Average: 4.5 (26 votes)

July 5, 1969

Hampton, GA US

Atlanta International Raceway (Atlanta Pop Festival)

Setlist:

set includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, White Summer ~ Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

Notes:

Zeppelin return to America and play in front of their largest audiences yet.

The first Atlanta International Pop Festival was held more than a month before Woodstock. It was organized by Alex Cooley, who later went on to organize the Texas International Pop Festival. The crowd numbered in the high tens of thousands, perhaps close to one hundred thousand. With temperatures nearing a hundred degrees, local fire departments used fire hoses to create "sprinklers" for the crowd to play in and cool off. It was a peaceful, energetic, hot and loud festival with few (if any) problems other than heat related. 

Press ReviewAtlanta Pop - Greatest Musical Fair Ever

Approximately 120,000 hip people trekked to the Atlanta Raceway last weekend for the Atlanta International Pop Festival, for two days of solid sounds, sweat, and suffering.  Billed as the greatest musical fair ever, it lived up to expectations though, what with top groups like Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Canned Heat plus super-rock-stars as Janis Joplin and Al Kooper.

Performing in near 100 musicians managed to satiate the multi-crowd. However, despite the free camping and watermelons, facilities were almost nonexistent. Freaks were bathing in murky lakes, sucking on ice cubes and popping salt tablets to keep cool. Casualties ranged from heat strokes to bummer trips to an unfortunate miscarriage, and an ambulance seemed to be always in front of the clinic. On top of it all, on day Fri- night July 4,  all the power went out for about a the half hour. Johnny Rivers had just begun its set and was cut off in the middle of his second number. The audience became impatient especially with Rivers' drummer who evidently wasn't prepared to do a 30-minute drum solo. However, once plugged in, the show continued until close to five in the morning.

Saturday's line-up included Spirit, Led Zeppelin, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, plus repeat performances by Sweetwater, Delaney and Bonnie, and Pacific Gas and Electric.

Led Zeppelin received several standing ovations and was called back to do more Janis and her new band tore everybody's minds.

The atmosphere back stage was happening. Groups and groupies mingled with the pseudo press and the hip hierarchy.  Food and drinks were passed around and limousines carried fame to and from gigs. Outside, kids huddled close to the stage now and then one catapulted onstage providing a free show or obstructing one. During the daylight hours which usually lasted until nine in the evening, makeshift tents sprouted like mushrooms.

A water hose provided free refreshment and a good dousing, and a few johnny -on-the- spot closets added a touch of reality to the festival. A menagerie of sorts inhabited. The grounds: straight cats, Haight cats, teeny hoppers, Pinkerton coppers, vegetarians, and Aquarians, all were grooving or seemingly so. Consider Atlanta ZAPPED! [C.Zarco, July 11, 1969]
 

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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

crowd was blown away by Led Zeppelin, unfamiliar to most

I was 16, still in high school. I had seen one copy of Zep's 1st lp a few days before at Sears, but didn't look to see who was in the band. I didn't know who they were, but was aware of Jimmy Page being in The Yardbirds. About half the acts were unknown to the crowd as they weren't yet getting local airplay. My favorite group at the time was Canned Heat (I loved their 40 minute Re-Fried Boogie), who played the festival. By the time the festival was over I was more excited about Johnny Winter and Led Zep. A local AM station was playing songs by the festival acts that morning as we drove down and I heard Communication Breakdown for the 1st time. Most of them, including Led Zep still weren't getting airplay yet. Grand Funk drove all the way down from Michigan to open the festival. They played for free for the exposure. The crowd loved them and they came back to Atlanta 2-3 times in the next year. Zep played late in the afternoon. It was still light out when their set ended. I found out 20 minutes before they came on that Jimmy Page was in the band so I was psyched to see them. I was just starting to get off on LSD for the 1st time when Zep went onstage. They played after Spirit. I remember how appropo it was that Spirit played Fresh Garbage since we were sitting in garbage. From the opening notes the announced crowd of 110,000 was on their feet in awe of the incredible sounds coming from the stage. I doubt if more than 5,000 in the crowd had ever heard them before. I stood on a cooler most of the set. It took less than an hour for Jimmy Page to become my favorite guitarist (still is). I remember the orange sun lowering in the sky behind the stage as their set ended. I remember at one point Plant was swirling the mike above his head. The crowd screamed for what seemed like an eternity for more but they didn't come back. People were still screaming for Zep when the next act, Blood, Sweat And Tears came on stage. They actually got booed, even though Spinning Wheel was one of the biggest hits at the time. The crowd was in no mood for them after getting destroyed by Zep. If they hadn't opened with Spinning Wheel I would have flipped out over Zep not coming back. I kept repeating the opening line of the song "What goes up must come down" to stay calm. Monday morning I raced down to Sears and bought their album and played it once or more daily for weeks, awestruck by the intensity. I went on to see Zep, the greatest live band ever, about 8 more times.