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Knebworth Festival - August 4, 1979

  • The Song Remains the Same, Celebration Day, (Out On the Tiles intro) Black Dog, Nobody's Fault But Mine, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Hot Dog, Rain Song, White Summer ~ Black Mountainside, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again, Achilles Last Stand, Jimmy Page solo, In The Evening, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker.
srapallo's picture
on September 23, 2007 - 8:03am
Rate this show: 
Average: 4.9 (605 votes)
August 4, 1979
Stevenage
United Kingdom
uk
Setlist: 

The Song Remains the Same, Celebration Day, (Out On the Tiles intro) Black Dog, Nobody's Fault But Mine, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Hot Dog, Rain Song, White Summer ~ Black Mountainside, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again, Achilles Last Stand, Jimmy Page solo, In The Evening, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker.

Setlists: 

The Song Remains the Same, Celebration Day, (Out On the Tiles intro) Black Dog, Nobody's Fault But Mine, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Hot Dog, Rain Song, White Summer ~ Black Mountainside, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again, Achilles Last Stand, Jimmy Page solo, In The Evening, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker.

Comments

phil shears's picture

One of the highlights of my life Led Zeppelin at Knebworth park.
Camping in the car park for 3 nights drinking excessively and a fantastic concert.
Coming out o f the concert at the end the funniest thing was that everybody needed a slash, i remember this wall of urine flowing down the hill at the exit.

John Garvey's picture

I remember camping out all night outside the record store in Camberley, Surrey - the nearest venue to stock tickets for the show.
It turned into an impromptu party. (Hello Simon, Sandra, Graham, Jill, Ray)
The gig was probably the most memorable of my life (apart from Capt Beefheart and the Magic Band at Guildford the following year, sorry).
I recall the hair on the back of my neck standing up when they played Kashmir and Since I've Been Loving You.
Achilles Last Stand and Trampled Underfoot were awesome, too.
How long ago it all seems now when watching the DVD!
Far out.

nick's picture

bunked off school to go to london to get the tickets august 4 first and best concert ever been too any chance that one day it will be released as a whole show on c d ?

Argenteum Astrum's picture

A pretty good show but nothing compared to the standards Zeppelin had set in the past. The first 45 minutes or so sound good and strong, and Ten Years Gone is very pretty, but towards the middle section, the individual performances, though good, don't quite gel into a good ensemble performance. "Well, it's nice to see you again" said Plant to the audience at the beginning of the show, in fact they not played in the United Kingdom for the last four years! The crowd roared. Achilles Last Stand is aggressive and In The Evening is intense, but Stairway To Heaven sounds timid and tired ... Robert's introduction is so lackluster it is obvious he didn't want to play it. The encores are energetic and good, and Whole Lotta Love features the new arrangement first tried in Copenhagen in July. A short Heartbreaker finishes the event. After the last note, Plant said: "All you people that have come so far. It's been kinda like a blind date. Thanks for eleven years!"

Alan Foster's picture

I was lucky enough to be at the rehearsals for Knebworth 79, they were held at Bray Studios , on Stage 1 ,this is just down the road from Jimmy's house, so they all stayed there, i was right at the front of the stage !, my ears have never been the same after.I went on to drive Jimmy on a number of occasions, had some real good experiences.

stoo's picture

I was at the knebworth concert, with a mate - twas his birthday, Both portions of our tickets were taken, at the entrance gate and just beyond, we were nearly kicked out for arguing with the guys, they had official badges, anyone similar ??

Steve B's picture

My first ever gig also turned out to be the best.

Travelled down on the Friday with my girlfriend (soon to be wife and mother of my son , then ex-wife) and a couple of friends arriving as it got dark.I was at the gate that collapsed under the pressure at about 2 in the morning and remeber running across fields to the turnstiles where we scarily crushed until they let us in at first light.

Following a couple of hours sleeping on the grass I awoke to the biggest crowd I had ever seen. We had a spot about 50 yards from the stage (about parallel with the tree for those who were there) and sat all day until the big moment that Zep took the stage.

Looking at the set list now it is not exactly as I remember it - I could have sworn Over the Hills and Far Away came first and don't remeber 10 years gone at all - but most of it is still fresh in my mind. Highpoints were Achilles Last Stand and the explosion of Kashmir following White Mountain.

Nothing has come close to equalling the feeling of event that this concert had. I'm still held in awe by some of my younger friends and colleagues because I was actually there and saw Led Zep at their prime.

Steve G's picture

Ahh what memories! went with 3 mates & remember we were stoked weeks before the gig, discussing plans to get there ect on the banks of a local river around a few spliffs, we went by train to victoria station then coach to stevenage.

Hit the town centre as soon as we arrived, buying chow, smokes & booze then, picked a spot to bed down, crowds started to really swell and the vibe was unforgetable, really mellow & good, we went to a nearby wood & grabbed some branches, sticks ect & had a fire going & scored some rocky, remember some dudes from the US coming over with these huge demijohns of moonshine whisky that they shared for a few spliffs and as the night fell, there were bonfires blazing everywhere.

Remember all piling down to the park early, hoping to get a good spot. I cant recall much of support bands, Chas & dave, fairport, Rundgren bits & pieces but, one abiding memory is Zep kicking off, it was pitch black & I suddenly could see the shadow of the twin neck gibson appear on the stage backdrop and then BLAM! Song remains started, having recently got hold of white towers DVD release of the concert, I was able to relive the moment as it was captured almost exactly as I remember it.

A truly magical few days and ones I will never forget.

