Monday, December 7, 2009

The 12 days of Zeppelin: Gift ideas for the 2009 holiday shopping season

With the holiday shopping season squarely in mind, has compiled 12 relatively new gift ideas for the Led Zeppelin fan who seemingly has everything. Beginning today and continuing over the next 12 days, a new post will highlight one of the gift ideas.

On the first day of Zeppelin, my true love gave to me:

"Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979 -- 30 Years Gone," by Dave Lewis
Published August 2009 by Tight But Loose Publishing

Today's gift idea is a book published in August 2009, "Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979 -- 30 Years Gone," by author Dave Lewis.

When the 30th anniversary of Knebworth started to approach, it was fitting that somebody should mark it with the publication of a book. How lucky are we that Dave Lewis had not only the presence of mind to attempt it but also the ability to complete the task fully as only he could. Dave's attendance at both Knebworth Festival dates in August 1979, together with his mastery in sharing the Led Zeppelin story in the ensuing years, qualify him as an appropriate candidate to chronicle the concert series.

While Dave was preparing the book, some of his own personal 30th anniversary milestones rolled around. His first contact with Led Zeppelin's inner circle was in 1978. He visited the Swan Song office on a number of occasions that year and embarked on some other research in search of details about the band's complete history. He and Geoff Barton, toward the end of that year, wrote a long retrospective on Led Zeppelin and had it published in four consecutive issues in the U.K. magazine Sounds.

"Then as It Was: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979 -- 30 Years Gone" borrows some characteristics from Dave and Geoff's 1978 retrospective. Included in both is a discography section consisting of both official releases and bootleg releases. In the case of the new book, the discographies list releases related to the Knebworth era, such as international and white-label promotional releases of In Through the Out Door and singles like "All My Love" and "Fool in the Rain," in addition to the most comprehensive list ever assembled detailing the various audio and video recordings made of the Knebworth concerts, and bootleg and official releases of those recordings on LP, CD, DVD and other formats. The discographies prepared by Nick Anderson (the official releases) and Graeme Hutchinson (the bootlegs) exist purely to serve the hardcore collectors that will be interested in the book.

However, there are many other parts of the book that are sure to please even the most casual Led Zeppelin fan. Dave handles most of the storytelling himself, reprinting his original write-ups about the concerts along with latter-day insights reflecting on those dates without the "rose tinted view" Dave readily admits he had when documenting the shows at the time. Also affecting his point of view over time would be the context that Led Zeppelin's two shows in England that year would be the band's final U.K. appearances, something that was not expected at the time.

Ever the historian, Dave also put together several pages' worth of insight as to how these shows were planned in advance as great visual and sonic spectacles. Lots of work went into the preparation for the shows, and Dave spares no detail. This is of interest to anybody craving behind-the-scenes glimpses of a band and the people around them at work assembling a festival event that would be attended by hundreds of thousands. Tabulating those attendance figures themselves also prove to be a part of the story. In addition, a large part of the story is the variety of press Led Zeppelin was receiving at the time, before and after those shows. Basically, it wasn't always bad, but it certainly was rarely good, which may be a jarring discovery for younger fans who know nothing but a deep reverence for the group by their peers, their parents and the press.

In compiling this book, Dave also accepted dozens of new accounts from other Led Zeppelin fans who were in attendance at the concerts. Those who submitted their recollections make the event seem real to readers who weren't there for whatever reason. The book also includes several photographs that were previously unpublished and a section focusing on memorabilia from the Knebworth Festival (Disclosure: I helped to prepare this section).

Be sure to place your order soon for the holiday season, and if you act quickly you can take advantage of some special offers for the book. See ordering details at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated prior to publication. Comments will not be published if they are deemed vulgar, defamatory or otherwise objectionable.