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11 May 2009 5,308 views 3 Comments

Dave LewisMany thanks to all those who have forwarded their Knebworth recollections. This project is moving along well and the aim is to produce a special TBL Knebworth 30th Anniversary publication in book form.

So we URGENTLY need your recollections.

If you were at either of the Knebworth gigs we’d like your memories – How you got a ticket, the journey, the day itself and obviously the performances and your overall impressions. In effect your personal recollections from out in the field 30 years on. Word count 1,000 words or as long or as short as you want to make it.

PHOTOS – We also require any personal photos taken at the gigs – crowd shots, stage shots etc.

E-mail your text / photos marked Knebworth Memories to– Remember to include your full name and location. All responses / photos used will be fully credited.

We look forward to soaking up a host of your reminiscences from those historic final UK gigs of nearly 30 years ago.

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  • Andy Pittam said:

    I was 17 years old and queued up for two days outside the local Virgin store where i lived to get my hands on that all important ticket. We travelled down on the Friday night,five of us cramped in a mk 2 Escort. We got to Stevenage in good time stopping in the local pub chatting to the locals,who must have been unaware of just how many people were going to decend upon there town.
    Saturday arrived and what a scorcher of a day,everyone in good spirits,beer being passed about and experiances of Zeppelin told.Most people oblivious of the music on the stage,Todd Rudgren being the pick of the support acts.
    Then at last with the sun setting the familiar sound of The Song Remains The Same fills the air. I had waited years for this,i was not to be disappointed,song after song filled my ears,Kashmir and Achilles Last Stand stood out for me. Robert’s banter between songs, Jimmy’s laser show mesmeric and the consumate professionals that are John Paul and dear Bonzo. All of it superb,what a fantstic day. Then back they came, a stirring sing a long of You Never Walk Along,then into the encore Rock ‘n’ Roll, Whole Lotta Love, I dont think the people in Stevenage can hear you, “O yes they can Robert”. Heartbreaker then it was all over. It seemed to be over in a flash but thankfully etched in my memory forever.
    I still have my badge,program and ticket stub all framed and hanging pride of place in my living room.
    Led Zeppelin Knebworth August 4th 1979,people still talk about this concert after 30 years,how many bands can say that,and i was there.Thankyou Led Zeppelin my best ever day.

  • Joseph Whiteside said:

    Wow thirty years.

    My friend Roger Grais won the radio station competition on CFOX-FM our Vancouver rock music radio station. Although we had only got to know each other that summer he told me I was going with him as I met the two requirements – I was over eighteen and I liked Led Zeppelin. His girlfriend met neither requirement.

    So two weeks later we head to London for a week, airfare, hotel and 2 concerts tickets in hand. Roger even got a passport on three days turnaround. We arrived on August 1 probably and spent two days doing the tourist thing and visiting as many pubs as possible. We lost count of the number of Green Man pubs in the environs of our hotel – The Whitehouse near Regent’s Park.

    On the Friday afternoon we took the Tube to train station and headed out to Stevenage station where we got off( I think). We were loaded with 3 dozen beers, food, binoculars, a blanket and a crummy portable cassette recorder. Grabbing bootleg t-shirts we headed into one of the massive campgrounds. We wandered about chatting with people who couldn’t believe how we made it to Knebworth from Vancouver, Canada. As darkness fell we guzzled beers and chatted with two lovely girls from Leeds. After midnight we discovered that people were already gathering near some huge wrought iron gates. Around 4:00am the gate came down and the mad rush along dirt paths began to the main concert site. I lost a shoe and nearly lost Roger in the scrabble and charge but we made it and survived the jostling for what seemed like hours before we got in arounf 6:30 AM. Roger refused to surrender his ticket stub and retains his complete ticket to this day.

    We charged down the hill and found a good spot, we thought, slightly stage right and well infront of the mixing board.

    The cool day (who said it was warm?)past quickly as we absorbed the building tension. Hopes of a mid afternoon acoustic set sadly evaporated. Fairport were excellent especially Swarbrick’s violin playing and Rundgren in his yellow jump suit was quite good we thought. And then dusk came on, the gradual darkness engulfed the area illuminated by torches, matches and camera flashes.

    Our anticipation was so tense as we watched the myriad of stage hands finalize the stage prep and the light and video crew ascended the ladders to the upper light trusses.

    9:30PM and the cheers and applause kept building as we awaited the event. I had seen Zeppelin in Seattle on the ’77 US Tour but this would be even more special.

    9:40 and the hand held torches signalled stage activity. Guitar notes and drum rolls sent us into a frenzy and then the opening sustained note of “The Song Remains the Same” began and what seemed like every light came on and bang there they were, our four heroes on stage again at last and sounding awesome. Plant dressed in black and Page in slacks and the soon to be sweat-drenched teale shirt.

    The massive backstage screen was amazing as close ups of Page, Plant Bonham and Jones flashed across.

    Plant’s quip about Jimmy doubting people would come at all was warmly received.

    Many others have gone through the set list song by song but for us the early highlights of Sick Again, Over the Hills and Faraway, Black Dog and The Rain Song were special indeed.

    Hot Dog was well received as the first new number but when they brought out the stool and Jonesy’s triple-neck I knew what was next. Ten Years Gone was amazing and Jimmy’s phrasing on the overlays was sublime.

    Regardless of the beer cans and wine jugs flying in our area we were all rivetted the stage and the stunning audio and visual spectacle before us. Roger snapped pictures frequently, and I tried my best to keep the lousy mike in the air to record it all.

