Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Greensboro, North Carolina, May 31st 1977


Since its now been 30 years to the day since I saw Zeppelin in the Greensboro Coliseum, I thought what better time to recount my memories (however eroded by the years they are) and reminisce. I’ll have to say, that really was a long time ago and at best my recollection is fairly hazy but I’ll give it a try. By the way, if there are others that were there that night in Greensboro, N.C. , I would love to hear your stories too.

But, over the years, the finer details tend to slip away and what is left are some random, disjointed thoughts (uh, did I say dis-joint-ed?). I can tell you that at 18 years old, your world is quite different than it is today, so needless to say, so were my priorities 30 years ago.

My brother and I had about an hour and a half drive to the show that night, but I don’t remember too much about the trip to G’boro. Pretty crowded outside the gated area. I do remember a rush to get in and some people attempting (and I suppose succeeding) to climb the fence when they let us in. I’m not sure how all that came about…it could have been more that the swell of the crowd had a lot to do with them letting us in.

One thing that was very clear, and still remains clear to this day, was the mass of people moving into the concert hall. You really didn’t need to walk forward …the crowd pushed and literally carried you with it. At that point in my life, never experienced anything like it. No control of your own movement at all. Pretty much a wall of humanity surging forward. If anyone had fallen, it would have been impossible to get up. Maybe we were just lucky in that regard, maybe just lucky that we didn’t end up like the fans in Cincinatti at the Who concert about 2 years later. Its funny that you often don’t realize how dangerous something is in the moment…just later on when you are in a normal state of mind. Another memory I have is that the walls in the hallways leading to the concert area were dripping with condensation…..really strange and surreal. I suppose all the heat and moisture from the mass of people moving thru. Just strange.

In the concert arena we had pretty good seats. This was in the days of festival seating and general admission….. no seats assigned…. just get in there and find what you can close to the stage. If you were lucky (or maybe unlucky…I’llget to that later) you could get down to the floor in front of the stage. Our seats were to the left of the dtage, about mid-way up on the lower level. I heard that thi was the last concert that Greensboro coliseum had festival seating…for a lot of good reasons.

Seemed like forever before Zep took the stage at least an hour and a half…running late or something like that…but I understand that was more the norm. Before the show…lot of partying all around….seemed like there was not much security that I recall. People smoking up and passing around the reefer…. I counted at least a dozen times a joint was passed down our row…. it was the 70’s what can I say. All the trappings of the 70’s concert scene for sure… clothing, or lack thereof too!! The land of long hair, tight jeans, and no bras!! I remember one guy looking just like Plant, a virtual clone… you couldn’t tell them a part…

Back to the show…. Zep comes out about an hour or hour and a half late… Plant says “Good Evening Greensboro” and they launch into Song Remains the Same….really rock it up….. played the intro of the Rover and then went into Sick Again…great stuff, lots of stuff off of Physical Graffiti, some stuff off of Presence too. I remember Nobody’s Fault but Mine and Achilles….., don’t have the set list, although I’ve searched the Web for it, I couldn’t find anything. If anyone has it, would like to see.

lz19770531_03Did I mention the volume of this show? Damn. I mean damn was it loud!!! When Page was soloing during Dazed, he used this violin bow and it could have shredded the paint off the walls!!! My ears were hurting…hate to admit it, but I had to cover them during a part of that solo!! The visual stuff was good too….laser pyramid and such….. this was back in the 70’s but still pretty high tech for then. Another thing was when Page used this synthesizer thing like a moog or something during Whole Lotta Love…. made some really weird effects with that thing….pretty cool for back in the day…. by the way, I was working that summer and the next day, my hearing was shot all to hell. It took a couple of days to get back to hearing right again.

From the show, I would have to say Kashmir was excellent, Stairway, Ten Years Gone, No Quarter, Rock n Roll. I really liked the acoustic set too… a nice change of pace too. All in all, they played about 3 hours including the encore and Bonham’s drum solo in the middle. Speaking of the drum solo, Bonham’s drum set rotated outward and I think some people may have gotten hurt that were next to the stage….not sure about that though.

Other recollection…. some people on the upper deck had linked their belts together and were lowering themselves down to the lower level. Think one chain of these broke too. As I said, not a lot of security around that I remember.

That’s about it. Great show. One of the best ever been too. If you care to share, I would love to hear. It may even jog my memory!!! Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience 30 years ago tonight!!!

May 26, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Greensboro North Carolina May 31st 1977 | , | Leave a comment