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Coliseum (NC) - May 31, 1977

  • Setlists for this tour include: The Song Remains The Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody's Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, 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, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love ~ Rock and Roll, Black Dog (?)
srapallo's picture
on September 22, 2007 - 8:35pm
Rate this show: 
Average: 4.9 (479 votes)
May 31, 1977
Greensboro
NC
United States
us
Setlist: 

Setlists for this tour include: The Song Remains The Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody's Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, 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, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love ~ Rock and Roll, Black Dog (?)

Note: 
77 programme

Click here to view the US '77 Tour Programme (flipbook)


News Report: On May 31, Led Zeppelin made its first Greensboro appearance in over three years. We weaved through the flow of people and worked our way to the very top of the coliseum's second level.

Seated, we began a nervous anticipation of the appearance of Led Zeppelin, but were told via the supersonic loudspeakers that Led Zeppelin had been delayed. I had expected that, really. I've never been to a concert that started on time, and my string wouldn't be broken. The wait continued, dragging on while everyone sweltered in the heat of the coliseum and wondered if the air conditioning had been cut off.

The 17,000-plus crowd became impatient. Some were soothed by recorded music blaring from the loudspeakers; others wandered around trying to find decent seating; sought out friends for shout conversations; smoked; drank; and tossed Frisbees across the floor. And, some overly enthusiastic fans shot firecrackers periodically, the shots reverberating throughout the coliseum and sounding like an afternoon on the firing range.

Those fans on the floor pushed toward the stage in surges, crushing those on the front row to the point that security people, dressed in black T-shirts with Led Zeppelin printed in white across the chest, lifted those who were overcome by the crunch over the unsturdy fence. A concerned announcer kept asking those on the floor to move back and finally wound up playing a game of Simon Says, getting most everyone to take two giant steps backwards to relieve the pressure on the front stage area.

Finally, at 9:17, the house lights dimmed and the roar of the crowd was almost deafening. And when the multi-colored spotlight beams fell upon the stage, there stood John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant with John Bonham sitting behind his drums.

Above the din of cheers, screams, whistles and applause, Led Zeppelin opened with "The Song Remains The Same," and the animosity harbored because of the long wait was flushed and the concert spirit returned.

As soon as the group finished their opening number, Plant the lead singer, strutted to center stage and shouted, "Hello Greensboro," sending a ripple of cheers and applause through the coliseum that gave Led Zeppelin a hearty North Carolina welcome. Plant apologized for the lateness, explaining that they had lost some people in New York and had to wait for them before departing for Greensboro — thus the hour-plus delay.

Forgiven, Led Zeppelin launched into what was to be a three-hour and 27-minute concert — a show of sight and sound that left the Greensboro crowd dazed at their charismatic showmanship.

The special effects and lighting were unbelievable. Blue green, red, yellow and white spotlights from above the stage bathed the sweating performers in an eerie aura, blending in with the heavy metal sounds that emanated from the loudspeakers so forcefully that any position in the coliseum was ideal to enjoy the music and bear the words sum by Plant.

While John Paul Jones warmed up for "No Quarter," the fog machine covered the stage with a heavy white cloud'. During his solo bit, laser beams shot upwards and bounced off the high coliseum ceiling.

Jimmy Page had his moments also, performing almost non-stop with his assortment of guitars and showing off his expertise with the electric instruments. And, drummer John Bonham launched into his solo to allow the others a needed break. To add to the effect, Bonham's stage was mechanically thrust from the rear to center stage where fans were able to see him perform.

At 12:10 a.m, Led Zeppelin closed with "Stairway To Heaven" amidst cheers as loud as those at the outlet of the concert. Suddenly the concert was over. But a steady chant mixed with a rhythmic hand-clapping brought the foursome from the wings for an encore.

Here it's been 12 days since seeing and hearing Led Zeppelin, and the ears still ringing, but it was worth it! (E. Marshall, The Journal, June 12, 1977)

Notes: 
77 programme

Click here to view the US '77 Tour Programme (flipbook)


News Report: On May 31, Led Zeppelin made its first Greensboro appearance in over three years. We weaved through the flow of people and worked our way to the very top of the coliseum's second level.

Seated, we began a nervous anticipation of the appearance of Led Zeppelin, but were told via the supersonic loudspeakers that Led Zeppelin had been delayed. I had expected that, really. I've never been to a concert that started on time, and my string wouldn't be broken. The wait continued, dragging on while everyone sweltered in the heat of the coliseum and wondered if the air conditioning had been cut off.

