Average: 4.5 (36 votes)

February 2, 1969

Toronto, ON CA

The Rock Pile

Setlist:

1st set features: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, Killing Floor, How Many More Times (medley incl. Fever, Money).

Notes:

A packed house of 1,200 fans awaits Zeppelin's first Toronto appearance, where they would perform 2 sets. Music writer Ritchie Yorke m.c.'s the show.

Review: Led Zeppelin: Fast Becoming Cream of the Crop

Of all the memorable things which happened during Toronto’s two heavy shows last night (Led Zeppelin at the Rock Pile and the Turtles and Iron Butterfly at Massey Hall), one visual image easily stood out.

It was the sight of Led Zeppelin’s hero-worshipped lead guitarist, Jimmy Page – resplendent in avocado velvet suit, bent over as if in agony to the audience, his fingers working like a touch typist’s, his foot thumping like a kangaroo’s tail, the sounds as clear and as piercing as a bedside phone in the stillness of 3 a.m.

Above all else and there were highlights aplenty, it was Page’s night. He arrived in Toronto, without a record on the market but with a reputation that long ago preceded him.

Several critics, myself included, had suggested Led Zeppelin just might be the next so-called super-group, the likes of Cream and Hendrix. Advance airplay and reviews of the debut Led Zeppelin album (to be issued on Atlantic shortly) brought over 1,200 people to the Rock Pile. They expected a lot, and few were disappointed. Considering the group was only formed a few months back, it’s remarkably tight and together.

Led Zeppelin is not Cream, nor will it fill the spot left behind by Cream. Nobody will. But the Zeppelin outfit has a thing going of its own and there’s little doubt that thing is going to be very successful.

Page came off as the finest group guitarist to emerge since Clapton. Already, he is way above Jeff Beck, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. His spotlighted work, including riffs with the violin bow, was executed expertly, without pomp or pretension.

Singer Plant is from the English blues school – hard, angry, defiant, gutsy. He could well develop into tone of the big name group singers of the year. (R. Yorke / G&M ‘Pop Scene’, Feb. '69)

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Submit your personal review of a particular show you attended, updates, corrections, etc., which will be considered for addition to the official online archive.You may also contact the webmaster at: webmaster@ledzeppelin.com

Nomenclature & revised history of the "Rock Pile"

The "Rock Pile" was not the first nor the final music-venue name for this historic building, which was originally called the Masonic Temple, built in 1917 for the Toronto chapter of the Freemasons.

This Lodge/Temple was home to a plethora of Masonic bodies in the '20's, '30's, 40's and early '50's - myriad Craft Lodges, York Rites, Knights Templar, Scottish Rite Bodies and Adoniram Councils. In the 1950's the building was repurposed and renamed "Club 888" (its postal address is 888 Yonge Street).

Club 888 hosted many rock 'n roll stars of the 1950's and early 1960's. With the advent of heavier rock 'n roll, the venue became the "Rock Pile" in 1968, if only for a but few years... then assuming is final musical incarnation as the "Concert Hall" before finally losing its iconic status as a "destination" music venue.

I was at the iconic 02/02/69 show with my sister - on a whim we went downtown to see if there were any tickets left, No luck, but both of us snuck in! LOL. What a performance! And with barely 1300 folks in the audience, it felt like a private concert like no other.