Barry Vaughan's picture

Caught the train from Doncaster to Stevenage, and walked to the site. Queued quietly to get in - a few guys ran at the fence and climbed over before security could reach them, probably tired of waiting. Found a spot towards the rear where it was a little less congested. Fairport Convention playing 'Sloth' was a highlight and seeing my all time hero Todd Rundgren was amazing.

Before Zep appeared, bonfires were lit around the festival site giving an ethereal feel as well as providing a little warmth. Hearing the opening chords of 'The Song Remains the Same' sent my heart racing and my knees trembling. As well as the obligatory standard (and magnificent) Zep songs it was wonderful to hear some of my personal favourites such as 'Nobody's Fault But Mine', 'Over the Hills and Far Away' and 'The Rain Song'. 'Kashmir' and 'No Quarter' were majestic and Jimmy's solo with the laser was spellbinding. An unforgettable day - proud and privileged to have been there.

Barry

Name michael's picture

(4th) we got there about 2 am (4 of us - me, ,jimmy, keith and steve), but my friend keith left his ticket at home (solihull), so he and jimmy went back for it; this meant we got in late and had to get a possie a long way back. when they announced that there was to be another show on the 11th we got tickets at the venue. on the 11th we made sure of a good place ( tickets brought) about 50 mtrs from the front. only problem was that by the time zeppelin come on i was really ripped and a lot of it was a blur.

NameOSWALD's picture

I came from North Italy to see the Concert.
I was 20 years old.
For me, it has been the "definitive" rock concert of my life.
Next year, "il Dirigibile" says "ADIOS".
SO WONDERFUL.

John Ceciliato's picture

That weekend remains the most memorable two day's of all the 80 thousand or so day's I' ve been fortunate to live through in my 50th year of existence.
I was around 11 years old when their music became my master, was 8 year older brother who initially turned me on to Led Zeppelin and the L.P.that unforseen to me at the time would influence and ultimately guide or shape the life that I have led to this point in time and no doubt like a fine and loyal life partner will I'm of no doubt continue and similar to our universe instead of initial thoughts of retraction slowing and collapse , we experience expansion and a strong force providing reassuring guidance in order to assist me and hope many more people to live a simple unmaterialized life-style. Best things I see vividly portrayed to me through their sounds of musical perfection.
1. " Happiness" no need to go searching it's around everyone, so find that big and uncomplicated ON / OFF Happiness Switch simply position switch to ON. comprehend.
2. I am of knowing where I am going.
Did you manage to guess or actually know the L.P. in question all are tremendous but for me the title unbe-fitting seemingly should have name like Utopia ,Nirvana perhaps instead of VOL 2 Time-less pieces to last far beyond our present Universe.
Led Zeppelin a splendid creation of which if anything listeningmore so and I have a duty not to dissimilar a role of a missionary to show the light and to Follow.
PS Brother's name Robert Anthony Ceciliato.
Bye John

Name Steve Stark 's picture

I seen zeppelin at knebworth and have the T-Shirt. I was in the us navy stationed in holy lock scotland at the time. There should be about 25 other navy buddies who on the bus that my friend pete and I chartered to go to the amazing show. All I remember is that zeppelin was awsome, the place was packed and we had the time of a lifetime.

Name's picture

tpimagazine- August 2009 - Issue 120

One week apart, Led Zeppelin’s two concerts in Knebworth Park 30 years ago this month marked not only the last truly legendary live events of the seventies, but also the last time the original quartet would grace a British stage. Mark Cunningham reviews the magic with Showco founder Jack Calmes, lighting tech Gary Carnes & journalist Mel Lambert...

Throughout the ’70s, Led Zeppelin had maintained their status as the world’s leading stadium rock’n’roll band but when punk came along to tear up the rule book, there was every chance that Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham would fall victim to the new regime and be classed as dinosaurs.

Strategically, what was to become their final studio album, In Through The Out Door, was a more synthesiser-led affair that was mostly bereft of the heroic guitar solos for which Page had become famous.

But the masterstroke that would guarantee Zeppelin’s legendary status for all-time was to coincide the album’s summer 1979 release with two enormous live shows — their first in the UK for four years — at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire on August 4 and 11.

Although arguably not their greatest-ever musical performances, the shows set the band apart from their fellow ’60s survivors and gave the young punks a timely reminder of how to move an audience.

The concerts — which also featured Fairport Convention, Keith Richards’ & Ron Wood’s The New Barbarians, Todd Rundgren, Commander Cody, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes and the ever-so-slightly unsuitable Chas’n’Dave — were the last open-air events promoted at Knebworth by Frederick Bannister, who had presented festivals there since 1974.

A major dispute over recorded audience numbers between Bannister and Zeppelin’s feared, larger-than-life manager, Peter Grant, was so fierce and damaging that the promoter’s company, Tedoar Ltd, was left with huge debts and was forced into liquidation. Bannister would never run a show at Knebworth again.

One person who remembers those two weekend shows well is Jack Calmes, the founder and president of Led Zeppelin’s production vendor, Dallas-based Showco, before establishing automated xenon lighting systems manufacturer, Syncrolite, 25 years ago.

Showco handled sound, lighting, effects and staging for Zeppelin from 1969, supplying its all-proprietary equipment. Over the years that followed, Jack Calmes had become accustomed to the cloak-and-dagger business dealings with Peter Grant, tour manager Richard Cole and the band.

“They were always very secretive about their operations,” says Calmes, “and Richard could be a difficult person at that stage because he was on the other side of the moon. While Peter dealt with the day-to-day business, Richard was the main interface for Zeppelin production and still regarded as the fifth member.