The 17,000-plus crowd became impatient. Some were soothed by recorded music blaring from the loudspeakers; others wandered around trying to find decent seating; sought out friends for shout conversations; smoked; drank; and tossed Frisbees across the floor. And, some overly enthusiastic fans shot firecrackers periodically, the shots reverberating throughout the coliseum and sounding like an afternoon on the firing range.

Those fans on the floor pushed toward the stage in surges, crushing those on the front row to the point that security people, dressed in black T-shirts with Led Zeppelin printed in white across the chest, lifted those who were overcome by the crunch over the unsturdy fence. A concerned announcer kept asking those on the floor to move back and finally wound up playing a game of Simon Says, getting most everyone to take two giant steps backwards to relieve the pressure on the front stage area.

Finally, at 9:17, the house lights dimmed and the roar of the crowd was almost deafening. And when the multi-colored spotlight beams fell upon the stage, there stood John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant with John Bonham sitting behind his drums.

Above the din of cheers, screams, whistles and applause, Led Zeppelin opened with "The Song Remains The Same," and the animosity harbored because of the long wait was flushed and the concert spirit returned.

As soon as the group finished their opening number, Plant the lead singer, strutted to center stage and shouted, "Hello Greensboro," sending a ripple of cheers and applause through the coliseum that gave Led Zeppelin a hearty North Carolina welcome. Plant apologized for the lateness, explaining that they had lost some people in New York and had to wait for them before departing for Greensboro — thus the hour-plus delay.

Forgiven, Led Zeppelin launched into what was to be a three-hour and 27-minute concert — a show of sight and sound that left the Greensboro crowd dazed at their charismatic showmanship.

The special effects and lighting were unbelievable. Blue green, red, yellow and white spotlights from above the stage bathed the sweating performers in an eerie aura, blending in with the heavy metal sounds that emanated from the loudspeakers so forcefully that any position in the coliseum was ideal to enjoy the music and bear the words sum by Plant.

While John Paul Jones warmed up for "No Quarter," the fog machine covered the stage with a heavy white cloud'. During his solo bit, laser beams shot upwards and bounced off the high coliseum ceiling.

Jimmy Page had his moments also, performing almost non-stop with his assortment of guitars and showing off his expertise with the electric instruments. And, drummer John Bonham launched into his solo to allow the others a needed break. To add to the effect, Bonham's stage was mechanically thrust from the rear to center stage where fans were able to see him perform.

At 12:10 a.m, Led Zeppelin closed with "Stairway To Heaven" amidst cheers as loud as those at the outlet of the concert. Suddenly the concert was over. But a steady chant mixed with a rhythmic hand-clapping brought the foursome from the wings for an encore.

Here it's been 12 days since seeing and hearing Led Zeppelin, and the ears still ringing, but it was worth it! (E. Marshall, The Journal, June 12, 1977)

Setlists: 

Setlists for this tour include: The Song Remains The Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody's Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, 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, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love ~ Rock and Roll, Black Dog (?)

Comments

Gene Larke's picture

man I had just turned 20 the 22 of that month & I was at the show & let me just say it was a privlege!! guess what, Plant opened it up by leading us in singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to JOHN HENRY BONHAM!!! that was just the coolest thing. I remember alot about that night, like the way PLANT seemed to like beam on stage at the start of STAIRWAY { like startrek or something} & how on MOBY DICK you could see every beat on the drums each one would come alive with light & color, then fade as the tone did, only to be brought back to life by yet another blow from the hand of the greatest drummer who ever lived!!!{keith moon? please give me a break} & J P man he was rock steady!! He can make the keys & that bass talk like nobody can!!! PLANT He was whailing from the cliffs of Dover or from WAY DOWN INSIDE that mine shaft some critics are fond of refering to. anyway it put chills all over me!! PAGE He had a dragon on His clothes & He played like He had Dragon Fire in His fingertips!!! & They played for at least 3hr 45 min the best concert of my life & I have seen some of the best, but that night I was jamming with the best.THE 4 FATHERS OF ROCK & ROLL.

A HUGE FAN for almost 40 years now
THANKS ALOT Gene

Sam Gregory's picture

I was a 20 year old college student at Western Carolina University when I had the opportunity to attend the May 31, 1977 Led Zeppelin concert, which also happened to be Bonzo's birthday. Fantastic show, I was one of those on the front row hoping that those behind us would back off a bit.

Great memories of a great show. I made it back to school the next day just in time to take two final exams and depart for the summer.

Pouchie, thanks a million for the ticket, you were a great friend and I hope life has been good to you.

