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Knebworth Festival - August 11, 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, 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, Communication Breakdown.
srapallo's picture
on September 23, 2007 - 8:04am
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Average: 4.6 (402 votes)
August 11, 1979
United Kingdom

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, 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, Communication Breakdown.

UK '69 Programme

Click here to view the concert programme. (flipbook)

Press Review: August 11, 1979: Led Zeppelin, appearing live in Britain for the first time in four years, took a pasting from local critics after the first gig Aug. 4, but hit fine form a week later. The occasions were this year's 100,000 - capacity open-air concerts at Knebworth Park, 25 miles north of London, promoted by Frederick Bannister.

So-called "special guests," in the last but one slot on the Aug. 11 bill only, were Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, with Wood's recently-formed act, New Barbarians. Finally taking the stage as darkness fell , following a break of more than two hours after a set by Todd Rundgren & Utopia, the band's UK  debut started shabbily, but by the third number, "Breathe On Me," settled into respectable, down-the-line rock 'n' roll. '

So , what with Zeppelin's power-drive style seemingly little changed over the years, it was definitely salute the veteran’s night once the day's sets were over. Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes had preceded Rundgren, with Commander Cody and a new British duo, Chas & Dave, earlier still... (In place of the last named, Fairport Convention opened the Aug. 4 bill. It was a farewell gig for the long-lived English folk-rock combo, forced into demise by leader Dave Swarbrick's deafness.)

First-rate Show

But although the music was a blast from the past, production of Zeppelin's two-and-a-half hour stint was strictly 1979, and first-rate. Main credits there go to Showco, a Dallas-based p.a. and presentation company used by the band for some eight years, and Ediophor, the Swiss video projection specialist.

The computer-controlled lighting rig included numerous special effects, of which the most remarkable were produced by lasers during a long solo spot by guitarist Jimmy Page. Standing in a pyramid of green light shone from a laser mounted directly above - which periodically rotated - he performed a long-familiar act using a violin bow on the guitar and playing through a variable-delay echo device. What was less familiar was that the bow was laser-lit along its length,  and thus appeared red; and carried another laser in the tip which shot a pencil-thin green beam over the crowd when Page waved the bow in ; the air. A new model, six-kilowatt video projector, shipped in from Eidophor and rigged behind a 40-foot by 33-foot screen at the back of the stage, was operated by Television International, a London-based facilities company and fed by a six-camera crew. It achieved bright, high-definition color pictures of special benefit to the audience on the edge of the arena, almost a quarter of a mile away.

The TV coverage, directed by Chris Boger, was specifically a Led Zeppelin venture, set up through Phillip Carson, local chief of the band’s Atlantic label. He says no plans have yet been made on exploitation of the resultant two-inch tape recording.

Although Edinophor machine was not running during the New Barbarians set, the cameras were. There is general reticence over the long delay before the band came on, but the word backstage was that there were arguments over the use of the TV equipment. With the barbarians not signed to a label at present, a likely – but unconfirmed – party to the contention was Ronnie Wood’s record company, CBS, which presumably has a stake in the footage).

Musically, Zeppelin seemed well-rehearsed, and Robert Plant’s gravel-down-a-chute voice strong and agile. The set started to gel after some 20 minutes with a hard, country-rock number called Hot Dog, from the band’s new In Through The Out Door album.

Thereafter, it was always the extrovert, bump-and-grind routines that came off best, rather than the attempts at a more contemplative style, which failed to “carry” in the big-show setting.  Stairway to Heaven however, with which the band closed before two encores, was a notable success ranging across several tempos and moods, and superbly sung by Plant, who ended up bathed in an effective rainbow backlight.

A third encore, Heartbreaker, was reportedly on the running order, but abandoned as the arena was clearing fast – by then it was 1 A.M. and the approving but finally unecstatic crowd seemed surfeited. Zeppelin, as an expatriate bastion of the British rock establishment, had proved via spectacular production values and solid professionalism it could mount a show back home worth $17 or anyone’s money, but enough was enough.

