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Strider

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About Strider

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    Blue-Eyed Merle
  • Birthday 07/29/1962

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    The Air Above the Din
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    Livin' long enough to see Pontiac Silverdome 1977 released on DVD. 1970 Bath, 1971 Japan soundboards, 1968 Europe and UK tours are also ones I hope to live long enough to see.

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  1. Post #22: How Weak the Mortal Frame Date: June 26, 1977 To paraphrase Robert Plant's opening remarks at the June 23 concert, it was great to be back at the Forum Saturday night for a third Led Zeppelin concert... but how weak the mortal frame. I was exhausted. After dropping off the girls at their homes after the show Saturday night (by now early Sunday morning), we went back to my friend's house and since it was a pleasant summer evening, grabbed some pillows and blankets and crashed in his treehouse in the backyard. Upon waking around noon, I noticed I ached all over...especially around my neck and shoulders. Excessive headbanging had left its mark. My voice was shot from all the yelling and screaming. The ringing in my ears had not dissipated. On top of the concert volume, another cherry bomb (M80) had gone off near me and, quite frankly, startled me enough that I jumped. I go to more than 60 concerts a year now and even the loudest concerts today don't feel half as loud as shows in the 1970s and '80s. Only Mötörhead, the Buzzcocks, Sunno)) and Swans are shows I have seen in the past 5 years that could compare to the shows I saw in the '70s. Led Zeppelin was not only loud, but their concerts were marathon tests of endurance. It's one thing to see a band such as Sabbath, AC/DC, or Ramones play loud for an hour or 80-90 minutes. But three-plus hours takes a toll on you. A Led Zeppelin concert was like standing in the ring with Joe Frazier throwing body blows at you for three hours. Every thump of John Bonham's kick drum rattled your ribcage. You shook me, John Bonham...you shook me all night long. After three concerts in five days, now I had to finish with back-to-back-to-back Zeppelin shows. Nine-plus cumulative hours of pounding. For that reason alone, I decided to wear earplugs at the Sunday(June 26) and Monday (27th) concerts. This would be my first time wearing earplugs at a show since I stopped wearing them in 1973. Nobody would disturb us in the treehouse, and my buddy still had a little grass left that his older brother have him. So to ease our pain, we smoked some and saved the rest for later. My friend said if Led Zeppelin had played the same setlist Saturday night as they played on the first night, he might have decided to sell his ticket and skipped the show on the 26th. But they played three songs that they didn't on the 21st, so he was happy and hopeful for more additions to the setlist. As was i. Like "The Rover"! What was up with teasing the audience every night with the intro and then not delivering the song? Ask most fans at that time and most would tell you "The Rover" was one of their favourite songs off "Physical Graffiti"...and certainly more popular and played on the radio more often than "Sick Again". I understand the link between "Sick Again" and Los Angeles and why the band would want to sing it at the Forum, especially. But with six shows, certainly the band could have found room in the setlist for "The Rover"? Perhaps do "The Rover" instead of "Sick Again" on alternate nights? Another mystery to long-time concert-goers was why "When the Levee Breaks" never got a shot at all the shows they played in L.A., despite the constant yelling for the song by people for years. Every Led Zeppelin concert I went to was accompanied by constant shouts for "When the Levee Breaks", "Gallows Pole", "Heartbreaker", "Whole Lotta Love", "Rock and Roll", and "Stairway to Heaven". "Physical Graffiti" was still massively popular in 1977 (totally overshadowing "Presence") and songs from the album received heavy rotation on the local FM rock radio stations: KMET, KLOS, and KWST. "Physical Graffiti" songs I was hoping to hear at these 1977 Forum shows included "In the Light", "The Rover", "The Wanton Song", "Houses of the Holy", "Custard Pie", and "Down by the Seaside". Even "Boogie With Stu", haha. Since they had been played in 1975, I was pretty sure "Kashmir", "Trampled Under Foot", "In My Time of Dying" would be back in the setlist for 1977. Right about now, I can hear you saying "You should be thankful for what you got and stop complaining about setlist minutiae." In hindsight, you may be right. But that is what we did back then...bitch if a band didn't play our favourite song or change up the setlist if they were playing multiple shows in the same venue. Sunday traffic wasn't bad on the way to the Forum, until we hit the 91/405 interchange and got closer to the Manchester exit. People complain about Led Zeppelin, and rock concerts in general starting late in the 1970s, but in a city like Los Angeles with traffic jams every day, the bands did us a favour by being late. If Led Zeppelin had started at the announced ticket time of 7:30 p.m., half the audience would have missed the first part of the show. Even if the band started at 9 or later, there were always scores of people running late and trying to get to their seat 20 minutes later...usually in your row. Listening to the radio on the way to the Forum, there was some scuttlebutt about Led Zeppelin attending Swan Song band Detective's concert in Hollywood on one of Zeppelin's day off...can't remember if they meant June 20 or June 24. I'd have to check Detective's concert schedule for 1977...or perhaps Steve A. Jones has it handy? Once in the parking lot of the Forum, we blazed the last of the marijuana before going inside. We both had decided to wear our 1977 tour shirts, as had quite a few others in the Forum crowd. It was obvious after talking with some others we weren't the only ones seeing multiple Led Zeppelin shows on their six-night stand at the Forum. That's how addicting a Led Zeppelin concert was...your fix constantly needed feeding. Something else we discovered...not all attendees were from the Southern California area. During the week, we bumped into Brits, Aussies, Europeans, Canadiens, Texans, and some from South of the Border. People had flown thousands of miles to come to the Forum gigs. I had to remind myself that it was pure luck that I was even able to go to as many shows as I did. If Plant had not got laryngitis/tonsillitis, and the 1977 