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Strider   

Post #14: Van Halen and The Mumps @ the Whisky a Go Go

DATE: Saturday May 28, 1977

Having lain low for most of May since the somnambulant Pink Floyd show...Bad Company with Dave Edmunds @ the Forum was one show I passed up going to, as well as Jethro Tull I think...my interest was, however, piqued when I saw Van Halen was returning to the Whisky for a three-night stand May 27-29. The opening band was The Mumps, one of the many bands that sprung up in the wake of the New York Dolls, Ramones and the whole nascent punk scene.

As I wrote earlier in this thread, my first time seeing Van Halen back in January at the Whisky was an eye-opener. So I wanted to see them again to confirm if my first impressions of them held up and if they really were as fresh and exciting as I thought. I most certainly wanted another peak at the guitar player...I don't think at this time I had remembered his name yet. I do recall he played like he had 20 fingers.

I recruited the same buddies I went with the first time I saw Van Halen. The show we attended was Saturday night's on May 28. There were tons of people of course...it's funny, before I saw Van Halen I hadn't really given their name a second-glance when it appeared in club ads. But after that January show, all of a sudden I started noticing how many shows the played everywhere around town. They had buzz for sure.

I was somewhat surprised by the turnout and enthusiasm shown The Mumps. They were certainly an energetic band, which helps when you're opening for Van Halen. Most of the members gamboled athletically or spastically around the stage, creating quite a glam-punk type racket. It wasn't until I saw them that night that I found out that the leader of the Mumps was none other than LANCE LOUD!

If you're asking 'who the Dickens is Lance Loud?', you're obviously not gay nor have you ever seen the landmark 1973 PBS documentary "An American Family"...the first reality show. Google it.

The Mumps weren't bad...in fact, they were better than some other punk bands of that era; bands that did get record contracts. For whatever reason, though, the Mumps never got signed and soon split up.

Van Halen was the headliner, however, and all thoughts of the Mumps were banished once their set was over. The crowd and anticipation was building for Van Halen...and remember, they STILL didn't have a record or even a single out. I don't think they were yet signed to Warner Brothers at this point. But their reputation as THE party band of Southern California had obviously spread far and wide.

When Van Halen took the stage and began playing, it was like a bomb going off. LOUD, uncouth, raw, powerful yet also ridiculously catchy, they immediately confirmed my initial impressions were correct. This was a band that gave me hope hard rock wasn't dying and there was still room for PERSONALITY in the face of such faceless corporate FM rock as Foreigner, Styx, Kansas, Chicago.

Again their set was covers interspersed with some originals. What was noteworthy was that the originals were often better than whatever ZZ Top, Zeppelin or Aerosmith cover they played. Somebody on another thread asked if Van Halen ever played the Deep Purple song "Maybe I'm a Leo"? I'd love to be able to answer definitively yes or no, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn't have recognized the song if they had played it.

You see, by 1977, Deep Purple was one of those bands I had tossed aside...I was bored with them. So on the slag heap they went, along with Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Black Oak Arkansas, and other bands I thought had grown stale.

So while I would have recognized any Zeppelin or Aerosmith cover, I didn't have a clue what "Maybe I'm a Leo" sounded like, so wouldn't have noticed if Van Halen played it.

What was noticeable to me, seeing Van Halen a second time, was that the current crop of hard rock acts were put on notice. It seemed it was only a matter of time before Van Halen would get a record deal and soon have an album out. Bands like Aerosmith, Nazareth, Boston, Ted Nugent, Bad Company, were going to have to step up their game or get buried.

One more thing...after this second time seeing Van Halen, I never forgot the guitar player's name again...Eddie Van Halen was permanently imprinted on my mind.

Jenny Lens was a girl who photographed tons of shows back then, especially of the early punk bands. The following photos were taken by her. I still see her at various events and shows...she's quite a trip. The guy with David Lee Roth is Lance Loud of The Mumps...not Joe Perry as many people mistakenly assume. That's The Mumps in front of the Whisky in the other photo.

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Edited by Strider

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Strider   

Nice post. Especially the Deep Purple hatchet job! Bravo, Strider!!!

Do you remember whether they had their logo by then?

This one?

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Naw, I think Major Major is referring to the VH logo used for the first two albums. To answer your question MM, I don't think they had their logo finalized yet. As you can see by badgeholder's post, they still were tinkering with their fonts. For instance, this was going to be the first album's cover until cooler heads prevailed:

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Anyway, hope that answers your question. Now, here's another dose of the timeline...

Post #15: School's Out for Summer and the Mothership Touches Down!!!

DATE: Saturday June 4, 1977

The school year was over. Friday June 3 was the last day and it was time to celebrate my surviving my freshman year of high school. That meant heading to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday with a few guys I knew from the basketball/football teams for something called the Music Sound Funk Festival.

The line-up was choice: Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band, The Isley Brothers, Rufus w/ Chaka Khan, The Brothers Johnson, and Rose Royce. This was to be the final show of P-Funk's Earth Tour, the one with the crazy Mothership landing on stage with lazers and pyros going off, whereupon George Clinton would emerge in his Dr. Funkenstein persona.

The P-Funk band at this point featured some crazy talent...Eddie Hazel, Garry "Diaperman" Shider, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker, Fuzzy Haskins, Lynn Mabry, and a host of others...it was very hard to keep track of who was onstage and what was going on at a P-Funk show back then. I was particularly excited that I was going to see P-Funk because I had missed their show at the Forum back in January due to it being a school night. So I was thankful they were back in L.A.

After doing my Saturday morning chores, my pals picked me up a little bit past noon and we headed northwest to the Coliseum across from the USC campus.

Confession time: some quantity of marijuana was smoked on the way and during the show.

Sad to say, as awesome the line-up was, the concert wasn't as great as it could and should have been. For one thing, the Coliseum(home field of the L.A. Rams, USC and UCLA football teams at the time) was far from sold out...maybe 50,000 tops. Second, the sound quality was subpar...mostly booming bass, and the volume depended on where you were located. Third, the time between bands was interminable; the show already had started more than an hour later than the advertised 3pm start time. There would be an hour or a 90-minute wait between some of the acts.

