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VISITING THE JOHN BONHAM MEMORIAL STATUE/ LZ NEWS/THE LED ZEPPELIN DVD RELEASE 15 YEARS GONE/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

7 June 2018 1,656 views 7 Comments

Visiting the John Bonham Memorial Statue on May 31, 2018…

It was the late evening of July 5, 1980 and earlier we had witnessed the thrilling Led Zeppelin performance at the Olympiahalle in Munich. Now my TBL colleague Tom and I had gone with the Zep entourage to a night club within the Hilton Hotel. All the group were in attendance and as had happened a lot during our time on the tour,, we got talking to John Bonham. As ever, his down to earth Midlands tone rang out. He was telling us that though he had enjoyed the tour, he was very much looking forward to going home.

At the end of the evening when it was time to say fond farewells, he gave me a big bear hug. “You take care going home’’ he said. He also wrote his phone number down on some hotel paper (which I of course still have).

“Ring me in the next couple of weeks or so when I get back.’’

I duly took him up on that offer and I called John on July 25 and again on July 30. He was on great form and very amiable – in the latter call John told me he was going on holiday in August and that Led Zeppelin would be reconvening for rehearsals in September. This was for a US tour due to commence the following month.

As we all know that was not to be…

That caring attitude was typical of the John Bonham I was lucky to be in the company of a fair few times.

“He had a big heart, he was a people’s man, a family man,’’ his sister Deborah is telling me as we gaze towards the memorial statue of the man, newly erected in his hometown of Redditch.

“My brother was a man of the people, and this statue is for the people of Redditch and Led Zeppelin fans everywhere ” she adds. “And we are also raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust’s vital services across the West Midlands.’’

So here I am in Redditch on May 31, 2018 – John Bonham’s 70th birthday. That fact is evident in the “Happy Birthday John’’ placards that Deb and co have arranged around the statue.

Yes, the John Bonham memorial statue is finally a reality.

Back when I was watching Led Zeppelin on stage in Europe in 1980, the idea that one day a statue might be erected for one of the members of the group was of course an unlikely thought. Statues were for politicians, poets, writers and sporting heroes. Surely not for mere musicians…

Times change… and of course we are not talking about a mere musician, but an important man of this area – someone who put the town of Redditch firmly on the map.

The last time I was in Redditch was four years ago on August 2, 2014. That night along with my good friend Steve Way, I attended the John Bonham Memorial Fund concert Deborah Bonham and other acts performing.

It was a heartwarming emotional event with monies raised going to the admirable fund set up to try and establish a lasting tribute to John Bonham in the town.

The location for that memorable night was the St. Stephens Church – at the time it was mooted that the statue might be sighted on the nearby Church green.

So here I am back at the church around 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 31 and walking through the green there’s no sign of the statue, and I’m getting a bit worried…

To backtrack a little. When I interviewed her last year, Deborah informed me that things were going very well with the memorial statue plans. The initial idea for this came via local residents Clem and Sam Delloway, who with much help from others notably Ros Sidaway, formed the John Bonham Memorial Fund. Deb and the family came on board and last October, the Redditch Borough Council granted permission for the statue to be erected.

Deb had also told me they were aiming at a May 31, 2018 date to complete it. In recent weeks, I’d been informed that they were unsure if this would be feasible. I did keep in touch with Deb and her husband and guitarist Pete Bullick, and in the last few days emails, had come down the line saying progress was good – but they were still unsure if it would be ready in time.

I had also been informed that Deb did not want a big formal launch and gathering. “I wanted this to be about John and nothing else’’ she would explain to me today.

So a plan was hatched to install the statue overnight at a private gathering of family and friends. Deb and Pete then invited me to meet me them on the Thursday around lunchtime – though again timings were still unsure.

Right up until the early hours of May 31 I was still unsure if it would all go ahead as planned. I eventually had an email from Pete at 2.30 a.m. stating “We are all on for John’s Birthday!’’

I am of course currently still ensconced in the last work on the Evenings With LZ book, but I’d made a contingency plan to get away on the Thursday if it was needed.

