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Singer Bowl Music Festival (State Pavilion) - August 30, 1969

  • Includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown, Long Tall Sally
srapallo's picture
on September 20, 2007 - 7:45pm
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Average: 4.2 (54 votes)
August 30, 1969
United States

Includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown, Long Tall Sally

'69 Programme Click here to view the 1969 Tour Book

Review: Led Zeppelin came on in a tumult of fury, and managed to keep their storm going throughout the entire, very long set. Moving about like some deranged whirling phantom, Robert Plant stormed at his audience in a barrage of vocal and physical assaults, his body writhing with the grinding tones of lead guitarist Jimmy Page’s playing.

Page’s style , with all its fury and passion, was an excellent complement to (previous act) Larry Coyrell’s and provided an excellent study in different approaches to the same instrument. At one point, Page played his guitar with a violin bow, and in addition to being a great gimmick and fabulous showmanship, it created a unique, very exciting sound. (B.H., Cashbox, Sept. ‘69)


'69 Programme Click here to view the 1969 Tour Book

Review: Led Zeppelin came on in a tumult of fury, and managed to keep their storm going throughout the entire, very long set. Moving about like some deranged whirling phantom, Robert Plant stormed at his audience in a barrage of vocal and physical assaults, his body writhing with the grinding tones of lead guitarist Jimmy Page’s playing.

Page’s style , with all its fury and passion, was an excellent complement to (previous act) Larry Coyrell’s and provided an excellent study in different approaches to the same instrument. At one point, Page played his guitar with a violin bow, and in addition to being a great gimmick and fabulous showmanship, it created a unique, very exciting sound. (B.H., Cashbox, Sept. ‘69)



Includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown, Long Tall Sally


Joanne Schadler's picture

I was at the concert also and thanks to the above comment I am now sadly aware of what I had missed. I truly believed that the band did not go on at all. I was fortunate to get inside at a decently early time to get a prime viewing spot up close, but sitting on the cold hard floor for so long was quite uncomfortable, but still, what a thrill. For my favorite band a worthwhile sacrifice. It just became too scary to watch people so high up hanging/dangling from above and coming dangerously close to falling....on top of a very large crowd of people. It would have been known as the very first "mosh" pit (as in "mish mosh"?) in history.
So very sorry I did not get to hear this band play at this special park on this wonderful starry late summer night. It was an open air Bowl theatre. Huge colored Stained Glass overhead panels had long since been removed for safety reasons. The hard Mosaic Tile Floor was a huge work of Art in itself. A painstakenly detailed Map of New York State long since had erroded piece by piece from years of freezing cold winter ice melting and thawing. At a pretty late hour I suddenly realized I had no clue as to how I was getting home and did not live nearby. I left the park with a few other stragglers. The crowd yelling and cheering behind me in the distance, and at some point 3 or 4 am in the morning. Hi mom, Q: where have you been? A: No place. Q: what did you do? A: Nothing...
night, night.

Jim S's picture

This was the first major concert I went to and will always be the one with the best seats I ever had. There were no seats but we sat on the floor and I was stage center about 15 feet from the stage. Back then people "chilled" so we could sit and enjoy the music. No pits, no people standing up, just really good music. There were a number of acts which I can't recall but tickets were cheap..unbelievably cheap. In any event once Zep got on stage they played for hours and we heard many of the songs that would later be on the second album. Jimmy Page played a very long solo that was absolutely amazing. Robert Plant kept asking some folks to get off the support cables but overall people were good. At one point, we lost power and they put on flashlight on Plant and he implored folks to "for God's sake everyone remain calm and we'll get the power back". They did. The concert ended about 3:00am when John Bonham just stood up, looked at the crowd, through his drumsticks at us, then just kind of fell off the drums in exhaustion. Extraoordinary concert as they played for hours. My thanks to George K, his sister and her girlfriend. I had the car they had the tickets!!

Name's picture

This was at the NY State pavillion NOT the Singer Bowl. I was there with my friend Mark. I was 16 years old. On the floor is/was a large map of New York state worked into the concrete. I remember sitting on "Albany". If my memory serves me well they did the Lemon song in the encore. The show ran very late and we missed our train back to Long Island where I lived. My father was so pissed off when we finally got home after 6 am that I was punished for weeks. LOL Still one of the great shows of my lifetime.

