After the excess and scale of their 1979 concerts at Knebworth, Zeppelin began to think in terms of an overhaul in presentation. The first step was to radically streamline their operation, arguably to help them to reconnect with their more humble beginnings, on a low-key 14-date tour of mainland Europe.
It was supposed to lead to a lengthier jaunt across the US, until the death of drummer John Bonham all but signalled the end of the group. Author Lewis, an RC contributor with several Zep-related titles to his name, assesses the tour in detail and examines the mythical status that has built up around the shows, through his own diaries from the time and by trawling period gig reports and news stories.
What emerges is an intriguing chronicle of the biggest band in the world contemplating their own vastness and legacy, while re-tooling to remain relevant in a post-new wave music industry. It should have been the first chapter in a whole new story, but circumstances led to it being the final few pages in an old one. But this is no obituary; instead Lewis has skilfully woven a passionate celebration of a group who may well have been on the verge of an altogether different kind of greatness.