Seems promoter Bannister may be barred by local authorities from holding further concerts at Knebworth Park, the rural grounds of an ancestral home now occupied by the great-great-grandson of the first Earl of Lytton. On both nights, Zeppelin were still playing after the agreed midnight deadline and the nearby Stevenage municipality has become increasingly protective of its residents.
[-Variety / August 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, 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, Communication Breakdown.


Argenteum Astrum's picture

Not as good as the first week and also a little more tension in the air. Some songs sound very sloppy, almost like the band doesn't want to be there, but then again, some sound excellent. The opening 45 minutes or so sound strong and good, but the intensity starts to flag towards the end. Jimmy butchers the solo in Whole Lotta Love, and the end encores sound tired ("Can you do the dinosaur rock?" reflected what the band thought playing these old tunes). This was also the last concert in the United Kingdom but Robert, before as he left the stage, said: "We'll see you soon. Very soon. Don't know about the Marquee, but somewhere soon." They couldn't knew what happened a year later. Some problems with Page's guitar and PA system truncated Over The Hills And Far Away and Misty Mountain Hop.

Marc Aitken's picture

This was a genuine lesson in positive thinking that has stood me in good stead for the rest of my life. On hearing about the gigs way later than everyone else (why?!!) I simply announced that I was going. trouble was, No ticket, by that point no chance of getting one, and a job in a old fashioned music shop chain that absolutely did not allow Saturdays off, ever.The lies I told I told to get out of it made watergate look like the teletubbies. Then magick, I get a route to a ticket but then, decide my best friend Simon has to be there too. So off we go from Sunny Bournemouth to London on the Friday Still no second ticket!! but then miracle no.2, I still can't work out 28 years later how we got in contact with the stranger that we made a light night cab ride to to, to get the fabled ticket no.2

So we arrive, never been to a festy in our lives, God! it was huge, like a City!, Keef And the new Barbarians, shambling through the blues, and Chas and Dave??? and a food menu so small it ALL fits on one page of the programme I still have!. ( imagine that, Glastonbury Haute Cuisine world)
Then Bam! its really them, the Eidefor Projectors throwing up the biggest projected image anywhere on the planet at the time. I can still see Jimmy and THE bow and the Lasers swirling above him like some Huge spaceship. Then "anybody here do the Dinosaur Rock"? says Percy as they launch into Rock and Roll and within a few songs its over. The journey home on the trains, beyond hell, Stevenage Station overrun with 1000's of Zep heds, A policeman in front of us getting his arm crushed in the entrance as he tried in vain to restore order to the enormous throng. Hours spent trying to get on each train as too polite to get feisty at that age. Finally back into Kings X and HUGE taxi que! eventually back to crash flat we managed to blag in Posh Knightsbridge, reeking of (others people's ) Petoulli. Then eventually home, and then keeping totally silent at work about the greatest gig of our lives, epic!

Jonny Hologram's picture

Knebworth 79 was sooooooooooooooo cool. The first weekend we walked right to the front of the stage with two birds (yes there were called birds back in '79) Me and my mate Dave found them hitch hiking to the gig. We told a couple of Scottish blokes right at the front that they could have them if they let us sit down and let us drink their whiskey. The poor girls spent the whole gig fighting of the drunk Scots whilst me and Dave had the best seats in the house :) At the end of the gig we grabbed the girls and made a run for it. I seem to remember sleeping in a ditch with them and then dropping them off on the motorway on the way home. Not very nice of us but lads were lads in those days LOL. Oh the gig was great, especially Jimmy and his laser. I will always remember 100,000 people with their lighters lit for Stairway. What a mind fuc. The second weekend was memorable purely for the fact we didn't have tickets but got in for free. 2,000 pushing the fence down did the trick. One security guy was behind the fence and he did his best to stop us by hitting the smallest person he could find. WOW happy times

Tom Potter's picture

I just discovered three concert flyers for this show......they have the poster image on the front and instructions, directions, guest rules, etc on the back. Really quite interesting.

So I started doing some research to see if they had value.....and that's how I found this site.