“He and I go back to 1966 when he was working with the Spencer Davis Group, and then he went off to look after The Yardbirds, which then featured Jimmy Page, and the story developed from there.”

When Grant asked Calmes to fly over to the UK for a meeting in the summer of 1979, it was obvious to the Showco chief that something significant was about to happen even though the advance detail was thin.

He says: “I discovered they were planning a big one at Knebworth with their old buddy, Freddie Bannister, and were doing some fancy footwork with [North Herts District Council] in order to get a licence. This was late June so there wasn’t a long fuse between the planning and the actual gigs.”

Calmes met Grant at Bannister’s London apartment where he was given a rundown on the scale of the show which, for the time, amounted to an extraordinary one-off enterprise. “I came armed with a presentation of how Showco might approach this and the associated six-figure costs,” recalls Calmes.

“Peter liked a gamble and the ritual was that he and I would play a game of cards in order for him to get a reduction of our fee. He’d never quit until he won something, and that day he managed to cut between five and 10 grand off our price!”

GEAR
The equipment for Knebworth required a major freight operation from the United States, although Showco’s relationship with British vendors including The Who’s ML Executives made it possible to source some key items locally.

Showco supplied the equivalent of four to six of its regular three-way PA systems with active crossovers and large bass bins and horns. Rusty Brutsché, who would later co-develop the Vari*Lite, was Zeppelin’s principal sound mixer, working at FOH alongside Benji Le Fevre who specialised in mixing Robert Plant’s vocals and adding effects.

Donny Kretzchmar took over from the band’s previous monitor mixer, B.J. Schiller, and Showco’s own Superboard consoles were at both ends of the park. Additional sound crew included Allen Branton and Joe Crowley.

Another Showco crew member, Ian ‘Iggy’ Knight had been Zeppelin’s lighting designer for many years leading up to Knebworth.

“I hired Ian after Peter Grant introduced him to me,” says Calmes, “and he became the main designer for all the band’s tours from the early ’70s with assistance from Kirby Wyatt, Showco’s production manager.”

The role of lighting director at Knebworth would have been long-timer Ted Tittle’s, had he not tragically died in a motorcycle accident just days before the crew departed to the UK.

His friend and colleague from the previous 1977 U.S. tour, Showco lighting technician Gary Carnes recalls: “Knebworth was always the kind of show where you’d think, it can’t get any bigger than this. But when Ted was killed so suddenly, our moods went from being jubilant to depressing.

“We were handed a big problem and had to re-assemble the lighting crew and programme a new design in a very short period of time.”

Carnes, who also worked at Syncrolite for several years and is now at Texas-based Entertainment Technologies Group, Inc., adds: “Kirby Wyatt became the driving force for this new team, consisting of Tom Littrell operating the console, with Larry Sizemore and I cueing the 15 [Gladiator & Super Trouper] spotlights.

“After many days and late nights spent fine-tuning the effects in rehearsals at Bray Film Studios, we all felt we had a production that would work — one we could be proud of.”

Littrell ran the Showco pin-matrix lighting console that controlled a rig of standard theatrical fixtures including over 200 steel PAR cans, Lekos, beam lights and strobes.

Calmes notes: “At the same time as Knebworth, Showco was doing the Bee Gees’ Spirits Having Flown U.S. tour which had one of the first programmable digital sequencers to run the dancefloor stage. That technology later evolved into Vari*Lite.”

LASERS & VIDEO
Amongst the many achievements scattered across his 44 years in live entertainment production, Jack Calmes is the man who should be credited with bringing laser technology into the rock’n’roll touring world.

In 1975, he sold The Who their first laser system, a US$36,000 purchase, that the band’s lighting designer John ‘Wiggy’ Wolff — now running Syncrolite’s UK office — went on to use spectacularly on ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.

Updated versions of the laser heads were sub-rented from The Who’s Ramport warehouse for Led Zep’s Knebworth shows as it was convenient to source from within the UK. And it was this equipment that was responsible for one of the shows’ most memorable cameos.

Calmes explains: “It was actually Rusty who should be credited for designing the rotating laser pyramid effect over Jimmy Page as he slung his bow out across his Les Paul. The bow itself was a fibre optic tube. We were building our Pyramid loudspeakers in those days and it was a cool idea.”

Following the Bray rehearsals, Page and the crew had time to perfect this particular element of the production when the party headed out to Copenhagen’s Falkoner Theater in late July, to work on both the music and the show design.

Whilst there, on July 23-24, they decided to play two low key shows under the pseudonym The Melancholy Danish Playboys. As Gary Carnes remembers: “There were about 150 people in the audience for the first show and it was totally sold out for the second.”

Sound and lights aside, one of the first elements Calmes added to the Showco portfolio was video image magnification (I-Mag) — a memorable feature of Zeppelin’s Knebworth performances.

“We established a video department around 1975-76 which was managed by Phil Squires, who went on to run the technical department at Burbank Studios in the ’80s,” says Calmes.

“Showco would install several Eidophors and an I-Mag screen wherever there was a stadium big enough to justify it, and we did this for a number of the bigger Zeppelin and Who shows, employing a guy who would assemble cameras and direct.

“It was a very time-consuming process to set up the 60’ x 40’ screen and interlock those Eidophors, and get them lined up to give you a clear picture. This took a number of very skilled professionals several days to perfect it for Knebworth.”

Those professionals included Martin Bushnell and Alan Hogarth from Link Electronics, the company sub-contracted to provide the Eidophor projectors.

