Average: 4.7 (49 votes)

February 16, 1975

St. Louis, MO US

Arena (St. Louis)

Setlist:

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.

Notes:

'75 North American Tour Programme

Click here to view the North American '75 Tour Programme (flipbook)

 

Re-scheduled date from Jan. 27th.

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Comments

Submit your personal review of a particular show you attended, updates, corrections, etc., which will be considered for addition to the official online archive.You may also contact the webmaster at: webmaster@ledzeppelin.com

Mike and Paul's Excellent Adventure -

I've been telling this story for 35 years...

It was January, 1975, and I was fast approaching the end of my High School years. My days in secondary education were fun times. It was party time and I was smoking ten joints a day, mostly from the small time distribution operation I had and the friends that I kept. I knew I wasn’t going to college, so why apply myself? After all, there were parties to attend and women that were as loose as me to chase. This was the time before AIDS, so the worst one could get was the clap; herpes hadn’t even reared its ugly head yet.

Living in Kansas City allowed me access to live rock and roll. The concert experience was the only public place where one could light up a big joint and not worry about being arrested. So that aspect, along with incredible performances made concerts THE thing to do. I had been lucky to get a job with the concessionaire that serviced all of the big venues in KC, so I was getting paid to attend concerts and hit on the lovely usherettes that worked the venues.

By 1975, I was a discerning concert spectator and had amassed quite the record collection. There was one band that eluded me, Led Zeppelin. They never seemed to schedule a show in KC, so when I heard they had scheduled a show in St Louis; I wasn’t going to let this chance slide by just because I was 250 miles away in winter!

My friend, Paul Pieper, was a like minded guy who was a couple of years older than me. He had a full time job and a car, something I had been holding off obtaining because I knew it would be a black hole for my money. We both had a strong desire to see Led Zeppelin and it didn’t take too much discussion to decide that we must go, even if we didn’t have tickets. There was no such thing as a ticket broker that sold tickets, heck, and the face value on the best seats went for less than fifteen dollars! But Paul and I decided to do what I call a “karma run”; just go, show up and get lucky.

I was still living with my parents at this time, and telling them I was going to St Louis for a concert and miss some school time was going to be an interesting conversation. That conversation went to another level when Paul’s car broke down. There was no way to get the car fixed before we left for the show, so hitchhiking became the mode of transport. Mom was none too pleased about these plans, so we devised a way to let her know I was fine; I would call home person to person collect and ask for me if all was well. If I needed help, I would call and ask for my mother by name. Communications have come a long way since then.

So Paul and I stuck our thumbs out on the east side of Kansas City with about $100 between the two of us. The ride we got was rather uneventful, except the part where the guy let us out. He dropped us off at the terminal of Lambert St Louis Airport. This airport sits on the west side of St Louis about thirty miles from the center of town. And there was no public transportation available; there wasn’t even a sidewalk to hike into town. This was not a good situation. So we started walking on the on ramp to I-70 as the cold winter sun began to set. It was going to be a cold night and we needed to get somewhere right now.

The first vehicle that went by was a taxi, and it stopped for us. We stuck our heads inside the window and told the pony-tailed driver that we didn’t have any money for a fare. He said, “That’s Okay, I just went off the clock, where do you want to go? We told him we had just hitchhiked from KC to see Led Zeppelin tomorrow night. “Cool! Where are you guys staying tonight? You can crash at my place if you want….”

This karma run was shaping up quite nicely. We spent the night smoking and drinking with our new found friend. The next morning we woke up and the guy drove us to the venue!

The Checkerdome was the home of the St Louis Blues Hockey team; it was a massive dome shaped structure that was at least ten stories high. There was a massive marquee on the front; the letters were at least three feet tall for that thing. Standing in front of the Checkerdome with the message, “TONIGHT, LED ZEPPELIN’ turned the excitement up another click.

Now for the next activity; we need tickets! So why not try the box office? So around the side of the building we go in the winter morning sun. Well, what do you know, the box office is open! Let’s go try our luck. Once inside we see one ticket window open and there’s a guy there screaming at the woman behind the glass in the ticket window. We had already started our day with a joint or two, so we really didn’t register what the problem was with this guy. So we ambled up behind this guy to be next in line. At that moment, the guy turns around and fiercely asks, “Do you guys want to buy a couple of tickets?!” “Why yes, we do!” So before you know it, $17 has changed hands and we now have two tickets to tonight’s show and it isn’t even 9am.

The angry guy stomped out of the building and we ask the woman behind the glass if there’s anyplace where we could hangout for the day. She tells us of Forest Park, right across the highway. It was the site of the 1904 Worlds Fair and the current site for the St Louis Zoo. Perfect! So off we went to spend the day in St Louis’ premier urban park. We spent the day smoking pot and whistling Yes’ ‘Gates of Delirium’ for hours on end. What a grand time, what excellent karma…

Four pm rolled around and we decided to make our way to the parking lot to party with other fans headed to the show. While we were crossing the bridge over the highway, that massive marquee was just getting finished with its new message; “TONIGHT’S LED ZEPPELIN CONCERT HAS BEEN POSTPONED”.

