In 1979 I was still in High School in the USA. Led Zeppelin had been my favourite band for half my life, and when my friend told me about the concert they were going to play at Knebworth Park I was thrilled to pieces. I was also devastated because I wouldn’t be there to see them. Again. I was never there to see them and it was the biggest heartache of my life – I was always too young and not allowed to go even when they were in the States. Other people’s memories had to suffice as the only way I could live my dream of seeing them live.
It wasn’t all bad though. My friend had Zep fans all over the globe that would send him magazines and newspaper clippings about them, and I even got to see some bootleg footage – which I hasten to add that he never sold and told me never to buy because they were to be shared so as not to rip off the band. I had great times pouring over his box of “Zep Treasures” that he collected. I knew things about Knebworth would come in eventually and I checked every day trying to be patient. Sure enough the reports, the photographs, and the cuttings trickled in and I was the happiest girl in town devouring it all.
No one imagined it would be their last ever performance in the UK, and quite nearly their last performance ever. I never imagined that I would wait for another 28 years to see my hero Jimmy Page step onto a stage with Robert and JPJ and with Jason Bonham sitting in for our beloved Bonzo at the 02 Arena. Back then I didn’t know any of what was to come as I sat reading what the Zeppelin fans had sent. I also never imagined that one day I would be standing in the field at Knebworth where they had played, and setting up an exhibit of their memorabilia in the House – in the library where Sir Edward Bulwar-Lytton kept his amazing books that I had learned to love because Jimmy mentioned them, and talking to loads of fans in person as they shared with me their memories of that wonderful August in 1979.
If you have a memory of being at the concert please send it to me. We’ll be creating a special web page and share your memories of the concert with other fans and any photos you’d like to share too. I already have a nice selection of them, and I’ve got a great interview with a member of The Fairport Convention who also played that August. I’d like to include bios of all the bands that played that festival, so watch out for it in the coming weeks.
It may have been 30 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. Time flies when you’re having fun – and I’ve had a guaranteed source of fun ever since I heard the first note from the guitar of the fabulous Mr Page, from JPJ’s bass, from Bonzo’s drums, and from Robert’s amazing voice. Yeah….life is good!