Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Liverpool, November 29th 1971

untitledFrom Underground Uprising,

Six of us fifth formers had queued for tickets one Saturday morning a few weeks prior to the concert. Tickets were £1 each which was unprecedented at the time for the venue. The going rate was 70p for the likes of Mott the Hoople and and Free and I remember Black Sabbath being 60p. So there was bit of “A quid and no support band ? Who do they think they are ?”.

The ticket was a big postcard sized affair in amber card with the “Electric Magic” picture in black and the date of the show. Wish I still had it ! Liverpool Stadium was a boxing and wrestling venue which had begun promoting rock shows again and successfully competed with Liverpool Empire and Liverpool University for a few years.

Nearly all the big tours of ’71, ’72 and ’73 went to the Stadium. As it was a boxing venue, the amps was set up on the ring itself which was in the middle although bands did not play “in the round” as they call it today. The audience were all gathered facing one side of the ring with a bit of spillage to each side.

Although we had the albums, such was Zep’s deliberately developed mystique that we didn’t really know much about the band. Before the band came on, Jimmy Husband the Everton forward, sat in front of us which impressed us as much as the anticipated show. We remembered he had said he liked to listen to Led Zeppelin in the Everton match programme one time. We were not used to watching a band without a support act and although scheduled for 7.30, it was running a bit late.

Suddenly the lights went out and BAM! the riff for “Immigrant Song” blasted out at massive volume as the lights came on again revealing Plant screaming away centre stage with the rest of the band behind him. Page was bearded and wearing the same “Zoso” maroon pullover that he wore at Wembley. As “Immigrant Song” ended abruptly they tore straight into “Heartbreaker”.

We just all looked at each other for a fleeting moment before rising as one and tearing down the aisle to the front of the stage and joining a mass of flailing heads. After the “hot” numbers, Page Plant and Jones sat down at the front of the stage and everyone sat on the floor for an acoustic interlude which included “That’s the Way” and “Going to California” before everybody got up again for “Bro-Yr-Aur Stomp”.

Bonham had joined the other three for this one with a stand-up percussion stick of the type used in Morris dancing. At one point Plant went into his rambling introduction mode and said they had played Wembley recently which was a boarded over ice rink and he had caught a cold because of it. Acoustic set over, they played a long “Dazed and Confused” with Page using his violin bow and “What is and What Should Never Be” before launching into Whole Lotta Love.

They had been on stage well over two hours by then and some of us had to leave during the Elvis songs to catch the last train home. That evening they also played “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll” and “Stairway to Heaven” but I’m not sure if they were before or after the acoustic set.

I went out the next weekend and bought the “Going to California” double bootleg on blue vinyl from Virgin Records (Richard Branson sold bootlegs openly in those days). Again, I wish I still had it ! Liverpool Stadium was quite strict on bootlegging and I cannot recall ever seeing anyone taping a concert there. As far as I know, no boots of this show exist.

Tim Hardman.

June 2, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Liverpool November 29th 1971 | , | Leave a comment