Steve's picture

What a night that was. Me and a buddie got there early to party outside and nearly got trampled. The Coliseum didn't have much crowd control and it was the last of the "festival seating" events. So many people lined up outside that the gate gave way and people stormed the front doors. When they were finally open it was shoulder to shoulder. We were so packed together you could pick up your feet and be carried by the crowd. We finally made it in but it was a scary experience.

We managed to get great seats just off the orchestra level maybe 40 feet from the band. Before the show we were laughing at the guys who strung belts together to shimmey down to the lower level. The last one down was a large girl who caused the belt to break and wow she landed hard. Years later she worked as a nurse in my home when the subject of the concert came up. When she said was the one who fell we had a good laugh.

The show was incredible despite the late start. Hard to believe they played as long as they did. I'd seen them in '75 but didn't remember it being anything like this show. I stopped going to concerts after that night, I didn't think it could be topped.

Don's picture

I saw Led Zeppelin for the first time at this May 31, 1977 show in Greensboro. My friends and I arrived about two hours before the doors were opened. Once we got in, we rushed to find good seats. The floor up front was filling up rapidly, so we headed to dead-center, first row on the 2nd level. These turned out to be great seats.
They had a huge and incredible sounding system. I believe that Showco was the sound company. My buddy said he counted at least 18 tractor-trailor semis in back of the stadium.
The sound system was in quad, and from talking to others that went to this show, it sounded great everywhere in the room.
To my recollection, this show ran about 3 hours and 45 minutes after a long delay in starting. By the time they finally hit the stage, the restless crowd forgot the delay. That night, I witnessed the greatest live concert I have ever witnessed.
All the band members were in top notch form, even though Page was drinking heavily. I think he downed nearly a whole fifth of liquor during the show that night. But his playing was fluid and captivating.
I can't say enough about this show. It was purley awesome.
It was quite a thrill to hear over 17,000 people singing happy birthday to John Bonham. His solo in Moby Dick blew us a way. One of the true highlights of the show was the keyboard solo that John Paul Jones did in No Quarter. I never knew that he could play like that until that night.
What a thrill that show was...verging on a religious experience.
As one other fan has commented about this concert, I too believe that they played Black Dog on the encore.
Thanks Led Zeppelin for the best show I ever saw.

barry's picture

I was at the show with all my bandmates . We drove up from Columbia, SC . I remember after they opened the doors they made people stay in the lobby before openening the arena doors . I saw a door come off its hinges when they finally opened the arena . We made it right down the front . A blinding show ! Funny how you remember little things . There was some strange person carrying a toaster near where we were standing down the front . My ticket was never torn and I still have it to this day . It was also John Bonhams birthday . God rest his soul .

Name gene larke  's picture

Robert LED the crowd N Happy Birthday to John Bonham

Debra's picture

I am a huge Zeppelin fan. I went to this concert. I wish I could have taken a trip to London. They are absolutly the best Rock and Roll band of all time. My daughter gave me the Mothership CD for Christmas.The 60's and 70's had the best music of all time. Tickets were alot cheaper then than now. Would love to see them again some day. I hope they come to the US again.

Mike's picture

Like Mrs. Holloway wrote below, It was an amazing event. Just to be under the same roof as my idols, the titans of all that I hold dear in the world of rock and roll (and rock and roll is my world) is something I'll never forget. I went with a friend Tommy Yow and we snuck up the side of the building and squatted out of sight of the cops that were pushing interlopers and gate crashers back. At 6:30 the doors opened and we bee-lined it into the Coliseum for the best possible seating. By the time we got in the arena the floor was about a quarter full and filling up fast. People were already pushing up front and so Tommy and I decided to get the best seats on the side we could.

What great seats they were too... on Page's side just a couple rows up from the floor. A perfect view.

Then the wait began. We waited. And waited. The crowd was restless and the pushing at the front became so bad that several people had the to be lifted up over the barricade at stage right and onto to the stage. I heard later there were broken ribs and a couple people had to be hospitalized. There were no seats on the floor at rock concerts in those days, kiddies.

This was a rowdy crowd. Not out of control but openly guzzling cheap booze out of milk cartons and smoking literally tons of weed with the lights on and not a cop in sight. The Greensboro Coliseum belonged to the freaks. The arena was like one huge bong.

Finally at around 9:30 the lights flickered off and though the roar came the giant fanfare "D" note to signal the beginning of "The Song Remains The Same". Sudden flashes of light and there was Plant's golden locks at the front of the stage dressed in as the band teased him in "grandma's old knickers". And there was THE Jimmy Page, resplendent in his white dragon outfit twisting and bopping with his doubleneck while peeling off astounding runs from the 12-string neck. The lockstep rhythm section of Jones and Bonham was indeed clicking into overdrive from the start.

