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Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Philadelphia, 8th February 1975 (2nd review)

toynfo_creem0275From underground uprising

I was in grade school when I first heard Led Zeppelin. It was 1970. My family felt I was too young to go to a concert. Knowing your favorite band was in town,and you were not going to attend, did nothing more then create a hole inside that could never be filled.

Until 1975. Tickets, as usual, were impossible to get. Then through my brother-in-laws’ sister-in-law’s mother I received three tickets she was able to purchase as an employee of the Philadelphia Spectrum. This was Philadelphia’s ” House Of The Holy” where we saw all our favourite rock bands. The date was February 8th,1975. Cold, wintery weather which went unnoticed. All that mattered was in a little while I would be seeing a dream come true that started 5 years earlier. Back in the day, I had little information on setlists, bootlegs and the kind of details the internet provides fans today. Most info was word of mouth or what the local DJ could squeeze in between songs.

I was hoping to hear “Over The Hills And Far Away”, “No Quarter,” and of course “Stairway To Heaven”. Imagine hearing what you wanted and also being treated to new songs from an album to be released later that month! It was hard to understand what Robert Plant spoke of with that heavy English accent, but the music sent a clear cut message. Led Zeppelin was here to stay ! There was no “warming up” to the new Physical Graffiti material. It rocked everyone immediately. It is still one of my favourit Led Zeppelin albums today. They performed “Sick Again”, “In My Time Of Dying”, ” Kashmir” and “Trampled Underfoot”.

One word describes this show for me: energy! From the first notes to the last, it was non stop, in your face, rock and roll. The crowd swayed in front of the stage like a “wave” in the ocean just like Robert Plant described what he sees from the stage. At one point during “The Song Remains The Same”, there was an ugly incident when a fan (with the aide of the crowd) tried to get up on the stage. Just as he was about to get on, a security guard grabbed him, pulled him to the ground and proceeded to beat him terribly.

Robert saw this, looked at Jimmy, who nodded his disapproval of the security guards’ actions. Robert went over to the front of the stage, threw the microphone down and “popped” the guard in the head and brought it back to him in one big swoop. I never saw anything like it. The security guard stopped beating the kid and he was ushered off, probably just to be escorted out. What a shame. All he wanted to do is what we all wanted to do: be part of the show. Jimmy actually described some of this incident in an interview with William Burroughs for Crawdaddy magazine back in 1975. Jimmy stated if he wasn’t wearing his double neck at the time he would have hit the guard over the head with it. The energy didn’t stop there. During the show, I looked around and experienced something I never quite felt as strongly as I did this night. Looking over the crowd, you could almost see the energy.

Something was there. It was almost as if the gods themselves hovered over the crowd to catch a glimpse of these legendary rockers. At first I thought my imagination was getting the best of me or maybe the cloud of cannabis swirling around, but Jimmy talked about this in the same article. He felt it too. If you ever have the chance to get this issue, please do. A very candid glimpse into what the boys are thinking. Truly ascending the Stairway.

Well the night roared on. Dazed and Confused was chaotic! Robert running all over the place. Looked like a roaring lion! During Jimmy’s bow section, Robert was laying, legs crossed, on top of John Paul Jones’ piano. He added the eerie moans and howls that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! It was a dark and mysterious stage. The song was a show in itself and left you exasperated by the end. It was one of the first nights Jimmy brought it back into the set.

lz19750208_01Earlier in the tour he had “How Many More Times” in its place due to him injuring his ring finger on his left hand in a train door. I am glad I had the chance to see this. It was the last tour it was played on. I still have a photo from a friend where you can see Jimmy’s black nail bed where he hurt his finger. I am surprised he could play at all! Everyone was in good form. John Paul Jones and John Bonham truly provide the backbone of the band. The interplay between Jimmy and John Bonham was incredible. John was pure emotion.

We were also treated to a rare encore for 75. Heartbreaker! Never quite heard it the same since and this topped off the evening. When Led Zeppelin left, you felt fufilled. I truly couldn’t ask for anything more. These fours guys gave it everything they had. Its funny, when they left the stage, roadies wrapped the boys up in red robes so they would not get sick. They were drenched from sweat. I remember thinking how they all looked like victorious prize fighters who had just won the match. I can tell you one thing. Led Zeppelin won that night. It was a knockout!

Philly Jack

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Philadelphia 8th February 1975 (2nd review) | , | Leave a comment