Then there was the complete no-show by the Isley Brothers, which was later reported as being about money...the Isley's reportedly wouldn't go on unless they were paid in cash, while the promoters said the Isley's demanded more money or they wouldn't play. Whatever the truth, the Isley's didn't play and Bootsy Collins' Rubber Band played before the headlining Parliament-Funkadelic.

Not seeing the Isleys, who were one of my favourite funky r & b acts(and whose "It's Your Thing" I had noted on a few Zeppelin bootlegs), took the wind out of my sails a little bit. Or to put it another way, it put a damper on my buzz.

I think it was after midnight by the time the P-Funk Mothership landed...and thank god, because all the hassles and frustration of the day melted away as the funk flew furiously and non-stop thru their set. By this time, we had already moved closer to the stage as others had wilted as the day went on and either left early or retreated to the stands. All I remember is just a kaleidoscope of colours and costumes...I SAW A MAN WEARING A DIAPER!!!...and of course, the endless groove and funk of the music and the chanting and dancing.

Yeah, all in all, it was worth it just to see P-Funk in their prime, complete with the Mothership spaceship special effect.

It was also worth it to see the Brothers Johnson, riding high off their "Right on Time" album with their excellent cover of Shuggie Otis' song "Strawberry Letter 23", and Rufus with the amazing vocal talents of Chaka Khan. Rose Royce wasn't anything special.

Oh, and the LAPD was heavy-handed as usual and arrested lots of people...not as many as they did at the Pink Floyd shows in 1975, but still in the hundreds.

The concert didn't end until nearly 2am if I remember correctly...it was like a Stones show in that regard, haha.

As this was the last show of P-Funk's Earth Tour, this was the last concert with the band in this configuration, as after the tour, quite a few P-Funkers left, having grown tired of George Clinton's stranglehold on the band's direction and finances.

Anyway, that was that...this would be the last concert I would see until the Led Zeppelin shows at the Forum now 17 days away.

Due to a number of factors: shortage of money, lack of a ride, lack of interest, wanting to conserve my strength for the Zeppelin marathon; I passed on the Little Feat show on June 7, the ZZ Top show June 11, and the Alice Cooper extravaganza at Anaheim Stadium June 19, and the Weirdos and the Germs at the Whisky June 20.

Edited by Strider

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Walter   

The tension is building towards those shows! I always look forward to playing them every June. Had you heard about the Tampa riot?

Thanks for writing, Strider, you never disappoint!

:)

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tmtomh   

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:thumbsup:

Great show!

The existing source is an overloaded AUD tape, but it's actually quite listenable, and the overload makes some of the performances (like In My Time of Dying) sound really ferocious.

If anyone's looking to check this performance out, don't be scared off by the distortion on the first song or two. The tape is overloaded throughout, but it clears up a lot after the first 5-10 minutes.

Edited by tmtomh

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:thumbsup:

Great show!

The existing source is an overloaded AUD tape, but it's actually quite listenable, and the overload makes some of the performances (like In My Time of Dying) sound really ferocious.

If anyone's looking to check this performance out, don't be scared off by the distortion on the first song or two. The tape is overloaded throughout, but it clears up a lot after the first 5-10 minutes.

I paid the $35 scalp price from a guy in Rochester that had tickets to NY and Washington. Its unimaginable to think of this price printed on a ticket to see Led Zeppelin. I was offered $200 cash at the door and wisely declined.

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Strider   

^^^

Very wise, indeed, Rick! And how fortunate you were to catch one of the good Landover shows! The only Landover I've heard from the 1977 tour is the "Bringing the House Down" soundboard, which is the May 26 show, and it is dreadful. I've heard people say bad things about the 28th concert as well, but apparently everyone agrees the May 30th was the best of the four Landover nights.

The tension is building towards those shows! I always look forward to playing them every June. Had you heard about the Tampa riot?

Not only had I heard about the Tampa riot, but others as well. Just like in 1975, there would be periodic reports about violence at a Led Zeppelin concert as the tour marched across the country. There was violence in Miami on April 17 when tickets went on sale...the article blurb didn't say if these tickets were for a Miami show that then got cancelled, or if they were selling tickets for Tampa at Miami's Orange Bowl, too.

Then came word about the trouble in Cincinnati. So yes, you can imagine the worries I was having about whether the band would make it to L.A. in one piece or if too much fan violence would cause the rest of the tour to be scrapped.

On the other hand, there was some good news..."The Song Remains the Same" was brought back to selected theatres in Southern California to help us pass the time waiting for the Zeppelin tour to arrive at the Forum.

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Edited by Strider

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tmtomh   

^^^

Very wise, indeed, Rick! And how fortunate you were to catch one of the good Landover shows! The only Landover I've heard from the 1977 tour is the "Bringing the House Down" soundboard, which is the May 26 show, and it is dreadful. I've heard people say bad things about the 28th concert as well, but apparently everyone agrees the May 30th was the best of the four Landover nights.

I haven't paid much attention to the 25th, as the tape sucks.

But the 26th is available in very nice quality and is... a pretty mediocre show, unfortunately.

The 28th is available as a soundboard and is... a pretty uninspired show too.

The 30th is AUD only and is... a fantastic show!

This often seems to be the way with their multi-night stands in '75 and '77. Whoever owns the soundboard tapes seems to have wisely (from their point of view) sold the weaker nights to the bootleggers first, presumably to keep demand high and the prices up. I suppose eventually the best nights will come out: Uniondale Feb 13 '75 (though the existing Feb 14 sbd is quite a good show too); Seattle March 21 '75; Landover May 30 '77; and so on. The March 20 '75 Vancouver Show is one of the first of these, with the good-but-not-as-good March 19 show having been released first.