tour schedule had remained what it originally had been, then the June 26 show would have been on Wednesday March 16, a school night. The June 25 was originally Tuesday March 15. Basically, I would have only been able to see two of the Forum shows, three if I was lucky, if the tour had not been postponed and the Forum gigs moved to June 21-27, well after the school year was over. Thank you Robert Plant. I am sorry you had to suffer through your tonsillitis, but that's what allowed me to see you five times that week. Whether it was because we were a little high, the wait for the June 26 show to start seemed longer than usual. Plus, I was really getting sick of hearing the Eagles "Hotel California" during the pre-show music. At least our seats were good. For once, we were dead center looking towards the stage, just slightly above the floor on the floor risers behind the rear floor seats. So no heads were in our way, and after being on Jimmy's side one night and Jonesey's side two nights, it was refreshing to have a straight ahead view of the stage. Bonham's steel kit and those giant tympani gleaming in the lights. But I wondered why he didn't have his rune symbol on the kick drum as in previous tours. It must have been well after 9pm when the house lights at last dimmed and Led Zeppelin made their way to the stage. The crowd went bonkers, as usual. By now, Led Zeppelin felt like family...our band of brothers...and the Forum was their home away from home. At that moment, all thoughts of fatigue and soreness vanished as adrenaline took over and I felt reenergized and ready for the next few hours. Again, that opening rush that overwhelmed us as "The Song Remains the Same" commenced the concert proceedings made your hair stand on end and shocks shoot up and down your spine. The only negative was that my earplugs gave me the sensation I was hearing the show from underwater or on a cassette using Dolby Noise Reduction. The brightness and harmonic overtones were lost. Plus, I just don't like having things in my ear. Even worse was that I could still detect a ringing in my ears left over from the previous night's show. Was I doing serous damage to my hearing? But that was a small price to pay to be able to witness rock and roll glory. And not having to hear my stepmother again would be a blessing. After a while, I got used to the earplugs. One benefit to using earplugs is that it made it easier to discern Robert Plant's words. Unlike the previous night, where I was trying to be on my best behaviour because of our dates, tonight I partook more often in the illicit contraband that was offered to us. Before I knew it, the opening salvo was over and I was really flying by the time "Over the Hills and Far Away" started. Comparing "In My Time of Dying" from the night before to the return of "Over the Hills and Far Away", as much as I liked IMTOD, I was happy to see OTHAFA again. One of the highlights of the 1977 shows for me was watching Jimmy play those OTHAFA solos. Jimmy was in his white dragon suit again. Where was his black dragon suit? I was sure I would see him break it out at least once during the Forum run. Of course, I found out later he did...on the one night I missed, June 22. Robert was wearing something different than blue jeans for the first time in all the concerts I had seen...shiny pants. I preferred him in blue jeans. Maybe it was because I was stoned, but I really enjoyed the June 26 show. Bonham didn't seem as wildly unpredictable as in the earlier shows, but the band sounded good and solid. I had less distractions tonight, so I could focus all my attention on the stage and just enjoying watching the band play. Even the crowd seemed less unruly around me than on previous nights. For once, I didn't hear any beefing or near-fights. Even the cherry bombs were at a minimum. It was a pleasant Sunday evening at a Led Zeppelin concert. The No Quarter-Ten Years Gone was pure bliss. Just being able to sit back and relax and let the mind wander as the music went through many moods. From where we were sitting you could see the dry ice overflow the stage...I felt sorry for those in the front row engulfed in the fog. The lights and laser show was epic. At times it appeared the lasers were going through Robert and Jimmy...or maybe that was an optical illusion? The acoustic set pleased me because, in addition to the usual fun, they added an Elvis Presley song! I knew it was an Elvis song...but because of my increasingly buzzed state, particulars were hard to recall afterwards. Mystery Train? That's All Right? It wasn't until years later I heard the bootleg and confirmed it was "That's All Right". "Kashmir" slayed...as it slayed every night. Yes, the Led Zeppelin of 1969-1973 was a well-oiled machine in concert (especially 1970-72), before the drugs, injuries and excess started to impair their performances. But one thing 1977 Led Zeppelin has over early-era Zeppelin is "Kashmir". It truly was like being visited by gods of another time and space and "Kashmir" was their gift to us. Like June 25, the drum and guitar-noise solos seemed to drag on much longer than the first couple of shows. Thankfully the visuals helped. But I couldn't help notice the exodus of people to the bathroom or concession stands...or maybe just on a walkabout ? But I stayed put. I knew the reward was soon coming...the explosive "Achilles Last Stand"! "Kashmir" and "Achilles Last Stand" together crushed all opposition and doubts about the 1977 tour. Everything after was gravy. "Stairway to Heaven" was sad in a way, because it meant the concert was almost over. As long as the shows were, you still found yourself wanting more...maybe an extra song in the encore. The encore we got June 26 was instantly memorable to this Jerry Lee Lewis fan: a pounding, rollicking version of "It'll Be Me"! I was definitely up and dancing to this song. One of the things I loved about Led Zeppelin concerts from the start was their obvious affection for the old blues and rock classics. I particularly was fond of the medley of oldies played in "Whole Lotta Love". So to get an Elvis song and a Jerry Lee Lewis song in one night was an unexpected delight now that the band had ditched the Whole Lotta Love medleys. I can't remember the highlights being that much better than the other nights. But I don't remember any disasters, either. I missed "Trampled Under Foot" not being in the set...I found it gave extra juice to the show. But it was a nice solid show all-around. Ending well after midnight. If it wasn't the longest show of the week in total minutes, it ended later than previous nights. We didn't get home until nearly 3am. And just like that...there was only one concert left!