I had already known what the setlist was going to be through Hit Parader leaking it in the current issue. I knew that they were going to do either "Over The Hills and Far Away" or "In My Time of Dying", but not both. During "Nobody's Fault But Mine" Page broke a string and his guitar tech did an amazing mid-song guitar switch from his #1 '59 Les Paul to his #2 '60 Les Paul, the one Joe Walsh gave him a few years before. It was also around this in the show that Jimmy rather elegantly vomited over his left shoulder onto the stage. Knowing what I know now it was probably a reaction to a certain substance that Mr. Page enjoyed in those days.

Plants first words to the audience after "Sick Again" were an apology for their lateness and he owed it to the fact they left someone in New York. I suppose it was someone in their entourage - a groupie? a publicist? a photographer? A connection? Ah, the '70's.

As Page strapped on the Danelectro I knew it was gonna be "In My Time of Dying" and Plant described it as having its roots in American Delta Blues. Shortly thereafter when he introduced "Since I've Been Loving You" he said it was more of an "English Blues" not unlike vintage Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall and Alexis Korner.

"No Quarter" lasted what seemed like a half hour with lasers dancing throughout the arena as well as on top of John Paul Jones' piano. The acoustic set had a slight snippet of "Dancing Days". The sudden segue from "Black Mountain Side" into Kashmir was perfectly executed and the highlight of the night. Page's solo section with violin bow, more lasers, smoke and a ring modulator was essentially a shorter part of the mid-section of "Dazed and Confused".

Before "Moby Dick" it was announced that it was Bonzo's Birthday and everyone sang "Happy Birthday" led by Plant. The home stretch of the show was"Moby Dick" (longer than one could imagine), "Achilles Last Stand" & the finale "Stairway".

They took a pretty long break before returning with "Whole Lotta Love" and then "Rock and Roll". Maybe someone else can confirm, but I swear they did "Black Dog" during the encore. I could be wrong.

I still regard this as the best thing I have ever seen even though technically Queen was probably a little more on their game when I saw them a couple years later and it's damned hard to walk away from an NRBQ show without having your butt kicked.

To my knowledge no recording of this show has ever surfaced. I have heard the night before in Landover and I own the excellent bootleg of the July 17th Seattle show on DVD. I probably own every show on this tour in some form or another be it a CD, LP or cassette. You can plainly hear they are not at their live peak owing mainly to Page's sloppy playing due to his lifestyle and Plant's voice was not in top form for most of the tour either. Still, if you can find a copy of "Listen to This Eddie" (LA Forum 1st show) you can hear the old magic. Page is ON FIRE. Bonham is barely contained. Pure insanity.

I am kind of glad that no recording of this show has ever surfaced as I'd hate to have my bubble burst. I was only 14 but I was beyond impressed. I had already seen Kiss, Nugent and Chuck Berry by this time and they didn't rate anywhere close. Over the next couple years I saw all the usual stadium acts (Kiss again, Rush, Alice, Foghat, ELO, etc.) but they all paled. AC/DC with Bon in 1979 was pretty cool but not in the same league.

I did see Jimmy Page on the Outrider tour of 1988 in Landover, MD and many things about that show were holdovers from this show. A guy named Bonham on drums, a blond lead singer and THE EXACT SAME STAGE SET. He did some Zeppelin faves and even ended with an instrumental version of "Stairway".

In some ways I hope they don't tour again. I pain $9 to see them and that was high in the day. I think Kiss was $5.50 the year before. I know I'll get a nosebleed seat for $300 and love it, but it'll never be the same.

Mike Nicholson

Kathy's picture

Yes I remember the wait. But when they finally hit the stage it was so worth it. LZ for more than three hours! It was John Bonham's birthday, and the whole crowd sang Happy Birthday to him in unison. I remember when they closed the floor level down due to overcrowding, and then there began the human-body-chain from the second floor balcony level to the ground level of those folks who just had to get down there. The lazer-light show was amazing, the whole show was amazing. They played their hearts out and for that I am thankful. A memory of a lifetime. Thanks guys. <3
Kathleen

Name's picture

We were pushed thru the turnstills with one man taking tix and we got to keep ours.people were sneaking gallons of homebrew in everywhere. it was a great show.

Anna Holloway's picture

[I originally posted this on my website on May 31, 2006]

So.

29 years ago - on May 31st - I went to my first real rock concert.

When I found out that tickets were to go on sale - I asked my parents if I could go. My mother - being extremely savvy, and also rather on top of what was going on in the music world - uttered the fateful words.

"Sure. That is, if you can get tickets..."