Also involved from the UK was SGB, who built the stage, and Tim & Hoagy Davies, whose company Hijack Productions had been hired by Freddie Bannister to supply on-stage rigging and the inflatable stage roof — originally designed by Bill Harkin for Wings’ 1976 Piazza San Marco, Venice concert.

Peter Grant’s company, SwanSong, also contracted the Davies brothers to build a curved camera track and video platforms.

As mentioned at the start of this article, audience figures across the two Saturday shows vary wildly depending on who one asks. While the licence was for 120,000 ticket holders (at £7.50 each), it is believed that as many as 200,000 attended each show — a number inflated when a gap in the perimeter fencing, enabled free entry.

There were 400 stewards on-site and 150 backstage crew; local police charged a record fee of £50,000 and the security budget exceeded the same amount. It’s no surprise that many in the business have cited these shows as the point at which the UK concert industry began to slowly change.

Far from being just another big production, Jack Calmes remembers Knebworth ’79 as a major highlight of his career. “I think that because of the size of that crowd, the climate was magical. Jimmy’s bow effects on ‘Dazed & Confused’ and all of the signature moments of a Led Zeppelin show were supersized.

“The vibe was awesome and even us old, jaded production guys were brought to our knees by that one!”

Just over a year later, on September 25 1980, the powerhouse that was John Bonham retired to bed after attending a Led Zeppelin rehearsal at Bray Studios for their forthcoming U.S. tour, their first since 1977.

John Paul Jones and Benji Le Fevre found him dead the following afternoon. The 40 measures of vodka that Bonzo had consumed the previous day resulted in pulmonary oedema.

Bonham was 32... and the song would never remain the same.
TPi

Mark's picture

Where do I start? Went with a couple of mates from school in my Mini Clubman Estate. I was 17 and had only passed my test a few months before. It was my first ever concert.

We pitched our tent and then started to queue outside the gates. Some guy asked me if I had any blues - "No, sorry, mate" - hadn't a clue what he was on about.

I think some barriers were knocked over and I remember running across the fields towards the arena at some early hour of the morning. There then followed a massive crush outside the gates and it was difficult to keep your footing, so at some point, I just lifted my feet off the ground and let the crowd carry me along.

Unfortunately I got separated from my mates and because we had divided our provisions, I ended up with the cushions and the melon. Makes me smile just to remember our ludicrous that all was. So there I was, completely alone amongst a crowd of 200,000, just me and the cushions. Still, at least it meant I got a few hours sleep early on.

The support acts eventually came and went without much excitement and then the time was almost upon us... Usual tuning up noises, a few lights flashing and then showtime...

I can't remember whether I heard it on a bootleg recording or it actually happened, but someone shouted, "There's a screen, they've got a screen." The opening chord of the TSRTS and then my life just passed into another dimension.

I already knew the music so well but the visceral reality was beyond anything I had experienced before or since. If I'd have taken those blues the guy was after, I don't think I could have been any higher. I have never experienced anything so beyond the realm of my comprehension as those 3 hours.

One recollection was off Plant leaping right across the stage during one of the encores but even that was probably just an hallucination I was so out it. I guess the warm warm weather and the melon-only diet might have contributed to the effect. Who cared, certainly not me.

Reading the comments here, it seems like it was the first concert for many and although the boys were probably not at their best, it seems the show was indeed quite literally mind-blowing.

I remember finally trooping back to the tent, crashing and then queueing for about 4 hours just to get out of the car park on the Sunday.

Was gutted to miss the 2007 concert but was screaming out loud happy earlier this evening to discover they are releasing the DVD and CD of the event.

The age of rock/pop music is gone. There will never be another Elvis, there will never be another Beatles and there will definitely never be another Zeppelin... Unless of course Robert consents to hit the road again (PLEASE!!).

PS And if Calvin happens to read this, find me on Facebook and remind who the other guy was that we went with. Was it Winters?

Ray Mumford's picture

The day I dodged Led Zeppelin
From Street Machine Magazine Dec. 1979

I was one of the lucky thousands who made it to see Led Zeppelin’s concert on August 4th at Knebworth, home of the Street Rod Nationals for the last two years. If you didn’t get there, but live within about a five mile radius (like Mr. Wearing (the magazine editor)) then you probably heard it regardless.

I had decided that as I was going to be there all day and at least half the night, and as Knebworth Park is not exactly famous for facilities more comfortable than a grassy bank, something more suitable to retire to than my car was in order, (brewing tea in the Buick is not really on!) So I had a word with Rodger Williams, the man who runs the ‘Willhire’ car, van and truck rental outfit, and he kindly lent me his Dodge motor home which you can see elsewhere in this issue – it’s just one of his amazing collection of vehicles, including Ferraris and vintage Bentleys. He even has a street legal Formula Ford racer, taxed and MOT’d would you believe. Still watch ‘Street Machine’ for more about that later.

The Dodge is ideal for literally living in – it sleeps five, it’s got a cooker, fridge, air conditioning, stereo, toilet and wash basin and even a shower! Plus it looks good, and with a healthy V8 it goes pretty well (even burns rubber!). So I was in for a civilised concert.

We spent the first part of the day getting blown about by various members of the Rock ensemble who kept dropping out of the sky by helicopter right next to us (one has to tolerate such things, doesn’t one). The supporting bands played their way happily through the day and there was a wonderfully relaxed, friendly atmosphere everywhere you went, even the constable who rode ‘shot-gun’ with me through the crowds, seemed to be enjoying himself.