  2. I respectfully disagree. "Kashmir" sounded amazing on the 25th. Bonham is not plodding, he is measured...it's tempting for lesser drummers to want to speed up but Bonham was a master at keeping that steady whomp. It is not the longest "Kashmir"...Led Zeppelin Database has it wrong. It is not over 11 minutes long...it is 10:15. Most of the other "Kashmir"s on the L.A. run were over nine minutes. The extra length on the 25th is all in the closing coda, as Bonham does a few more rounds of fills. However, the pace and speed of "Kashmir" on the 25th is exactly the same as the other L.A. dates. You can tell this by the fact that Robert Plant's long scream "Where I've beeeeeeeen" that ends the middle section comes at exactly the same spot as the others: 4:22. What really made the Kashmir on the 25th so epic was that all four elements were clearly heard. On some nights, the keyboards would overshadow the guitar or vice versa. Or Plant would struggle with the vocals. But on the 25th, Jones' mellotron and Jimmy's guitar were in perfect balance. That made the middle section especially hypnotic with Jones' keyboards whirling and swirling around your head. Bonham was laying down a deep and heavy beat. And Plant sang his arse off and used his vocal effects masterfully...his voice echoing and reverbing around the hall.
  3. I would never claim to know what Mike Millard's system was or why he did what he did. But from what I have read, every copy Mike Millard made had a cut or some audio tell that he kept track of, where by he could tell who gave his tape to a bootlegger. I am assuming that Millard must have made plenty of tapes of the June 21, 1977 show, for instance, for trading purposes. Now, the cut in Ten Years Gone was due to him having to flip the tape over during the concert, so every June 21st tape has that same cut. But some bootlegs of June 21 have Robert Plant's comment after SIBLY "I'm starting to cook" and some bootlegs don't. The very first cd version I got of "Listen to this, Eddie" was the Silver Rarities release. It did not have Plant's comment. But the EVSD Christmas Edition did. That suggests at least two people sold their tape to the bootleggers. One guy had the "I'm starting to cook" comment on his copy, and the other guy didn't. Given the amount of people claiming to have 1st generation tapes, Millard must have sent out a lot of copies, and it appears that most everyone kept their copies under wraps, away from the bootleggers.
  4. Post #21: Led Zeppelin Rip It Up on a Saturday Night! Date: June 24 & 25, 1977 Once again, I was grateful to have a day to recuperate in between concerts. It felt sooooo gooood to sleep in Friday morning. With two gigs now under my belt, I was beginning to get a grasp on the setlist and general aura of the 1977 tour. Comparing the April 1 Dallas setlist I clipped from the LA Times to the notes I made for the June 21 & 23 shows, it appeared that: 1. Over the Hills and Far Away had replaced In My Time of Dying in the #4 slot. 2. Whole Lotta Love had replaced Black Dog as the first encore song. 3. They had added a wild card slot in the third hour...both Heartbreaker on the 21st and Trampled Under Foot on the 23rd had come as a complete surprise. It's always sweet to get bonus songs. There were still three nights to go...plenty of chances for In My Time of Dying and Black Dog to make an appearance. It still felt strange to see a Led Zeppelin concert without Black Dog and Dazed and Confused in the setlist...especially Dazed and Confused. I heard a few people (usually first-timers) disappointed in not getting Dazed and Confused...they had seen the movie "The Song Remains the Same" and were hoping to see the song in person. Of course, they still got the bow solo...with an even better light show than we got in 1973. But that's the nature of a band that keeps putting out great albums. As the setlist grows, some oldies have to be tossed aside to make way for new classics. That may piss off some newcomers who never had a chance to see the oldies performed in concert. I, for one, had no problem forsaking Black Dog and Dazed and Confused for Nobody's Fault But Mine and Achilles Last Stand and Ten Years Gone. My initial impressions after the first two concerts I saw. 1. The Song Remains the Same/Sick Again/Nobody's Fault But Mine: The first 20 minutes or so were an all-out swaggering assault. Their goal? To hammer, hammer, hammer...and hammer the audience with an opening blow to the senses. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Aerosmith together on stage couldn't equal the sheer sonic blitzkrieg Led Zeppelin unleashed in those opening moments....and the audience ravenously ate it up. Jimmy Page in sunglasses and scarf, spinning and dropping to his knees to tease the audience with his double-neck. John Paul Jones (playing his fancy new bass) and John Bonham (with his shiny stainless steel Ludwigs) in lockstep rhythm rattling your bones. Robert Plant majesticallly striding the stage, arms holding the microphone aloft, waiting for his cue to come in. Bonham, especially, seemed like a pack of starving wolverines unleashed on their prey. He was improvising fills and relentlessly embellishing the songs in ways I had never heard bedore...and never in the same way or same place. How the others weren't thrown off their game by Bonzo's random clusterbombs was a testament to their inherent chemistry, even when chemically-altered to the gills. Plant blows the lyrics to Sick Again both nights. It's always 50/50 with him. 2. Over the Hills and Far Away/Since I've Been Loving You: Peaks and valleys. The band gives the audience a chance to catch its breath with these two dramatic songs that alternate soft and hard passages, both building to increasingly intense peaks before gently coming to a graceful end. The full recovery of Plant's voice from the ravages of 1975 is increasingly apparent as the concert moves on. SIBLY is the first song of the night from the band's early days...everything so far has been from Houses of the Holy and after. 3. No Quarter: In many respects, this took the place of Dazed and Confused as the improvisational centerpiece of the set. In retrospect, I could have done without the boogie piano segment...preferring the more jazz-oriented dark 1975 versions. But it was still like getting free bonus music each night...made up on the spot by Messrs Jones, Bonham and Page. Something you did not get with 99% of other rock bands. The dry ice and lighting was incredibly atmospheric...your mind was transported far away. If only the laser light show vibrating in time with the music had lasted longer. Plant again turns in powerful vocals...almost scary on the "dogs of doom are howling more" part at the end, with Jimmy going wild on the wah-wah pedal. We are about one hour into the set, so this is a convenient time to take a bathroom break for those not into Jonesey's piano solos. 