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Robert Plant and his Band of Joy were about a third of the way through Please Read The Letter – a song which Plant and Alison Krauss had turned into a gorgeous, plaintive song of longing on their album Raising Sand – when a horrific noise overtook Hard Rock Live.

Think about what a train wreck might sound like from inside the train and you get the general gist of it.

Plant kept going, but it was instantly clear that the sound system was blown out. You could barely hear the one-time vocal superman (back in his days in Led Zeppelin), and the crowd was beginning to stir – with even a few unfair boos popping up.

Gamely, Plant and the roadies sprang into action, turning the monitors and amplifiers toward the crowd – and yes, Plant was right in the middle of this action, allowing neither his status nor his age (62) to stand in the way of making sure the Hard Rock crowd was entertained. And the crowd began to turn around quickly, cheering him and his band on, and clapping in time with the music.

After the song was over, Plant, who had been engaging in pleasant banter all night with the audience, saying how he was taught never to curse in public, but that the PA system was — and here he used the past tense of a well-known Anglo-Saxon profanity.

But Plant wasn't discouraged, instead talking with the crowd as his and the venue's technical staff worked out the problem. He spoke about how a friend from Tottenham in London had been visiting and more, before finally saying something that truly underlined why this guy is a legend:

"This is what it was like in 1969, when you couldn't hear a f*****g thing!"

The crowd went nuts.

After that, with the PA system just workable enough to use, Plant and band launched into three Led Zeppelin songs – Houses of the Holy, Ramble On, and then for the encore, Gallows Pole – before bidding the crowd a good night.

During those songs, the crowd was clearly energized, clapping on the beat, cheering wildly, and Plant was into it too: "I feel alive! I feel awake!" he said between Houses and Ramble On. He certainly appeared that way — there was a howl during Ramble On which seemed to echo from somewhere around 1974.

It was Plant's ability to make the best of a weird situation that made his show change from merely a fond memory into one where anyone who was in attendance would say, "Yes! I was at THAT show!"

(That included singer/songwriter Kate Voegele, who tweeted Plant's great 1969 quote with the hash tag #legend.)

The show likely would've been memorable anyway, as it brought Plant's more Americana bent to South Florida (for the second time in two years – he'd also played Miami's Bayfront Park Amphitheatre in summer 2010). He's surrounded himself with incredible musicians, and they've both pulled in the great originals and covers from Plant's most recent solo album, also called Band of Joy, and rearranged some Zeppelin and Plant solo classics in new and wonderful ways.

The Zeppelin fans would be appeased immediately, when Plant broke into Black Dog as the show's opener. But instead of the high-pitched power of the 1970s Plant, when his blonde hair was wild and his shirts were both open and a size or two too small, you had the more controlled vocal of today's Plant – whose blonde mane has been tamed slightly into shoulder-length curls and, combined with a close-cropped beard, gave him the appearance of an English poet from centuries past.

These days, Plant's voice finds its way into a mix of other vocalists where the mesh is the thing. He and Grammy-winning singer Patty Griffin sounded gorgeous together on House of Cards, a cover of a Richard and Linda Thompson song, and on Monkey, another cover, this one of a song by the band Low. And then there were the full-group vocals, which worked well together throughout.

Plant made sure to get the point across that this tour is about his Band of Joy, and not just about him. He shared the spotlight with Griffin, who sang the R&B song Ocean of Tears, with guitarist/captain of this ship Buddy Miller, who sang Somewhere Trouble Don't Go and provided superb guitar work throughout, and singer/multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott, who song the Porter Waggoner song A Satisfied Mind.

(And to complete the full credit to his band, let's not forget the work by bassist Byron House, who showed a deft touch, and especially drummer Marco Giovino, who handled the difficult task of being extremely proficient without loudly overshadowing the subtleties of Plant and Miller's arrangements.)

Even without the mishap and Plant's remarkable ability to grow a beautiful rose from a metaphoric pile of manure, the Band of Joy's performance would've made the Hard Rock show one heck of a memory.

Openers the Lee Boys, a Miami-based combo that've played both locally and regionally for a while now, seemed to fit the Americana mold of the night. Their sound is known as sacred steel — a hard-driving mix of rhythm & blues, rock and gospel that's built around the intense steel guitar work of Roosevelt Collier. Not surprisingly, they and Plant are both headed for the rootsy Wanee Music Festival this weekend.

From: Palm Beach Pulse
If you'd seen Led Zeppelin play a concert in a tiny recreation center with just a few other fans, you'd probably remember it.

Whether it actually happened, or is merely rock lore, historians and music fans remain fascinated by Led Zeppelin's Jan. 20, 1969 concert at the Wheaton Youth Center.

Led Zeppelin's official website lists the concert in the band's timeline of performances between 1968 and 2007, as "officially unconfirmed and no proof has yet surfaced."

Music historian and documentary filmmaker Jeff Krulik, whose credits include Heavy Metal Parking Lot "has hours and hours of tape" for his new project, Led Zeppelin Played Here, which explores the Wheaton show.

