DAVE LEWIS DIARY: JOHN PAUL JONES CAMBRIDGE KETTLE YARD CONCERT/LED ZED TRIBUTE BAND CAMBRIDGE GIG/SPACE SHIFTERS IN GLOUCESTER GUILDHALL/ILLNESS/FOOTBALL/WARREN GRANT/ TBL 32/EARLS COURT 1975 REFLECTIONS
JPJ photo Richard Grubb for TBL.
All roads lead to Cambridge this weekend for the John Paul Jones Composer Portrait Concert – part of the Sunday Coffee Concerts commencing at 12 noon at the Kettle Yard Gallery. It will feature the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance Contemporary Music Group and John in conversation with Stephen Montague discussing new music, technology and composition. This is a rare opportunity to see John in such a setting. Myself and the TBL crew aim to be there and as ever we look forward to seeing all that are making it along.
Following the John Paul Jones concert, to keep the party flowing, we will be making the short journey down to the Grapes pub in Histon Road Cambridge where tribute band Led Zed will be performing at 3pm.(see http://www.ledzed.info/).
We had an absolute blast last week at the Robert Plant Presents Sensational Shape Shifters gig at the Guildhall Gloucester. A really special night – a sentiment echoed by Justin Adams when I interviewed him for the TBL magazine earlier this week. It was great to meet up with so many familiar faces and chat to a good few new ones. It was a whirlwind 24 hours that included a couple of appearances for me on BBC Radio Gloucester before and after the gig.
Above TBL Crew on the radio…DL, Gary and Tom – BBC Radio Gloucestershire Studios May 8 2012
The only minor downer was that I had been feeling less than a 100% in the past couple of weeks (the stress of getting a ticket was a contributing factor I’m sure!) – a persistent heartburn has required a trip to the Docs and a subsequent blood test last week. I haven’t been the only one under the weather as Gary Foy had to undergo some tests in hospital last Saturday for chest pains. Maybe we are all getting too old for this lark –let’s hope not. Also a ‘get well soon’ in the direction of my good friend Terry Boud’s son Stephen who has also been poorly.
Ironically, the events of the last afternoon of Premier League action last Sunday were not for the faint hearted as Manchester City edged out Man Utd in the last seconds with two late goals to beat Queens Park Rangers (Alessandro you are safe!). I watched it all unfold in the pub with my good friend Alan Stutz and I have to say, it was one of the most remarkable turn of events on a football field I’ve seen in a very long time –as a neutral it was incredibly exciting to watch. It’s a shame that Arsenal got a result at West Brom to take third spot over Spurs. Rather unpatriotically, I am forced to say I hope Bayern Munich beat Chelsea ( sorry fellas) in this Saturday’s Champions League Final as a Chelsea win will render Spurs to the Europa League. I have a feeling that it could be Chelsea’s year though – there could be yet more twists in what has been one of the best football seasons for many a long year – and it isn’t over yet as the European Championship is all set to follow and the new era of England unfolds under Roy Hodgson.
Above: Work in progress TBL 32 - a whole lotta reading coming soon…
It’s been full on here with the last text of the forthcoming TBL 32 issue to wrap. I’ve been working on the Warren Grant interview. Back in February, Warren relayed his memories of being right in the centre of the world of Led Zeppelin as the son of the man who just happened to be their manager and one of the most powerful figures in the music industry. What emerged from our conversations was the deep love Peter Grant had for his family, the sense of loyalty he displayed to the artists he managed and the many special times Warren enjoyed with his Dad away from the glare of the rock’n’roll spotlight. In the first part of the interview, Warren recalls his early years at their Horselunges manor house in East Sussex as his family reaped the rewards of their father’s many years of hard work. (while I’m this subject congratulations Warren on completing the Brighton marathon!)
