June 14, 1972
Uniondale, NY US
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I've Been Loving You, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, Bottle Up and Go, Hello Mary Lou, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Going Down Slow), Rock and Roll, Communication Breakdown, Weekend, Bring It On Home.
Review: Last night at Nassau Coliseum, 16,000 heavy rock fans cheered Led Zeppelin through three hours and four encores and tonight (June 15) another 16,000 will make the pilgrimage. No opening acts have been scheduled because Led Zeppelin stands alone – the band is the personification of heavy rock. Limiting its personal appearances, and carefully refining the basic concept in its annual album, the band appears quite likely to continue long after the various challengers – Black Sabbath is currently ranked first – have their plugs pulled. And every bit of that ascendancy is deserved.
Jimmy Page is a highly proficient electric blues guitarist whose expertise is essential to the group’s effect, but the star of the show is vocalist Robert Plant. By talent or design, Plant is the man who discovered that the key word in the term “power blues” was not “blues” but “power”. Blues singing is about emotion. Its influence on popular singing has been so widespread that, at least among males, singing and emoting have become almost identical – it is a matter of projection rather than hitting the notes.
Some find this effect chilling, but I think it is exciting when it works, which is most of the time. It’s not that Plant can’t emote. On some of the band’s acoustic elections, especially Stairway to Heaven, he hints at real feeling. But just as he begins to reach out, his voice shifts into one of its shrieks or wails, and you realize that Page’s guitar is so heavily miked in the huge arena that he could just as well be playing electric – it’s another mechanical effect. At some deep level, Led Zeppelin’s music is about technology. Philosophically, the band prefers humanity pure and simple, but in practice it must realize its humanity technologically. That seems truer than most good-time pastoral fantasies.
Led Zeppelin attracts a rougher, less affluent and self-righteous crowd than the country-flavored bands that dominate rock these days. For some reason, this crowd gets off not only on the kinky textures of Led Zep’s ensemble playing, but also on displays of dubious instrumental virtuosity- Page bowing his guitar, or John Bonham clubbing his way through a 15-minute drum solo. Also, the music ran a little long for everyone as jaded as myself. But Since I’ve Been Loving You, with John Paul Jones providing a great thick wall of organ behind Plant and Page, is the ultimate power blues and Rock and Roll, the first encore is simply the most dynamic hard-rock song in the music.
It was a heavy evening. (R. Christgau / NY Newsday, June ‘72)
Concerts East official press release (April 1972)
Led Zeppelin, Britain’s most popular rock group will be appearing at the new Nassau Coliseum on June 14th and 15th. Unlike any other group, Led Zeppelin performs solo on stage for near three hours and sometimes longer. These dates are part of Led Zeppelin’s summer tour. This past September, Led Zeppelin sold out Madison Square Garden in less than one hour.
On Monday, May 6th, Led Zeppelin tickets will go on sale at the new Nassau Coliseum at 1:00a.m. Tickets are sealed at: $4.50, $5.00 and $6.50.
Unlike other rock groups, Led Zeppelin has not undergone any personnel changes and musically have proved to be the tightest rock group in the business.
[Melody Maker 7/72] The noise cajunked, and beefed outwards, filling each comer of the circular, space-aged Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York State. Sixteen thousand people didn't know whether they were coming or going. Many danced, crazily, while others just stood, stared and smiled.
Led Zeppelin had been off stage four times. Four times they had tied under the archway to the side of the stage, and four times an unnatural din of screaming and cheering and unbelievable begging had brought them back out. Now their set was approaching four hours in length-four incredible hours of the most wonderful music. Jimmy Page was on his toes, shaking and trying to pull out a last batch of magical notes. He'd pulled so many that evening, it seemed in conceivable that he could maintain such a peak. But something tricked him, and he spun round, ran across to Robert Plant, bursting, and slamming chords. Plant smiled, threw his head back, and the band rocked so hard you'd have thought there was no tomorrow.
