May 4, 1973
Atlanta, GA US
Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, (Bring It On Home intro) Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
The opening show of the U.S. tour sets a record for the largest concert crowd in Georgia's history. Led Zeppelin drew nearly 40,000 fans to the Fulton County Stadium, earning a reported $246,000 in ticket sales.
Review: Stadium Rocks – Led Zeppelin Plays to 50,000
The manicured grassy field at Atlanta Stadium may never be the same after a Friday night rock concert that attracted a record crowd of almost 50,000.
What was once the domain of athletes and hot dog chewing baseball fans became center stage for Led Zeppelin, a British group wired for sound and worshipped by the teen-age legions.
To get to the stadium, rock fans had to battle radio-blaring traffic of mini vans chock full of long hair and bare feet.
Police towed away an estimated 100 cars left on the side of the interstate highway next to the stadium. Conspicuous among the youngsters, some gray-haired, all apparently enjoying themselves.
The stadium for the first time opened its field to an audience and the concert’s promoters promised to repair any damage to outfields and base paths.
Many of the teenagers camped out in front of the stadium since 9 a.m. and they left what was described as “a pile of stanching garbage”.
Stadium officials estimated that of the 49,233 people in attendance, about 16,000 of them sat on the field. A stadium spokesman said it was the largest single musical performance in the history of the state. A rock festival in middle Georgia a couple of years ago drew large numbers over two days.
In contrast, the Beatles drew a crowd of 33,000 in 1965 at the stadium. Sgt. L.W. Ramsey who had charge of traffic control around the stadium said the situation was “the worse I’ve ever seen, anywhere. We had to shut off all the exit ramps from the South Expressway and just run everybody by.
The rock fans seated in the stands had problems seeing the musicians, but they could view the group’s image reflected in 60-foot video screens provided by the concert promoters, Concerts West.
The music was loud Friday but not intolerable. “It was a pleasant way to listen to music without having your ears hurt”, a fan said.
The crowd seemed to enjoy the music while walking through the packed multitudes walking with friends and meeting new ones.
“It was like a caged Woodstock”, one person said.
During the 30-minute delay while the group prepped its instruments, members of the audience blew bubbles, tossed Frisbees and balloons and lit firecrackers.
Led Zeppelin left after the concert for Tampa, Fla., the second stop of a 33-city tour.
[-C. Yarbrough & B. Henderson, AtlantaConstitution)
Press Review (2) - LED ZEPPELIN: On May 4, Led Zeppelin drew the largest crowd ever in the Atlanta area.
It was however, a disappointment to most of those who attended. Because it was nearly impossible to see the group, large movie screens had been erected on either side of the stage where a projector was filming the performance for live viewing. So in actuality one was watching a live movie with a really good atmosphere and live music to accompany it all. Even despite the 43,000 people there were some who were fortunate enough (mostly tall persons who were able to see above the crowd) to see the performance directly from the stage.
Page put on his usual fantastic performance playing a solo in the middle of "Dazed and Confused" with a violin bow. The audio equipment that was on hand was unbelievable and had a good deal to do with Plant's voice being as similar to his voice on the albums. The last time I had seen Zeppelin, Plant didn't come close to the high pitched shrills heard in Atlanta. Bonham's solo in "Moby Dick" was not at all as drawn out as I have seen many drummers do.
The concert in Atlanta was one stop in their nation-wide tour promoting their newest album "Houses of the Holy." Zeppelin's poorest performances were done on their older songs like "Communication Breakdown", "Dazed and Confused", "Whole Lotta Love", and various other cuts from II. The songs performed from their new album were done beautifully.
"No Quarter" was definitely the most well remembered song of the evening. The stage was set pitch black when the eerie moog was first heard. As the lights slowly rose, smoke began pouring in from the sides of the stage. Plant's silhouette was seen over the night fog effect. The majestic moog sound grew stronger until the lights had grown bright which began "No Quarter".
Their performance of "Stairway to Heaven" was also done exceptionally well. Preceeding the number doves had been set loose from the stage and throughout the song they circled over the group. Stars flashed over the top of the stage as a light brightened behind Plant illuminating his silhouette.
For those who witnessed the performance directly from the stage rather than the movie screen the concert might be described as nearly breathtaking. For those with a growth impediment the concert can be described as a disaster. [5/73 / 'Music Reviews' / Monk]