Reading your accounts of the actual concert has given me chills! I was not there....was on a different continent....but can almost feel the excitement through your accounts.

Amazing...thanks for sharing your experiences...

Neil Franklin's picture

This was the pinnacle for me as a Zeppelin fan. I was just that bit too young to have seen the guys at previous gigs, but Knebworth came in my 18th year. It was everything a festival should be:- no sleep the night before in the over-crowded campsite; up at some unholy hour to make the pilgrimage in the rain across to the showground; then waking up, in the warmth of the morning sunshine, to hear Nicky Horne starting his set. Am I confusing events, or did Chas & Dave open the live proceedings? I will never forget the food fight that started when a guy would not sit down during Todd Rundgren's set - I got through an entire large packet of Rich Tea biscuits, which made positively the best frisbees imaginable.
It would be trite to try and eulogize, but suffice it to say that this event has stayed with me ever since (and I saw over 100 gigs in all during those heady days).
I am one of the extremely lucky ones who will be at the O2. Oh my God!

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!”

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.”

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.

funkspiel's picture

a warm, misty evening.
friendly crowd.
good hash.

alan cooper's picture

29 Years ago! my god, it still feels like yesterday.I remember getting there for 7am , and then
sitting under x2 plastic bags with my then girlfrenid sarah [wonder where she is now!] and then
there was Chas n Dave, who i seem to remember had the crowd going at one stage, and The new barbarians keff & ronnie etc who tunned in a good un, but hey Zep in my eyes could do no wrong great set,bonos drumming was fantastic ,jimmys on top form, robert & jpj as well, it was the one and only time that ive seen them , so tour again lads that would be just fantastic!

Ivor Griffiths's picture

I was there! I was. Wth my girlfriend Liz Heath. We went in a tent, had a great time. We hitched back and had to camp in a field just outside of Coventry at two in the morning. We were knackered because we'd been chased off the motorway by the cops when we gave up hitching and started to walk. We were pure sex, drugs and rock and roll. The music of Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher the soundtrack. I'm glad I went, wish I could've made the last gig. Superb.

Hue G Dick's picture

Quite emotional sitting here 31 years on reading other people's accounts of something truly significant, - for them as individuals , and me , and all of us collectively - a true bond, and, yes, life changing for some.

For me it was something of a rite of passage. I was 18 - Led Zeppelin and the events of 11 Aug 1979 are inexorably linked with my older brother, tragically no longer on this mortal coil. He was the reason I love the music I do , having had it hammered into my skull as a pale youngster - and the reason I trekked a 700 mile round trip to the epitomy of my youth. He also sold me the 1973 Triumph Spitfire that me and fellow zepfreak Spider made the journey from Fife in..Christ I miss my brother - and I think I still owe him £200 on the car.

But! Having secured our tickets by sending off with the requisite postal order, (eat yer heart out Ticketmaster) the sacred briefs arrived and it was Game On. A hastily compiled C90 cassette of Zeppelin hits, along with a case of lager and another of Mcewans export, and a pair of wellies, which served for luggage accompanied us on the odyssey south. Can't remember much of the journey, possibly explained by the fact that the beer was 50% down by the time we got there...and there was a bit of a purple haze in the car...

So we get there. park up, fall asleep in or out of the car - who knows - in the piddling rain. We awake and make our way to the , ahem, 'arena '. And lo, the sun shines on us! Two red haired, befreckled, Scottish 18 year olds!! The rest of the day is a bit of a blur to be honest, but I recall it got warmer all day, and the heady reek of damp denim and patchouli still is ingrained in my, now ruined, olfactory canals.
I remember Chas & Dave getting us all woken up and mobile again, Southside Johnny I wasn't too keen on (but now I love!), Todd Rungren was, well, Todd Rungren, and as it got darker, we waited for Ron n Keef. And we waited. Word was they couldn't get Ronnie out of the bar, but about 45 minutes(?) late they were on and so what - you can't argue with 'Honky Tonk Women' and 'Brown Sugar' - although I do remember one of them fell into the camera pit...did that happen?