Which I promptly managed to procure.

(There's really nothing like a determined 13 year old - may I point out.)

So - at the tender age of 13 - I, and a herd of little friends went to see Led Zeppelin at the Greensboro Coliseum on their 1977 tour. We felt important. We felt grown up. We felt invincible.

It was festival seating - before the Who disaster in 1979 - and rather unlike anything we had ever encountered. We made it to the - I don't know - 5th row maybe? (Again - 13 years old, small and determined) and I would have made it to the front row had not one of our number passed out. The crush was pretty horrific - I recall being moved along by the crowd without my feet touching the floor. I recall feeling a little less invincible.

I was faced with an awful choice - awful for a 13 year old Led Zeppelin fanatic, that is...but I gave up visions of the front row to drag her to safety.

Safety has interesting faces, though. In a crowd of thousands, I managed to drag her straight to where friends Jon and Mike were sitting with Mike's big brother Chris and his bandmate Will. Safe harbor. And an awesome view. Better than anything down front.

The show started late - very late. But to make up for it they played for 3-1/2 hours - til about 1:00 a.m. They played the usual standards - 'Rain Song,' 'Stairway to Heaven,' 'Since I've Been Loving You.' But they played Bron Y Aur Stomp' and 'Battle of Evermore' too. Songs that evoke things that are impossible to explain. Songs that first made me understand the divinity that lies within music. Heady stuff for a 13-year-old. Especially this 13-year-old.

Pretty awful if you're the 13-year-old's parents. Luckily the moms had formed an impromptu support group and the designated mom to pick us up called in progress reports to keep the other moms sane. They probably all aged quite a bit that night.

So every year on May 31 or sometime near it - I toast the band, I think fondly on friends.

And I thank my parents.

Jeff's picture

A guy on my hall in college and I skipped a final exam my freshman year to go to this show and man was it worth it...

I remember a near catastrophe as they wouldn't open the inner fencing at the coliseum until much after the advertised "gates open @" time and by the time they did open a single gate there were a couple thousand folks chomping at the bit to get the floor seats (before festival seating was a no-no) and several people around me got either scraped down the chain link fence or stepped on...scary stuff.

Brilliant show, one of the best I've ever seen.

Ahh youth....

Freddy Ivey's picture

This website took me right back there. Waiting in the lobby, festival seating that nearly "trampled underfoot" my beautiful girlfriend (I married her 2 years later), the band being very late (Bonham was reportedly lost in NY, celebrating his birthday)...I remember him being led down the scaffolding to his drum set, obviously drunk, but he played fantastically anyway. Loudest concert I've ever been to before or since. Saw them in Charlotte NC in '72. Wasn't even sold out. Greensboro was packed, though. We got back to Rock Hill, SC at about 3 that morning. Went with two of my best buds (Roger and Lee) and my fiance Rhonda.

Terry Burleyson's picture

I was there and still couldn't believe I was seeing Led Zepplin. I went to the show with friends and my sister.. We got there plenty early and found a place to park..It was really hot that day and back then you could sit in the parking lot of a venue and really have a party. So we started parting and with all the Zepplin's fans there it was a great time.. When they finally let people inside we made a mad rush to the gate, and being a small person I really had to fight to stay with my friends and I mean fight..I never understood why they would wait and open up doors all at one time ! So we made it inside and ran upstairs to get some seats..We found enough seats for everyone and then the wait....and wait...but when the band kicked off that first familiar notes made it all worth while...The three hour and some minutes show was worth every second of the wait..And to top it all off it was John Bonham's birthday.....I seen alot of shows in my day but that Led Zepplin show was the best of all time....

Donrad's picture

I was in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Camp Lejune, North Carolina, had just turned twenty-one years old. Five weeks before I was discharged, Led Zeppelin was scheduled to play the Greensboro Coliseum on May 31, 1977. There was NO WAY I could miss this show. I had wanted to see Led Zeppelin all my life and for whatever reason was never able to.
I requested a day of leave to see this show as it was on a week night and my Company Commander thought I was nuts to request a day of leave off to go see a concert. I explained to him that Led Zeppelin rarely tours anymore and I have wanted to see them as it could possibly be the last time they ever played in the United States (in hindsight I was very prophetic). The Captain agreed to grant me one day leave while shaking his head as he had never heard such a crazy request, he then told me to have a great time at the show.

There was a "head shop" in Jacksonville, North Carolina (can't remember the name of it now, possibly River City?) that had a bus chartered to make the almost four hour trip to the show but you had to spend the outrageous fee of $20 (keep in mind this also included the ticket to the show and a keg or two of beer that was also on the bus for us). Not a bad deal since the driving was left to them, I signed up as did several other Marines stationed on the base.

