On Tuesday May 27th, 2003 I had the ultimate pleasure of going to the New York City DVD Premiere at Loews Theater and then the extreme honor of going to the private after screening party where I would get to meet the musical idols of my life.
To say it was the thrill of a lifetime is an understatement. For those of you who know me, you know what I mean.
I wish to thank all those who played a part in making this happen. No need to drop names..you know who you are. I am grateful.
On this web page, you will find my story, plus links to stories from four of my good friends who were also in attendance. All of these stories were originally posted on For Badgeholders Only (FBO) - The Led Zeppelin email discussion group. You can get info about FBO HERE.
For those that arent interested in my jangled memoirs just scroll to the bottom for some pics, taken by myself, Cindy and Michael.
Click here to listen to my FBO radio dedication on q104.3
Here are links to the stories, as told by others in attendance:
CINDY JEREMY KAT MICHAEL
Here is a link to Frank Melfi's 27May03 NYC Preview Pictures Page
Pamphlet from NYC DVD Screening.
Kat, Jeremy, Cindy in Times Square
Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 02:57:40 -0400
From: email@example.com (Nech)
As promised folks I am here @ 02:30 EST to tel you about what transpired tonite. I honestly do not know where to begin. It was.... It was....It was ....
Oh hell, It was probably one of the coolest and I mean coolest nights of my life. So many many many things happened tonight that it might be too much to dump on you all in one sitting.
So as you know I was invited to the premiere of the DVD tonite at NYC's Loew's Cineplex on 34th St. From reading this wonderful list I also found out that that Jeremy, Cindy Wilkie + hubby, Tango-Man, Kat and possibly others might/will be there. In a flurry of emails we exchanged numbers,locations, and if all went well would see ya there!!!
I picked up the DVD and cds first thing this am. I debated as to whether I should open them up , deflower my 5.1 or should I keep the adrenaline going. I chose the following. I was just dying to see parts of the DVD I had never seen in any way before. I'm glad I made the choice I did.
We were in the City by 3:00 and first stop was to the theater. What a scene!!! There were already a bunch of tie-dyed people cordoned off on one side nad on the other the press flanks. And alot of them I must say.
And the ocean begins to foam!
Across the street, another crowd of flower children were lining up for the Trey Anastasios concert at the Hammerstein. I was just feeling so groovy thinking how much this reminded me of the feelings I had back in '77. My wife thought I was on drugs, but folks....stone cold sober. I was just so thrilled to be part of this monumental event.
As we strolled unabashed into the theater I was glad I was dressed to the nines with the wifey. I mean , the papparrazzi were taking pictures of US! As if we're someone in the least bit important!! I was just so digging the moment. Finally I said, let's get the tix. Expecting nothing more than the theater tix, you could imagine my shear jubilant surprise to see a blue stub saying Private Party .......first coronary.
Nah, this could not be. Hmmm only one..... We'll see.
After a nasty snack of mozzarella stick at the TGIF's we decided to go back and get in to the theater. Theater #13 to be exact. We came to the door of the theater and just as we were about to enter, security came about and pulled us out along with several other folks sitting inside the theater. I guess they started to let us in before the start they decided after the fact. Oh well...we were going to be 4th in line to get back in. I decided to call Cindy. Immediately I hear the person's phone ahead of me start ringing. She answers... Hello? Helloo? me: Can you hear me ? she: where are you ??? me: right behind you ?!! What? Cindy's husband saw me start cracking up and turns his wifey around by the shoulders and lo and behold ! ! ! ! Yes it's ME. I knew right there this was going to be a fun evening no matter what transpired. So Cindy, hubby, me & wife were now together and who's that with them?!?!?! Why it's Jeremy and Kat. 6 FBO'ers first on line to get in!!!! Folks...it dosen't get any better than this. Soon after they let us back in..But wait...wife's getting call waiting tones whilst checking on daughter and it's it's TANGERINE MAN!!!! I fire off quick directions guiding him in from the GWB while we're in the theater. Frank Melfi to the left of me, Kevin Shirley in front of me, FBOers to the right. BIG ASSED SCREEN ahead of me and we're in the perfecto viewing position!!! I tell you I was having trouble breathing, and not because I'm finally getting over my pnuemonia...I was just so excited. I mean I'm just surrounded by Atlantic VIP's , Warner VIP's, Jimena just came by to say hello to Cindy and oh my Jones, Plant and Jimmy have been escorted in!!!