Now it was very much needed, so at 7 a.m., I boarded a train from Bedford to Leicester, changed there to go to Birmingham New Street – and from there took the 45 minute train journey to Redditch.

All those connections went well and here I am at 10 a.m. in search of the John Bonham statue…

There was nothing on the green at all, so I wandered over to the market area where one of the traders was setting up his stall. “Do you know anything about the John Bonham memorial statue?’’ I tentatively enquired. “Oh yes  mate,’’ he replied in that distinctive Midlands accent, “it’s behind you.’’

And so it is was – positioned on a nearby green all of its own in Mercian Square.

There are already one or two locals looking at it.

Now I had seen some of the prototype plans for the statue and I remember Deb telling me none of them did justice to what it actually looks like – and she is so right… it looks stunning…

A life size bronze statue designed by acclaimed sculptor Mark Richards depicting John tearing away at the kit – notably on the tympani.

Fittingly, it’s taken from a James Fortune photo of Bonzo from May 31, 1973 at the LA Forum – which just happened to be his 25th birthday 45 years ago today. Another hand of fete…

The photo could have been taken during his Moby Dick solo, The Song Remains the Same, or perhaps the end of The Rain Song. Regardless, it captures the sheer energy of John Bonham in full percussive flight on his timpani.

The platform of the kit is cleverly situated on a series of rock formations clearly based on the Giant’s Causeway location featured on the Houses Of The Holy cover. Pete will tell me later that this was his idea “to get a bit of Irish in there.” It’s a very sturdy structure, almost 3D like, with the Ludwig drum set up faithfully reproduced.

On the rear on the statue there’s a lovely inscription that reads…

The most outstanding and original drummer of his time, John Bonham’s popularity and influence continue to resonate within the world of music and beyond.

There’s also a further plaque that explains the following:

This tribute has been made possible by donation from friends and family. Additional monies raised help support Teenage Cancer Trust’s vital services across the West Midlands in memory of John Bonham 2018.

His birthdates and the famous three-linked circles symbol are also present, as is a very subtle carving of a Zeppelin airship.

The detail is quite startling right down to the outline of John’s vest top he wore at the LA Forum gig and the crease in his trousers.

It really does capture the sheer energy and movement of John Bonham roaring away on the kit – a vision I was lucky enough to witness myself live on 14 occasions…

There’s also plenty of wheelchair access and it’s fully interactive – you can even sit on one of the Giant’s Causeway rocks and ponder this work of art…

Gazing at it the first emotion hits… this is a lasting tribute and memorial of Bonzo right in the centre of his hometown, for all to come and pay homage to in a celebration of his life…

Unsurprisingly, the first of many lumps in my throat during the next few hours appears.

Nearby the local newspaper crew are interviewing people about it all. They cannot quite believe it’s gone up overnight – right in front of their office.

For the next few hours I bask in the glow of this amazing structure that is reviving so many memories of my own life. I always say Led Zeppelin is not just a band, it’s a way of life… and it’s a way of life that John Bonham contributed to so memorably during his short time on this planet.

One of the first visitors is a fan from Japan (whose name escapes me). The last time I saw him he was at my Knebworth book launch in 2009. He has been over for a week and had caught Robert Plant’s Bath Festival appearance. Of course he had to be here on this day. He will certainly not be the only traveller from far and wide who will come to this beautiful place.

It’s quite amazing to hear the comments locals are making as they see the statue. Amongst the ones I heard were:

He is one of ours isn’t he?’’

Your Grandad used to go to school with him

It’s about time we had something to be proud about in this town’’

He was the best drummer of all time’’

“My, he was only 32 when he died’’

That last comment really hit home, prompting another lump in the throat and tears in the eyes.

One of the things about being at the statue is how easy it is to strike up a conversation with fellow onlookers. It’s a true communal focal point and there’s no doubt it will form many a friendship and bond as fellow fans share their own memories of the man and the group…

Deborah’s agent Dave Hill and his wife arrive – followed soon after by Deb and Pete.

