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And You Know How It Is?

40 Years Gone - Seattle Concert Landmarks

119 posts in this topic

Just came back from one of my favorite United States cities (and one of Zep's too), Seattle. I took time out to visit two historical landmarks that Zep played at in 1969: the Green Lake Aqua Theater (just a couple miles north of downtown Seattle) and Gold Creek Park in suburban Woodinville, where Zep was part of a three day festival called the Seattle Pop Festival.

May 11, 1969: Zep and Three Dog Night at Green Lake Aqua Theater

Attached is a newsletter link that shows two historic photographs of the theater, and just how amazing and unique this venue was. All that is left today is the middle three Grandstands, overlooking the Lake. On the back of one of the Grandstands is a timeline history of the venue, and the Zep/Three Dog Night show is listed in detail. It was the second to the last concert ever played there (Grateful Dead did the last show August 21, 1969), and the marker points out that Zep drew 5,600 people, and that Ann and Nancy Wilson of the group Heart saw Zep perform there for the first time (of many Zep shows for them).

Being at this still beautiful spot, I'm thankful the city allowed three Grandstands to remain, and not get completely torn down. So picturesque! Must have been amazing to see the mighty Zep in this venue all those years ago.

Green Lake Aqua Theater

July 27, 1969: Zep plays the third and final night of the Seattle Pop Festival

Tucked away 20 miles northeast of downtown Seattle, Gold Creek Park in Woodinville is within a mile of Red Hook Brewery and a couple of wineries (including Chateau St. Michelle, where Robert performed on the exact date of Bonzo's death, 25 years later supporting his Mighty Rearranger tour. That night the band opened with Moby Dick as a tribute, the only time they did that all tour).

However, finding the grounds for this three day festival proved unsuccessful. You can image the serenity and beauty of the place, but the Park itself, up in foothills of 148th Street, prove to be tough to picture where this weeknd festival was performed. It had to be down in the Valley, as one surviving picture taken of the stage exists somewhere on the web (and it looks like flat ground).

Anyone who knows Seattle, or was at this festival, please explain where they held this three day festival. One fan in the timeline section said it was held behind an ice rink, but I couldn't find that.

By the way, if you read the timelines for both shows in this website, you get amazing descriptions of both concerts. Seattle sure was a Zep United States favorite, along the lines of LA and New York!

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Awesome post. Ally (in Vancouver) & I discuss the early Seattle Zeppelin concerts quite often.

The Green Lake Aqua Theater is quite possibly the most unique venue they ever played.

To this day I've not seen a single photo of Led Zeppelin's set at Gold Creek Park. Last year Ally went so far as to visit the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and speak with the archivist on duty concerning photos from the concert. Alas, while there were some assorted festival photos on file it became clear someone had removed all of the Led Zeppelin photos at some point. There was a man who photographed The Doors set just prior to theirs but he said he was on assignment to photograph only The Doors and left when they finished.

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No doubt, another one of those mystery's that will be solved by a new member and or somebody dropping by for a visit. Tracking stuff down from the Northwest has proven to be very difficult. Part of the reason is that many of the original photographers have long since moved east and contacting them although not impossible, has proven to be very difficult. Photo's most likely do exist but as Steve has stated, this concert and the Seattle Pop Festival were covered by people on assignment. Any photo's that were taken over and above, have not been included in the local archives.

Presently, I am in contact with an old mainstay from the time on a completely different matter. His original claim to fame was doing concert posters for many a gig in Vancouver and the Northwest . He has since made a career doing something else altogether. When he has a moment, he and I will be having a sit down and hopefully we can have a yak about the old day's and the cast of characters who covered and reported on the concerts of the day. Hopefully, he will be able to shed some light on photographs, reviews, experiences. The old network still exisits but confidences need to be protected in order to gain trust. With any luck, I may end up receiving items of interest to everyone without ever knowing who sent them. If this happens, I can assure you that it will all be shared on this site and availible to anyone who is interested. No strings or fees attatched

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apparently from the Greenlake Aquatheater show:

may11_69.jpg

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apparently from the Greenlake Aquatheater show:

may11_69.jpg

:notworthy:

Well, there's one shot!

