african-american directors series/geezer cinema/film fatales #87: the old guard (gina prince-bythewood, 2020)
dirty laundry

music friday: led zeppelin, 1977

The search bar on TypePad isn't very reliable, but as far as I can tell, I have never written an entire post about the time I saw Led Zeppelin. [Ed. note: I did, back in 2007.] It was 43 years ago today, at a Day on the Green. It was my second of the summer ... a few weeks earlier, I'd seen Peter Frampton/Lynyrd Skynyrd/Santana/The Outlaws. Although no one knew it at the time, July 24, 1977 was the last time Led Zeppelin played in the U.S., as Robert Plant's son died a few days later.

For this show we paid $11.50.

Judas Priest was the opening act. They got their name from the Dylan song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest", so it was perhaps appropriate that they performed "Diamonds and Rust", a Joan Baez song about Dylan. I seem to remember singer Rob Halford rode a motorcycle onto the stage, but the memory is faint. Here is a 2001 video:

Next up was Derringer, the new band of Rick Derringer, who had a solid career by that point, as a member of The McCoys in the 60s, and playing with Johnny Winter in the early 70s. His big hit was "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo", played here with the Edgar Winter Band:

Then came a long wait (estimates vary, 2 hours sounds about right). We were given a series of excuses ... what we didn't know is that goons from the Led Zep teams had beaten the crap out of one of Bill Graham's people. Graham threatened to sue, Zep threatened to leave without playing the show. Eventually they hit the stage. Different opinions about the quality of the show have emerged over the years. For those of us seeing them for the first and only time, it was great. For others, Jimmy Page's heroin addiction didn't help things. They played a lot of my favorites, in particular "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Kashmir". Here's the set list:

The Song Remains the Same / The Rover (intro) > Sick Again / Nobody's Fault But Mine / Over the Hills and Far Away / Since I've Been Loving You / No Quarter / Ten Years Gone / The Battle of Evermore / Going to California / Mystery Train / Black Country Woman / Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp / White Summer > Black Mountain Side / Kashmir / Trampled Under Foot / Guitar Solo > Achilles Last Stand / Stairway to Heaven / Whole Lotta Love(intro) > Rock and Roll

And here is the audio for the entire concert:




You have the greatest concert going history if anyone I’ve ever met.

Steven Rubio

I was going to say something about how I'm just old enough to have seen a lot of shows, but that felt flippant. I don't think of myself as a hardcore concert-goer, partly because it's a young person's game and I'm no longer young, so I don't go much anymore, and I stick mostly to my tried-and-trues (Bruce, Sleater-Kinney, Pink).

But why did I get into concerts so much when I was younger? It occurs to me that the factory had something to do with it. We had a little spending money, and I hated my job so much that I was always wanting to do something outside of work. So we went to concerts. The first show we went to after we were married was Dylan and The Band in '74. I was a Dylan obsessive for a long time, so I wasn't missing that. There was a Day on the Green a couple of months later that included The Band, and they've always been one of Robin's favorites, so we went to that. And thus, we had a habit.

Probably the most important date was October 31, 1975, because that was our first Bruce show. After that, there was no way out. My younger brother also liked to go to concerts, so there were acts I saw even though Robin wasn't interested (J Geils 4 times I think, Robin Trower twice). Really, I think just being in the habit of going to shows meant I went to still more shows. I can remember thinking that I could never imagine a time when I wouldn't want to attend concerts. I was probably in my 20s at the time.

Anyway, one reason I might seem to have a good history is that I managed to be at some famous shows. The Led Zep show above is one, talked about to this day for a variety of reasons. Seeing Prince in a small club in 1981 wasn't exactly an accident ... I knew I wanted to be there ... but I got lucky when it turned out he was great. I've seen some of the early folks ... Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters ... but I missed out on plenty more. Still, I've seen some odd ones ... maybe I'll dedicate next Music Friday to some of those.


Being in the Bay Area in the time you were must have something to do with it too, no? You had the benefit of great music promoters putting together good shows, and great clubs and other venues that any act would kill to play in the 60s or 70s. It's your love, your taste, and your timing.

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