To be in the vicinity of this newly erected statue with the sister of John Bonham is incredibly moving. It’s hard not to let the tears flow, as fellow fan Brian Allen from Manchester found when he joined us. I have had a long association with Debbie and the family going back to the Led Zeppelin UK Convention I co-organised with Andy Adams – some 26 years ago in 1992. On that occasion Deb, her late brother Mick and mother Joan were all in attendance. I know we are all thinking about those much missed members of the family who are not here to see this wonderful sight.

Deb tells me why she did not want a grand launch: “I wanted it to be about John and John alone – he would not have wanted a big fuss.’’

There was some celebrating and a get together for family and friends during the night when it was installed. “We have not had much sleep but it’s all been worth it,” remarked Deb.

Alongside the placards by the side of the statue proclaiming “Happy Birthday John,” during the night Deb had placed a musical box that plays Happy Birthday on repeat.

Clem and Sam Dalloway, and Ros and David Sidaway are in attendance – very fittingly as they were key drivers in initially setting up the memorial fund.

Deb is keen to do an interview with me for TBL so we adjourn to have a coffee in an open air café. It’s actually a little hard to be heard over the meat trader near us who is miked up and selling his wares.

There’s a surreal and beautiful moment when we hear the strains of Brian who has brought out his guitar to play.

We can see him sat on the rock formation of the statue and he’s playing The Rain Song.

I looked at Deb and she looked at me and we are both too choked to speak…

There was also a very humorous moment when the aforementioned meat trader shouted out “Ozzy won’t be pleased with you lot – where his statue?!”

The interview is completed and we spend a bit more time reminiscing about John. Various friends, fans and well-wishers come over to greet Deb. “You look just like him,’’ says one enthusiastic lady.

I am keen to check out John’s birthplace while I am here, so I make plans to move on. I make one final visit over to look at John’s statue.

It’s easy to get lost in reflective thoughts as you look at this magnificent tribute – I certainly did.

There were fragments of songs going through my head as I gazed and remembered…

To think of us again and I do’’

Then as it was then again it will be, though the course may change sometimes rivers always reach the sea

All of my love to you, and you and you’’

Another one that came in to my head as I stood by the John Bonham statue was When I Was A Child by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant…

‘’I was reaching for the future

Slowly floating in the blue

When I was a boy

I dreamed a dream of you’’

Those lines seem to capture the quiet reflection of the moment…

It was time to say fond farewells with Deb and Pete.

“I am so glad you like it Dave and so pleased you could be here today.’’

Pleased to be here…it was an undoubted privilege and a day I will never forget…

David Sidaway drove me the mile or so over to Birchfield Road. He showed me the John Bonham Birthplace Memorial Garden that he and other John Bonham memorial friends have constructed in the park near the house John was born in.

I then took the opportunity to visit John Bonham’s birthplace at 84 Birchfield Road B97 4LH, in the Hatton Cross area of Redditch. It has a blue plaque installed in 2017 as a part of BBC Music Day.

You will not be surprised to know that I also visited the excellent Vintage Trax Records in Birchfield Road. This is run by Ros Sidaway and her sister. It’s packed full of great stock and also plenty of John Bonham photos and memorabilia.

If you are visiting the statue be sure to get up to Birchfield Road to check John’s birthplace, the memorial garden and the Vintage Trax record shop – it’s all part of the John Bonham Memorial Redditch experience.

Three train journeys later I am back in Bedford reflecting on the enormity of the day and catching up with the Facebook reaction to the photos I had put up earlier.

Suffice to say it was a profoundly moving day… a day I feel so privileged to have experienced.

Being in the vicinity of the John Bonham stature on his 70th birthday was a humbling emotional experience and hearing the reaction to it from local residents as they got their first view was simply life affirming…

The communal spirit prevalent around the statue was very special and something every visitor will tap in to.

It’s no understatement to say that this Mercian Square location will become a tourist attraction for the town of Redditch in the same way Abbey Road has become for The Beatles.