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Strider   

Post #17: Twas the Night Before Zeppelin

DATE: Monday June 20, 1977

At long last the wait was almost over. The June 19, 1977 Sunday Calendar of the L.A. Times had the Led Zeppelin Forum shows listed in the Events of the Week.

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The June 20, 1977 issue of Newsweek magazine had a review of Led Zeppelin's New York concert(written by Janet Maslin), which shows you how much things had changed and how enormous Led Zeppelin had become by 1977. Now, it wasn't just the music press and newspapers writing about the band, but the staid mainstream newsweekly mags like Time and Newsweek had taken notice, too. It's one thing to write about Bruce Springsteen or the Rolling Stones, who had the approval of Rolling Stone magazine and the other rock scribes, and therefore were deemed "safe" for mainstream readers. But Led Zeppelin were still scoundrels to the media horde, were still looked upon as hairy heavy-metal beasts...definitely NOT for polite society.

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So after over two years away from touring, what sort of world awaited Led Zeppelin since they last toured in 1975? A lot could change in a couple of years back then. What follows then, is sort of a thumbnail sketch of what was happening that week of June 1977 as Led Zeppelin was ensconced in the Continental Hyatt(aka the Riot House) on Sunset Blvd., resting up beween the San Diego concert of June 19 and the first of the 6 Forum gigs on June 21.

The Carter family was in the White House, Jimmy Carter having beaten Gerald Ford in the 1976 Presidential election and only taken office that January 1977. This was pre-killer rabbit attack, and his brother Billy Carter hadn't quite embarrassed the President yet..."Billy Beer" was still a month away. We knew Led Zeppelin was the Ford children's favourite band, but I don't think anyone knew who the Carter kids liked. Bland Walter Mondale was the Vice President.

Former White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman was about to enter prison for his part in the Watergate scandal during Richard Nixon's Presidency.

President of Egypt Anwar Sadat was still alive, while Menachem Begin would take office as Prime Minister of Israel on June 21. James Callaghan from the Labour Party was Prime Minister of the U.K. You-Know-Who was Queen. In a rare occurance of Canada overshadowing Britain, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was more famous than Callaghan, mainly due to the hijinks of Pierre's wife Margaret Trudeau...or "Maggie" to her fans and the tabloids.

In the U.S., the median income was $13,572 and the average cost of a new house was $54,200. Gas was 0.62¢ a gallon for regular and 0.66¢ a gallon for unleaded. Milk was $1.68 a gallon. It cost 0.13¢ to mail a letter.

Unemployment rate was 7.7% and inflation ran at 11%. The DOW's high in 1977 was 999 and the low was 800.

Jerry Brown was in his first term as Governor of California...and hanging out with singer Linda Ronstadt.

On June 10, 1977 James Earl Ray, the man who assasinated Martin Luther King, Jr., escaped with others from the Brushy Mountain State Prison in Tennessee. He was captured two days later.

The Son of Sam was terrorizing New York City and the Yorkshire Ripper was doing the same in England.

There was hubbub over "school busing", federal funding for abortions, an attempt on Uganda dictator Idi Amin's life, and the trans-Alaska oil pipeline began operation on June 20, 1977.

Oh, and in a decision which would have repercussions for decades, the California State Surpreme Court ruled unconstitutional the state's practice of using local property taxes to fund the public school system. Named the Serrano Case after one of the plaintiffs, John Serrano, Jr., the U.S. Supreme Court on June 20 refused to hear a challenge to the original ruling. The California public school system, at the time one of the best and the envy of many, would from this point on begin its long downward spiral, with additional help by Prop. 13 a year later.

The cost of record albums and tapes were anywhere from $5.99 to $7.99 list retail, although most record stores(Tower, Licorice Pizza, the Wherehouse) would discount them to $3.99 to $5...slightly more for double albums.

In sports, I was ecstatic as the Oakland Raiders were the reigning Super Bowl Champions, having finally reached the promised land after years of heartbreak by demolishing the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl, January 9, 1977.

My other favourite teams weren't faring so well that year...both the LA Lakers and the LA Kings were knocked out in the playoffs that Spring of 1977. The Kings were beaten in the Quarterfinals by the bane of their existence, the Boston Bruins. Yes, this was back in the days of the Prince of Wales Conference and the Campbell Conference. The Kings resided in the Prince of Wales Conference, Norris Division along with the Montreal Canadians, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, and Washington Capitols. The other Division in the Wales Conference was the Adams Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Cleveland Barons(formerly the California Golden Seals).

In the Clarence Campbell Conference, you had the Patrick Division: Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Atlantic Flames, and New York Rangers; and the Smythe Division: St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, and Colorado Rockies.

Montreal dominated the NHL racking up 132 points during the season, 20 more than the next best team, the Philadelphia Flyers, and sweeping the Boston Bruins to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

As for the Lakers, they got swept by Bill Walton and the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals. Portland then fell behind 2-0 to the high-flying Dr. J(Julius Erving) and the favoured Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals, only to storm back and win the next 4 games, shocking the 76ers and most everyone else. I know I was rooting for Philly, as, after the Lakers, I was a Dr. J fan from his days in the ABA. This was a landmark season in the NBA, as it was the first season post-ABA/NBA merger.

Like the NHL, the conferences and divisions often didn't make geographical sense: the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons were in the Western Conference and the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs in the Eastern Conference.

Oh, the Stanley Cup Finals were over on May 14, and the NBA Finals completed by June 5.

In baseball, the California Angels were mediocre and Reggie Jackson was the straw stirring the Yankee-drink in New York. The Cincinnati Reds were the back-to-back World Series champions and Reds outfielder George Foster was jacking home runs at an astounding rate(pre-steroid era), eventually finishing with 52 home runs. But it was a new era dawning in the NL West, as after 23 years of Walter Alston, the LA Dodgers had a new manager for the 1977 season: Tommy Lasorda. No one knew it at the time, but the days of the Big Red Machine were about to end.

In May-June, Seattle Slew became the second horse of the 70s to win the Triple Crown of horse racing, 4 years after Secretariat.

