July 15, 1973
Buffalo, NY 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 (incl. Let That Boy Boogie), The Ocean.
Review: Led Zeppelin Kneads Crowd to Silly Putty
Led Zeppelin doesn’t give concerts, they perform physical transformations. They kneaded the full-house crowd in Memorial Auditorium into silly putty Sunday night with two hours and 50 minutes of massive sensory massage.
The sheer enormity of the sound did it (though the full moon may have helped), an enormity that resonates into your paleolithic pith, the cry of the dinosaur summoning out that primitive quickening in the face of monstrosity.
Whatever isn’t touched by the earthquake rumble of John Paul Jones’ bass, John Bonham’s gunshot cracks on the drums or Robert Plant’s echoey heart-of-darkness voice is left quivering by the swooping electronic slices of guitarist Jimmy Page, especially his solo on the theremin.
Their relatively simple brooding themes are blown larger than life, like skyscraping office buildings, and they lay on thick embellishments and broad dramatic resolutions that mean more en masse than as individual items.
The four of them approached it all with unexpected good humor. John and Bonham lay back blithely amongst the folding backdrop of mirrors that run the length of the stage.
Page in black with a rhinestone-studded rose on his open jacket, prancing around like a cocky midlands soccer player in a pub, and Plant in tight jeans and a short jacket with rhinestones and puffed sleeves strutting back his curly blond mane.
The band took no breaks, despite the heat. Applause followed a few Page guitar solos but the youngish crowd didn’t really erupt until the start of Stairway to Heaven and again when the spinning mirrored ball went on as it closed.
The heavy drumbeat of Moby Dick brought a rush on the stage and most of the hall stayed on its feet for that last hour, including a long Bonham drum solo with special synthesizer effects.
An 8-minute ovation brought them back for an encore after their boogieing final number. “Thank you Buffalo,” Plant said when they finished. “Take care until we see you again.” (D. Anderson, Buffalo News / July 1973)
Zeppelinitis struck Buffalo last Sunday night. The disease infected some 20,000 young people and many of them are reported to be still recuperating. The symptoms are quite unique and contagious.
First of all, you wake up Sunday afternoon to Page’s heavy, raunchy lead guitar on every radio station your receiver can reach. Then when you go through your drawers in search of some underwear you find a ticket that reads, “Led Zeppelin / In Concert / July 15 at Memorial Auditorium.” After washing up a bit you realize what the whole thing means: Tonight is THE concert.
That’s the way it was for most of the heavy rockers in town. For me it was just going to check out a super group that’s been around for a number of years and I’ve failed to see. I guess, then, I qualify as an objective observer. I had heard so many stories about them in concert that I really didn’t know what to expect.
After I entered the Aud and found my seat, I immediately noticed the immense arsenal of electronic equipment on the extra raised stage. There were also three crystal balls dangling from the scaffolds (we’ve seen that before), a good number of filtered lights and a large wheel with multi-colored filters around the perimeter. Very, very impressive, but can they play well?
“Rock and Roll” and “Celebration” started things off and I must say that both tunes sounded slower than usual. Soon after, though, the Zeppelin put it all together and the entire concert turned into a most interesting trip.
Jimmy Page let loose a barrage of heavy riffs during “Dazed and Confused” and then “Heart Breaker.” He mirthfully danced across both ends of the stage spinning and turning, playing his axe just above his knee. With a look of ease on his face, Page reeled off lightning fast leads that could be heard in North Tonawanda. The crowd began absorbing the tremendous energy that was being released from the stage.
John Paul Jones was featured on the organ during “No Quarter” which is from the Houses of the Holy disc. The stage crew turned on the smoke machines as Jones played an eerie, mystical lead. The effect was very swamp-like and spooky as the smoke covered the entire stage. I generally dislike these psychedelic excursions, but the music and the smoke effect went together too well for me not to appreciate it.
During the change of tempo in “Stairway To Heaven” the crowd rushed the stage as the lights were turned on the crystal balls. Here again Page let loose with driving riffs that filled every inch of the Aud, against a steady rhythmic piano by Jones.
John Bonham did a drum break during “Moby Dick” which was neither impressive nor depressive. I can’t stand drum solos because I think they’re just a cheap time killer that’s used to rest the band. An audience should never be exposed to that type of waste. Bonham is an excellent drummer; but fuck the solos please.
The crowd wasn’t as rowdy as I expected them to be. There were a couple of assholes who did throw cherry bombs into the crowd, which is fucked up, but most of the time the audience listened appreciatively to the Zeppelin as they performed.
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page teamed up nicely on ‘The Rain Song.” Page imaginatively utilized a double neck guitar by playing chords twelve string section and leads on the six string section. Plant’s voice was strong and always managed to reach the back rows of the Aud.
After a medley of their oldies, Zeppelin went into “Whole Lotta Love.” Explosions and fires flared up from every corner of the stage as they dispensed every ounce of energy into their music. Additional security men were rushed in as Plant and company walked off the stage. They came back and finished things up with ‘The Ocean.”
Before I split 1 want to say one thing. It’s very easy to put down groups that use heavy visual and extravagant sound systems in their acts. One can easily say, ‘That’s noise - not music at all.” When it’s done well it’s artistic in itself. It takes imagination, a good feeling for their own music and good improvisation to perform in this manner. [-Sheldon Kamieniecki/Spectrum/7-20-73]