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Lucky to across these four photos of the Aqua Lake show!!!! Big Files, must load one at a time!

Funny you should post these now as I was referring to this thread earlier in the day !

Some very cool shots of the band and the theatre

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Sorry everyone, looks like I have an upload image quota that I almost used in uploading the first picture. Can't seem to load the other 3 at the moment. I'll see if I can log out, and sign in later to post.

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Sorry everyone, looks like I have an upload image quota that I almost used in uploading the first picture. Can't seem to load the other 3 at the moment. I'll see if I can log out, and sign in later to post.

Look forward to seeing them when your done. Thanks :)

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Sorry everyone, looks like I have an upload image quota that I almost used in uploading the first picture. Can't seem to load the other 3 at the moment. I'll see if I can log out, and sign in later to post.

That is a really great picture!! Thanks and looking forward to seeing the other three.

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Sam, getting this error:

Used 83.42K of your 100K global upload quota (Max. single file size: 16.58K)

Possible to get a larger upload quota to post these other 3 Aqua Lake photos?

Thanks

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Lucky to across these four photos of the Aqua Lake show!!!! Big Files, must load one at a time!

Absolutely phenomenal find! What an awesome photograph.

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Sam, getting this error:

Used 83.42K of your 100K global upload quota (Max. single file size: 16.58K)

Possible to get a larger upload quota to post these other 3 Aqua Lake photos?

Thanks

Will check the board settings. I've seen those pics a while ago. They're part of a collection someone "found" which also has a lot of other groups from that period around the Seattle area (Hendrix, Janis Joplin.... etc)

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Will check the board settings. I've seen those pics a while ago. They're part of a collection someone "found" which also has a lot of other groups from that period around the Seattle area (Hendrix, Janis Joplin.... etc)

Thanks Sam! It works.

As for the source, I read that these pictures were not discovered until 1972 in someone's garage in the Northwest. Great quality black and white photos! Surprised these haven't been in a book or other publication.

Sure shows what a clear beautiful day it was in Seattle that May 11, 1969!

Here's #2:

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And, the best for last!

What a great shot of all four changing the future of rock music. A one of a kind group performing in a one of a kind venue. An era the likes of which we'll never see again. This easily becomes one of my all time favorite photos.

Edited by SteveAJones

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What a weird place for a concert, whats with the water in front of them? Wonder how often they played without an actual stage (and on concrete no less)

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What a weird place for a concert, whats with the water in front of them?

The Green Lake Aqua Theater was built in 1950 for the first Seafair in order to house an attraction called the Aqua Follies and their "swimusicals"--a combination of aqua ballet, stage dancing, and comedy. The theater included a round stage and floating (though still recessed below the stage) orchestra pit, encircling a section of the lake with high diving platforms on each side. The grandstand was built to a capacity of more than 5,000 seats. The Aqua Follies continued to run during Seafair until 1965. Outside of the Seafair schedule the theater was the stage for plays and musicals whose directors always took advantage of the unique setting. In the summer of 1962, coinciding with the Century 21 Exposition, the Aqua Theater stage was host to a jazz festival, popular performers such as Bob Hope, two plays, and a special presentation of the Aqua Follies with 100 performers. After the World's Fair, summer productions languished (usually blamed on Seattle's unpredictable weather) until the Aqua Theater was mostly abandoned — a 1969 concert by the Grateful Dead revealed that the grandstand was crumbling and dangerous. Beginning in 1970 the theater was dismantled, stage right now serving as a pedestrian pier and stage left providing dock and storage for crew shells. Some sections of the grandstand were left in place.

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Aqua Theatre not soon to be forgotten

By Richard Seven

Seattle Times staff reporter

June 24, 2008

Becky Sokolow was passing by, as thousands do each day, the hulking gray grandstand tucked away along the southern shore of Green Lake when she was struck to say what she had long thought. She asked her walking mate, "I wonder how many people even know what that's about?"