Wimbledon began on June 20. Björn Borg and the pride and hope of England, Virginia Wade, eventually winning the Men's and Women's Singles Titles respectively.

In England, check out this wacky sequence of events:

May 15: Liverpool FC wins the English Football League.

May 21: Manchester United then beats Liverpool to win the FA Cup.

May 25: But then Liverpool squash Borussia Mönchengladbach to win their first European Cup.

Colleen McCullough's "The Thorn Birds" is dominating the bestselling book charts, along with Richard Bach's "Illusions", Dr. Wayne Dyer's "Your Erroneous Zones", Gail Sheehy's "Passages" and Alex Haley's "Roots".

"Charlie's Angels" is the top-rated television show in the Nielsen Ratings this week in 1977. The rest of the Top 10 is as follows:

2. "The War Between the Tates"

3. "Laverne & Shirley"

4. "Happy Days"

5. "Kojak"

6. "McCloud"

7. "MASH"

8. "Shields & Yarnell" (don't ask, haha)

9. "Rms Riv Vu"

10. "Quincy"

Somehow ABC had 3 of the top 4 programs for the week and STILL finished behind NBC and CBS in the ratings.

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Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" has been the Number One album in the Billboard charts for weeks.

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"Rocky" and "Network" were the big winners at the Academy Awards in March, "Rocky" winning Best Picture and Best Director, and "Network" scoring Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. "All the President's Men" also won multiple awards..."Taxi Driver" was shut out, beginning a long stretch of Martin Scorsese being denied at the Oscars.

Fims opening the week Led Zeppelin were in town included Scorsese's new one "New York, New York", William("The Exorcist", "French Connection") Friedkin's "Sorcerer", and two from Disney, "The Boatnicks" and "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo".

Other movies that were out in theatres: "Star Wars", "Annie Hall", "The Deep", "Slap Shot", "Black Sunday", "A Bridge Too Far", "Cross of Iron", "Aguirre-The Wrath of God", "Welcome to L.A.", "3 Women", "Freaky Friday", "A Star is Born", "The Other Side of Midnight", and "Rollercoaster".

Also, in 1977, newspapers (well, at least the Los Angeles Times did) still ran ads for porn movies like "Deep Throat" and "Beyond the Green Door" in the movie section.

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Edited by Strider

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Strider   

Nice scene-setting...but not one mention of punk??!!? Shame on you...

I'm not through. Don't worry, punk will get its due.

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Strider   

Post #18: If it's Summer, it must be Led Zeppelin!

DATE: Tuesday June 21, 1977

It was the usual "June Gloom" morning as I woke up after a fitful night of sleep...I kept waking up wondering when the night would end and June 21 would finally arrive, and with it, my appointment with my favourite band, Led Zeppelin. The weather forecast was for highs of 88°F in Riverside, but a more pleasant 76°F in the Inglewood area, where the Forum was located. Either way, once the morning marine layer burned off, there would be plenty of sunshine. No worries of getting soggy in the rain like the 1975 Long Beach show.

I thought there might be a review of Sunday's San Diego concert of the 19th in the L.A. Times, but there wasn't. Guess ole Bob Hilburn didn't want to make the drive down the 405 on a weekend...but then, who does?

It had now been 141 days since the tickets to these concerts went on sale...141 days of making sure they weren't lost, stolen or otherwise rendered unusable for the shows. It had been 786 days since the last time Led Zeppelin played in L.A., March 27, 1975. People and groups that had barely been thought of back in early-1975(Peter Frampton, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac) were now considered "superstars".

The Eagles in 1975 were considered just an easy-going-country-rock-Gram Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers-wannabe band. By 1977, they had released both the best-selling "Greatest Hits" collection and "Hotel California" to much success and were played everywhere on the radio. They didn't tour much, so the jury was still out for many on whether they were a good live band.

Fleetwood Mac in 1975, if they were thought of at all, were most likely remembered for the Peter Green/Jeremy Spencer years as a good British Blues-rock band. Maybe some even heard "Hypnotised" on the radio from the Bob Welch era. But nobody considered them world-beaters in any respect. Next thing you know, in comes Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks and they release the "Fleetwood Mac" album(the one with "Rhiannon") the summer of 1975, which starts slowly but by 1976 is getting heavy airplay and steady sales. Then, in February 1977 comes "Rumours" and just like that, you can't escape them...everywhere you go, you hear "Dreams", "Go Your Own Way", "The Chain", "Don't Stop", "You Make Loving Fun", "Second Hand News" and just about every other song on the album. "Rumours" is Number 1 for weeks and girls are affecting the Stevie Nicks-look.

Once again, though, there hasn't been much chance to check them out live. They played a poorly-reviewed show in 1976 and so far in 1977, have only scheduled one concert in the area...in Santa Barbara, which they had to cancel after it rained.

So while you could say that Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles were on Led Zeppelin's level record-sales-wise, it was still too early to say if they had the live prowess and drawing power of Led Zeppelin on the concert stage.

Then, there was Peter Frampton. Talk about coming alive! Out of nowhere Peter Frampton EXPLODED into the public's consciousness with his live album "Frampton Comes Alive!", released in early 1976 and played at parties and bedrooms the entire year. By the end of the year, I don't know anyone who wasn't sick of the album and sick of that mouthbox guitar gimick.

Oh, but people would tell you he was soooo personable, soooo good-looking, soooo genuine in concert...how could he not get bigger and better? How? I'll tell you...this is how:

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I would call it the Billy Squire move, EXCEPT Peter Frampton pre-dated Billy Squire's fiasco by 6 or 7 years. Of course, he didn't stop with this flacid piece of wax; next up was the "Sgt. Pepper's" movie fiasco and as quickly as Frampton came alive, his career just as quickly petered out.

Other bands had also come along since Led Zeppelin was last on our shores in 1975. Hordes of guys with bad hair and shiny satin, many of them from the midwest, it seemed, all of a sudden were flooding the airwaves: Boston, Journey, Styx, Kansas, Foreigner, and many many more. They had just enough guitar to make you think they rocked like Led Zeppelin, but most of their music seemed hollow, soulless...flacid.

