June 21, 1972
Denver, CO US
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I've Been Loving You, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, 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, Going Down, Money), The Ocean, Louie Louie, Rock and Roll, Organ Solo / Thank You.
Press Review: The Mighty Zeppelin Roars
On the night of June 21, the first day of cancer, hurricane Led Zeppelin struck Denver. The Coliseum seats were all sold out, and for a solid hour before the concert began, stoned freaks everywhere amused themselves with Frisbees, beach balls and of course the usual sweet smelling cloud of green smoke accumulated. As soon as the lights died down, cheers whistles and screens pierced the air, for we all knew that the time had come. Nobody really knew what to expect of Led Zeppelin, a mysterious and lately reclusive band of some of the most tireless and well integrated musicians of today.
For one thing, there was no proceeding act, only Led Zeppelin, delivering their sound with the fury of a nuclear holocaust. They played almost steadily from eight until 12 midnight. The main contrast within the group took place between ex-Yardbird Jimmy Page and fiery Robert Plant, two totally opposite personalities, yet both complimented each other down to the most minute detail.
Small needle-thin Page looked more like a tousle-headed, teenage orphan waif than the ‘sorcerer of the guitar’, as he is sometimes called. And although he is also an arranger of traditional folk-blues songs, writer of both lyrics, and music, producer, and even a clothing designer at one time Jimmy Page appeared very calm, modest, and rarely changed facial expression. Whenever the spotlight focused upon him, he would toss back his head, close eyes and let go… and I do mean GO! He played with fantastic speed and agility, driving that guitar as if it were the most souped-up hot rod in the world.
During Dazed and Confused, he grabbed a violin bow and holding the tip in his hand about 2 feet from the strings, coaxed eerie, shivering riffs from his guitar. The whole audience held its breath and then Page spring into action. He lept into the air, and using the bow like a fencing foil, hit each exact string at point-blank range and never missed a beat. The audience howled and stopped, but he remained calm and collected, put down the bow and resumed playing guitar with his fingers, acting as if these amazing feats were as simple as rolling off a log.
Lead vocalist Robert Plant, tall, built like an Olympic swimmer, with a voice like a siren is Led Zeppelin's sex symbol. Wearing blue jeans, with a jet plane patch on his arse, an ‘Enjoy Cocaine’ sewed to his inner thigh, and a white crescent across his fly, he sped from one end of the stage to the other, like a wild stud in heat bucking, whirling yet with the styling grace of a professional dancer . Extremely confident and proud, his blond hair streaming like a lion's mane and his body bumping and grinding every which way, Plant was the very picture of raw guts, lust, and energy. He did all the rapping, British accent and all, and told us: " this PA system’s really f*cked. It doesn't belong to us anyway; it belongs to Three Dog Night. He also explained “We've been doing this for four years without a holiday, without a rest.” Hearing his voice though, you'd never know it, for he lashed out in vocal riffs to match jimmy pages guitar feedback in sang hard rock, blues, and soft folk tunes, without so much as crack or slight loss of melody. And he ranged all the way from baritone, up through tenor, even surpassing soprano, and I fully expected the Coliseum walls to come tumbling down on us all.
Never, at a concert, nor on a record, have I heard any singer equal Plant’s powerful range, vocal trickery and emotional output. At times, he would lean way back, and his body would quiver like a paint-shaking machine, drawing shrieks of approval from the crowd, especially from the chicks. Then that human earthquake with lurch forward and explode into another frenzy of audiovisual fireworks, grinning with rabid passion. Once, during “Mean Mistreater”, also sung by Johnny Winter, as he stood wailing his heart out: "Tell her to forgive me for my sins”, he wrapped. “What am I talking about, I ain't got no sins!” Exhibitionist Robert Plant the superstar doesn't think he's God's gift to all rock fans, he knows it.
After finishing up with several songs from their first, second, third, and fourth albums, the group launched into The Ocean, a cut from their soon to be released fifth, of which Robert informed us this one “won't be called Led Zeppelin 5. No Way!” Then they get a few oldies but goodies, such as Let that boy boogie-woogie, and Money.
They sang Going to California sitting down, with Jimmy page on acoustic guitar, John Paul Jones on mandolin and Robert Plant singing. He also dished out all the orders, although page is supposedly the boss. As if under a spell, the audience shut up, stopped throwing firecrackers etc. at plants firm command.
Next it was John Bonham's turn for the spotlight, for a drum solo on Moby Dick. He's a big chunky dude with huge arms who can turn a set of drums into a brigade of depth charges. At first he pulled extraordinary drums stunts, rattling and banging with the sticks. But when he threw them down and used his bare hands, he must've blown everyone's mind sky high. And when he pounded the large temple gong with this fist, the reverberations blasted through the Coliseum like a cannon and of course the yells from the crowd rose to a fever pitch.
Some acid trippers started to freak, since they just hadn't bargained for anything as heavy as Led Zeppelin. This time around, particularly during Whole Lotta Love, when the synthesizer bounced, all kinds of strange space echoes and sound effects off the walls.
John Paul Jones who usually plays bass and organ seemed withdrawn and kept away from the red, green, blue, yellow lights as much as possible. There was no bass solo, but still between Jones’ rumbling bass and Bonham’s thunderous drumming, the vibrations and residents always stayed in perfect harmony with the treble section - Page and Plant: razor sharp.
Led Zeppelin proceeded to bid us all farewell, and thank you but the shrieks of “more, more….” in the stampede of feet on the floor, told me they weren't going to get away that easily. So 5 min. later they were back with Louie, Louie and Rock and Roll. No less tired than when they started playing 3 1/2 hours earlier. Again, they started to leave, and again the audience brought them back - this time featuring John Paul Jones in organ solo that sounded like classical Bach, but with a few of his own improvisations. He was followed by the rest of the group and they all did two more numbers.
It was midnight when the band finally split, not to rest but to New York. I hope they appear here again next year for another four hours of good vibes, standing ovations… There are just no words to describe this four-man circus of spectacular musicianship - the mighty Led Zeppelin! (by Pillow/June 1972)