At about nine in the evening I positioned myself for an attack of sound, ear-trumpets at the ready. Half an hour later the stage exploded into life and a brilliant combination of lights and music ripped through the gathering darkness – this was what we had waited for.

The first few numbers had the same feel as the Earl’s Court concerts of about four years ago, and I felt it was their way of warming themselves and us up for what was about to come. I was right. They went through a beautiful rendering of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ and the combination of Robert’s voice (his range seems endless) and Jimmy’s guitar was spell-binding, sending a chill up my spine – you could feel the electricity in the crowd.

Other memorable pieces included magnificent versions of ‘Trampled Under Foot’ and ‘Kashmir’ plus ‘Achilles Last Stand’ which hurtled through the arena like an irresistible force. We all had a sing-along with ‘Misty Mountain’ and stood in silent reverence to ‘Stairway To Heaven’. But THE high-spot was Jimmy’s violin bow.

The stage was dark save for a pyramid of green laser beams. In the middle of them stood the lonely figure of Jimmy Page with a bow that glowed like brilliant neon. All you could see were the lasers and the orange bow, trembling, rising and falling, creating strange and wonderful sounds across the guitar strings.

Suddenly, he raised the bow and a dazzling green light appeared at the end of it, next a pencil beam of green laser came from the light and he waved it through the arena and into the sky. The effect, combined with the music, was so devastating that even the paralytic drunks in the audience stood up and gaped in amazement! This piece ran straight into ‘In The Evening’, a track off the new album ‘In Through The Out Door’, spurred into life by Robert Plant’s penetrating voice. This piece of music is like an animal with a soft centre – hear it – you’ll know what I mean.

After three encores they finished at about 1.30 am, nearly four hours of sheer musical excellence, backed up by well-conceived lighting and special effects, a piano solo from J P Jones and John Bonham doing his best to pound an expensive set of drums to dust. I think if I had done a mural of Adolph Hitler in the middle of them he wouldn’t have been able to hit them any harder.

I got home about 6am after a gradual calming down of the senses, wondering how I could postpone a show engagement the following week, so I could go back for Zep’s second performance.

Ray Mumford
www.raymumford.com

Incidentally, this was prior to the release of ‘In Through the Out Door’, but I had been sent a tape of the album, a few weeks before the gig, so was one of the few people who recognised ‘In the Evening’.

Peter Magee's picture

I remember it like it was yesterday. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Pete

Mike Steer's picture

I've just nearly walked smack bang into Jimmy Page in Goodge St in London - I'm not impressed by seeing 'slebs in London, but JPP is proper Royalty. It reminded me of the best gig I ever saw. Went with my girl and a couple of mates, but it seemed everyone I knew was there too. We snuck up the side of the security fence in the campsite, and had a head-start when everyone started charging to the arena. Got in in about the first couple of hundred and had our pick of the places, went to sleep and woke to see, what, 100k plus people all around - mind-blowing. Remember a fantastic atmosphere - impossible to walk anywhere, it was so tightly packed, and I trod on a huge Hell's Angel. I thought my time had come, but he just looked up and said 'It's alright, we're all here for the same thing, now piss-off'. Been to a million gigs since, and nothing else has come close.

Sally Thompson's picture

I was there, 16, thought life would end the day after that concert. Well now I know better but I can't say I'm much more mature!! I think now that's a good thing, still surprised by life every day whether in a good way or not, still rocking, still a Led Zep fan , still love Robert like a brother, still got my own hair. Way to go!

Don O'Sullivan's picture

The day had been great, a bunch of us had travelled down from the Midlands. As 'zero hour' approached I made my way to get closer to the stage, although we had not set up camp that far away in the first place. I soon found a spot with some guys from the USA, who seemed well up for it and some Punk Rockers from London who looked completely out of place, but seeing as I was playing bass in a punk band at that time it was no great surprise, to me at least, that they were there: they obviously had great taste and a sense of history: this was the 'first' LZ re-union gig on British soil.

As the set started the most abiding impression on me was that somebody had just tuned an additional PA system on: not only was the volume notably louder, but the clarity was amazing.
The Musical High-spots were the transition into Kashmir from the Dane-electro solo, because it was flawless in its intensity and power, and Achilles Last Stand, because it was my favourite Zep track at that time.

However, my most personal 'memory' was that as Robert Plant made his intros: my impression was that not only was he initially more than a bit nervous, which was frankly surprising, but it became evident as the night went on that the band were getting off on us, the audience. as much as we were getting off on them. I have been to more gigs than I can remember, but at few of them have I felt such a connection between band and audience, and none on such a scale. How much of this was down to the nature of the gig, the vibe, or the strange drink that my new friends from the capital were handing around, I do not know.

What I do know is that this was a special night for all of us who were there. I had work committments and could not stay down for the second gig. Then, I later missed a show in Munich because the guys I was travelling with were not interested in the band and I, wrongly as it turned out, thought that there would be other opportunities to see the band. The only tickets available were to the rear of the stage and I thought there would probably not be much to see!

God, was I thick, or what?

I am sad that I will not be at the Dome in December, but hope that this time around there will be other nights: that this will not be a one-off show and more will follow; preferably in the north of England. But above all, to those of you who will be there, enjoy what I am sure will be an amazing night's entertainment. You will be taking part in a piece of musical history!

Mike Gags's picture

In honor of the big reunion show in the UK, I thought I'd look back at the last 2 shows they played in England........KNEBWORTH 1979. Go to the 11th for a review for that show if interested.

