Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feather in the Wind: Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980

Led Zeppelin have impressed me in different ways over the years. As musicians, as performers, as writers, as people. Tonight they impressed me as a working rock ‘n’ roll band - above everything, that’s important.

Tight but loose? - you ain’t joking... And this is only the second night of the tour.

Dave Lewis
Feather in the Wind page 96

Dave Lewis has said that Feather in the Wind: Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980, is a companion book to his earlier work, Then as it Was - At Knebworth 1979*. This is the most accurate statement you can make about it. Feather in the Wind is so perfectly synchronous with Then as it Was it could be called part 2. Between the two books, Lewis thoroughly covers the time in Led Zeppelin’s career beginning with the last US show in July 1977 and ending at the announcement of their dissolution in Dec 1980.

[caption id="attachment_1267" align="alignright" width="214" caption="Led Zeppelin Feather in the Wind - Over Europe 1980"]Led Zeppelin Feather in the Wind - Over Europe 1980[/caption]

Feather in the Wind is in the main about Led Zeppelin’s underreported final tour through Europe in the summer of 1980. In the telling, however, Lewis starts at Knebworth the summer before, and carries the story to the end of 1980 and the end of Led Zeppelin.

Lewis was there, that’s the key point of the book. Dave Lewis was able to get to a number of the 1980 shows. He was a fan, buying his tickets, but he wound up getting treated like a journalist and seeing 1980 Led Zeppelin from a variety of vantage points: backstage, the photography pit, the cheap seats. After show he hung about with the band members in the hotel bars, and talked about the tour, and the future of Led Zeppelin. That access is at the heart of the narrative.

Feather in the Wind is both the telling of the last Led Zeppelin story, and a reference book. If you want to know when they played Nuremberg, what songs they played, what was said between songs or any other number of facts about the show, it is all in there. From short venue history and seating capacity to what each band member wore onstage, you can find it.

Yet it’s not an encyclopaedia. With personal stories, Lewis’ personal experiences and a store of never before seen pictures taken by the author himself, Feather in the Wind tells a great story. It is, in fact, one of the best Led Zeppelin books you will ever read.

*Lewis has published a second edition of Then as Now: Knebworth ‘79, with a “
revamped cover and new layout design,increased colour content and additional text.” It looks great, and would nicely sit beside Feather in the Wind on the bookshelf.

Both books can be bought at Tight But Loose. If you have a Led Zeppelin fan on your Christmas list, buying both would make a great gift.



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