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Post #1: Led Zeppelin Tickets: Top Priority of the Winter Hello. It is 2012...which makes this year the 40th anniversary of my first Led Zeppelin concerts(1972) and the 35th anniversary of my last(1977). Only five short years. Yet at the time it seemed to encompass a lifetime. When I wrote last year about going to the 1973 shows, many asked for a similar take on the anniversaries of the 1972 and 1977 LA Forum gigs I attended. I foolishly said I would. That was so many months ago, I figured I had plenty of time to recharge my batteries. Don't know if you realize this, but I put so much into those posts, trying to personalize and contextualize them so that the reader can imagine him or herself there, that it is taxing mentally and physically. After each of those three posts I wrote last year I was wiped out, exhausted. Not that I'm complaining...nobody asked me to be so thorough, and it was fun reliving a fun part of my youth. So now 2012 is already upon me and I realize that if I am going to do the 1972 and 1977 shows justice, I better get cracking. So here we go again as we take a stroll down memory lane. I will do two separate threads...one for 1972 and one for 1977. They will encompass everything about those shows from getting the tickets to the concerts themselves and the aftermath. That is why I am starting this thread today...it will save me from having to write an unholy long post on June 21, haha. I will begin the 1972 thread at the appropriate time. I hope the mods are okay with this...if they feel this best belongs in the Live section or elsewhere, I'm fine with them moving it. At each appropriate signpost date, I will add a post. In between feel free to comment or not. All I ask is please no trolling or spamming. Any legitimate questions I will gladly answer to the best of my ability, whether asked here or via PM. As I said last year, my primary reasons for doing this, besides it allowing me to relive a fun part of my life, is to provide the younger readers here a window to the past, a small slice of what a Led Zeppelin concert was like to experience in the flesh. Everything from the anticipation to the post-show exhaustion/euphoria. Let's begin...it's Thursday, January 27, 1977. Exactly 35 years ago today. I am a freshman in High School now...and far from my relatively buccolic Southern California beach-bum life in 1973, I am now living in the comparative hick environs of Riverside. Which is even further away from the Forum of Inglewood and other choice concert venues. Which makes going to concerts a task that sometimes requires military-esque tactical planning. Another difference from 1973, other than being older and taller, is that my family situation has changed. I'm not gonna get specific...only that my new stepmom is even worse than the last one. My dad was smart in many ways; picking wives was NOT one of them. All that means is that sometimes I have to be coy and cagey when it comes to going to concerts, especially after what happened with Zeppelin's 1975 tour. Concerts during the summer or on weekends are relatively hassle-free, but if there's a show on a school night, I have to handle it with care...or outright lie. Anyway, the story of Led Zeppelin's 1977 U.S. Tour in a way begins all the way back in August 1975, with the news of that horrific crash in Greece involving Robert Plant, Maureen and their family. The Rose Bowl show was immediately postponed, and postponed again, before finally being cancelled outright. Then the months of silence and rumours about the band's future before finally in April 1976, "Presence" dropped and gave us Zepheads some relief and hope that the band would hit the stage again. Then, in May, a shock and welcome sight...at the May 23, 1976 Bad Company concert at the Forum, who should appear for the encore than Mssrs. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page themselves! On stage...in the flesh! The Forum roof nearly exploded. After that night, expectations and anticipation for a Zeppelin tour were rampant...every Sunday in the LA Times Calendar section, ticket agencies such as Good Time Tickets and Troy Tickets ran ads saying they were taking deposits for Led Zeppelin tickets. Week after week, month after month went by, with still no official word. October came and finally something happened..."The Song Remains the Same" had it's premiere at the Fox Theatre in L.A.(no, I did not go...I wasn't that connected). But I did see it shortly after upon its general release. At that time, at that age, I probably thought it was the greatest thing on earth. I must have, for I saw it 10 times by the end of 1976 alone. By then, I was starved for anything Zep...many of us Zepheads were...and we were willing to overlook the flaws of the film to cherish the bits that showed OUR BOYS on stage, or amongst their family! In fact, I think seeing TSRTS was the first time I really got an idea what Plant's, Bonzo's, and JPJ's families were really like...and the first time it registered with me that these guys had families. Jimmy, of course, remained mercurial and mysterious in the film. As I recall, as 1976 drew to a close, there were various hints and announcements on the radio and in the press that a tour was coming in early 1977, but that LA dates weren't yet specified. It seemed every report ended with the promise of "more details to come". Argh, the agony of waiting when you're 15! Finally, on January 23, 1977, there were two items in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar Pop Music section that sounded the alert that the time was near and that Led Zeppelin tickets would be going on sale soon. The first item(first photo below) was a blurb in a list of the biggest anticipated concerts written by Robert Hilburn, the head rock critic of the L.A. Times. The second was a cryptic ad(see second photo below) with a phone number. It turned out the number was to Good Time Tickets, one of many ticket brokers in LA who charged premium prices for tickets...legal scalpers basically. I had already used ticket brokers before, but only as a last resort, and even at that young age, I knew you couldn't always trust the info they gave you. But when I called the number I was told Zeppelin would be playing the Forum in March, as well as the San Diego Sports Arena, and tickets would be available in a week. Hmmmm, ok. I had my Christmas money saved, not to mention money I always saved for my concert fund in the bank; money earned from odd jobs here and there babysitting or washing cars or