January 19, 1969
Detroit, MI US
Includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, Killing Floor, White Summer / Black Mountainside, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown.
Press Review: Grande Ballroom - Jan. 19, 1969
It was a Sunday night at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom and the last set the Zeppelin would play there. Almost everyone of musical importance in the city was in attendance (MC-5, Amboy Dukes, SRC, various DJs etc.) We were all expecting something really tremendous to happen and the anticipation was building through Linn County’s mediocre (opening) set.
Four British musicians came quietly onto the stage and began their set. The group consists of Jimmy Page, lead; John Paul Jones, bass; John Bonham, drums; and Robert Plant, vocals and harmonica.
Jimmy came on in an exquisite red satin suit and began his expert lead. He was one of the Yardbirds and has played sessions and arranged for Donovan and the Stones, among others. As before stated, the group was originally his idea, although he doesn’t want to be considered the leader. His ultimate purpose was to establish a group of four excellent musicians, each an equally integral part of the whole.
When the first tune was over (Train Kept a Rollin’), there wasn’t much reaction. As they went through I Can’t Quit You Baby, we could sense something lacking. The next one took our minds off the playing, though Jimmy Page’s use of the bow on his guitar. The sound was weird and mind-bending and yet somehow marvelously controlled.
During Killing Floor, the real problem became evident. Each member of the group was on a separate riff, not at all together. At times, Jimmy’s guitar and Robert’s voice blended beautifully enabling the music to really communicate, but other than that, they were playing different things simultaneously.
Jimmy later played a solo, White Summer, after a change of guitars. It was melodious and resembled sitar playing at points, but was in no way as spectacular or complicated as made to look.
A great favorite of mine, Communication Breakdown, didn’t nearly equal the quality of the album. After hearing the album, I was even further disappointed in the Zeppelin’s performance. The album is together and far superior to their live performance.
The set finished, but the lights were turned back off and they played one last slow bluesy number that was finally together.
My interview followed in the Grande’s office. They’ve been together three months and have gone through quite a bit.
After three weeks, the LP was cut. It was very rushed but the Zeppelin feel it was as good as could be expected. I hope better, from their performance. The Zeppelin contend that their Saturday’s set was far superior to Sunday’s set, and consider their Frisco gig to be their best so far.
As for direction, they will continue in their hard rock back and intend to use more acoustic guitar. They feel freedom to move in any direction. They got together and their music “just happens”.
Even though they didn’t turn me on, I feel that their abilities make them capable of becoming a major force on the rock scene. If they do succeed in getting it together, there is yet a good chance that 1969 will invariably be the “year of the Zeppelin”. (Creem / Pat Brent / Mar. 1969)