September 13, 1971
Berkeley, CA US
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I've Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Celebration Day, That's the Way, Going to California, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, Hello Mary Lou, Mess of Blues, You Shook Me), Communication Breakdown (incl. Gallows Pole), Rock and Roll (aka "Been a Long Time")
Press review: Before and After with Led Zeppelin
A note to the chubby girl who tried to steal my seat at the Led Zeppelin concert on Monday night at the Berkeley Community Theater with fraudulent claim of claustrophobia: I must explain that when you asked if I liked Led Zeppelin, and I answered emphatically yes, it was BEFORE the concert started. As of today I no longer consider them musicians, but rather criminals against whom I intend to lodge charges of assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon and unjustifiable homicide.
The concert started late, about 8:20, and continued to around 10:45 without a break. Unless, of course you count eardrums. Beyond the rather hefty stage monitors, and beyond the numerous Marshall and Acoustic amplifiers hooked directly to the guitar, bass and keyboards, there were thirty-two 15-inch bass speakers and 12 huge horn-drivers, driven by God knows how many watts, spewing Led Zeppelin all over the Berkeley Community Theater. It was the perfect system for the Panama Canal.
In other words, the group played too loud and I left after an hour and 15 minutes. Led Zeppelin is a pretty predictable band. John Bonham played an extremely long drum solo for which he got a predictable standing ovation; they did their version of an acoustic – although the instruments were electrified – and a combination of golden oldies and tunes from the upcoming Atlantic album… including “Black God” (Black Dog) an entirely disreputable mélange, and something called either Stairway to Heaven or “Stay Awake in Heaven”. Lead singer Robert Plant's introduction sounded like the latter but common sense would seem to favor the former.
Plant, incidentally, did his unique one-man imitation of what would happen if Alice Cooper and Iggy and the Stooges held a mince-in. Plant, known as the Mynah bird of rock, was otherwise totally unintelligible. Jimmy Page played very unpleasantly, relying on gimmicks and cacophony instead of music about two-thirds of the time. Drummer Bonham and bassist-keyboarder John Paul Jones were, as usual, more than competent.
Do not misunderstand. Led Zeppelin is a great instrumental band with few peers in the hard, heavy-bottom blues-rock field; and Page, when he stops screwing around (as he did on ''Since I’ve Been Loving You''), is electrifying. But the group's sound amplification equipment set up for 10-20,000 seat coliseums was just too much for the relatively small BCT. And their sound mixer, on stage and behind the speakers, was in no position to bring matters under control.
The group leaves today for Hawaii and Japan. [-J. Wasserman, SF Chronicle]
Led Zeppelin bows in with a roar
Led Zeppelin, tabbed a supergroup by many rock critics, proved itself only to be loud, boisterous and very deafening at their first Bay Area appearance in over a year last week.
Filling the Berkeley Community Theater with some 40 amplifiers and speakers, the English group apparently mis-judged its sound projection because its effect was almost unbelievable, and often unbearable. It is well known that Led Zeppelin is a talented group. Jimmy Page is without a doubt one of the best guitarists in the musical world, John Bonham is a great drummer, bassist John Paul Jones is an above-average performer and Robert Plant, well, he has been called a male Janis Joplin.
The concert, which started 20 minutes late, began with the barely recognizable "Immigrant Song," with Page improvising to the hilt throughout the number and Plant dancing around onstage spastically to the tune.
"Since I've Been Loving You," was moving, dramatic and gutsy, but absolutely too loud and so was "Black Dog," from the newest album. Their mystic and haunting "Dazed and Confused" has improved by Page and his guitar. Zeppelin's "Celebration Day," a hard, driving number that was unbelievably loud, shook the auditorium and the people in it.
A quiet and peaceful interlude where the group sat down and performed a couple of tunes including the lyrical and soothing (to the ear) "Going to California" almost saved the evening. They played acoustic guitar, but even it was plugged in.
John Bonham, the drummer in the group, presented one of the most phenomenal drum solos this reporter has ever witnessed. The half-hour solo had the crowd in a frenzy and they roared its approval until his conclusion. From then on, the crowd stood until the end of the performance, apparently hypnotized by the music, and danced Whole Lotta Love", a fast moving tune, interspersed with oldies but goodies like Rick Nelson's old hit, "Hello Mary Lou."
When called back for an encore, they went into "Been a Long Time," also from their upcoming album and again blasted the audience out of the auditorium, ears ringing with the tunes of Led Zeppelin, probably the loudest group to ome out of England. — Oakland Tribune.