Another hiatus - by this time it was a beautiful, clear, still evening...stars on a navy blue velvet backcloth - or was something messing with my consciousness..?, We'd we'd made lots of friends in the crowd around us. A word here for my travelling companion - Spider. A mop of curly ginger hair, an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things musical, and a tremendous beer finder, so we became well connected as we sat about 50 yard from the biggest stage I'd ever seen.

And then! Suddenly ! Nicky Horne went quiet, and in a crash and a flash Zeppelin were on! Right in front of us! To try and describe the feeling is superfluous, and to recount the show itself is impossible, but as others have said, it wasn't that they were good or bad, or played this song or that, but that they - we! - were all there at the same time in the same place. Honestly, if you weren't, I don't think you get it. I met a guy in Liverpool a few years back who was there too, and it was like we'd known each other all along. Or was that just whisky...

Highlights? The usual - JP in the laser pyramid in 'Dazed & confused'; I remember the stage drenched in white light for 'Kashmir' - probably the best part for me - and 'Rock & Roll' , the new stuff from 'In through the out door' ...I've since heard the recordings and folks are right - it could've been better, but I Don't Care. It was amazing, fantastic, life -affirming...

...and then it was over, but burned into my psyche until now, and beyond. If only I could remember the details! There then followed the most ridiculous journey back to Scotland. About 15 miles on to the A1 I managed to roll the Spitfire. Was it a puncture? Did I fall asleep? Who knows...We were fine - I'm sure I had to kick Spider awake to get out the car.

As we sat at the side of the dark road a rumbling heralded the arrival of a bunch of Geordie Hell's Angels, who didn't kill us made sure we were ok, and against their better nature, went up the road and phoned the police to come to our aid. (Never got the chance to thank them..) The cavalry arrived, arranged to get the wrecked car towed, and pointed us in the direction of Stevenage station where amid a 70's Sodom & Gomorrah we got a train north and for our pains shared a space atop a hamper in a mail train (?) to Edinburgh & beyond. The car? A write off, and I got £50 for scrap, less the towing fee of £30 - and a bill from the local council for the lamp post and crash barrier that we took out...

...and I'd do it all again tomorrow without hesitation

Martin Kochloefl's picture

Yes, I was there and I can remember it pretty well. I was 22 years old and traveled with a friend of mine by train from our hometown Moosburg near Munich to London. We bought an interrail ticket. We stayed the two nights before at a campground in the suburbs of London. It was so windy there, that the tent broke and we must buy a new one. We travelled to Knebworth from Victoria by train.

It was the most amazing concert I´ve ever seen. At that times I visited nearly every rock concert in Munich, but the atmosphere of Knebworth was unbeatable.

After the concert we returned back to Victoria.Station. It was abou 3.30am. We had no more money left, so we asked cab drivers to take us for free and we really found one.

Greetings to all old and young LedZep fans

Philip Manning's picture

The greatest show I ever witnessed !

Jonathan Adkins's picture

I think everyone loved Led Zeppelin in my village of Merley, Wimbourne. We did try and embrace new bands and movements, but Led Zeppelin were always our favourite.

I was desperate to see Led Zeppelin at Knebworth, but my father found employment overseas in Singapore, so unfortunately all I could do at the time was read the reviews.

At the time the critics (I thought) were tough on Led Zeppelin, mainly as new wave bands and
punk remnants were topping the charts. Times and fashion had changed, and the mighty bands
were out of favour.

I remember sitting in Queensland College Of Art in the early 1980's when SEA OF LOVE came on the radio...WOW it was great to hear that voice, that guitar again! From then on I have yearned to hear the band back together.

I have purchased most of the solo projects including COVERDALE/PAGE and revelled in
the magical moments, thinking about the 'glory days'.

To me each member of Led Zeppelin is a vital ingredient, and each ingredient is required
to brew the magic. I think it is fantastic (amazing) that Jason Bonham can fill his fathers shoes...John bonham would be so proud!

Oh, and KNEBWORTH...I bought the LED ZEPPELELIN DVD when it was released....
and I thought the Knebworth show was very powerful!

