Saturday, August 1, 2015

On This Day 01 August

Getting ready for Knebworth
1979 01 August On This Day Led Zeppelin soundcheck at Knebworth
  • 1967 Yardbirds - Vancouver, British Columbia  at Pacific National Exhibition Grounds
  • 1969 Led Zeppelin - Santa Barbara, CA at Earl Warren Showgrounds
  • 1979 Led Zeppelin - soundcheck at Knebworth
1979 Knebworth amp stacks (Photo John Harrison, stage crew)

1979 Knebworth soundcheck Robert Plant singing, Jason Bonham standing in for dad on drums
(photo John Harrison, stage crew)

1979 Robert Plant at Led Zeppelin's Knebworth soundcheck (photo John Harrison, stage crew)

Two accounts from stage crew

Mark Bancroft, Knebworth 1979 stage crew
The Wednesday sound check, lunch time . Owing to sound restrictions there were small windows to tune the PA. Until then the sound guys were playing a heart beat loop,du dum du, dum. In Stevenage someone told me it must be a pile driver! So Wed was the only permited PA test. Zep arrived , ignoring the helicopter pad they flew into the arena and circled the stage,the chopper wash tested the stage, 11 stories at the centre, 5 from the stage to the proscenium arch.

It stood up to this.

The Zep families turned up in Daimler limos and the kids went into the chopper for a spin round the home counties. Chopper cost 750 pounds an hour. Robert Plant was the first on stage, there were about 50-60 crew and liggers in the arena. He sang acapella "Take good care of my Baby" , the Bobby Vinton song, we were all stunned, knowing of the sadness his family had suffered. Many tough roadies were sniffing, not good for the image.

The rest of Zep appeared. They played "Trampled Underfoot" , I noticed then Bonzo was watching the band. I looked at the drums and could not see who was playing, but he knew his stuff. All you could see was a hand coming over the top to hit the cymbals, later I found out it was his son. So I got to see the current line up in 79!

As for Peter Grant, I was in the same room a few times with him and others, I just kept very quiet. Not the type to suffer fools and so on top of his game. Was he tough? yes, very. Was he ruthless to those who tried to rob him, ask them, they may have healed by now.

I have worked a lot of gigs before and since,but none like Zep.When they left the stage, I went on to strike fire extinguishers before the road crew stole them.The crowd was still calling for more. The energy hit you physically, I felt like if I walked off stage into the crowd, it would carry me over their heads.

John Harrison,Knebworth 1979 stage crew

... 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 nearlly took my head off.

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