4. Ten Years Gone: Yes! One of the best-loved tracks from the beloved Physical Graffiti album, this was an absolute crowd favourite from the start. A great addition to the set and a demonstration of the band's versatility on stage and ability to create a massive amount of sound and texture with basically just three instrumentalists. After the first bludgeoning 20 minutes of the show, Ten Years Gone ended the "light and shade" segment (OTAFA-SIBLY-NQ-TYG) with a glorious bang. It was a trip seeing John Paul Jones whip out that triple-neck...all while manipulating the bass pedals. It was also my first time seeing Jimmy Page play a Telecaster. 5. The Acoustic Set: Missing in action since 1972 (although Plant mistakenly says 1971), this indeed brought a warm vibe and turned the giant Forum into a campfire hootenany. Let Roger Waters bitch at fans and self-righteously complain about the sterility and impersonality of arena rock shows. Led Zeppelin made a mockery of Roger's whinging. Perhaps it's a question of you get out of something what you put in. Bruce Springsteen and Led Zeppelin never had a problem connecting with the audience in big arena and stadium concerts. There they all sat...from left to right, Jones with his triple-neck, Robert, Jimmy, and Bonzo. I would have liked for them to include That's the Way, Gallows Pole or Hey Hey What Can I Do. Battle of Evermore was surprising, given that they had no Sandy Denny or female equivalent handy. Brave John Paul Jones. This was the first time seeing Jimmy play mandolin. Jones always played mandolin in the 1972 shows while Jimmy played acoustic guitar. With Jonesey's triple-neck having a mandolin, I assumed he would perform mandolin duties on Battle of Evermore. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Jimmy looked like he had fun playing the mandolin. I have heard a lot of people say that Battle of Evermore was a song they skipped over on the way to Stairway to Heaven. So I think those people would be surprised how popular was at those shows at the Forum. Battle of Evermore drew a huge cheer every night. Of course, it was nothing compared to the rapturous response Going to California received. The ovation was always one of the loudest of the evening...only Kashmir and Stairway to Heaven topped it. For Going to California Jimmy switched to his Martin acoustic and Jones played mandolin. The adulation the acoustic set received showed that the band made the correct decision in bringing it back. It was a way of sharing the Welsh and Scottish countryside that the band took inspiration from to us Americans. Then they ramped up the energy with Black Country Woman and Bron-Yr-Stomp, bringing the acoustic set to a high energy close, and providing another peak to the concert. Jones picked up a bass (a funny-looking stand-up model) for the first time in an hour, since Over the Hills and Far Away, and Bonham was back behind his steel Ludwigs. 6. White Summer/Black Mountain Side/Kashmir: What I call the "Passage to India" segment. This featured Jimmy alone at first, sitting down with his Danelectro tuned to dadgad. Bonham played along for a bit, but basically your eyes were focused on Jimmy aglow in the low and subtle lighting. Led Zeppelin were always masters at dynamics...at lulling you into a sense of peace and tranquility before whipping out the hammer. Think of side 2 of Led Zeppelin IV and the calmness of Going to California just before the storm of When the Levee Breaks. This was similar. Because of the length of White Summer-Black Mountain Side, it was eaay to find yourself drifting into a chill state of mind. Before you realized what was happening, Jimmy was bolting upright and those gargantuan Godzilla riffs of Kashmir were crushing your skull as you were blinded by the white-hot intensity of the light. The rest of the song was the band applying the torniquet of tension ever tighter and tighter, spiraling and spiraling, driving the madness into your brain until they finally release it at around the 4:24 mark with Plant's epic roar and Bonham resetting the beat. All the while the shifting lights recreate the feeling of desert heat and dust in June. Seeing Kashmir performed anytime was special. Seeing Kashmir in 1977 was one of those supreme godhead moments that are impossible to adequately describe to someone who wasn't there. 7. Drum/Guitar solos: By the time Kashmir was over, more than two hours had passed since the show started. Not only was Led Zeppelin well pass the contractual amount every band is legally obligated to play (generally 45 minutes), but they were well pass the usual concert-length by every other band playing in 1977 (save Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead, and a few prog-rock bands). So what if the drum and guitar solos were self-indulgent? If you didn't like them, you could leave and still be content that you got two-plus hours of Led Zeppelin. Either go home and beat the traffic...or just take a bathroom break or hit the concession stands and look over the merch table until Achilles Last Stand begins. Yes, the solos were definitely helped by the visuals. It was a "you had to be there" moment. But, as someone who likes the Velvet Underground, Steve Reich, Stockhausen, Faust, and a bunch of other experimental-noise music, I can listen to Jimmy's noise solos even without the aid of visuals. Anyway, the solos didn't even seem that long. Around 15 minutes each by my reckoning on the 21st and 23rd. And if it helped Robert's foot rest for the final stretch run of the concert, all the better. 8. Achilles Last Stand/Stairway to Heaven: The epic close. The most popular song from Presence, followed by Led Zeppelin's most popular song period. I have called Achilles speed-prog or some other descriptors. It straddled that fine line between fast and furious and unhinged out-of-control. It also was an illustration of how hard the band worked...especially Jimmy Page. After three hours they are still attacking their instruments with incredible ferocity. I loved how Jimmy and Robert had a little pas de deux move worked out for the song. Stairway is the obvious set-closer. People can complain now about the song being overplayed but the audience in 1977 felt differently. There was no way Led Zeppelin could not play Stairway. It meant something to a whole lotta people. Just as I associate No Quarter with the colour blue, blue and gold is how I always think of Stairway to Heaven. Yellow light lighting Robert's hair from behind, giving him a golden halo, and blue light on him from the front. That, and Jimmy raising his double-neck to the heavens during the fanfare before the solo. The fact that Jimmy creates a new solo every time. Robert shaking his tambourine. Bonham blasting away on the drums, constantly creating new tempos and fills.The spinning mirrorball at the end. The gigantic roar from the crowd. The sea of Bic lighters. Another emotional peak has been reached. 