Gary G's picture

I know others have already mentioned it but the NY State Pavillion is not the Singer Bowl. It was a truly bizarre location for a concert given the incredibly small crowd, no chairs and the opening act Larry Coryell. Not exactly your typical rock concert.

Those of you who've seen the original "Men in Black" saw the NY State Pavillion in the background in the climactic scene near the end of the film.

Dario Cairoli's picture

I was 14 and was like 4th in line to get in, I got there like 3pm. When they finally let us in, it was a mad rush and I recall standing leaning on the stage which was shoulder height.
A band opened called Raven or Crow or some bird name, then Larry Coryell played an ES335 through a Leslie. Then Zep came on with all the energy and power, it was like after midnight and I knew I was in deep water with my parents since I rode my Sting Ray bike there, so I had to leave before the concert ended. But seeing them so close and seeing Jimmy and his riffs stayed in my brain.

Gary's picture

Went to this show after seeing the shows earlier at the Fillmor East. I remember the crush of people funneling into the closed doors at the end of a ramp and all of us thinking we would be crushed to death by the push of humanity. This was a festival seating show and everybody wanted in to grab a good spot on the cement floor. The crush to get in bummed us out and the sound wasn't that great either so the night had mixed results overall. Bad sound aside Zep was always an exciting show and the crowd didn't seem to care so everyone was really rockin'! What really stuck out to me was that near the end of the show Bonham collapsed behind his drum kit and an ambulance actually backed up behind stage loaded him up and the show came to an abrupt end! The crowd was stunned and concerned and the mad crush to leave begun. I guess the rock and roll lifestyle of excess had begin to take a toll for Bonzo and we all know what that lead to! I truly will never forget this show as not the greatest performance but one of the most memorable. This was an example of the horrors of festival seating and bad crowd control that would lead to the tragedy in Cinncinnati that killed 11 at the Who show later on.

Mark Cherrington's picture

This night was one of the most memorable concerts I've ever attended. I was a big fan of all three bands, and the chance to see them together was incredible. The opening act was Raven, from Buffalo, New York, a terrific band whose debut album is one of the lost treasures of the period. The guitarist in the band, John Weitz, was especially notable, and he was the ostensible reason the band was on the bill, but the drummer, Gary Mallaber, was the one who went on to the most impressive career. He played many, many famous sessions, including many of Steve Miller's biggest hits and Van Morrison's Moondance. Their set was amazingly confident, given the company they were playing in, and they acquitted themselves very well.

Larry Coryell was predictably great, and certainly the best guitarist on the bill, even with the elevated company. It's one of the great things about the 60s that jazz and blues and rock were all equally respected and listened to. It was the most logical thing in the world to have a bill like this.

And Led Zeppelin was beyond good. I saw them play quite a few times, and this was by far the best performance (in Kansas City, Bonham was so drunk he was literally falling off his drum stool). They were still fresh and feeling their power, and they played like gods. The concert was in the old New York State Pavilion on the World's Fair grounds, which was a surrealistic setting, with the giant globe just outside. (If you don't know the pavilion, check out the end of first Men in Black movie. The giant bug climbs the pavilion, and the top of the structure is his spaceship. Now imagine Led Zeppelin playing at the bottom below his ship. See what I mean?) It was open on all sides to the night and small enough that we were within a few feet of the stage. In fact, the band members were crammed together very tightly, which, I think, added to the wonderful interplay they could generate. Bonham was playing his blond maple Ludwig kit that night, and that inspired me to get my own. Two years later I bought the identical kit, and played it for 35 years. I just sold it a few years ago, and I miss it a lot.

It was an amazing night all around, and I can still see and hear it like it was happening last night. Following on the heels of Woodstock, it was a pretty incredible summer for music for me.

Gary's picture

I was at this show and took several great photographs. Not many survived.

(Photos are posted here on

Jack Blakitis's picture

I was at this show with my friend Jimmy who I had seen the Beatles with in Aug of '66 . We stood right above the stage that ringed that venue about 20 feet above the band . A young friend has just leant me a double DVD of Led Zepplin from a show at Albert Hall from 1970 a few months after this show. The quality is astounding both visually and sound . I turned 60 in April and still love this stuff probably more then back then .