How many people know that the concrete bleachers there represent a sliver of what used to accommodate 5,500 spectators? Did they know how the long stage created a crescent-shaped pond between it and the spectators? Did they know about the floating orchestra pit, or the Aqua Darlings, or that Led Zeppelin once opened for Three Dog Night there? Or that famous actors came to perform under the spotlight and moonlight? How about Bob Hope doing his monologue while in a boat being rowed by a former Seafair Queen?

Well, they will soon, now that Sokolow's grass-roots committee, Friends of the Aqua Theatre, received a $3,316 grant from the city last month. The money will help, along with donations and volunteer hours, to design and affix to the structure two 3-by-6-foot signs displaying photographs of its heyday.

The signs should be up at least by next summer, in time for Seafair's 60th anniversary. The Aqua Theatre will always be connected to Seattle's annual summertime festival because the city so wanted the Aqua Follies — a "swim musical" act — to be part of the 1950 Seafair that it took only a few days to secure city permits and only 75 days to construct the facility.

Now the committee needs to hear what others consider to be the images that most represent the flavor of the venue and times. So it has called a 7 p.m. July 9 meeting, in Room 2 of the Phinney Neighborhood Center at 6532 Phinney Ave. N. Sokolow hopes the turnout is as diverse as her committee of volunteers: some who have detailed memories of the theater and some who are appreciating its history for the first time.

Sokolow grew up in Seattle, where she still lives, and her father, Ralph Rosinbum, designed sets and directed and produced performances there during the 1950s and '60s. She even scored a small part in one of the plays.

She had ruminated for years about doing something to preserve a slice of the theater's history. One of her friends finally suggested she apply for a matching grant through the city's Department of Neighborhoods. Sokolow did after taking a leave from her art-teaching job with the Seattle School District and last month received notice the city was backing the project.

Seattle's Neighborhood Matching Fund, which began in 1988, has helped more than 3,500 projects get off the ground. Anne Takekawa, a project manager of the fund, says the goal is to strengthen neighborhoods by providing a cash award for projects that spur neighbors to work together.

Sokolow has combed collections at the University of Washington, the Museum of History & Industry and the Seattle Public Library. Her father also kept a trove of photographs, some autographed by stars who performed there, and clippings — including one showing Bert Parks, in town to headline a play on the stage, giving Hope a trophy for attracting the biggest Aqua Theatre audience to that date.

The Aqua Follies performed there for a couple of weeks each summer from 1950 to 1965, offering a slapstick medley of divers, dancers and synchronized swimmers doing vaudeville-style skits and aquatic feats.

According to Historylink.org, the venue reached its apex in 1962, thanks to the Seattle World's Fair draw of tourists from around the country. Performances included a three-day jazz festival, a weeklong Bob Hope gig, "Annie Get Your Gun" with Gisele MacKenzie, and "The Music Man" with Bert Parks.

The venue fell into disuse, however, after that as Seattle grew up. The last show belonged to The Grateful Dead in 1969, when city inspectors found defects in the structure and determined it was unsafe. Most of the stands were torn down in 1979.

What's left of the bleachers is used by runners gutting it up and down the steps, spectators at rowing events or walkers just enjoying the lake view.

Sokolow believes they should at least know what's missing.

Photo Gallery:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thearts/2008013424_nwaqua240.html

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Dig out that memorabilia: Have any cool photographs or programs from Green Lake's waterside theater?

If so, you can e-mail friendsoftheaquatheater@yahoo.com or call 206-789-6026.

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Awesome venue, Steve. Thanks to you and Ally for sharing such cool details for what must have been an amazing place to take in shows back then.

:peace:

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Awesome venue, Steve. Thanks to you and Ally for sharing such cool details for what must have been an amazing place to take in shows back then.

:peace:

I didn't do much Walter but thanks just the same :) All credit to AYKHII, Steve and Sam

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