Led Zeppelin History – June 28

Today in 1970 Led Zeppelin again played the Bath Festival of Blues in England (they had played there the previous year, to a much smaller crowd). It featured a lineup of the top American west coast and British bands of the day, including Santana, The Flock, Hot Tuna, Country Joe McDonald, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, The Moody Blues, Dr. John, Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, Johnny Winter, John Mayall, Pink Floyd, and Fairport Convention. The festival started at mid-day on a Saturday and finished at about 6:30 a.m. the following Monday morning, and about 150,000 fans turned out (as compared to about 12,000 the previous year).

Zeppelin accepted an offer of $30,000 to play the festival, turning down $250,000 to play gigs in Boston and New Haven that same weekend. Why? Because they wanted the same acceptance in England that they were getting here in the U.S. Until that point their success and popularity had largely been only in America; they had been chastised and virtually ignored at home. So they took the stage at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, as the sun was setting, and played for three hours and performed five encores. The performance is widely considered by music critics and members of the band themselves to be one of their most important. It proved to be their breakthrough at home, and afterwards they were accepted in England as a major band in the same league as The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and The Who.

Setlist: Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, Bring It On Home, Since I’ve Been Loving You, organ solo, Thank You, That’s The Way, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times (medley incl. Long Distance Call, Honey Bee, Need Your Love Tonight, That’s Alright Mama), Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Long Tall Sally, Say Mama, Johnny B. Goode.

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