley – Spoonful – Black Dog – Rainbow – Going to California – The Enchanter – Little Maggie – What is and what should never be – Fixin’ to die – You need love (both shows)/ Hoochie Coochie Man (Cognac) > Whole Lotta Love > Who do you love > Whole lotta love ending- Encore: Satan your kingdom must come down – Rock and Roll

At the end of a sunny Sunday afternoon in June, there was a large crowd gathering at Le Bataclan, a quite small venue in the centre of Paris, one hour before the beginning of the sold-out show. Just before joining the queue, I looked at a bunch of guys sitting at the terrace of a café nearby: Here they were, the Sensational Space Shifters themselves, anonymous without their singer, enjoying a Parisian break between the soundcheck and the gig.

Half an hour later, they walked through the theatre to the backstage door, unnoticed by the public gathering in front of the stage. Then an american trio called the North Mississippi Allstars came and conquered the French audience with their personal reading of blues standards (like another young band had done forty years ago…) mixing heavy guitar playing with funky drumming, and switching instruments between almost every song.

The setting was very different two weeks later in Cognac, a lovely town in the Southwest, well known for the famous liquor that bears its name. The “Blues Passion” festival the SSS were attending as part of their tour of European summer festivals takes place in a beautiful park in the middle of the town. Robert Plant hit the main stage at 11:15 pm under a cloudy sky, after a gig by french bluesman Fred Chapellier, an incredible guitar player as well as a great songwriter.

Both shows were superb. The sound was consistently good, with John Baggott’s keyboards a little more upftront in Cognac. The intro and outro tape used was Rumble by Link Wray, and I was wondering if Plant had watched the scene in It Might Get Loud when Jimmy Page says how much he loves the tune.

When Skin Tyson began a flamenco-style intro on the acoustic guitar that merged into the arpeggios of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, for the greatest effect on the public. This set opener is one of the highlights of this tour. Babe was beautifully played, with dexterity and passion, as were the other renditions of Zep classics akin to their original versions: Going to California, What is and What Should Never Be, and of course Whole Lotta Love, which looks more and more like a medley like in the old days, with its bluesy introduction including You Need Love and, in Cognac, Hoochie Coochie Man, and then the Who Do You Love insert.

Even if it’s not a surprise to me any more, the moment after the intro, when all seems suspended in the air and then Skin launches the riff which he plays with the required sound and precision … it still sends shivers down my spine.

Amongst revisited Zeppelin songs, there was a totally revamped (again) Black Dog  used to introduce african griot Juldeh Camara, and Rock and Roll: nevertheless, on this one, Billy Fuller paid tribute to Jonesy’s live bass line and Baggott to Ian Stewart piano part on the studio version.

Otherwise, the set included two great songs from Mighty Rearranger, a forceful Tin Pan Valley and an atmospheric Enchanter; three blues covers: Spoonful, introduced with the genealogy of the song for Cognac blues connoisseurs, from Charley Patton to Cream and … the Arctic monkeys (?); a whole new rock’n’roll arrangement of Fixin’ to Die, with a great showcase by Justin Adams in Elvis’vein; from Band Of Joy: Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down. And two new songs: the subtle Rainbow and the hypnotic Little Maggie.

But the most striking thing about Plant in 2014 is how much fun he has, and the enthusiasm he shares with his public. I’ve seen him ten times since 1995, and the passing of time doesn’t seem to have an effect on him. He moves, laughs, dances like a young boy, and jokes a lot with the audience, even teases them: in Paris, it was the day after the “fête de la musique” and he said: “you have a beautiful city… but yesterday there was shitty music everywhere”, and then complained about bad Stevie Wonder’s covers he seemed to have heard. In Cognac, as France had just lost the World Cup match , he said with a smile: “beautiful country…beautiful football” causing an immediate reaction.

As always, he spoke a lot of French,  sometimes a quite personal one, announcing his “nouveau album” and giving us his usual “salut mes potes, jusqu’à la prochaine” (good bye my friends, see you next time…approximately) before leaving. He likes old-fashioned, “goddam”-kind words , like ” sacrebleu” and in Paris he said many times “Ecoute”(listen) to a mysterious Pascal: Pascal Nègre from Universal, or Pascal Obispo, the french singer ? (during the Page-Plant tours  he would often mentioned awful popular french singers like Johnny Hallyday or Sacha Distel).