    Then our special moment arrived. Plant said this next song is for “two guys from Vancouver”. We were ecstatic – our request had gotten through. The radio station had given us Danny Urweider of Atlantic Records as a contact if we needed help. We phoned him as a courtesy and he asked what he could do. So as Zeppelin had not played Trampled Underfoot in Seattle, I asked if he could ask them to play it for us. Special thanks forever to Danny for getting the request passed on and to Robert who remembered us – Two guys from Vancouver.

    So with “a ready over there Mr. Jones” it began and Page’s solos on Trampled were amazing indeed.

    White Summer segued into Kashmir as every light came on as that opening Kashmir note was struck and there was the sway back from the audience and Kashmir just blew us over.

    Page’s violin bow solo heading to the drum intro for In the Evening was naother highlight. And then probably the best song of the show a truly unbelievable “Achilles Last Stand”. Bonzo’s drums on that one were in a different class, and Page by that time joyous but exhausted just kept pushing it on. There is smile from him mid point on that song that just exemplifies for me Page at his best.

    And then Stairway with the clock now well after midnight.

    To get three encores was astounding and as Plant led nearly 200,000 people in a chorus of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is was spine-tingling.

    So after a final bow from a clearly very satisfied band, the stage lights changed, Communication Breakdown came over the sound system. We gathered our stuff, and bid farewell to the people we shared the day and the experience with and headed toward the exits. Surprisingly we met up with the two girls from Leeds who somehow and ended up a short distance from us. They invited us back to their tent but we thought it best to head to the train station – big mistake in hindsight.

    After train delays we headed back to London and talked about the show with everyone. Roger a drummer raving about Bonham’s powerhouse effort and me revelling is Page’s guitar genius. Into London late Sunday morning we then staggered into our hotel -dishevelled, lacking sleep, and me hobbling on one foot as the other lacked a shoe.

    We slept and then phone the radio station to report on the best concert ever.

    We enjoyed our last few days in London talking through highlights and listening to our terrible recording. On knowing we were going, we promised ourselves a visit to the Marquee Club to see some band – any band. Luckily it turned out that that Monday August 6 was Simple Minds first London gig. Our music tastes have always been very broad to the see the best band ever – Led Zeppelin, and a very good up and coming band was great.

    We returned to Vancouver with great memories of a great time. Roger and I remain steadfast friends and music compadres. We have been to hundreds of shows since (from the Grateful Dead to Dream Theater), but nothing has come close to that wonderful August night in a field in England.

    It was special indeed, and to see video of it today brings back so many good memories. With a special thanks again to Danny Urweider and to Jimmy, Robert, John Paul and John (so sadly missed) thank you thank you.

    By the way, who were all those lucky people on the stage riser to the left of Jimmy’s amplifiers? They must have been deaf by the end of the night.

    Joseph Whiteside and Roger Grais

    “Two guys from Vancouver”

  • Don Millward said:

    Having spent the weekend camping outside Mike LLoyd Music Newcastle Staffs, I managed to get to work on the Monday following only to survive a couple of hours before fatigue took its toll. The gig on the 4th August, started on the Thursday as three of us (the forward party) lodaed with all the tents crossed the country from Stoke-on-Trent via multiple trains. We finally found the gathering hoards and set up camp for the weekend.

    Around 10:30 on the evening of Friday the 3rd, a friend and i decided we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to attempt to sneak in. the main gate was blocked with bodies waiting for the gates to open. We got so far into the park, before meeting like minded souls. unfortunately, security spotted us then it was a case of trying to escape capture. My friend and I mannaged to give the securtiy guys the slip – so we thought after a good twenty minutes we stayed still hiding in some bushes before we heard a guard plus dog, right behind us. Fortunately for us, due to the massive amount of people at the main gate they couldn’t throw us out. We were deposited by one of the light pylons ruuning the path to the arena and told not to move. We along with the rest of the guys who were caught settled down waiting for the hoards to come. Around 2-2:30am (memory is fading) pitch black suddenly someone shouts out whats that! At first site, it looked like large insects wizzing past, within seconds we quickly realised the gates were open. The race was on, within minutes we were right at he front trying to decide where the best vantage point would be. We settled roughly thirty to fifty yards away dead centre front of stage and didnt move for the rest of the day. Toilet duties ghad to be performed at the nearest fence to us Left of centre. What a day, weather great and one bottle of juice between ten of us. Our pal with all the ale said he couldn’t find us and drank all the ale, We had a large Union Jack and the rest of the gang found us no problem. The back up bands were good, South Side, Fairport, Mr Wanger of the Week-Todd Rungdren, he removed is guitar and the ladies gasped in unison. Then the moment we were waiting for, Peter Grant pacing the stage for last minute checks then BAM, here they were. I had taken binoculars along to the gig and to watch Jimmy close up was fantastic, I could see the grain on his fretboard. As far as I was concerned nothing could ever better this and having seen most of the biggest bands at the time and since, it is still the best gig I have been to.

    The write up in the Tight But Loose 5? straight after the gig was spot on and it was just like being back at the gig, especially as I had somehow managed to get a bootleg of the gig whose quality, though not brilliant who cares?

    The only thing that brought a downer to the day was the bottles constantly falling full, half full empty; these were the days before plastic bottles were the only things allowed. Half a gallon of beer/urine in the back of the head isn’t very pleasant. More up and downs than a yo-yo (standing-sitting). By the end of the night, sorry morning I was absolutely knackered.

    Seeing the DVD coverage, I only wish they would release the whole show.

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