April 16, 1970
Evansville, IN US
Includes: We're Gonna Groove, Dazed and Confused, Heartbreaker, Bring It On Home, White Summer / Black Mountainside, Since I've Been Loving You, Organ solo / Thank You, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love.
News Report: Rock Group Fans Get Over-Turned On
The lead singer of Led Zeppelin is a lean, young man with thick shoulder-length hair named Robert Plant. His cool handling of a frenzied audience last night at Roberts Stadium prevented the British acid-rock group’s concert from turning into a riot.
The 3,400 fans, mostly high school students, had taken most of the evening to come alive, but in the last 30 minutes of the two-hour concert, many left their seats and pushed toward the stage area. A few wanted to jump up on the stage with Led Zeppelin and dance. The 20 security guards assigned to the event tried in vain to hold back the enthusiastic youths who were pulsating with the heavy rock beat.
On the main floor, everyone was on his feet and those in the back were standing on chairs to get a better view of the hard-working, turned-on performers. The crowd was grooving to the music – clapping, shaking their heads and bodies and rhythmically flashing peace signs with the fingers at Led Zeppelin.
As the crowd surged forward, civil defense officers jumped up on the stage to avoid being crushed. When one of them drew his night stick and waved it threateningly at the audience, it made the crowd even more excited.
At that point lead singer Plant, recognizing a potentially dangerous situation, told his audience: “Easy, easy – you stay where you are and we’ll all have a good time. Let’s show the police everything can stay cool.”
The officers were then asked to leave the stage amidst cheers from the audience and Led Zeppelin resumed its acid-rock beat. By this time, the audience was wild and it was easy to imagine the feeling at rock festivals since the performers and audience were communicating so beautifully.
As Led Zeppelin ended the concert and the exhausted foursome left the stage, they were brought back by cries of “more, more” for an encore and the song most of the crowd waited all evening to hear. The crowd recognizing the first few bars of “Whole Lotta Love”, just broke loose.
The last 30 minutes saved the show from being just another expensive rock concert. People left with the feeling that they really got their money’s worth. Two untidy events of the night were the arrest of an 18-year-old for drunkenness and a request for extra police patrol cars to prevent youths from sneaking into the stadium.
A bright spot in the evening was drummer John Bonham’s solo which lasted 20 minutes, allowing the other members of Led Zeppelin to take a break. Bonham’s great beat brought him a standing ovation and wild cheers – it was at this point half-way through the evening that the audience began warming up.
Jimmy Page played his electric guitar with a violin bow, creating some eerie sounds and John Paul Jones was featured in a well-received organ solo.
Although Led Zeppelin fans were spared listening to a warm-up group or an intermission, they still had to wait 30 minutes past the announced starting time for the beginning only to have sound equipment failure early in the show. -Elen Soo Hoo.