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Pontiac Silverdome - April 30, 1977

  • 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, Rock and Roll, Trampled Underfoot.
srapallo's picture
on September 22, 2007 - 8:07pm
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Average: 4.9 (1238 votes)
April 30, 1977
United States

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, Rock and Roll, Trampled Underfoot.

77 programme

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


Led Zeppelin play to largest audience ever for single-act rock show.

The attendance at Led Zeppelin's Silverdome concert tonight triumphantly shattered the band's own previous attendance record, a number unmatched by any other group in the last four years. The audience of 77,229 at the Silverdome is the largest audience for a single-act concert. The previous record was 56,800 set in May 1973 at a Zeppelin show in Tampa Bay. On that historic day, the group surpassed the Beatles' 1965 attendance record of 55,000. Making a sum of £467,000 tonight, Led Zeppelin has finished the first leg of its 11th tour of North America. Upon returning, the band will tour the southern United States, beginning May 18 in Birmingham, Ala. [AP]

77 programme

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

Production company 'Worldstage' projected close-ups of the band on a large video screen above the stage.

Led Zeppelin play to largest audience ever for single-act rock show. The attendance at Led Zeppelin's Silverdome concert tonight triumphantly shattered the band's own previous attendance record, a number unmatched by any other group in the last four years. The audience of 77,229 at the Silverdome is the largest audience for a single-act concert. The previous record was 56,800 set in May 1973 at a Zeppelin show in Tampa Bay. On that historic day, the group surpassed the Beatles' 1965 attendance record of 55,000. Making a sum of £467,000 tonight, Led Zeppelin has finished the first leg of its 11th tour of North America. Upon returning, the band will tour the southern United States, beginning May 18 in Birmingham, Ala. [AP]


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, Rock and Roll, Trampled Underfoot.


jeff drum's picture

I will always remember seeing this show. It was my first big rock concert. The band was late that night due to a snow storm from Cleveland. They didn't get on stage until almost Midnight, but it was so well worth the wait. I also remember Plant kept trying to get the crowd on the main floor to back up. He was very concerned because a person had just been trampelled and killed at a Who show.

eF's picture

please please please please please please
mr. page

rick's picture

Went magic truly filled the air...

Matt T.'s picture

Attending this concert was our unofficial senior class trip of 1977. We got there early from Saginaw and rented a room in Pontiac for that night. The atmosphere in the Silverdome parking lot was party city. Booze, drugs, and chicks. One hell of a tailgate party. We were some of the first to get inside and sat on the floor right in front of the stage. People all around were being carried to the stage from overdoses. We would laugh and say, "there goes another one that ain't going to see the show."

When the show started there was such a rush forward by the crowd that I was literally picked up and carried off my feet in a wave going in all directions that lasted for a good part of the show. People that were passing out were lifted up above the crowd and carried hand over hand to the wall in front of the stage where they were tossed over it. I was shocked at the number of people who were experiencing this.

I decided that the floor area was not the place to be. I finally did make it to the upper balconys for the second half of the show. It took that long to get off the arena floor. I'm 51 now and it's the greatest concert I've ever been to. I'll never forget it. It was a great show. I hope the video of the show comes out sometime. It was an awsome experience that I will never ever forget.

Brian Hoag's picture

I was there. What a great night! 

Mark Sanwald's picture

I drove from Kazoo to Pontiac Silver Dome the morning they went on sale. It was cold and snowing quite hard. People had parked over night in the lot in order to get their tickets early. It was a party atmosphere. I believe tics went on sale at 10am. As the morning dragged on the crowd grew restless. The ticket booths were located out side behind a chain linked fence. The crowd began to tear down the fenceing and forced the ticket booths to start selling Tics at 9am. After getting your Tics the only way out of the madness was to climb on top of the ticket booth and jump off the back side. People were packed tight in front of the booths. I recall the first dude at the booth I was at got a handful of Zep Tics and climbed to the top. He was definately in a Zone of his own and kept screeming with excitement. Well....He lost his balance and fell backwards as his Tics went flying through the air. He landed on his head and a ambalance was called for the trip to the hospital. After I got my tickets I chose a different route and put my arm up in front of my face and rushed through the crowd until I saw daylight. Whew! What A Day! But I would do it all again because the show I witnessed on April 30, 1977 was beyond true discription. I found myself about 30ft from Center Stage on the floor. That position lasted through the first song until I decided that if I wanted children in the future, I needed to move in order to prevent early morning Scrambled Eggs! The crowd surged forward towards the stage and the pressure was incredible. I watched the rest of the show from the sidelines. Still, For everyone who was there, it was a Concert that will always be locked in your memory. A once in a lifetime adventure........

Al Moran's picture

Well at the time of this show I was still at school in Great Mistakes close to finishing though.I was feeling really good had reached a point were I knew i would pass my school and I was one lucky dude because with a lot of work from me and a fellow Sailor She was a Cook We were going to see Zeppelin Her first time but not Mine.We had a five hour drive to make and a stay in a cheap hotel outside of Detroit . We actually hung out with another couple from Kenosha Wisconsin after the show at our Hotel and partied till Sunday am .Passed out about 5am slept till 10am and drove back to the base.I was going on leave for two weeks after i finished school and already had a ticket for the Baton Rouge Show.That is a story in itself.I had went home back in January to visit and tickets went on sale Me and Tommy went to get them anyway see the Baton Rouge 77 review for the rest. Well let us see were to start We broke the attendance record set by the Who Jimmy's solo star spangled banner blows Me away.Rock and Roll kicks it as usual and Trampled Underfoot is bad to the bone.Have the boot but it is far from one of my favorites.

