June 14, 1972
Uniondale, NY US
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I've Been Loving You, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, Bottle Up and Go, Hello Mary Lou, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Going Down Slow), Rock and Roll, Communication Breakdown, Weekend, Bring It On Home.
Review: Last night at Nassau Coliseum, 16,000 heavy rock fans cheered Led Zeppelin through three hours and four encores and tonight (June 15) another 16,000 will make the pilgrimage. No opening acts have been scheduled because Led Zeppelin stands alone – the band is the personification of heavy rock. Limiting its personal appearances, and carefully refining the basic concept in its annual album, the band appears quite likely to continue long after the various challengers – Black Sabbath is currently ranked first – have their plugs pulled. And every bit of that ascendancy is deserved.
Jimmy Page is a highly proficient electric blues guitarist whose expertise is essential to the group’s effect, but the star of the show is vocalist Robert Plant. By talent or design, Plant is the man who discovered that the key word in the term “power blues” was not “blues” but “power”. Blues singing is about emotion. Its influence on popular singing has been so widespread that, at least among males, singing and emoting have become almost identical – it is a matter of projection rather than hitting the notes.
Some find this effect chilling, but I think it is exciting when it works, which is most of the time. It’s not that Plant can’t emote. On some of the band’s acoustic elections, especially Stairway to Heaven, he hints at real feeling. But just as he begins to reach out, his voice shifts into one of its shrieks or wails, and you realize that Page’s guitar is so heavily miked in the huge arena that he could just as well be playing electric – it’s another mechanical effect. At some deep level, Led Zeppelin’s music is about technology. Philosophically, the band prefers humanity pure and simple, but in practice it must realize its humanity technologically. That seems truer than most good-time pastoral fantasies.
Led Zeppelin attracts a rougher, less affluent and self-righteous crowd than the country-flavored bands that dominate rock these days. For some reason, this crowd gets off not only on the kinky textures of Led Zep’s ensemble playing, but also on displays of dubious instrumental virtuosity - Page bowing his guitar, or John Bonham clubbing his way through a 15-minute drum solo. Also, the music ran a little long for everyone as jaded as myself. But Since I’ve Been Loving You, with John Paul Jones providing a great thick wall of organ behind Plant and Page, is the ultimate power blues and Rock and Roll, the first encore is simply the most dynamic hard-rock song in the music.
It was a heavy evening. (R. Christgau / NY Newsday, June ‘72)