So to summarise:

This John Bonham memorial statue will be a central focal point for fans from all parts of the globe to visit in celebration of his lasting legacy…

A legacy that will go on and on…

 Dave Lewis – June 3, 2018

With thanks to Mike Tremaglio

My interview with Deborah Bonham will be published here in a future posting soon.

For those planning to visit the John Bonham Memorial Statue in Redditch – here’s a map that takes in the Statue Memorial at Mercian Square then the walk to John’s birthplace at 84 Birchfield Road B97 4LH.

 Nearby, just along Birchfield Road is the park with the John Bonham Birthplace Garden and the excellent Vintage Trax Record shop which has plenty of John Bonham photos and memorabilia .

 Information supplied by Ros Sidaway/ John Bonham Memorial Friends.

 ……………………….

More details of the Teenage Cancer Trust -John Bonham Memorial Statue here…

https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/johnbonhammemorial

 A Limited Edition T-Shirt to commemorate the John Bonham memorial in his home town of Redditch has been produced . 100% of profits are being donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust.It ships Monday 2nd July.

 Order details here:

 https://johnbonhamtct.probitymerch.com/products/memorial-t-shirt

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Led Zeppelin News Update:

In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re- producing highlights from their weekly email update news summary. This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook.

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page speaking on May 29 in London (Twitter/Frankie_Mack)

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

June – The gold edition of “Five Glorious Nights” will be released.
June 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 9 – John Paul Jones will be interviewed at the Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas in Ireland about his upcoming opera.
June 10 – Robert Plant will perform in Richmond, Virginia.
June 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 15 – Robert Plant will perform in Toronto, Ontario.
June 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 18 – Robert Plant will release “Nurses Do It Better!” and “Heaven Knows” T-shirts through his website.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform in Vail, Colorado.
June 21 – Robert Plant will perform in Berkeley, California.
June 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Stateline, Nevada.
June 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Pasadena, California.
June 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Troutdale, Oregon.
June 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Redmond, Washington.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in Canada.
July 17 – Robert Plant will perform at the Istanbul Jazz Festival in Turkey.
July 19 – Robert Plant will perform at the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Georgia.
July 22 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vielles Charrues Festival in Carhaix, France.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Paris, France.
July 25 – “Led Zeppelin Live,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be released and Robert Plant will perform at the Festival de Carcassonne in France.
July 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Milano Summer Festival 2018 in Milan, Italy.
July 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach, Germany.
July 31 – Robert Plant will perform in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
August 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Dresden, Germany.
August 11 – John Paul Jones will perform as part of Snoweye at the Varangerfestivalen in Norway.
September – Official celebrations of Led Zeppelin’s fiftieth anniversary are expected to start this month.
September 14 or 16 – Robert Plant will perform at the KAABOO festival in California.
September 15 – Robert Plant will perform at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in Colorado
September 23 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bourbon & Beyond festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
October – The official Led Zeppelin photo book will be released.
October 16 – “Bring it on Home,” a new biography of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, will be released.
October 26 – Robert Plant will perform in London, UK.
October 28 – Robert Plant will perform in Dublin, Ireland.

Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

http://ledzepnews.com/

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TBL Archive Special – The Led Zeppelin 2003 DVD Release – 15 years Gone:

It’s now some  15 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.

When it was released on May 26 2003, I had just commenced working at the Virgin Megastore in Milton Keynes. We sold a whole lot of that DVD package in the first week of release and the How The West Was Won set. The latter was cleverly targeted as a Fathers Day gift. It was my last real great instore Zep event – I had experienced a fair few of those going back to 1975.

Andy Edwards the drummer in the Priory of Brion, reminded me recently that the week the DVD set came out we met to conduct an interview for my then in progress Celebration 2/The Tight But Loose Files book. We met in the Virgin Megastore in Leicester and the Earls Court footage was playing on the instore TV screens. It was simply amazing to be watching this sacred footage in a commercial setting in fantastic quality after years of watching the often less than crystal clear bootlegs.

In early April 2003, TBL then webmaster Dave Linwood and I were invited by Warner Music to attend an two separate exclusive playbacks -one for the DVD and another for the How The West Was Won set. The DVD playback took place at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick where the DVD film footage had been edited. It was hosted by the co director/producer of the DVD Dick Carruthers.