Jim Mckee's picture

It;s been over 30 yr's ,and 1000's of concerts later for me,but still to this day i have not seen or experienced a concert like i did that night in 1977 @ pontiac silverdome.It is and will be the greatest concert of my life.I have seen everything from AC/DC Metallica.Motley Crue, Gnr, and on and on,Yes they all put on a grreat show and i had a great time but nothing can ever compare to a Zeppelin concert back in the 70;s,boy how i miss those days;I'll be 50 in a month a still hitting all the big show's and still waiting for someone to effect me like Led Zep did on that Sat night in Pontiac Mich.who know's maybe just maybe i might get surprised one of these days but i doubt it.Led Zep forever and ever.

Bob King's picture

I have been to over 250 concerts, I have seen all the top bands in the land over the last 34 years. My first concert was at Tampa Stadium with Yes in 1974. Little did I know how much my world was going to get my world rocked 3 year later.

Let's start with me buying the tickets. When it was anounced that Led Zeppelin tickets would be going on sale I knew I had to be there come Hell or High Water. I think back and wondered if I didn't step up to the plate and depended on my friends to buy the tickets if I would have seen the show. I worked for State of Michigan and had to call in sick to make journey.

Buying the tickets was as good a story as going to the show!!

I thought I was prepared for the drive but I wasn't planning on 100 miles one way in a fricking white out blizzard to buy tickets, but that is what happened.
I arrived at the Silverdome parking lot the night before to make sure I had a place in line for history. The parking lot was covered in snow and it was piling up through the night. I wish camcorders were in existence then. It was a sight to SEE! Everyone that pulled in to the parking parked their car HALF ASSED any which way they could in the snow and walked away. I thought WoW this is going to be ONE BIG mess when everyone wants to leave after they get their tickets. People were huddled around 55 gallon barrels with fires burning in them through the night in the parking lot like it was set up for the homeless. Guess what music was blaring from Every stereo playing in the Silverdome parking lot. I will give you a clue, it wasn't THE WHO. I thought I was Universal Studios for a movie shoot, it was Sooo crazy!! We all froze our asses off waiting the tickets to go on sale but looking back at history it was SO worth IT!!

Now we are at daylight with a few hours till the tickets go on sale. I think it was 10 am. Our crowd was restless, all we wanted was our Zep tickets, nothing else! It was an hour or so before ticket sale time. There was a temporary cyclone fence put up to keep the riff raft out (which would be us). A couple of guys climbed on the fence and were standing there, with security on the other side. The Fence Boys started getting us all riled up to get our tickets. They stirred us up Good. We all started pushing on the fence, the security guards stood shoulder to shoulder showing their force, thinking we would back off. WRONG!! After we all started hanging and pushing on the fence we knocked it down and charged the ticket booths. They had seperate ticket booths lined up, with the stainless steel countertops. The guards were no match for the Zeppelinite army! I was second in line at the ticket outhouse I was in line at. I had my arms around the waist of the guy in front of me. I was doing this because everyone was trying to pull everyone back to better their place in line. Pandemonium with a capital "P" Check this out, after you bought your tickets you couldn't turn around and leave with them. It was like facing the dragon, your other and only SANE choice was to climb on the steel countertop and jump off to the rear of the booths. Good luck on getting your car out of the parking lot. Nucking FUTS!

SCORE!! I have all the tickets in hand, I AM GOING TO LED ZEPPELIN!

All of my friends were elated (You Bitches, why didn't you go them?) But what are friends for??

Fast Forward to April 30, 1977
Our friend drove his 1962 Ford Econoline Van (Gutted out on the inside) with 2 seats and a Pioneer Supertuner, analog cassette with (2) 6 x 9 speakers. 6 of us made the 100 mile journey north, we kicked it off with a ceremony for High Times (the magazine) and a salute to the Doobie Brothers. We all had our wallets and our bags and beverages. On the way up we didn't want the bathroom techicians to work overtime at the gas stations so we only stopped at corner phone booths on busy streets to drain our bladders. We made two additional stops to pick up a couple of people hitch hiking going to the show. Now we have 8 in our van. So we had quite the array of herbalness to sample from. I forgot to bring the toothpicks for to prop our eyes open after all that.

At the show: When we arrived at the Silverdome it was quite the pre-concert atmosphere. Frisbees, Stoners (Including us), Great music playing on the sound system, and lets not forget the Ladies to look at. Our seats weren't on the field, we were above. I watched others jump the wall (at least 15) only to have security hone in on them and and to their dismay, escort them back to their assigned sections. It was like trying to make it over the Berlin wall, or getting into Willie Wonka's factory without a ticket. Since my senses were greatly in tune, due to the sweet leaf, I thought I would give it my best shot. I watched the lower level arena security like a mother robin in her nest. I planned my move and made the jump, landed and waited to be grabbed. Guess what?, Sucess!! I'm in! Now how do I get all my buddies down to the floor with me?! I had to come up with the master plan, GOT IT. I can throw a frisbee down a laser beam line. I borrowed a couple of tickets and some gum from my fellow Zeppelinites on the the floor. I stuck the tickets to the chewed gum and fired it up to my friends and we continued the task until everyone was below with me. Quite clever, I must admit!

