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Pacific Coliseum - July 18, 1973

  • Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, (Bring It On Home intro) Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven.
srapallo's picture
on September 22, 2007 - 4:29pm
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Average: 4.6 (86 votes)
July 18, 1973

Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, (Bring It On Home intro) Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven.


From one of their first-ever shows opening for Vanilla Fudge (Dec. 1968), the west coast of Canada became almost a second home for Led Zeppelin early in their career. As the group's popularity grew, they chose the city of Vancouver to launch their 1970 and 1971 North American tours.

The concert in August '71 was perhaps too successful, with promoters not suitably handling the enormous crowd - which would return to haunt them in their following tour in 1972. Growing popularity of groups like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones etc., found themselves in the transition to a new "arena rock" era. However, uptight city officials were not yet ready to accept this level of fan frenzy. Thousands stormed the gates at the Pacific Coliseum in '71, unable to get tickets to the sell-out show, resulting in some arrests, injuries and damage.

Upon the group's 1972 return, the city of Vancouver simply refused to grant a license for the show. "They've had difficulties in other cities and difficulties here before", Mayor T. Campbell told the press on June 13, 1972. "The chief of police was afraid there was going to be trouble and that his men wouldn't be able to handle it."  Before a final decision was made, Vancouver city council had met with the P.N.E. board of directors and Concerts West (promoters of the tour). The mayor also said that all rock concerts for the rest of the year would be considered individually before performance licences were issued.

The stunned promoters were forced to offer refunds to the sold-out show scheduled to take place in less than a week. "This decision could mean the cancellation of the entire tour", said a spokesman for Concerts West. "Led Zeppelin planned to use Vancouver as its base for an eight-city stretch."

But, there was light at the end of the tunnel... Two days later on June 16th, 1972, a last-minute solution was revealed: "LED ZEPPELIN ANNOUNCEMENT - Due to a freeze on rock concerts in Vancouver, Led Zeppelin announces that a second show will be held in the Seattle Coliseum this Sunday (June 18) at 8:00pm.  This is a make-up for the City of Vancouver and all its Led Zeppelin fans. Tickets for the cancelled Vancouver show will be honoured at the Seattle Coliseum. So come on down and experience a killer of a show". Sold out concerts in Seattle June 18 and 19 were among the best of the tour, without major incident or problems.

When the group returned back to North America in May 1973, their overwhelming success was stunning, even to the band. Their fifth album, Houses of the Holy was an instant top seller and fans packed every show. A record breaking attendance in Tampa further propelled the band into super-stardom.

A two year absence from Vancouver seemed to have calmed city officials and Led Zeppelin was set for a triumphant show on July 18, 1973 at the Pacific Coliseum. Fans recall the hot summer evening and the great anticipation of seeing the biggest band in the world. Unfortunately, bad luck would continue again this night and cut short the show.

John Bonham kicked off the intro and the band launched into Rock and Roll to the delight of the crowd. Sometimes a shaky start, it was a solid number this time with Plant's voice fairly strong as well.   "been a long time, a long time...  lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. It sure has.... and you know it!", he added to the thankful fans. Though incomplete, a fair audience tape gives a taste of the experience.

A loose, punchy and playful bass carries Celebration Day as Bonzo and John Paul Jones jam throughout.  "Vancouver, good evening! I've gotta apologize about last year, but I believe one or two of you made it across the border - thanks for the faith."

As Page begins the melodic guitar intro to Over the Hills and Far Away, the familiar blast of firecrackers rings in the arena.  But despite the stupidity of a drunken fan, Zep plays another impressive run.

"Alright!", he cheerfully exclaims to the roaring fans. "We really must try to maintain some seriousness about this, although we always try to give out a vibe where everybody's smiling. We'll play our balls off if you promise - no firecrackers. You can have our balls, we don't want your firecrackers", he proclaims.   "Here's John Paul Jones, talking about balls...", who launches right into an upbeat Misty Mountain Hop.

Jimmy Page carries through a gutsy Since I've Been Loving You, performing in a trance-like state.  Dry ice and smoke drape the stage like a London fog as the ethereal No Quarter begins. Every Led Zeppelin show is different and the jazzy improvising and jamming on this version contains some great moments. An unfair and scathing review in the Vancouver Sun criticized the show and failed to find many positive observations: "There were some good things about the concert, John Paul Jones' bubbly keyboard work made N.Q. interesting", wrote reviewer D. Stanley.

The group would continue through The Song Remains the Same and Rain Song, which fell victim to the unpredictable and temperamental Mellotron.   "JPJ's use of the mellotron (an instrument that imitates a string section) was good until it broke down", said the Sun newspaper.  "Too bad, because Page was doing some nice supportive work on his double-neck guitar."

A small commotion in the crowd interrupts an intense jam during a 25 minute Dazed and Confused.  "take it easy... take it easy... easy.... easy..", Plant urged. But once again, the band played on. The haunting violin bow passage and fierce jamming were contrast to Stairway to Heaven which followed. It was another solid performance and was greeted by the crowd with rousing approval.

 "Vancouver, good night" says Plant as the band left the stage.  With the eager audience cheering for encores - there would be no encores this night. The show was brought to a sudden conclusion with a shocking stage announcement by one of the promoters.