9. Encore - Whole Lotta Love/Rock and Roll: Real savage, punk-like takes on both songs. Nothing prettty. Just raw rock 'n' roll. Jimmy's guitar is in your face and Bonzo is still playing like a man-on-fire. My only gripe is how dismissive they are towards Whole Lotta Love. One of my favourite moments of Whole Lotta Love in the past was the theremin freakout and the oldies medley. Even in 1975 when they shortened it and linked it to Black Dog, they still kept the theremin bit and even added a cool funk section, incorporating The Crunge. But in 1977, it is just the first two verses and chorus and then it goes into Rock and Roll. Why even bother playing it at all if you are going to neuter the song like that? Oh well...just a tiny complaint after three plus hours of awesomeness. 10. The tickets and tour ads did not lie...it truly was as advertised, "An Evening With Led Zeppelin". When you took in how much time you had to prep for the show, drive to the Forum, get your snacks and stuff and find your seat, then after the concert make your way back home...it was basically a 5pm to 2am block of time. Nine total hours. So yes, I was most certainly looking forward to more Led Zeppelin concerts and not regretting getting tickets to multiple nights. Some changes in the setlist wouldn't hurt, naturally. But I was still willing to go the long haul. Being that the 24th was a Friday, I took the opportunity to go see "The Song Remains the Same" at the midnight movies at our local theatre. Having the concerts still fresh in my mind, it was quite easy to contrast the differences between 1973 Zeppelin and 1977 Zeppelin...and what was the same. For the Saturday June 25th show, I was going with a school pal, his girlfriend, and a girl that I asked when I found out she was into Led Zeppelin and had a ticket to the show. Remember that girl in my Algebra class earlier in the thread? That's the one. Her favourite Zeppelin songs were Over the Hills and Far Away and Stairway to Heaven, so she was thrilled when I told her the band played both of those songs at the earlier shows. We all met at my friend's house that Saturday afternoon. Before I left my house, I almost forgot my tickets...since my friend and I were going to both Saturday and Sunday shows, I was staying the weekend at his place and needed both tickets. Having some time to kill before my friend's older brother drove us to the show, we smoked a little out in his treehouse...just enough to get a slight buzz. My friend was bummed when he heard about Keith Moon showing up the night of the 23rd. "Who knows" I said, "maybe someone else will pop up one of the other nights?" Three of our seats were together in the Colonnade section on Jonesey's side (my friend, his gf, and me)...while my girl's seat was in another Colonnade section. We just crammed her in with us...sitting on my lap/legs. After being in the Loge, it kind of sucked. But we weren't in the last rows at least....only halfway up. The crowd was amped as usual for a Saturday night. I was hoping the band would spring some setlist surprises for this Saturday night. I can't remember what time we got to the Forum but the wait seemed longer for the band to come on. Maybe it was because we were a little stoned. Maybe it was because we had girls with us. That meant paying attention to them as much as the show and making sure they were comfortable and not feeling hassled. It meant endless trips to get them drinks and stuff, or escorting them to the ladies room. Okay, maybe 'endless' is an exaggeration. One thing we did take care of early was getting tour programs and shirts before the concert. At long last, the music on the PA stopped, the house lights darkened, and the band, one by one, sauntered on stage. The usual testing of instruments commenced. I can't remember whose idea it was to bring them, but after the look of alarm on the girls' faces, we offered them earplugs. I always was struck by the casual start of most Led Zeppelin concerts. Apart from the theatrical use of the drone immediately leading into Immigrant Song in 1972, the band shied away from the kind of dramatic entrances favoured by the Rolling Stones and ELO and the like. No, they would just stroll on stage and do a mini-soundcheck before blasting off. There was a lot of jostling for seating in the beginning, even more than usual, which made it hard to focus on the show. I think I even heard a scuffle going on to my right. Plus, the usual assortment of cherry bomb explosions and all sorts of drinks and illicit substances being passed around made me sort of nervous. Again, the opening was a powerful rush. Again, Jimmy was wearing the white suit. Again, Jones was all in white, too. It wasn't long before we got our setlist change. Finallly, In My Time of Dying made its appearance....replacing Over the Hills and Far Away. Or at least pushing it to another spot in the set. As one who loved the 1977 OTHAFAs, I was hoping they would still play it later that night. Another fun surprise for this Little Richard fan was a short improv rendition of "Rip It Up", one of Little Richard's hits, right in the middle of In My Time of Dying. SIBLY turned into cuddling time with my girl. The constant aroma of marijuana and whatever-else was affecting us...as was the sensuous SIBLY. No Quarter was when the girls decided to take a break to the ladies room. Which was okay...at least they waited until the piano solo and I could still hear the song from the Forum concourse waiting for the girls to come out. While I waited for them, my friend went to get some snacks for us. It almost worked out that we all arrived back at our seats at the same time. A couple seats had opened up next to us...either they had moved to other seats or left the show, so now we weren't as scrunched in as before. I was glad to be back in time for Ten Years Gone. Once again, it sounded so good. Jimmy was getting such emotion out of that Telecaster. By this time I was politely passing on all the illicit substances