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Borders Bookshop, London, Mines Advisory Group Benefit Gig

12 April 2002 2,608 views No Comment

Set List included Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall, Free The Land, Deportees


Report by Mr TBL, Dave Lewis
Julie arrived around 4pm – I conducted an interview with her in the Borders back office.We talked about her rapport with John, how Jimmy got to be on her TV show in 1970 and her involvement in the MAG charity and the Manchester concert. This will appear in the next TBL#16.

John arrived with wife Mo at five having travelled up by car. ”This is the only gig I’ve ever done where I’ve had to carry my own instrument to the show” he laughed. The instrument in question was an Andy Manson mandolin cat. no 971123 built around four years ago. John began tuning the mandolin in the back office and in what was a quite awe inspiring and unforgettable moment for the TBL editor, as John proceeded to playfully construct an instrumental medley that included The Battle Of Evermore,That’s The Way and Going To California. Hearing those gems from the past played solo, directly in front of me by one quarter of the group that made them immortal prompted instant shivers down the spine.
Julie and John went out to the Borders stage area (nothing more than a small PA right in front of the non fiction music book section!) to sound check. They had rehearsed a few numbers the previous week and John in his familiar casual way seemed well relaxed with it all.
Just after 6.30 they came back out to a now packed area. Plenty of Julie’s own fans were in attendance and of course a large Zep contingent, including Live author Luis Rey, TBL’s Gary and Carol Foy and Phil Tattershall,TBL designer Mike Warry and half of Simply Led (Eddie and Paul). One of Johns daughters viewed the gig with Mo. Julie ran through her set accompanied by JPJ. His mandolin playing looked effortless – and you could easily detect the deft touches that lit up all those Zep acoustic sets from way back. Julie for her part was also excellent, delivering an impassioned vocal on Dylan’s Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,encouraging audience participation on a couple of numbers and astutely commenting on the Landmines situation. Kath Simonds from MAG came up to conduct a well received question and answer session and then Julie and John signed off with a rousing Free The Land and an intense Deportees which I seem to recall Joan Baez performing on Dylan’s mid 70’s Rolling Thunder Review.

When it was over Julie and John took to a table and chairs and an orderly queue formed. John signed all manner of autographs on items ranging from original Knebworth and Earls Court programmes,plenty of Zep LP covers to copies of TBL. He also happily posed with fans for pictures. Thoughout it all he was full of usual dry wit and humour. Amusing moments included JPJ searching in vain for pics of himself in the Zep in Iceland magazine ( ‘life’s too short to go looking for pictures of yourself!’), and a great conversation with Simply Led’s Eddie Edwards ( ”oh so you’re me’). Eddie also got into an interesting rap with him about which key In My Time of Dying was performed in on stage with Zep.

All in all it was a wonderful evening and a great opportunity to see and hear John in a superbly relaxed setting. The most asked question as he signed autographs was ”When are you going to be playing in the UK again?” Nothing has yet been sorted but let’s hope it’s not too long before we see him on stage again. At Borders on Friday night John Paul Jones proved once again what an incredibly compelling musician he really is and how comfortably he carries the lasting Led Zeppelin legacy that goes with it. Dave Lewis April 13th 2002

This from Jonathan Taylor
Anyway, I suspected Dave Lewis would beat me to it, but I was lucky enough to be able to make it to Borders, so here’s the Taylor view.
Like a lot of folk there, I admit to going mainly to catch JPJ in the bookshop setting (and get my pic of him at Knebworth 4/8/79 signed…), but came away thoroughly moved by the whole event. Julie Felix was enchanting, and I enjoyed the songs far more than I’d anticipated; JPJ spent the evening weaving his seemingly effortless mandolin playing in and around Julie’s material, re-affirming his immense ability in a quiet and understated fashion. There was a distinct feeling of magic in the air as the evening wore on, and highlights of the set for me were the cover of Dylan’s “Hard Rain”, and Julie’s “Deportees” and the anthemic “Free The Land” (hope I’ve got the titles right…). There was a lot of gentle humour, particularly when Julie started a song out-of-tune (problems with a capo position), paused, and said to JPJ “Are we in tune?”; to which he replied (with a smile on his face) “Not overly so…”

I wasn’t previously aware of the Mines Advisory Group and their work…I am now. My respect for Julie Felix has gone off the scale, and my stupid grin at having my picture taken with JPJ will no doubt show up in the printed photo…so the whole event was a great success, and reflected huge credit on all concerned, including Borders and their staff who facilitated the event and the eloquent spokesperson for MAG. And particular thanks to Julie Felix and John Paul Jones, who stayed long after the event to chat, sign autographs, and generally behave like decent human beings.

James Patrick Page, if you happen to read this…the public profile of your own worthy cause would be considerably enhanced by staging such an event…and you could sign my Knebworth pic while you’re at it..!!!

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