The day of the show when we arrived at the Coloseum, it was a madhouse. People were running everywhere and seemed to be in an excited state of confusion for lack of a better term. Inside it was even crazier, lots more confusion as well. I attempted to open the door to go down to the main floor, but a security guard was there and said I couldn't go down to the main floor as there were too many people already down there. I was kind of upset as I had ALWAYS shoved my way to the front of the stage in those days (I am 6' 3", 240# and very intimidating, plus I had very little hair then as the Marine Corps had us butchered high & tight). I then asked the security guard who I had to talk to to get down on the main floor and he pointed me to the owner (at least they told me that's who the guy was, the name Harold Wheeler comes to mind here, sorry if I'm a tad foggy on some details, it was over 30 years ago ok?). I went over to the guy I was directed to and he was in a pissed off mood and looked at me and said "What do you want" in a nasty tone. I told him that I was in the Marine Corps and a lot of us had chartered a bus to go to the concert and that I wrote for the local paper on base and I couldn't get the right camera angle I needed from up above and was wondering if I could get down below on the main floor to take better pictures of the band (I had borrowed a nice 35mm from a friend in my barracks to shoot at the show and had it hanging from my neck). He looked relieved and said "sure, is that all you want?" I told him yes and he then escorted me to the door I attempted to gain entry into earlier. He told the security guard "These two guys can go wherever they want" and then held the door open for us to enter down below. My friend and I then proceeded to walk toward the front of the stage and get between the barrier and the fans. This was one of the first shows I had seen a barrier between the stage and fans, in those days if you were in the front, you were usually leaning on the stage.

I remember a bit of a long wait before the show started, and I also remember some guy from the upper balcony trying to get to the main lower floor by repelling off of a belt he had attached to a rail from above and he fell many feet until he reached the bottom floor, not sure if he was injured or not, he got lostin the crowd. I also remembered some seats in the upper balcony area were on fire. The crowd was restless and rowdy for lack of a better term. Once the lights dimmed and the music started, the long anticipation was a loud cheer and everyone seemed to just groove into the night. To say that a certain kind of magic was in the air would be an understatement.

I didn't take notes nor do I recall the setlist, but I do remember many songs Led Zeppelin played (The Rain Song, No Quarter, In My Time Of Dying, Stairway To Heaven, Kashmir, Nobodys Fault But Mine, Rock And Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Moby Dick, Going To California, Black Mountainside, Black Country Woman, Achilles Last Stand to name a few). I remember Plant saying they were sorry for the delay, but they had to wait for someone in New York before they could leave, and I also remember him leading the crowd into singing Happy Birthday as it was Bonhams birthday. I also remember somewhere in the middle of the show where all the members sat on chairs and played a segment of acoustic songs (Plant was on tambourine during this part of the show). I also remember Jimmy using the violin bow on an extended solo along with the lasers above him doing what looked like Jimmy in the middle of a pyramid, it was amazing. The show lasted a long time (from what I remember a little over three hours). Bonhams' drum solo was killer as well and his drum kit was on some track and was moved to the front of the stage during his solo, I had never seen anything like that, it was dynamic. It was one hell of a night and it was very hot in that auditorium, everyone was sweating and loving it. Led Zeppelin definately conquered the state of North Carolina that evening. My expectations were met and then some, it was definately a Hammer Of The Gods night.

After the show was over, on my way back to the bus I noticed a table with Led Zeppelin T-shirts in the hallway. I bought the black one (the famous one that is reproduced everywhere it seems) and decided not to go for the white T-shirt of the same design (but had blue ink instead of black). I still have the shirt and rarely wear it anymore. I can't remember what is cost (either $5 or $10, it's a blur to me now), but it's a night that I will never forget. Hot, sweaty, loud awesome music, and very magical. The bus trip back was a blur and most of us on it were still in awe from the performance we had jsut seen in person. Something I'm sure every real Led Zeppelin fan can attest to.

The next day back on base, my Captain asked me how the concert was and I just smiled a broad grin at him and said "amazing!" He said he was glad I had a good time.

Steve Lominac's picture

Hitchhiked as a 16 year old with a friend to this show from Winston-Salem NC and have never forgotten it. I remember the crush getting in and I remember them pulling up folks out of the crush in front of the stage. It was John Bonham's birthday that night and I seem to remember Robert Plant turning up a bottle and yelling it was Bonzo's Birthday! Correct me if I'm wrong, it was a long long time ago and I was a bit buzzed. A different time, a different place for sure. Cheers.

