PAGE AND PLANT PERFORMED AT THE JONES BEACH THEATER, LONG ISLAND NY
I played on the Page and Plant Project promoting the ‘Walking into Clarksdale’ album at Jones Beach. It was the last date of the first leg of the North American tour. The Jones Beach Theater is an Amphitheatre in Long Island. For me it was one of the best shows; a memorable performance. The band really connected. The high points were serial and intensified throughout the set. The drummer Michael Lee and I had an emotional hug when we came offstage.
I played with Led Zeppelin at the Newport Jazz Festival, RI
On this day in 1969, Led Zeppelin played the iconic Newport Jazz Festival slot after Buddy Rich and his big band. The festival site was becoming overcrowded and the radio stations started to announce that we weren’t going to appear to try and cut the numbers of people that were travelling to the site. Such was the popularity of the group that we had hijacked such a prestigious jazz festival.
On this day in 1988, my first solo album ‘Outrider’ had entered the Billboard charts. The album was on David Geffen’s label. I had worked closely with the label’s publicist Bryn Bridenthal on press in LA to promote the record and even had a single released. The promo department did a good job on this one.
I WATCHED FOREIGNER PERFORM AT THE SPORTS ARENA, MUNICH
Foreigner were touring with the release of ‘4’ and it was so good to hear and feel Lou Gramm’s vocals. Foreigner had augmented their band with two versatile LA session musicians and, in fact, the guy who played the sax on ‘Urgent’ provided a spirited rendition of the Junior Walker solo. Mick Jones and I went back a long way: we met in the days of Johnny Halliday and it wasn’t long before he encouraged me to come up and have a jam. A tipsy version of ‘Lucille’ was performed.
I PLAYED AT WESTERN SPRING STADIUM, AUCKLAND, NZ WITH LED ZEPPELIN
On this day in 1972, I played with Led Zeppelin at the Western Spring Stadium - a natural amphitheatre in Auckland.
As a rule, in the early 70s, bands were not going to New Zealand following Australia because of the cost involved. I was really up for it as my memories were rich following the February 1967 Roy Orbison, Yardbirds and The Walker Brothers Tour of Australia and New Zealand.
During that ‘67 tour in Auckland, a certain Clive Coulson was the singer in the opening band called The Mods and he was later to become road manager for Led Zeppelin two years later, in 1969.
This is the first of two dates at the Sydney Stadium. The bill comprised of local artist and very good singer Jeff St John, The Walker Brothers (Scott Walker some years later was to make a major dent in alternative circles with his solo work), The Yardbirds and the amazing Roy Orbison. This tour gave me the opportunity to speak to Roy, one of my rockabilly heroes about his time at Sun Records.
There had been a move to do a Peace Concert, hosted by the Chinese Government, at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing and I had been invited to appear. There had been a full-size classical orchestra offered and I saw a possibility of doing an instrumental set including Chengdu percussion and the orchestra. It could have been an interesting blend.
There had been a meeting with some officials where it was said that they would need to see the artists’ lyrics up front and I thought that was fair enough, but a Peace Concert in Beijing could have had its moments of mischief. It was fascinating to see how it might proceed; in fact, after a postponement from 17/04/10 to 11/11/11, it ran out of steam. At the press conference at the Beijing Ritz I was given an award called ‘Pathways To Peace’ - it was the first time the award was given from the United Nations.
Every member of the band was nervous and for good reason. We had played the Albert Hall previously on the Pop Proms, but today in 1970 we were to headline our own show at the most prestigious venue at that time. During the previous year we had been putting in a lot of time in America and recorded the second album, released on 22nd October 1969. It was going to be a critical test of our ability; not only to our fans, but to the press and our families and all in attendance that evening. That evening I met Charlotte, my daughter Scarlet’s mother.
Also on this day in 1969 was the first night at The Fillmore in San Fransisco; my birthday and an historic night for Led Zeppelin.