The setlist of the 4 shows they performed in 1979 (they also played 2 nights in Copenhagen 2 weeks earlier) are my favorite of any tour. 22 songs that spanned over 3hrs was any Zep fans dream. The shows even included a couple new numbers from In Through the Outdoor that hadn't been released yet (a slight delay!).

Song Remains the Same opens the show and it's even more abbreviated than the '77 version (which was shortened from the '73 &'75 tours). Celebration Day is also rushed and it appears the boys are a bit nervous. I guess a crowd of 175,000 can do that to you. Black Dog is better and the crowd is into it. Nobody's Fault is also an improvement as Page is starting to find his groove. Bonham's playing is tight..........listen to some of his fills on this song. Over the Hills has Jimmy dabbling in his new delay/echo set-up and I LOVE it! Blistering leads with a little delay never hurt anybody. Many critics complained about Page's playing in the last 2 yrs of Zep, but I think Jimmy just trimmed things down a bit and tonight was a great example. No song was over 20 min and I think that made him more focused, but what do I know.

Misty Mt Hop and Since I've Been Loving You are played independently. This allows Jimmy to swap back to the Les Paul as he plays a Gibson RD Artist hollow-body for the first time on Misty. No Quarter is the "extended piece" tonight and it's completely revamped from the '77 tour. Clocking in at 18 min, this is the new Zep like it or not. Jones plays his little piano solo and Jimmy gets right to the point, HMMMM. Ten Years Gone is next and it's a liitle sloppy. Sorry, but I'll take a bad '77 version over this anyday. Hot Dog is Hot Dog and finally a little magic appears with the Rain Song. Left off the their last tour, tonight this version sparkles and I just love the reverb off the 12 string. A relatively short White/Black leads into yet another powerful Kashmir. This song has really grown on me and probably has some of Robert's finest lyrics ("Let me take you there"). Although a small chant of In My Time falls on deaf ears, Trampled ain't a bad choice. Again Robert's lyrics for this tune are very appropriate ("Grease me down, good electric") and Jimmy's solo is actually quite good. A personal favorite, Sick Again, is solid but it can't touch '77. Perhaps my favorite photo of all-time is Jimmy playing this song on the double-neck from Cincinatti 1977. Achilles is respectable as this song live has seen it's better days. A pretty cool Guitar & Drum sequence follows and I like the tympani intro into In the Evening. Great rock song from Zep's new album and it's a shame they don't make 'em like this anymore. Oh well. A LONG dedication prefaces Stairway to Heaven and again, this song has seen better (check out Earls Court '75 on the DVD).

The encore selections are perfect........a simple Rock N Roll and then a TOTALLY new Whole Lotta Love. This reworked version is solid and there's a reason Zep put this out on the DVD. Check it out. Heartbreaker is very weak. Jimmy really struggles and the show is over. Considering the extended layoff, I would consider tonight a success. The 11th would be a different story.

Tim's picture

I remember 4th August being a gloriously sunny day. I remember Chas and Dave doing Rabbit, a bit of Fairport Convention and Todd Rundgren the Electric Banana. I aslo remember missing the coach back to Manchester cos the show finished late - getting a train to Kings Cross and sleeping on the platform. My main memory, though, is someone sitting next to us with catarrh blowing their nose and his mate saying "snot sandwich anyone?". Funny what you remember isn't it?

Would like to hear from Deej - if you're still out there

Ian Drury's picture

I was there, right near the front - truly brilliant

David's picture

I remember calling into Harlequin record store next to Waterloo Station on the morning the tickets went on sale for the 4th August show... and within minutes (no queue) had two tickets in my hand...none of this e-mail/ballot stuff (I'll come to that later!).

The journey on the train from London's Kings Cross station was memorable, as my cousin (Pete 17) and myself just 19 gasped at the number of fans gathering as we approached Stevange station. Then the shuttle bus to the site and then the memories from the two 78 Knebworth shows (Genesis, then later that year Zappa and the Tubes)...but seeing Zeppelin this must be something else...and of course it was! Having already read most of the other fan's reviews there is little more to add about the show, other than the amazing set length, it seemed to be over 3 hours...the show had everythng you could ask for and more (even a DVD 25 years later!). Then the trudge back to Stevange station after the show, the live rails had to be turned off as everyone was walking along the railway line! The 2nd show on the 11th was slightly shorter but just as enjoyable (I still have a spare ticket for that show!) and I remember an American girl next to me at the front firing off a starting pistol throughout the set...!This year I applied for the Ahmet Tribute and like most fans, was unsuccessful, and thinking no more of it decided to go abroad for a few weeks. On my return, on my e-mail, a second ballot had taken place and I had been awarded the opportunity to buy 2 tickets...I returned to UK on 15th Dec... Typical! Let's just hope for a UK tour, if not thanks for some great memories!

Name's picture

Hi. my memory of exact date is hazy to say the least. I can't remember if I went on the 4th or 11th what I can remember was the new barbarians didn't show someone missed they're plane or something so could anyone please clarrify that fact for me.