making the rounds. I didn't mind being a little buzzed, but I didn't want to be completely zonked. Not with the girls with us. So I didn't partake...you never could be sure what was in one of those joints or pipes being passed around. The acoustic set also was excellent...it was hard to tell in all the excitement which song was better from night to night, but whether it was the Saturday night atmosphere or being at the show with friends, I just remember the acoustic set vibe on Saturday being very exuberant. Of course, the band were just little dots on stage from where we were sitting. But it still felt like Robert was singing directly to you. That led to another jaw-dropping powerful Kashmir. No mistakes during the breakdown or during the coda, as has happened throughout its concert history. I didn't headbang or do anything during the song this time...I just sat and took it all in. From our seats you could see the entire sea of humanity swelling around the Forum, bathed in the glow of the lights on stage. With hanging mists of smoke...either coming from the stage or from the audience. It was hard to tell which. Robert Plant again gave a performance that was miles above and beyond 1975. Jimmy stalked and spun around and around in tune with the music. Jonesey's mellotron was mystical and melodramatic. From the majestic splendour of Kashmir to the frenzied-funk of Trampled Under Foot. The best description I ever read about Trampled Under Foot was in Creem magazine. The writer wrote something about the effect of the song being like the stage moving forward crushing the audience in its path. It was also quite a kaleidoscope of colour...amazing how effective a cheap disco light trick could be under the right circumstances. Trampled should have always been in the 1977 setlist, in my opinion. It was a heavy dose of funky fun. Now it was solo time...first the drums. After the relative 15-minute brevity of June 21 and 23, goddamn if Bonzo didn't go back to his 30-minute marathon days. The girls were feeling wiped out by this point. We let them rest...hell, even I took a rest at this point. The week was beginning to catch up with me. At least Jimmy kept his solo spot the usual length of around 15-minutes. Visually, the laser show was the highlight of the night and the way we could hear Jimmy's guitar and theremin bouncing around the Forum from where we were sitting was a true mind-fuck. If I had been on acid, I probably would have melted. There is no sound more wicked than the sound of a bowed guitar. If the girls had been sleeping, they surely weren't by now...and the opening blast of Achilles Last Stand made sure of that. Once again, it was a pure white-hot jolt of energy. Although, if you listen to the performance now, it's a bit more controlled and together than the first three nights. Bonzo still is drumming energetically, but the song doesn't have that "about to combust" feel I felt the other nights. I only wished our seats were closer so I could watch Jimmy more closely. He works so damn hard on this song. Stairway to Heaven brings a squeal of delight from the girls. We reach for our Bics and flick them alight, holding them high. By this night, I was still not sure if I liked Jones switching to the Grand Piano. It sure gave the song a different feel. Plant apparently had made his "Do you remember laughter?" schtick a permanent feature of the song...and the movie "The Song Remains the Same" helped immortalize it and the crowd ate it up. No matter how many times radio played the song or how many times you saw them in concert, you still got chills when Jimmy raised his double-neck, and got ready to take us on a journey during his solo. Of course, you always got people singing along to this song, but tonight there was a particularly drunk guy singing off-key somewhere in our vicinity that was annoying. Fortunately, whether he stopped himself or someone told him to stop, his caterwauling did not last long. During the long ovation after the song, waiting for the band to come back for an encore, I kept repeating "play a different song...play a different song". We had got In My Time of Dying earlier and I was hoping for something new for the encore. Six nights at the Forum...they should have done a different encore each night. When they finally came back on stage, I kind of groaned when they started Whole Lotta Love. A couple verses and into Rock and Roll is what I figured was coming. So I was delighted to be proved wrong when as Whole Lotta Love died down, Jimmy began the barrage of chords that signaled Communication Breakdown. Woohoo! Headbanging time! An ocean of heads in the glow of the Forum hopping up and down. Problem was...it was over in a flash. No long funky interlude a la the 1973 tour. It was Saturday night. We didn't want to go home yet. We wanted more. The crowd stomped and screamed for a second encore. Even when the house lights came on we still yelled for more. Old-timers still had memories of those multiple-encore shows at the Forum in the days of yore. But it wasn't going to happen...at least not tonight. Perhaps they would do a second encore on the last night to make it special? No time to think of that...we had to make our way through the post-concert debris of the Forum to find our ride home. It was way after midnight and our shoes were sticky from all the spilled crap on the floor. Then we almost forgot the bag with the tour program and shirts. Well...that was a tragedy. In the course of the night, our bag which we stashed under our seat, had been stepped on and had all manner of drinks spilled into it...the program was totally trashed. But at least the shirts could be saved with a good washing. The girls had to be dropped off at their respective homes first. My date wished they had played OTHAFA....and she would have preferred Rock and Roll over Communication Breakdown. Oh well, wasn't my fault she could only go on a Saturday night. It is funny what a slight change in setlist can do to the aura of a show. Because of the presence of IMTOD and Trampled Under Foot and Communication Breakdown in the set, not to mention the brute force of Kashmir and the lengthy drum solo, the June 25 show at the Forum felt heavier, more metal, than the other nights. It reminded me of the heaviosity of the 1975 shows. I wasn't sure if that made it better than the other nights, but at least it was a change. It made me more excited for the last two shows...gave me hope that more changes in the setlist might be in store. And for the first time all week, I had less than 24 hours (barely 12) to recuperate and be ready for the next show.