It was one of the most amazing concerts I'd seen from any band, at any time. Nothing had gone missing, it had been the complete act. There had been power, climax after climax, beauty, funk, rock, boogie, totally freaked passages, and such constant, snarling energy that on this evening Led Zep could have provided enough human electricity to light half of America.
Does anybody really know how big Led Zep are? So you'll get reports of English bands doing "well" in America, and the reports will be long. You'll hear The Stones, Elton John and The Faces before you hear of Led Zep. Somehow somebody forgot Led Zeppelin when they were writing home. And yet for four years Zep have been slaying America. For four years they have met with the dooming criticism that they could never do as well again, and yet they've come back, and done better. This present tour will more than likely go down as their best ever. They are playing better than they've ever played in their lives. The people know it.
The scenes are just ridiculous. Auditoriums and halls are being sold out without any advertising. Led Zep are delivering the coup-de-grace. "Maybe," said Plant, "If we were as big in England we are here, I wouldn't be able to walk down a bloody street without being stopped," he laughed." Don't know if I'd like that or not."
The scene was The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, on a sickening, heavy, hot New York day. Manager Peter Grant was stood with two house detectives in a corridor. His huge frame dwarfed them somewhat. There had been some trouble over the amount of people visiting Bonzo Bonham's room, and, as-per usual, a hotel had it in for longhairs. The night before had seen the band play the first of two concerts at Nassau. They were overjoyed at how it had gone. "Something has really happened this time," said Plant. "Something has really clicked. It's fantastic, the spirit within the band is just fantastic."
Page was quietly going about his business, and then in a fit of laughter Bonzo appeared. The grizzly King Drummer. An honest lad who likes to swing sticks like fury, and drink at about the same pace. "Y'um wouldn't believe what bloody trouble goin' on with my room." It appears that trouble forever surrounds dear Bonzo.
Pretty soon the line of limousines was poking its way in and out of the absurd traffic towards Long Island. The three cars were in radio contact with each other, and the state of traffic soon decreed that somebody's house could not be visited. "Make sure the spare ribs are driven to the Coliseum," came a message over the radio.
Now the Coliseum is a strange building. It sits seemingly in the middle of nowhere, looming like a space research centre, circular and concrete. Why didn't they play the Madison Square? "Because it cost 5,300 dollars to book that place," says Peter Grant, "and that's just absurd. This is a great place, and this is where the kids live. Shame there aren't places like this in England. It's getting absurd over there now. There's nowhere to play. "But we're going to be playing somewhere in England at Christmas," he said. "I think it will be good. I can't tell you where it is yet, but I think it will be good.
The Coliseum was beginning to fill, and when I walked out with Plant he was met with a load of handshakers. "Just want to say you're the best band in the world. You just are. I just want to say that," said one lad. "Ta, very much," said Plant, and gave the guy a back-stage pass. "You’re the best band in the world," said another. And they really meant it.
Martin, one of the famous crew of Led Zep roadies, was squeezing Plant's lemons in the dressing room. A half dozen lemons, mixed with honey and tea to feed the Plant voice. How it kept going that night was amazing. Bonzo was just carrying his sticks, and the clothes he'd arrived in "I got stopped backstage somewhere you know, and they wouldn't believe I was with the band. They said, ‘where's your stage clothes’. I said where's me what? ..."
The time was right, and the band made its way out of the room, and stood in a large hall backstage. The excitement just round the corner was thick as 16,000 people made ready. There was that hum, that frightening hum. An electrical tone was started. It sounded like the rising drone of a bomber. It got louder, louder, till it filled the whole place, and the tone, the band walked onto the stage.
The place collapsed, and the band, without hesitation kicked into rock. Page stabbed out a riff, and Plant yelled and squealed, and glory, all hell broke loose. Page is he complete guitarist. He captures every emotion that sears through his head and channels it through his arms. Whether it be a chord, a riff, or a gaggling neckful of notes, he is perfect. And when technical ability might just swamp feeling, Page finds a dirty dischord, and lets it cut ugly and messy through the tapestry. It sort of jerks your body and throws you, and then he finds a true line again, and weaves on in a straight, sharp direction.
