Average: 4.5 (43 votes)

May 18, 1975

London, UK

Earls Court Arena

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, Tangerine, Going to California, That's the Way, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, Dazed and Confused (incl. Woodstock), Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (incl The Crunge), Black Dog.

Notes:

Earls Court '75 programme

Click here to view the Earls Court concert programme (flipbook)

 

Review: There are moments during Zeppelin’s colorful, sometimes psychedelic, non-stop 240-minute show in the eerie wastes of Earl’s Court (the Stones do 50 minutes or less), when Jimmy Page’s searing guitar, carried by 60,000 watts of power, cuts right through the senses like some fast-acting drug and virtually blots out everything but the music.

And with lead singer Robert Plant looking like some demented Shirley Temple – thick blond hair falling in ringlets across his shoulders, Miss Selfridge’s blouse slashed open to the navel, neck and arms adorned with jewelry and a Bardot pout to his lips – this in its field is one of the most astonishing examples of pure theatre I have ever seen anywhere.

Up  there on stage, flanked by 40 tons of equipment that is generating enough light to illuminate Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and London’s theatreland as well, Page in his black velvet suit embroidered with gold dragons allows a smile to flicker across a weary face. And 17,000 people burst into applause as he picks out the intro for Stairway to Heaven, one Zeppelin’s most popular numbers.

In contrast, the group’s keyboard player and bassist John Paul Jones is a shy, intense introvert who two years ago seriously considered giving up rock to apply for the job of chief organist at Winchester Cathedral.

He remains in the shadows laying down excellent sounds to form with John Bonham the rhythmic platform for Plant and Page’s exotic excesses.

“When Led Zeppelin are peaking, then kiss your skull goodbye!”… or so they say! (R. Gilchrist, May 20, 1975)

 

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Comments

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Earls Court in '75

I was just 17 in '75 and had been a huge fan Zeppelin since hearing LedZep II at the age of 11. There were many great bands around then but Zep were in a class of ONE. No band has ever come close. Living in east Devon there were no ticket outlets in our area; the nearest was HMV music in Plymouth (60 miles away). I couldn't drive yet but some older mates and I got up at 5am and drove down the morning they went on sale. When we arrived at 6am there was already a que about 200yds long stretching down the road and around the corner (and it was three hours before the shop opened). We were worried they'd sell out before we got to the front! I can't remember which of the 5 days we got, but I think it was the second of the extra shows; May 18th. We arrived at Earls court early and while most fans went to bar, we went right down to the front of the hall while it was relatively empty and gazed up at the band's equipment. I was a keen drummer myself and I remember being totally in awe of John Bonham's amber Ludwig vistalite kit. It was the first see through kit I seen in the 'flesh'. I think the seating must have been allocated as we were sat right at the back when the show started. What a performance! I couldn't believe I was actually in the presence of my all-time musical heros. It must be great to be so in tune with your instrument and your fellow band members that you can create something that is greater than the sum of the parts. Of course it helps if the band includes the greatest RIFF writer in the history of rock! And the colours of the light show were so VIVID. The only grip for me was the distance from the stage meant there was a time delay between the visual and the sound. But otherwise it was pure MAGIC. I've seen dozens of bands before and since (including Zep at Knebworth), but Earls court was a special moment in music history for me. My only regret is not buying a T-shirt. I never bought T-shirts in those days; I thought they were expensive rip-offs and worn by 'sado's. But oh how I wish I had one now!