Average: 4.8 (47 votes)

August 21, 1969

Framingham, MA US

Carousel Theatre


Includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer / Black Mountainside, What Is And What Should Never Be, You Shook Me, How Many More Times.


'69 Programme

Click here to view the 1969 Tour Book

(interactive flipbook)

Support act: Orpheus.

During the show, Robert Plant announces that "although the band had been travelling for 18 days without stopping", he and his colleagues "were willing to give a try to to a first - their first appearance onstage performing a number, What Is and What Should Never Be."

News Report: Zeppelin takes off at Carousel

Led Zeppelin is the British rock quartet whose appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival last month was an off-again, on-again affair. It seems the producer of that show, in an attempt to get gate crashing rockers out of town, denied that the group would ever appear; yet, in the end, it did.

Apparently, Carousel Theater's Frank Conley had such trepidations last night, even with the massed lurking on the hill that overlooks his Framingham tent. Before a packed house of 2,600, the Zeppelin proved to be made of something more than of air.

The first half of the program featured Orpheus, a Boston based group that is turning up everywhere these days. A sort of East Coast (hard) version of the Beach Boys, they ran through a tight set that featured rich vocal blendings.

Then the Zeppelin flew in, total theater of blues-rock, lead singer Robert Plant was the shrieking flight engineer, guiding the ship (imagine, if you will, a male Janis Joplin). Lead guitarist Jimmy Page was the orange-bedecked pilot, the man really in charge. Drummer John Bonham was the engine, always roaring lest the Zeppelin crash. And bassist John Paul Jones was the-passenger, seemingly along for the ride.

Most of the tune's came from the group's album (Atlantic SD 8216). There was Willie Dixon's Down and 'dirty Blues, "I 'Can't Quit You Babe," featuring a fine Jimmy Page solo, Later came Page's own earthy "Dazed and Confused," to be greeted by a standing ovation. Next there was a zinging Indian-influenced solo tune by Page again; then "But 'What Is and What Should Be" (never before done on stage); and at last Dixon's "You Shook Me."

The Zeppelin flew high all right, and therein may be its problem; it has a tendency to soar, rather than keep on a straight flight plan. In short, many of the tunes wander, and some people feel the blues should be played only straight ahead. But, after all, Zeppelins are flying machines. Even the kids on the hill must have liked the takeoff. (Aug. 1969 | N.COBB, Globe Staff)


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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

Orpheus (the opening act) had more of an impact on me...

Zeppelin's sound was visceral and kinetic but the music I heard that night which remains with me to this day was made by Orpheus.

Orpheus was actually more well-known at the time due to a huge hit single called "Can't Find The Time" released a year prior. The song is now widely considered a true classic. At the time, their latest single was a Joe Henry-penned song called "Brown Arms in Houston" but they didn't perform it that night. Instead they played their earlier material as well as some covers done in the band's uniquely melodic style.

The ones that stuck out in my mind were "Good Day Sunshine" and "Don't Be Cruel". The lead guitarist and singer, Bruce Arnold, had an amazing voice and played really unusual chords - the kind of chords Jimmy Page would be playing years later. The drummer, Harry Sandler, was clearly a hack but was good natured enough to just slide by. As an interesting aside; Sandler was never used on the Orpheus albums. It was actually John Bonham's idol Bernard Purdie who played on the recordings - uncredited, of course. The rest of Orpheus was more professional but Bruce stood out as the most accomplished and talented. I recall thinking "this guy should be out on his own".

There was definitely an excitement in the air about this "New Yardbirds" group that J.J. James and the FM crowd were buzzing about but Orpheus reminded the listeners of what a unique and sophisticated band they were. When Zeppelin started to draw from folk music and Jimmy began to explore southing acoustic sounds, I was reminded of the 75 minute set of timeless music that preceded Zeppelin’s performance that hot August night. I wonder if Jimmy was taking notes.