Im not sure who introduced them but he said "Weve done two of these already and Robert complained to me that Im not being charismatic enough so as Im talking to you I want you to know that I am taking my pants down!" HA! They all give a quick intro to the DVD preview ...Jimmy says that this is important because it fully encompases the growth and developement of Zeppelin, Plant dittos that and adds a "for John Bonham" onto it,and finally Jones brings it on home with a simple " This DVD is important because I finally get to see a Led Zeppelin Concert" They get a standing O and the show begins....
You all have the DVD by now so no need to review that... but some awesome moments in the theater watching the 2 hr. preview. The audience, albeit a good amount of, well, more elder than me, and more deeply involved in the music industry was ..holy tamolies...applauding like mad after every number!!!!! It was really almost like being at a Zeppelin concert. The sound was great and any time there seemed to be anything not quite right Kevin Shirley was up and out of his seat and within seconds things were brilliant!!! It was so great to see unseen clips
for me, and most of all... to see Earls Court in friggin great clarity. Those "flashbacks" inserted here and there I guess as filler where the original film/video was damaged kept reminding me " This is what you had to watch for years and now here is the balls again!!! . Oh mama!!! I guess the best way to summarize it up till now was when the "quiet" part hits in IMTOD before the "Oh my JEsus" and someone in the theater yells out , and I mean this guy had some lungs..." HOLY SHIT!!!" It's that good. The audience agreed and heartily laughed and then applauded. Damn, there were some guys down in front that lit up lighters during Stairway and again the audience loved it and applauded. The shear power, glory, magical mystery requested miracle of Zeppelin mayhem was upon us. And it was GOOD!!!!!
I gotta get some sleep...part 2 tomorrow. But before I got a quick run down of the folks I met in no particilar order...
was in extremely close proximity to Robert but alas too late ...
Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 22:11:51 -0400
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nech)
Wow, 24 hours ago I was reeling and rockin to the restored archival footage of the greatest band ever on a big screen with nice crisp loud theater dts dound. Amazing , simply amazing.
I'll try to keep it short here but it's hard. I can probably transcribe each and every conversation to the t but that'll be in my own diary. For you I'll keep it simple.
I didn't mention it yesterday but here's a rundown of the songs that were in the 2 hr condensed premiere: RAH: WGG,ICQY,D&C,WS(partial),WIAWSNB,MD(partial),WLL,CB,IS OZ '72 IS splodge edit. Oh this was mind numbing for the audience. I think everyone was surprised to see COLOR footage! MSG: BD,MMH,The Ocean- highlight for me! EC: GTC,IMTOD,STH Knebworth: R&R, NBFB,Kashmir,WLL
total: 1hr 58 min.
As the lights came up and people started arising from their seats I think everyone had the same feeling...We had all just been witness of something special here. The re-birth of the Gods. Atlantic execs hugging, fans wiping tears, Kevin Shirley being congratulated by me for such a fine job done on the sound engineering but where were the lads????? It made sense now that our showing had been delayed. While we were in the VIP screening, the other theaters had started earlier and upon being let out, they were now having their "party" and meet and greet in the Lobby. So all the radio contest winners, Q-crew and such were gathered in an enclosed area outside the upper theaters and *we* weren't granted access. Too bad , I so wanted to snatch one of those inflateable promo blimps. HAving a pass to a "private party" in pocket though I dare not complain. There was a loud voice behind me saying "This MUST be the man I'm looking for!" It was Tangerineman ( Mike G. ) !!! Ha HA, you !made it bud! Unfortunately he just missed the opening speeches but was there for the rest. First comment was how the sound was just so much better here as compared to the viewing he attended the other night. I immediately told him about Kevin Shirley pouncing out of his seat every time something sounded a bit off. Mike's wife couldn't make it. Mike then introduced us to his buddy and other FBO'er Pascal B. ( I'm not even gonna try to spell your name dude!