The roaring crowd was quickly brought to deafening silence: "Ladies and gentlemen, Led Zeppelin has left the building.... please stop for just a moment.  They're trying to get Robert Plant to a hospital. Please very orderly try to cool it with the traffic while we try to get the limos through the traffic. We have to get Robert Plant to the hospital in the next few minutes. They said to thank you, you've been an unbelievable audience... we apologize....thank you Vancouver."  Plant was reportedly given a "spiked" drink while backstage causing him to fall ill.  - Sam Rapallo


Press Review (1):  Page Pilots High Flying Zeppelin

Whew - what an evening. Robert Plant carried offstage at the end of the set under the influence of heat prostration, Jimmy Page wheeling and diving like an electric wind hover, taking solo after solo, directing, managing, holding things together with some of the best guitar work I've ever heard him play... live or on album.

The Coliseum was sweltering after an 80 degree day in Vancouver.  18,000 bodies had been doing funny things to the humidity for the 90 minutes preceding the opening song, and there was enough heavy-duty energy radiating in all directions after the concert began to put the on-stage temperature well over 90 degrees, after the first fifteen minutes of music.

And what music. Working at a louder volume than usual, with the musical emphasis shifting away from the simplicity of the famous Zeppelin “heavy” sound (bass, guitar and drums playing essentially the same riff, thus compounding the effect) to a more intellectual, sophisticated approach utilizing the more traditional solo statement over a steady rhythm background, the Zipper laid down two and a half hours of the best rock and roll I’ve heard in a long while.

The concert’s musical content was divided fifty-fifty between songs off the new album and oldies, the best being an extended version of Dazed and Confused, with Page flashing on guitar utilizing the violin bow, echo, and various electronic effects. Bonham’s Moby Dick is still being played today and John has included electronic effects to his kettle drum, adding another dimension to the talented percussionist’s repertoire.

The biggest surprise to me was the leadership of Jimmy Page during the concert. Dancing around the stage, controlling everything with his devastating guitar, he only ceased to be in the limelight during Moby Dick and No Quarter, John Paul Jones’ keyboard extravaganza. [-Rick Mcgrath / 7/20/73]


Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, (Bring It On Home intro) Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven.


Argenteum Astrum's picture

The performance is not as terrible as to be reported by several resources but it's obvious that the whole group is not on fire tonight. The concert in itself is a little slow, Plant is tired but performs well and the rest of the band is in very good form, especially Page who plays great solos in Over the Hills And Far Away, Since I've Been Loving You and No Quarter. The Song Remains The Same and The Rain Song were allegedly dropped out from the set but Dazed And Confused and Stairway To Heaven follows. But after that the show comes to an abrupt end when the announcer says that Robert Plant is being taking to the hospital due to collapsing with exhaution.

Doodah's picture

I was there and it was fun! I came out from Manitoba during Xmas break from U of Man. and was lucky enough to catch this concert. WOW!

A lot of people there laughed and went down to the foyers when Robert Plant began to sing... it was so different from a lot of music at that time.

Before the concert I was standing by one of the entrances to the main floor which which was guarded by Vancouver's finest to prevent anyone from entry before the concert. A long haired guy barged by me, tried to get by the security barrier and was stopped by the officer. The guy was quite miffed and said... I'm the Fudge, man!

Plant was just in Vancouver last Sunday April 17/2011.

Steve A. Jones's picture

Robert Plant adamantly believes he was given a spiked drink backstage during Moby Dick.

He commented on this incident during their next performance in Vancouver on March 21st 1975 and again in Seattle on July 17th 1977 while dedicating 'Black Country Woman' when he said:
"To all the people from British Columbia, Vancouver and all the places around there" and then added "Vancouver - it's not a nice place to get spiked, but it's a nice place to play."

He discussed this incident again when the Page/Plant tour was in Vancouver in Sep 1998.

Gord's picture

I was there. It was like it was yesterday. Life changing experience.

ally's picture

With the abrupt cancelation of the June 18/72 gig this one was probably the most eagerly awaited Zep show ever in this city . Maybe too much so as the bands previous visit to Vancouver in Aug / 71 had been a monster of a show. Add to that the overwhelming success of the bands 4th album and the recently released Houses Of The Holy, it's easy to see that the bar was probably set just a little too far for anyone to meet everyones expectations. Especially those of us who had seen the band previously. I'd say that the newbies probably thought it was a great show but for myself and most of the people I sat with that night, it was well below par. Right from the get go it was clear to us that Robert was not himself. For most of the evening, it seemed as if he was glued to one spot on the stage. When he did move, it was between songs and alway's towards Bonzo where a little conference with Jimmy would take place. As the evening went on, Jimmy was constantly looking over at Plant with a stern but concerned look on his face and it seemed to be a distraction for him. Much has been made about Robert's drink having been spiked and Robert himself has stated that this took place while he was off stage during Moby Dick. As we know, the concert was cut short due to Robert needing hospital
treatment. It's just my opinion and that of other's who were there that night that the enevitable happened.

Set list for July 18 1973

Rock N' Roll
Celebration Day
Bring It On Home/Black Dog
Over The Hills And Far Away
Misty Mountain Hop
Since I've Been Loving You
No Quarter
The Song Remains The Same
The Rain Song
Dazed And Confused
Moby Dick
Stairway To Heaven

Dan Hunt's picture

Yes, I too was there... 15 yrs old... front stage and center!!!
It was about 112 degrees... and I loved every sweaty moment!!!!

Dave's picture

I saw the show at the pne in '73 with my older sister who passed away in '80.....I still have the stubs, yeah both of 'em! Got 'em framed n everthing. 

Fiona's picture

I was there. 13 years old. Bedt concert of all time. Stairway to Heaven is frozen in time in my mind forever.  

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