Madison Square Garden - September 3, 1971

Submitted by srapallo on Fri, 09/21/2007 - 14:40
September 3, 1971
New York
NY
United States
us
Setlist

Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I've Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Celebration Day, That's the Way, Going to California, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, My Baby Left Me, Mess of Blues, You Shook Me), Communication Breakdown, Organ solo / Thank You, Rock and Roll.

Note

Press Review: Led Zeppelin, British blues-rock combo in its first US tour in about a year, packed Madison Square Garden while many of the more than 19,000 (at $7.50) crowded towards the stage, the group especially lead singer Robert Plant kept things under control with remarks to the crowd.

The group was generally overpowering musically without much variation, despite a welcome acoustic bit. Jimmy Page, one of the premier rock guitarists in the world, was in top form, a flashy musician flashed by the group.

Drummer John Bonham had a strong well-received number in “Moby Dick”, which John Paul Jones generally in the background, was steady at bass guitar. Plant besides singing well, especially in bluesy tunes, strutted gyrated and otherwise was the picture of a rock vocalist.

Many of the numbers were from “Led Zeppelin IV”, the group’s next Atlantic album. Included were: “Black Dog”, Going to California” and “Stairway to Heaven”. Led Zeppelin still is a super group in crowd pleasing power. [Kirb, Variety / 9-71]

Notes

Press Review (1): Acoustics Wreck Zeppelin Sound

In direct contrast to the quiet beauty of The Flying Burrito Brothers's one week stand at The Bitter End was the one-show appearance of Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

The sound system of the Garden has been criticized many times before, so there is no sense in repeating the customary nasty remarks. Let it suffice to say that at times a boiler factory is vastly preferable. One of those times was the beginning of Zeppelin's set. They opened the show with "Immigrant's Song" from the album "Led Zeppelin 3." Unless you are very familiar with the song, it was almost impossible to hear or understand one note or one word of the lyrics.

Thankfully, at least some of the bugs were worked out as the show proceeded. By the end of the evening the sound was almost passable. The show itself was something like "The Greatest Hits of Led Zeppelin." They did just about every song that made them famous. They did material from all three existing albums as well as throwing in some things from their as yet unreleased fourth effort.

Robert Plant (the vocalist, for those of you unfamiliar with the group) mentioned that the new album should be available within about three weeks. The hold-up seems to be finding a cover they like. He said that they have not decided on a title yet, either, but said they will definitely not call it "Led Zeppelin 4," to follow their other albums entitled "Led Zeppelin," "Led Zeppelin 2," and "Led Zeppelin 3."

At least one of the new songs sounded like a departure from their usual style. The title of the song is "Stairway to Heaven," and it is probably as close to a ballad as Zeppelin will ever come. For the first three minutes it is a quiet number with Jimmy Page playing a quiet twelve string electric guitar. At the end of about the third verse they hit an instrumental break, and at the finish of the break they go into their usual style of playing. The overall effect of the rapid change of musical style is quite stunning.

The three most extraordinary numbers of the concert were, in fact, the three longest songs. The first was their old stand-by, "Dazed and Confused." After the usual beginning, they hit the guitar break. As expected, Page brought out his violin bow and proceeded to play his guitar with it. No matter how many times you see him do that bit, it is always interesting, it is always different, and it is always great.

The second number was also an old stand-by, and it also is from the first album. "Moby Dick" spotlights drummer John Bonham in a 15-minute drum solo that is just magnificent. He starts off the same way every other drummer in the business does, but the similarity ends there. By the time he is done, your arms feel tired just watching him, but that never stops you from giving him the standing ovation he always gets and always deserves.

The third great number was, of course, "Whole Lotta Love." They stretched it to over 30 minutes of music, with at least three other songs thrown in as a medley in the middle.

Despite the initially poor sound and two unforunate spectator incidents, the concert as a whole was a tremendous success. Led Zeppelin proved that despite a one-year absence from New York they can still draw a huge audience, and then satisfy that audience completely. [-R. ATDNSON / Sun / Sept. 1971]


Press Review (2): Led Zeppelin, British blues-rock combo in its first US tour in about a year, packed Madison Square Garden while many of the more than 19,000 (at $7.50) crowded towards the stage, the group especially lead singer Robert Plant kept things under control with remarks to the crowd. The group was generally overpowering musically without much variation, despite a welcome acoustic bit. Jimmy Page, one of the premier rock guitarists in the world, was in top form, a flashy musician flashed by the group.

Drummer John Bonham had a strong well-received number in “Moby Dick”, which John Paul Jones generally in the background, was steady at bass guitar. Plant besides singing well, especially in bluesy tunes, strutted gyrated and otherwise was the picture of a rock vocalist. Many of the numbers were from “Led Zeppelin IV”, the group’s next Atlantic album. Included were: “Black Dog”, Going to California” and “Stairway to Heaven”. Led Zeppelin still is a super group in crowd pleasing power. [Kirb, Variety / 9-71]

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Press Review (3):  Like that bridge over troubled waters, Madison Square Garden laid itself down to two sellout crowds this weekend, offering music of such variety as to calm the waters and waves and maybe even the savage beasts that music is supposed to soothe.

The concerts featured on Friday night, the four-man Led Zeppelin, a British rock group making its first appearance in the US in a year, and on Saturday, Lawrence Welk and his orchestra, for the first time anyone could remember. And while the music and the ages of the audience were generations apart, the performances and crowds they drew seemed remarkably similar.

Led Zeppelin is a hard-driving and musically interesting group, held together by guitarist Jimmy Page. He, bassist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham lay down melody lines behind singer Robert Plant, who prances around the stage like an Indian trying to make the rain clouds come.

Plant has a unique voice. It’s shrill and lively sometimes; at other times, it’s deep and intense. The band is blues-oriented and Plant’s voice fits in well. He uses it almost as if it were another instrument in the group, but an oddly flexible one. He bounds around dancing, his long blonde hair waving, his body arching and stooping. He’s an exciting performer, though sometimes he seems like a petulant child.

Musically, the group’s standards are high.  Jones moves easily from bass to keyboards and he has a pleasant, swinging style on the organ.  It’s hard to maintain audience interest during a drum solo, but Bonham managed to do it on one number for a full seven minutes and at the end, the crowd was yelling for more.

Jimmy Page is the major force in this group, however. He proved his versatility on just about every number. He plucked his guitar, he bowed it, he talked to it and it almost answered. He gets a lovely, happy sound from it and it is obvious he sets the tone for the band.

It would have helped considerably if the sound system had been working better Friday night. The speakers hanging over one section were so poor that the sound seemed just about at distortion level and that’s not much of an inducement to come to the big hall to listen to bands. Better to stay at home and hear the records. [Daily News / Patricia O’Haire / Sept. 1971]

Setlists

Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I've Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Celebration Day, That's the Way, Going to California, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, My Baby Left Me, Mess of Blues, You Shook Me), Communication Breakdown, Organ solo / Thank You, Rock and Roll.

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