February 10, 1975
Landover, MD US
Rock and Roll, Sick Again, Over the Hills and Far Away, In My Time of Dying, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Kashmir, No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Heartbreaker.
Press Reports: Led Zeppelin Delights and Disappoints
Last Monday night, Led Zeppelin destroyed the Capital Centre.
Playing material both old and recent, and several cuts from their upcoming album, Physical Graffiti, the concert was close to rock heaven: with hard-driving guitar work, a powerful rhythm section, amazing vocal performance, flashy, sexual stage presence, solid keyboard and mystic Mellotron playing, and to top it off, a stunning array of stage gimmickry, the Led Zeppelin concert was certainly one of the most exciting and musically com¬plete in Washington in over a year.
But it was also a disappoint¬ment. The problem with Led Zeppelin is that they used to be a blues-rock band, carrying on the tradition they inherited from the Yardbirds. As a blues-rock band, Led Zeppelin made two out¬ standing albums, Led Zeppelin I and Led Zeppelin II, both in 1969, which are classics in that genre.
After achieving commercial success with the second album (helped along with the AM success of "Whole Lotta Love," a grueling six American tours in two years, and an overgrowing FM following), the band almost completely abandoned their Chicago blues roots, and made three albums which attempted to establish their own musical identity.
For the most part, it has been a failure. Led Zeppelin III was acoustically oriented and a disap¬pointment, lacking for at least one stellar effort. Their fourth album had a heavy metal crunch to it, and wasn't a bad album, but just couldn't hold its own against Led Zep I or II. Their last album, Houses of the Holy, was a trendy vinyl (reggae, Mellotrone), and a piece of pretentious garbage.
In context to albums by other good bands, the last three Led Zeppelin discs would be con¬sidered solid works, but con¬sidering that the same band in a blues format had accomplished a good deal more musical creativity and virtuosity, then Led Zeppe¬lin's last three outings have indeed fallen short of fulfilling their potential.
But the magic of Led Zeppelin has been able to keep their blimp from running into the ground. Their five albums have sold more than 11 million copies on Atlantic Records, outselling the Rolling Stones 2 to 1.
They have broken all sorts of concert attendance records, even those set by the Beatles. The Capital Centre con¬cert sold out in a record three hours. In New York, 120,000 tickets for six shows sold in thirty-six hours. Boston was sold out in one hour and twenty minutes. When the tour is com¬ pleted next month, Led Zeppelin will have grossed over 5 million dollars.
But don't let anyone think it wasn't a good concert. On stage were four competent musicians, who used to be four fantastic musicians. For the most part, they played well, but the musical perfections they once were showed clear signs of erosion.
Robert Plant, a disciple of Alexis Korner, is perhaps one of the best blues singers to come out of England. However, his singing of the concert opener "Rock and Roll" was awful. He was weak as well on other songs, but he also sparkled on some, particularly his delivery of "The Song Remains the Same." The stallion-like Plant evoked a stage presence which gave his lyrics greater impact, constantly swaying and flowing with the movements of the songs.
Drummer John Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones held together a strong rhythm section. But Bonham's drum solo during "Moby Dick" was rather point-less, despite the eerie sounds created when he hooked up the drumskins to a synthesizer. Jones demonstrated his depth as a musician by handling the key-board chores, which included organ, synthesized piano, synthe¬sizer and Mellotrone (a keyboard apparatus which has all the instruments of the orchestra on tapes).
But certainly it is guitarist. Jimmy Page that is the howitzer shot that made Led Zeppelin heard 'round the world. Playing both the six string and eighteen string guitars, Page filled the Capital Centre with three hours of guitar thunder and lightening. Firing his axe from his crotch, Page sent out scortching solos and frenzied blitzes via a variety of phase shifters', echoplexes, wah¬whas and other gadgets, proving why Mr. Page is one of the most important rock guitarists of the past thirteen years.
But, like the other musicians, Page was inconsistent, often find¬ing progressions in solos leading to nowhere, and being out of step with the others. Typical was "Dazed and Confused," which was both electrifying but yet at times sloppy. It was quite a visual display, as the guitarist tossed aside his pick and played his Gibson with a violin bow.
"Stairway to Heaven," "Black Dog." and "Heartbreaker," were done well, and Page's ripping into the opening chords of "Whole Lotta Love" brought back memories of Led Zeppelin at their best.
For a concert, it was great. For a Led Zeppelin concert it was marginal, a far cry from their performance five years ago at the Meriweather Post Pavilion when they opened the concert for the Who.
But most of the 18,000 at the Capital Centre were seeing Led Zeppelin for the first time, and the sometimes faulty musicianship was so easily diverted by the very presence of the band. Over two dozen engineers bathed the Led Zeppelin in a variety of multi¬colored lights. Concert "toys" were added, including a huge flashing "Led Zeppelin" logo on a backdrop screen, dry ice machines, smoke bombs, flashing lights, mirrors, and, my God, even a laser!
Back in the days when Led Zeppelin remained true to their musical capabilities, one would not find an elaborate concert show. Instead, only the band, their instruments, amps, and a big empty stage.
But those were different time's. People listened to Led Zeppelin then because they played some really great music. Today, people listen to Led Zeppelin because they're, Led Zeppelin. (J.Ramsey|3-75)
Led Zeppelin - A Heavier Than Air Craft For Sure
When Led Zeppelin descended on Washington, 18,700 concert tickets were snapped up in three hours. Some people who could not get tickets vented their disappointment just as, perhaps, disappointed Viennese did when they could not get into a Mozart recital. They threw bottles at the police. The tempestuous behavior by disappointed ticket seekers called to mind the sporadic violence in gas station lines last whiter during the oil embargo, the other recent shortage of a life-sustaining commodity.
Rock music is to the youth culture what gasoline is to the more adult culture: it is that without which life lacks tang. (Courier, Feb 19, 1975)
Newspaper report: Led Zeppelin fans start riot
LANDOVER, MD - Several hundred youths trying to crash a sold-out Led Zeppelin concert last night began throwing rocks and hollies at police. Fifteen persons were arrested.
Sgt. Robert Law of the Prince Georges County police said about 70 officers called to the scene were showered with debris. We have several police cars damaged and windshields broken." Sgt. Law said last night. "The tires on a police cruiser were slashed and windows were broken." No injuries were reported.
The concert went on as scheduled inside the Capital Centre. The 18,700 tickets for the show by the British rock group were sold within hours, the fastest sellout in the history of the new arena in suburban Washington D.C.
Sgt. Law said the disturbance was started with "disorderlies trying to crash the gates." (Feb. 1975)