The Warren Grant interview is another highlight of what has turned into something of an epic issue. From Mike Tremaglio’s insightful log of the thunder down under back in 1972, though the TBL Investigative mission to unearth the facts as to where the first Led Zep rehearsal took place and on to the memories of Warren Grant, whose father was truly the man who Led Zeppelin. Add in words from John Paul Jones himself, an on the spot report of the Space Shifters Gloucester debut and Justin Adams interview, the Lucifer Rising overview, Simon Cadman’s Jimmy Page website watch, Gerard Sparaco’s CD reviews, Ian Avey’s look at the Led Zep II multi tracks and Jeff Strawman’s Instrument guide – and well, what’s not to like …..you’re going to need your reading glasses for this one!
If you are a lapsed subscriber and have yet to re- subscribe for the 2012 issues, you will have had a reminder e-mail from us – many thanks to all who have responded to this already and if you have yet to subscribe, don’t miss out. I am well proud of this new issue and after all the work that has gone in (and thanks to all the contributors who have made this issue what it is), I will endeavouring to ensure it’s seen by as many readers as possible. I am hoping to wrap it all next week after a couple of skype text checking sessions with Mike T- then it’s off to the printers and hopefully ready to go at the end of the month.
Don’t miss out – Subscription link is here
In between all that…on the player some lovely stuff – including the Thea Gilmore music/Sandy Denny words album Don’t Stop Singing (thank you GF), Space Shifters Guildhall CDR (thanks Brian), Ugly Custard CD (early 70s obscure instrumental psyche album that includes a great version of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You- thank you John P), Joe Walsh So What and Smoker You Drink the Player You Get LP’s after reading a great interview with him in Guitar magazine and plenty of Earls Court as memories of those golden May Daze roll round (I’m also looking forward to hearing the new Vancouver ’75 Snowblind set which Mark Harrison has already been raving about.)
Yes Led Zeppelin at Earls Court 1975 …that old chestnut….now an amazing 37 years ago.
With each passing year this series of concerts become increasingly iconic – in the same way the achievement of England’s 1966 World cup win grows in stature as the years go by. It was a real creative peak as I observed in the Earls Court Journal publication:
‘’Led Zeppelin at Earls Court was absolutely of its time; a moment in time that captured the very essence of the power and influence the group held over its audience at this point in their career. Those of us who were lucky enough to be there – and indeed those that have since carefully studied the case history of Earls Court via the numerous bootlegs – will testify to their brilliance on those memorable May days. The sheer scale of what Led Zeppelin had become seemed to inspire a knowing arrogance within the group that in turn led to their performing a series of shows that, as Plant was keen to explain, mirrored every colour of their musical spectrum. “We intend to take you through some of the colours… we’ve explored the prism and we’ve developed music along the lines of colours, some of them bright and some of them dark,” he told the audience on the final night. The sheer gargantuan scale of Earls Court was perfect for Zeppelin in 1975. It was the ultimate demonstration of just how far they had progressed in the space of six and a half years; from humble post-Yardbirds beginnings to massive acceptance in America and their standing as Britain’s most successful group of the era. It also cemented the loyalty of their British fans.
So they had the confidence, they had the look, they had the lights, they had the video screen, they had the set list. All they had to do was deliver. And deliver they did.’’
I have a plan to extend that Earls Court Journal into a fully fledged book in keeping with the Knebworth and Over Europe TBL publishing book series. More on that at a later date.
Finally…to acknowledge the anniversary of those Led Zep Earls Court May Daze, I thought I’d relay some memories from the DL memory bank for another TBL Archive special – so this is the EC Reflections of day one and two with three to follow next week ….
THE TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL:TURNING THE CLOCK BACK 37 YEARS AGO:
SUNDAY MAY 18 1975
Ticket: Gallery Block 72 Row L Seat 34- Ticket price £1
May 17th a dull rainy Saturday. Left Bedford around 4pm on the train and met my Earls Court companion Fiona in London for the long awaited return of Led Zeppelin. I’d been counting the days down since March and now here we were hours from seeing and believing. We were inside the arena from around 7pm and the next hour was a slow one – I’d brought a programme and t.shirt. The programme with the illuminating text from Tony Palmer really whetted the appetite and had some amazing photos.
Finally when the stage burst into action following Bob Harris’s intro just after 8pm, well it was the moment my life switched into colour after the previous 18 years had been viewed in grainy black and white.
