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St. Matthew's Baths Hall - November 16, 1971

  • Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I've Been Loving You, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, Tangerine, Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Celebration Day, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, Hello Mary Lou, Mess of Blues, Honey Bee, Going Down Slow), Weekend, Gallows Pole.
srapallo's picture
on September 21, 2007 - 4:00pm
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Average: 4.3 (124 votes)
November 16, 1971
United Kingdom

Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I've Been Loving You, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, Tangerine, Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Celebration Day, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, Hello Mary Lou, Mess of Blues, Honey Bee, Going Down Slow), Weekend, Gallows Pole.


Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I've Been Loving You, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, Tangerine, Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Celebration Day, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, Hello Mary Lou, Mess of Blues, Honey Bee, Going Down Slow), Weekend, Gallows Pole.


Richard Fugelsang's picture

What an totally amazing night at the Baths Hall !! One which all future gigs by other artists have been compared to.

Unfortunately my old mate Chris didn't make the gig and has been a tad unhappy about it ever since. I now live in Sydney and on a recent trip home, Chris took me back to the Baths Hall, now a social club, and although much changed you can still pick out features of the building to bring back a flood of memories - Jimmy Page playing electric guitar with a bow, the first time most of us had ever heard 'Stairway to Heaven', Plant belting out the best version of 'Hello Mary Lou' I've ever heard, whilst the boarded over swimming pool floor bounced up and down with the weight of all of us fans dancing and going crazy at the best gig of our lives !

What a life altering gig and all for a ticket price of just 1 pound .... which I easily bought on the day of the gig ! - Richard Fugelsang

cliff mcnamara's picture

I remember so well the night Robert Plant spoke to me, I had brought one of the above

posters 20p it cost. Me and my mates where sitting on the floor right in front of the stage

and plant said to me ( you didnt pay 20p for that did you ? ) to be spoken to by the one and

only Robert Plant think I would have paid £20.00 . I just said sure did, it was an amazing night

I still have my ticket but sadly not the poster. I also remember waiting for the encore with

the veiwing gallery bouncing up and down thinking god I hope that holds out.

it was a nght never to be forgotten Mac

Steph's picture

I own the very same poster. Does anyone know how much it is worth?'s picture

IT was a concert that has gone down in Suffolk music legend - the night one of the biggest rock bands in the world played at a converted swimming pool.

But there are no official recordings of Led Zeppelin's gig at St Matthews Baths Hall in Ipswich in November 1971; only a handful of patched-together recordings from a small band of bootleggers.

So rock fan Vic Kemp could not believe his luck when he found a CD at a car boot sale featuring a recording of the whole concert.

“I was going through a stand of CDs at the car boot at Portman Road and the guy who was selling them said 'you might be interested in this',” he said.

“It doesn't have a proper cover and the title is just written in felt-tip pen. I think the date of the concert is wrong, as it says 1972, but the recording is not too bad at all. It's on a double CD.

“It must have been recorded by someone standing at the front with a microphone. You can hear (singer) Robert Plant talking to the audience quite clearly.”

Mr Kemp, 48, who works at Sackers Recycling at Great Blakenham, said: “I was too young to go to the gig but Led Zeppelin were massive at the time and all the big ones are on there - Immigrant Song, Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven, Rock & Roll and Black Dog.

“It only cost me two or three pounds. I've no idea how many other copies there are or if it's worth anything. It's just incredible that they played such a small venue - and it sounds an amazing gig,”

Mr Kemp also has a framed promotional poster advertising the event, which he picked up separately.

The event was hosted by Ipswich concert promoters Ron and Nanda Lesley and notorious Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and the poster bears the slogan: “For one night only, the internationally famous Led Zeppelin.” Tickets for the concert cost £1.

Several years ago a group of bootleggers put together the only three known “source” tapes of the concert and produced a CD, which was titled Internationally Famous. There is also another recording called Gallows Pool.

It is likely the CD Mr Kemp bought is a copy of one of these remastered recordings.

St Matthews Baths Hall, in St Matthews Street, opened in 1922 and hosted many concerts and music nights in the 1960s and 1970s.

