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A Walk Down Memory Lane: The Houses of the Holy

201 posts in this topic

The Way We Were: When Led Zeppelin played Trentham Gardens in 1971

By cwarbrook  |   March 08, 2017 | Stoke Sentinel


When Robert Plant belted out Immigrant Song, Peter Alcock feared the musician would 'break the windows'.

“It was the most powerful voice I'd ever heard," says the 65-year-old, of Milton. “It was a great gig – two-and-a-half hours of Led Zeppelin at the top of their game."

Peter is recalling Led Zeppelin's concert at Trentham Gardens on March 14, 1971. The gig was part of their Back to the Clubs tour.

“I can always remember that one of the amplifiers caught fire near the end," he says. "It was doused with water by John Paul Jones."

The band had originally been booked to appear at Hanley disco The Place in April, 1969, but pulled out to fly to the U.S instead. However, they never forgot about the cancelled gig, and their manager Peter Grant later got in touch with the venue to rearrange the show.

But by that point the band's popularity was growing, and it was decided The Place wasn't big enough for the concert, so Trentham Gardens was hired instead.

“The ticket was 50p," says Peter, “and I went with my mate John Roden. It was a full house and a fantastic night."Peter, who is married to June, and has two daughters and two granddaughters, became a fan of the band after listening to their music in the soundproof booths at Hanley music store Sherwins.

“When I heard Whole Lotta Love, that was it," he says. “My mate Kevin Birt got me into them. He was also at the 1971 gig, but he went with his girlfriend.

“Led Zeppelin's music is brilliant – it's timeless. They're still selling lots of records today and they're a big influence on other groups."

The band returned to the area two years later, but Peter didn't go to the show, which is one of his biggest regrets.

“I only went to the one Led Zeppelin gig," he says, “but I have seen quite a few other bands. And I'm still a Led Zeppelin fan – nearly 50 years later."

Peter was 19 at the time of the 1971 gig, and was living in Bucknall and working as a butcher at Tesco in Hanley.

“I remember Martin Donovan, who was the manager at The Place, was the compère," adds Peter, who is retired from his job at Creda in Blythe Bridge. “He introduced the band, and they kicked in with Immigrant Song.

“They played a few numbers from their new album Led Zeppelin IV, which included Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, and Going to California.

“All the old favourites were there – Dazed and Confused, Heartbreaker, and Since I've Been Loving You.

“They finished with a Whole Lotta Love medley. Then, as Trentham Gardens emptied, they came back on and did Communication Breakdown. I was right at the front for the encore."


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