It was "Flacid Rock"...or "Placid Rock", if you will.

These bands, along with the aforementioned Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Peter Frampton(I am tempted to throw in Steely Dan with this bunch, too, but their music had just enough edge, especially lyrically, to give them a pass) formed the base of pretty much all of FM rock radio from 1976 onwards. It was the dawn of the "Classic Rock" era of rock radio, even though the term wouldn't be invented yet for almost a decade. The freewheeling days of FM rock radio were now replaced by corporate marketing and test-researched playlists and scripted DJs. Nothing was left to chance, and the playlists got narrower and tighter and more and more conservative.

The radio guys loved these bands because their music was perfect to sell hi-fis and cars to the burgeoning Baby-Boomer-Yuppie demographic. The music was smooth and shiny because bands would spend hours...days...weeks...months in the studio polishing their songs to a platinum gleam. Even songs about heartbreak and pain sounded sweet and nice in the hands of these bands. And it was all so placid. I would always want to scream when listening to the Eagles or whomever, "Hit the muthafucking drums fer chrissakes!" Even a supposed rocking song like "Life in the Fast Lane" lacks vim-and-vigor, get-up-and-go, to my ears.

Then, there was all that satin, especially white satin...shiny clothes to go with the shiny music. I mean, look at Angel:

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Strider   

Curses...drats...and everything else.

Well, shoot...it looks like I screwed up the above post. A large chunk, including the part dealing with punk rock, is missing. I was trying to write it at work, which uses Windows system, which apparently the Zeppelin site doesn't like, as I always seem to have difficulty with it.

It's too late to try and rectify it now, as I'm getting ready to leave work and meet up with friends for dinner. Then it will be time to write the actual concert post. The wait has been long enough and it's time I delivered.

So, I'll have to leave the above post as it is for now and resuscitate it another day.

Until later tonight, then...

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Well I enjoyed it, even if it is screwed up. If you hadn't said anything, no one would be the wiser. Looking forward to the next chapter.

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Strider   

Post #19: LED ZEPPELIN LANDS AT THE FORUM- THE FIRST NIGHT!

DATE: Tuesday night, June 21, 1977

As Robert Plant will say during the show, no beating around the bush, tonight we're here to play. So in that spirit, no long setup to this post...I'm going to cut right to the chase and get to the concert. Since I fucked up the previous post, some of the themes and segues I planned on developing had to be abandoned anyway.

Ok, you already should know the particulars, but for anyone who doesn't: Tonight is the 35th anniversary of the first of six concerts Led Zeppelin played at the Forum of Inglewood(in Los Angeles) on their 1977 tour. This is the famous "Listen to this, Eddie" show.

Ok, here we go.

We(my school buddy and his older brother and his friends) are in the Forum. Me and my friend are in the Loge section...at about the midway point between the stage and the rear of the floor and on the right side of the arena looking towards the stage: JIMMY'S SIDE!!!

7:30pm was the advertised start time, but everyone knows that that is never the case with Led Zeppelin...and rock concerts in general. So after the usual waiting and various food fights and paper cup battles and frisbees and beach balls or whatnot being tossed about through the thick cloud of marijuana (and who knows what else) smoke, the house lights finally go down sometime between 8:30 and 9pm and several things happen that confirm that you were at a Led Zeppelin concert...just in case you had Led Zeppelin confused with Foreigner or Boston.

1. An EPIC ROAR issued forth from the packed Forum in anticipation of OUR BOYS taking the stage. One hundred and forty-one days...nay, SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SIX DAYS of pent-up waiting and anticipation and desire EXPLODED out of us and rained down upon the darkened stage, to hail our heroes return!

2. Something else exploded...cherry bombs and firecrackers were lit from various parts of the crowd. I was never a fan of this type of concert ritual, especially if one went off near your ear, affecting your ability to hear the concert. But it was a fact of life at concerts in the 70s, one you had to endure...particularly at Led Zeppelin shows.

3. As you begin to detect the band's figures making their way on stage, one figure announces his PRESENCE in an unmistakable way. With a rat-a-tat-tat of his snare, John Bonham metaphorically says "Hello L.A.!" From just a few seconds of those loud whacks as Bonham tests his drums, you can tell Bonzo is going to pound us good tonight!

Jimmy Page then enters the conversation, giving a few test strums on his guitar...the now-iconic red double-neck. Before you know it, Jimmy strikes the opening bell, and they are off!!!

Even though I knew in advance what most of the setlist was going to be and that "The Song Remains the Same" was going to be the first song, it still took my breath away once the concert started. With the lights(the lights for the 1977 tour were light years beyond when I first saw them in 1972, and even 1973) going off in a flash and the band attacking the song with such ferocity and power(oh my god Bonzo is SLAYING his drums!), the opening packed such a wallop that I literally was in a dazed trance for the first couple of songs. Just standing there with my mouth ajar trying to take it all in. The band, what they were wearing, and getting my ears and body adjusted to the LOUD SONIC ASSAULT Led Zeppelin was unleashing.

The first two songs(TSRTS/Rover intro/Sick Again) whooshed by in a blur. Seriously. Thank god for Mike Millard or I would have very little recollection of them. I didn't even noticed Jimmy's guitar problems at the start of Sick Again, as Jones and Bonzo were loud enough on their own(something the bootlegs don't adequately capture) to mask a few seconds of lost guitar.

Robert Plant says hello to us after the end of "Sick Again", and as the band has stopped playing as Jimmy gets his guitar ready for the next song, I can finally catch my breath and take stock of the situation. I am already starting to get a contact high from all the blazing going on inside the arena. People are even tossing joints on stage as well as other talismans for the lads.

