January 8, 1975
Fastest Sell-Out in MSG History - Press Release
Official Press Release: SOLTERS/SABINSON/ROSKIN Inc.
January 8, 1975
LED ZEPPELIN SCORE KNOCKOUT AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: FASTEST SELLOUT OF THREE SHOWS IN THE ARENA'S HISTORY;
TICKETRON CALLED IN TO ASSIST AS SIZE OF CROWD STOPS BOXOFFICE SALE; NASSAU COLISEUM CONCERTS ALSO SOLD OUT; 100,000 TICKETS SOLD IN NEW YORK METROPOLITAN AREA
Led Zeppelin, the world's premier rock band, did it again this weekend, even to the amazement of the people responsible for the group's national tour, Swan Song Records and Jerry Weintraub.
Led Zeppelin sold out Madison Square Garden for three shows (February 3, 7 and 12) in the fastest time in the arena's history (36 hours), as well as the Nassau Coliseum for two shows (February 13 and 14), but that is only part of the story.
Madison Square Garden was besieged by fans as early as Friday night (January 3) even though the seats were not being put on sale until 10:00 a.m. Monday morning. They came in freezing weather, with sleeping bags and food, with the intention of camping out all weekend.
Due to the massive crowds, a decision was reached by Jerry Weintraub and Madison Square Garden official Joe Cohen to place the seats on sale late Saturday night rather than Monday morning as scheduled. More than 50,000 tickets were sold until Sunday afternoon when the crowd swelled to such mammoth proportions that the box office windows were broken and seat sales were suspended.
Weintraub, who remained on the scene much of the time, was forced to reverse his original plan to sell first come-first served seats at the windows. The remaining seats for the shows were placed on sale via Ticketron Monday morning (6).
Control at the Nassau Coliseum was maintained and seats for those shows were sold out Monday morning, soon after they were placed on sale via Ticketron.
Joe Cohen, Director of Development for Madison Square Garden, said that "this is the quickest three-show sellout that I can remember." Cohen has been with the Garden for more than five years and has been witness to the hall's most famous events, including the Concert for Bangladesh, the Bob Dylan tour and the four shows by the Who, all of which took longer to attain sellout status than the Zeppelin concerts.
Weintraub, who is known for his adeptness at handling mammoth promotional tours, was nonetheless surprised by the day's events. "I thought surely the system of sales for the concerts would work," Weintraub said. "I guess this time we underestimated the demand. Led Zeppelin's fans are the most loyal in the world, and they certainly rally en masse."
Weintraub had high praise for the staff of Madison Square Garden. Throughout the entire crisis, Joe Cohen, Tony Avalon and the staff at Madison Square Garden handled everyone with a great deal of professional skill. Weintraub was pleased by the fact that no one was hurt, there were no arrests, and, while the Garden personnel was caught short by the suddenness with which the crushing crowd formed, they managed to quickly regroup to control the swelling masses.
Danny Goldberg, vice president of Swan Song Records, had high praise for radio station WNEW-FM and their program director-radio personality, Dennis Elsas. "Dennis was tremendously helpful in issuing bulletins to the Zeppelin fans and in alerting those who had intentions of coming down to the Garden on Sunday that their efforts would be futile in light of developments at the box office."