He had a laugh with the band especially during the lengthy introductions, akin to his introductions of Bonzo prior to Moby Dick in the 70’s. And in Cognac, at the end of it, as Skin was playing the first bars of What is, he stopped the song to say “Nobody introduces me! It’s fantastic”. And prior to the encore, he exclaimed: “we can’t play football, but we play like motherfuckers!”

Of course there were words one could understand as hints at the Zeppelin matter : in Paris he said something like “the truth is here and now, forget what happened before”. When he announced the release of his new album, he said ironically that they’ll soon play at the “Stade de France” with One Direction, and proudly at the end of the show: “think of what it is, and of what it could have been”. In Cognac, as he had asked the public for requests prior to Rock And Roll, he said: “The Immigrant Song? Never heard of it”.

In a nutshell, these two shows were extraordinary musical and emotional experiences. Plant seemed completely in his element, a perfectly balanced mix of rock, blues and world musics (with an s: African, Celtic, even Spanish) which summarize his whole career and is quite unique in popular music today. The voice is still there, powerful and profound, and his charisma undeniable. Credits must be given to the band too, six gifted musicians who make a great team together.

I heard in Cognac a lot of people that are not Zepheads saying how impressed they were. And for a Zep fan, listening to Robert Plant performing Whole Lotta Love is like watching a page of rock history being written. You think of the Winterland, the Royal Albert Hall, the LA Forum, Madison Square Garden, Earl’s Court, Knebworth… And of course you think of Jimmy Page: during Rumble, during Babe and Whole Lotta Love which are his babies. A guy in Cognac wore this t-shirt “Jimmy Page has changed my life”: the great wizard was there, even if not physically. And Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters honoured his work beautifully. Hats off to them all…

Fabien Modola -Paris

plant italy


Last Friday  July 11th 2014, I was at the Robert Plant concert at Pistoia Blues Festival in Piazza Duomo. His 4th time in Pistoia – he also appeared in 1993, 2000, 2006, 2014).

Over 4,000 people enjoyed a great gig  by Robert and Sensational Space Shifters.

Set list as follows: Babe I’m Gonna Leave You/Tin Pan Valley/Spoonful/Black Dog/Rainbow/Going To California/The Enchanter/Little Maggie/What Is And What Should Never Be/Fixin’ To Die/Whole Lotta Love/Encores:Pocket Full Of Gold (new song !)/Rock And Roll

Robert got an extraordinary response by a very warm audience  -He smiled a lot and really enjoyed the Italian audience.

Many highlights in the evening (over 90 minutes on stage in all):

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (fantastic opening in my opinion),  Going To California (at the end of the song Robert plays with audience about the final chorus “ohohohoh”) What Is And What Should Never Be simply powerful –Whole Lotta Love with “You Need Love” introduction.

We were very lucky to get a day with no rain…before Robert – there was a great performance by North Mississippi North All Stars. Great concert which my wife Francesca also enjoyed very much.

Alessandro Borri -Bologna, Italy.


John Paul Jones –  11-date West Coast tour with the Dave Rawlings Machine:

John Paul Jones will once again be working with the Dave Rawlings Machine during September.

Dave Rawlings’ band, which also includes Welch, Willie Watson and Paul Kowert, recently played the Grand Ole Opry and will take their show to venues in California, Oregon, Montana and Washington. Tickets go on sale this Thursday (July 17) for fan club members and the next day to the general public except for the Arcata, CA date which has an on-sale date of August 4.

09/22 – Missoula, MT – Wilma Theater

09/23 – Spokane, WA – Bing Crosby Theater

09/24 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre

09/25 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom

09/27 – Eugene, OR – McDonald Theater

09/28 – Arcata, CA – Van Duzer Theatre

09/29 – Grants Pass, OR – Rogue Theatre

09/30 – Redding, CA – Cascade Theatre

10/01 – Santa Cruz, CA – Cocoanut Grove

10/03 – Sonoma, CA – Gundlach Bundschu Winery


Sammy Hagar touring with Jason Bonham:

This via USA Today:

Just before the count-off, Sammy Hagar turns to a visitor and cackles.

“This is like test-driving a new car,” says the man whose pre-Van Halen fame is inextricably linked to his autobiographical 1984 single, I Can’t Drive 55. “With a new band, before you start it up, you’re really not sure where it’s going. But it’s exciting.”