It is here that Plant mentions the Bad Company show that he and Jimmy appeared at and those of us that were at that show scream our acknowledgment. You can sense Robert Plant is raring to go, itching to get going, but Jimmy and Raymond seem to be having trouble with the guitar effect needed for the next song, "Nobody's Fault but Mine". So there's a brief moment of "dead air" so-to-speak until all systems are go.

Now, before the tour started I had already made a mental wish list of what I wanted the setlist to entail:

1. No more Dazed and Confused. No more Moby Dick.

2. Yes to Kashmir, No Quarter, OTHAFA, Trampled, TSRTS and Rain Song returning.

3. As many new songs as possible...whether that meant new songs from Presence and Physical Graffiti or songs from the older albums that they hadn't ever played or rarely: When the Levee Breaks, Thank You, Four Sticks.

So while I obviously didn't get all of my wishes, I was very enthused to see two of my favourite Presence tracks on the setlist for Dallas in the LA Times review of the opening night of the tour.

"Nobody's Fault but Mine" is a powerful, rhythmic song and it has the kind of starts and stops that only a well-oiled band can pull off convincingly...EVERYBODY in the band has to hit their mark at the same time or the song loses its attack. I would be very curious to know how Led Zeppelin sounded on this song on the early shows of the tour, considering the word is they didn't rehearse at all for those four months while the gear was here in the U.S. while they waited for Plant to get better. The earliest 77 show I have is the Cleveland "Destroyer" show. Has anyone heard any of the first few shows from Dallas and Oklahoma? Do they hit the marks in "Nobody's Fault but Mine"?

Well, whatever...they sure NAIL the song at the Forum!!! Jimmy's playing the riff thru his wah-wah pedal and some other delay effect that seems to split the riff into a high and low register, making it seem like Jimmy's playing two guitars at once.

But then, one of the cosmic things about a Led Zeppelin concert was the way it frequently seemed as if Jimmy was playing two guitars simultaneously...or more. Sloppy or not, the man had a way with sonic architecture that few of his peers could conceive, let alone execute. And along with the bloozy thrust and pull of "Nobody's Fault but Mine", you got not only Percy blowing a harmonica solo(something I hadn't seen him do since 1972) but also the humorous bit with Robert referencing Steve Martin when he exclaims before the guitar solo, "Oh Jimmy? Oh Jimmy? Well, excuuuuse me!"

It was probably during this song that I first noticed how much stronger Plant's voice was from the 1975 tour...and even the 1973 tour. While maybe the top range wasn't all the way back to 1970-71 range, the sandpaper rasp he struggled with before was gone and the power was back. The return to form of his voice seemed to lend him a renewed confidence and it showed in his stage manner. Plant really appeared loose and in good spirits during the Forum shows. Not that he wasn't in the past, but I've always thought some of his stage banter on the 75 tour betrayed a certain nervousness and his demeanor could be curt at times. But you probably would be too if you had the flu and was touring through snowstorms.

Now we get a surprise...a switch in the program. Instead of "In My Time of Dying" after NFBM, as Dallas and other early dates got, the Forum is treated to "Over the Hills and Far Away", and if the band has been clicking on all cylinders from the beginning of the show, it is at this point they really start cooking. And while OTHAFA has been part of the setlist since 1972, it has never been played like THIS!!! For it is on the 1977 OTHAFAs that Jimmy at last has a clearly defined idea of how he wants the solo to progress and to sound. On previous tours, sometimes it would be great and other times it would sound haphazard and the ending would be random and awkward.

In 1977 there was no pussyfooting around. If the opening blast of "The Song Remains the Same" provided the night's first peel-your-face-back moment, the next occurred when Jimmy launched into the solo on OTHAFA. Holy fucking shit. Oh, I'm sorry...I mean HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!

Jimmy is on Mount Zeus hurling thunderbolts every which way while Bonzo is savagely firing off clusterbombs from his drumkit and Jones just coolly lopes along setting the groove. The fuzz and delay on Jimmy's guitar is outrageous...it's a perfect mindfuck of a solo. It's spacey and SAVAGE at the same time. Like someone married Steve Hillage or David Gilmore with Johnny Ramone/Johnny Thunders.

It's so good, I want it to go on forever. It's so good, in fact, that after the song is over I turn to my friend and say "no matter what happens the rest of the show, it was worth the days waiting in line and the $9.75 just to hear THAT!!!"

Whether it was the lasting effect of that solo or the ever constant smell of marijuana and/or hash wafting by...or a combination of the two..."Since I've Been Loving You" was nearly half-over before I snapped out of this dazed trance I was in. I couldn't quite remember if they had played SIBLY in 1975...I didn't think so. And with the film "The Song Remains the Same" and its awesome SIBLY fresh in everybody's mind, it was a welcome return to the setlist.

Since I was spacing out for much of the song, it's only because of the bootleg that I was able to learn that Jimmy incorporated bits of "Tea for One" in the solo. Or the way Plant was "down on my knees...I'm begging you please". What I didn't need the bootleg to help me remember is what I always remember from all the SIBLYs I've seen: the way Jimmy caresses his guitar, particularly when it's one of his Les Pauls. A mother holding a baby couldn't be more loving. A man holding his lover couldn't be more sensual.

SIBLY earns a rapturous response from the crowd, as it has always been a concert favourite with fans. Plant chats some more...yeah, he's cooking, or something. To tell you the truth, with the noise of everyone around you and the reverberation of the sound, not to mention Plant's accent, it could sometimes be difficult to understand what he was saying between songs. Did he just mention Jimmy?

Not difficult to understand was the dry ice/smoke machine flooding the stage in a bank of fog: it was time for "No Quarter". Hell yeah! This was one of my favourite moments of the 1975 tour and I was looking forward to hearing it performed in 1977. I knew from the '75 tour that it would most likely be a long journey...those '75 NQs were around 20 minutes or more. But I was willing to settle back and place myself in the band's hands and take the journey with them. In Jones, Bonham and Page I had pilots I could trust.