We all discovered that we're "in" so strode off towards 38th St. As we approached the location we were beginning to wonder if this was the right place, cause let me tell you 38th & 9th ave is not exactly posh city..if anything it looks like muggers paradise. But lo and behold behind those forbidding gnarly metal doors exists a world of the like you'd never expect. Once past the "list keepers" and really really big bouncers we were greeted by a very dimly lit but quite appealing club room/bar. Some food in the back and really good drinks at the bar. I'm a beer boy so decided to stick with Heinekens.
It was actually pretty quiet other than the odd mix of Datsuns,Bowie, Donnas, and various new hip music being spun by a very serious " I can
break you with my scowl " looking dj-ess. Was this a Matrix dream I'm in? We settled down with our drinks and finally really got to talk to each other. Cindy and her hubby are great folks & hit it off with my wife as did Jeremy and Kat. All good people. I like good people. Mike, Pascal and myself however immediately found ourselves "on the prowl" looking for signs of our boys. First to show up was JPJ with his wife maureen and Jimmena. Cindy, who does alot of work for the ABC Trust, was very acustomed to all these people so she was very nice in introducing us to Jimmena and some of the other key players in the organization and Jimmy's side of the Zep camp. I envy her! Oh BTW Dave, her hubby, was sporting the most fab LZ tie I have ever seen. Must find one for my own wardrobe. Then the place got instantly more crowded as JP and his security entourage entered as well as Plant's. Jimmy was quickly escorted to the back and was being introduced to VIP's I did not
recognize and Robert took up shop in front of the club by the bar. He was immediately surrounded and hounded by the beautiful people and getting near him was impossible it seemed. As I made my way back I noticed that Jimmy was already missing!!!! OH NO ! Was that it?!?!?! I found Jimmena and in the midst of speaking to her I snuck in " Ummmm like where's Jimmy? Has he left already?" She explained that he wasn't too fond of tight crowded places but will be around once things settle down. We parted ways and I found myself by JPJ's side. I just didn't know how to approach the man.
So I just stood by trying to be as casual as I could listening to the other conversations he was in...of course the inevitable reunion questions and eye rolls. I had my break there and chimed in to his wife "Oh my just how often does he have to hear that?" That broke the ice for me and before we knew it my wife , Maureen and me were standing about talking about our kids!!. Holy smokes...such good down to earth people I would never imagine them to be. Eventually I got to talking with John Paul and spoke of our trek to Bron-Yr-Aur, my wife being Scottish, and music of course. I mentioned how inspired I was by his mandolin playing during the Zooma tour and how I picked up mine again afterwards. He told me "Just keep on playing it! It's a fabulouly fun instrument to play" And then a question I had been thinking of for some time now.
NEWSFLASH!!!YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!!!!! I, along with Mike and Jeremy as witnesses got this from the horses mouth so to speak: I asked "John, it's been bugging some of us for over 20 years now...just what was that phone doing on your keyboards at Knebworth?!?!?!?" We explained how this has been a topic of discussion on FBO many times over and we just had to know. And the answer is " Well, it served no purpose really. It just was put there sometime during rehearsals and soundcheck and just became stuck there and became sort of glued to the set. I really don't know why it just sort of never got moved" So there you have it...no direct line to Mellotron support, no line to Satan, no request line to the Queen. It was just there. As an afterthought John added "Im just glad it never actually rang during a number!
I wouldnt know what to do!!"
