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SteveAJones

Warming Up With Robert Plant in Florida

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Warming Up With Robert Plant in Florida

by Donnie Vick

(Edited and compiled by Steve A. Jones)

Back on September 11, 12 & 13 1993, Robert Plant held three straight days of tour rehearsals at Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida. My buddy Steve Cowert - who was a sound and lighting crew member at the venue - invited me to attend and we observed each of the three days they rehearsed.

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The first thing I ever said to Robert Plant when I met him during the rehearsals was, "Where in the hell did you get that drummer?" He smiled and said, "he's good isn't he?" The last day of rehearsals we sat with the band in the venue's seats as they told the lighting guy what they wanted for the actual shows as the songs were played back over the sound system. I remember Robert telling the lighting guy "don't do that, it looks to Genesis-y" and we all had a good laugh. I also remember talking to him on the dock as my buddy approached with a camcorder. My buddy had said to Robert from a distance, "Do you mind if I take some video of you two shooting the shit?" Robert said no, and then asked me what that meant; I told him it's just another term for bullshitting which he found amusing. He made a comment about Bonzo (the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham) talking to us as we stood there because it was getting ready to rain and thundering a lot, like drums rolling. I said "Yes, but the thunder doesn't sound as good as the real thing" and he agreed.

While there we showed Charlie Jones and Francis Dunnery their performance on Letterman which we had taped the night before in the civic center's video room. Francis really got a kick out of that.

I only have a couple of photos from the rehearsals in Lakeland, one of Robert, Steve, and I and one of Charlie, Francis, and I right after we showed them their performance on Letterman in the video editing room.

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Left to right: bassist Charlie Jones, Donnie Vick, guitarist Francis Dunnery

Lakeland Civic Center, September 11, 1993

Courtesy Steve A. Jones Archive

I also took a photograph of some set lists from their summer tour of Europe that were left behind:

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Robert Plant's 1993 European tour setlists

Lakeland Civic Center, September 13, 1993

Courtesy Steve A. Jones Archive

We ended up with backstage passes for the Jacksonville Civic Auditorium show on September 18th because one of the guitar techs accidentally left his contact book behind in Lakeland. We contacted him and then hand-delivered it to him in Jacksonville at which time he gave us All Access passes for returning his "bible"

When we saw them in Jacksonville the first thing Robert said when he saw us was, "You guys sure get around don't you?". I replied, "Well, your sorry ass didn't play Lakeland so we had to come here." He thought that was pretty funny and it was one of the coolest moments of my life because as the band came out of the dressing room Robert saw us and peeled away from the band as they headed for the stage door. He passed about 200 people and came right over to us to tell us that. The rest of the band also waved to us as he was coming over. That's when he told us they were staying across the street (at the Jacksonville Omni) and to come over after the show also. Anyway, you should have seen the looks on people's faces. It was a look of who the hell are you guys? We felt 10 feet tall and thought that was very nice of him! We watched the show sitting next to the house engineer and knew exactly what was going to happen as the show unfolded.

We got photos with Robert after the show and I got an autograph in a Neal Preston book titled Led Zeppelin Portraits numbered 674/5000 and signed by Neal. I had Robert sign the famous shot of him holding the dove and Heineken. It was taken on June 3rd (1973) as that just happens to be the same date as the Led Zeppelin show in Tampa in 1977 that I was discussing with Robert on the dock.

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Left to right: Donnie Vick, singer Robert Plant, Steve Cowert

Jacksonville Civic Auditorium, September 18, 1993

Courtesy Steve A. Jones Archive

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The infamous riot show! I still have the shirt worn to school by a friend who didn't even go to the show. I told her I expected her to bring it to me the next day and she did, but she had already cut the bottom off like girls used to do!

After the show we partied with all of them; I remember telling Michael Lee how good he sounded and Phil Johnstone was the last to leave. They were all very friendly and down to earth people, no rock star attitudes.

My buddy Steve (who got me in the Lakeland rehearsals) and I are trying our best to get backstage for Robert's Ruth Eckerd Hall concert in Clearwater, Florida on July 30th. We'd really appreciate it if backstage passes could be arranged for us and we're told sharing these anecdotes and photographs with the forum may bring our request to the attention of those who can help.

I hope this was helpful and thanks for inquiring!

