Average: 4.4 (68 votes)

December 27, 1968

Seattle, WA US

Seattle Center Arena

Setlist:

These early U.S. dates include: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, As Long As I Have You, Dazed and Confused, White Summer / Black Mountainside, Pat's Delight, How Many More Times.

Notes:

Led Zeppelin (unbilled) open for Vanilla Fudge.

Press Review: (by B. Petrulis, Tribune Sun, written Oct. 1971)

December 1968 at the Seattle Center - They played as the warm-up band for Vanilla Fudge before they put out their first album. No one had ever heard of them, and the audience was expecting one of the usual grade of warm-up bands.

Zeppelin was introduced as including one of the old Yardbirds, Jimmy Page. At that time, they were largely a hard blues group, playing songs like I Can't Quit You Baby, You Shook Me, and Your Time is Gonna Come.

Page was, in the Jimi Hendrix tradition, playing his guitar through a wall of amplifiers, jumping around and using all the positions for playing he could think of. He also did something I had never seen before, when he played chords with a violin bow. In the midst of a very loud blues number, Robert Plant's vocal amp went out on him, but he just sang extra loudly and could he heard above about five thousand watts of guitar and bass amplification.

To cope with this problem, Bonham played an astounding drum solo, while the other three worked to get the broken amp back in working order.

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Press Review : Leading the Led brigade

The band also made musical memories in Seattle. Its second show in America was here at the Arena, two days after Christmas 1968, opening for the now deservedly forgotten Vanilla Fudge. Led Zeppelin was unknown — its debut album had not yet been released in America — and the audience almost completely ignored them. The houselights were not even turned down during their set, because so many people were still finding their seats. People talked over the music.

It's one of the greatest shows I ever saw. The opening song, a cover of the blues classic "Train Kept A Rollin'," hit me so hard that I stood on my chair, waved my arms and yelled and screamed. Somebody behind me said, "Will you please sit down?" I turned and loudly pleaded, "Didn't you hear that? Don't you get it? Shut up and listen!" Everybody around looked at me like I was nuts.

Two months later, after the album had come out, I started my first radio show as a disc jockey at KOL-FM, Seattle's first progressive rock station, by playing the whole album. The phone response was immediate. "Who is that? What album is that?" I was so happy to tell them.

Over my nearly four years as disc jockey/music director/program director at KOL-FM, I played Led Zeppelin on every one of my shows. I like to think I helped make Led Zeppelin one of Seattle's favorite bands — although I know that Steve Slaton, now at KZOK and previously at KISW, has as big a Zep Jones as I do, and has carried that torch for all the 35 years he's been a fixture on Seattle radio.

That 1968 Arena show wasn't the only memorable Led Zeppelin concert here. There was that odd one at the old Greenlake Aqua Theater in 1969, where some fans jumped in the lake (I met the band backstage and invited them to an after-party at my house; they never showed). Equally unforgettable are shows at the Seattle Pop Festival at Gold Creek Park in Woodinville in 1969, where they pulled out all the stops because they preceded The Doors, and before 65,000 fans in 1977 in the Kingdome, where they nearly overcame the sound problems. (Patrick MacDonald-Seattle Times / Feb. 2008)

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