Showtime: Looking the Silverdome we knew this was something very special about to happen. Little did we know at the time the Worlds Record would still stand today 34 years later for one band, an indoor show with no opening act. One of my friends and I left our group and went right up to the stage. Wish I had a digital camera, camcorder or anything. The pics/video I could have taken of the band, that is my only regret of the show. Needless to say we were in total AWE of the up close and personal show.

There were some pretty heavy duty fireworks being dropped from the upper levels, I believe there were a few serious injuries with one girl being pretty much blinded.

SO many good songs performed, it was mesmorizing! Wish it would have never ended. In my mind you can't get any higher on music level than that!

After the show: We went to the hotel where the band was staying. WHAT a party! everyone had their doors open, people running down the halls, trashing/vandalizing the hotel, drinking, smoking, we partied with the ladies in their rooms.

What a Good Time!

We will never forget April 30th, 1977

Dave M.'s picture

This was my first concert and man was the bar set high! 35 years later I can still recall that evening remarkably clearly, no drugs and maybe only 6 beers that night has helped preserve the memories I guess. Highlights included Robert Plant telling the floor crowd to stop swishing back and forth, bottle rockets shooting from one side of the floor to the other, laser light show during No Quarter that lost something in the translation on the inflated Silverdome ceiling, John Bonham drum solo during Moby Dick, Jimmy Page using celo bow, people jumping through a bon fire that was built on the main floor, Stairway to Heavan, and at the very end after the lights came on and people started to leave, Zep came back on stage and started into Trampled Under Foot!!! Everyone on the floor went running back to the stage, almost gave the song a new meaning!!!
I have been to too many shows to count since and nothing has ever come close to the spectical on display that April night in Pontiac, Mi.

sam Jordan's picture

i was at this how. Geo rode from Phili on his bike and we went. i was 16 at the time. We had the crappiest nose-bleed seats in the place. We never went near them. Started up this stairs... oh forget this! headed for the floor. Jumped over once after scouting a good spot, got caught, tossed back up by the bouncers. Moved to a new spot and jumped... made our way down to the floor. YES!!!! disappeared in the crowd, right up to the front. Amazing show! Page remains to this day the single finest performer I have ever seen, and now, that is a lot of performers!

This remains on of the great R&R memories of a life filled with R&R!

Dean's picture

We were in college back then, my friend Mark and I were at the Silverdome show. Talk about mayhem. You didn't want to be on the main floor, people were blowing off fireworks and crazy stuff like that. One girl lost an eye from the fireworks, it was widely covered on the news. Back then concerts did the festival seating on the main floor where it was first come - first served and you were on your feet all night, they did not even provide chairs. Promoters treated the fans like herds of cattle back then. However, Zeppelin put on a memorable performance. One part of the show that I never forgot was when Page played White Summer and this green laser light triangle surrounded him during the song and would spin around real fast. Our seats were up in the rafters and I remember we paid some scalper $20 for $10 seats, but they didn't have Ticketmeaster back in the 70s. I also remember driving to the Silverdome in the snow to buy tickets for the show. They had us packed in so tight that you could pick up your feet and you wouldn't fall down. We were in line for hours and didn't even get tickets.

NameBudsipper's picture

What a experience. Waiting in line to get tickets was a bad house and cold as hell.The fencing around ticket booth didn't last long from the rowdies pushing on them.They open up the booths early because of this.Now the concert what a show Robert Plant vocals,Jimmy Page's guitar solos and John Bonham drumming.Our seats were on the right side near the front of stage,my girlfriend(wifey)was pregnant at the time with out first child,the main floor wasn't a options.Some of our group sat with us and some chance it in the floor.Two of my friend had their wallet picked.During the show a couple in front of us starting fucking to the beat of the drums.WHAT A SHOW.Well anyways that was a night I will never first forget

Frank Lavecchia's picture

I Was At This Show,Pontiac Silverdome - April 30, 1977.
We Had Purchase Bus Package Tickets In Toronto For
$45.00.Seven Buddys Of Mine And Me Left Toronto
At 10.00 In The Morning And Got To Pontiac Stadium About 2 to 3 Hours Before The Show.I Remember Going Over A Very Long Bridge At The US Border,People Were Throwing There Drugs Over The Bridge Because They Were Checking At The Border.At The Dome It Was Amazing I Was Finaly Going To See Led Zeppelin.I Do Not Remember Very Much Detail I Was 17 At The Time.I Remember Having General Admission Tickets And Standing On A Platform They Had On The Feild To Go Into The Stands And Having A Great View.It Was The Best Concert I Have Ever Seen, And I Have Seen Many Before And After This Concert.I Remember Having Ticket To See Areosmith With Boston The Next Night At Maple Leaf Gardens And Slepping Through Most Of It.

Chris H's picture

I'm 50 now, but I remember this show well. It was general admission and we got there really early. The weather was lousy, so rather than waiting outside and getting soaked, we went to a local mall. We stopped into a music store (Grinnell's maybe?) and there was John Paul Jones, looking at upright basses. We walked up to him and asked, "Excuse me, are you ...?" and he replied "Yes, I am", then quickly disappeared into the crowd. We were floored - a great memory.

