Average: 4.8 (1558 votes)

January 9, 1970

London, UK

Royal Albert Hall


We're Gonna Groove, I Can't Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, White Summer / Black Mountainside, Since I've Been Loving You, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times (medley incl. Boogie Chillen', Bottle Up 'n Go, Move On Down The Line, Leave My Woman Alone, "Lemon Song"), Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Organ solo / Thank You, Bring It On Home, C'Mon Everybody, Something Else, Long Tall Sally (medley incl. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, Move On Down The Line).


Historic show at the Royal Albert Hall, professionally recorded and filmed but shelved for several decades. Released on the 2003 official dvd.

Reviews: Zeppelin Put the Excitement Back Into Pop

It isn’t hard to understand the substantial appeal of Led Zeppelin. Their current two-hour plus act is a blitzkrieg of musically-perfected hard rock that combines heavy dramatics with lashings of sex into a formula that can’t fail to move the senses and limbs. At the pace they’ve been setting on their current seven-town British tour there are few groups who could live with them on stage.

Friday night, the third stop of the tour brought them back to London’s Albert Hall for a two and a quarter hour solo marathon that completely destroyed the ever-weakening argument about British reserve.

At the end of two 15-minute long encores, when the audience had been on its feet dancing, clapping and shouting for 35 minutes, they were still calling them back for more.

It was electricity that had been building up throughout the evening. The Albert Hall suits the Zep’s style and they were in good form, working through a selection of their heavier numbers of which Dazed and Confused is still a tour de force.

The slight frame of Jimmy Page, clad like a Woolworth’s sales counter in Alf Garnett shirt, jeans, belles the fearsome aggression of his guitar, which the other side of his nature comes through on the intricate White Summer solo.

Midway through the set John Paul Jones switched to Hammond organ for a segment of quieter Led Zeppelin not previously heard on stage, before John Bonham’s Moby Dick drum solo brought him a standing ovation.

But the Zeppelin forte, the closing 20 or so minutes were still to come and when it did, such was the rapport that when on How Many More Times, Robert Plant sang I” want you all to put your hands together…” the audience en masse had done so before he’d finished the request.

Strutting about the stage with arrogance, Plant is a most accomplished performer, drawing from the finest blues/soul-shouter traditions with a confidence out of line with his inexperience previous to Led Zeppelin.

His control is masterful; so much so that when he dragged out the lyric “I’ve got you in the s-s-s-sights of my gun,” hesitating dramatically over the “s,” the crowd was shouting back and filling in the missing word.

I spoke to Jimmy Page after the show and he confessed that the whole band had suffered extreme nerves beforehand, mainly because people like John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck had requested tickets.

“But it was just like it was at the Albert Hall in the summer,” said Jimmy, “with everyone dancing around the stage. It was a great feeling. What could be better than having everyone clapping and shouting along? It’s indescribable; but it just makes you feel that everything is worthwhile.”

“We’d actually finished How Many More Times and were going into the Lemon Song, but the audience was still clapping so we just went into another riff and carried on for a further ten minutes.

The group’s intention in doing solo shows of such length, says Jimmy, is so that if the audience wants it, they can continue playing without having to worry about whether earlier support groups have overrun and how much time there is left. They’ve had hassles with hall management on this point in the past and Jimmy points out:

“Our sets have gone longer and longer anyway. They are now always at least two hours long – and that’s without any extra numbers for encores. I really believe in doing as much as it is physically possible to do… if the audience wants it.” (NME, N. Logan, Jan ’70)

The opening number was taken at mid-tempo and featured some outstanding interplay between voice and guitar.

Dazed and Confused from their first album followed with Jimmy Page playing restrained guitar until he appeared from behind a mountainous bank of speakers armed with a violin bow and transported the Albert Hall info the year 2000.

Both I Can't Quit You Baby and Heartbreaker featured beautiful guitar from Page.

During this little break, I have to assume the personality of Dave Crosby,” said Robert Plant as Page prepared for White Summer. John Bonham was barely audible on congas.

Switching from bass to organ John Paul Jones lead into Since I’ve Been Loving You. The Hammond lead all through with Jones pouring out all he knew into the keyboard. Certainly one of their best numbers of the evening.

The audience got warmer by the minute and Page’s slide guitar on What Is and What Should Never Be coaxed the best reaction so far.

Marathon drum solos can be the most boring experience on earth. Happily, however, John Bonham’s 20 minute party-piece of Moby Dick steered clear of the clichés. (R. Telford, Jan. '70)

(Top Pops Music, Jan 1970, D.B.) - Once again, the Albert Hall must have had a plethora of buttered buns left over on Friday night. For, like the Crosby, Stills & Nash & Young concert I didn’t see earlier in the week, Led Zeppelin played for over two hours without an interval.

But an interval wasn’t needed. Because Led Zeppelin were dynamic and when they’d officially finished two hours later, while the whole of the audience stood on their feet, and at least half the audience jigged and jogged like normally only the dance –freaks do, the group came back to play encores for a further hours.

Despite the fact that the group contains four of the finest musicians around, they are not musicianly. Nor are they particularly progressive. But they are extremely good. Very exciting. The Greatest Bopper Group in the world. They are where the Stones were at in those bygone days of the screamers, though technically they are a million light years away from them. Just like we are all a million light years away from them. Stones included.

