Average: 4.9 (77 votes)

May 7, 1973

Jacksonville, FL US

Jacksonville Coliseum

Setlist:

includes: Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, (Bring It On Home intro) Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love (incl. Let That Boy Boogie).

Notes:

Review: Led Right From the Start

Jacksonville, Florida isn’t the place that you’d really want to visit. The appalling stench from the local paper mill hits you in the face the minute you step off the plane; the fact that there aren’t any cabs at the airport doesn’t help either. The airport is full of pinball machines, pay TV sets, tangible proof of the American culture.

And you know that Led Zeppelin performing here for the first time in three years must mean more to the kids in this town than anything that happened in their local lives all year. Led Zep came into Jacksonville with the amazing force of having broken the Beatles’ attendance record for the largest paid crowd  ever at a single group’s concert in musical history – 56,800 people in Tampa. Led Zep – they still do it. Boy, do they ever.

If I, myself, was getting to a point where Rock ‘n’ Roll was becoming part of my past, as opposed to part of my blood, this concert turned it all around for me. I had heard that on a good night Led Zeppelin is magic, IS Rock ‘n’ Roll. Where have they been all my life? To attempt to rationally explain what they did onstage, how godamn good they were, how it was a total celebration of Rock ‘n’ Roll… well, words don’t come easily.

Thirteen thousand kids at the Jacksonville Coliseum – a sold-out  capacity audience. Those kids, those dear American kids; one tends to forget about them when all you see is New York and L.A., sophisticated sleaze and stoned-out young kids with very old faces, but we do have them… all over America with clean-cut faces, blond, blue-eyed freshly turned-out, wide-eyed beautiful little girls and bearded strong boys. Their arms were outstretched, their hands were waving in the air, girls were sitting on top of boys’ shoulders and shaking their long hair wildly, back and forth.

Robert Plant strutted across the stage. He swaggered, he is THE pop star, at all times totally compelling… more so to me than a Jagger, because it just doesn’t seem contrived for one moment. Plant’s voice was like a gorgeous instrument, he was physically and sensually taking the audience for his own. They wanted him to do it to them and he did.

Jimmy Page would do things on the guitar so spectacular and then just stop… and then start again and leave you breathless, always wanting more. When he played the guitar with the violin bow he moved as if in some marvelous graceful ballet. And all along, Bonham and Jones were relentless, driving, pushing – keeping it all solid.

They played some songs from the new LP and some from the older ones. One song rushed into another for two-and-a-half hours with such urgent, intense brilliance. This has GOT to be what Rock ‘n’ Roll was all about; what it is meant to be. Without gimmicks, without any obvious visual theatrics, the interplay – the dance both musically and physically between Plant and Page was magnificent and of course became more theatrically-compelling than almost any other band who attempt  to do something similar.

They never let up. To be able to sustain the kind of excitement that they did… to be able to build from a song like The Song Remains the Same and go right into the lovely Rain Song without losing the tension, and then keep on… it’s just unheard of here. There were no intermissions, no waiting, no tuning up, no bullshit. Just music. Just gorgeous Rock ‘n’ Roll music at its most desperate. The performance was so incredibly timed that you never were completely aware of just exactly when one number started and another began, and the acoustic numbers and the ballads blended in perfectly with the rockers. You couldn’t help but beg for more.

It was impossible to be a part of that experience and not watch, and listen with a total awe. We don’t have bands like this, you know. YOU don’t have bands like this… but you do have Led Zeppelin. And they know what they have. They know the high they can achieve , and they’re here again – their album is number one in the country and they’re going to go and play everywhere and celebrate Rock ‘n’ Roll. God bless them!
(Lisa Robinson, Disc – May 1973)

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Led Zeppelin, Jacksonville Coliseum, May 7, 1973.

Promoter Sidney Drashin: "I paid 'em $50,000 on a Monday night and sold out every ticket, including prob'ly 200 to the bathroom. I mean, it was unbelievable. They sold out. Three days. Probably one of the fastest sellouts.

And we actually probably had a couple of thousand more people than should have been in there, really. Because I explained to [the authorities] it'd be safer to have 'em in here than outside, and they let me have another thousand in, and then they stopped it, and so the kids started throwin' beer cans through the Coliseum windows. Cost me a lot of money. Just mad. They were just mad. They wanted to get in. You know.

Like magic. Just unbelievable. They were unbelievable. I mean, they could hit notes that other bands never even thought about. Just on and on. They were something.

I got to meet Peter Grant, their manager. He was a big old guy -- weighed maybe 250, 350 pounds. He was that big. And they always wanted to see the drop. The drops -- the tickets that were left.

I says, "What does he want to see? An empty box?"

He said, "Sidney, he wants to see, he wants you to bring the drop in." Okie-doke.

I took him the empty box. I says, "Mr. Grant, you sold every ticket."

He gave me a little pat on head. He said, "OK, now." [Times-Union, 6-8-2005]

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