Argenteum Astrum's picture

The last show of the first leg of the tour and what a way to end it! This is generally an excellent show on all levels, including an excellent No Quarter and some amazing guitar work on Since I've Been Loving You. Jimmy seems to be totally focused during the whole show and the concert as a whole is great. An interesting note is that this broke The Who's record for the highest attendance at a concert at the same venue by a little under 500 people.

Hamish's picture

we all know it was filmed ,when are we going to see it?please please before i die!!!

Mike's picture

Campin gear, frisbees, and front row, lived it & loved it for three days, Tai Stick, and the mass of hunanity inside the dome, wow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keith's picture

greatest night of my life. vividly remember when they opened with "The Song Remains the Same" and also remember vividly the acoustic set they did. Shortly after the concert
started, the main floor had such a "rush to the stage" that Plant told the audience they would "have to stop playing if they didn't stop rushing the stage. We had seats in the upper levels and you could see the crowd just swaying back and forth. Also remember the "hitchbeat" they put into "Kashmir" (same beat change you experience in the Knebworth show) the show had an intermission and ran over 3 hours. totally awesome
no one will every replace the mighty zep!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark's picture

I was as excited about this concert as I was the first time I saw them in Cleveland in 1975. I just could not wait. It turned out that our seats were what they called "overflow". It was in the section that started at the front of the stage and went all the way behind the stage to the other side.Luckily we chose the side on the left (looking out to the crowd) and we could see them coming to, and going from, the stage. There was hardly anyone sitting within 50 seats and we could just stretch out and enjoy. As they were going to the stage we were able to wave to them and Pagey waved back! He was carrying what I am 95% certain was a bottle of Jack Daniels. The acoustic set was just amazing. It made this show stand out. If anyone ever does come up with a time machine, I am going back to this concert over and over again! They just do not make em like this anymore!!! It's a shame.

Bong-Man's picture

‘Beautiful Day’ For Fans As Zeppelin Packs Dome

It took Toledo truck driver Brian Coup a couple of weeks of skimping to afford to hear one of the world’s most popular rock’n’ roll bands Saturday at what turned out to be the biggest Pontiac Silverdome concert ever. “Man was it worth it,” he sighed, sitting on a parking lot fire hydrant long after Led Zeppelin, an explosive quartet of English musicians, had ended a high-energy three hour performance before more than 76,200 fans.
“This was the biggest and most subdued audience for a rock concert here yet,” said Silverdome’s special events promoter Gerry Baron. He looked happy as he gazed over a sea of blue-denimed humanity shuffling easily from the stadium floor and seats to the exits. “It was just a beautiful day.” And not just for Baron.
Roger and Marcia Mulheren watched the whole concert, thanks to a Silverdome friend, from the plush second level press box. They were still in their wedding outfits, hours after being married before 100 friends in a Pontiac church. Roger, a 24 year old nurse, and his 20 year old bride were joined by their best man and maid of honor dressed in matching peach outfits. “It’s a joyous occasion and I feel what better way to spend a joyous occasion than with friends,” said Marcia as Zeppelin kicked into “The Song Remains The Same.” “And what better friends than Led Zeppelin.”

But Zeppelin’s fans have not always been as friendly as the band’s touring entourage would have liked. In Cincinnati last week, a fan was pushed from the third level of the outdoor Riverfront Stadium into traffic below and was killed. There was much concern that such a mass of Detroit fans also could get out of hand. Barron said radio and television spots advising against early arrival, plus the decision to open the doors two hours early avoided a restive crowd outside the stadium. The audience had to wait 80 minutes beyond the scheduled 8:00pm start for the performance, but it did not get rowdy.

Fewer than 20% of the tickets were for so-called “festival seating” on the stadium floor-first come, first sit. The remaining $10.50 tickets, steep by most rock concert standards, were for reserved seating.

But there were usual problems. The stadium staff of four doctors and nine nurses treated well over 100 people for everything from hangovers to drug overdoses. Pontiac police made 44 arrests, 21 of them drug related and many for open liquor bottles and the disorderliness caused by the drinking. “Things went very well for a crowd of nearly 80,000 young people enjoying what they call nice music,” said Lt. Robert Verhine of the Pontiac police. And the music was “nice,” if the thundering crowd that demanded and got two encores can be believed.

Robert Plant, the 28-year-old singer, gave exactly what his legion wanted. Wearing jeans and his leather jacket open without a shirt, he went through stage gyrations befitting the best English rock performer. His piercing high voice, showing strain of the tour, still was exhilarating.
Jimmy Page, spending considerable time with his double-necked guitar, laid out thrilling heavy metallic licks, the sound signature of Led Zeppelin. Only on their classic tune “Stairway To Heaven” did Pages playing really shine. But the mesmerized crowd did not seem to notice. They were over-whelmed with the well-staged lighting scheme, complete with lasers and exploding powder pots, and the well-honed sound. For those far from the several ton mountain of sound equipment on the stage at one end of the stadium, the stadium’s gigantic video screen provided televised close-ups.
For Zeppelin’s efforts, the band took home over $600,000 for the night, a considerable portion of which covers the tremendous expenses incurred on the 5 month U.S. tour.
For the Zeppelin fans’ efforts, like fighting the mobs for tickets weeks ago, fighting traffic to and from the Dome, and waiting for the concert to start 80 minutes late, it all seemed worth it. Sixteen-year-old Elaine Alexander of Mt. Clemens, with friends after the concert, shrieked: “Words can’t even explain it. It was great “!