regrds
Mark

Clif Supple's picture

This concert was and remains the highlight of my life (wife, kids & God excepted) - it was Led Zeppelin at their very, very best and a life changing experience. They created a magical event that entranced us all as we shared the moment - a moment in time that has shaped musical history and my life. Most people (including my wife) do not understand my love of ZEP - but it is a music and fellowship that moved me both emotionally and spiritually - these guy's understood the soul of a generation. They also spoke to a generation of kid's who were not sure who they were (nuclear weapons, Vietnam, etc) and presented four sterotypes that allowed each of us to feel good about ourselves - Robert Plant the high pitched 'some would say girly' Love God who filled his jeans extremely well, Jimmy Page the slightly framed weaver of magic - often reported as 'sickly' but a collosus on that Les Paul whom nobody would mess with - or could equal when playing with the other three, JPJ who stood quietly at the back and thundered away underpinning the Page and Plant show, and last but definately not least - Mr John Henry Bonham - the greatest goddamn drummer that has ever lived (sorry Jason) and I don't just mean the obvious numbers like Moby Dick and Montreaux - listen to the whole catalogue - he is always there providing the heartbeat (and clealry the erection in Whole Lotta Love). But great sadness is also attached to Knebworth - I have seen Page & Plant since (NEC) and Robert Plant & the New Sensation (Wolverhampton) but - having waited 28 years I cannot get a ticket for the Reunion. So please guy's keep the Zeppelin afloat as (and I know this sounds a bit sad for a 51 year old Psychotherapist from Shropshire) you are part of my life and I miss you like crazy 'Since I've Been Loving You'.

Despite my not being there - I hope the 10th of December becomes another 'Classic' concert that will be forever remembered in the pantheon of ROCK!

God bless you all - Clif

Lee's picture

Only one comment required: Best Gig I Ever Attended.

After nearly 30 years, I'm sure this statement will remain true for the rest of my life.
So glad to see the footage finally come out officially in 2003.

Seeing Led Zep at the O2 and Cream at the Albert Hall both came pretty close though!

AL MORAN's picture

Well first of all thanks to the US NAVY for my transportation and my CPO for letting me leave for a two night liberty to go to this show.
Also our special service department for getting the tickets .Traveled from Portsmouth by Train for this Show .Todd Rundgren was awesome and of course I have said it before and will say it again no such thing as a bad Zeppelin Show.To be honest the whole trip was heaven for Me have been to England 4 times 79,80,82,87 The scenery is allway's breath taking .Hell I even like the warm beer .
The show was great they played so many of my favorite songs.I have never been one to complain about musical mistakes made by the band so I won't start now.My only complaint is a young gal I met at the show swiped my Camera .She may have felt it was a trade but it was a Cannon AE 1 .She was verry pretty though.She told me she was from South hampton .I loved the show ,I loved the Gal,and I still love England and Zeppelin.

Nigel's picture

August 4th 1979 remains one of the very best memories. My first Zeppelin concert at 18 years old. I took the Friday off work and travelled to Stevenage from Kent on my Kawasaki 250cc motorbike with a friend - my longest trip at the time. We parked up and set off across the corn fields to join the crowds with such an air of excitement building. We just knew it was going to be a very special night. We didn't sleep - we just couldn't for excitement, but also no tent/sleeping bags etc - they just didn't seem important at the time.

Amazingly amongst the swelling crowds we bumped into some friends (this was way before mobile phones) who shared their food and booze - things were getting even better!

I recall some of the perimeter fences were forced down by the weight of numbers and we along with hundreds of others set off at a run across recently mown fields towards the turnstiles.

We spent the night sitting on the grass about 60 yards from the stage watching final preperations. The sun came up early, the mist came and went and the PA came on. I remember the biggest cheer of the day before Zepplin appeard was when they played "Since You've Been Gone" by Rainbow - the crowd was hotting up. Chaz and Dave did a great set piece and added much to the "feel good" factor.

Eventually Zeppelin treated us to a set piece which has been one of the most emotional experiences of my life and will forever remain a high point.

Like many others I applied for reunion tickets with no joy. I'm buying Mothership with the DVD's, just because. I'll always be a fan and I'm delighted that my 2 sons have also developed a real appreciation for the music so we can enjoy it together.

Message to Led Zeppelin - tour again. You've seen the enthuiasm this gig has generated. We've missed you, but if you don't, thanks so much for everything thats gone before.

joe fitzgibbon's picture

watch the video of nobodys fault but mine and see how unbelievably tight those 3 musicians are on this song then you add the singers harmonica and scat singing and that makes it one of the greatest live songs of all time

flipflop's picture

Yeah that was right they took all your "ticket". Having said that one of my mates managed to snatch a few from one of the black bins they where throwing them in. Unfortunatly my two halves are stuck to the front of a record/lp catalouge and are unretreveable, and at the moment unfindable, must be in the loft somewhere.
But we had a fantastic weekend, at the first gig, about ten of us travelled down in a hired transit van, full of beer and long haired louts. One of the lads still says it was the best weekend of his life, and he is bloody ancient now.

ps i travelled down for the second show as well, could not say which was better

Name michael's picture

yes they did play, but it was shit!

Ian's picture

Sounds like you are (/were) a true Zephead and enjoyed the show for what it was, unlike so many reviewers and detractors who can't understand the mammoth power that was Zeppelin.

William Johnson's picture

I was there and what I do remember was that prior to the song Robert Plant said that they were going to play 10 years gone even though they have been away for 11 years.

Lee's picture

It's a bit difficult to explain to someone who doesn't 'get' it just how important this gig was for a lot of us. This was the first of my three Zeppelin gigs, and at the time was a totally uncritical 16 year old totally in love with the band. The rush I got when Jimmy hit the opening note is a feeling I can still remember all these years later. I obviously had no idea that the following year's tour would be their last, if I had I would have gone out on a limb to go and see them in Rotterdam or Berlin, for example.

Yep, I'm with you on this, Seeing Led Zep was one of the best experiences of my life.