I still pray that one day I get to see Led Zeppelin...Please come to Brisbane!

carlos's picture

Led make my life better. I love your songs since 1970...

Pete Butterwick's picture

I remember (most of it) as if it were yesterday: the overwhelming excitement at the announcement that Zep were to play Knebworth, something my parents didn't share. I just had to get a ticket!!
I was seventeen and Zep had changed my whole perception of music for the last three years and was just too young to go to Earl's Court. Dilligently following the extensive US '77 tour in the press, this was now my big chance.

Another Zephead and fellow college student Marc decided to accompany me and we set off hitch-hiking from Exeter two days before. We slept rough in a barn near Basingstoke and woke up surrounded by cows doing their morning ablutions. A few lifts later and a bus ride from Stevenage, we finally arrived at Knebworth the night befer the show.

I remember a breach in gates and a mad rush for the best (damp) seats in the house. It seemed to take ages running in the moonlight before we pitched up about 50/60 metres from the stage and got our heads down. It was wet and not much sleeping went on, but I do distinctly remember the massive cheer at about 11.00am as the sun came out.

The crowd were quite respectful of all the bands, but we were only here for one thing: to see the greatest and most exciting band of all time. The adrenalin shot though my veins as the the band were anounced, which was the time is spotted that my mate was asleep. A couple of well aimed kicks and he was up on his feet .

The concert is well documented, the band were not at their best, but its was still a truly religious experience and something I will treasure for the rest of my life. 30 years on I still remember it like it was yesterday, whilst many other memories fade.

However, one question for my pal Marc Oboussier - How the hell did we get home!!!

CHRIS JOHNS's picture

having seen the show the week before, a bunch of us decided on friday night after the pubs had shut to drive to knebworth and try and get in again, this we duly did and as a good friend of mine at the time was working for showco I separated myself from the rest of my mates about an hour before zep took the stage and waited by the right hand lighting tower, when I saw my mate Gordon climbing the tower I called to him and he told the security man to "lower a ladder down for that guy there" I watched the entire show from the 'hospitality' tier just below the spotlights, zeppelin were of course superb but jimmy did butcher whole lotta love and they were not as good as at earls court in'75 which was thier peak, after the show as we all left the tower the tarpaulin caught fire and the whole thing went up in flames!! happy daze, love and peace to all zep fans.

Stefano Galbiati's picture

Mi è rimasto nella pelle... Un evento unico in tutta la mia vita. Ringrazierò sempre il Signore per avermi dato la possibilità di esserci. Thank you Jimmy, Robert, John, John Paul!

Name Snave's picture

A life changing moment for this 45 yr old . Had just left school no job ( Thatch saw to that for a while) but hey, I had my £7.50 ticket and the world was mine !!.With my dad in the RAF we had just moved to Doncaster so I had to set off on my own and hope to meet up with my mate when I got there ( life before mobiles hey ) can I just put in print now my everlasting thanks to my parents for letting me do this and were you mad!!!. ha ha .Anyway got on the bus and was off picking up more and more zep fans as we got closer to Stevenage and by luck or fate I did indeed meet up with my old school mate and pitched the tent, no sleep, bloody great. Then it was Friday and the gathering of the great unwashed and a sea of great coats , denim and afghans got up to the fence ,at about one in the morning it came down, and the long run up to the arena,bit of a crush but every one was cool and looked out for each other until they let us in and a night under the stars, I can remeber just looking at that huge stage in some sort of dream, this was broke with a huge roar of laughter ( I remember that ) as the security guards dog had a crap up on the stage.Woke to more people than I had seen in my life and the smell of dope was unbelievable (and I have been going to glastonbury for 20 years) .The sun was out , the bands and can fights came and went ,the new Barbariens eventualy left, Nicky Horn put on freebird , the lights came down and then, TWANG ,the twelve string kicks in and that mother of all screens lights up with Jimmy and thousands and thousands of flash lights go off.The rest is history and I could go on all night ,like I said at the start if you were at knebworth your life changed. Its a bit like those who come back from the wars, its hard to talk about because you can never get over just what it was like to those who didnt go and when I come across anyone who did ,there is an instant all knowing smile and nod of heads.Have gone to thousands of gigs and festival since those far off days ( including Live Aid ) but Zep knebworth 79, that was something else. Would loved to have got tickets for the 02 but hey ho , not to be, but can I just say if you were one of the chosen few can you please shout . clap , go f****ing mental for us who didnt , you are our reps ,have a fantastiv time.......oh yeah WWWWAAAALLLYYYY. peace