Their music has indeed got better. There appears to be a deal more open ended excitement about the unit. Page is in fine fettle, swaying on his heels, and then shaking his mass of hair into a blur of tangles, which are picked up by the many spots and turned gold, and then white. Plant gets all very sexual, and mouths heaves and sighs, and frenzied guttering down the mike. . . . And then he forces that screaming voice right out, Page finds the riff, Bonzo falls silent, Jones stops, and only Plant's crazy voice insults the silence.
Three acoustic numbers give people time to breath, lie back and relax. John Paul Jones exhibited a new electric mandolin, that gave a good colourful feel to songs written on Welsh hillsides.
Then they all upped and left dear Bonzo. He remained, and delivered the most wrecking drum solo you'd ever imagine. He beat the things so hard, with sticks, and hands that I thought his arms were going to fall off, or maybe the kit would shatter. His object was to reach grumbling thunder, and that he did a sort of crazy stampede of drums, and sharp, slashed cymbals. It went on over 15 minutes and he wouldn't stop. Bonzo would cool it all down to just one motion - he was leaving out what was already bopping in everyone's heads. Everyone knew what Bonzo was playing, but he wasn't playing it - if you can see what I mean. And then he struck back, and with no nerves at all just smacked everything till it hurt, and hurt. The tempo doubled, and doubled again, and his anguished face and black hair was wet through and streaked with burning skin and 'sweat. His final crescendo was just not true. I stood and shook my head in disbelief as he panned everything in sight.
Toil and troubles, it just bubbled and crumpled out in a monstrous form. Peter Grant was shaking his head too, and Jim Page, who had snook back onto the side of the stage was also staring with admiration at Bonzo. It exploded in one mass of fire and flesh, and Page jumped into view again, and played with his buddy.
The Coliseum just couldn't understand it. They got up and for five solid minutes applauded Bonzo. It was heartwarming, it almost made you want to cry, such was the emotion about, such was the pleasure and enjoyment of applauding something that had been so incredible.
“Someone once asked me what technicalities I applied to my playing," Bonzo had said to me. "I said technicalities, what the hell are you going on about. I said this is my technicality, and raised my hand into the air, and let it fall. Head to drum, that’s what it is, head to drum. I'm not trying to be any superstar. I just do my bit as one quarter of Led Zeppelin.
John Paul Jones takes the stage on his own end sits at an organ. From that he delivers a medley of songs, some old, some new, some forgotten, and then into spine-chilling religious chords. It sounded like the Phantom organist, rushing forth with colossal organ chords, and then Jones broke into Amazing Grace."
Soon all the band were back on stage, and Page laid a boogie out, and Plant growled "Boogie Mama " and what a boogie it was. It was like some stoked-up train belting on into the night - Bonzo being the pistons, Page the driver, it gouged into everybody's head.
Things were coming fast and furious. Next thing you know they're into "Peggy Sue,'' and a rock 'n' roll medley. And America goes wild, and dances.
So now we’re into the limousine again and Plant is shaking his head. "They'd never believe how good it is here back home. They'd just never believe what happened tonight. The way they had been applauded. The way the whole place had begged every last thing out of the band. The way the band had given everything they had, and still wanted to give more. Can you believe how big they are?
"They say Jethro Tull are brilllant on stage " said Jones, " well he does the same bloody thing every night, the same gags, everything the same. Each of our gigs is treated differently, we don't have any set, religious rehearsed thing. And what you've seen tonight has been happening for years here." It had been a memorable evening.
The memory of Plant there twisting and turning, and screwing himself up on stage. Singing boogie, and singing rock, and singing ballad, and singing his heart and head out. Of Page being THE guitarist, the rock guitarist, of Bonzo and HIS drums, and of John Paul Jones on the most pungent bass, and organ avec a difference.
And the audience loving every second of it like no audience I've ever seen. [-Roy Hollingworth Reports from New York, Melody Maker 1972]