Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Montreal June 1972 and February 1975, Pontiac Michigan April 1977 & Madison Square Garden June 1977
Montreal Forum June 7 ’72
Montreal Forum Feb. 6 ’75
Pontiac, Michigan Silverdome April 30 ’77
NYC, Madison Square Garden June 11 ’77
Montreal Forum June 7 ’72
30 years ago. Been a long time since I ….. don’t recall a heck of a lot. During Black Dog Plant drove the last word in the verses lower. For one of the songs, a roadie carried a opened guitar case to Jimmy (rather like presenting a sword on a pillow to a king) and he took out a black Les Paul. I forget the song they played. The reason I bring this up is, for years I thought this was the ax that got nicked on tour, however when I looked in Richard Cole’s book for a positive I.D. i.e. “It’s the old black one,” Henry said.” The Les Paul that Keith Richard gave him” ( First page chapter 19).
It turns out that it was stolen two years earlier … according to Mr. Cole. Did Richard Cole get the date wrong? or did I see a replacement ax? I have never seen a post ’72 photo of Jimmy with that ax. I was only 14 years old. I think Richard was slightly more bent than I. No tunes from Houses yet. An acoustic set. Organ solo into Thank you for one of the encores.
I had no bootleg experience at this point, so I was lost with no reference points to compare against. I just remember thinking, don’t they listen to their albums? They’re making it up as they go along! Another funny thing, Plant kept telling everyone to be quiet, then later in Osaka Japan on a bootleg he tells the crowd “you are too quiet, too silly, and fast asleep”. Man, it’s dizzy at the top, eh Robert? Light show? There wasn’t one to speak of, so I’ll type. 2 light stacks (at the front corners, I don’t recall 2 more at the back?) 4 horizontal ribs that’s it! I liked Robert’s jeans so much, that the next day I bought a pair of mauve jeans and sewed four two inch bands around the right leg, two purple, one around the lower thigh, one just above the knee, one yellow one at the bottom of the knee-cap, and the last purple one just below. And of course a patch, where else.. but the crotch.
Montreal Forum Feb. 6 ’75 Plant has half a voice due to the flu.
I had moved to the Toronto area in ’73 relocating from Montreal where I first saw Zep. And so it was, the tour bus package, the pilgrimage by Zeppelin maniacs to a musical Mecca. A Zeppelin gig (and I don’t mean hard drive size:).
We had been dropped off at the wrong location to catch the buses, so we had to walk several miles, and didn’t have much time. We did it! Someone on our bus recorded the show, and on the return trip he taped (electrical) the bus P.A. handset to the tape recorder and replayed the show until the batteries died. The running order of the bootleg (vinyl) that I have of the show is as follows:
Rock And Roll / Sick Again / Over The Hills / In My Time Of Dying / The Song Remains The Same / The Rain Song / Kashmir / Trampled Underfoot / Dazed And Confused / Stairway To Heaven / Whole Lotta Love / Black Dog Heartbreaker
What’s missing is No Quarter after Kashmir, Moby Dick after Trampled Underfoot, and The Lemon Song. I think it was the second encore between WLL/Black Dog and Heartbreaker, but I couldn’t say for sure. But what I could say for sure is that it was the second album version of The Lemon Song. The only time I have heard it played that way, but then again I only have about 20 bootlegs. Also, Percy grabbed his “area” during this tune. I always wondered where Michael Jackson got that move from!
I remember thinking wow what a great show, and it was. However when the bootleg came out, in comparison to the West Coast and/or American gigs, it seemed a little tame. Tight but crisp. Not much spontaneous experimentation going on here, no playing on the edge. Great show, not a lot of magic. They took the night off. Oh well… Zeppelin on six cylinders sounds better than most bands on eight! Physical Graffiti had been postponed a few times so we hadn’t heard the new material yet. Zeppelin was mind blowing, even when you knew what was coming, but with the element of surprise this new material was mind numbingly awesome. Kashmir? Hammer of the Gods stuff. It squashed us. When Kashmir ended you heard 18,500 people say in amazement and in unison…HOLY FUCK!
After the first two tunes, Plant spoke, “Good evening Montreal, bonjour. We’ve been together now for seven years and tonight we are going to give you, what is, a cross-section of our work”. (Well almost Percy. No acoustic tunes. No tunes from the third album) “You’ve heard the first song before but the last song, Sick Again is from the new album. We’re going to do one you know, Over The Hills And Far Away and then a new one In My Time of Dying”. The intro for Kashmir went something like ” sweeter than Moroccan, more expensive than Red Lebanese” Light show? First year with Showco, absolutely winning presentation. Laser lights were the new gimmick of the day and every band over used them, hundreds of them. Zeppelin used three lasers during Dazed, that’s it. Less is more I guess.