Krulik will show a rough cut of his project during the upcoming ZepFest, a three-day festival of all things Zeppelin, coming to National Harbor this Memorial Day weekend.

"We're certainly going to explore the possibility that the night Richard Nixon was inaugurated, Led Zeppelin played in Wheaton," says Mark Boudreau, chief executive officer and festival director of ZepFest.

Krulik has been gathering footage and interviews to determine whether the concert ever occurred.

"No new breakthroughs, but I take everyone's word at face value, including promoter DJ Barry Richards and quite a few that claim it did happen," Krulik tells WTOP.

"No tickets, flyers, photos, diary entries, radio spots, concrete evidence has surfaced, and likely never will," says Krulik.

From: WTOP 103.5 FM Website
TBL #29 Out Soon
NEW TIGHT BUT LOOSE MAGAZINE OUT SOON, COMMENCING THE 2011 ISSUES - DON'T MISS OUT SUBSCRIBE NOW!

The new issue of the Tight But Loose magazine edited and published by Dave Lewis is due out next month. This issue 29 commences the TBL 2011 subscription offer and is packed full of all the latest news, views and features.

Here's what's in store:
  • Led Zeppelin: Feather In The Wind Over Europe 1980 Book preview
  • Led Zeppelin Back To The Clubs 1971 - Phil Tait I was there at the Newcastle Mayfair Plus Mike Tremaglio's March to July 1971 log
  • Stairway To Heaven At 40 - Still causing a bustle in your hedgerow?
  • John Paul Jones: A Night At The Opera
  • Bob Harris: The TBL Interview
  • BCC Exclusive: Jason Bonham & Glenn Hughes talk TBL through Black Country Communion 2
  • Plus Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy tour latest, Jimmy Page book feedback, Zep Fest 2011, CD reviews and more

All exclusive 32 page content presented in an all colour format that can be stored, and re- read time and time again. In an era of here today gone tomorrow instantly digested info, the Tight But Loose magazine remains a true tangible collectable.

Issue 29 due mid to late May kicks off the three issue subscription that will be followed by issue 30 in late September and issue 31 in January 2012

If you are a 2010 subscriber your subscription ended with issue 28 Now is the time to re subscribe! If you are a newcomer to TBL this is the perfect opportunity to get on board. If you love Led Zeppelin, you will love this magazine...

Here's some feedback from satisfied subscribers

"Received the latest TBL issue. The best ever. Like the new design and layout. I am savouring each and every article. Keep up the good work!" Damien Grieff - UK

"Absolutely knocked out by the new TBL - superb issue! Keep up the brilliant work." Colin Sheil - UK

"Just got the latest edition of TBL, fantastic read once again." Andrew Pittam - UK

"Just a quick email to say well done on another fantastic magazine. I've only dipped into it so far but what I've read up to now has been nothing short of superb." Tom Cory - UK

"Got the new TBL - the Bill Curbishley interview is outstanding and I've just finished reading Alec Plowman's piece. Very impressive - enjoyed his article immensely." Gary Davies - UK

"TBL #27 is a page turner I couldn't put it down. Dave, you do quality work this magazine is a must have for Zep fans. I also purchased some back issues, so if any of you have missed a publication, I recommend this as well." Kathy Urich - USA

"I just wanted to email you and say I received the latest TBL issue today. I want to say kudo's for always delivering a fantastic magazine!" Robert Musco - USA

"Dave, I'm running out of superlatives for the work you do in putting together these magazines. Where else would I get geat copy like this? You really do a magnificent job for us all. Grateful thanks to you,Gary Foy boy and everyone else involved in putting this together!" Mark Harrison - UK

"I can only echo Mark's comments. Anyone who visits the TBL website but doesn't subscribe to the mag is missing out BIG time." Philip Tattershall - UK

For subscription ordering details, see link at http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tblweb09/?page_id=1469
Top Topham Almost In Led Zeppelin?
Original Yardbirds guitarist, Anthony "Top" Topham, was almost in Led Zeppelin.

Guitar International recently interviewed Topham, who talked about being in The Yardbirds, Fender Telecaster guitars and music in general. He also dropped two major bombshells that Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and guitarist Jimmy Page invited Topham via telegram to join a reformation of The Yardbirds and also that there is an unreleased, pre-Led Zeppelin album, under the name of The New Yardbirds.

Top Topham: Well this is what happened,in 1968 I was making Ascension Heights, my album with Blue Horizon records (CBS), with Mike Vernon as the producer. I received three telegrams, which I still have, from Peter Grant and Jimmy Page,expressing an urgency to get in touch with them,one of these said "great news for you." I called them from our local telephone box in Kingston on Thames, Surrey, we didn't have a phone in those days, and I spoke to Jimmy who I saw reasonably regularly. He said he wanted to reform under the name of the New Yardbirds and hit America, and asked if I would be interested.

Wait for it, I said no. As I was writing and playing on my own album at that time it seemed like the right choice. Whether he was intending on me being in the band, I know not. It was a flurry of ideas and I would think at that time as he owned the Yardbirds name, which was a very clever move.