HA! John is an extremely amicable person as is his wife. We asked for his autograph and even for a multitude of posed pictures. He gladly and
graciously oblidged. This was the first of the index cards I had brought along to be used. One down 2 to go!!!! We could've talked for ages but there were other people that we were hogging him from so I decided to try to get at Plant again. Robert was still by the bar and seemed to be getting a bit tired of the people around him and as he was walking towards the back, when asked by Mike if he could sign his Neal Preston's "Portraits" book, brushed him aside and said "NO." hmmph. So be it.Like I said, I guess after a whole press box thing at the theater, and then the meet and greet with the contest winners he must grow tired of it. Pascal who caught him earlier on did manage to speak with him a tad and obtained an autograph. Soon after that Robert disappeared. No matter really as I was just absolutely thrilled at this point to even have been in the same room with them. I was trully honored to be living this life of the rich and famous!! I spoke with Kevin Shirley again and congratulated him once again on a job well done. He explained that it was alot of painstakingly detailed work, expecially considering the age of some of the material they had to work woth. Remeber folks, some of it's close to 35 years old and certainly wasn't recorded in a 5.1 fashion or even close. Did I mention Kevin's "Caveman" nickname suits him to a t. He's a big strong boy!
After hobnobbing about for awhile Cindy then pointed out to me a close personal associate to Mr. Jimmy P. And I decided to take the initiative to introduce myself. Hey, you never know right? I came up to him, introduced myself and before I could even begin to thank him he loudly blurts out "So you're the famous NEch!" I almost shit in my pants! And then he goes.."So does your wife still think you're loony?" "Excuse me?" I go. And he says, "Yeah in your post this morning you said you're wife thinks you're all loonies" I couldn't believe what I was hearing!!! Hes quoting to me MY POSTS!I said " Seriously you actually read my posts?" And he says" Yes WE do" Coronary # 2. That was like the most humbling thing I've ever heard. Of course I proceeded to thank him very heartily for the DVD releases, the music Jimmy has produced and for this party. Jeremy was with me at the time and we talked a bit about the list and he told us that they use us as a "barometer" so to say to see what the people think and judge the pulse of the Zeppelin community. Then he asks us "Have you met the band?" coronary # 3!!!!! "Why no , I mean other than chatting with John Paul, his wife and Jimmena no sir we haven't" He motions for us to follow him and I ask, "Can I please get my wife?" He hesitated for a bit and then said "Ok... your wife? YEs I guess that'll be fine." As we were walking to the secret staircase, I grabbed Linda ( My wife who's as loony as me now!) by the arm and said " don't ask just let's go"
He cleared us past the security ( really tight at this point I must say..kinda like the Secret Service all decked out with dark shades,
earpieces and walkie talkies ) He leads us to a table where Jimmy is seated and once Jimmy is done speaking to other folks He simply says "There are some people I'd like you to meet" Oh my Jesus, Oh my Lord, my world stood perfectly still. All these years, all those flights of fancy, what to say, what to do.... How do I ...what do I... And Jimmy in his ever so quiet and demure voice simply starts off, "Why Hello, how are you?" He's HUMAN!!!! I took his hand and simply said, "It's an honor to meet you sir. I have loved your music for so long and it has meant so much to me, I just want to thank you, thank you so much for the wonderful music you have provided to us over the years." I then actually introduced my wife Linda to him and Jeremy as if we had been friends for years!!! He just made me feel that at ease. Jimmy was just so pleasingly polite it was incredible. We pretty much just made some small talk, I told him how I saw them just blocks away in the Garden in '77 and followed their solo carreer, we even mention our Bron-Yr-TRek and my wife asked about him living in Scotland as she's Scottish and after shaking his hand for the 3rd time and saying thank you again and again it finally dawned on me to ask if we can have his autograph. He said sure and I pulled out my deck of index cards and when he asked to who to write it to I said "Nech n-e-c-h..." I swear to you he stopped looked at me and with an almost knowing inflection to his voice said "oOHhhh..Nech!!! Why Sure!" I swear I felt my knees going weak. Did HE???does HE???read my posts?!?!?!?!?!!! His associate just smiled at me and at that moment I really really thought I was gonna lose my composure. But somehow I kept my cool and then actually asked for another autograph for Linda as I realized I should've included her to begin with. Mine's said "Rock On!" and to Linda he wrote "Lots of Love" And then pushing my luck I said "Oh and could you just do one more?" and he was laughing and said he didn't mind at all I said make it out to Mako ( My brother's nickname) and he asked "Is *that* a girl?!" and I explained that no, it's my brother's nickname but he's the one that introduced me to Led Zeppelin in the first place and Jimmy says "Well then,all right that's good enough!" and proceeded to write out yet another autograph for me. I gave Jeremy an index card and Jimmy signed that for him as well. Good thing I had the foresight to bring those. I was on a roll so figured might as well ask if a picture was possible. Jimmy seemed ok with it but another of the security people was vehemently opposed to it and said definately not. He said maybe later when Jimmy comes back down and I was totally fine with that. After all I had 3 autographs and was actually speaking with Jimmy. At that point Robert Plant came up to the table waved at us, but before anyone could introduce us, Robert simply stated "Bye I'm going now" and was quickly whisked away by his security council. Oh well, so much for getting his autograph. It looked like Jimmy's team was also setting up for a move so we shook hands once more and were escorted back downstairs and as Jimmy was going out the door to his Limo I called out to him
" Now Jimmy How about 'How the EAST was won'?!?!?" He laughed and was also whisked quickly towards a waiting Limo. And then everyone was
laughing as he apparently went into the wrong limo and got out waved to everyone again and hopped into the second limo that was there. I guess that one was for Jonesy.
