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CARNEGIE HALL, NY 10-17-69 - Never Before Seen Fan Photos! First use of Black Beauty Les Paul

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Here are some never-before-seen fan photos from Led Zeppelin's legendary Carnegie Hall (October 17, 1969) appearance. A group of 15 year-old fans captured their experience at the 8:30pm (early show) from the 10th row. They describe a lack of security, except for Carnegie Hall ushers and were free to venture up to the front of the stage for a few pics as well.

Amazingly, these photos also reveal Jimmy Page's first photographed live use of his Black Beauty Les Paul during Led Zeppelin and confirms it was brought to North America for this fall 1969 tour.

http://www.ledzeppelin.com/show/october-17-1969

 

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This close up pictures look remarkably good considering they were taken by a 15 year old likely using an instamatic camera. 

Edited by IpMan

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They're absolutely amazing.

My life would be complete if a recording of this was to ever come out.

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+1 wonderful.

Amazed though of the modest interior of the legendary Carnegie Hall. When Chris Welch described the show I imagined something like the Albert Hall , or the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. The lack of extra mics also kills any hope for a professional recording of this show :-(

 

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great pics! and you're right, duckman,about no recording mics ( D'oh!)

Edited by badgeholder

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These photos were taken by my best friend, Gerald Birdsall, when we were both 15 years old.  We got these pair of tickets to the 8:30 pm concert 10th row just two days before the concert.  As you may know, the Led Zeppelin band members missed their flight to the US the day before the concert and managed to arrive at Carnegie Hall just a few hours before the concert.  That may help to explain why there was so little stage equipment for this concert.  The crowd went wild during the concert and the Carnegie Hall management were compelled to stop the concert several times so they could urge the fans to step down off the mahogany arms of the chairs in this formal concert hall.  As LZ webmaster, Sam Rapallo, has mentioned, there was no security managing the crowd that night - only traditional ushers.  So, because our seats were right off the isle, we could go right down to the edge of the stage to take a few of these photos.  The camera that was used was a Nikon F with high speed B&W Tri-X film.  We used this high speed film so no flash would be required.  Gerald and I developed the negatives ourselves.  The negatives were misplaced for 45 years.  They were found in 2014 when Robert Plant was touring the US with his new album show.  We saw him put on a fantastic concert at the Capitol Theater (Port Chester, NY) on September 24, 2014.  Ironically, the Capitol Theater concert hall was established in the fall of 1969 by Howard Stein, the same individual who produced the concert at Carnegie Hall on October 17, 1969.  Gerald and I sent copies of these 1969 photos from Carnegie Hall back stage to Robert Plant the night of the 2014 concert, but we were not sure they got to him.  Now they can be enjoyed more widely.  

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1 hour ago, drowan said:

These photos were taken by my best friend, Gerald Birdsall, when we were both 15 years old.  We got these pair of tickets to the 8:30 pm concert 10th row just two days before the concert.  As you may know, the Led Zeppelin band members missed their flight to the US the day before the concert and managed to arrive at Carnegie Hall just a few hours before the concert.  That may help to explain why there was so little stage equipment for this concert.  The crowd went wild during the concert and the Carnegie Hall management were compelled to stop the concert several times so they could urge the fans to step down off the mahogany arms of the chairs in this formal concert hall.  As LZ webmaster, Sam Rapallo, has mentioned, there was no security managing the crowd that night - only traditional ushers.  So, because our seats were right off the isle, we could go right down to the edge of the stage to take a few of these photos.  The camera that was used was a Nikon F with high speed B&W Tri-X film.  We used this high speed film so no flash would be required.  Gerald and I developed the negatives ourselves.  The negatives were misplaced for 45 years.  They were found in 2014 when Robert Plant was touring the US with his new album show.  We saw him put on a fantastic concert at the Capitol Theater (Port Chester, NY) on September 24, 2014.  Ironically, the Capitol Theater concert hall was established in the fall of 1969 by Howard Stein, the same individual who produced the concert at Carnegie Hall on October 17, 1969.  Gerald and I sent copies of these 1969 photos from Carnegie Hall back stage to Robert Plant the night of the 2014 concert, but we were not sure they got to him.  Now they can be enjoyed more widely.  

Incredible! Thank you so much for sharing these. This was supposed to be a legendary performance by Bonham of Moby Dick. Any recollection of his playing on the drum solo? He was supposed to have been extraordinary that night .  I thought I read somewhere that Eddie Kramer was at this show. 

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Yes, the Bonham drum solo went on forever and was incredible.  He got a standing ovation from the crowd, which was not hard given that many of the fans stood through a lot of the show anyway.  I remember that at the climax of the drum solo he was going through a constant cycle from left to right and back again from the snare drum to successive tom-tom's.  As you may have noticed in the photos (and particularly in the close-up of him alone), Bonham stripped down to the waist through much of the concert as the physical exertion in most of the songs by him was riveting and tremendous.

