Houston 1971 (16mm film)

Sam Houston Coliseum - August 26, 1971

Clips of Led Zeppelin live in Houston 1971. (16mm film)


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this show is something I think about often to this day

Hi Zep fans,

I was about to turn 15 years old and enter the 10th grade at Waltrip HS. This was a show everybody went to that had any sort of understanding of what was cool with regards to music.

I bought my first zep albums along side the Beatles Abbey Road at Foley's Northwest Mall location. To get my tickets for this show I rode my Schwinn Stingray to a building downtown where tix were sold, rode the elevator up to a small office and bought my single ticket on the floor. I knew it didn't matter what seat as long as it was the floor so I could move forward and sit closer in the aisle.

No preliminary bands came out just Zeppelin and I don't remember having to wait a long time although they did postpone the show one day for what turned out to be something to do with Robert Plant having a throat issue (Laryngitis I think). I've read on many fan sites that the show was originally slated to be at Hofheinz (Pavilion) but that is not correct and certainly easy to verify because the original tickets said Sam Houston Coliseum or as we knew it just plain "Colloseum".

The show itself was totally outrageous and over the top because about mid-concert fans began to gently push the person in front of them up onto the stage resulting in two or three rows of fans watching the show in a kneeling position just in front of the band. The stage was only chest high and no one got hurt. I would gladly pay big bucks for a photo taken from behind the band of this spectacle because I was one of the kids on the stage. I've made half hearted attempts for photos with no luck.

They opening with Immigrant Song and simply crushed as with other songs for over three hours including three encores. FM radio was becoming the big thing and I remember this new expression "heavy" being used to describe Led Zeppelin on FM (KRBE, KFMK, KLOL). Yes they were indeed "heavy" at that concert but another word comes to mind and that's "serious". They knew what they were doing up there and the sound engineer did amazing things controlling what channel's drove the sound.

With all the joints being passed around and me being so young along with the music itself I was completely overwhelmed from the experience. I've read reviews of a lot of the other shows and one review seems similar and it's a Vancouver show in '70 and people made moves up onto the stage much like Houston '71.

We were pushed up during three songs and pushed back off due to the fire marshall and finally asked (regretfully) not to not do it again (by Robert Plant). I don't recall ever being in danger and it was never a riot or anything bad.

The only news media I remember mentioning how good that particular show was was "Space City News" but they also complained about lack of crowd control.

I hope you liked my drive down memory land.


Rick Kent
Austin, TX