May 1st, 1977, Macomb Daily

Bong-Man's picture

**This article appeared in The Detroit News on 4-24-77, one week before the show**


Touring The Heartland With a Legendary Rock Band

Led Zeppelin will appear at the Pontiac Silverdome next Saturday night

Minneapolis - The 727 jet glides across the runway and halts gently at a private terminal. Floodlights along the perimeter cut through the gathering dusk to pick out the outline of a naked angel painted on the exterior of the cockpit, the logo of Swan Song Records, and just beneath it, the stylized lettering “Led Zeppelin”
The Zeppelin has landed; another performance during its 1977 tour of America, the first in two years. And witnessing a Led Zeppelin concert is like watching the last convertible roll off the assembly line. You know they won’t be making classics like this anymore.

The band and its sizable retinue of roadies, technicians, tour administrators, hangers-on, and this journalist scramble across the tarmac and pile into a fleet of seven limousines with engines running, waiting to sprint to Minneapolis’ Metropolitan Sports Arena. A police escort of eight motorcycles positions itself around the cortege like linesman circling the quarterback and, with sirens wailing, speeds through traffic lights and intersections to the arena.
Security people are barking into walkie-talkies. The bandsman storm into the backstage garage where ushers yank open doors and push them into the dressing room. This is no ordinary band.
During this five-month expedition, Zeppelin is expected to gross anywhere between $8 and $10 million in some two dozen cities. Easily a third of that will go to expenses.

“You wouldn’t believe what it costs for this band to tour”, says Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, standing backstage. “I probably won’t have any accurate idea until months after it’s over”.
Grant, sporting a large gold earring in his left earlobe, is a bear-like man whose beard spills over his stomach, which spills over his belt. His steady speech and manner is that of a Peter Ustinov though his appearance brings to mind a massive Long John Silver ala Robert Newton. Grant is easily as responsible for the Zep’s longevity as the band itself. In the dressing room, he is a guardian hovering over his four charges amid reports from tour personnel concerning the mood of the audience, security measures, the arena’s acoustics, and a brief meet with the box-office manager who hands a healthy cut of the gate’s receipts over to him.
The atmosphere here is one of complete bedlam. Outside of a few revelers dipping into the ice-filled coolers of Heinekkan and Liebfraumilch, the mood is reminiscent of what Allied Forces headquarters’ must have been like the morning of D-Day. It is a marked contrast to the folderol aboard the Zep’s chartered 727 less than an hour ago.

Aboard the SS Zeppelin, the passengers wash down caviar with Pina Coladas, a favorite of the band’s staff, or sip champagne all served from behind an elaborately stocked bar. Surprisingly, there are few drugs in evidence, some grass, a little cocaine – a pittance compared to the average superstar road extravaganza.
Robert Plant meanders through the plane chatting here and there with small cliques. Drummer John Bonham staggers from compartment to compartment alternately offending and charming passengers, and swilling from a quart of beer (the band doesn’t refer to him in private as ‘Bonzo’ because he’s genteel). Lead guitarist Jimmy Page remains fairly aloof, coming out only for an occasional sortie to the bar. And Bassist- keyboard player “Jonesy”, John Paul Jones, settles down for a game of backgammon.
“We all have different personalities offstage,” he says flicking the end of a Marlboro into an ashtray. “I think that’s why we have lasted so long. Robert and Jimmy dote on the recognition, and that’s great for them. Bonzo and I prefer the anonymity. I like the idea of being able to go anywhere without a lot of people carrying on. I’d rather Robert and Jimmy take the spotlight because someone in the band has to be exciting, y’know, capture the imagination of the public. I think if all four of us wanted the glory, there’d be fights. We’d have broken up years ago like the other bands that started out the same time we did.”
Jones’ features resemble the patrician looks of Rudolf Nureyev, that timelessness about the eyes that soften the fact that Jones is 33, married, and with two children. “I can see most of our audience now is under 21,” he says, “but I don’t feel silly performing for a 15 year old crowd. We’ve been doing that for quite a few years and each new generation of 15 year olds likes our music, so we must be doing something right.” He swirls the ice around in his glass and sits back. “I don’t see why Led Zeppelin can’t go on past all of us turning 40,” he says. “Jimmy and I are 33, Robert and Bonzo are 28. I guess 40 isn’t so far off, right?” “But the band is doing what it wants, and we’re still making fans, still making people happy. There’s nothing else I want to do. We’re all happy with each other and no one wants to split as a solo act.” “Our secret is, we’re flexible and we like each other.”