Also, it's a fact that a pre-Zeppelin album exists under the name the New Yardbirds, and includes much of the same as early Zepp. I believe this has never been released. Who knows? Interestingly, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy played in our interval at Mothers in Birmingham '67-'68. I was in the Fox and they used my Marshall amp for the gigs. Jimmy played with Duster Bennett and I at an Epsom Art school dance in 64. I remember us all raving about Earl Hooker. I think he played some slide on that gig as well. What goes around comes around, it was all normal really.

Read the entire interview at Guitar International.

The Short-But-Sweet Interview: Chris Dreja of the Yardbirds
Photo by Chris Dreja
Few bands in the history of rock can say that they served as the launching pad for multiple guitarists. But that's exactly what the Yardbirds were able to accomplish during their 1960's heyday, as they saw the likes of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page pass through their ranks.

Original members Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar) and Jim McCarthy (drums) still perform as the Yardbirds, and continue to tour the world to this day.

Recently, Dreja OK'd a Short-But-Sweet Interview assignment.

UGO: Looking back, what was your favorite Yardbirds line-up?

CHRIS DREJA: Beck, Relf, Samwell-Smith, McCarty and Dreja.

UGO: Why do you think the Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page Yardbirds line-up didn't last longer?

CHRIS DREJA: Ego and Jeff had a burn out. Jeff did not really enjoy his lead guitar space being invaded.

UGO: When you heard that Mr. Page was launching a band called "The New Yardbirds" [which became Led Zeppelin], what were your thoughts?

CHRIS DREJA: When the original Yardbirds burnt out there were still some contracted dates to fulfill, I had no problem for Jimmy to play those dates. Using the name beyond those shows I was not happy about, and through my lawyer I made that plain to Peter Grant. I still have the document. They quite rightly changed their name to Led Zeppelin and never looked back.

UGO: What are some memories of taking the classic photo of Led Zeppelin for the back cover of Led Zeppelin I?

CHRIS DREJA: I always got on well with Jimmy especially with photos of him, so it was nice to be approached for the photography of the very first album. It was early days for me as a studio photographer so it was a very simple shot. Apart from Jimmy who was already pretty well known, the others were charming, polite and shy and it was very interesting to me when a couple of years later when I photographed the band again, how much they had changed and grown in stature apart from John Bonham who had grown an obvious problem, and seemed oblivious to the whole session, not the innocent young man I had photographed on the album.

UGO: Which other bands did you photograph back in the day, and memories of each?

CHRIS DREJA: My early work was all reportage, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed are there somewhere and some other characters, I did an extensive session for Fleetwood Mac but I moved pretty quickly into advertising and design work.

UGO: Was Yardbirds/Zep manager Peter Grant really as fearsome a character as everyone makes him out to be?

CHRIS DREJA: If you were part of his family he was truly wonderful, if you were not, you had better really watch how you behaved.

UGO: What do you have to say to those who don't like the fact that the Yardbirds are still touring, but without Clapton, Beck, or Page?

CHRIS DREJA: I do not say anything. It's a well known fact that throughout the Yardbirds career there have been quite a few outstanding guitarists, the band is known partly for that. It is also known for its innovation and a collection of amazing songs. We play with great passion all over the world and have re-built an infinity with existing and new fans of the band.

UGO: What's on the horizon for the Yardbirds?

CHRIS DREJA: We just played in Japan and left one day before the country almost heaved to total destruction. So, personally speaking, I'm doing just one day at a time and treasuring bringing enjoyment where I can.

From: UGO
Thanks to Greg Prato @gregpratowriter
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

June xx, 1969 - More recording for Led Zeppelin II at Morgan Studios
June 29, 1969 - Led Zeppelin play the prestigious Royal Albert Hall
June 28, 1970 - Zeppelin reach mass acceptance in Britain by playing Bath
June xx, 1971 - A news report claims Led Zep to play at an aid relief concert for Pakistan
June xx, 1972 - More recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy
June 21, 1972 - Eighth American tour begins in Denver, CO, almost four years since Zeppelin’s American debut
June 03, 1973 - Zeppelin play the Fabulous Forum in LA, a favorite venue to the band
June xx, 1973 - The band takes a mid-tour holiday in Hawaii
June xx, 1974 - Promoter Fred Bannister announces that Led Zeppelin will play Knebworth, the band declines
June xx, 1975 - John Bonham loses his license for six months over a drunk driving charge
June xx, 1976 - Filmmaker Kenneth Anger tells media that Jimmy Page is partly responsible for the failure of his film over the delayed soundtrack he provided
June 07, 1977 - The first of six nights at Madison Square Gardens
June xx, 1978 - Robert feels new life within Led Zeppelin again
June 26, 1979 - The entire Led Zeppelin line up appear at a Dave Edmunds show and party afterwards
June 17, 1980 - Led Zeppelin open their European (and last) tour at Westfallenhalle in Dortmund
June 27, 1980 - Zeppelin abandon their Nuremburg show after three numbers when Bonham collapses from exhaustion
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