Average: 4.9 (1076 votes)

April 30, 1977

Pontiac, MI US

Pontiac Silverdome

Setlist:

The Song Remains The Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody's Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer ~ Black Mountainside, Kashmir, (Out On the Tiles intro) Moby Dick, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Trampled Underfoot.

Notes:

77 programme

Click here to view the US '77 Tour Programme (flipbook)


Zep plays to largest audience ever for single-act rock show

The attendance at Led Zeppelin's Silverdome concert tonight triumphantly shattered the band's own previous attendance record, a number unmatched by any other group in the last four years.

The audience of 77,229 at the Silverdome is the largest audience for a single-act concert. The previous record was 56,800 set in May 1973 at a Zeppelin show in Tampa Bay. On that historic day, the group surpassed the Beatles' 1965 attendance record of 55,000. Making a sum of £467,000 tonight, Led Zeppelin has finished the first leg of its 11th tour of North America. Upon returning, the band will tour the southern United States, beginning May 18 in Birmingham, Ala. [AP]

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A Midnight Ride With Led Zeppelin - Detroit News Report

**This article appeared in The Detroit News on 4-24-77, one week before the show**

A MIDNIGHT RIDE WITH LED ZEPPELIN

Touring The Heartland With a Legendary Rock Band

Led Zeppelin will appear at the Pontiac Silverdome next Saturday night

Minneapolis - The 727 jet glides across the runway and halts gently at a private terminal. Floodlights along the perimeter cut through the gathering dusk to pick out the outline of a naked angel painted on the exterior of the cockpit, the logo of Swan Song Records, and just beneath it, the stylized lettering “Led Zeppelin”
The Zeppelin has landed; another performance during its 1977 tour of America, the first in two years. And witnessing a Led Zeppelin concert is like watching the last convertible roll off the assembly line. You know they won’t be making classics like this anymore.

The band and its sizable retinue of roadies, technicians, tour administrators, hangers-on, and this journalist scramble across the tarmac and pile into a fleet of seven limousines with engines running, waiting to sprint to Minneapolis’ Metropolitan Sports Arena. A police escort of eight motorcycles positions itself around the cortege like linesman circling the quarterback and, with sirens wailing, speeds through traffic lights and intersections to the arena.
Security people are barking into walkie-talkies. The bandsman storm into the backstage garage where ushers yank open doors and push them into the dressing room. This is no ordinary band.
During this five-month expedition, Zeppelin is expected to gross anywhere between $8 and $10 million in some two dozen cities. Easily a third of that will go to expenses.

“You wouldn’t believe what it costs for this band to tour”, says Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, standing backstage. “I probably won’t have any accurate idea until months after it’s over”.
Grant, sporting a large gold earring in his left earlobe, is a bear-like man whose beard spills over his stomach, which spills over his belt. His steady speech and manner is that of a Peter Ustinov though his appearance brings to mind a massive Long John Silver ala Robert Newton. Grant is easily as responsible for the Zep’s longevity as the band itself. In the dressing room, he is a guardian hovering over his four charges amid reports from tour personnel concerning the mood of the audience, security measures, the arena’s acoustics, and a brief meet with the box-office manager who hands a healthy cut of the gate’s receipts over to him.
The atmosphere here is one of complete bedlam. Outside of a few revelers dipping into the ice-filled coolers of Heinekkan and Liebfraumilch, the mood is reminiscent of what Allied Forces headquarters’ must have been like the morning of D-Day. It is a marked contrast to the folderol aboard the Zep’s chartered 727 less than an hour ago.

Aboard the SS Zeppelin, the passengers wash down caviar with Pina Coladas, a favorite of the band’s staff, or sip champagne all served from behind an elaborately stocked bar. Surprisingly, there are few drugs in evidence, some grass, a little cocaine – a pittance compared to the average superstar road extravaganza.
Robert Plant meanders through the plane chatting here and there with small cliques. Drummer John Bonham staggers from compartment to compartment alternately offending and charming passengers, and swilling from a quart of beer (the band doesn’t refer to him in private as ‘Bonzo’ because he’s genteel). Lead guitarist Jimmy Page remains fairly aloof, coming out only for an occasional sortie to the bar. And Bassist- keyboard player “Jonesy”, John Paul Jones, settles down for a game of backgammon.
“We all have different personalities offstage,” he says flicking the end of a Marlboro into an ashtray. “I think that’s why we have lasted so long. Robert and Jimmy dote on the recognition, and that’s great for them. Bonzo and I prefer the anonymity. I like the idea of being able to go anywhere without a lot of people carrying on. I’d rather Robert and Jimmy take the spotlight because someone in the band has to be exciting, y’know, capture the imagination of the public. I think if all four of us wanted the glory, there’d be fights. We’d have broken up years ago like the other bands that started out the same time we did.”
Jones’ features resemble the patrician looks of Rudolf Nureyev, that timelessness about the eyes that soften the fact that Jones is 33, married, and with two children. “I can see most of our audience now is under 21,” he says, “but I don’t feel silly performing for a 15 year old crowd. We’ve been doing that for quite a few years and each new generation of 15 year olds likes our music, so we must be doing something right.” He swirls the ice around in his glass and sits back. “I don’t see why Led Zeppelin can’t go on past all of us turning 40,” he says. “Jimmy and I are 33, Robert and Bonzo are 28. I guess 40 isn’t so far off, right?” “But the band is doing what it wants, and we’re still making fans, still making people happy. There’s nothing else I want to do. We’re all happy with each other and no one wants to split as a solo act.” “Our secret is, we’re flexible and we like each other.”

