Led Zeppelin History – Oct 25

Today in 1968 the boys played their first gig ever billed as Led Zeppelin, at Surrrey University in London. They had been previously playing as the New Yardbirds while fulfilling the Yardbirds’ remaining tour obligations in Scandinavia.

Jimmy Page: “At this point in 1968, I was living in my house in Pangbourne, West Berkshire. For some time prior to that, I had lived in Epsom in Surrey and I had attended a handful of chemistry lessons at night school back in the day. This show was a good chance to catch up with some of my old pals from Epsom.” 

Also today, in 1969, Zeppelin played the Boston Garden, their largest indoor audience so far (17,000) and largest fee so far ($45,000). Johnny Winter and MC5 opened the show.

Setlist: Included Good Times Bad Times, Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, White Summer, Black Mountain Side, Moby Dick, How Many More Times medley (incl. Lemon Song, Kansas City).

Review: Naragansett’s “Tribal Love-Rock Festival” of Oct 25th attracted a typical Boston Tea Party crowd, with a hardly subtle difference in order of magnitude. The Led Zeppelin propelled itself onto the Boston Garden stage to confront sixteen housand colourfully-attired high school and college aboriginals – a total of thirty-two thousand dilated pupils, all eagerly trained upon the massive loth-fronted bank of amplifiers that was ‘to produce the capper of an evening of northern-fried schmaltz rock and mini-riots.

They sped rather rapidly through their early material in group effort, combining “Communication Breakdown” and “Good Times, Bad Times” into a medley. At this point, group feeling began to flag, and the spotlight turned mainly to Page, although towards the end of the performance Plant (lead vocal) began to play vocal catch with Page’s riffs.

The Zeppelin performance really had two climaxes, one of them faultless. The first was Page’s rendition of “White Summer”, a very lengthy medley of both Zeppelin and Johnny Winters-like patterns, connected at times rather faultily with semi-classical phrases. The second climax was the well-deserved solo of Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, who contrived to enrapture the audience with rhythm while entirely avoiding any imitation of Baker’s “Toad”, which is no small feat of willpower. – G.Berk, October 1969

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