  5. Tonight: Seu Jorge - A Tribute to David Bowie @ Hollywood Bowl Thursday June 29: Nick Cave @ The Greek Theatre. (an early birthday gift from a friend).
  6. Brunch with Led Zeppelin.
  7. Cool. Your Christmas present is taken care of.
  8. That's fookin' godhead redrum! So jealous of anyone who was able to see Hendrix. Were you dosing at the show?
  9. For those that asked, I will write up the 1972 shows after I finish wrapping up the 1977 thread. It's easier and less confusing if I immerse myself in one set of memories at a time. I did write about my first Led Zeppelin concerts in 1972 earlier. But it was either in a thread long since buried and forgotten, or it was on the earlier incarnation of this forum...back when Sam's site was known as Electric Magic. Meanwhile, I overslept and it's over 100° out and I'm running way behind. I probably won't get to posting about June 25, '77 until after the concert tonight.
  10. Any "Young & the Restless" fans out there?
  11. Everything coalesced perfectly that night.
  12. Should I continue with the last three shows or have you had enough? There are only so many superlatives I can come up with...my vocabulary is running dry.
  13. Post #20: Welcome to 3 Hours of Loonacy! Date: June 23, 1977 I'm not going to take up as much space as I did with my June 21 memories. My computer is down and I don't feel like writing a Moby Dick-length post on my phone. First of all, although now I wish I had gone to the June 22nd show, at the time I was grateful to have that day to recuperate from the night before. Other bands pounded you for an hour or 90 minutes. Led Zeppelin pounded you for over three hours non-stop...no intermission like you got with Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. My ears were ringing most of the night after the show June 21, and when I woke up later that day (we didn't get to sleep until early Wednesday morning...too amped) there was still a faint ringing. Which is sort of how I planned it when I was figuring out which shows to go to after the band released the final tour reschedule. A show...a day to recuperate...another show...another day to recuperate. Then I had the three shows in a row Saturday-Monday to worry about...but I would cross that bridge when I came to it. For now, I mostly spent that Wednesday June 22 rehashing the night before with my friend and trying to recall as much as we could of the night. First a historical note...The June 21 show was the first Led Zeppelin concert I saw where they did not play "Black Dog" and "Dazed and Confused". My buddy was bummed they didn't play "Dazed and Confused". I didn't miss it as much. Neither of us cared about not hearing "Black Dog". Looking over my setlist, they didn't play "In My Time of Dying", instead "Over the Hills and Far Away" was played in the #4 slot. We thought maybe that was a rotating thing...maybe we would get IMTOD on the 23rd. The other thing they fooled us with was that whole "Over the Top" business. After that hilarious and long introduction by Plant of John Bonham, when the band kicked into the "Out on the Tiles" riff, I was thinking they were going to play the song for real. But when Plant didn't start singing, I was kind of unsure of what was happening...but that's Led Zeppelin for you. There's always moments where the band takes you into mysterious waters with no road map to guide you. All you can do is wait it out. So when after two minutes of "Out on the Tiles" (sans lyrics) Bonham then went into his drum solo, I was back on familiar ground. Having witnessed 25-30 minute "Moby Dick"s in the past, I was grateful that Bonzo kept it to 15 minutes this time. Of course, the band threw another curve by finishing the solo with the end of "Moby Dick" instead of returning with "Out on the Tiles". My buddy and I agreed that the first 40 minutes were just full-on power and intensity...real Hammer of the Gods. The opening trio of "The Song Remains the Same"-"Rover"/"Sick Again"-"Nobody's Fault But Mine" especially made an impression on us. Compared to 1975, it was a significant boost in energy. "Rock and Roll" in 1975 was too sluggish and Robert's vocals too subpar to lift the song to its proper intensity, and "Sick Again" was at that time too new and unfamiliar to the audience. By 1977, the audience had had two years to devour "Physical Graffiti", so "Sick Again" was much more welcome in the second slot...although that "Rover" tease had me wishing they would do that song in its entirety. My friend and I agreed that "Over the Hills and Far Away" had reached its perfect form. That was one song I was salivating to hear again...and again. "Kashmir", of course, was one that made a huge impression on us. The linkage of "White Summer"/"Black Mountain Side" to "Kashmir" made total sense upon reflection, given the tuning and the similar Indian-trance-vibe the songs possess. Naturally, my thoughts turned to the upcoming shows and if there would be any changes in the setlist night to night. Or if like 1975, it would be pretty much stagnant. I went to bed early that night and slept a good night's sleep. When I awoke Thursday morning June 23, 1977, like Richard Nixon I was tanned, rested and ready. For the June 23 show, I was going alone. My dad drove me to the show and picked me up afterwards. Passing all those familiar signposts on the way to the Forum...the LAX Theme Building, Randy's Donuts, IHOP, Hollywood Park Race Track. Even though I did not live in L.A. yet, I was beginning to get a feel for the lay of the land. I was sowing the seeds for when I would finally escape the hick town I was in. So...what is there left to be said about the June 23, 1977 show that hasn't been said already? Especially when the "For Badgeholders Only" bootleg exists to let people hear the show and make up their own mind. Suffice to say that when Plant uttered the immortal words "Welcome to 3 hours of