We had a good view high up to the right looking down towards Jimmy’s side. They were a little nervous and it was evident Jimmy was having lead trouble in Rock And Roll, but once they settled in it was all and more I’d hoped for. The video screen high above the stage was something I’d never seen at a gig before and I found myself gazing in awe at the memorable images flashing on screen- and wishing it was going to be broadcast on TV. I’d played Physical Graffiti non stop since it had come out so seeing and hearing In My Time, Kashmir and Trampled played live was just awe inspiring. Tangerine was an unexpected treat as was the whole acoustic interlude. Having no idea what the set list would be only added to the pure wonderment of seeing Led Zeppelin live before my very eyes.
Initial opening night impressions: Bonzo’s incredible drum sound, Robert’s warm rapport with the crowd and the way he totally dominated the stage. The marathon Dazed and the laser lights shooting through Jimmy’s violin bow. They were gods!
We got back to Bedford at 2am and I was already counting down the hours to when we would be back in their company again. There were just 18 hours to tick off.
The Led Zep Earls Court experience was underway…and boy life was good…Dave Lewis – May 17th 2012. To be continued….
TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL: TURNING THE CLOCK BACK 37 YEARS AGO:
SUNDAY MAY 18 1975
Ticket: Gallery Block 70 Row E Seat 17 Ticket price £1
Woke up around 10am with the prospect of the second Zep gig ahead. In the morning I brought the Sunday Observer with the colour suppelment magazine that carried a major Tony Palmer feature –parts of which were in the official Earls Court programme.
”Led Zeppelin bigger than The Beatles?” proclaimed the front cover. What a compliment.
On the train at 5 in the afternoon with fellow fan/Wallbanger player Nic and his girlfriend. My eldest brother Mervyn attended this night with his wife -he was most impressed but suffered what he describes as psychedelic nightmares for days after! Hung outside Earls Court amongst the programme sellers and poster stalls before the show -bought a bootleg badge which was as nearly as big as a dinner plate. Wore it with pride for years.
Improved view tonight lower down -same (Jimmy’s) side. Three performances stood out -a chugging Over The Hills with that meandering Page solo, an intensive and incessant In My Time Of Dying (Robert’s pleading ”I believe I did somebody some good ‘’ line resounded in my ears all the way home) and a wonderfully relaxed No Quarter led by Jonesy’s virtuoso piano. That performance made me realize how important he was to it all. No major changes in the set list but that did not seem to matter. Each song was welcomed like an old friend by the appreciative audience. There was a real sense that Led Zeppelin were coming home as true champions.
We just managed to get the last train back and in for 2.30am. I was off work behind the record counter at WH Smith on the Monday and it was a lovely sunny day. We sat by the river reading various national newspaper reviews and the Observer supplement again.
‘’Statistics are always misleading’’ wrote Tony Palmer. ‘’With Led Zeppelin, statistics are irrelevant – except that they are truly astonishing. Last night they gave the first of five concerts at London’s Earls Court, total seats around 85,000. The 51,000 seats for the first three concerts originally planned sold out within two hours of going on sale. The 34,000 seats for the extra two concerts sold out over a weekend. No pop group in history, no entertainer, no film star, no opera singer has ever attracted such an audience’’
That was the quote I memorized word for word to relay the lovely elderly ladies I worked with at WH Smith or anyone else for that matter!. The Sun newspaper also did a fantastic spread on them. Suddenly Led Zeppelin were being talked about outside of the rock media.
I felt a real sense of pride – and throughout the week I kept smiling to myself – safe in the knowledge that though we were two gigs down, incredibly…there was three still to go! To be continued…
Dave Lewis May 18th, 2012
Copryright Dave Lewis/TBL –not to be reproduced without prior permission.
The prospect of being in close proximity this weekend to one of the awesome foursome who lit up the eerie wastes of Earls Court all those years back is a very exciting one. I am sure John Paul Jones will be bringing to the Kettle Yard Cambridge the same unique musicianship that prevailed over five nights in London in May 1975…
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