Name ken davis's picture

I remember being stuck in the rush of people jammed into a human funnel trying to get into the standing only ,general admission pavillion....for years I have thought back to the very moment because it is a story I have told many times before...why? zepplin? no...the story is because at that moment ,jammed into an open air funnel of man kind I was peaking on sunshine acid although it may have been chocolate chip (cut with stricknine) or purple haze...can't remember...I remember fog up to my knees (synthetic for sure) and a really tall Giant and dwarf cose to me...don't really remember the concert except that it was as said above really packed and a bit frightening .....fond memory though especially now that I have been totally sober for 21 years....

Mark Charles Lamendola's picture

I was at this show, so excited to see Zeppelin!
I give it 5 Stars! It was not just a concert, It was a happening!, it was an introduction to a band about to take the world by storm and change the sound of Rock and Roll forever!
The opening act, a band called Borealis...maybe local? (possibly a second opener as well...I don't remember)
There was no organization at this venue. There were reinforcement cables that were part of the structure that had been built for the NY Worlds Fair several years prior to this show and some concert goers climbed up and were hanging / sitting on them. Members of the staff kept coming out before Zeppelin's set and threatening that the band would not go on if they didn't get down. Zeppelin eventually came on and I remember Robert Plant had these cool sneakers on. The band had to keep stopping to ask concert goers to come down off of the cables.....and then continuing their set. I think they quit early because of the problem.
The sound was weird, not bad but new to my ears as I had mostly been accustomed to hearing my favorite bands on record with studio production. I remember seeing "The Song Remains The Same" upon it's release and awful!
Years later after many years of performing with my own bands I came to realize the difference with live sound and the freedom of on stage arrangement. Side bar: I went to H.S. and used to jam with Tony Thompson who later would play drums with Zeppelin at "Live Aid".
I wish I remembered more of this show, I had a date..cute girl who was leaning back on me through the whole set as we sat on a hard concrete floor....Ouch!
I do remember leaving the venue after the set, there was no order and I was actually lifted off the ground by the density of the crowd heading for the exits. It was pretty scary getting lifted up and having no control over your movement...someone certainly could have been hurt but fortunately no one was.
This was my one and only opportunity to see Led Zeppelin over the span of their career but no one was or is a bigger fan of their sound.

Nick Fenin's picture

I was at this concert. I think I remember the original Fleetwood Mac opening up for Zep. Can you confirm this? Thank you!!

GaryB's picture

Not sure if I was at 29th or 30th show, but I remember Raven was the opening act and "Buddy Guy" was 2nd, not Coryell. I remember him
doing I Can't quit you babe". Was this a different show ? I'm sure Zep
never played there any other time.

Larry E.'s picture

The show was amazing but the venue sucked. There were no seats and the arena had no walls. Didn't really make much of a difference to me. Zep was there and that's all that mattered to me at the time.

I clearly remember that Buddy Guy was an opening act. His performance always stuck with me because he grabbed a balloon that was floating around the stage and used it as a string dampener in place of his left hand. He was LOUD and the sound coming out of his amp was amazing.

Ken's picture

I remember I was 16 yrs old and went with some band mates. I remember them doing communication breakdown, sitting on the hard floor - a map of the state of NY. Also remember no encore because as we were told the drummer was not feeling well.

Zipgun's picture

I was at the LZ show at the NYS Fair pavilion. I remember that they were jamming with Buddy Guy for a few songs, both Page and Buddy were using balloons as slides on their guitar. The show was a great one, although typically loose. You could walk right up to the stage as I recall and be only a few feet away from the band. I don't recall if Fleetwood Mac was the opening show, we arrived at the show just as LZ took the stage.

Ray Wood's picture

Opening acts for this show were Raven (Gary Mallaber on drums) and Buddy Guy sandwiched between Raven and Zep. Buddy was playing a Gibson
SG that night, as I recall, and on one song started climbing a speaker tower on the side of the stage with guitar in hand -- pretty bizarre stuff, but he put on a great performace.

Zeppelin was cut short with Bonham becoming ill on stage, and that was that. The stadium seating became stadium standing on the first note, and since we were towards the back of massive crowd, much of Zep's performance was out of view except for Plant and Page. Still glad I got to see them while it lasted.

Ted McCallion's picture

They played two nights. The opening act was a band called Raven that had a keyboard player with Hammonds on either side of the band. He would run back and forth during the songs and play each of them. Larry Coryell was the middle act on the night I went. Paul Butterfield was the middle act on the other night. I remember the encore as being communication breakdown. white summer was also played.