We stayed downstairs until the party completely dwindled down and they started closing up shop. It was at that point that we realized that
Pascal was just hitting it off fabulously with none other than Zoe Bonham! What a riot! She looks alot like her dad except much prettier. We talked and joked about for awhile, posed together for pics and got her autograph as well. I asked where Jason was and was told that he had just purchased a new home and was "moving house" In speaking of her father she reminded us "Hey I play too!!!!!" Really fun people. I could've stayed all night. It was probably around 01:30 and we had to get going, after all we did have a little one to get to gymnastics the next morning. Linda, Kat, Cindy, Dave, Jeremy and I all walked out into the cool drizzly NYC night leaving Mike and Pascal behind with Zoe and her entourage. Thinking back now I think that Pat Bonham was there as well and we missed out on getting her autograph.
We parted ways with the rest of the gang once they hailed a cab and for the strangest reason , well not really, I had Bron-Yr-Aur playing in
my head as we strode off back to our car engulfed by NYC's majestic skyscrapers, being drizzled on by God's cool rain. I thanked God, I
thanked my Father(rip), I thank you & you know who you are. And people ...EYE thank yew.
Till the next time...
Play it often, Play it loud. Disregard the art..it's the music inside that counts. We wanted it ...we got it. It's oh so good. SOOoooo GGGooooooodd!
We are the Ocean.
Jimmy gives the Thumbs up to FBO,
as he enters the club.(Pic courtesy of Tangerineman)
Robert telling hair secrets to Pascal (Pic courtesy of Tangerineman)
Nech (thats me!) looking starstruck as Jonesey chats with Linda (my lovely wife) (again thanks Tango-Man!)
Zoe Bonham with the FBO gang (l-r):
Linda, Nech, Zoe, Jeremy, Pascal, Kat, Cindy
FBO gang (l-r): Kat, Linda, Nech, Jeremy, Michael (Tangerine Man), Cindy, Pascal
A toast to a great DVD & HTWWW ! Nech & Jeremy
Jeremy and Kat ready for the Prom!
(pic courtesy Cindy)
JPJ being hounded for autographs Hey thats my pen!!!!
JPJ and an ecstatic Kat (pic courtesy Cindy)
Kat tells Jonesy her most intimate secrets! (pic courtesty Cindy)
Kat, after meeting Jonesy! (pic courtesy Cindy)
Jeremy getting crazy with Frank Melfi Hey whats in the bag?!?!?!
Frank Melfi thoroughly enjoying a squeeze from Cindy (who wouldn't?)
One more with Zoe
Cindy and Michael - aka Tangerine Man, aka Tangoman (pic courtesy Cindy)
Cindy and her husband Dave (photo courtesy of Frank Melfi)
And whatever you do DONT mess with this guy.
(and NO, it's NOT Puff Daddy!)
A quick pic of my memorabilia will scan shortly.
Jeremy's Autographs from Jimmy and Zoe
Kat, Jeremy and Cindy at the Physical Graffiti Building (pic courtesy Cindy)
Here are links to the stories, as told by others in attendance:
CINDY JEREMY KAT MICHAEL