July 17, 1973
Seattle, WA 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.
News Report: Led Zeppelin – Rock as Extravaganza
The Stones first developed massive light and sound systems for the huge halls rock groups now play and Alice Cooper expanded the idea by turning concerts into spectacles, but nobody so far has reached the level of extravaganza shown by Led Zeppelin in concert last night at the Seattle Center Coliseum.
Smoke, fire, strobes, sparklers and rockets filled the stage at one time or another during the group’s nonstop three hours of music. Not to mention the three-story banks of lights and speakers that surrounded the four performers and the mirrored panels behind them.
And the show was so well coordinated that a tiny beam of light would land on Jimmy Page’s right hand the instant he began a guitar solo and flames leap out of canisters when Robert Plant hit a certain high note.
The sound system was such that at any point in the hall the music was visceral – it could be felt more than heard.
For me, this took some getting used to but once acclimatized it was strangely pleasurable, as if the constant vibrations activated some pleasure center.
The Led Zeppelin are one of the three or four most popular rock groups at the moment. In their current 33-city concert tour, they have already broken the national attendance record (56,000 people in Tampa; previous high was the Beatles Shea Stadium show which drew only 55,000) and have been selling out every show. Only one newspaper ad and two radio spots were necessary to sell out the Coliseum here in a few days.
This is one top group that owes its popularity to talent. Page is one of the finest electric guitarists in the world. He’s done session work for everybody from Donovan to Tony Bennett and like Hendrix, has helped expand the definitions of rock by his innovations.
Robert Plant is the greatest singer in rock, next to Little Richard, and that’s no mean feat. He can control a scream the way Leontyne Price controls an aria and it’s just as exhilarating to experience.
Of course he was helped a bit last night by the sound man who added echo, reverb and other aural tricks to augment his voice.
John Bonham, the drummer, displayed superhuman strength by lasting the full three hours without a rest, even after an energetic drum solo that must have lasted 20 minutes.
John Paul Jones, an arranger and conductor before joining the group, played bass guitar, electric organ and mellotron.
Led Zeppelin made one of their first public appearances in Seattle just before Christmas 1968 as an unknown and unannounced second-on-the-bill to Vanilla Fudge. Their first album had not yet been released and the audience wasn’t prepared for them.
I remember the Arena crowd back then paying little attention to the band’s high energized rock music and they walked off stage to more boos than applause.
What a contrast last night when the audience was almost mesmerized by the goings-on on stage and give out the longest, most deafening ovation I’ve ever heard (about 8 to 10 minutes long and at least 5 on the Richter scale).
It was quite an experience. (by Pat Macdonald, SeattleTimes July 1973)