August 21, 1971
Inglewood, CA US
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I've Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Celebration Day, That's the Way, Going to California, What Is and What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, I'm Moving On, That's Alright Mama, Mess of Blues, Got a Lot of Living to Do, Honey Bee), Weekend, Rock and Roll, Communication Breakdown, Organ solo / Thank You.
Press Review:THE FORUM, INGLEWOOD, CA
They're at it again. I feel weightless after the music's over, escaping from the crowd, riding through the quiet; time and I are strangers, atlas shrugging in the city, remembering how much I enjoy the feeling. And these are only things.
I like Led Zeppelin. Not as much as the Beach Boys. Or the Byrds. Or the Dead. Or Procol Or Van Morrison. Or the Velvets. Or Lennon. But I like them enough. They can torture me, but I still like the Zep. Heaviness and all. Superblues. String-pulling. Repetition. Shlock-showmanship. British pop-posturing. Instant- theatre. All. Led Zeppelin. 1. 2. 3. 4.
I like the fierce power of "Whole Lot of Love" Jimmy Page is wringing out one of those memorable guitar runs. Then the firecrackers go off in the crowd. Everybody dances, the red balloons piercing the blue spotlight, love turning everyone on. The distances between sound and SOUND. All those notes. The acoustic stuff, too.
I like the Elvis-surpassing "That's All Right, Mama." Fleshy Robert Plant does those archetypical acrobatics with his voice and body, looking like Rod-Joe-Mick, the rock satyrs. The trinity of roll.
And I like Jimmy Page. The man has greatness in him, being guitarist-as-sex-symbol-as SuperSTAR, swallowing his fame, blasting the day-glo yellow-and-orange Forum for nearly 200 minutes.
I like it that Zep doesn't need any supporting acts, justifies the complete sell-out, catches the crowd with the first tune and holds them tight. Zep. Never too tired to brighten the lives of those who feel a little purposeless.
They call it Rock AND Roll, a fragment of the truth. [-M.R.R., August 1971, Cashbox]
Led Zeppelin – Forum
I do, strangely, have something nice to say about Led Zeppelin. Not without reservations, mind you, but at least something. Let me explain. There are some rock groups that strike me as so unimportant and uninteresting, both musically and sociologically, that there doesn’t seem to be any reason to ever see them again. Deep Purple is an excellent recent example.
There are other groups, however, that may be depressingly tedious musically, but there is something interesting about their concert – either in an occasional strong piece of music or an ability to create an unusually high degree of audience enthusiasm – that makes you feel another look at the group is justified. Grand Funk – perhaps the clearest current example of low musical quality and high audience response – is an example of this kind of group. Led Zeppelin is another.
When I saw Led Zeppelin last year at the Inglewood Forum, there seemed to be an occasional touch of strength in the group’s relentless, high volume, avid rock style, but most of the group’s music was imitative and repetitive. Still, there was as much audience enthusiasm at the Forum as at any time since the Rolling Stones concerts in 1969.
For the first two-thirds of Led Zeppelin’s concert Saturday night at the Forum, the same musical weaknesses, the woefully inadequate material that Jimmy Page and other members of the group provide for themselves. Though they would through in an occasional soft song, the audience seemed to be waiting only for a return to the high-pitched, blues-rock shouts of singer Robert Plant, the flashy but familiar guitar explorations of Page and the sledgehammer drumming of John Bonham.
By the time you lose hope Zeppelin is going to do anything worthwhile during the evening, they move into ‘Whole Lotta Love’, a song that does seem to warrant all the audience enthusiasm that has been building throughout the evening. The song is one of the most effective concert numbers since the Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Women.
Number of Songs
Just when you are ready to dismiss Zeppelin as a group with one lucky song, it begins moving through a number of songs once associated with Elvis Presley: That’s Alright (Mama), Got A Lot of Livin’ to Do, and Mess of Blues. And it was sensational. On this 20 minute medley, Zeppelin became an interesting, surging, powerfully effective rock ‘n’ roll band, totally free of the predictable treadmill they normally employ. On those numbers, Page played a marvelously effective Sun-oriented guitar and Plant rivaled anything Rod Stewart (one of my favorite singers at the moment) and Elvis Presley (favorite singer of the past) have done with That’s All Right.
It’s a pity the group doesn’t seek better material. Perhaps in their original haste to become a rock ‘supergroup’ (something they have achieved in sales, though hardly in critical acceptance), they felt they had to create, in the tradition of the Beatles and Stones and the Who, their own material. That they succeeded despite their material is a tribute to style over substance. But, as Rod Stewart and Faces have shown, it is now possible in rock to borrow heavily from other people’s material and still be a supergroup. With some better material, Zeppelin might yet become a worthwhile attraction. That’s something that once seemed impossible. [-R. Hiburn/LA Times | 8/71]