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A Walk Down Memory Lane: The Houses of the Holy

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

By cwarbrook  |   March 08, 2017 | Stoke Sentinel


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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Legendary music venue the Concert Hall is reopening in June

The 100-year-old live music venue, housed in the old Masonic Temple building, will relaunch during the Toronto Jazz Festival and continue to operate year-round

by Kevin Ritchie | May 2, 2017

The 100-year-old venue, which is housed inside 888 Yonge St. – the Masonic Temple building at the corner of Yonge and Davenport – will continue to operate year-round after the June festival. Toronto Jazz Fest, which takes place from June 23-27, is also moving to Yorkville where it will host more than 100 free concerts on various stages.

Randy Bachman will mark the new beginning of the space on June 23 with a performance alongside Walter Trout and special guests. Tickets will be priced $19.17, a nod to the year the Concert Hall opened.  

One of two venues inside the Masonic Temple, the Concert Hall saw big-band orchestras perform there in the 30s and 40s and Frank Sinatra's private parties in the 50s. Its legend grew during the rock n' roll explosion of the 1960s: Led Zeppelin played their first Toronto show there in 1969 and it was a favoured rehearsal space for the Rolling Stones.

During the 80s and 90s, the 1,500-capacity Concert Hall became the place to catch popular new wave and alt-rock acts such as Iggy Pop, Smashing Pumpkins, Nina Hagen, The Cure, Beastie Boys, The Tragically Hip, Rage Against The Machine and Sloan.

However, the space ceased holding public concerts after Bell Media bought the Masonic Temple in 1998. The media giant used the six-storey building as a studio for shows such as eTalk and Open Mike With Mike Bullard, as well as MTV Canada and events such as the Polaris Prize.

Bell put the building up for sale 2013 and it was purchased by London, Ontario-based IT firm Info-Tech Research Group for $12.5 million.

"We are excited to partner with the TD Toronto Jazz Festival and reintroduce this historic venue to a new generation of music lovers,” said William Russell, executive director of 888yonge Inc, the company that books events in the building.

Other acts set to play the Concert Hall during Jazz Fest include Allen, Carrington, Spalding, Robert Glasper Experiment, Shabaka & The Ancestors, John LaBarbera Big Band (paying tribute to Buddy Rich), Bokante and By Monk.

The reopening is good news for promoters that have long complained Toronto is in need of more mid-sized concert halls. It's also timely: the 2,752-seat Massey Hall is preparing to close in 2019 for up to 24 months as part of a $135-million renovation.


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Nice article from an Alabama site about Zeppelin's three shows in Alabama. Surprised they didn't mention Page playing a little bit of Dixie in Birmingham.


When Led Zeppelin rocked Alabama: '70s concerts revisited

They drove to the Led Zeppelin concert in David Burks' gold 1966 Chevelle Super Sport muscle car. Burks, then 17, was behind the wheel and the only person in the vehicle not getting high as he and two of his Ensley High School classmates traveled to Tuscaloosa on May 10, 1973 to see Zeppelin perform at Memorial Coliseum that evening.

The show would be the first of only three concerts the British hard-rock band would ever play in Alabama during the group's 12-year career. Tuscaloosa was the fourth date on Zep's tour to promote their fifth studio album, "Houses of the Holy," which found the quartet expanding their bluesy heavy sound with exotic and orchestral shades, on such songs as "The Song Remains the Same" and "Dancing Days." The tour began with an Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium concert attended by more than 50,000 fans. Back when the Tuscaloosa concert had been first announced, Burks was more into The Beatles and Motown music.

 "'Zeppelin? Who the hell's Zeppelin?'" Burks, now a US Steel employee in Fairfield, recalls thinking. "I didn't really know that much about them and my friends were like, 'Oh no, you're going. You can't miss this.' At that time, there were a lot of shows coming to the coliseum."

Burks and his two friends were among the 15,000 or 16,000 other fans who filled Memorial Coliseum, now known as Coleman Coliseum, for the Zeppelin show. Tickets were $5. In a 1973 Tuscaloosa News review of the concert, reporter Jim Salem wrote "Inside the coliseum it must have been 100 degrees, with so much moisture that it was practically raining." Some 44 years later, Burks doesn't remember the temperature being that high, "but the reason would be that my attention was so drawn to that stage."

