October 30, 1969
Buffalo, NY US
Good Times Bad Times (intro) ~ Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, White Summer / Black Mountainside, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times.
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Review: Led Zeppelin – Musical Dichotomy
The Led Zeppelin group came off better in person in Kleinhans Music Hall than they do on their albums. They were in true simplistic terms… good, excellent professional, top-quality and nice to listen to!
Kleinhans Music Hall for years has been the setting of classical musical forms and musical forms that are built around quality and control. This year, a number of daring promoters have succeeded in breaking down the stodgy rules for performances and performers that the people in power have set up. Hence, this year we have been subject to many more rock concerts.
The thing that has become evident as a result of this is rock music carries with it its own atmosphere and its own cultural environment. And when two diametrically opposed cultures clash, something is bound to give.
And it did when Led Zeppelin came to town.
The form this group seems to be best in is the media of the live performance. They are extremely professional in their concerts. They have sound men controlling every aspect of their music.
Exact distinctions can be made between the guitar, drums, bass and the singing. The quality of sound at this concert was a pleasantry not too common in a time when the emphasis is being put on loudness and over amplification.
This isn’t saying that they weren’t loud – God knows they were. But the difference comes in their use of this loudness. It is a controlled sound that can penetrate as well as soothe.
As a unit, they are taskmasters. The intensity with which they look at each other while working is amazing. Their unit concentration is amazing. And their musical tightness is also amazing.
Jimmy Page, though somewhat berated by many snobbish rock ‘critics’, gave a fascinating technical display of guitar artistry that still sticks in my mind. His inventiveness and honesty was shown in a tune called “White Summer”. In this song, Page pulls up a chair and calmly tunes his old Silvertone guitar. He strives for a strange form of musical tonality in his guitar and proceeds to through his paces. The number combined an interesting musical texture which hinted of the Far East, the folk idiom and the country-western style. in a dazzling display of manual dexterity . Page made his music become his speech. He communicated what he felt at the time. Page was the featured performer that night. His brilliance on the guitar let the crowd to numerous ovations.
In another tune, Dazed and Confused, the audience is given the essence of the Zeppelin attack. Again, Page is featured in a guitar solo that hypnotized those watching.
After numerous minutes of skilled guitar work, Page went off into a scene, which showed his inventiveness. During the solo he proceeded to take the bow of a violin and stroke it across his Gibson guitar, producing a weird musical texture. Proceeding still further, he set to work with the guitar and violin bow complemented by a wah-wah pedal.
Solos abounded in this tour de force. John Bonham, in a piece called Moby Dick, displayed his unusual skill on a somewhat extended drum solo. Robert Plant soloed all evening using his screaming vocal chords to create another musical form. This he combined with Page’s guitar and they became one. Using what is the oldest of musical tritisms. Page and Plant exchanged sounds between vocal chords and guitar. Yet, again this had its own beauty about it.
As you have gathered by now, I was quite impressed with Led Zeppelin. And despite the critics, I think that in the proper media the Zeppelin is one of the most exciting groups around. (Buffalo News, Oct. '69)