December 22, 1972
Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Everybody Needs Someone To Love, Let That Boy Boogie, Let's Have a Party, Heartbreak Hotel, I Can't Quit You Baby, Going Down Slow), Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Mellotron solo ~ Thank You.
Click here to view the tour programme. (flipbook)
Press Review: ALEXANDRA PALACE in north east London was never built to rock. The shamefully neglected building, which housed the BBC for many years before the TV centre in Shepherds Bush became a reality, sits on top of Muswell Hill like a decaying reminder of the past, and the extravagance that aristocracy demanded in the 19th Century.
It's Ally Pally now. Stripped of the famous pipe organ that once drew crowds into classical recitals, it seems destined to die a lonely death as no new use can be found for what the planners now call a white elephant.
But it breathed again over Christmas. The attendants had a handful on their hands again, and the bars and cafes were humming as twelve thousand Led Zeppelin fans – six thousand a night for two nights - made a joyous pilgrimage up the winding roads to see Britain's first and foremost heavy rock outfit.
Neither frost and rain outside nor the cold and damp inside seemed to lessen their enthusiasm. It's been a year since Jimmy, Robert, John and Bonzo last crashed through a set in London and nothing would keep them away this time. After all, it might well be another 12 months before Zep are back.
But Ally Pally wasn't built to rock. The atmosphere inside this giant hall seemed cold and forbidding. It would have been possible to fit twice as many fans inside but fire regulations don't permit that, so there was an abundance of space around the throng who crowded into the centre.
And for those who didn't get into the centre, seeing and hearing Led Zep was a chancy business. If you were very tall you could probably see over the sea of heads, but even then there was a diminishing sound that flew up into the rafters and returned as a disjointed series of echoes.
The promoters had done what they could by fixing a series of thin cloths at a fixed height up the centre of the hall, but my guess is that only about half of the fans heard the music as it should have been heard.
A shame, because Led Zeppelin are about as perfect a band as you could hope to hear. Roy Hollingworth said it two weeks ago and I said it a month ago before that: Led Zeppelin are so good at what they do that the countless others whose style is similar are left streets behind.
They played a lot of new numbers and a lot of old numbers and a couple of encores. They played the rock medley to end all rock medleys, swopping and changing numbers in mid-flight so often it was hard to keep up. They commanded respect during the dramatic pieces, and they demanded energy during the rockers.
It never struck me before Ally Pally, but during the rock medley I realised just why they are called Led Zeppelin – Led for heavy, and Zeppelin for flying. They're the heaviest flyers we've got, a fact which provided you were sitting in a good place, must have been very obvious to all at Ally Pally.
There's so much power in this quartet, whether it's the pounding riffs of "Black Dog" or "Whole Lotta Love," the swirling majesty of "Stairway to Heaven" or the deep blues of Since I've Been Loving You," that you tend to reel back in awe.
Each member of the band does his own particular Job so well, and the whole blends to produce as near a perfect combination as I've ever seen. But the nagging sound problem must have spoilt the night for many. The Empire Pool, London's only comparable stadium to Ally Pally, would have been better as last year's Led Zeppelin shows demonstrated. It only underlines the fact that London desperately needs a large 5,000-seater hall. Almost all other major cities in the world have such a building but London - one of the greatest cities of the world is seriously lacking in this department.
We're not lacking in the music though, as Zeppelin showed. There’s still a few more concerts to go on the tour. Catch them if you can. [-C. CHARLESWORTH, Melody Maker, Jan. 1973]