Knebworth Count Down / Not Ten Years Gone
As I write, the Knebworth countdown is on – with 6 days to go to the actual 30th anniversary of the first show, and 10 days to go before the return to Knebworth Celebration Day Event. The Knebworth book is currently at the printers and may well arrive next Tuesday which would be quite fitting.
Graeme and I are travelling over to Old Knebworth tomorrow to check last details at the Lytton Arms.
Trawling through my diary of 30 years ago, my Knebworth countdown back then included the purchasing of a camera – the then popular Olympus Trip which if it was good enough for David Bailey, who could be seen advertising said camera on TV, it was good enough for me. My pictures of the day came out ok, though the Olympus function for close up often brought out a blurred result if you got it wrong. This function would adversely affect a photo my good friend Tom Locke took of me with R.Plant at the Wembley Goalddiggers soccer tournament a few months later. He must have been a bit nervous in front of the golden god.
The day before leaving I called the Swan Song office where word came back that they were coming in for the soundcheck on Thursday. I also rang a journalist I knew at the Melody Maker to find out the release date of the new album which was set for August 20th. The Knebworth 3, me Tom and Dec made our plans to leave for Knebworth in Tom’s swish Princess car at 6am on Thursday (The fourth member of our line up Phil was following Friday though we never did find each other). So it was, at 7am on the morning of August 2nd 1979 we found ourselves in front of the stage with a 60 hour wait before we got what we came for. The week before Dec had attended a Sham 69 concert at the Rainbow that had been abandoned by a crowd stage invasion. That certainly wasn’t going to happen at Knebworth. Looking at the stage set up early on Thursday, we could see that the scaffolding dividing the stage from the crowd was a good thirty feet.
Lunchtime we ventured into Stevenage to get the music papers, three of which had Zep as the front page story. In the NME, I saw for the first time the famous out in the field promo shot, and hey they looked pretty contemporary and all notions of Jimmy wearing an out of place Dragon suit were clearly off the agenda. To my amazement there were full reports of the Copenhagen warm up dates – I didn’t even know they had taken place and neither did most other fans, as in those pre net days news travelled slowly.
Back at Knebworth around 4pm there was a first sighting of Robert as he drove in near the house. ‘’Which way’s the stage mate?’’ he called out. We were happy to oblige…
The rest of these Knebworth tales and many others can of course be found in the new Then As It Was Knebworth book – which you can order now.
Had a call today from the aforementioned Mr Locke firming up plans to see him on the 8th back at old Knebworth. There’s still time to order tickets and I look forward to seeing all those that can make it.
I’ve been warming up for it all by listening to the long lost Knebworth cassettes I recorded at the time, that Graeme H has transferred to CD for me. Yes a new source, but all I’m afraid accompanied by the then excited wailings of your TBL editor. There’s one classic faux pas by me before the Rain Song on the August 11th tape.
‘’This is a song called..’’ Plant begins announcing to which I bellow ‘’Ten Years Gone!’’ and then Plant reveals ‘’.The Rain Song’’. Cue red faced embarrassed Ace Zep fan of Bedford. How was I to know the setting up of JPJ’s bass pedals would have added an extra half hour on the performance and the number was being dropped from the previous week?!
Ahh Knebworth, a thousand memories and more to be recalled next week…