Today in 1969 Zeppelin played the first of four nights at the Boston Tea Party, a little club on Berkeley St in Boston. Opening act was The Raven. This included a legendary 4-hour show that signaled the first real wave of Zeppelin hysteria in the U.S.
Though Zeppelin had already played 20 dates in the U.S., these shows would become legendary, as this is where they REALLY broke into the live improvisation that made them famous. It was during the last show, on Jan 26 (not shown on the poster, as it was added later), that Zeppelin secured themselves a place in rock and roll history. That night they played for over four and a half hours – their longest show ever – on only one album’s worth of material. This show also saw the birth of “head-banging” which is explained below by bassist John Paul Jones:
“As far as I’m concerned, the key Led Zeppelin gig – the one that put everything into focus – was one that we played on our first American tour at The Boston Tea Party. We’d played our usual one-hour set, using all the material from our first album and Page’s “White Summer” guitar piece and, by the end, the audience just wouldn’t let us off the stage. It was in such a state that we had to start throwing ideas around – just thinking of songs that we all might know or some of us knew a part of, and work it from there. So we go back on and play things like “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Please Please Me” – old Beatles favorites. I mean, just anything that would come into our head, and the response was quite amazing.”
“There were kids actually banging their heads against the stage – I’ve never seen that at a gig before or since, and when we finally left the stage we’d played for four and a half hours. Peter (Grant, Zep’s manager) was absolutely ecstatic. He was crying and hugging us all; you know… with this huge grizzly bear hug. I suppose it was then that we realized just what Led Zeppelin was going to become.”
Train Kept A-Rollin, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Killing Floor (incl. The Lemon Song), Dazed And Confused (incl. Shapes Of Things), You Shook Me, Communication Breakdown, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Pat’s Delight (A Bonham solo that would later be extended and become Moby Dick on Led Zeppelin II), How Many More Times (incl. Duke Of Earl – Kisses Sweeter Than Wine – For Your Love – Over Under Sideways Down), Long Tall Sally, Something Else, C’mon Everybody, I Saw Her Standing There, Please Please Me, Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B. Goode.