Name's picture

I was there at the first gig, with about five mates (one with a broken leg & crutches). Does anyone remember the massive 'food fight', that broke out on the friday evening about tea time. It was right next to the security fence and lasted for about 30 mins....awesome!!
Some girls in front of us had there whole tent trashed by all the cans of food and beer flying about.
We finally made the trip to the stage, with our guy in crutches and got right up front. Some yanks with a huge beer cooler box let our patient sit down to watch the best concert ever. We helped drink their beer and they shared our smokes.
Bonham was incredible....what a performance. The whole band was tight and played the best set I have ever seen.

fluff's picture

1979 yes the best band in the world a great day along time ago now nice to see the video on youtube the the best fluff

Donald Murray's picture

It was a rite of passage for me. I was working in London for the summer as a bartender (Home was in Ireland). I was a university student at the time. I was just 18. My brother and some friends of his from his work and myself went to the show together.

The first thing I remember was how big it was. So many people. The toilets were wooden slabs with holes in them over a deep pit, and you could see all the syringes below. People were wandering through the crowd "Get your hash here!", etc.. 

The bands were OK. Chas and Dave had a hit that summer. The new barbarians, Commander Cody and Todd Rundgren all did good shows. I wasn't that crazy about Southside Johnny. Finally, when it got dark, Zep came on. I could see Plant's mouth move before I could hear the sound. We opted for further back where we could see everything in reasonable comfort. However, we paid the price in distance for that.

Overall, I thought Zeppelin performed OK. Not the best they've ever done. However, what made it work was the fans. It was like a giant family outing for zep fans. It was a very cool thing. Ever since then, if I just happen to mention it, I always get the response...."Oh man, you were there?!!". Very occasionally, I'll run into someone else who was there too, and it's like we were brothers....

My brother, being the pragmatist, drug me out after Whole Lotta Love to beat the crowds back, and I heard them do another number (Communication Breakdown) from outside the arena, which made me mad at my brother at the time :-).

Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and I'll bet every fan there had a better time than the band, becase WE were the fans, and we were together for one summer day in 1979, for one of the last performances by Led Zeppelin.

It was well worth the 8 pounds I paid for my ticket.... :-)


Tazzy's picture

I was there !!!!!!

They killed it and made for a magical night.



Rae Robinson's picture

I was there, went with 7 mates in a hired transit van. Unforgettable 

Howard Collings's picture

I attended the August 11th date of the festival with my late wife to be at that time, Ruth Keeling.  Chas and Dave were forst on very early in the day and then there was nothing until the song Everyday off the Spectral Mornings album was played over the sound system as the first song of the day obviously to test the sound system.  There was a huge can fight when Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood were about to start and I sat directly in front of the Hell's Angels who were obviously there to see Keith and Ronnie.  The fight started because people were standing up in front of us obscuring our view and after many cans were thrown and much shouting and swearing, everyone in front of us except one girl had sat down.  Despite the shouting and swearing and cans thrown at her from behind her and her boyfriend attempting to persuade her to sit down she continued to stand in defiance until a full 7 pint Worthinton E whilstled past my ear, a gift from the Hell's Angels directly behind me, hit her with a loud thump on the back of her head and she went down like a sack of potatoes.  During the encores, the last one I believe, I don't know for certain what song it was but Bonzo remained on stage as the band temporarily left the stage for a few minutes leaving him to do his drum solo which was mainly through his fists and hands.  I stood in awe only feet away from him as he pounded away with fists and hands before closing the song with sticks as the band reappeared on stage to finish the song.

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