Peace,

Donnie Vick

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http://www.youtube.c...u/1/hxcNEe5rUvY

From: da324 | April 19, 2010 | 416 views

Robert Plant and I talking on the loading dock at the Lakeland Civic Center in 1993 in Lakeland Florida. Plant and his band were rehearsing for their Fate Of Nations Tour. If you listen you can hear his band rehearsing 29 Palms in the background. Of course there are no vocals as Plant is outside chatting. My buddy Steve Cowert worked there, got me in and shot this short video. We watched them put the show together over three days and then saw the full performance the third show of the tour as guests in Jacksonville, Florida a week later. We then partied with them after the show at the hotel they were staying at across the street from the venue. If you listen at 23 seconds I talk about riot gear, because the 77 show had a big riot when riot police showed up while the show was delayed for rain. It was a very cool week! I just purchased tickets to see Plant at Ruth Eckerd Hall on July 30th in Clearwater, Florida with his new Band of Joy for my buddy (who got me in the rehearsals) and I. They are doing a 12 city tour and Ruth Eckerd Hall is 1/2 mile from my house. We hope to meet him a second time.

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Edited by SteveAJones

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Love that and thank you for sharing those magical moments and what priceless memories and goodies you got

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yep 10 years gone,nope make that 17 years gone,still seems like it just happened yesterday,probably the most exiciting and zenith time of my life when donnie and i got to have a one on one with bobbie plant,thats what all his friends call him.when i called donnie and asked him if he would like to meet robert plant he was in lakeland from lake wales in 15 minutes,i think the answer was yes,lol

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yep 10 years gone,nope make that 17 years gone,still seems like it just happened yesterday,probably the most exiciting and zenith time of my life when donnie and i got to have a one on one with bobbie plant,thats what all his friends call him.when i called donnie and asked him if he would like to meet robert plant he was in lakeland from lake wales in 15 minutes,i think the answer was yes,lol

Thank you for sharing this. What a memorable time for you :D

Edited by Deborah J

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Hello everyone!

I would personally like to thank Steve Jones for making this happen. He was the one who saw my video on Youtube talking with Robert at the 93 Fate Of Nations rehearsals that was posted here. I supplied the info, pictures, and video, but he's the one responsible for the post. Although we have tickets to the show; I thought I would post my email address in case someone could help us with passes. It is dna321@verizon.net Also, I'd be happy to correspond with anyone on this site. Thanks again Steve for posting this info and thanks to anyone in the community who may be able to help us with the upcoming show here in Clearwater. Donnie..

Edited by Donnie

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Hello everyone!

I would personally like to thank Steve Jones for making this happen. He was the one who saw my video on Youtube talking with Robert at the 93 Fate Of Nations rehearsals that was posted here. I supplied the info, pictures, and video, but he's the one responsible for the post. Although we have tickets to the show; I thought I would post my email address in case someone could help us with passes. It is dna321@verizon.net Also, I'd be happy to correspond with anyone on this site. Thanks again Steve for posting this info and thanks to anyone in the community who may be able t help us with the upcoming show here in Clearwater. Donnie..

It was my pleasure to help Donnie share his authentic tour anecdotes and memrobilia with this forum and I do hope his request for passes to the Ruth Eckerd Hall concert in his hometown of Clearwater, FL on July 30th will be honored.

I was intrigued by Donnie's videoclip with Robert Plant and corresponding with him about it has solved a couple of mysteries for me. Specifically, Donnie pinpointed the exact dates the rehearsals were held - September 11, 12 & 13 1993 and provided a newspaper clipping confirming a concert scheduled for the Sundome in Tampa on September 13th was cancelled without any official explanation prior to tickets going on sale. Such obscure details are of little interest to most casual fans, but for an avid chronicler of the band's activties they are very interesting indeed.

Donnie has also shared with me a number of other photographs and memrobilia from their previous tours - including some stunning concert shots from New York State in 1975 that he acquired privately - and I look forward to sharing those with the forum as soon as possible.

Edited by SteveAJones

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Even though its been 17 years,im sure Robert remembers me turning him on to the saying"Shootin The Shit".Donnie and Robert were talking backstage,so i just happened to have my camcorder with me and nicely asked robert if it was ok to videotape him and donnie shootin the shit,robert looks at donnie and says "whats shootin the shit",Donnie goes,"you know bullshittin,talking",Robert looks at me and says "sure no problem",with a no rock star attitude which ill never forget,Robert is a true gentlemen,and thats how the video came about of donnie and robert talking about the 77 tampa stadium riot after the show was cancelled after 3 songs because of a massive rain storm.Hope to see you on the 30th robert,good times,good times!steve_cowart@msn.com

Edited by Steve Cowart

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Hey Led,

Very, very Cool!

