February 14, 1975
Uniondale, NY US
Rock and Roll, Sick Again, Over the Hills and Far Away, In My Time of Dying, Since I've Been Loving You, 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, (If You Can't Rock Me intro) Heartbreaker.
Review: Led Zeppelin Soars in NY
Robert Plant struts back & forth across the front of the stage, dressed in jeans, open shirt and thick yellow hair. Jimmy Page in black and silver glitter, guitar slung way down below his crotch, playing with seemingly the same amount of concentration he would apply to walking. Behind them, the strong rhythm section begins to move into gear – John Bonham on drums, gong, kettle drum and assorted percussive devices, dressed in a Clockwork Orange fashion. To his right, good droog and bassist/keyboard man John Paul Jones, the conservative corner of the group.
Led Zeppelin, the original superstar-heavy rock band; it’s been twenty months since their last NYC area appearance and the prospects of another such absence were enough incentive for fans to wait for days outside the Garden for tickets.
Thousands stormed the Garden, Coliseum and every Ticketron outlet in the vicinity, causing $40,000 worth of damages at Ticketron. Led Zeppelin holds the dubious distinction of causing Ticketron to cancel all future ticket sales to large rock concerts.
Friday night (14th) marked the end of their nationwide tour – six sold out performances is not a feat that can be matched by more than a handful of bands. Zeppelin definitely gave the audience their money’s worth – even those who paid the exorbitant prices of the scalpers. The group performed for three-and-a-half hours and two encores, presenting the audience with a “slice of Led Zeppelin history”. Right from the opening number, Rock & Roll, the audience is captivated by blazing lights and building shaking volume.
Earlier in the tour, lead guitarist Jimmy Page sustained a finger injury, restricting his performance of several songs. For years, he was a studio musician, then lead guitarist with the Yardbirds and eventual founder of Led Zeppelin. Page is the instrumental focus of the group, but on stage he shares the spotlight with lyricist and vocalist Robert Plant, the showman and ham of the group.
At one point, late in the show, a bra was flung on the stage and was promptly picked up by Plant and slung over his shoulder.
The key to their success in concert lies with their willingness to step into their image. While other groups shy away from performing old hits, Zeppelin is concerned not with producing the newest possible show, but the best possible show. They selected songs from each album, including three from the new release, Physical Graffiti. In particular, two of the numbers were the real highlights of the show: No Quarter, from Houses of the Holy, and from the new album, Kashmir.
No Quarter was lengthened into a vehicle for the keyboard talents of John Paul Jones, providing some very mellow, eerie sounds as green bursts of light encircled him.
Kashmir begins slowly, then opens up into a hard driving chorus, enhanced by rhythmically changing floodlights. The end result is an exotic, semi-mystical piece.
No Zeppelin concert would be complete without Moby Dick and a twenty-minute drum solo. Bonham begins his solo with sticks, but later discards them for use of his hands. What he lacks in originality and inventiveness, he more than makes up for in sheer energy. Although some took this opportunity to walk out to the lobby and take a break, Bonham manages to distort, detune and phase the sound of his kettle drums – echoing the rhythms through the various speaker columns.
Because of Page’s finger injury, Dazed & Confused was not performed earlier in the tour and later on was abridged. On Friday night though, Page was in top form and did a half-hour version of it. For years, the song has been the workhorse of the group, allowing Page to run rampant on the guitar, employing various electronic devices and yes – a violin bow! It is during this song that the light show reaches its zenith. Three soft spotlights focus on the lone guitar player, three colored laser beams slash down across the Coliseum, onto the stage. Smoke drifts up from the floor and the lasers sparkle in the path of the spots.
They closed their regular set with their theme song, a song that succeeded, according to Plant, “beyond our wildest expectations”: Stairway to Heaven. [S. Raggio & M. Kaufman / Albany Student Press / Feb. 1975]