The area behind the stage looks like the movie set to “Frankenstein”, an array of pre-amps, monitors, laser-beam units, highly sophisticated consoles for mixing and balancing the audio, a score of “flashboxes” electronically triggered on cue and all of this wizardry operated by a small army of technicians. In the smothering darkness pierced only by the rows of fire-red idiot lights on the consoles, Jimmy Page stands by and watches until satisfied all is in working order. He ambles past and into the dressing room. He is wearing a Nazi officer’s cap, Wehrmacht jodhpurs and jackboots. It is an ensemble he is apparently infatuated with for he’s seen around the hotel before Showtime or backstage which he sheds only to don a white satin suit for the concert. Page, slim to the point of exaggeration with dark, curly hair framing his androgynous face, is not only the band’s architect and inspiration, but also Led Zeppelin’s resident Sphinx. In concert, he has been known to get so caught up in his lengthy acoustic instrumental that he is unaware he has strayed too far from his amplifier, thus plucking the cord from it, and playing without sound until one of the stage crew crawls onstage to replace the errant cord.

The legions of Led Zeppelin fans have never been known as docile but this evening’s audience in Minneapolis is particularly feisty. Roman candles whistling around the rafters, firecrackers hurled onstage and two assaults by fans determined to mount the stage. As Bonzo begins the drum shuffle to his “Moby Dick” solo, a firecracker lands inches from Plant who dives from the stage. “We’re used to rowdy crowds,” walking back to the dressing room, “but this is crazy. A lot of times it breaks up our concentration. I’m watching Jimmy or they’re watching me for a cue and suddenly a Frisbee sails out of the audience and none of us sees it. We’ve all been hit by them onstage, but the crackers are much worse; scares the hell out of us.”
We retire to the dressing room since Bonzo will be flailing away for another 10 minutes. Plant sips from a plastic cup of honey and lemon and lights up a Camel. Drenched in perspiration, he sheds his soggy shirt, revealing a long, blue-black scar near the left elbow. a remnant from his near-fatal collision last Summer while driving his family during a holiday in Greece.
Though the three-hour set always begins with “The Song Remains the Same,” and closes with “Stairway To Heaven,” the band changes each show’s line-up of about 15 songs. “It keeps things interesting,” Plant explains, “You can picture what a drag it would be to do the same set night after night. I think that’s why so many bands get sick of touring.”

Another novel, though expensive, practice Zeppelin has adopted to reduce the rigors of the road is to set up a permanent base of operations for each section of the country they’re playing. During their tour of the Midwest, the Zep has stayed at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago, flying out early each evening to wherever they’re appearing that night, then back to Chicago. “You’d be amazed at what a difference that makes,” Plant says “Instead of packing suitcases every day, doing the show, unpacking at a different hotel that night, then repeating it all the next day, we just fly out early, do the show and fly back to our rooms. When we do the East coast, we’ll stay in New York and do the same thing there.”

Peter Grant surveys the unruly audience and shakes his head. “I think the cause for a lot of this is the ‘festival seating,’ no reserved seats on the floor. These kids get in here and start pushing each other about, tossing bottles, firecrackers, anything they can throw. I’m afraid it might be the same situation in Detroit next Saturday,” he says. “It’s festival seating on the field at the Silverdome and they might get rowdy.”
Is the band not courting disaster by cramming so many fans into so large an arena ? Why not two nights at a smaller hall ? (they played three nights in Chicago). “I’m afraid that’s my doing,” Grant says. “The band didn’t want to cut into the two week break after the Detroit show. They’re flying back to England for two weeks, and then returning for the last leg of the tour. I knew they’d only do one show so I thought it wisest to play the largest venue in the area. We were hoping to fill the place to capacity, 75,000, but the Fire Marshall would only allow us 72,000 tickets maximum.”
Grant admits the $10.50 ticket price at Pontiac is stiff but qualifies it after listing tour expenses – fueling a jet, carting along tons of equipment, the technicians, and even a physician who keeps an eye on the band’s health.

By Stephen Ford
News Entertainment Writer
4-24-77