Steve Lominac

Sherry's picture

We got there a bit early being from out of town. There were so many people there already and they knocked down the chain link fence that surrounded the entrance and in the chaos I think alot of people got in without a ticket because I think they were sold out.

The tickets were only $9.00 for festival seating and we had ours as soon as they went on sale. It was a very hot & humid May 31st and they had no opening act and the band was late. The natives were getting restless. We parked ourselves front and center at the back in the seats a bit higher than the stage with binoculors so we could be comfortable and not have to fight the crowd.

Our friend Tony was a big guy and he was able to get right down at the front of the stage on the floor and managed to secure his position throughout the concert. I envied him a bit but didnt feel like getting crushed. Security had to pull some people out of the front and the band stopped and asked the people to back up. This concert was one of the best days of my life and I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was mesmerizing and surreal. Every song was fantastic, Jimmy's costumes were beautiful. Robert was so fine and if I had one day I could time travel back to this would be it. Sher

Martin Smith's picture

I was there at the show. I have also seen many groups over the years. That was the only time I saw LZ live. I did see Page/Plant on tour in mid 90's. That Greensboro concert was the best show ever. One can never get enough LZ. I wish they would put out more live DVD shows.

Neal Hartsell's picture

No one comes even remotely close to Zep - not then, not now. In my day, I had the good fortune to see the Stones, Deep Purple, Kiss, and many other dominant stage bands of the 70's era. Zep was unquestionably in a class by itself. The thundering power and spellbinding stage presence were simply unmatched. As a scrawny 17 year old, I was able to worm my way to front row, directly in front of Page - and let me tell you, it does not get better than that. I will never forget the black dragon suit or the classic Les Paul within just a few feet. This was a true Hammer of the Gods experience in the days of the greatest rock bands ever. There are few things in life that can truly be called indelible, but for me, this was one. If I could add to it in any way, it would just be to meet Page in person. Maybe some day.
Neal

Ron's picture

Attending the Led Zeppelin concert on May 31, 1977 in Greensboro, N.C. was one of the greatest moments of my entire life. I will never forget that night. The band was over and beyond amazing live!!!

Ron

William's picture

that is one of the best concert stories i've ever heard! my uncle was in the front row at this concert as well.

Matt Roberts's picture

Mr. Nicholson, You were absolutly right about the encore - it probably was WLL,Rn'R, & Black Dog. It was @ my show later that summer, 7/23/77. It was their 2nd to last American show with BONZO ! We know they're coming back with the great Jason. A TRUE chip off the ol' block ! He reminds me so much of his dad, it's scary ! I think it's great that a truly great musician can succeed his own Father as the drummer of one of the greatest musical entities that ever will exist on our planet ! Read my opinion of their show @ the Oakland Coliseum on this page. You might find it mildly amusing, but it will never approach your gifted prose Mr. Hemingway ! Ya' missed your calling dude - you should have written for Creem as a teenager & for Rolling Stone NOW ! See Ya' at a ZEPPELIN show (Hopefully) this year ! They ROCKED at the '02 !

David's picture

about twenty years ago i aquired two original t shirts from a local friend
1 was 1977 led zep t shirt,... he told me the show was in greensboro
and that robert plant asked the crowd to sing happy birthday to bonzo
i still have that shirt and i have just recently investigated what my friend told me, this website confirmed everything, thanks for all the hard work compiling this info for the fans....a great website.
dave in Benson, NC

Name's picture

Sam are you kidding me...!!! I just posted up to this board after stumbling across it.

On the offhand chance you get this, e-mail me back, I'd definitely buy you a beer to get to discuss how the last 30 years have treated you!

unbelievable...

Jeff

Dan's picture

thanks for that detailed review. really puts you in the time.

Greg Miller's picture

Seeing Led Zeppelin is certainly one of the highlights of my rock concert days. I remember many years later, fifteen I think, I was chatting with friends at work, here in northern California. We had recently hired this guy a bit young than I was, who also happened to be from the Raleigh Durham area. Somehow the subject of concert experiences came up and this guy starting telling your same story, about the guy rapelling from the balony with belts and crashing into the seats below.
As he described what he saw, I stood in utter disbelief. This guy saw me? I said, that's a great story! I have a peice that is going to make it even more unbelievable. I am that guy. Yes. I am that ballsy paratrooper from Ft Bragg. By the way, as soon as the belt broke, I tucked into a perfect aircraft exit, keeping my feet and knees together. I was very fortunate to have landed on the floor, rather than the seats.
An old friend of mine, named Gerald Rice (1/17 Cav, Abn), was with me. Don't know wjat ever became of him, but the can corraborate my story.

