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Knebworth '79

by Steven Blewitt

I remember when the '79 gig was announced in the NME and Melody Maker. I was beside myself with excitement as I had missed out on tickets for the '75 Earls Court show. My problem was that I had just accepted a 12-month contract in Saudi Arabia and would be away when the concert at Knebworth was to be staged.

Happily my fears were groundless as four days after arriving in the desert I was back on a plane to Heathrow (don't ask, it's a long story!) planning the pilgrimage to Knebworth. Postal orders and stamped addressed envelopes were duly despatched and shortly afterwards the tickets arrived. We were on our way; we were finally going to see Led Zeppelin!!

I say we - I had persuaded Hayley that she'd love it and despite her (and her parents') trepidation she agreed to come with me and the rest of the Golden Lion Supping Team. To be really honest the last 30 years have eroded a lot of my memories but I do recall that we got onto the festival site at 6am and found a good spot halfway up the hill, centre stage, established "base camp" and set off in search of breakfast which turned out to be fish and chips washed down with rather warm "Long Life" lager. Nice. I think that combination was the staple source of sustenance for the rest of the day.

I don't doubt that many others will tell you how fantastic the concert was and how the thousands of devotees that day witness something very special from Zeppelin. Indeed it was special, so special in fact that I, along with many others bought more tickets and returned the following weekend to do it all over again. In fact I am proud to say that our flagpole features in the opening crowd sequence on the Knebworth DVD. You can't miss it - it's got an inflated condom on the top of it!

I Was There Knebworth '79

by Ian Avey

Knebworth was the first and only time I saw (the original) Led Zeppelin live. The first album I got was 'Physical Graffiti' in 1976, and so I therefore missed out on the magic of Earls Court. It is also now hard to believe that Led Zeppelin played in my home town of Edmonton at the 'Cooks Ferry' Inn in March 1969, although I was only 8 at the time and more interested in playing football. I only found out they played years later of course when I became a fan.

I went with two friends - Colin and Tony to Harum Records in Barnet to buy our tickets for Knebworth. We had just missed out on tickets for the first show, and so ended up with 3 tickets for the second show on 11th August. We all had motorbikes at the time, but Tony had recently got a rusty old Ford Cortina MKII. We all jumped into his car on the Friday evening and headed to Knebworth. Tony unfortunately thought that Knebworth was on the M1, so we ended up having to take a detour at J12, and eventually ended up at the A1 (M) J7 at around 10pm, along with thousands of other cars and pedestrians. I had never been to any concert before and was only 18 at the time, so this was a whole new experience!

We eventually were allowed to drive onto the site. This was after being diverted around the roundabout three times by the Police, who were controlling access to the site. We then parked up and pitched our tent next to the car, and tried to get some sleep. I couldn't sleep with the excitement though, and went to buy souvenirs, such as badges, Knebworth scarf (which I still have), and the essential program. I was disappointed at the time, as I bought the red 'bootleg' program, which at 1 was more expensive than the official program. I hadnt realized there were 2 versions. I found out many years later that the bootleg version is much more rare than the official version though.

I can remember what seemed to be a very long walk to the field where the stage was set up. We found a place dead centre, but around 2/3 of the way back. I had taken a (primitive) camera and took a few pictures throughout the day. The day seemed to be very long. I can remember hippies wandering around shouting 'pot for sale, hash for sale'. The food was not like events these days. The toilets were worse, and were no more than an open pit over which wooden cubicles had been constructed. The smell from this got worse throughout the day whenever the wind changed direction!

Then it finally happened. It was absolutely pitch black. And then those opening chords to 'The Song Remains the Same' started, and it was like being hit by a sledgehammer. I still remember the excitement whenever I see the bootleg video, although it took me around 13 years before I eventually tracked down a copy. It is so easy these days on the Internet!

I can remember on the screen seeing Jimmy smile when his guitar string broke at the end of 'Over The Hills and Far Away'. I can also remember the new songs that I had never heard before 'In The Evening' and 'Hot Dog'. 'White Summer' was also unknown to me, as I did not possess any bootlegs at that time.

Tony also swears blind that he can remember John Bonham literally jumping over the drum kit at some point, which I have no recollection of at all.

Sadly, we never got to see the encores. Tony decided we all needed to leave just after the end of 'Whole Lotta Love' as he wanted to avoid the rush leaving the car park. We tried to change his mind, but were in no real position to argue, as home was a 35 miles walk away. We therefore heard the encores as we made the long walk back to the car park, where we found the car was wedged in with no chance of going anywhere!

I know a lot of people think that Knebworth was an anti-climax, but to this 18 year old, it was an amazing event that meant so much to me, and will never be forgotten.

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