Mark's picture

we got lost on the subway system... and the bus...would love to hear from you.... M

A local band "Borealus" opened...
Plant was wearing red hightop sneakers...etc....

Jack's picture

I attended the August 29th concert. The opening act was The Illusion, a local band. (It definitely was not Raven.)

John's picture

I was also at this show, the other band that played was Larry Coryell's group the Raven

Name's picture


Maybe you can help me.  I am trying to find people who attended the led zeppelin concert at the NYS Pavilion, and who like to be interviewed for a film that I am working on about the NYS Pavilion.


Please email me if you are interested. 



John Stavros's picture

U are right...I worked back stage for Howard Stein right after the Concert with Jimy,Janis,Chamber Brothers at the Singer Bowl..The Pavilion was over at the NY State Worlds Fair twin round towers and our concerts were held in the bottom with the stain glas above and the NY State map on the ground..Our stage was toward the east part of the round space...I worked there two years and will be writing a book about the 60s..

Larry Basinski's picture

Hello John. I have photos of the sound system that was used for the Pavilion Concert series, produced by Howard Stein. I worked for Jack Weisberg of Weisberg Sound Inc, NYC. I'm putting together an archive of all of Jack's designs starting in 1968. I would love to show you some of the photos from the Pavilion Concert Series that I have. I saw in your post that you're writing a book about the 60's and the photos I have are historically unique of Jack's designs back then. Adios Larry Basinski

Ken Lee's picture

We work the pavilion for the whole summer and I got to sit on stage right in front of Jones and 2 mile immediately was page and then planned a short distance away and in front of me and around us were 12,000 people, the most we have ever had. Don't forget we opened with Joe Parker, and his wristband with the grateful dead and had 300 people inThe same space.

 The same space.

At the end of the show, I got to carry John Bonham off stage because he had fallen asleep across his drums. 
I later got to tell that story to Keith Moon at a bar one night, but that's another story.

Larry Basinski's picture

I have photos of Jack Weisberg's sound system from the Pavilion concert series. I would like to show them to you and get any possible information from you regarding those concerts as you've indicated that you worked them. Please reach out to me via email to: <> My name is Larry Basinski. I'm putting together a photo archive of Jack's speaker designs starting in 1968. His PA system for the Pavilion Concert series were very unique. Hope to hear from you. Adios Larry Basinski

Stu Reben's picture

I was in charge of security there and the guys actually continued playing for awhile without Bonzo. He did not look too well in the dressing room before the concert.

roundaboutstudio's picture


Hi, I am making a documentary film about the New York State Pavilion. If anyone has pictures or stories that they wish to share, contact me through my gofundme page. Im trying to get people to see this building rather than see through it. Maybe its not too late to save it. -matthew 

daniel rozich's picture

mine is the first comment think i remember it most older brother saw 3 dog night there  with spooky tooth opening

Hayden Morris's picture

I was there to see 3 dog night.   I knew spooky tooth so when they opened I loved it. They were fantastic. I wasnt rellly aware of the 2nd act so I just hoped they'd play quickly and then I'd be happy. We sat on the hard floor which was a map of NY state and it was really uncomforable. The. Led Zepplin took the stage and I never wanted them to leave I and heard Communication Braakdown, but I was sooooo blown away it was unbelievable I really felt bad for 3 Dog as their music although good could not compare to LZ. I think we paid $5.  Best 5 bucks I've ever spent !

daniel rozich's picture

Was at this show 13 years old . Packed show standing only maybe 800 people would fill this place. Stood right in front of the stage by Plant you just had to squeeze your way up no bigger than a big club like bonds n.y.c. were I saw the Clash 12 years later. Great show was playing the first album for weeks could not believe the sound of that record like nothing before in 1969. Even after being brought up on the Beatles, Stones and Who. This show is often mistaken for the singer bowl which became Arthur Ashe stadium much bigger venue. Sidebar saw 10 years after same year at the singer bowl Bonzo and zepp were backstage when Bonzo thought it would be funny to throw orange juice at Alvin Lee from side of stage Alvin was totally pissed . I found only one other comment that at the n.y.s. pavilion show it ended with no encore when Plant said our drummer was ill . This is fact remember it well. Was still an amazing show in such a small place !