yardwork. At that point in time, most rock concert tickets ran from $8 to $10 depending on the popularity of the act and the venue. I had already purchased tickets in January to two upcoming concerts: Electric Light Orchestra(ELO) at the Forum January 27, and Queen/Thin Lizzy at the Forum in March. I had about $50 total on hand...which would just barely cover 5 tickets...and that's only if they weren't over $10. I set about that Sunday January 23 to trying to find any additional way to get some cash in the next few days...selling some of my records was one way, stealing some of my dad's pot to sell was another. I think it was Wednesday night, January 26, that I first heard concrete specifics about dates and time of sale for Led Zeppelin's 1977 tour stop at the LA Forum...it was at night and I had the radio on my favourite station: KMET 94.7 FM...The Mighty Met! I usually listened to it at night on my headphones when I went to bed...I would go to sleep listening to Jim Ladd, who had the 10pm-2am shift. Mary "The Burner" Turner had the slot prior to Ladd, 6pm-10pm. The Thursday morning of January 27, 1977 delivered confirmation that what I thought I heard the night before wasn't a dream. Every morning before classes started at school, I would go to the library and read the day's LA Times. So there, in that day's edition of the paper was the blurb you see in the third photo below...Led Zeppelin would be playing the Forum March 9, 12 & 13 and tickets went on sale Monday, January 31 at 10am!!! There it was, in black and white, the moment I had been waiting for since that 1975 Rose Bowl concert was cancelled...LED ZEPPELIN WAS BACK IN BUSINESS! I immediately checked the calendar and saw that while March 9 was on a school night, March 12 and 13 were on the weekend. Not that trying to go to the 9th would be impossible but I was already going to the Queen concert the week prior on a school night, and I didn't want to push my luck. First things first, though. One, I had an ELO concert to go to that night at the Forum. I was going with one of my stoner friends and his older brother. I had already set it up, thanks to the fact that my new stepmom was a racist bitch. You see, that very week of January 23-30 1977 was the premiere of the ABC miniseries adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots". It was a landmark television event and if you were around in the 70s, you remember all the hoopla about it. Hell, I think every social studies or history class in California made it mandatory viewing, with a group discussion and report to follow. Well, after watching the first few episodes, my stepmom was sick of having to watch Roots, and wanted to watch her shows(we only had one tv at the time). So, I'm saying it's my homework...it's kind of mandatory. Then a light flashed...I still was trying to figure out how I was going to sneak off and see ELO that Thursday night and this would provide perfect cover. I suggested I could watch the rest of Roots at my friend's house and his mom could drive me home after. That seemed to placate her...as long as it didn't involve her having to drive me anywhere or pick me up, she couldn't care care less. The second thing, after the ELO show, was that we had a decision to make...should we get tickets at one of our local Ticketron locations or go to the Forum box office? It was widely thought that it was only at the Forum box office that the good floor seats were sold...usually when you bought tix through an off-site Ticketron agency you got either Loge or Colonnade seats. Since we were going to the Forum that night, we could check out the situation and see if anyone was already camping out for tickets. Man, I'll tell ya'...school seemed to DRAG ON that day. I couldn't concentrate or think about anything but getting Led Zeppelin tickets...how and how many. My friend was also going to get tix, and so was his older brother, as well as a few others I knew...which would be of some help to us. In fact, all thru the school day, all the rockers and stoners were asking each other who was going and trying to get their buddies to buy tix for them. Because the shows were in LA, a surprising number said they were going to the San Diego show instead. Lots couldn't go either because of lack of money or parental restrictions. After school, I went to my friend's house as planned, and called my parents to let them know I was there and everything was fine...we even had my friend's mom talk to her to assure her everything was cool and that I wasn't being a bother. She hated my. stepmom so loved the fact that she was part of our plot. It was arranged that she would suggest to my stepmom that I would come over Friday after school and stay the weekend to watch the rest of Roots and keep me out of my stepmother's hair. Luckily, my stepmom thought that was a great idea. So now, not only did I have cover for going out to the ELO concert, but we'd be able to wait all weekend in line at the Forum until Zeppelin tix went on sale. So 35 years ago we are at the ELO concert at the Forum in Inglewood. ELO was good(they've always been a guilty pleasure of mine...I LOVE cellos), but what I most remember about that show was seeing Steve Hillage for the first time. He wasn't even on the bill originally...it was supposed to be Firefall. Christ, what was that horrible Firefall song they always played on the radio? Shoot, I can't remember...was it "Wildfire"? Anyways, for some unexplained reason, by showtime Firefall was off the bill and instead of their bland soft-rock, we got introduced to Steve Hillage doing spacey versions of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "It's All Too Much". After the concert, we could see that there was already a line of people started camping out for Zeppelin tickets. We had school on Friday and so my friend's brother had no choice but to drive us back before heading back to the Forum to stake out our place in line. Friday, after school, my friend and I would gather our sleeping bags, blankets, snacks, drinks, as much cash as we could lay our hands on, Zeppelin tapes...oh, and my paperback copy of Roots to read, since I was missing the miniseries. As I lay in my bed that night after we got back from the ELO show(the last time I would sleep in my bed for a few days), my mind kept buzzing with thoughts of Led Zeppelin. I still wasn't sure how many tickets for how many shows I would be able to get...or if we had a chance to get tix close to the stage...it was all whirling in my mind. The 1977 Led Zeppelin Ticket Buying Adventure was just getting underway.