1st

11th Marine Regiment Al Nazaria ?

Edited by ally

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Hey, good luck Donnie :D Neat story, hope it works out for you.

But I've never heard anyone call him "Bobbie Plant" in all my life. B)

(Aside from seeing it on the "Bobby Plant and the Helmets" T-shirt ;) )

Edited by Knebby

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Hey, good luck Donnie :D Neat story, hope it works out for you.

But I've never heard anyone call him "Bobbie Plant" in all my life. B)

(Aside from seeing it on the "Bobby Plant and the Helmets" T-shirt ;) )

I'm having a hard time deciding if this story is 90 or 95 percent complete bullshit.

Love,

Billy

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I'm having a hard time deciding if this story is 90 or 95 percent complete bullshit.

Love,

Billy

Well Billy, everyone certainly has a right to their own opinion. I have no reason to lie about the story and it wasn't me who posted it. I passed it along to Steve Jones after he saw my video talking to Plant on Youtube. The story is real and 100% accurate and I told it to Steve BEFORE he offered to post it. Whether you want to belive it or not doesn't really matter, because I was there and know what went down. When you meet someone who's work you've admired most of your life and get to see them a few days in a row, it's easy to remember details. I'll be 47 in August; I have more important things to do than embelish a 17 year old story to make myself look good.

Edited by Donnie

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Hey, good luck Donnie biggrin.gif Neat story, hope it works out for you.

But I've never heard anyone call him "Bobbie Plant" in all my life. cool.gif

(Aside from seeing it on the "Bobby Plant and the Helmets" T-shirt wink.gif )

Hello and thanks for the well wishes.

I've never heard anyone call Robert "Bobbie Plant"either, not even at the rehearsals. My friend Steve Cowart who was the one responsible for getting me into the rehearsals and shooting the video of Plant and me was the one who said that. If he said he heard some people calling him that, then I believe him, even if I didn't. On a side note. Ringo Starr and his All Star Band played Ruth Eckerd where Plant is playing this month a couple days ago. Since it is so close to my house, I decided to take my son over and try to meet Ringo. We saw him, but we weren't fortunate enough to meet him. I did however get a picture of my son with Rick Derringer who is one of Ringo's band mates for the tour, which was very cool. I tried attaching the photo, but it doesn't upload for some reason and the file size is fine. ??????

Edited by Donnie

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Hello and thanks for the well wishes.

I've never heard anyone call Robert "Bobbie Plant"either, not even at the rehearsals. My friend Steve Cowart who was the one responsible for getting me into the rehearsals and shooting the video of Plant and me was the one who said that. If he said he heard some people calling him that, then I believe him, even if I didn't. On a side note. Ringo Starr and his All Star Band played Ruth Eckerd where Plant is playing this month a couple days ago. Since it is so close to my house, I decided to take my son over and try to meet Ringo. We saw him, but we weren't fortunate enough to meet him. I did however get a picture of my son with Rick Derringer who is one of Ringo's band mates for the tour, which was very cool. I tried attaching the photo, but it doesn't upload for some reason and the file size is fine. ??????

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I'm having a hard time deciding if this story is 90 or 95 percent complete bullshit.

Love,

Billy

You so funny,yea it was weird when i heard someone backstage call him bobbie ,it could have been Rex who was Plants Babysitter,i only heard it a couple of times,billy i was on the sound and lighting crew at the lakeland civic center for several years ,full time for 5 years 1990-1995,some things you never forget,that was one of them,i was told by one of the road crew that only close personal friends and family call him by that name and robert,i have no reason to lie and personally dont care what his friends call him as long as they dont call him late for the gig,anyway have fun,thanks for the input

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You so funny,yea it was weird when i heard someone backstage call him bobbie ,it could have been Rex who was Plants Babysitter,i only heard it a couple of times,billy i was on the sound and lighting crew at the lakeland civic center for several years ,full time for 5 years 1990-1995,some things you never forget,that was one of them,i was told by one of the road crew that only close personal friends and family call him by that name and robert,i have no reason to lie and personally dont care what his friends call him as long as they dont call him late for the gig,anyway have fun,thanks for the input

LMAObiggrin.gif

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You so funny,yea it was weird when i heard someone backstage call him bobbie ,it could have been Rex who was Plants Babysitter,i only heard it a couple of times,billy i was on the sound and lighting crew at the lakeland civic center for several years ,full time for 5 years 1990-1995,some things you never forget,that was one of them,i was told by one of the road crew that only close personal friends and family call him by that name and robert,i have no reason to lie and personally dont care what his friends call him as long as they dont call him late for the gig,anyway have fun,thanks for the input

Steve it's really a minor detail, but these things get spread on the internet and end up being known as fact - his close friends and family really DON'T call him Bobbie, and Rex certainly wouldn't. It is a fun story you have and I guess some things just get cloudy over the history of time - no biggie.