Howie's picture

The concert was at the NY State Pavillion, not the Singer Bowl. The Pavillion is the iconic structure seen in movies such as Men In Black with two high rising columns and round disk like structures at top on the east side of the park. The Singer Bowl was an egg shaped stadium on the west side of the park and the current site of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The NY State Pavillion had no seats and we sat on the floor for the opening acts. I don't remember how many opening acts there were, but I do remember Buddy Guy performing.

I was not a big blues fan at the time, but he did get my attention when he started playing with a balloon. It may have been a gimmick, but it did grab my attention.

I was 17 years old. I was there to party and to see Led Zeppelin (I saw them previously at the Filmore East).

When Led Zeppelin came on, everyone rose to their feet, and stayed on their feet the rest of the night. My recollection is fuzzy for the show, but I did enjoy myself. It was a different type of show and atmosphere because of the venue.

Anyone who wanted could make their way to the front and see the band up close. It was a small, intimate place, with a lot of good vibes. It was a hot summer night and after the show people waded in the park's water fountains, and the train after the show out of Flushing was packed with teens and young adults who were all pumped, stoned and happy.

Peter M's picture

Buddy guy opened and played a great set - my first listen to this still great guitarist.  The summer atmosphere included balloons and one reached the stage and Buddy used it to briefly play his guitar.  I remember that the last song Buddy did and the first one Zep did was teh same - maybe "I Can't Quit You Babe."

Zep was absolutely terriffic and high energy. Dazed and Confused was extended and spacey.  Blew the doors off the joint.  By the way - the venue was The New York State Pavillion at the 1966 New York Worlds Fair site.  I see some descriptions that say Singer Bowl - but maybe the name was changed later.  There was a giant map of New York State in the floor of the venue.

Ken's picture


I was a 16 year kid from Queens and playing drums with a local garage band and remember going with three of my friends, two of whom played in the band. We did a number of Led Zep tunes so it was exciting to see them perform live. I remember sitting on the floor at the New York State Pavillion to see them. This was my second visit there having gone to the NY Worlds Fair in 64-65. My most vivid memory was them performing Communication Breakdown and John Bonham wearing a civil war type confederate cap. Like some other comments on the Aug 30 show I remember Bonham getting sick at the end of the show ending the performance without any encore. Not positive but I always perceived he had too much to drink and got sick? I still have my half of the ticket stub - marked August 30, 1969, the Pavillion.

david geis's picture

I climbed the wall and got to see the show. I was 17 years old.  The show was great. After the show, someone climbed to the top of the unisphere. The cops were waiting for the guy to come down and the crowd rushed into the water and he got away.  Great night!!  Does anyone remember this?


















Bruce N's picture

I was there the whole summer, what a great experience Led Zeppelin was incredible

Richie's picture

I became a Led Zep fan when their first album came out but my girl friend hated crowds and loud music so we stayed outside outside the Pavillion on the grass.Yes it was still loud and I got repots from my friends who were right up by the stage.I remember the kids scaling the walls to get into the concert and all the hippies getting high around the Unisphere and some climbing it,which to me was very dangerous.We attended other concerts here that summer and I dragged her to the Fillmore East and the Woodstock Fest which she also hated but we've been married 47 years now and I attend concerts by myself now.


Stu Reben's picture

Myself and two friends were in charge of security at the Pavilion along with a bouncer named Wayne. I had approached Howard Stein after seeing how rowdy the crowds were and how difficult it was for the groups to come in those huge concrete doors without all the kids outside trying to get in. Having security experience at several area beach and country clubs, Stein signed signed us up for the remainder of the summer. My recollection, having been sitting on the stage that night, is not that Bonham fell asleep, but that he had drank too much and just slumped over his drums late in the set. I also asked several police officers to leave as they were uninvited and were trying to nose into the dressing room. I remember Mapes the stage manager, Luis who then moved on to the Capitol Theater with Stein and was in charge of the ticket window funds, and Dominic Sicilia the Sound guy. I remember the Pavilion closing after Iron Butterfly played so loudly they created a crack in the concrete wall and the site was declared unsafe. That was when Howard moved his operation to the Capitol Theater in Portchester. I was on the stage there when Marty Balin from Jefferson Starship reached into his tall boot and passed a joint around while they were playing. He told the Joshua Light Show to lift their backstage curtain so their light show projected onto the audience. Amazing!

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