Average: 4.6 (18 votes)

August 17, 1969

Wallingford, CT US

Oakdale Musical Theatre

Setlist:

Setlists during this tour include: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

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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

Oakdale

At the start, you should know that me and my younger brothers were immense Yardbirds fans, and greeted the blurb in Cream magazine that Page was putting together "The New Yardbirds" with joyful anticipation. Later, after LZ I was released, it seemed logical they would play the Oakdale; hell, The Cream played there the summer before. We bought tickets the day they went on sale in March of 1969; August 17th of that year couldn't come fast enough.

A late afternoon thunderstorm had just finished but the air remained sticky; the back flaps of the tent were opened to help with ventilation. As noted in previous posts, the Oakdale was a summer theatre-in-the-round, the rows gently sloped down to the rotating stage; prior to 1969 it played host to every major Las Vegas type act you can think of.

This night, the opening act was The Mustard Family; I cannot remember anything about them. During the 20 minute intermission, I walked over to see the M.C., Ken Griffin of WPOP in Hartford; he was standing behind John Bonham's drum set. I noticed the drum throne; instead of leather, it was a 12-inch wide, bowl-like metal seat, with half-inch holes drilled in it. I ran my fingers along the outside of it and thought how uncomfortable it must be. And then, back to my seat.

After Griffin introduced them as "the next supergroup," they immediately launched into what I would later recognize as the uptempo middle section from Heartbreaker, as LZ II hadn't been released yet. Jimmy did White Summer, and spent a lot of time tuning as the humidity was atrocious; as he played and the stage slowly turned, the rest of the band sat on the floor behind Bonzo's kit, smoking cigarettes and drinking orange juice out of 8 oz. cartons. I can remember the smoke wafting straight up; there wasn't a hint of a breeze.

Jimmy's hair cascaded onto his shoulders; he wore a pink T-shirt, matching crushed velvet trousers, and patent-leather buckled, burgundy high-heels. Quite a site in Wallingford, Connecticut on a hot Sunday night.

They played feverishly, and with a palpable "we aim to please" attitude. It was astonishing. All of it -- the music, their other-worldly rock-star look -- makes me pause each time of think of it. I was 15.