We were afforded a key insight into how Dick working closely with Jimmy Page, restored the original footage at their disposal into a coherent five hour edit. From the notes we took during a compelling playback, we were able to formulate an ongoing countdown preview on the TBL website running throughout the days leading up to the official worldwide release on May 26, 2003.

So here are some of the day to day countdown previews we presented on the TBL website at the time. It captures the creative process of the project as relayed by Dick and the sense of expectation surrounding this unlocking of the archive at the time.

So back in 2003, this is how we awaited one of the most illumination periods in Led Zeppelin history all of 15 years ago…

TBL/WEB: DVD PREVIEW COUNTDOWN: with exclusive comments from co director/producer Dick Carruthers: TBL Overview Dave Linwood/Dave Lewis

38 DAYS TO GO: The Arch(Angel)elology: Buried Treasure
THE CREATIVE PROCESS: There was a lot of footage to be reviewed. Dick described being confronted by 132 cans of film and video. In Dick’s words:”Buried Treasure”. All of the Albert Hall footage was silent – there was no soundtrack. Madison Square Garden was very fragmentary. There was only cursory labeling on the cans to describe what song/shots etc was in it.

To start the process, every single can of video or celluloid was digitised and then categorised by shot type (Albert Hall-drums, USA-audience etc etc). Then an attempt was made by members of the band and Dick to cross-reference shots to guide soundtracks already provided by Jimmy Page.

Dick hilariously described the process: “On the silent stuff it was a case of “Oh! Page’s got the Gibson Sunburst on – is it ‘I can’t Quit You’ ?” etc. etc. Dick described initial program discussions with Page: “How do we make this into a 2 hour program?” (The answer is obvious now, Impossible!). Page was the main driving force behind the project, choosing performances suitable for the DVD as well as making major contributions to the look and feel – especially to the later footage.

Some of the footage need “serious digital restoration work”. Using equipment such as the Archangel video archive processor, the footage was gone through frame by frame. At first this was a cleaning up process. Although they had the original footage in most cases (more on this later), the film did have the inevitable scratches and spots. The cleaning up process, takes colour from a nearby area and transplants this over the damaged part – slowly. Over and over again. As Dick said “You just polish & polish”

All was going very well with the polishing on the Albert Hall footage until it was noticed that the process was erasing Bonzo’s drum sticks when he was thrashing around on his kit! Back to the drawing board! Or at least, back to a previously not-so-polished version.

Matching the visuals to the sound proved to be tricky: “We had to match a lot by eye” said Dick. “There are more obvious sequences where a visual provides a clue as to the song being played but sometimes you have to go with gut-feeling and the emotion of the music”.

GET READY TO MARVEL AT: Albert Hall 1970: * Those of you familiar with the bootleg DVD will be amazed at the way the audience sound fills your living room as the band walk onto the stage – the first feel of the surround-sound. * The sheer power of Bonzo’s hammerings as We’re Gonna Groove kicks in… * The subtle cross fade into I Can’t Quite You Baby * Page’s violin bow echoing as never before in full glorious 5.1 surround sound…i.e. not just left-right.

 

33 DAYS TO GO: Royal Albert Hall 1970: Footage Re-united
THE CREATIVE PROCESS: The aspect ratio of the original footage has been preserved, so Royal Albert Hall is in 4:3 aspect ratio. The Royal Albert Hall footage is still dark in places but thanks to Dick and his team it is now crystal clear. One of the main challenges with the footage were “re-uniting” the missing segments from Whole Lotta Love: “The original film was cut and used for a Whole Lotta Love promo by Peter Clifton” said Dick. (Clifton did the WLL promo as an example of what he could do with Zep footage when he was called in to work on The Song Remains movie…) The original film has since been lost. “We had to find a copy of the promo, sample it, and then colour match it with the original film and then paste it back in! Finally we had to substitute any missing frames!” A long and exhaustive processAt times, Dick expresses frustration at the “almost but not enough” segments he discovered. “We had more Albert Hall” he said, “but there were just too many holes in the footage”. “We did have to cheat now and again” he admits “but at least we did it honestly and with integrity”. Dick went onto describe some subtle and clever editing techniques whereby a two or three second gap in the footage can be filled by using slow motion and other clever effects. Having seen this for ourselves, all we can say is that the results are superb.
GET READY TO MARVEL AT: * The close up shots of Page’s speed playing during White Summer – now beautifully restored. * A wonderfully laid back What Is And What Should Never Be. * The electric intro of How Many More Times with Jonesy’s bass reverberating around the speakers..