The area behind the stage looks like the movie set to “Frankenstein”, an array of pre-amps, monitors, laser-beam units, highly sophisticated consoles for mixing and balancing the audio, a score of “flashboxes” electronically triggered on cue and all of this wizardry operated by a small army of technicians. In the smothering darkness pierced only by the rows of fire-red idiot lights on the consoles, Jimmy Page stands by and watches until satisfied all is in working order. He ambles past and into the dressing room. He is wearing a Nazi officer’s cap, Wehrmacht jodhpurs and jackboots. It is an ensemble he is apparently infatuated with for he’s seen around the hotel before Showtime or backstage which he sheds only to don a white satin suit for the concert. Page, slim to the point of exaggeration with dark, curly hair framing his androgynous face, is not only the band’s architect and inspiration, but also Led Zeppelin’s resident Sphinx. In concert, he has been known to get so caught up in his lengthy acoustic instrumental that he is unaware he has strayed too far from his amplifier, thus plucking the cord from it, and playing without sound until one of the stage crew crawls onstage to replace the errant cord.

The legions of Led Zeppelin fans have never been known as docile but this evening’s audience in Minneapolis is particularly feisty. Roman candles whistling around the rafters, firecrackers hurled onstage and two assaults by fans determined to mount the stage. As Bonzo begins the drum shuffle to his “Moby Dick” solo, a firecracker lands inches from Plant who dives from the stage. “We’re used to rowdy crowds,” walking back to the dressing room, “but this is crazy. A lot of times it breaks up our concentration. I’m watching Jimmy or they’re watching me for a cue and suddenly a Frisbee sails out of the audience and none of us sees it. We’ve all been hit by them onstage, but the crackers are much worse; scares the hell out of us.”
We retire to the dressing room since Bonzo will be flailing away for another 10 minutes. Plant sips from a plastic cup of honey and lemon and lights up a Camel. Drenched in perspiration, he sheds his soggy shirt, revealing a long, blue-black scar near the left elbow. a remnant from his near-fatal collision last Summer while driving his family during a holiday in Greece.
Though the three-hour set always begins with “The Song Remains the Same,” and closes with “Stairway To Heaven,” the band changes each show’s line-up of about 15 songs. “It keeps things interesting,” Plant explains, “You can picture what a drag it would be to do the same set night after night. I think that’s why so many bands get sick of touring.”

Another novel, though expensive, practice Zeppelin has adopted to reduce the rigors of the road is to set up a permanent base of operations for each section of the country they’re playing. During their tour of the Midwest, the Zep has stayed at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago, flying out early each evening to wherever they’re appearing that night, then back to Chicago. “You’d be amazed at what a difference that makes,” Plant says “Instead of packing suitcases every day, doing the show, unpacking at a different hotel that night, then repeating it all the next day, we just fly out early, do the show and fly back to our rooms. When we do the East coast, we’ll stay in New York and do the same thing there.”

Peter Grant surveys the unruly audience and shakes his head. “I think the cause for a lot of this is the ‘festival seating,’ no reserved seats on the floor. These kids get in here and start pushing each other about, tossing bottles, firecrackers, anything they can throw. I’m afraid it might be the same situation in Detroit next Saturday,” he says. “It’s festival seating on the field at the Silverdome and they might get rowdy.”
Is the band not courting disaster by cramming so many fans into so large an arena ? Why not two nights at a smaller hall ? (they played three nights in Chicago). “I’m afraid that’s my doing,” Grant says. “The band didn’t want to cut into the two week break after the Detroit show. They’re flying back to England for two weeks, and then returning for the last leg of the tour. I knew they’d only do one show so I thought it wisest to play the largest venue in the area. We were hoping to fill the place to capacity, 75,000, but the Fire Marshall would only allow us 72,000 tickets maximum.”
Grant admits the $10.50 ticket price at Pontiac is stiff but qualifies it after listing tour expenses – fueling a jet, carting along tons of equipment, the technicians, and even a physician who keeps an eye on the band’s health.

By Stephen Ford
News Entertainment Writer

Judy M's picture

My friend and co-worker Ed bought tickets to the show which happened to be on my 24th birthday! We both worked at the 300 Bowl in Pontiac and somehow managed to get a Saturday night off. We had reserved seats not too far up (our noses didn't bleed) but a ways away. It was the first time I had ever seen a big screen as I remember there were maybe four hanging from the ceilings in different spots. The show was beyond description with the crazy people on the floor and the rock and roll angels on the stage! In two years I went from seeing Bob Seger playing "Turn the Page" at a college bar in East Lansing, spending a fabulous birthday helping set an attendance record at the Silverdome with the BEST BAND EVER on earth to watching Bob Seger again floating in to Martin US 131 Dragway in a hot air balloon at the Michigan Jam. Good times but I wish I could remember more of it. I do know I sure had fun. Thanks again ED!

Mark Finzel's picture

I was there too. It was a great show and I was fortunate to be of the age to attend a lot of shows when giants walked the earth. My faves that night were Achilles and Kashmir. They sure made folks act like animals though ... the field was full when the show started and the crowd pushed forward throughout the gig so much that I'd estimate 55% coverage by the end. Robert was telling the crowd to sit back and dig it. Nice try Mr. Plant, but Jimmy was casting a spell. I never saw so many little bonfires set at an indoor rock concert before or since. Some dudes 15 rows in front of us had firecrackers dropped right on top of them. Ouch. We were at a tough angle lower deck stage left and couldn't see Bonzo until they wheeled his kit out for the drum solo, then back behind the stacks again. The band actually took a little criticism in the local press for charging $10.50 for a seat, which hands me a laugh when I think of it now. Same ticket would be at least $150 now. Not the best show I ever saw ( rough crowd and bad seats), but my only Zep ticket and I'm glad I went even though my math teacher gave me the business for going to see "that cranked up drug addict". And when I talk to younger folks about shows I've seen this one gets their attention the most. Crazy, man.