From the first thunderous notes of Led Zeppelin’s Good Times Bad Times, it’s apparent that this latest Hagar-and-pals machine is firing on all cylinders. That’s good news for fans planning to hit Sammy Hagar: A Journey Through the History of Rock, the group’s upcoming run of summer shows, which kicks off Thursday at Rock Fest in Cadott, Wis., and wraps up Aug. 16 in Stateline, Nev.

When the band puts the final cymbal crash on Good Times, Hagar, 66, can’t contain himself. “That was powerful, guys,” he says to three compadres assembled at his private Northern California studio for the group’s first rehearsal, which USA TODAY was invited to attend. “This is going to work. Man, I love singing Zep tunes.”

It doesn’t hurt that pulling drum duty is Jason Bonham, son of iconic Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, while the bass lines are anchored by founding Van Halen member Michael Anthony. The note-perfect guitar riffs are supplied by Vic Johnson, longtime member of Hagar’s house band, The Wabos.

For the next few hours, the foursome rips through a classic-rock mix of Zeppelin (Ramble On, When the Levee Breaks), Hagar-era Van Halen (Why Can’t This Be Love, Best of Both Worlds), Chickenfoot (Big Foot) and Wabos (Mas Tequila).

There’s a lot of good-natured banter back and forth, much of it focused on who will take which solos when and how Bonham should telegraph the wrap-up for each tune with a drum flourish.

 Classic Rock magazine at 200:

classic rock 200

Classic Rock magazine has reached its 200th issue and to mark the occasion the new issue just out, is a mammoth 244 page affair appropriately featuring 200 interviews with a host of key players who have influenced the magazine’s content since it’s inception in 1998. Amongst them is a great interview with Jimmy Page. It’s worth noting that of those 200 interviews, Classic Rock news editor Dave Ling contributes over 50 – he really is the hardest working interviewer in rock showbiz! The whole issue is an absolute triumph and you would be well advised to search it out.

I myself have enjoyed a strong affinity with Classic Rock over the years having been privileged to contribute various Led Zep related pieces for the magazine. In 2001 I assisted Mick Wall on a major Led Zep IV retrospective,  I’ve also contributed features on Led Zeppelin II, the 1977 US tour, the Swan Song outtake, a detailed review of Robert Plant’s Dreamland album, extracts from the Over Europe book and more recently an overview of the first three Led Zep reissues.

From its tentative beginnings back in the late 199s, Classic Rock has established itself as a quality publication -always authoritative and with a healthy mix of the all that is classic in rock retrospectively and now. Unsurprisingly of those 200 issues, Led Zeppelin lead the way with most cover stories -13 in all. It continues to be a pleasure for me to liaise with the CR writing and editorial team past and present amongst them Mick Wall, Scott Rowley, Geoff Barton, Sian Llewellyn, Dave Everley and the aforementioned always legendary Dave Ling.

In the difficult and ever demanding world of publishing, Classic Rock  has survived and prospered because it treats its subject matter with the upmost integrity – a formula I relentlessly  attempt to apply to the TBL mag. Classic Rock has all the comings and going of the rock fraternity absolutely nailed every month. Happy 200th issue -and long may it reign.


Bass Guitar magazine:

bass one

The current issue of the excellent Bass Guitar magazine  has John Paul Jones news piece regarding the Led Zeppelin Reissues which I contributed to….

Flashback magazine

flashback maga

Editor Richard Morton Jack has been in touch regarding the new issue of his truly excellent Flashback magazine- here’s his comments:

Flashback #5 is published this week – it includes detailed coverage of the new Led Zep reissues (including an interview with Dave Lewis, offering fascinating insights into them), and a full reprint of a rare and revealing January 1970 interview with Robert Plant, which has barely been seen since it came and went in Friends magazine at the time. Numerous rare photos of him at Jennings Farm are included! You can order a copy at


Tommy Ramone 1952 – 2014 RIP…

Thoughts on Led Zep and Punk Rock:

It was very sad to hear the passing of the Tommy Ramone – the last surviving original member of The Ramones age 65. I never saw The Ramones but I did witness first-hand the impact they had upon UK fans.

On Saturday May 28th 1977, I went to see Television supported by Blondie at the Hammersmith Odeon. Back then I’d fallen big time for the brilliant Television debut album Marquee Moon (thanks mainly to Nick Kent’s utterly seminal review of the album in the NME). This gig was the same week as release of The Sex Pistols’ God Save The Qeeen single. The audience was made up of a combination of more traditional rock concert goers and the London punk rock contingent –Television (and Blondie ) emerging out of the same New York York new wave/punk scene as The Ramones.


