June 13, 1977
New York, NY US
The Song Remains The Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody's Fault But Mine, Over the Hills and Far Away, 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, Heartbreaker, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love ~ Black Dog.
Click here to view the US '77 Tour Programme (flipbook)
Press Review: Led Zeppelin’s Garden Party
They were all along. Led Zeppelin, but they weren’t due to go on display until 8 pm. At 7:50, on the next – to –last night of the band’s ’77 tour (1st leg), Pennsylvania Plaza was covered with the young and the stoned. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant sat conversing in that timeless no-place which is the haven of the stars, but their fans outside were very much in evidence. The cabbies may still be talking about it.
Several escalators later, the concessionaires were taking about it too. They insisted as they poured beer and Pepsi that Madison Square Garden had never hosted a crowd like this one. Who is this Led Zeppelin, they seemed to say, and why are they bothering us?
Down in the arena, it was after eight and the crowd knew it. There was wild cheering after every song on the public address system and waving of flags and banners. Jimmy Page would not actually spin out the opening chords of the Song Remains the Same until nearly nine, but the massive garden was already alive with a frenzy it would not lose until after midnight.
Behind the barriers, the security men were leaning against the stage with a grim look. They were protecting a somewhat abbreviated version of previous Zeppelin setups, with a smaller, hanging sound system reminiscent of the Stone’s last tour, but they were also protecting the world’s most popular rock band – no easy chore.
The word continued to spread that Zeppelin was coming on and the dim overhead lights continued to stay lit. No amount of crowd frenzy seemed able to coax the band out, until suddenly the darkness shot out from the stage and they were there. Page’s guitar interrupted the screaming immediately and left it meaningless.
After three quick songs from Led Zeppelin’s more recent albums, including a tasteful Plant harmonica solo, the band slid into Over the Hills and Far Away… with a guitar burst from Page that left the crowd stunned. Zeppelin had now built a momentum and they were content to cruise with it while slowly exposing their more sedate talents. For all concerned, it was to be a long evening.
“Has anyone ever heard of the blues?”, asked Plant. The answer to this poignant query was Since I’ve Been Loving You, a slow but powerful number which again found Page in fiery form. This was one of several arrangements during the evening to differ radically from the album cut; a grizzled veteran in the front row would later be heard to remark that it was even “different from Tuesday and Wednesday night.” That Page can jam a little…
No Quarter has been a centerpiece for the keyboard talents of John Paul Jones on the past two Zep tours, so it was no surprise to hear the familiar organ chords oozing out from Jones’ synthesizer post on stage left. What was surprising, however, was the freshness and vigor Jones brought to a very old assignment. His synthesized piano solo and a few laser lights solicited inhibited crowd approval and Page’s reappearance to weave his guitar sorcery turned the moment to magic. It may well have been the high point.
Ten Years Gone, the song about the first love “you never should have lost…” did nothing to break the spell. The album version features no less than nine guitar harmonies, and Page once said the band should be congratulated on this tour for even attempting it. But with a triple-neck guitar in hand, there was no doubt that the attempt was a successful one. The rather gentle song (as Zep songs go) paved the way…
[To be continued]