Average: 4.7 (29 votes)

August 26, 1971

Houston, TX US

Sam Houston Coliseum

Setlist:

Setlists during this tour include: 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, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley), Communication Breakdown, Organ solo / Thank You

Notes:

This show originally scheduled for August 25th was moved to the next night, Aug. 26th. An announcement on the 25th read: "A spokeman for Concerts West, promoter of the appearance, said the well-known rock group's entire load of equipment is stuck in Portland, OR, and cannot be transported to Houston in time for tonight's performance. The show will go on Thursday & all tickets for tonight's show will be honored."

Press ReviewZeppelin Goes Soaring

Twenty-four and a half hours late, Led Zeppelin touched down in Houston – and then took off again.

For 120 sometimes blistering, often surprisingly circumspect minutes, the phenomenal British rockers more than compensated for postponing their scheduled Wednesday night concert in the Coliseum until Thursday evening by, as singer Robert Plant put it, “doing it twice as good”.

The Zeppelin has matured fortunately - if unexpectedly  - to a point where unabated volume fails to satisfy their own musical instincts. To be sure, Plant still screeches and yowls a little too much. He even confessed early in the show that the excuse officially offered earlier for the concert's delay - that equipment was stranded in Oregon - was a "mess of rubbish."

"Me little throat got tired," he 'rasped.

But the Zeppelin nowadays paces its performances - and upcoming albums – with slow, pulsing lyrical ballads not only ideally suited to lead guitarist Jimmy Page's hollow log blues concept and jazz-oriented phrasing, but providing as well a respite for Plant's vocalist howls. And it's high time. Jefferson Airplane belter Grace Slick has undergone larynx surgery at least twice, and the late Janis Joplin whom Plant once emulated - got around the problem primarily by ignoring it.

At one paint, Plant, Page on acoustic guitar and rhythm guitarist John Paul Jones switching to amplified mandolin actually sat down and just played and sang pretty.

"Going to California," from an as yet unreleased album, extended the trio set, then it was back to seat-of-the-pants high flying rock.

As always, though, it was Jimmy Page's stupendously pyrotechnical guitar that got the Zeppelin off the ground. And from his eerie plagal cadence (essentially the hymnal "A-men" chord progression) to his blinding flashes of free improvisation, Page seemed to have been listening to tapes of '40s-vintage radio shows.

Showcased on a basic traditional blues, Page launched a five-minute exploration of his near-lethal instrument as perilous and wondrous as any venture into space.

Alternately bowing, slapping and picking his amplified strings with both hands, producing staggered combinations of overtone clusters, esoteric sound effects; beating the strings and fretting glissando melodies over his own percussive blasts, fretting high on the neck in widely fluctuating cycles of fifths, sevenths and modal licks and meticulously controlled five-string arpeggios - even at stages echoing the timbre of a human voice  -Page literally created a short symphony for amplified strings and performed the entire work alone.

Even John Bonham's refreshingly inventive percussion solo was somewhat eclipsed  by Page's heavy presence. Mercifully - and all thanks to those so hip - Zeppelin always appears alone, sparing fans from obscure, even at times musically  invisible - though not audible warm-up bands.

Considering the near-capacity house, the omission in this case was doubly  pleasing. If Zeppelin had taken the crowd much higher, some of us would have been gasping for breath. [J.  Scarborough / Chronicle]

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Comments

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

this show is something I think about often to this day

Hi Zep fans, I was about to turn 15 years old and enter the 10th grade at Waltrip HS. This was a show everybody went to that had any sort of understanding of what was cool with regards to music.

I bought my first zep albums along side the Beatles Abbey Road at Foley's Northwest Mall location. To get my tickets for this show I rode my Schwinn Stingray to a building downtown where tix were sold, rode the elevator up to a small office and bought my single ticket on the floor. I knew it didn't matter what seat as long as it was the floor so I could move forward and sit closer in the aisle. No preliminary bands came out just Zeppelin and I don't remember having to wait a long time although they did postpone the show one day for what turned out to be something to do with Robert Plant having a throat issue (Laryngitis I think). I've read on many fan sites that the show was originally slated to be at Hofheinz (Pavilion) but that is not correct and certainly easy to verify because the original tickets said Sam Houston Coliseum or as we knew it just plain "Colloseum".

The show itself was totally outrageous and over the top because about mid-concert fans began to gently push the person in front of them up onto the stage resulting in two or three rows of fans watching the show in a kneeling position just in front of the band. The stage was only chest high and no one got hurt. I would gladly pay big bucks for a photo taken from behind the band of this spectacle because I was one of the kids on the stage.

I've made half hearted attempts for photos with no luck. They opening with Immigrant Song and simply crushed as with other songs for over three hours including three encores. FM radio was becoming the big thing and I remember this new expression "heavy" being used to describe Led Zeppelin on FM (KRBE, KFMK, KLOL). Yes they were indeed "heavy" at that concert but another word comes to mind and that's "serious". They knew what they were doing up there and the sound engineer did amazing things controlling what channel's drove the sound. With all the joints being passed around and me being so young along with the music itself I was completely overwhelmed from the experience.

I've read reviews of a lot of the other shows and one review seems similar and it's a Vancouver show in '70 and people made moves up onto the stage much like Houston '71. We were pushed up during three songs and pushed back off due to the fire marshall and finally asked (regretfully) not to not do it again (by Robert Plant). I don't recall ever being in danger and it was never a riot or anything bad.

The only news media I remember mentioning how good that particular show was was "Space City News" but they also complained about lack of crowd control. I hope you liked my drive down memory land. Regards, Rick Kent Austin, TX