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The Old Hermit

Would Only One Knebworth Show Have Been Better?

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Reading some talk on other threads about the Knebworth shows, and how they were recorded/released, I'm personally leaning to the opinion that ONE single show would have been a much better option than two, for a number of reasons.  But what does anyone else think?

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I recall at the time the announcement on "The Old Grey Whistle Test" was big news. The band last played a show in the UK on 25th May 1975. 4 Years. I was at the first show and it was fantastic. I was too young for Earls Court so for me the excitement was beyond imagination. I was 17 years old when the band hit the stage.

You will have to look at how quickly the tickets went as to why they did 2 shows. Only do one and it could have meant loads of fans miss out. In hindsight they could have done one show and a short tour.

The state of the music in the UK was tricky. Punk and new wave were almost at an end and becoming dull and predictable and the the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was paving the way for new heavy bands to come through. Iron Maiden, Def Leppard to name but 2. Rock and in particular Heavy rock was still very big business in the UK at the time. The only bands regularly selling out venues were heavy bands. 

Peter Grant was hedging his bets that the band could sellout both - they didn't. A lot of people lost money. The band were ridiculed and got bad press for the first show - wrongly in my opinion. Once they announced 2 shows there was no way back

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I think Knebworth was easily LZ's highest pressure gig ever...by far.  I always felt that it was odd that Zeppelin had Knebworth multi tracked and filmed at that point in time after so much had changed and not playing live for 2 years. I think that only added to the pressure and it shows (Jimmy). To be honest, I'd rather listen to  audience bootleg's from the two Copenhagen shows than watch the proshot and multitrack from Knebworth. Its that much better, IMO. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, chillumpuffer said:

I recall at the time the announcement on "The Old Grey Whistle Test" was big news. The band last played a show in the UK on 25th May 1975. 4 Years. I was at the first show and it was fantastic. I was too young for Earls Court so for me the excitement was beyond imagination. I was 17 years old when the band hit the stage.

You will have to look at how quickly the tickets went as to why they did 2 shows. Only do one and it could have meant loads of fans miss out. In hindsight they could have done one show and a short tour.

The state of the music in the UK was tricky. Punk and new wave were almost at an end and becoming dull and predictable and the the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was paving the way for new heavy bands to come through. Iron Maiden, Def Leppard to name but 2. Rock and in particular Heavy rock was still very big business in the UK at the time. The only bands regularly selling out venues were heavy bands. 

Peter Grant was hedging his bets that the band could sellout both - they didn't. A lot of people lost money. The band were ridiculed and got bad press for the first show - wrongly in my opinion. Once they announced 2 shows there was no way back

Lucky you... I was only three years old when Knebworth happened, hope you had a great day :).

If you read/have read Mick Wall's When Giants Walked The Earth  Zep bio, he goes into great detail about what an utter debacle the Knebworth shows were behind the scenes; a coked-up Peter Grant thinking one show wasn't good enough for "his boys" and that the two gigs were going to sell out and show the world that Zeppelin were still the biggest game in town.  The second show being announced was only contingent on the first show selling out (150, 000 tickets), but by early July 1979, only 115, 000 tickets had been sold, so Grant jumped the gun and literally ordered promoter Freddie Bannister to announce the second show to save face, unwilling to tell his boys they weren't going to sell out like he said they would.  In order to bump up numbers for the second show, Bannister was forced by Grant to tell about 10, 000 people who had already bought tickets for the first show that it was sold out - which it most certainly was not, at that time - and that their tickets were now transferred to the second show... which in turn led to cancellations and refunds because many of those people had already booked travel and accommodation for the first show!!!  Grant, out of his mind on coke, then browbeat and bullied Bannister and his poor wife, accusing them of holding out on him and downplaying the attendance figures... Bannister contended that only 105, 000 people were at the first show and a little over 40, 000 at the second, which enraged Grant and had him spewing all kinds of threats, supposedly even having the aerial crowd photos analyzed by NASA, saying it was 210, 000 people the first night... despite a flustered and worn-out Bannister repeatedly insisting that Knebworth couldn't hold that many people!!!  Ultimately, the Zeppelin shows at Knebworth nearly ruined Bannister... a single show would likely have sold out, everyone would have got their cut as expected and no blood would have been left on the carpet afterwards.

The August 4th show is actually really good - a definitive 'Kashmir' and 'Achillles Last Stand' among it's many highlights - but I wonder if it had been but one show, would the band's collective nerves got the better of them that night?  With everything on the line and the world watching, with no second show to get it right again, and a (likely) sold-out crowd of 150, 000 cheering them on (more than they played to at Earl's Court over five nights in '75), I get the impression that Zeppelin would have given it their all on August 4th and could well have delivered another Copenhagen-level performance; 1968-75-era Zeppelin would have decimated Knebworth, but they just weren't the same band by '79.