In between Blondie and Television appearing, DJ Andy Dunkley spun a selection of tunes including The Pistols and The Ramones Sheena is a Punk Rocker -when the latter was played the whole place went ape as fans punk and otherwise got off on what remains an invigorating track. It was a magic moment and inspired me  to buy both singles the very next week –  and here’s the thing:

Contrary to public opinion, many of us those of us of a denim flare and rock loving variety, actually liked punk rock for what much of it was  – simply great rock music –and that was certainly down case the far end of Kings Road at the home at the Led Zep HQ of Swan Song Records.

It’s well documented that Page, Plant and Bonham ventured out to the Roxy punk venue in London in early 1977 to check out the Dammed etc and there was a genuine admiration from within the Zep camp for what this new music movement was achieving. There was certainly a punk/new wave kinship going on around Swan Song at the time which I witnessed first-hand. I was in the office a fair few times that year and, it was no surprise to see copies of singles by Generation X, The Damned, The Clash etc stacked up by the office stereo. I also vividly remember a quantity of t shirts arriving promoting Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers  L.A.M.F. to give out to the Zep management and band.

Punk Rock was no threat to Led Zeppelin and neither were The Ramones. They were both great rock bands and of course still are…

So let’s here it once again for Sheena…and RIP Tommy, Johnny , Joey and Dee Dee…(DL  Sunday July 13th, 2014)


Johnny Winter 1944 -2014 RIP:

It was also very sad to hear the news yesterday of the passing of the great blues rock guitarist Johnny Winter age 70. I always loved his version of The Rolling Stones Silver Train which actually came out before their Goats Head Soup album version. Another leading light of 60s/70s rock goes out…RIP.


DL Diary Update: 

So goodbye to the World Cup. The competition – one of the best in a generation -certainly for me since Argentina 1978, duly came to a close on Sunday with that most exciting Argentina v Germany final. You have to hand it to the Germans who’s stoic belief and skill once again carried them to the highest prize.  The sport however continues with the start of the Commonwealth games in Glasgow next week…and the return of the Premiership is not so far very away .

Last Sunday it was also good to look back to the events of Live Aid all of 29 years gone. It may have been chaotic on stage but it was the moment Led Zeppelin’s stature rose again before our very eyes. At the close of Stairway To Heaven when the camera pans out after the final line remains an awesome moment.

Back then ,their Live Aid  appearance inspired me to pick up a project I’d had in mind for a couple of years -to compile an ultimate companion to their music. I started writing the first chapter Jimmy Page: The Master and his Art the very next day – five years later the book was published as Led Zeppelin A Celebration – my initial motivation to kick start it all was that return in Philadelphia back in 1985. I knew then as we all did that it still mattered to so many people…29 years on it of course still does.

Cel one

On the player here: Led Zeppelin The Missing BBC Sessions bootleg – Blind Faith by Blind Faith (a great one off – Steve Winwood is amazing throughout), Duane Allman Anthology and Crosby Stills Nash & Young Four Way Street. I am hoping to catch up with their newly released 1974 Live set soon. Also on as the weather hotted up here (at least for a couple of days!) a splendid compilation Back To California has been sounding good with tracks from Little Feat, Gene Clark, and J.D Souther.

I have to say it’s been a bit of an up and down period here recently – like it does for all of us sometimes, the sheer weight of stuff going on both professionally and personally, has got somewhat overbearing leading to some anxiety and stress issues that I’ve been addressing and continue to do so on going.

The workload has been a bit intense here recently with a lot of plates to spin and projects to plan and instigate.  I am certainly not complaining on that level as there are many positives to draw on and it’s always very good to be busy. It’s been a question of  keeping on top of it all which hasn’t always easy when I’ve not been feeling 100%.  Thanks as ever for all your support of the various TBL initiatives which is always a constant inspiration.

Ahead here is more work on TBL 28, the future book project I have in mind to research and get a firm direction on and as mentioned above, the distribution of the new TBL T-shirt – pre orders are being taken now.

I wont be able to make the upcoming Robert Plant Glastonbury Abbey show as it falls on Adam’s birthday – I do aim to catch it up with the show at the November dates.  As previously mentioned, it’s a packed August here and somewhere along the way the good lady Janet and I plan to get away for a much needed break and to celebrate her rather special birthday.