 

28 DAYS TO GO: Madison Square Garden 1973: Remastered
THE CREATIVE PROCESS: “Despite all the previously seen footage from New York there were some big holes” admitted Dick. “Jimmy and I had to insert a bit, look for unusual shots, reprocess images to cover some of the gaps”. Presented in widescreen, fans will enjoy the re-working of Since I’ve Been Loving You and a particularly raunchy “The Ocean”. “We tried to stay away from any of the re-shot Shepperton Studios stuff – as much footage as possible is from the gigs”.

“The reels we had were very fragmentary, it took us six weeks to get four songs! Some footage such as Over The Hills & Far Away were just too full of holes which was a real shame.”

Watching the visuals, it is great to see that the remastered Black Dog is pure stage action this time around. (Some of you in the UK may remember a version of Black Dog being shown on a BBC-TV programme called “Pop Quiz” which was all stage action: i.e. no New York cavalcade shots. This version is different again.)

Misty Mountain Hop works because as Dick described, some shots were borrowed from elsewhere on the reels to complete the overall effect. However, this effort is well rewarded – any “fills” do not stand out at all. Since I’ve Been Loving You is completely different from the film version. Page delivered a new soundtrack processed for surround sound, so viewers should not feel they’ve been shortchanged.

The Ocean was described by Dick as “This was a f*ck of a load of work…we just about got away with it”. Viewing it with Dick, TBL can conclude that it is absolutely stunning – a real highlight of what we saw.

GET READY TO MARVEL AT: * The Transition: From the 4:3 aspect of the darkened Royal Albert Hall footage to the 16:9 aspect and a more general openness of the 73 footage. Also, the difference in the band visually in just 3 and a half years is remarkable. This transition concept is something that reoccurs throughout the DVD package and is something that Jimmy Page designed from the outset and was very keen to ensure worked well.

* The Ocean: Its encore time in New York. Watch Plant pick up the rose thrown onto the front of the stage, see him preen as he and Jimmy prowl the first few rows looking at the ladies. A really raunchy version. True Hammer of the Gods stuff.

* Since I’ve Been Loving You: It always lead to the great “Why wasn’t this on the Song Remains album?” debate. Still a wonderful version, and now with even better sound.

 

21 DAYS TO GO: Earls Court 1975: The Video Age
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:Taking on the Zeppelin DVD project “was a huge responsibility” admits Dick, only too aware that there are people who have been waiting for something like this for years. Getting the balance right was key here: there are collectors and casual rock fans alike interested – and both have high expectations. “Noel Gallagher (Oasis) can’t wait to see it” mused Dick.

Dick quite rightly takes a great deal of pride in his work with Page. “I’ve spent nine months on this project” he says proudly pointing at the screen, “It’s beautiful – sorry – its such a shame the Telly’s f*cking dirty!!” he exclaims!

We asked Dick about the soundtrack. “Page delivered a guide video track for Earls Court and Knebworth for us to work with. Later on, he delivered the stereo version and the 5:1 surround version”. “Then it was up to us here at Metropolis DVD to re-sync, encode and match it to the footage.”

Looking at Earls Court, one is instantly drawn to the different picture quality. From the grainy film shots of 73, we now get smooth crystal clear video footage from 75. According to Carruthers “Earls Court was one of the more easier segments to work with”.