But, I mean, they build an atmosphere and they backed it with good solid rock.
They are professional without being slick. From the moment when their own cheer-leader introduced them at the beginning to the moment when he wound up the excitement all over again at the end, one had the impression that everything in their act was considered to the nth degree, that they had the secret formula for success. But that doesn’t make them as plastic or as hyped as it sounds, because that formula would not have worked had they not had the talent to back it up. 


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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

The night Led Zeppelin blew my mind

Germaine Greer: The night Led Zeppelin blew my mind

Germaine Greer recalls a concert at the Albert Hall in 1970 which converted her from cynic into believer

I love Led Zep to this day, I don't know how it was that I got to see Led Zeppelin live on stage at the Albert Hall. What I do know is that I wouldn't have bought a ticket. In the circles I moved in, if you weren't invited to a rock concert and didn't have a backstage pass, you didn't go.

I certainly wasn't invited by anyone connected with Led Zeppelin, who were never to be seen hobnobbing with other musos and their molls at the Speakeasy or anywhere else.

As far as the wider rock and roll community was concerned, Led Zeppelin were a commercial operation put together by the most professional session musician in the business, but then they also thought that David Bowie was a useless hanger-on. Somehow I did get to see Led Zeppelin, and that legendary foursome, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, did blow my cynical disbelieving mind.

Far from being in the wings or backstage, I was miles away on the very top rung of the Albert Hall, where the backstage staff used to come to catch some of the gig in between chores. So how I got there I'm blest if I can remember, but I shall never forget what I witnessed.

The Albert Hall acoustic is peculiar: the sound came up to me with a force that pummelled me breathless. No other band ever managed to make a sound like that. It was certainly loud, but it was also driving, pushing along with incredible energy.

In the centre was the skinny figure of Jimmy Page, shrouded in a cloud of black hair, working on his guitar like an engineer shovelling coal into this express train of a band. I was used to virtuoso guitar from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix; Page was different because his sound was thoroughly integrated into the whole sound.

The key was the man who could have been choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral, the bassist John Paul Jones. Jones was even better educated musically than Page so, rather than duelling with his lead guitar, he listened and responded. Page also listened to him, as carefully as violin and cello listen to each other in a classical string quartet.

The result may have been less spontaneous than lead guitar and bass bouncing off each other as usual, but it was far more musical. Incredibly the whole band were in tune, which meant that harmonies and dissonances could build and interact to produce Zeppelin's characteristic depth of sound, even more striking in performance than on record.

Up there above the heaving crowd, I couldn't believe the transcendental noise I was hearing. Robert Plant was certainly screaming the place down, but his was a real tenor yell, right up to the highest notes.

Most of the lead singers I knew had hardly more than a single octave and sang their high notes falsetto, usually out of tune; indeed, one of the most successful British bands had a lead singer who was utterly tone deaf. Most rock and roll vocalists don't sing but shout. Inside the bony cavities of his outsize head Plant created real resonance so he could really sing.

Like most drummers, Bonham is best known for battering solos, and he was allowed his 32 bars, but more importantly he always hit the middle of the beat. He could cross it, bend it, twist it, but he never forgot where it was.

The result was power. All rock and roll bands were after power, but most of them were too disorganised to arrive at it. Led Zeppelin used discipline and concentration to become the Wagner of rock and roll.

What was also obvious was that the Led Zeppelin sound was nourished by the best of urban rhythm and blues. I didn't know enough to recognise all the riffs I heard, but there were quotations from everywhere, some part of the shared musical tradition, from Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Big Bill Broonzy and all, some from much closer to home.

As Page had worked on two thirds of the pop music recorded in British studios in the mid-'60s, it wasn't surprising that some things sounded familiar; what nobody knows to this day is who was responsible for what. Caught up in that storm of mighty melody, I wasn't about to get mad on behalf of the Small Faces and the Yardbirds. Led Zeppelin had done what they didn't do: they had got it together.

For 10 years, rock and roll had been working towards something that would combine the extraordinary capacities of electronic instruments with the anarchic energy of youth, and there in the Albert Hall on January 9, 1970, I found it. The spring god Dionysus had arisen and was shaking his streaming red-gold mane on stage.

In these four figures spinning in their vortex of sound, male display was transcending itself. There really never was anything quite like it. The Rolling Stones might have been closer to the marrow of rock and roll, but Led Zeppelin were its super-toned muscle.

In 1972, when Led Zeppelin toured Australia, I was in Sydney and, having time on my hands, decided to gatecrash a reception at the Sebel Townhouse and say hi to the biggest band in the world. And I found that they were big, physically, not boys but men.

Jimmy asked me if I would be going to their concert. To tease him, I said his wasn't my kind of music, "too commercial". And bless me if he didn't question me closely, as I gulped his champagne, for all the world as if he cared what I thought.

This was more than I had bargained for, and I eventually had to confess that I understood only too well why, after years of contributing the best bits to bestselling albums, he had decided to get out there and show them how it was done.

The band were to discover over the years that theirs was a pact made with the devil, but, in 1972, as four British lads on the razzle in Sydney, their frolicking was more innocent than debauched. The legendary excesses must have come later, if ever.