Before all that, this weekend sees the staging of the bi -annual Bedford River Festival -one of the largest gatherings  of it’s kind in the country with over 200,000 expected to attend the mix of floats, river races and live music. Unfortunately there are heavy showers predicted over the weekend and umbrellas are therefore going to be required.

And finally – they still come from the land of the ice and snow…

richard iceland

Here is TBL contributor Richard Grubb with some essential Zep reading pictured this week outside the famous Laugardalsholl venue in Reykjavik in Iceland. The very location Led Zeppelin performed at on June 22nd 1970 -footage of which can be seen in the official 2003 DVD. Nice one Richard!

DL July 18th 2014.

Audio clips:

An audio recording of Robert Plant performing ‘Communication Breakdown’ live in concert on Monday night at the Piazzola Sol Brenta

An audio recording of Robert Plant performing ’Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ live in concert on Monday night at the Piazzola Sol Brenta

Many thanks James Cook at


You Tube Clips:

Official Robert Plant new album  album trailer film:

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters  live performance of  No Quarter: Piazzola July 14th, 2014

Robert Plant live performance of  Pocketful Of Golden – new song from the new album aired at the Pistoia Blues festival

Robert Plant live performance in Berlin on Wednesday of  Turn It Up from the new album 

Until next time…have a great weekend…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – July 18th , 2014.

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  • lebourgchristine said:

    Pour en revenir aux concerts du Bataclan et de Cognac ,j’ajoute que les titres qui plaisent le plus sont encore les reprises de Led Zep malgré que les nouveaux titres de Robert Plant soient plutot sympas !!! je crois que l’on reste fan à vie d’un groupe comme Led Zep .

    Going back to the Bataclan concert and Cognac, I add the titles that appeal the most are still times of Led Zep although new titles are rather nice Robert Plant !!! I think we remain lifelong fan of a band like Led Zep

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    thanks Patrick for v nice comments

  • Patrick said:

    Dave – sorry to hear your feeling rough, it’s no surprise – you do a LOT !! We thoroughly appreciate your efforts and the top notch Zeppelin product you give us. A break would be well deserved !! Take it easy, Patrick (Bournemouth & Olympia !!)

  • lebourg said:

    j’ai assisté au concert du bataclan et à celui de cognac et les deux etaient supe rbes .Les SSS sont vraiment sensationnels et sympas (je les ai rencontrés dehors ,et ils sont très accessibles ).dommage je n’ai pas rencontré Robert Plant,chose que je souhaite depuis mes 12 ans ( j’en ai 50 aujourd’hui ).supers concerts à défaut de voir Led Zep mais il manquait vraiment Jimmy ,John Paul et John !!!!Led Zeppelin a marqué ma vie et touché mon coeur .Dommage je n’ai pas eu la chance de les voir ensemble !Christine

    I attended the concert paraphernalia and that of cognac and two were supe rbes .The SSS are really amazing and nice (I met them outside, and they are very accessible) .dommage I have not met Robert Plant , thing I want from my 12 years (I’m 50 now) .supers concerts failing to see Led Zep but he really missed Jimmy, John Paul and John !!!! Led Zeppelin marked my life and affected .Dommage my heart I have not had the chance to see them together! Christine

  • Ian D said:

    Blondie supporting Television? Never in my eyes… Proud to say “Heart of Glass” was the first record I ever bought. From W H Smith Bedford.

  • Wools said:

    Thank you for the Johnny Winter mention today, a nice reminder. I saw Johnny once in a galaxy far,far away (1977 in upstate New York) with a reformed semi-attempt from Hot Tuna as the opening act. Johnny Winter on this evening decided to go “un-plugged”, which was a surprise for me as I was very much looking forward to a revisit of his very electric blues playing! I wanted to see and hear that iconic Thunderbird guitar! His playing was brilliant and his voice was in very good form. He made me feel that he did not even have to work that hard as he made playing look so easy. RIP Johnny Winter, often imitated, always his own man.
    The Ramones, strange time for a full fledged Led Zep fan indeed. I listened to many of the punk bands at that time, bought some of the LP’s, tapes etc. Listened from afar but, Led Zep still ruled my airwaves. What an in creditable time for music that moved so many people in such different directions.

    Las Vegas, NV. USA

  • Jeff said:

    Oddly enough…I saw The Ramones booed off the stage in Toronto back in the late 70s only to be followed by Johnny Winter

    See link:


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