It was a great time. Great memories. And thank you for documenting what you witnessed. What a small world.

Peace,

Greg

Mike's picture

 I was sitting right near you and saw the guy fall. One helluva night . I was sixteen.

Block's picture

Many, many people saw you, including me.

No offense but, Idiot!

William (Bill) Lynch's picture

I was at that show with a couple of crazy guys. We were in the 1/6 FA 18th abn corps. I can't believe this video exists. I am sure I paid 17.50 for floor and my drunk crazy buddy had 2nd level. He broke his ankle jumping down. ( that was where the weed was) It was really hot , people complaining about the heat and how late the band was. I have him hanging on me I helped him down the corridor after Stairway to heaven. The whole crowd that was leaving backed up in a rush to get back in for the encore. Great show but I had to take us to Bragg and to the hospital. I will never forget that night.

STEVEN J COLSTON's picture

I was 17, and went through the door that came off of its hinges--before it came off! I was in line, there were about 20 people in front of me, and everybody was pushing on the doors so hard they opened them up. I went through, three abreast, and my ticket wasn't torn either. I remember the mad dash to the floor, there were no seats as one of these commenters claims, and I got in front of Plant's mic about 5 feet from the barricade in front of the stage. The encore was the opening riff to Whole Lotta Love, and then into Rock'n'Roll. I remember Page coming up from behind the drum riser, stumbling into Bonham's Kettle Drums, smiling and then jumping unsteadily down to the stage.  It was the best concert I have ever seen, their "Presence" was amazing.

 

 

DAVID M NIXON's picture

I to was at this concert. I was in the army stationed at Ft Bragg NC. My two friends and I had tickets and no ride, so we hitched hiked. Yep we did it. We separated on the Hwy because we knew three guys wasn't going to get picked up together. We drew straws (sticks) to see who would walk and who sit down. I was lucky and got to sit the other two had to walk they left in temperature minute interval so we wouldn't be together. We had agreed to meet at the McDonald closest to the Coliseum. We did and had a blast. We hitched hiked back afterwards and again we separated but this time I had to walk first. I walked about 20 minutes then walk into the woods and slept until morning. I got up hit the road, got a ride within minutes. Best concert ever. And I've seen a lot. 

Eric Taylor's picture

...it was Bonham's Birthday, which I recall Plant pointed out to the audience.

Dianne's picture

I have seen may concerts after Led Zep but none really compare.  I was in college and my roommate and me went to Greensboro on the afternoon of May 31, 1977.  It was a crazy time, the crowd pushed the fence down and they opened doors to keep people from braking the glass.  We ran for a good seat, lower level just to the right of the stage.  We were both to short for the standing room only floor.  When the concert started I was transported to another time and place for over 3 hours. Now, almost 38 years later I can still feel the pounding of the music.

Lee New's picture

I was thereaand it was pandemonium! The band was late arriving and they opened the doors up from inside witha long pole and let everyone in witthout checking tickets after the right-foot tall Trojan fence was torn down and a few people were carried out for being crushed against the wall. I saw one girl that was ODing being carried out by two or three guys over the top of the crowd. Once I got in it was standing room only everywhere, even in the aisles and the floor was littered with trash, vomit, broken glass bottles and needles. Still the show was amazing and I will never regret a single second of it.Tickets were $9, I think.

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Comments

Concert by DAVID M NIXON (not verified)
Best Concert Ever by Dianne (not verified)
I was at that show with a by William (Bill) Lynch (not verified)
my memories by STEVEN J COLSTON (not verified)
ballsy paratrooper? by Block (not verified)
 I was sitting right near you by Mike (not verified)
And... by Eric Taylor (not verified)
Greensboro, NC 1977 by Sherry (not verified)
I was there....best show I ever seen by Terry Burleyson (not verified)
that is one of the best by William (not verified)
greensboro show in 1977 by Name (not verified)
The 77 Greensboro Show by Steve Lominac (not verified)
John Henry Bonham"s Birthday by Name gene larke (not verified)
OMFG by Name (not verified)
Incredible memory... by Jeff (not verified)
May 31, 1977 by Freddy Ivey (not verified)
what a night by Steve (not verified)
I was at the show with all by barry (not verified)
Zep Greensboro, May 07 by Neal Hartsell (not verified)
1977 tour may 30 greensboro nc by Gene Larke (not verified)
This was an awesome show by Don (not verified)
Mr. Nicholson, You were by Matt Roberts (not verified)
Went to this concert by Debra (not verified)
1977 Greensboro Concert by Sam Gregory (not verified)