The band opened the show with their metallic rockabilly number "Rock and Roll." On the Memorial Coliseum stage that night, golden god Zep frontman Robert Plant wore religion-revealing bellbottom jeans and an open, frilly blouse. Guitarist Jimmy Page was clad in white pants and black top, exuding dark charisma with a low-slung Les Paul. Burks recalls the entire band being "very on" that night and that drummer John Bonham's signature drum solo "Moby Dick" was "off the chain." Burks is a longtime drummer himself and currently plays with Birmingham blues-rockers Todd Simpson and Mojo Child. He says seeing Zep's '73 Tuscaloosa show "changed my life." He now owns a Ludwig Vistalite drumset similar to what Bonham played on that tour. Multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones performed his keyboard parts for doomy psychedelic song "No Quarter" submerged in a dramatic fog, from dry ice effects.

In the days before MTV, home video players and YouTube, being in the same room with a huge band, particularly one with Zeppelin's mystique, made for an especially charged experience, Burks says. "The crowd was heavily into it. Everybody was psyched because Zeppelin was finally coming to Alabama." Burks and his friends were on the right side of the stage, "up a good ways but great seats." Led Zeppelin's setlist that night included such songs as "Over the Hills and Far Away," "Misty Mountain Hop," "Rain Song" and "Dazed and Confused." Burks recalls the quick transition between riff rockers "Heartbreaker" and "Whole Lotta Love" late in the set being especially thrilling. "The whole room lifted about three feet." The band's 1973 stage show was captured on celluloid for the concert film "The Song Remains the Same" released three years later and Burk says the look and sound of the band onstage in Tuscaloosa was like that depicted in the movie, which was taped at the tour's concluding shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. Mirrorballs. Lasers. Etc.

Three days after Led Zeppelin's Tuscaloosa show, the band performed at Mobile's Municipal Auditorium, where Mary Bates LeGault was in the audience of 11,000 or so. Then a bank employee in her mid-20s, LeGault had previously seen Zeppelin perform when she lived in the Los Angeles area during the late-60s and early-70s. But she says the group's three-hour Mobile show was the loudest concert she ever witnessed. Tickets were five bucks. LeGault attended the show along with her then-husband, and another couple, Allen and Melissa Slater, with whom she remains close to this day. Melissa was pregnant at the time of the Zep concert. "And she could feel the baby moving," LeGault recalls. "I don't know if that was the noise but she was pretty active. Sharing something like that with close friends, it's a memory that we have for a long time. We were in the balcony. It was like the auditorium was pulsating. [Laughs] It was fantastic for Mobile for (Led Zeppelin) to come here. It was a great concert." The Mobile show, drawing from a setlist very similar to Tuscaloosa's, has been issued on bootleg recordings under various titles such as "Upwardly Mobile," "Mobile Dick," "Alabama Getaway" and "Goin' Mobile." A Mobile Register reviewer bemoaned Zeppelin's performance as "dull" but admitted the group "hit a peak with 'Stairway to Heaven,' a reasonably complex, very lovely piece," referring to the band's signature eight-minute power-ballad. The same review also allowed that "Robert Plant is a fine vocalist, and the rest of the band is more than competent."  

LeGault remains a big Zeppelin fan - her favorite track by the band is "All My Love" from the group's final studio LP, 1979's "In Through the Out Door" - and still owns all her original Zep vinyl LPs. She purchased a tour program at the 1973 Mobile concert. She's unsure of the program's current whereabouts though.  LeGault passed-on a fondness for the group's music to her daughter and then her oldest grandson. "It's just amazing they liked music we grew up on. I've always loved Led Zeppelin - still do."

Zeppelin wouldn't perform in Alabama again until four years later, during the 1977 tour promoting their seventh studio disc, "Presence," which was anchored by the 10-minute epic "Achilles Last Stand." Greg Screws was then a student at Morgan County High School, which is now Hartselle High School. The morning of Zep's May 18, 1977 show at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Screws' senior class had their graduation walk through, "so we were crazy excited," he recalls. By age 17, Screws had already seen 25 or so concerts, mostly in Birmingham and Huntsville, including Aerosmith, Yes, Kansas and Foghat. "But me and my buddies, we never really thought we would see Zeppelin," says Screws, now a news anchor with CBS affiliate WHNT-19 in Huntsville.