Stevem's picture

actually the coment was they had been together for 11 years so this song was a year overdue

will's picture

was there best ever gig ben to  zep started with rock and roll 

John Harrison 's picture

 

I saw the gig advertised on the Old Grey Whistle Test, apparently the Eagles had pulled out and Zep stepped in, that was it, decided, I was going come hell or high water. First things first then, tickets – when and where? Virgin store St Johns Shopping Centre Liverpool, probably some time in June. I arrived at the store, sleeping bag in hand around 6pm on the Sunday night, tickets went on sale on Monday, I was 3rd in the queue, after a sleepless night low key parting with fellow fans we ended up at opening time with a queue around the whole shopping centre, straight in 1 x £7.50 ticket – must have been a whole weeks dole money then! To be safe I had also applied by post for a ticket which when it came back was for the then announced second concert.

 

So a couple of months fly by and its time for the gig, well being 17 and a bit naïve, I thought – OK I had to camp overnight to get a ticket, how bloody long before should I get to the concert to make sure I get a good spot…? OK I figure a week should do it! So Monday morning (30th July) I hops a lift off an acquaintance down to the M1 junction at Luton, soft bugger only lets me out on the motorway instead of going round the roundabout! Had to jump the barriers and walk across a couple of fields down to the roundabout. From there I think it took a couple of hours to get over to Stevenage.

 

From Stevenage I walked up the lane leading to Knebworth. As I was walking up near the top of the lane a Transit pulls in front of me and the back doors are flung open..”Want a Lift?”, Silly question, I hopped in to the van and there were 4 or 5 people in it. They asked if I was here for the gig, …yes of course, did I have a place to stay or camp, …no. Come with us we are camped on a kids playground, loads of room, …Cheers!

Now my questions.. you here for the gig? (ok silly question), What you been doing? … working on the rig. What Rig?..you know the stage. Fuckin Hell Any Jobs?.. Yeah come down tomorrow with us theres loads to do.

 

So there I was day one, our own private camp site within easy walking distance of the Lytton Arms, few good ales and the prospect of working on the stage.. Happy Days!!

 

So Tuesday I gets up and gets a lift in with the others down to the stage area, had to go and see a guy called Gerry who was doing the hiring, job no problem its £1.50 an hour if you work at heights and £1.00 at stage level – well that’s decided I’ll take £1.50 thank you very much.

 

Was working with a couple of guys called Happy and Jade, great couple of lads we were putting up the white sheeting around the stage area which would keep the weather out if it rained.

 

Great day, ended up in the Lytton Arms for tea and beer, back to camp where everyone was getting stoned.

 

Wednesday, same sort of day only it was raining for some of the day but it would take more than a bit of rain to dampen my spirits!

 

Wednesday we got the news that Zep would be there Thursday for the soundcheck.. YIPEE!!

 

Thursday, back to work as usual then I think it was around 2pm the band started arriving, first was John Paul Jones in a BMW 6 series with his wife, second Plant, who I think was on his own, third John Bonham with Jason who must have been around 12 at the time. Last but by no means least Pagey and Peter Grant arrived in a helicopter. Needless to say I had stopped work by then. I grabbed a page of the Sounds music paper from someone and a felt tip pen and went round getting all their autographs, well all except Grants – he was terrifying, and I didn’t ask Jason for his either.

 

Whilst he was waiting Plant had a play on the piano and on the keyboards with JPJ. So eventually they all got sorted and Bonham started hitting the drums – noisy bastard I was right in front of a bank of speakers it nearly took my head off. 

They did half a dozen songs for the soundcheck, Rock’n’Roll , Trampled Underfoot – which Jason played the drums on – Brilliantly by the way, at 12!! Hot Dog, In The Evening and a couple more which I can’t remember.So that was that, needless to say cracking evening in the pub followed.

 

Friday was just a work day and the evening in the pub as usual, I had made £60 in my pocket for the 4 days work which in 1979 for a schoolboy was a lot!

 

Saturday was up early, around 4 ish I think and in to the arena. In the end I was slightly disappointed with the gig as I had had a private show 2 days earlier and there were, at the most, 30 people watching.

 

Another naiive moment I had was on the Friday, a lad who had only worked for 2 days had approached Gerry (the hirer and firer) because he didn’t have a ticket, Gerry said he would sort something out for him. As I had a ticket I felt quite smug and safe in the knowledge I would definitely see the gig. Anyhow on Saturday afternoon I was over by the VIP enclosure to the left of the stage and who is waltzing around in there? Yep mr 2 days, free bar, loads of space, all the bands and guests….DOH!!!!!!!!

 

Anyway, comes Monday and naiveté strikes again, I went into Stevenage and spent most of my hard earned cash on a new camera so I could get pictures of this weeks sound check … oops no sound check this week!

 

By Tuesday I was bored, no work, no money so I thought bugger this and hitched back home. I still have the ticket for the 11th.

Ahh Memories!

 

John Harrison 

Dennis C's picture

Hi John,

I do recall your story ... I strongly recall the never ending rain in that stupid cooking tent I slept in ... not sure of the girls name but I believe she was from Liverpool (red-hair) ... also I do recall how we partied in front of those concert amps ... directly in front ... yes, the memories are still vivid ... thanks for sharing ...

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Long time John - no hear ... by Dennis C (not verified)
Knebworth soundcheck by John Harrison (not verified)
4 8 79 knebworth by will (not verified)
33 years on by Sally Thompson (not verified)
Knebworth, 4/8/79 by Ian Drury (not verified)
I was there - Knebworth Aug 4th by Mark (not verified)
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Knebworth Rehersals 79 by Alan Foster (not verified)
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4th Aug 1979 memories by Steve G (not verified)
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