It closed in 1984 and became offices and later a social club for Suffolk County Council. It currently stands empty, although a Tesco Express store has been built at the front of the site.

LED Zeppelin released their IV album just eight days before they played in Ipswich, a date which was part of their 1971 UK winter tour.

While they had already established themselves as one of Britain's best and most popular rocks bands by this point, it was their fourth record that turned them into superstars.

It featured four symbols on the cover to represent the four members: singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bass player John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham.

Plant tells the audience at the Ipswich concert that the newly-released album was “long overdue - we had a lot of problems with it”, but IV went on to sell more than 37million copies worldwide, becoming one of the most successful records of all time.

Several tracks from the album - Rock & Roll, Black Dog, Going to California and the all-time classic Stairway to Heaven - were played at St Matthews Baths Hall, to a crowd who had probably never heard the songs before.

The show also featured the best numbers from their first three albums, including Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker and Whole Lotta Love, which later became the signature intro music to Top of The Pops. It is those songs that receive the most rapturous response from the crowd.

The hall had a distinctive “bouncing” dancefloor where the pool had been drained and filled in and Plant can be heard on the recording saying: “Don't know which one's the 12ft end - God help us” and then later “Think of the drop beneath you and the drop that might come eventually”.

He also jokes: “I'm sure you must've had a Town Hall.”

There are a couple of references to Marc Bolan and T-Rex - one of the band's big rock rivals at the time - and the singer compliments the crowd for being “very polite” after a respectful round of applause greets his introduction to Stairway to Heaven.

There are also lengthy solos in the show, notably from Page, whose showboating stretches Dazed and Confused to almost half an hour long.

Led Zeppelin went on to become one of the biggest selling bands of the 1970s with a string of hit albums, while their reputation as hard living rock stars became legendary.

The band split in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham after a heavy drinking binge.

The remaining members went their separate ways to pursue successful careers in music.

Argenteum Astrum's picture

An excellent and surprisingly powerful show! Robert's voice is really strong and the band is really cooking right from the first few bars of Immigrant Song. The local swimming pool was tonight's arena of the show (also used as a dance hall in occasion). Prior to the date of the concert or dance, the pool was drained, and a complex wooden support structure was installed in its place, upon which panels of wood flooring would sit. So, not quite the danger was present at the venue as one might think but Plant was wary of that: "I don't know whether the 12-foot end's this one or that one. God help us! I'm sure you must have had a Town Hall! It's gonna be a silly night tonight. We'd like you all to feel at home. Just think of the drop beneath you and the drop that might come eventually!" Dazed And Confused has some really funky jam interludes led by Jones and Page and the end medley is excellent, with Plant's vocal prowess being showcased from the lowest crooning to the highest shrieking. The band also threw in some nice encores on this tour, with Eddie Cochran's Weekend getting aired three times, at Dundee, here in Ipswich, and in Bournemouth, with the latter show also featuring a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' It'll Be Me. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the tour, however, is the aforementioned performance of Gallow's Pole at this show in Ipswich, being the first known performance of the song since Copenhagen in May 3rd that year.

Ellen's picture

1 thousand pounds was mentioned.

Dave's picture

I too was there that wonderful night, stood about eight feet from the front of the stage. I still have my poster and ticket, somewhere in the loft no doubt.. I used to go swimming in that Baths Hall and I too wondered if the flooring would hold out.
Great to read your memories

Mike Snead's picture

I was there as well. My girlfriend (now my wife) sat on the floor right in front of Robert Plant, no more than 8 feet away. Sadly, I did not take any pictures but my brother in law did. Unfortunately, he was sitting far from the stage. I do have a bootleg (CD says "Promotional Copy, Not for Sale) from the show. It isn't a great audio but for me it is a treasure.

Name's picture

I attended the concert that night with my girlfriend who has since become my wife. We were sitting on the floor within 8 feet of Robert Plant. What a fantastic experience. I just bought a 2 CD set of the live concert online. I can't wait to hear it.

I did not hear about the concert until the tickets had been on sale for 2 days. Not expecting any to be left I went to the St. Mathews Baths ticket window and asked if there were any more for sale. A nice lady said yes, luv. I couldn't believe it.

