June 13, 1972
Philadelphia, PA US
includes: Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Bring It On Home, Since I've Been Loving You, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley).
Press Review: Led Zeppelin’s Music Needs the Spectrum
A lot of people complain about the Spectrum as a place to hear rock music. Much better, they say would be an intimate place where the sound could come through bell-like, unsullied by reverberation off 17,000 people and massive concrete walls.
The Led Zeppelin concert last night at the big hall, however, pointed up what a fallacy the anti-Spectrum reasoning is, for some groups at least. The histrionics of the band members, the awesome pretension of their loudness and stage antics, made it clear that several elements go into “superstar” concerts.
First, of course, is the music. To fill a hall the size of the Spectrum (which last night held 16, 847 persons), huge amplification systems are needed. Every little instrument, even the hi-hat on the drum kit, must have a microphone place next to it.
What happens then is that a little sound, such as a tambourine being shaken, becomes a mighty apocalyptic noise, louder than if the sky were to fall. Everything, in other words, gets bigger and louder and seemingly more important.
Then, the ambience of the hall and the people in it is important. With about 17,000 people on hand, rock-festival-like hassles are inevitable. That sense of hearing the concert, “in spite of” the surroundings make everything seem that much more delicious.
And the huge throng, which carpets the mammoth hall, makes demands on the musicians for showmanship and song selection that no one could possibly fulfill.
With everything magnified so much – the sound by amplification, personal gestures by the necessity to telegraph meaning to an enormous room, audience reaction and demands by the sheer number of people in the hall – it’s no wonder that rock stars have to live lives of overblown profligacy off stage.
Only the sanest and most secure – like George Harrison – can keep things at a human level within their aura, and let them blow up to unreal proportions once beyond the stage lip.
Led Zeppelin is led by Jimmy Page on guitar…. Page is lightning fast and slick as a whistle. And he’s inventive too. His interest in the capacity of his instrument was demonstrated last night when he used a violin bow to work an organ-toned sound out of the guitar.
Page’s guitar sound is perfectly matched strangely by vocalist Robert Plant. Sexier on stage than even Mick Jagger, Plant pointed up the complement of his voice and Page’s guitar by trading off licks with Page – who would play three notes on his guitar and Plant would sing them back.
Making up the rest of the group are John Paul Jones on bass and organ and John Bonham on drums. Jones plays a melodic bass, a necessity with an under-instrumented band. Bonham brought down the house with a 20-minute solo that got him so worked up he abandoned the sticks and started beating the drums with his bare hands.
Zeppelin played for two-and-a-half hours last night, a rarity. But the overall impression was that they sailed flashily and mightily, but failed somehow to engage, working below the level when the brain gears in. (Bulletin – W. Mandel, June 1972)