August 14, 1969
Austin, TX US
Includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer / Black Mountain side, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Your Time is Gonna Come, Communication Breakdown.
According to D. Hankins, member of opening act "Flash", JPJ borrowed their Hammond B3 organ for a rare performance of Your Time Is Gonna Come.
Press Review: Lightning Blues – Led Zeppelin Outwail Joplin
The roof is still on Municipal Auditorium… I think. When part of a usually conservative local audience moved down into the aisles Thursday night for a closer look at Led Zeppelin, I wondered. It might have been the irony of Communication Breakdown or the musicians’ controlled frenzy that gave the happening its love-in atmosphere.
But the rock-soul Zeppelin could have led the audience like lemmings into the ocean. Applause resounded for a virtuoso guitarist and a Joplinesque lead singer.
Wide eyes gleamed, people swayed. They filled in those cement gaps between the seat sections. Suddenly, it seemed like we were all huddled close together on a hillside watching a pop festival. Naturalness and pleasantness prevailed.
Seldom do rock musicians let loose in every direction while maintaining undisputed authority over their vibrations. Their playing was relaxed, yet wild – a carefully executed, most exacting frenzy. Rising, falling, the four Englishmen were a threat of violence at every measure. Rarely heard vibrations, uncommonly original musicianship came in pulsating waves rather than freak strays.
Former Yardbird Jimmy Page (lead guitar) held his group together. A virtuoso himself, he yielded part of the spotlight to newcomer Robert Plant.
In Plant, Janis Joplin has found a male counterpart with twice the voltage. He sings like every cell in his slim body is crying to fly out and dissolve him into the atmosphere.
Gut-stirring soul, Charisma and something more. Most of that applause meant respect. At a rock concert? Yes. Anytime an ‘artist’ turns himself inside out for a performance. Plant poured all his energy into singing – enjoying, feeling a minute’s worth into each second. He even whipped across the stage swaying with the music.
That Hendrix art of matching whining vocal with guitar added depth to an already memorable performance. For the electric soul of Dazed & Confused, Page eased and banged a violin bow across his guitar strings, producing some of the most dynamic wave frequencies imaginable. Sounding like a berserk computer, Page played his new instrument as if a guitar naturally belonged with a violin bow.
‘White Summer’ spotlighted Page. It’s a guitar ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ with contrasting slow-fast-slow movements to tax any excellent musician and showcase a superior one like Page.
You got the feeling you really had when Plant ground up You Shook Me. He broke through the Joplin caricature with his dynamic style. Slow, childlike echoes of “Mama, mama”, softened rasping ceiling breakers at unexpected points.
Then supposedly their last song, a fast driving scream featuring the drummer playing with his hands and a gong. The crowd wouldn’t let go of this originality. As an encore, Communication Breakdown was anything but a breakdown. Few would have disputed a claim that Led Zeppelin was plugged into the same sockets as their instruments. Or that Led Zeppelin is one of the most exciting groups of this or any year. [C.Wynne / August 1969]