Although Earls Court was a multi camera source, there were occasions when only a single camera source was usable – sometimes for quite lengthy periods. Dick explained how was not ideal as it could make the footage seem lethargic and un-dynamic. To get round this, Dick re-shot some of the video footage in super 8 and reprocessed it giving a grainy audience bootleg feel to it. This combined with tasteful slow motion and very stylistic blurring covered any small gaps. The result is a very smooth and coherent playback which keeps the viewer on the edge of his seat.

GET READY TO MARVEL AT: * The stark contrast from the chaos of Madison Square to the intimacy of the acoustic set at Earls Court – a deft piece of sequencing that captures perfectly the light and shade element of the band. * The subtle link from 1973 to 1975 via a close up of a fan at Earls Court waving his Led Zep scarf

* The interplay between Robert, Jimmy and Jonesy during California and That’s The Way

* The right out there on the edge delivery of In My Time Of Dying with fantastic close ups of Bonzo and Jimmy’s slide soloing.

* The completely awesome delivery of Trampled Underfoot which prompted journalist Charles Shaar Murray to observe at the time ”Apart for the Who and Stones I can’t think of any group who could have put on anything like it. Producing moments such as Trampled Underfoot during which it seemed the whole stage was just going to fall forward and crush everybody in the hall”.

* Stairway performed with immense pride with knowing looks between Page and Plant

In summary the Earls Court footage captures Zeppelin at their most extravagant and thrilling- totally on top of their game and performing with supreme confidence. It’s just sensational viewing…..

 

13 DAYS TO GO: Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire 1979: The Dinosaur Revival
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:“We had a number of multi-camera angles for this – it was the best covered of the shows we had” admits Carruthers. “There was some audience footage which have used as well”. Page and Carruthers had the most to play with here. There were 16 camera sources complete with a guide soundtrack on each. In addition there was a fan-shot 8mm cine film too. Watching the film, there are some lovely touches interspersing close-up and footage from further back footage to great effect. Those of you familiar with the fuzzy bootleg videos will love the new presentation. At last, twenty four years on(!) we have a properly mixed and directed souvenir – courtesy of Page and Carruthers. Knebworth ’79..if you were there, get ready to relive it…if you weren’t you soon will be…
GET READY TO MARVEL AT: The sound presentation of Knebworth – Page has made it really come alive. The “dinosaur” lives! (Remember this was the punk era back in the UK in 1979 – many music magazines were declaring any song over 3 minutes long as irrelevant!)

*Great atmospheric crowd shots as the action fades from Earls Court to that field outside Stevenage four years later

*Rock And Roll – Wonderful interplay between the four of them – lots of smiles and knowing looks – they knew they still had it and this performance is ample proof – Great audience shout backs enhanced by the 5.1 surround sound. Bonzo’s solo at the end – sheer percussive genius *Plant preening through Kashmir – with clever pan outs from clear pro-shot video to fuzzy audience 8mm – and then back again.. All seamlessly edited * Achilles – quite simply Jimmy’s show…sweating, cringing, thrilling…the spirit of the whole track dancing through his fingers -the drive from the whole band and their endeavour to get back to where they belong captured in this striking visual tour de force.

This footage will prompt fresh investigation of the 1979 Led Zeppelin….the In Through album…the Copenhagen warm ups..the Knebworth shows – musically erratic and under rehearsed they may have been, but on this part of DVD we see the spirit was still very much willing. More than enough visual evidence that they still had the desire to impress.

 

 

1 DAY TO GO: ALL THE OTHER BITS
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:“We had some really nice stuff that didn’t belong anywhere else” says Dick as he shows us the Heartbreaker end-credits montage. To the music of Heartbreaker we get an array of 2 to 3 second clips from 70,73,75 and 79 as well as “fan footage” and other news-reel type clips. The montage will no doubt will keep the visual historians interested – as well as shuffling back and forwards with the pause controls! Page and Carruthers have really bought into the whole DVD format: just browsing throught the menus throws up all sorts of interesting footage and “secrets” such as the LA Forum 77 cine of Song Remains The Same.

One menu item shows what appears to be home cine film of a typical UK town (is it Edinburgh??) – and then four familiar looking blokes are seen strolling down the road on the opposite side.