What a bringdown. Hey, maybe that’s why that guy who sold us our tickets was so pissed off!

So now what to do? It’s too late to stick out our thumbs and get back to KC, so how much money have we got? Hmmm $79.50. A quick phone call to the Greyhound station tells us we barely have enough to take a local bus downtown and buy fares to KC, so that’s what we do. We got back to KC at 2am and took the local bus home.

Two weeks later, the show is rescheduled and we are ready. Paul has his car fixed, and we have found several other friends with tickets to the show that will share the cost of gas. We have enough lead time to prepare the proper chemicals for the event as well. There were enough drugs to stone a battleship in that car, and we had a great ride to St Louis. My drug of choice was LSD, and I had two varieties that I popped right before heading into the venue.

The Show… Finally inside the massive dome that was the Checkerdome… WOW, KC doesn’t have a venue like this! And will you take a look at the speaker stack? Oh, my Gawd, I’ve never seen so much audio equipment stacked like that, they are freakin’ mountains!

So now I am coming on to the acid, Lynyryd Skynryd on the PA sounding VERY good, and I feel the need to empty my bladder. So I stand up from my seat to make my way to the Men’s room and the house lights go out…. Nevermind!

The show was a religious experience. I remember it like it was last month, not 35 years ago. If you’ve ever heard the Traffic song “The Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys”, you’ll understand exactly where I was that night.

If you see something that looks like a star
And it's shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar
And you just can't escape from the sound
Don't worry too much, it'll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys
And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

I saw, not just heard, the music spin around that room…. Physical Graffiti hadn’t been released yet, so songs like Sick Again, In My Time of Dying, Kashmir and Trampled Under Foot were devastating. Kashmir was gold, No Quarter was green, and Trampled Under Foot spun around that room like it was going to take off.

And then it was over four hours later. The buzz in my head was still going strong, but I kept telling myself there was something that I needed to do but I couldn’t remember…

Ah, yes, I need to take a piss! I couldn’t just find a urinal and relieve myself, I needed to drain myself and in the state I was in, I figured I was going to see God or something more interesting… so I went to the top of a grassy hill and took the longest piss of my life.

But I digress…

By this time it was at least two in the morning, and we had regrouped at Paul’s car and were ready to make the journey back to KC. Five guys in a car, all tripping, headed westbound through the heart of St Louis. Highway 40 through this area was lit with street lights, and I was riding shotgun. I kept looking ahead and thinking that lights of Paul’s car were dimming. I asked Paul if he noticed as well, and then everyone joined in a communal anxiety attack. The lights were dimming, and we need to get off this road and park RIGHT NOW. So we took the first exit, took a right and another immediate right turn to find a side street to discreetly shut down till dawn.

We had pulled into an upscale subdivision where nobody parks on the street. Oh boy, what are we going to do now? “Find a church parking lot!” I blurted; so we did a u-turn and went back to the main drag looking for a parking lot to hide in. We found it in less than a minute, with the lights almost gone now. So we pulled in behind the church and shut off the car. “All the dope and paraphernalia out of the car right now! It’s not a matter of if the cops show up; it’s a matter of when….” We gathered the copious amount of ‘items’ and stashed them away from the car.

So now it’s around 3am, a 1963 Impala parked in a dark church parking lot with a dead generator and 5 white males sitting inside it tripping their brains out. Claustrophobia didn’t take long to set in with the 3 guys sitting in the back seat. “I gotta go for a walk”, says Kraig, to which I answer, “You shouldn’t do that”. “Well, I’ll go crazy if I stay here!” So the 3 guys in the back pile out of the car, leaving Paul and me in the front seat.

Fifteen minutes pass, and it seemed like both an eye blink and a very long time. Then we are confronted assault style with five police cars surrounding us, and our buddies are sitting in the back seats of those cars. After searching Paul’s car thoroughly and finding nothing, the cops inform us that we can’t stay at this location. “You need to take your car to the service station where it can be fixed.” We tell the cops we don’t have the money to get the car fixed, and after all “Since this car has a generator we will be able to jump start the car at first light and drive home. You can come check on us as often as you like. We’ll stay right here”. The cops didn’t like it, but they allowed us to stay.

So now the acid was wearing down and all five of us got an hour or two of trance-like sleep before the light of day allowed us to jump the car and get back on the road. It was a very quiet ride back to KC. The car stereo wasn’t an option given the low power left in the battery, but the events of the previous evening were still fresh and replaying in our minds.

So now it’s thirty one years later. I’m over 50 and still rockin’ out. I obtained the soundboard recording of this show almost two weeks ago and I still can’t believe my ears. I told Brannon, the guy that hooked me up with this recording, about three different things that happened during the show that I distinctly recall. Two of them are clearly on the recording, and one of them, well, I must have been trippin’. I recall four or five encores as well, and yes, I was indeed trippin’.

That’s my story of how I had to go twice to see Led Zeppelin once. I did see them again in 1977, but that’s another story….