P.S. Rex was Plant's tour manager - not babysitter, I see no reason for the insult ( to both of them).

Edited by Knebby

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Steve it's really a minor detail, but these things get spread on the internet and end up being known as fact - his close friends and family really DON'T call him Bobbie, and Rex certainly wouldn't. It is a fun story you have and I guess some things just get cloudy over the history of time - no biggie.

You are absolutely correct Knebby and no question as to the overall authenticity of the anecdote and the genuine respect and admiration both men still have for Plant.

Edited by SteveAJones

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Steve it's really a minor detail, but these things get spread on the internet and end up being known as fact - his close friends and family really DON'T call him Bobbie, and Rex certainly wouldn't. It is a fun story you have and I guess some things just get cloudy over the history of time - no biggie.

P.S. Rex was Plant's tour manager - not babysitter, I see no reason for the insult ( to both of them

THERE AINT NOTHING CLOUDY ABOUT THIS STORY ,EVERY BIT OF IT IS TRUE AND DOWN TO THE DETAIL,YOU DONT HAVE TO BELEIVE IT,HELL DUDE SOMETIMES I CANT BELEIVE IT,IT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY LIFE AND I JUST HAPPEN TO BE ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES WHEN THEY RENTED THE LAKELAND CIVIC CENTER THEATRE,A VENUE THAT I WAS WORKING AT AT THE TIME,IM JUST TELLING A PART OF WHAT HAPPENED IN THE 2 WEEKS THAT THE CREW AND PLANT WAS THERE.THE FIRST WEEK WAS LIGHTING REHERSALS,THE 2ND WEEK IS WHEN PLANT CAME IN,I HAVE BEEN WORKING SHOWS AS A LOCAL STAGEHAND IN FLORIDA SINCE 1984 AND HAVE HEARD TOUR MANAGERS BEING REFERRED TO AS A BABYSITTER,IN A GOOD WAY THOUGH,I MEANT NO HARM BESIDES THAT I COULD SEE IF I POSTED THE STORY BUT STEVE JONES POSTED THE STORY BECAUSE HE SEEN THE VIDEO I SHOT OF DONNIE AND ROBERT TALKING ON THE THEATRE DOCK,SO I GUESS YOU ARE GOING TO SAY THAT THAT DIDNT HAPPEN EITHER,IT DONT GET NO BETTER THAN THAT AND IF I WASNT SURE ABOUT SOMETHING THEN I WOULD JUST SAY IM NOT SURE,I APPRECIATE YOUR INPUT AND GLAD TO TALK TO YOU ,I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU MAYBE YOU SHOULD RESEARCH THAT A LITTLE DEEPER MAYBE REX ISNT TELLING YOU EVERYTHING,ITS ALL FROM THE HEART AND WOULDNT TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD,NOW ALL I NEED IS A PICTURE WITH PAGE TO COMPLETE THE SET,TUNE YOUR GUITAR TO OPEN C AND SHOW ME THE REAL WAY PAGE PLAYS FRIENDS OFF OF LED ZEP 3,DOES PAGE PLAY A VIOLIN BOW OR A CELLO BOW,CAN YOU BUILD A THEREMIN,HAVE A GOOD DAY

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Steve it's really a minor detail, but these things get spread on the internet and end up being known as fact - his close friends and family really DON'T call him Bobbie, and Rex certainly wouldn't. It is a fun story you have and I guess some things just get cloudy over the history of time - no biggie.

P.S. Rex was Plant's tour manager - not babysitter, I see no reason for the insult ( to both of them).

Let's all have a beer!

Edited by Donnie

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You are absolutely correct Knebby and no question as to the overall authenticity of the anecdote and the genuinue respect and admiration both men still have for Plant.

Steve, did you get the rest of the Zep photo's I sent you?

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