Wednesday, June 10, 2009

August fan gathering, book to reflect on Led Zep's '79 Knebworth concerts

Recent months have celebrated the 40th anniversaries of Led Zeppelin's first album and onstage debut, but author Dave Lewis over in England recognizes another milestone anniversary taking place in 2009. This August will mark 30 years since Led Zeppelin's final appearances in its home country, at the Knebworth Festival in 1979.
The monumental occasion of Led Zeppelin's homecoming performances on Aug. 4 and 11, 1979, proved sentimental for the group and its fans at the time. Given the unexpected nature of these shows being Led Zeppelin's last ones in England, memories of the concerts have improved with time. And since the May 2003 release of the band's official 2-DVD set in 2003, these shows are now more than ever viewed as two of the most memorable events in the band's latter days.

Before that anniversary rolls around, Dave Lewis is organizing a get-together for Zep fans at the Lytton Arms, a pub about a 10-minute walk from the location of those concerts. "Then as It Was: A 30th Anniversary Knebworth Celebration Day" is to take place on Aug. 8, the Saturday between the two dates on which Led Zeppelin played its famous shows at Knebworth in 1979. For only £10 admission, attendees will be treated to a buffet meal, view memorabilia displays and participate in a charity auction.

The event will also serve as the launch party for a new limited-edition hardcover book Lewis has been compiling, called "Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979 -- 30 Years Gone." Lewis will be on hand to sign books and also hold a question-and-answer session with the audience. Footage from the Knebworth shows are to be played throughout the day. Click here for more information on the Aug. 8 event in England.

The limited-edition book will include the written accounts of fans who witnessed the shows firsthand and some material that has previously appeared in Lewis's superb fanzine, "Tight but Loose." There is also going to be a 16-page section in the book for color photographs, which should have a number of shots from the Knebworth concerts -- as well as shots taken this weekend by Led Zeppelin memorabilia collector Brian Knapp of some Knebworth-related items in his possession. Included among these are some truly unique items from the shows! More on these in the coming weeks.

Also, Knapp happens to be selling one of his rare Knebworth items on eBay right now: a full, unused ticket to the Aug. 4 show. Since he's an avid collector with many items for sale on eBay, he brags that his ticket is one from the Aug. 4 show with red lettering, which makes it more scarce than ones from the Aug. 11 show with green lettering. And he boasts that his ticket comes with the perforated "agent retainer" portion that would have been removed upon entry to the shows -- and also with a letter of authenticity from Knebworth promoter Freddy Bannister from when Knapp acquired the ticket in 2004.

As you may recall, British Zep fan Annie Hollinshead spearheaded "Memories in Music '68-'08" last year, a Led Zeppelin memorabilia display at Knebworth Field House raising money for charity. Plans for a repeat of the event this year have been postponed until further notice.

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