Dave Holden's picture

Magic. Talked about it every day for a year with my buddy the drummer from our band. We worshipped Zeppelin. The road to pontiac was filled with cars blasting Zeppelin. Awesome memory.

Daniel Mixer's picture

What a day! Mom wouldn't let me skip school to get tickets, but some friends skipped and I got a ticket anyway. First and only Zep show but it was a great show. Even though I was there with 80,000 other people. It was an event, and much like the Who show in 75, to open the dome, it was the last and only time I got to witness two of the greatest drummers in the history of rock and roll. Great to see them with Jason, and I look forward to seeing them on tour.

Bill's picture

My first and only Zeppelin show and one of my most memorable of all time. The crowd was so intensely packed in. I think it was the most attended indoor show up to that point. The fireworks were frightening. I remember a rocket shot from the center of the upper deck that made it almost to the stage. Plant actually started to take cover behind the drum riser. Sad fact was that a girl was blinded at this show by fireworks.. something widely reported in the local news. I also remember them turning on the lights at the end and people starting to leave before they shut them off all at once and they broke into "rock and roll". Acoustic set was awesome as well. One thing that really stiuck with me about the density and number of people was that my shoes were untied and I couldnd even bend over to tie them. When I finally got out of the arena at the end and bent down to tie them, the laces were completely gone.

brian's picture

still have vivid memories of the trip a friend and i made to pontiac on a bus from toronto. a walk around the silverdome pre show was an amazing experience but the cherry bombs were not. and i still have the stub and a t shirt from the day.

Name's picture

I will always treasure the thunder of Nobodys Fault But Mine at this show!!!. I was 17 years old a rabid Zep fan and what a show this was. It was my first and only Zep concert and may the thunder gods play again...PLEASE!!! 2008!!!
I dream of taking my 15 year old nephew one day to witness the almighty gods of rock, please rock the Salt Lake City Valley for us!!!

Bring the thunder... Jeff Taylor

Bill Atkinson's picture

I was lucky enough to see Led Zeppelin at The Silverdome in 1977. They played for 3 hours starting at around 9.00 and finishing at 12.00. I went with a bus tour company out of London Ontario called Music Mann tours and they had about 40 bus loads of people going to this show. One of the buses in front of us, someone had thrown a joint out the window at the border so they started pulling all the buses over and we had to be searched for drugs. One guy on my bus took his bag of pot and took a 20 dollar bill and rolled it up and dumped his pot into his pocket., so when they asked us to empty our pockets, of course it went all over the counter and customs charged the guy and he got sent back to the Canadian side and missed the show. Dumb ass wasn't he? I payed back then 45.00 for my package which included bus there and back and ticket for the show.

To hear Bonham play a 15 minute drum solo during Moby Dick, the Silverdome ranged like thunder. I remembered people where pushing down on the floor in front of the stage and Robert Plant stopped and said"There's no need to push, we are all friends here. I am so glad that I lived that time period when I did. Anyways, Led Zeppelin, you where the greatest and always will be forever. Bill Atkinson.

Tim B's picture

I just finished reading all the reviews of this concert, and they all brought back memories. You all have much better memories than I do. Maybe it was because I was stoned silly during the show and missed half of it because I was passed out in my seat. However, I do remember a local rock radio station (W4?) having a poster concert before the show. I forget what the prize was, but I remember creating a huge poster and carrying the damn thing around the stadium for an hour before the show. No one from the radio station ever saw it. I ended up giving it to some guy who thought it was cool. I wonder if he still has it.

lori m.'s picture

I remember that night so well!!!! Got to the show 4 hours early and had field tickets, which meant you were on the floor. The show started an hour late, and by the time Zep took the stage, people were pushing to get closer, causing a near riot. Robert stopped the show twice, begging people to relax. They played over three hours, couldn't believe they had such endurance! I bought a poster that night which I still have, and will never forget the 2 hour traffic jam getting out of the parking lot. It was worth every uncomfortable moment- Lori M.

eagle fly's picture

yep you were there,i try to tell people what that was like and they think im tellin fish stories.i lived in pontiac so went over the nite was cold as hell;found a guy i knew sittin in his van,stayed in van all nite boozin and in the crowd it was so packed i could lift my feet and not seemed to make its own weather a cloud of steam hung over tics lifted on top of booth,was told help a few up before you go .and i did ,ican still see the view from on top of the booth.saw your post had to reply..... ZEP RULES

lou katranis's picture

made the hair on the back of my neck stand up the first hit ! even after hour and a half wait the got detained ha ha and dont forget it was a 80 degree april day in my case being on main floor or better as barry sanders work place ! thankfuly the ponitac fire department pulled out fire hoses and sprayed the first 20 or so rows inwhich i was in from the stage . neverless this event is in my top 5 greatest experiences of my life ! also it didnt hurt after the show at the troy hilton my life and my night had become complete as myfriends from high school a hot local band from eastside called Bitter SWEETAlley my friend tim marko drummer and garry spanuaolla guitar acording a pretty good guitar player himself with intials J. p.thought he was one of the best new picker seen in awhile turns out standing in back of hotel bar at about 115 am.the hair on my neck was about to stand up again when glance to the back of the bar to my suprise two well dressed hippy types as shocked and thinking the cid gave me bonus its page and plant after some beging and ass kiss the boys fromB.S.A> and my friends and I watch half of zep. and a little after 2am.jump up and played a couple jams quite a treat all in he litts shit hole hotel bar ! a great night that none of us will ever forget.

pam dorton's picture

is it you? still alive? get on facebook, crackhead

Matt T,'s picture

Dude! I was right there front and center too and there were no firehoses!