Blue. An absolutely beautiful shade of blue. That's the colour I will always associate with "No Quarter", thanks to the blue light bathing the stage during the opening to "No Quarter". Blue lights. Fog. Oh, and the laser light show. Which I almost missed because my focus was so intent on what was happening on stage, I didn't even bother to look up at the laser lights oscillating until my buddy tapped me and pointed upward. After which, he left to get a coke or something as Jones played his piano solo.

Now, I know there is much debate about which No Quarters are the best: '73, '75, or '77. And from a position of hindsight, I now believe the '75 NQs to be the best versions. But hot damn if at the time I sat and watched this performance of NQ that evening of June 21, that I wasn't flabbergasted at what I witnessed and thought that I had just saw the greatest, weirdest No Quarter ever! Talk about your long and winding road!

The band had certainly eaten their Wheaties before the show; all of them were fired up and ready to go off on any tangent they desired. This was the kind of kinetic, savage jam that separated Led Zeppelin from the bloodless prog types like ELP and Pink Floyd or the groovy boogie groups such as the Doobies or Grateful Dead or their fading metal contemporaries Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. There simply wasn't another band out there in 1977, in my opinion, that could pull off something like "No Quarter" in concert. Frank Zappa? Maybe...but I often found his approach too academic in the late-70s.

30 minutes later and it was over...and between the light and fog show and watching Jimmy do his thing, I was held in rapture the entire time. This was also another time where you could appreciate the power of Plant's vocals...especially at the end when he and Page get into a duel between his "dogs of doom" howling and Pagey's wicked wah wah.

30 minutes. I had seen the Ramones play an entire set at the Roxy in 30 minutes, but there was just as much intense music and savage grace in No Quarter as in the Ramones whole show.

My buddy got back with drinks just in time for me to tell him he'd missed a hell of a jam. He said he heard it even if he didn't see it.

"No Quarter" was another one of those moments of the concert that alone was worth the cost of the ticket. In fact, so was the next song...another fresh newbie to the set: "Ten Years Gone"!

Whoa...a triple-neck! As some weisenheimer in the crowd shouts on the bootleg.

I am deeply sorry for this but I am completely exhausted. It's been a long work week and I have gotten very little sleep. I can barely keep my eyes open now, and I need to rest up as tomorrow I have to get up early and I won't get off of work until midnight. I'll try to finish this post tomorrow at lunch. Again, my apologies for stopping in the middle like this.

Edited by Strider

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Strider   

Well, I am sorry to report that work and other things have intruded and I just don't have the time to post my reviews of the Forum concerts like I had hoped. Unfortunately I don't write my posts beforehand...I like to write on the fly, at the moment, in a stream-of-conscious manner...so it's not a matter of me logging on and cut and pasting an already written piece to here.

Maybe next week, on the 26th or 27th, I can do a post entailing all the Forum shows in one fell swoop. Of course, if things change at the last minute and I do find myself with some time, I'll still try to post a timely review here.

In the meantime, please feel free to add your own thoughts and memories. There were 108,000 people that went to the 6 Forum concerts; certainly I can't be the only one here that went? Where's Badgeholder? I know he went to at least one of the Forum shows.

And I have a feeling there's plenty more lurking about...come on folks, join in! Don't be shy! :)

What's this 'Billy Squier Move' you refer to, btw? I lost interest after Emotions In Motion, which was pretty lame apart from 3 or 4 songs....what crimes against music did he go on to commit?

Ok, I do have time to address this question. The 'Billy Squier Move' refers to something also colloquially known as 'the video that killed Billy Squier's career'...or when Billy Squier 'jumped the shark'.

One minute Billy Squier is doing great...his early-80s albums "Don't Say No" and "Emotions in Motion" put him on the map with rock fans and radio is playing "Everybody Wants You", "Lonely is the Night", "In the Dark", and "The Stroke" non-stop. His concerts are selling well and it looks like he's got it made.

Then, in 1984 he releases "Signs of Life", and for reasons known only to him, he makes this video for the song "Rock Me Tonite"...and THAT is the end of Billy! It was amazing the swiftness with which his career collapsed after this video aired on MTV. Have a gander yourself:

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Well, I am sorry to report that work and other things have intruded and I just don't have the time to post my reviews of the Forum concerts like I had hoped. Unfortunately I don't write my posts beforehand...I like to write on the fly, at the moment, in a stream-of-conscious manner...so it's not a matter of me logging on and cut and pasting an already written piece to here.

Maybe next week, on the 26th or 27th, I can do a post entailing all the Forum shows in one fell swoop. Of course, if things change at the last minute and I do find myself with some time, I'll still try to post a timely review here.

In the meantime, please feel free to add your own thoughts and memories. There were 108,000 people that went to the 6 Forum concerts; certainly I can't be the only one here that went? Where's Badgeholder? I know he went to at least one of the Forum shows.

And I have a feeling there's plenty more lurking about...come on folks, join in! Don't be shy! :)

Ok, I do have time to address this question. The 'Billy Squier Move' refers to something also colloquially known as 'the video that killed Billy Squier's career'...or when Billy Squier 'jumped the shark'.

One minute Billy Squier is doing great...his early-80s albums "Don't Say No" and "Emotions in Motion" put him on the map with rock fans and radio is playing "Everybody Wants You", "Lonely is the Night", "In the Dark", and "The Stroke" non-stop. His concerts are selling well and it looks like he's got it made.

Then, in 1984 he releases "Signs of Life", and for reasons known only to him, he makes this video for the song "Rock Me Tonite"...and THAT is the end of Billy! It was amazing the swiftness with which his career collapsed after this video aired on MTV. Have a gander yourself:

This is what happens when the boys in the bathhouse get their hands on some instruments. Jumping the shark...I would have to say the damn shark was gang raped by these nancy boys!!!

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Jahfin   

Ok, I do have time to address this question. The 'Billy Squier Move' refers to something also colloquially known as 'the video that killed Billy Squier's career'...or when Billy Squier 'jumped the shark'.