The trouble with another show the following weekend was the band spent the intervening week reading reviews from the snobbish, fashion-led English press, and I think it got to them and rattled their confidence, plus the sheer electric anticipation leading up to the first massive Knebworth show evaporated thereafter and it didn't seem as much of an EVENT the second time around... and as others have said, three good to great performances beforehand, one duff one, but it's the latter that everyone remembers... certainly unfair but that's life.

Still, the August 4th show was great and I wish Jimmy had included the full show - plus 'Communication Breakdown' from August 11th - on the DVD.

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JTM   

I went to the second show on the 11th. (Because of the New Barbarians on the bill) Fewer people meant people had space to sprawl all day long, only when Zeppelin came on did people rush forward which pissed off those that had been at the front all day cos thats when the bottles started being thrown back and forth (stage right). My girlfriend and I (now wife) stayed where we were, about half way back slightly left of centre, then we had even more space, which was great we could really stretch out, all those around us stayed sitting, one guy did stand but when someone chucked a beer can at his head he soon sat back down.

Edited by JTM

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Xolo1974   
2 hours ago, JTM said:

I went to the second show on the 11th. (Because of the New Barbarians on the bill) Fewer people meant people had space to sprawl all day long, only when Zeppelin came on did people rush forward which pissed off those that had been at the front all day cos thats when the bottles started being thrown back and forth (stage right). My girlfriend and I (now wife) stayed where we were, about half way back slightly left of centre, then we had even more space, which was great we could really stretch out, all those around us stayed sitting, one guy did stand but when someone chucked a beer can at his head he soon sat back down.

Was there still a good atmosphere? Also was it obvious that a sub par performance....or was all that lost when you were actually there? 

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JTM   
29 minutes ago, Xolo1974 said:

Was there still a good atmosphere? Also was it obvious that a sub par performance....or was all that lost when you were actually there? 

We had a great time, can't say that I noticed a subpar performance.. I do remember thinking how oddly straight and uncool Plant and Page looked the way they were dressed. The atmosphere, that was great too.

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Well, whatever went on behind the scenes, I don't have a problem with 2 nights. It seems the discussions of the pros and cons of both nights have gone on forever. The 4th was obviously superior, but there were select spots from the 11th that were not bad at all. Hell, I'll say Kashmir from the 2nd show may be the best of all-time....

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Xolo1974   
4 hours ago, JTM said:

We had a great time, can't say that I noticed a subpar performance.. I do remember thinking how oddly straight and uncool Plant and Page looked the way they were dressed. The atmosphere, that was great too.

I've got the Winston matrix of the 4/8/79. This is good, but not brilliant by any stretch - bit tinny to me. Obviously, there are the multitracked versions on the official DVD. 

Is there a bootleg DVD available of the whole show that includes the multitrack audio for all of the songs? Reason is, if there is, I will get it and try and extract the audio. 

Cheers

 

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4 hours ago, paul carruthers said:

Well, whatever went on behind the scenes, I don't have a problem with 2 nights. It seems the discussions of the pros and cons of both nights have gone on forever. The 4th was obviously superior, but there were select spots from the 11th that were not bad at all. Hell, I'll say Kashmir from the 2nd show may be the best of all-time....

I agree that Kashmir on the 11th is my perhaps my favourite of all time too.

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Like all shows with bootlegs you really had to be there to get what the sound was like. It was a warm still august evening. No wind to swirl the sound

I remember the guitar sound on Nobody's Fault But Mine - it really hit you in the stomach. The Whole Lotta Love new version. The flash bombs in Kashmir ( not in Achilles like on the DVD). A great day and Todd as well!

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1 hour ago, chillumpuffer said:

I remember the guitar sound on Nobody's Fault But Mine - it really hit you in the stomach. The Whole Lotta Love new version. The flash bombs in Kashmir ( not in Achilles like on the DVD). A great day and Todd as well!

'Achilles...' on the DVD was from August 4th, right?  Did that have the flashbombs on the night or did Jimmy do the ol' switcheroo in editing?

Edited by The Old Hermit

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1 minute ago, The Old Hermit said:

'Achilles...' on the DVD was from August 4th, right?  Did that have the flashbombs or did Jimmy do the ol' switcheroo in editing?

It was from the 4th like most of the DVD and yes a bit of editing. If you watch the (unofficial) DVD from that show you will see smoke on the stage after Plant sings: "All will be revealed". I had an audience tape of the show years ago and you can clearly hear the crowd whooping and cheering as the bombs went off. Of course I may be wrong as it was 38 years ago but I am sure I am not

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Mook   

Is the Kashmir on DVD from the 4th?