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We very much appreciate each of your positive responses to these photos and comments.  It's a night we'll never forget.  And to think these photos were almost lost forever - buried away in an unlabeled box for 45 years that was going to be tossed.  So glad they were found and that we had a way to share them with you.  Am also glad my friend had the presence of mind to bring his camera that night to Carnegie Hall to try out some of his new high speed B&W film.  LZ webmaster Sam Rapallo says there are very few surviving photos from that night.  We hope these shots capture some of the energy from that evening for you - especially since they were shot from the crowd.  I love the close-up photo of Jimmy Page using his bow on his guitar while Robert Plant looks on.  This shot was taken while they played "Dazed and Confused" which just blew everyone away.  People's jaws dropped in amazement as Jimmy's guitar moaned during that searing tune.  A bow eerily played on a lead guitar at cranked volume was such a foreign sound.  The house went wild when he finished.  As a footnote, the photos posted above are in reverse chronological order - a concert that went on almost non-stop for over two hours.

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Let me add to the thanks for sharing these photos.  Wonderful piece of LZ history.

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Do you know what else is fascinating about these images. They show a band who needed no bells and whistles; no video's or massive lighting rigs to hypnotize the crowd. How low key did it look but magical all the same.  

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Other people in the audience can be seen holding up cameras. There must be more pics from this night out there somewhere. There only a few mics on the drums.  I would have loved to hear Bonzo with very little miking , about as naturally as can be. This gig must've been just astonishing. 

Edited by porgie66

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Astonishing is the perfect word.  A plain stage, no light show and four driven musicians that blew the audience away.  Folks left the concert hall convinced that LZ was taking rock to a whole new level.  Pulsating and electrifying!  ...and yes, there must be some more pictures out there?

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21 hours ago, lif said:

Let me add to the thanks for sharing these photos.  Wonderful piece of LZ history.

Here's a little more history and color about the Carnegie Hall show from LZ archives:

"Interesting story about when Zep played at Carnegie Hall , New York in Oct 1969. This prestigious venue refused to allow any pop or rock bands perform there after some trouble when The Beatles played there some years earlier . However concert promoter Howard Stein who was a big Zep fan , pulled off a coup and managed to convince Carnegie Hall to let rock return with Zep playing . However one of the members of the Carnegie Board read the lyrics to "The Lemon Song " and felt this type of song/ band wasn't appropriate for Carnegie Hall and they had a change of heart . After a series of intense meetings with Stein and Carnegie management , Stein explained the lyrics were not as suggestive as they seemed ( Lol ). Carnegie management finally agreed to let the show go on and Led Zeppelin sold out two shows."  [ed note:  Some rock historians have blamed a very rambunctious Rolling Stones concert five years earlier at Carnegie Hall as the reason management there had stopped allowing rock concerts at this venue.]  

Edited by drowan
Wanted to question the accuracy of one of the statements

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For a little more color on the background of the promoter, Howard Stein, who put together the LZ show at Carnegie Hall:

https://mycousinsocialitetaylorstein.wordpress.com/tag/my-cousin-and-legendary-rock-promoter-and-new-york-night-club-owner-howard-stein/

http://harrysandler.com/2013/06/1229/

 

Edited by drowan
Added another reference on Howard Stein - more color.

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Can you believe it - promoters in New York City have organized a March 2018 show at Carnegie Hall featuring notable rock performers playing the favorite songs of Led Zeppelin!  Deja vu with a historic twist!

https://www.songkick.com/festivals/2156789-music-of-led-zeppelin-at-carnegie-hall/id/32351384-the-music-of-led-zeppelin-at-carnegie-hall-2018

 

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On 26/01/2018 at 8:05 PM, drowan said:

These photos were taken by my best friend, Gerald Birdsall, when we were both 15 years old.  We got these pair of tickets to the 8:30 pm concert 10th row just two days before the concert.  As you may know, the Led Zeppelin band members missed their flight to the US the day before the concert and managed to arrive at Carnegie Hall just a few hours before the concert.  That may help to explain why there was so little stage equipment for this concert.  The crowd went wild during the concert and the Carnegie Hall management were compelled to stop the concert several times so they could urge the fans to step down off the mahogany arms of the chairs in this formal concert hall.  As LZ webmaster, Sam Rapallo, has mentioned, there was no security managing the crowd that night - only traditional ushers.  So, because our seats were right off the isle, we could go right down to the edge of the stage to take a few of these photos.  The camera that was used was a Nikon F with high speed B&W Tri-X film.  We used this high speed film so no flash would be required.  Gerald and I developed the negatives ourselves.  The negatives were misplaced for 45 years.  They were found in 2014 when Robert Plant was touring the US with his new album show.  We saw him put on a fantastic concert at the Capitol Theater (Port Chester, NY) on September 24, 2014.  Ironically, the Capitol Theater concert hall was established in the fall of 1969 by Howard Stein, the same individual who produced the concert at Carnegie Hall on October 17, 1969.  Gerald and I sent copies of these 1969 photos from Carnegie Hall back stage to Robert Plant the night of the 2014 concert, but we were not sure they got to him.  Now they can be enjoyed more widely.  

Great story and thanks for finding and posting them.

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Here's a close up of Jimmy Page's Black Beauty Les Paul guitar.  Notice the error in the notes that Page did not tour with this guitar until 1970!  These photos show that the guitar was on tour with Led Zeppelin as of October 1969!  See link:

http://www.led-zeppelin.org/archived-news/2010-news/89-2016-news/1898-jimmy-page-reunited-with-his-gibson-les-paul-black-beauty

Edited by drowan
Added a little more detail.

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