Loonacy", he wasn't kidding. When haters try to slam Led Zeppelin concerts as overrated and boring, I shove this show right down their throats. Everything...the sound, the brilliant lights, the pacing of the peaks and softer moments, the demonic laser pyramid and Jimmy Page throwing shapes to the north-south-east-west, was sensational and larger-than-life. "Kashmir" again was otherworldly (even with the early cock-up, which wasn't that noticeable anyway)...as was "Nobody's Fault But Mine", "OTHAFA" (Jimmy again hurtling through space-and-time), "Ten Years Bonham", "No Quarter" (featuring John Paul Looney Two Slacks Jones), "Achilles Last Stand", and a new addition to the set "Trampled Under Foot"! If "The Song Remains the Same" wasn't quite as manic as June 21, it was as close as dammit...only it was missing Jimmy doing many of his pterodactyl moves due to another mishap with his equipment. There he was, sitting down on the drum riser with Raymond trying to fix his broken strap to his double-neck. Meanwhile, while this is going on, I was getting annoyed with the constant arrival of late-comers to their seats. The first few songs of every concert were a parade of people coming to their seats or arguing about seats. Grrrrrr. I think "Sick Again" was a stand-alone for the only time on the 1977 tour, and the band had really found the song's groove on this tour. On the 23rd, Jimmy's guitar sounded really nasty and sleazy, like it should on "Sick Again". Maybe using the Les Paul made a difference from using the 6-string part of his SG double-neck? I still probably prefer Jones using the Fender bass in 1975, but the Alembic bass sounded heavy enough in concert, although some twang was evident. Bonzo's stainless steel kit with those ginormous tom toms generated plenty of thunder. My god...those precision rolls of his. Your bones felt as if they were going to shatter and your rib cage collapse from the force. Even though it was a Thursday, the crowd felt like a Saturday night crowd...pumped and primed to party. If the opening night at the Forum was an explosion of two years of pent-up desire and energy, then the third night was a bacchanal. Maybe a little too rowdy...I had a cherry bomb go off near me and effect my hearing for a couple songs. When I was able to calm down from the initial rush and euohoria of the first few songs, I tried to focus on the details. The band all seemed to be wearing the same clothes. I think Bonham had a different top but Jimmy (white dragon suit), Robert (blue jeans and kimono-blouse type top), and Jones (all white) all looked the same as they did on the 21st. In fact, Jones on the 1977 tour reminded me of Greg Lake, only without the round face. Plant looked just slightly a little heavier...mainly in the gut and face, but nothing you wouldn't expect with his recent injury and his lifestyle. Jimmy though was obviously thinner..even gaunt. When he was waving his guitar around and stretching his arms, you could really see his rib cage. His pants, usually worn near his belly-button on previous tours, sagged way down on his hips. Another first for Jimmy Page on this tour...smoking on stage! I had never seen him with a cigarette in his mouth so this was quite surprising to see. Meanwhile, there was a curious figure seen hovering around the drum kit...why hadn't Richard Cole or Mick Hinton removed him? Then during the drum solo he announced himself: it was KEITH MOON!!! Moon the Loon telling Bonzo to "whip Buddy Rich's ass and show those jazz mofos what they're missing." Then Bonzo lets Moon sit in on the drum solo...two of rock's greatest drummers are now playing together! The Dynamic Looneys! Amazing men of steel who know Badgeholders! We in the Forum are going nuts! This is too much...the lights and flashpots are going off and Bonzo and Moon are shaking the Forum to its foundations with the greatest unholy racket I have ever heard. Just listen to the tympani part of the drum solo and you will hear what I mean. After another furious Achilles and majestic Stairway, the crowd goes apeshit for five or more minutes. No cheap encores for Led Zeppelin...unlike today's bands who barely wait 30 seconds before coming back out. Led Zeppelin truly earns their encore. But first, Keith has something he wants to say...only he was so drunk it was hard to understand what he was saying. Meanwhile, Plant has gone behind the drum kit and started playing a little until he decides to rescue Moon from his incoherency, hehe. Moon takes up residence by Bonzo's tympani, and plays along as they begin the encore of a very punk-like "Whole Lotta Love"/"Rock and Roll". Sheer euphoria carried us home that night. Another gobsmacking Hammer of the Gods concert...perhaps the best concert I've ever seen. It is a night I will cherish forever. But because of events that happened later, it is also a night tinged with melancholy. For I remember Keith Moon telling us he would be back at the Forum later in the year "with his backing group". Sadly, he died before that could happen. So this show, this night of June 23, 1977, represents Keith Moon's final appearance on a concert stage in America. Just as these 1977 shows would represent Led Zeppelin's last appearance in America. It's after midnight now...exactly 40 years ago I was heading home from my second 1977 Led Zeppelin show and 11th LZ show overall. And contrary to what was coming from Rolling Stone and the punk-obsessed UK press, washed-up bloated dinosaurs was the last thing on my mind after the concert I had just witnessed. As far as I was concerned, Led Zeppelin still ruled...and I was looking forward to more.
  14. Yes and yes. 6.25.72 6.27.72 5.31.73 6.2.73 6.3.73 3.12.75 3.24.75 3.25.75 3.27.75 6.21.77 6.23.77 6.25.77 6.26.77 6.27.77 Plus over 20 Plant, Page, and Jones solo shows, both Page & Plant tours, Page & Black Crowes, Jones & Diamanda Galás, and the Ronnie Lane A.R.M.S. tour.