I had a different Kashmir taped from MTV years ago & it was the better of the two versions in my opinion, presumably that was the one from the 11th?

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The 11th is a debacle and one of Jimmys worst ever performances.  

It's sad because it should've been the better show, more relaxed, etc, but Jimmy , who has said himself he "wasn't well" n the 11th, just gagged it.  

I listened to Copenhagen 7.24 yesterday, can't believe it's the same guitarist sometimes.

Addiction is a bitch 

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jsj   

the Knebworth shows did ruin Freddie bannister, he went bankrupt shortly after.

I read Freddie's book "there must be a better way" and his account of Grant's dealings and attitude made for very unpleasant reading. he explains  the attendance figures were based on the number of acres available and how many people can fit per square unit of land; the council worked on 2000 but he worked on 3000 being more savvy to how these things work and he states that there couldn't have been more than 110000 in the field watching and even aerial shots show some space around the rear and very ages, where more people could have fit.

I remember the claims by grant that he'd used NASA to examine aerial shots and that there were over 200000 at the first show, which were silly and of course no one has ever seen those photos and a NASA report. at the second show Grant had his own people collecting the tickets convinced that bannister had ripped him off. those people gave up late afternoon and said in their own opinion there were only about 40000 that had come through the gates by that time.  

its a shame as in his book bannister states how essentially he set up the festival with the intent of putting Zeppelin on and how he wanted them every year but never got them, though in '74 (IIRC) he very nearly did but news leaked and grant pulled out. had they have gone on in '75 or any other year prior to 79 and the history books could have read very differently

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With the benefit of hindsight, yes I would have done things differently. Knebworth would have been one date and the culmination of a short UK tour.

Led Zeppelin's 1979 Summer UK Tour: Cardiff, Jul 10 > Dublin, Jul 20 > Edinburgh, Jul 30 > Knebworth, Aug 4  

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JTM   
1 hour ago, jsj said:

the Knebworth shows did ruin Freddie bannister, he went bankrupt shortly after.

I read Freddie's book "there must be a better way" and his account of Grant's dealings and attitude made for very unpleasant reading. he explains  the attendance figures were based on the number of acres available and how many people can fit per square unit of land; the council worked on 2000 but he worked on 3000 being more savvy to how these things work and he states that there couldn't have been more than 110000 in the field watching and even aerial shots show some space around the rear and very ages, where more people could have fit.

I remember the claims by grant that he'd used NASA to examine aerial shots and that there were over 200000 at the first show, which were silly and of course no one has ever seen those photos and a NASA report. at the second show Grant had his own people collecting the tickets convinced that bannister had ripped him off. those people gave up late afternoon and said in their own opinion there were only about 40000 that had come through the gates by that time.  

its a shame as in his book bannister states how essentially he set up the festival with the intent of putting Zeppelin on and how he wanted them every year but never got them, though in '74 (IIRC) he very nearly did but news leaked and grant pulled out. had they have gone on in '75 or any other year prior to 79 and the history books could have read very differently

At the second show I/we had to go through two ticket collection points so both portions of my ticket(s) were taken off me, highly unusual not to have the usual retainable portion to put in my ticket collection. Makes me wonder the reason why, evidence to bump up the attendance figures maybe..That has only happened to me one other time, The Who at Knowsley in 2007 when at the ticket collection point I was refused my gold circle "Retain this portion" part of the ticket when I aked for it back. It became obvious later when the gold circle became uncomfortably overcrowded, the bastards had been reselling all the gold circle tickets. That pissed me off no end, it was a really nice looking ticket that would have looked great in a frame among my other primo tickets.

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Mook   
1 hour ago, SteveAJones said:

With the benefit of hindsight, yes I would have done things differently. Knebworth would have been one date and the culmination of a short UK tour.

Led Zeppelin's 1979 Summer UK Tour: Cardiff, Jul 10 > Dublin, Jul 20 > Edinburgh, Jul 30 > Knebworth, Aug 4  

Dublin isn't in the UK & somewhere like Celtic Park in Glasgow would've been more likely for a band of their stature than anywhere in Edinburgh for a Scottish date.

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76229   
2 hours ago, jsj said:

 

I remember the claims by grant that he'd used NASA to examine aerial shots and that there were over 200000 at the first show, which were silly and of course no one has ever seen those photos and a NASA report. at the second show Grant had his own people collecting the tickets convinced that bannister had ripped him off. those people gave up late afternoon and said in their own opinion there were only about 40000 that had come through the gates by that time. 

Suspect NASA had more important things to worry about in 1979 than analysing gig photos. It was all getting a bit lunatic by then.

