Well, here I am with my rescheduled ticket for the second show for the O2 in London, of no use. A long time I go I booked the family vacation in Norway after the PJ Europe tour was over, but there you go. While all you are rocking out in the free World (or however we should label the state of the Union(s) at the moment) I'll likely be out swimming or fishing with all three, now grown up kids, in the ocean surrounding Bergen. I'll think of you.
Hardly no city, has had more influence on popular music for the past 50-60 years than London, including the origins of a huge part of the foundations for Pearl Jam’s style and influence. And one of the absolute founding fathers were there at the first O2 show, June 18. As far as british rock n roll, Eddie is primarily influenced by the Who, but for the remaining guys in the band Led Zeppelin is core of the rhythm, the riffs, the power and the guitar playing. The band formed in London more or less exactly 50 years ago. John Bonham died in 1980, the band called it a day and stuck to it. Besides the one show in 2007 in the very arena where Pearl Jam is playing on the tour. At the time of the Zep show, there was a ticket lottery of a total of 18.000. More than 20 million requested. Just to give an idea of the proportions at stake.
When I met Stone Gossard in Berlin before the Waldbühne show, the first thing he said was: “Did you see, Jimmy Page was up on the side of the stage, during the entire show at the O2. I was terrified!!!!”
Apparently the 74 year old guitar maestro (and his 25-year old girlfriend, there you go fellas!!) decided to visit the venue, where he himself, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham, wrote modern music history, with probably the highest anticipated show of the 21st century so far, judging from the perspective of supply and demand. But this time with his hands folded, located right behind the monitor at the right side of the stage, from the perspective of the audience.
I've had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Jimmy Page 3-4 times, so in Stone's perspective I'm more of less his close friend, that knows of all his whereabouts!! Not exactly the situation, I'm afraid. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzq6eq8ysH4&feature=youtu.be) But Stone was super excited and freaked out by the fact, that the guitar hero of his entire life stood right next to him during the full show. “He was standing in my side, and I know that from that position, you basically see and hear me. It was terrifying, but also super cool. I don't know what he thought, but he stayed from the first song to the last encore. Jeff and Mike got to meet him later, so that's good. I thought the O2 show went really well, despite Eddie was losing his voice, luckily.”
I told Stone my seats where right on the same side, more or less as close at you could come, but I hadn't noticed, and yeah, I had no idea that Jimmy was there. Stone kept on flipping through the pictures I'd taken so see if there was a shot of Jimmy, but it turned out I only took one picture from the show, and like Stone commented: “Why did you take a picture of a empty stage?”
I wish I was able to give an intelling answer to that particular question. I desperately tried, but failed. But if any of you took pictures of filmed from Stones side of the stage, and if you see an elderly gentleman with white hair and a ponytail, that's the man.
I have had many talks and enquiries about the mutual love of Led Zeppelin over the years, of which there's many references in the ‘The More You Need – The less You Get’. One that pops up right now, writing this, thinking of London, was back in 2014 or 2015 one morning at a hotel in London. The days before it was clear that I was invited to South America, and that my original book would be translated to Spanish, and possibly English. I was super happy, but all of a sudden it struck me; what if the band don't approve, or has changed their mind? One thing is putting out a book in Danish (a language spoken by 5.6 million people) than Spanish and English. I'd written Stone, saying that I'd dump the entire manuscript in the trash can if he didn't approve of it.
Waking up, ready for breakfast, I checked my inbox, there was one from Stone saying something like: “All good. Do your thing. We trust you. Love S.”
Three hours later I had a great long solo-interview with my hero from childhood, Jimmy Page. That was a good day in London. I wish you all an equal on at the O2 today.
PS: You might like this article too: https://www.alternativenation.net/led-zeppelin-jimmy-page-showing-up-pearl-jam-show-incredible/
Pic from twitter: @MikeMcCreadyPJ June 19 2018