Stairway to Heaven...

No, I didn't mean the way on stage in a dart tournament or the way to a win though for some players this way might feel like it. And I don't mean the chart show on radio in October which is won by the title for years. I really mean the band Led Zeppelin which in parts came from Birmingham just around the corner. Altogether Heavy Metal was invented.better developed in Birmingham. Where the term "Heavy Metal" for this music came from is nit sure. Heavy metal is a chemistry and metallurgy term but was already used in the 1969s as a term for some kind of counterculture. Some years later it was used for drugs as well and to be sure drugs act a part in the Heavy Metal scene. For the first time for the music the term was used in the context of the music stile of the group "The Byrds" and especially for their album "The Notorious Byrd Brothers"

The band Led Zeppelin was founded 1968 in London and its musical style combined blues and psychedelic. The best known album is till today their fourth album which includes "Stairway to Heaven. The band members Paul Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Paul Jones played together till the drummers Paul Bonham's death in 1980. Robert Plant the lead singer comes from West Broomwich which is today part of Birmingham. Beside and after Led Zeppelin and till today he has a successful solo career. He was supposed to learn to be an accountant by profession but after two weeks he abandoned the education and tried to join the blues scene.

When he was 20 he met Jimmy Page who searched for a lead singer for his new founded band after his first choice had let him down. When you look at the success of Led Zeppelin that probably was pure luck. At this time the band called itself "Yardbirds" but was soon renamed in Led Zeppelin and already the first album was a big hit. Plant not only was the lead singer but the songwriter as well which of course returned to be rather helpful for his solo career. Plant laved Nordic mythology, Tolkien's books and the Welsh mythology. A journey to Africa proved to be inspiring as well. His texts are often mystical and spiritual. Stairway to Heaven is an example for that. After the end of Led Zeppelin Plant worked at his solo career and is on the road till today- now with his band Sensational Space Shifters. And believe it (or not) Plant really has a link to Wolverhampton. In 2009 the Wolverhampton Wanderers nominated him third Vice President an honour he readily accepted. Since a child he's a fan of this football club and often visited his matches. He's convinced that during his first visit with his father when he was five years old the legend Billy Wright who played more then 100 times for the English national team waved to him.

Stairs you can find quite a lot in the Civic Hall as well and on the second day of the Grand Slam I again walked them up and down quite often. Outside it was not really agreeable - a long dart day was quite the right way to pass the time. It looked the darts fans had the same idea as the venue again was rather crowded and a lot of children were among the crowd as well.
In the afternoon the groups E-H played first the losers of the first matches, then the winners. From the losers with the exception of Martin Phillips, who seemed to have lost his form completely those players won I had assessed the stronger ones: Keegan Brown, Rowby-John Rodriguez, Larry Butler and Terry Jenkins. In the winners matches the seeded players were the winner. An afternoon with some great darts but no surprises. Gary Anderson was the first player to reach the knockout phase; all others have to wait till Monday evening to find out whether they manage to come through or not.

The evening session meanwhile was full of drama and surprises and the culmination to be sure was - dramatically ingenious - the last match between Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall. At the start of the evening Steve West defeated Mark Oosterhuis 5:0, no one had awaited such a result after the first match of both players though it was clear after those matches Oosterhuis was the weakest of the BDO players. Than a completely luckless Ian White lost to Steve Beaton, Wayne Jones lost his match of all things to Andy Fordham who hadn't won a match on TV for more than 10 years - well it was not the best of matches quality wise. Scott Mitchell looked somehow ill and had no chance against Mervyn King who showed a strong performance. Some of Saturdays winners had their problems.

Adrian Lewis lost to Michael Smith. Kim Huybrechts got a 1:5 defeat against Michael van Gerwen as he couldn't hit the doubles. Jelle Klaasen could only watch while a rather cheerful Martin Adams hit the winnong double with his last dart. And than we had the last match of the evening! From the start Peter Wright couldn't stop Dave Chisnall who went on to threw a nine-darter in the third leg. In the fifth leg Wright almost managed to throw one as well. in the end Chisnall won 5:2 with a 109.84 average. What a thrilling evening! The crowd seemed to love it as well - while it often happens when the van Gerwen or the Phil Taylor match is over the crowd starts soon to disappear. Dave Chisnall was the second player to qualify for the last 16.

The rain had stopped when I walked back to the hotel. But somehow that didn't really matter after such an evening.

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