How much of that 2nd source exists? Of course, the Millard recording is glorious and one of the All-Time Greats, but this 2nd source isn't bad. Would love to hear it if more exists. Very interested in finding it if anyone knows.
First off, I just want to say thank you to everyone that has downloaded or listened to the new Listen to This Erik 6/21/77 show and submitted their thoughts on the various websites. I am completely blown away and incredibly stoked that so many people are enjoying the show. I wanted to provide a little context into how this whole recording came to be released now. This recording has been very very special to me for many years. Luckily, after listening to the original for a few months, I transferred the recording to a second tape and never played the original again until it was played by JEMS to transfer. I also made a couple of copies for my brother Dave and a couple of other friends. I did transfer it to iTunes and made a few cd’s for friends but there were probably only a dozen or so ever made. Which leads to the inevitable next question.......WHY THE HELL DID YOU WAIT SO LONG TO GET THIS OUT? By this time I had a copy (e-bay purchase) of Listen To This Eddie and knew how highly regarded it was. I just didn’t realize the demand for multiple copies of the same show. I plead ignorance on count number one! I loved the music on LTTE and especially enjoyed listening to that parts that I didn’t catch on my recording but honestly when I wanted to relive MY concert experience, I listened to my own recording. LTTE just didn’t have the same feel for ME! Please Please don’t take this as a knock on LTTE but when I hear my recording to this day (and especially with the new version) I get absolute full body chills remembering that show. I’ve never gotten that from Eddie. My brother (and helper in the taping) is the same way. I was listening to this show 30 minutes after it ended and have since heard it at least a couple of thousand times. For me, it’s a very vivid memory of what is unquestionably the greatest concert that I was ever lucky enough to be at. It has been nothing short of amazing for me to hear the new restored and mastered version of the show. I have listened to virtually nothing else since I first got a copy on Halloween. Oh yeah, back to the subject... about 4 years ago I was trying to figure out a way to post the show but I unfortunately was technically challenged back then and wasn’t sure how to. I actually threw a comment on the Led Zeppelin forum in 2013 that was recently discovered where I mentioned that I had taped the show. I was curious if there would be any response and when there wasn’t I figured there wasn’t a big demand. Mistake number 2 for those keeping score! With the 40th anniversary of the show this past year, I decided to make a YouTube video with my recording as a soundtrack and just post it on my YouTube channel. I have about 240 concert videos on there and figured this would be kind of cool to direct my friends to if wanted to hear the show. The only digital copy that I had was from my iTunes playlist which included the wrong Moby Dick. I just pasted it together and threw it on without even listening to it. I was horrified when the wrong MD was pointed out. This is is getting really long, so long story short- it was spotted by Zephead and shared on the LZ Forum. I was urged to have it copied correctly. Luckily through an amazing friend (Thank You BW!) I was able to connect with the JEMS crew. They did an absolutely amazing job with 40 year old, 120 minute cassettes. Throw in batteries near death at end of the show, etc. They were great to work with and allowed me to be involved and give input along the way. I saw a comment that said they would trust JEMS with this type of mastering job more than they would the Smithsonian. I’ve never had the Smithsonian restore my tape But... JEMS IS THE BEST! Again sooooo stoked people are enjoying this! Peace, GB P.S. For anyone still wondering why Listen to This Erik is called that, it is in tribute to my lifelong friend Erik H. He had an amazing time at the show from what people have told him. Unfortunately, his own memory is completely blank. The moral of the story children is- don’t mix chemicals (lots) and really good Thai weed at 6 p.m. the day of a Led Zeppelin show or you’ll end up like Erik- who became a real rocket scientist! I’m NOT kidding! P.P.S.- I warned you in the title it was looooong story.