GET READY TO MARVEL AT: The sheer attention to detail on each menu. They’re worth watching in their own right.

The additional footage, understandably not up to the standard of the main presentations but still worth watching nonetheless.

A great menu showing the boys arriving in Iceland with Moby Dick blasting away in the back. Other menus show the boys backstage at various venues.

With thanks to Dave Linwood.

More 2003 DVD TBL Archive to follow.

……………………………………..

DL Diary Blog Update:

It’s been quite a few days here. I have to say last Thursday in Redditch was a monumental occasion and one I will never forget – it can line up with so many other very special Led Zeppelin related experiences I’ve been very lucky to have been a part of in my life. The profound emotional enormity of it all has been simply immense. I’ve been walking around in something of a dreamlike state at times as I conjured up the memories. Not just from Thursday but so many involving the Bonham family over many years. A very special family indeed.

Within all that, I have had to quickly re – focus on the workload here – principally the Evenings With LZ book which is still ongoing. We are in another round of proof read checks and last minute revisions and though I have said it before, the finishing line is in sight. For now though, the quest continues.  Elsewhere, there has been work on one or two other projects and preparation for work on the next TBL issue 44.

On Tuesday it was great to have a quick rendezvous  with Karen Barlow and husband Richard who are over from Canada – they have seen plenty of Beatles and Zep landmarks while in the UK. It was a pleasure to sort out various TBL goodies for them to take back.

It was also great yesterday catch up with my old work colleague and good friend Hayley Martin – Hayley and I worked together in the Our Price /V Shop store in Bedford from 1997 – 2001 – we could not resist recreating a pic outside the store (which is now a mobile phone shop) –so here’s a now and then shot – us in 2000 and then 18 years on yesterday…it was a cathartic and nostalgic reunion as we talked about the glory days of music retailing and much more …

I cannot get too excited about the World Cup yet though England’s 2-1 win over Nigeria was quite promising.

The summer playlist continues to inspire and here’s a few more that have been on/will be the player on as the soundtrack to the weeks ahead:

George Harrison – Living In The Material World LP

The US copy I bought on import on the US Apple label via mail order slightly ahead of the UK release 45 years ago this week…not quite in the All Things Must Pass league but some very fine stuff on it and sparking some great memories of the summer of 1973….

Wings – Venus And Mars LP – sparking memories of the summer of 1975

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II CD reissue – picked it out quite randomly during some research here and my, it still packs some power…

Elton John – Rare Masters 2CD

Stephen Stills 2 – Stephen Stills 2 Lp

Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane – Rough Mix LP

Laura Nyro – Time And Love – The Essential Masters CD

You Can All Join In – Island Records 1969 sampler LP  – One of the first albums I ever bought back in 1970 -I still have it and  this week I saw a very good condition copy in the local Slide Records and could not resist it as it had an original 14 and 6 price ticket on it – result!

Nick Drake – Pink Moon – I am just re- reading the brilliant  Nick Drake Remembered For A While book

Dave Lewis – June 7, 2018

Until next time, have a great weekend

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio and James Cook

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

 

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7 Comments »

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Stephen many thanks

  • Stephen Christensen said:

    Thanks Dave, my how time flies, thankfully I was sitting in the Summit in Houston watching the Dragon Snake show while Bonzo was playing one of the best shows of the 77 tour. What is lost in the ether and is almost unexplainable is the sheer craziness and pandemonium of the crowds in the United States in that era, we certainly enjoyed ourselves at the concerts back then.

    Your pictures of the Bonzo memorial sent a chill and heartache for the loss of Bonzo and times long gone. Be proud of your work, it is appreciated.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Gary D…

  • Gary Davies said:

    Dave, what a rollercoaster of emotions you strike up inside of me with your writings about the memorial statue visit. You do all you do on our behalf and it is so much appreciated by us all who visit this gem of a corner of the Internet. Thank you.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    thanks Gary..

  • Gary said:

    Great piece on the John Bonham memorial statue visit Dave. A fitting tribute to the great man.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Still holding out for a blu-ray release of the 2003 DVD.

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