When the doors opened that night most of the blokes headed for the sides of the room. I went straight for the front. Having attended the Isle of Wight event earlier that year and being no closer than 30 meters from the stage at any time it was just amazing to be so close.

My brother in law in Tampa took some pictures that night but after all this time he has yet to send me copies that he has promised. Perhaps when I tell him about the CD he might be inclined to find them. If so I will certainly advise him to post them.

Jacqueline Croney (nee Wright)'s picture

 Hi Richard, still have your name in my engagement cookbook along with Gillians, Carol and Steve's. Wondered how and where I might ever catch up with folks from those days (Coppleston youth club, Manor Ballroom, Oglio Disco etc. Yes; I tell all my young musician friends of how I skipped school and cycled down Bishops Hill to get my ticket. Had to write lines every evening for two weeks as a penalty; worth every penny. I sat on my fur coat when "Going to California" was played. We all were in awe that our music heroes came to such a small place. My cousin did similarly  

 I  remember  Focus played at The Baths a week later.

 I lived near Derby Rd Station, where you came to my houseparty and  we were both at another on Bucklesham Road where we had Italian Meatballs? I emigrated to Bill Clinton territory after many years as an Air Force wife. Have heard back from Wiki wanting me to give more details of past concerts in Ipswich. Kept a log, did you? 

Neil Fayers's picture

One big correction - the swimming pool had not been filled in, it was covered over seasonally and used for music events I swam there until its closure when the towns new Crown Pools was opened

I still have a bootlegged recording from the show, on reel-to-reel tape, recorded by a friend, a member of the group I was with at the concert. It was originally recorded on a small cassette recorder

BBC's picture

Poster for Led Zeppelin Ipswich gig fails to sell

A poster advertising an intimate Led Zeppelin concert at a swimming pool in Ipswich has failed to sell at auction.

The band played stadiums around the world in 1971 but opted to play smaller venues, including St Matthew's Baths, to promote Led Zeppelin IV.

Led Zeppelin poster for Ipswich gig

BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Stephen Foster said it had become known as "Suffolk's greatest gig".

The signed poster attracted a £2,000 bid but this was below the £2,500 reserve.

Auction house Bonhams said a representative from Island Records had grabbed the 51 x 76cm (20 x 30in) poster from the wall and got it signed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones - missing out drummer John Bonham.

Natalie Downing, from Bonhams' entertainment department, said: "According to the representative, John Bonham could not be found after the concert as it was expected he had left with a groupie."

Led Zeppelin in IpswichLed Zeppelin played Ipswich in 1971 after a successful tour of the United States
Led Zeppelin in IpswichThe band played 13 songs before returning for two more as an encore

Tickets for the gig were £1 and the band's set list included favourites including Whole Lotta Love and Immigrant Song.

Mr Foster said: "The stand out track is Stairway to Heaven and the Ipswich audience would have been among the first to hear that, along with tracks like Black Dog and Rock and Roll.

"Although The Beatles had visited the town during the height of Beatlemania in 1964, rock giants Led Zeppelin playing at a swimming pool was something extra special - surreal, in fact."

'Just incredible'

Nigel Rea went along with a "gang" of friends and managed to take several photos.

"It was quite an important gig," he said. "The Baths Hall had lots of bands playing there but nothing like Led Zeppelin.

"I remember Robert Plant saying something like 'Haven't you got anywhere bigger?' and mentioning the board which was covering the swimming pool.

"Jimmy Page was awesome. At one stage he played his guitar with a violin bow and there was lots of feedback effects.

"It was a great show."

Led Zeppelin in IpswichThe venue had also hosted the Spencer Davis Group and The Move
Led Zeppelin in IpswichRobert Plant joked about whether Ipswich had a bigger venue for the band to play at

Another fan, William Martin, said the gig was "just incredible".

"I'll never forget it," he said. "I remember seeing Jimmy Page and Robert Plant arriving in a green Rolls-Royce for soundcheck.

"I saw them three times after that, but that night was magic. You were so close to them."


The baths building is now being used as a gym. 

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