March 21, 1970
Vancouver - Press Conference
The Led Zeppelin lands in Vancouver
by Michael Bennett | Canadian Staff Writer
The news conference to kick off Led Zeppelin's North American tour started like any other—the hors d'oeuvres were tasty, the coffee lukewarm and singer Robert Plant, lead guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham and bass guitarist, John Paul Jones were 20 minutes late.
But from the moment they arrived and CBC Vancouver television crews spotted assorted reporters and disc jockeys on the floor for atmosphere, it was something else.
For openers, an attractive girl with a wealth of background information of the English rock group mistook Plant for Page. Plant let her finish her question about their filming session at Albert Hall in London, then said:
"It's no good addressing me as Jimmy. I'm Robert." Standing up. he yelled, "Give the lady a hand." while his embarrassed questioner blushed as Plant blew kisses and winked at her.
It wasn't that they needed media exposure. Their second album, Led Zeppelin II, was outselling the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and their month-long tour would gross about $650,000.
The Zeppelin is an electric, electrifying group built around Plant—who screams in three octaves—and charged by the excitement it generates for the audience.
Plant says he's a product of English blues of the 1960's. but "I don't profess to be a blues singer."
"Blues isn't white or black or yellow.
"It's a single person's interpretation of emotion. He could be singing about his '68 Cadillac ... it could be a lot of mumbo-jumbo.
"If we have an influence — classical or otherwise — it's not an intentional one.
"The music we give through an audience ... it's something that comes from the subconscious. With the pace we work at. we don't have time to play favorite pieces."
While Bonham and Jones tried not to look bored. Page and Plant fielded questions for an hour of the use of acoustic guitar on stage, the filming of a concert in Albert Hall for a possible television documentary and the difference between fan reaction in North America and Europe.
"It's really a matter of the size of the venues." said Page. "Albert Hall, the biggest in England, has a 5,000 capacity. Here we've drawn what... 19,000".
"A good audience anywhere will sit down, critically listen and get loose." said Plant. "They don't worry about: 'Oh. Fred next to me isn't raving...."
"On our last tour, one guy was on a different plane. "He insisted on taking off his clothes and dancing with me and he kept diving into John's gong. That's all right as long as he's not hurting himself or anyone else"