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The Rock Pile - February 2, 1969

  • 1st set features: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, Killing Floor, How Many More Times (medley incl. Fever, Money).
srapallo's picture
on September 20, 2007 - 2:53pm
Rate this show: 
Average: 4.6 (42 votes)
February 2, 1969
Toronto
ON
Canada
ca
Setlist: 

1st set features: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, Killing Floor, How Many More Times (medley incl. Fever, Money).

Note: 

A packed house of 1,200 fans awaits Zeppelin's first Toronto appearance, where they would perform 2 sets. Music writer Ritchie Yorke m.c.'s the show.

Review: Led Zeppelin: Fast Becoming Cream of the Crop

Of all the memorable things which happened during Toronto’s two heavy shows last night (Led Zeppelin at the Rock Pile and the Turtles and Iron Butterfly at Massey Hall), one visual image easily stood out.

It was the sight of Led Zeppelin’s hero-worshipped lead guitarist, Jimmy Page – resplendent in avocado velvet suit, bent over as if in agony to the audience, his fingers working like a touch typist’s, his foot thumping like a kangaroo’s tail, the sounds as clear and as piercing as a bedside phone in the stillness of 3 a.m.

Above all else and there were highlights aplenty, it was Page’s night. He arrived in Toronto, without a record on the market but with a reputation that long ago preceded him.

Several critics, myself included, had suggested Led Zeppelin just might be the next so-called super-group, the likes of Cream and Hendrix. Advance airplay and reviews of the debut Led Zeppelin album (to be issued on Atlantic shortly) brought over 1,200 people to the Rock Pile. They expected a lot, and few were disappointed. Considering the group was only formed a few months back, it’s remarkably tight and together.

Led Zeppelin is not Cream, nor will it fill the spot left behind by Cream. Nobody will. But the Zeppelin outfit has a thing going of its own and there’s little doubt that thing is going to be very successful.

Page came off as the finest group guitarist to emerge since Clapton. Already, he is way above Jeff Beck, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. His spotlighted work, including riffs with the violin bow, was executed expertly, without pomp or pretension.

Singer Plant is from the English blues school – hard, angry, defiant, gutsy. He could well develop into tone of the big name group singers of the year. (R. Yorke / G&M ‘Pop Scene’, Feb. '69)

Notes: 

A packed house of 1,200 fans awaits Zeppelin's first Toronto appearance, where they would perform 2 sets. Music writer Ritchie Yorke m.c.'s the show.

Review: Led Zeppelin: Fast Becoming Cream of the Crop

Of all the memorable things which happened during Toronto’s two heavy shows last night (Led Zeppelin at the Rock Pile and the Turtles and Iron Butterfly at Massey Hall), one visual image easily stood out.

It was the sight of Led Zeppelin’s hero-worshipped lead guitarist, Jimmy Page – resplendent in avocado velvet suit, bent over as if in agony to the audience, his fingers working like a touch typist’s, his foot thumping like a kangaroo’s tail, the sounds as clear and as piercing as a bedside phone in the stillness of 3 a.m.

Above all else and there were highlights aplenty, it was Page’s night. He arrived in Toronto, without a record on the market but with a reputation that long ago preceded him.

Several critics, myself included, had suggested Led Zeppelin just might be the next so-called super-group, the likes of Cream and Hendrix. Advance airplay and reviews of the debut Led Zeppelin album (to be issued on Atlantic shortly) brought over 1,200 people to the Rock Pile. They expected a lot, and few were disappointed. Considering the group was only formed a few months back, it’s remarkably tight and together.

Led Zeppelin is not Cream, nor will it fill the spot left behind by Cream. Nobody will. But the Zeppelin outfit has a thing going of its own and there’s little doubt that thing is going to be very successful.

Page came off as the finest group guitarist to emerge since Clapton. Already, he is way above Jeff Beck, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. His spotlighted work, including riffs with the violin bow, was executed expertly, without pomp or pretension.

Singer Plant is from the English blues school – hard, angry, defiant, gutsy. He could well develop into tone of the big name group singers of the year. (R. Yorke / G&M ‘Pop Scene’, Feb. '69)

Setlists: 

1st set features: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, Killing Floor, How Many More Times (medley incl. Fever, Money).

Comments

barb's picture

i was there...i was there...wish i was going to be in london...the best, all these years, still, the best...

Argenteum Astrum's picture

A very compact, complete and powerful set. Ritchie York announced the show: "Led Zeppelin is going to be doing two sets tonight ... in between we've got Tee Garden and Van Winkle. Next Friday and Saturday night - Albert King, don't forget and B.B. King at Massey Hall on February 14th ... but right now ... their first Canadian appearance, and there's going to be a lot more of them ... Atlantic recording stars - Led Zeppelin!" The band is smoking and Robert's voice is unbelievable! The highest note he reaches in How Many More Times is simply amazing.

Gary Brigden's picture

I was at the Feb 2 1969 show and it was awesome. I disagree completley with Jeff ( Nash ) re this show. I was outside for the second show in August so cannot make a judgement but that first show was still the best show I have ever seen. I knew then and there Zeppelin were the next big thing.

Ed Haier's picture

My friend Jim McRae and I attended that show on that cold February night in 69. Part way through their first song I looked at my friend and I thought his eyes were going to pop out..they were that wide open. I recall the stage being filled with speaker cabinets. When Page played the intro to "How Many More Times" all by himself I felt the cement floor vibrate. I wish someone would post pics of that first Toronto show.
I think it was the previous summer that I saw, again with my friend, the New Yardbirds playing in Huntsville(Hidden Valley) with Jimmy on guitar. That was the first time I've ever seen a guitar played with a violin bow.

Steve Patterson's picture

The "Rock Pile" was not the first nor the final music-venue name for this historic building, which was originally called the Masonic Temple, built in 1917 for the Toronto chapter of the Freemasons.

This Lodge/Temple was home to a plethora of Masonic bodies in the '20's, '30's, 40's and early '50's - myriad Craft Lodges, York Rites, Knights Templar, Scottish Rite Bodies and Adoniram Councils. In the 1950's the building was repurposed and renamed "Club 888" (its postal address is 888 Yonge Street).

Club 888 hosted many rock 'n roll stars of the 1950's and early 1960's. With the advent of heavier rock 'n roll, the venue became the "Rock Pile" in 1968, if only for a but few years... then assuming is final musical incarnation as the "Concert Hall" before finally losing its iconic status as a "destination" music venue.

I was at the iconic 02/02/69 show with my sister - on a whim we went downtown to see if there were any tickets left, No luck, but both of us snuck in! LOL. What a performance! And with barely 1300 folks in the audience, it felt like a private concert like no other.

Bill's picture

The Rock Pile was a concrete barn, an old Masonic Temple turned into a club [had also been known as Club 888]. There were NO seats other than some formed concrete ones in the small balcony, so everyone had to stand. There may have been 1200 tickets sold, but there were more people than that. Sardines would have been claustrophobic, but after the first notes no-one cared. The album was just beginning to make waves, but no-one had seen the band and when Page brought out the bow everybody's jaw hit the floor. My first rock concert ... spoiled me for life [and I saw them twice in later years but nothing like that first time].

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Comments

Rock Pile, Feb. 1969 by Bill (not verified)
Nomenclature & revised history of the "Rock Pile" by Steve Patterson (not verified)
Zeppelin by Gary Brigden (not verified)
First Toronto show by Led Zeppelin by Ed Haier (not verified)
rock pile by barb (not verified)