Rhonda Brown's picture

You are so right! I thought that maybe I had forgotten a part of an unforgettable night. I was there on the main floor among the masses and I don't recall any fire hoses either...

billy's picture

There were no Who shows in 1977. The infamous Cinci, OH trampling show was in 1979. The Who took a long break from touring from 1976 to 1979 (just a show or 2 w/Moon in 1978).

Karen's picture

I know right, I was so young and had so much fun, but you're right, the cherry bombs were not so great, lol.  I remember seeing a cherry bomb coming down from the upper level and hitting a girl in the face....the guy with her was trying to get thru the crowd (and her face was all bloody) and people were so stoned they wouldn't (couldn't) move and weren't aware they were trying to make their way up the stairs.  Always wondered what happened with her...:)

Randy's picture

Hey Frank were you and I on the same bus? I was a hero on my bus ! I stashed my pot in one of the little doors on the outside of the bus. Once across the border we all forced the driver to stop and I came back in bag in hand. We also made him stop at a liquor store on the way down. Randy Clements 

Theresa's picture

  I was 15 years old when I had the pleasure of attending the Pontiac Silverdome concert in 1977.  It was my very first concert and I was terrified.  I was a LZ fan before the concert, but converted to a lover of the band after that day and night.  It was a wonderful show and I had the best time of my life up until then at least.  I've been obsessed with the band ever since.  Thanks for the memories and the music which has brought me so much pleasure through the years.  Led Zeppelin forever.  

Sue-Ellen's picture

OH wow. I was at this concert in '77. I went with a group of friends. A girlfriend and I were seperated from them so we waited and were one the last ones to enter the stadium. We were escorted in by security. Just our luck we got standing room right up by the stage. Best concert I ever attended.

michille Mathis Dixon's picture

The photo of the young girl looking through the  binoculars  is me at age 15

Dwain Kotulak's picture

I won my ticket off the radio station Q107 in Toronto Canada. We had to meet at the CNE to catch a bus. When 

we got to the border out side of Detroit there was alot of buses on the bridge to go to the concert. We were 

told that every second bus would be searched so the people on all the buses were throwing everything

that was illegel out the window over the bridge.  We could see people under the bridge grabbing what they could 

and also the police chasing them. We went through customs and our bus was searched. I could see behind some 

glass all the people that were going to miss the show.  We finally made it to the concert. I was with my friend Jim Montieth   We were on the twenty yard line for the show. It was the first time I heard Robert Plant say " does 

anybody remember laughter "when he was singing stairway to heaven. something I will never forget. They played there first encore   When it was over they turned the lights on right away. The people started to leave. Jim and I decided to go to the front to checkout the stage. We were at the front and Robert Plant was standing there with his mike and was asking the people where they were going.   They turned out the lights and played a second encore. We were right at the stage and being squished as the people moved back. It was amazing. what can I say. One of the best memory's of my life

Rhonda Brown's picture

Wow! I was in that crowd. I had no idea that Rock and Roll history was being made that night! I was a tender 22 years old and at 62 I still have vivid memories of this concert. Led Zeppelin rocked the house and the surrounding area! It seemed like the Silverdome levitated that night. I was so completely satisfied that I felt like I should have stopped by the box office and left them some more cash! The music, the laser lights, and Led Zep! What more could a LED ZEPPELIN GIRL FOR LIFE ask for...

Rhonda Brown's picture

Wow! I was in that crowd. I had no idea that Rock and Roll history was being made that night! I was a tender 22 years old and at 62 I still have vivid memories of this concert. Led Zeppelin rocked the house and the surrounding area! It seemed like the Silverdome levitated that night. I was so completely satisfied that I felt like I should have stopped by the box office and left them some more cash! The music, the laser lights, and Led Zep! What more could a LED ZEPPELIN GIRL FOR LIFE ask for...

roberto cantu's picture

i was just turned 17 i lived in pontiac and went to all the concerts at the silverdome i remember the zep concert like it was yesterday  but it was 40 years ago . ohh the good old days




Sean's picture

I like to say I remember the concert, and I guess I do somewhat. Better living through chemistry. Anyhow, I was told I had a great time so there's that...

Gary Mahalak's picture

Slept in my car the night before tickets were on sale and ran to the ticket office to  get 2 of them. Too bad they tore down the Silverdome. Thumbs up to all of you that were there.

Steve Malknecht's picture

Does anyone know who filmed the Pontiac Silverdome concert on April 30, 1977?  I was 17 yrs. old then and just got out of the hospital that day.  I was very happy to get out and see my favorite rock band of all time!  I'm now 59 and would love to see that film.  Best concert I ever went to!  Thank you!

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