July 6, 1969
Newport, RI US
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times (incl. "Lemon Song"), Communication Breakdown, Long Tall Sally.
Review: Great Zeppelin Closed Newport, Despite Ban!
For the first and last time, British groups may have suffered as a result of the 16th annual Newport Jazz Festival, held last weekend in Newport Rhode Island.
The three day event attracted a record crowd of some 80,000, the heaviest attendance figures of 25,000 coming on Friday night, which was devoted entirely to heavy rock. It also attracted the attention of the local authorities who, because of the tension and near riotous situation which prevailed on the same Friday night, demanded that Led Zeppelin be cancelled from the final bill on Sunday, and subsequently revoked the permission given for the opening concert on the Blind Faith tour.
Getting down to the festival itself for the first time, promoter George Wein was persuaded to run rock acts. If I recall, the first show he booked into this category was English – Jeff Beck, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, John Mayall and Led Zeppelin - was the count of UK acts.
Beck, Ten Years and Jethro all appeared Friday, along with Roland Kirk and Blood Sweat and Tears. Beck had the responsibility of closing an incredible show which was literally a six-hour swing through the best in rock.
Excitement caused tension, tension provokes trouble with the local authorities and Newport, hardly used to rock, told George Wein to cancel Led Zeppelin’s appearance on Sunday, “in the interest of public safety”!
Wein announced the Zeppelin would not appear owing to the illness of one of the group. They showed up on Sunday anyway, following a knockout performance at the Atlanta Pop Festival and at 1am Monday morning, proceeded to go on stage and completely destroy the audience.
It was a strange situation for the Zeppelin to be in. Jimmy Page told me: “You don’t blow a date like this one. Not after all that. The Newport Jazz Festival was far too important to us to just cancel out and I’m very upset at the whole thing. Wein should never have announced once of us was ill.”
That wasn’t all. Johnny Winter was given an hour and a half on stage .Other acts ahead of Jimmy seemed to ignore the time limit set on their performances. Page was uptight, but when he went on stage, that crowd out there was ready and waiting, and Led Zeppelin was prepared to sock it to me – regardless of the unfortunate set of circumstances.
With the Zeppelin’s close, so the 16th annual Newport Jazz Festival came to an end. (J. Harris, July '69)