In '76 the Stones had got no more than 100,000 at Knebworth so it was hubristic imo to expect both shows could be sold out, which Bannister defined as 150,000 x2: i.e three times as much as the Stones.

Bannister's book does make you cringe at the tactics Grant employed, one of which according to him, was to say "on our last American tour one person died in suspicious circumstances, you don't want to end up like that". This was with Grant's lawyer present!!

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6 hours ago, Mook said:

Is the Kashmir on DVD from the 4th?

I'd like to know this too, anyone?

2 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

With the benefit of hindsight, yes I would have done things differently. Knebworth would have been one date and the culmination of a short UK tour.

Led Zeppelin's 1979 Summer UK Tour: Cardiff, Jul 10 > Dublin, Jul 20 > Edinburgh, Jul 30 > Knebworth, Aug 4  

That would have been nice, but I understand G's strategic thinking on that one; the only Zeppelin show(s) on the British Isles for four years would draw a larger crowd coming from all corners of the islands... and it did; I know a few Irish folk who attended.

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^^ Yes, the audio from Kashmir on the DVD is the 4th, but--pointing out the obvious--the footage is a mixture of clips from both shows....

Edited by paul carruthers

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9 hours ago, Mook said:

Dublin isn't in the UK & somewhere like Celtic Park in Glasgow would've been more likely for a band of their stature than anywhere in Edinburgh for a Scottish date.

It's close enough...call it the 1979 British Isles Tour if you like.

I'd prefer to book them in Edinburgh over Glasgow, and if that meant a smaller venue so be it. 

Edited by SteveAJones

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IpMan   
11 hours ago, jsj said:

the Knebworth shows did ruin Freddie bannister, he went bankrupt shortly after.

I read Freddie's book "there must be a better way" and his account of Grant's dealings and attitude made for very unpleasant reading. he explains  the attendance figures were based on the number of acres available and how many people can fit per square unit of land; the council worked on 2000 but he worked on 3000 being more savvy to how these things work and he states that there couldn't have been more than 110000 in the field watching and even aerial shots show some space around the rear and very ages, where more people could have fit.

I remember the claims by grant that he'd used NASA to examine aerial shots and that there were over 200000 at the first show, which were silly and of course no one has ever seen those photos and a NASA report. at the second show Grant had his own people collecting the tickets convinced that bannister had ripped him off. those people gave up late afternoon and said in their own opinion there were only about 40000 that had come through the gates by that time.  

its a shame as in his book bannister states how essentially he set up the festival with the intent of putting Zeppelin on and how he wanted them every year but never got them, though in '74 (IIRC) he very nearly did but news leaked and grant pulled out. had they have gone on in '75 or any other year prior to 79 and the history books could have read very differently

Now we know where Trump got the idea for his numbers at the inauguration. I am surprised he did not have NASA examine that as well, after all, NASA ain't doing shit these days and money is pretty tight over there. A side gig inflating the Donald's ego might just pay well. That is until the check bounces...

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On 8/20/2017 at 10:32 AM, blindwillie127 said:

 To be honest, I'd rather listen to  audience bootleg's from the two Copenhagen shows than watch the proshot and multitrack from Knebworth. Its that much better, IMO. 

It wouldn't work 100% of course, but somebody should try syncing the audio from the 24 July Copenhagen gig to the 4 August Knebworth video :lol: 

On 8/20/2017 at 2:03 PM, The Old Hermit said:

If you read/have read Mick Wall's When Giants Walked The Earth  Zep bio, he goes into great detail about what an utter debacle the Knebworth shows were behind the scenes;

The Barney Hoskyns Trampled Under Foot bio goes into some pretty good detail about how fucked up things were behind the scenes as well. Peter Grant allowed his ego and cocaine hubris to basically fuck over Freddie Bannister to the point where Bannister had to cut his losses and, if memory serves, actually file for bankruptcy. Not one of Grant's better moments for sure.

15 hours ago, bluecongo said:

The 11th is a debacle and one of Jimmys worst ever performances.  

It's sad because it should've been the better show, more relaxed, etc, but Jimmy , who has said himself he "wasn't well" n the 11th, just gagged it.  

I listened to Copenhagen 7.24 yesterday, can't believe it's the same guitarist sometimes.

Addiction is a bitch 

I think Page spent a bit too much time hanging out and partying with Keith Richards and Ron Wood (The New Barbarians) before the show. All that pure Merck coke Keith and Ronnie liked...mixed with smack and booze it's no wonder Jimmy wasn't in that great of shape once Zeppelin hit the stage. After about half a dozen songs he looks like someone who stepped into the shower with their clothes on, a total wreck. Judging from the amount of guitar strings he broke on the night as well he might have considered using a heavier gauge...

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