Over The Hills And far Away solo on the twelve string. So that’s why it sounds so weird on bootlegs! Great Plant yell in Black Dog. The sound of the Dan Electro during Kashmir, a unique wafting ringing quality about it. Live that is. For me, anyway, Kashmir never really translated well to bootlegs. You simply could not capture the magic of that song live. When Zep took to the stage for one of the encores Jonesy did the Ministry Of silly walks to his station, Plant raced across the stage with a broom between his legs ( flying witch ) and turned around just in time to see Page trip on the top step. Plant laughs, points at Page, looks at the crowd, like you are the only one with them in their living room, and says “Did you see that?”
Well, what a show. I had logged many hours listening to bootlegs since the ’72 show so this show I could deeply appreciate. Three and a half hours long as usual. Zeppelin was the only band I saw where you got a sore ass, and for ninety minutes, kept saying to myself “This has got to be the last song” but of course they hadn’t played their ‘hits’ yet!
When I saw Page/Plant ( and I know that isn’t Zep) it struck me that the best thing about those Zep gigs, may have been the pair of nineteen year old eyes I was seeing them with. Let the music be your master”.
Pontiac Mich. Silverdome April 30 ’77
And so it was, my second tour bus package. From Toronto to Pontiac approx.260 miles. A pilgrimage to be in the same time and space as Zeppelin. “To sit with elders of a different race”. I still wasn’t sure if these guys were human! We are on the buses, ready to go. First order of business, a representative of the bus lines laying down the law, setting out the ground rules. This is so and so, your driver. He is the boss. What he says, goes. There will be one scheduled stop each way and no more. Our first order of business, eight minutes down the road however was libation. First stop the L.L.B.O. (Liquor License Board Of Ontario). Everyone stocked up. Everyone tipped the driver with a pint or two of beer or a small bottle of liquor. Very quickly it was difficult to negotiate past the driver as the mounting pyramid of alcohol made for quite the obstacle course. You had to drink your way around him!( with drink plc you should have been there). All manor of substance was on that bus. All levels of abuse. Some wouldn’t or couldn’t pace themselves. “There you sit, sitting spare, like a book on a shelf, rustin’ ” ( or throwing up on the bus or at the show as the case may be). The silly party.
The set list. Song/sick again. Nobody’s fault . I remember Plant very nearly blew his harp a verse early, he had it to his lips then pulled it back in the nick of time. Since I’ve Been loving You. Introduced as ” English blues”. In My Time Of Dying Introduced as ” American blues”. The violin bow / Lucifer’s Rising (Kenneth Anger thing) that later evolved into the beginning of In The Evening. I believe that took us into Achilles Last Stand. Then White Summer / Black Mountain side / Kashmir. Ten Years Gone. The acoustic set. Battle… after which Plant laughed, and said “What a disaster” referring to Jonesy’s vocal abilities, or lack there of. And he was right! California. Black Country / Stomp. Trampled. No Quarter. Moby Dick. Rock And roll .Whole Lotta Love. I know the last five songs are out of order somehow. I just can’t remember. During one of the guitar changes in the acoustic set, Page handed the roadie the ax by turning the body towards the roadie. Now the machine head is close to Page’s head. The roadie reaches out to grab the ax by the neck, but turns away as he does so. He’s not really looking at Jimmy as he tries to walk away with the guitar. The machine head becomes entangled in Jimmy’s hair, and the roadie nearly pulled Page off his stool by his hair.
The sound at this show was very different from song to song. Since I’ve Been Loving You not so good or the acoustic stuff. Rock And roll … I didn’t hear the solo. The rest was very good as usual. What a huge barn.76,000 people. The giant close circuit screen saved the day. It’s in the Guinness book of World Records that gig! Single act! Jonesy played his three necked guitar for Ten Years. I mention this because, six weeks later in N.Y.C. I see he’s playing Ten Years on the keyboards. Key of what ? There’s gotta be something lying around here I can play. A working musician who starts a band, as opposed to being labelled a musician because you are in a rock band. Big difference! Also they changed the set list by three songs in N.Y.C. ’75 Page’s black out fit, very dark feeling to the show.’77 white outfit, bright ,wholesome. I remember thinking what a tremendous difference in mood or feel of the shows simply due to colours that Page was wearing. Strange, but I did notice it right away and it was not subtle. May have been the bus ride.
I envied those who lived in N.Y.C. or L.A. To see Zep seven times in a ten day period, that would have been bliss. I always got the feeling that Zep used Canadian gigs to recuperate from or rest up for the American shows. Their mad lifestyles on the road seemed to bleed into the performances. The Canadian date bootlegs aren’t as bloody. The top twenty Zep shows don’t have a Canadian date among them. All the whining Plant did about U.S.A. Capitalism. The states kissed off The British Empire. Canada was a member the commonwealth at the time. You would have thought that that was worth something. American currency talking, Zep listening.” I live for my dreams and a pocketful of gold”. They deserved it. Can’t blame them. “It must be a race, it’s a total disgrace, and the best thing I can do is run “. I thought I had Ledify Zeppelinitus bad, but to run a website for over twenty years, you gents must have a particularly wicked viral strain.