One minute Billy Squier is doing great...his early-80s albums "Don't Say No" and "Emotions in Motion" put him on the map with rock fans and radio is playing "Everybody Wants You", "Lonely is the Night", "In the Dark", and "The Stroke" non-stop. His concerts are selling well and it looks like he's got it made.

Then, in 1984 he releases "Signs of Life", and for reasons known only to him, he makes this video for the song "Rock Me Tonite"...and THAT is the end of Billy! It was amazing the swiftness with which his career collapsed after this video aired on MTV. Have a gander yourself:

If you ever get the opportunity to read I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution it goes into great detail regarding the story behind the making of this video. When and if you ever do read it you'll find that it wasn't made "for reasons known only to him".

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"I know Badgeholder went to one of the shows.."

Haha, good one, Strider, Gee, I wonder which one?

Ok, well, in a hasty effort to fill the time whilst Strider recovers from his viscious work week, here's my brief recollections of the June 23rd show I attended. I do believe we have another member or two here who also went. I welcome their contributions as well.

It was my 2nd Zeppelin concert. I had seen them before on 3-24-75, also at the Forum.

I went with my friend Roger, who was the singer in my band at the time. (Yes, we played a lot of Zeppelin-of course!). He knew a girl who worked at Ticketron, so she actually put a pair of tickets aside for us. It was great, no camping on the sidewalk for us! They were also excellent seats, on Jones side, just above the floor, perfect! While generally a cool customer, I was a total Zep fan and very excited to be there. Just looking at the stage beforehand gave me goose bumps. There was Bonzo's kit. Jimmy's amp. One mic up front for Robert. I couldn't believe it, I was here, it was really gonna happen, Led Zeppelin will be playing shortly! Knowing I could just watch Bonzo all night if I wanted to, wow!

So the lights go down, and the crowd explodes. Bonzo rips a few chops in the darkness - and this is one my clearest memories of the show - Me and Roger look at each other in astonishment. We're just laughing at the volume! If I read his lips right, I think he said "HOLY SHIT!"

Then, BAM - we're off to the races with TSRTS. I've told this tale before on this site, but to re-cap:

Page's strap on the double-neck popped off, and he nearly dropped the guitar. But he soldiered on hilariously and brilliantly, not missing a beat while, first one, then two roadies swarmed around him while he sat on Bonzo's drum riser, attempting (and, ultimately, failing) to fix it. So this is why TSRTS stops and doesn't go directly into Sick Again as usual. Jimmy had to get another axe.

Here's the photo:

LZbadge1.jpg

Robert welcomes us all to "3 Hrs of Lunacy" and makes repeated references to "Badgeholders"

'Since I've Been Loving You' is just a devastating version. If you haven't heard this one, here it is:

No Quarter is also legendary. It's in four parts on youtube, here's pt 3:

Other exciting moments for me was when Robert whipped out the harmonica for Nobody's Fault, and when Ten Years Gone was announced. Wow. the triple-neck, my bass player would love this, I thought. Jimmy's solo, with the fog and lasers and the spinning pyramid, it was almost too much for the very-stoned crowd, I tell ya! Lots of Cheech & Chong-type comments, "Whoa, far out, man!" Same with the lasers on the ceiling during Jones solo.

One thing that bugs me is - I know damn well I watched Bonzo's drum solo - yet I do NOT remember the drum stage moving forward and all that. I'm sure I saw it, but...well, what can I say, complete strangers are passing us joints all night, who knows what the fuck was in 'em...It was a party, not a history test! Anyway - So a few times during the show, we noticed a guy kind of cavorting behind the amps, even banging his head on Bonzo's gong! WTF? Shouldn't Cole be tackling this nut or something? We got a better look during a moment where the lights were bright, and we knew - before he ever came onstage - it was Keith Moon! I figured he was there to party, I didn't actually expect him to sit in, but as we all know, that's just what happened. Two of rocks greatest drummers gave us some crazy, historic moments that night. Here's a few pics - (and of course I've changed my avatar back to one of 'em as well in honor of the 35th anniversary).

550.jpg

la6-23-77-2.jpg

6-23-77-a.jpg

I think I got my eight bucks worth that night, don't you?

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TypeO   

I was at the June 3, 1977 rainout/riot in Tampa.

I only wish I had Strider's incredible memory.

Not only was it (obviously) a really long time ago, I was pretty heavily buzzed.

I remember the ticket didn't have a specific time, only "the Presence of Led Zeppelin".

Things that stick out in my mind are the background music at the stadium would periodically be increased quite noticeably, and each time the crowd would go crazy.

And when one of the crew walked out with Jimmy's double-neck guitar and set it in a stand, the cheering became so deafening it was as if the show had actually begun.

At that point the reality that I was actually about to see Led Zeppelin play really began to sink in.

I remember thinking, "holy shit, he's really going to play that thing!"

Around the time they were taking the stage, an impossibly hard line of bluish-black clouds was moving across the opening of the stadium in a kind of surreal eclipse.

Living in Florida, I knew the prospects were dim, as these kind of super-intense thunderstorms were practically a daily event.

The rain was becoming steady enough by the second song that sheets of plastic were appearing everywhere, and we were sharing a huge sheet with a number of others while we smoked a bowl of bud.

As the strains of Nobody's Fault But Mine (the 3rd song) began, me and my friend immediately looked at each and exchanged a kind of "fuck this!" glance, and we threw our section of the plastic aside, rain be damned!

After NFBM, they bolted offstage.

I remember various loudspeaker announcements, but it was a while before I realized the seriousness of the crowd situation.

I remember seeing a policeman on stage in riot gear taking a baseball-like swing at a bottle thrown towards him.

At that point, I looked up and was actually surprised at the number of bottles and other things flying through the air.

I remember water pouring down concrete stairs as we made our way out of the stadium.

As I've said many times, it was disappointing that I only got to see 3 songs, but that's still 3 more than a lot of people ever got to see, and I'm grateful for that.

It is a memory that - although not as clear and concise as Strider's enjoyable recollections - I will still never forget.

Edited by TypeO

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