Led Zeppelin opened the '77 BJCC show with a majestic "The Song Remains The Same," Page emitting sheets of sound from his double-neck Gibson. Screws and his friends were standing about 25 feet back into the audience out from center stage. Page and Plant oozed a larger-than-life presence. "I spent most of the first few songs with my jaw just on the floor," Screws says. "They did 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' and 'In My Time of Dying.' Those were three of the first four songs. If you had told me that was the last show I was ever going to see, at that point I would have told you, 'OK.'" Screws recalls "No Quarter" being another highlight and an acoustic set including the folky "Battle of Evermore," with Page on mandolin. The drum solo that night was a little too much though. "Bonham was fantastic but it just went on and on...and on....and on. It was crazy.  It seemed like it went for 20, 25 minutes."

Page's guitar solo provided the most vivid memory of the night for Screws. "It was blues, it was rock, it was abstract, it was subtle, it was thunderous. It was everything you would think a Jimmy Page solo would be. But it was the middle of a pyramid of green lasers and he started doing the thing he does with the (violin) bow, and he would hit the guitar strings (with the bow) and the laser pyramid would turn. And toward the end he just started sort of doodling on the strings and slipped into the beginning of 'Achilles Last Stand.' I've seen a lot of shows. I've seen a lot of people. But Zeppelin doing 'Achilles Last Stand,' I've never seen anything better or more stunning.  It's hard to describe."

Dennis Anderson, then a junior at Pleasant Grove High School, was also in the BJCC crowd that night. He'd purchased about a dozen $8.50 tickets, thinking he would scalp most of them to make his own ticket cost back and a nice profit. But apparently lots of other people had a similar plan. Since he wanted to be close to the stage for Zeppelin's BJCC show, which was general admission seating, he ended up throwing six of his tickets onto the ground outside the venue. At the time, Anderson had been a Zeppelin fan for about five years. They were his favorite band and the group's 1975 double LP "Physical Graffiti" his top album. He'd had the opportunity to see Zep's '73 Tuscaloosa concert but his mom wouldn't let him go. "She said I was too young to do that," says Anderson, now 57 and a former construction and mill worker. "So of course when they announced they were coming in '77 there was nothing that was going to keep me from it."

That night in Birmingham, Anderson recalls there being a "definite party atmosphere outside the place before we went in, a lot of college aged kids and teenagers." Anderson and his date and another couple made it to about 10 feet in front of the stage, in front of a rail-thin, shaggy haired Page, who was wearing his white satin stage outfit that was emblazoned with images of poppies and a dragon. Anderson carried his date on his shoulders for much of the show. He recalls Jones playing a triple-neck acoustic guitar during the acoustic set and at one point was wearing a white hat. Bonham was "a machine" on the drums and Plant's vocals were "phenomenal," Anderson says. Like Screws, Anderson also found Page's laser pyramid engulfed guitar solo mesmerizing, and he recalls an incredible crowd response to opening number "The Song Remains the Same." "I remember vividly Plant saying 'From one Birmingham to another' and I thought that was so cool." (Plant is a native of the Birmingham, England area.) "They just blew me away," Anderson says. "And they just played all the songs I dreamed of hearing. We were speechless for like 45 minutes."

Not everyone who attended Zeppelin's Birmingham show remembers it so fondly. Burks says that '77 performance was a "big letdown" for him after seeing the'73 Tuscaloosa concert. "If nothing else they were in better shape and the years of the success and sex and drugs and all that stuff hadn't kicked in," Burks says. "It was four years later but the same energy wasn't coming off the stage, that's for sure." That said, a YouTube clip of 8mm fan-shot video shot at the '77 Birmingham concert depicts Zeppelin in fine, magnificent form, although other bootleg audio and video from this tour has revealed many less than glorious onstage moments. "Reading about the tour afterwards, I think we got really lucky," Screws says. "I feel fortunate to not only have seen them, but to catch as good a show as I did."

Besides the band's offstage lifestyle catching up to them onstage, Zeppelin's '77 tour was plagued by incidents of violence and was cut short after Plant's young son died in July after an illness. The trek would be the band's last ever in North America. On Sept. 24, 1980, after a day of rehearsals at Page's house, Bonham was found dead, having choked on his own vomit after a drinking binge in which the bear-like drummer consumed the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka. Led Zeppelin disbanded a few months later rather than carry on without their powerhouse percussionist.

Although the surviving Led Zeppelin musicians have reconvened a handful of times to perform at benefit concerts, often with Bonham's son Jason stepping in behind the kit, the band has never done a reunion tour. Of course, this has only stoked rumors of such every few years. In the '90s, Page and Plant did a couple of tours and albums as a duo, giving fans who missed out on the real deal a spoonful of the band's live magic.

Now 40 years after Led Zeppelin's last Alabama concert, rumors have once again begun to swirl the band will resume flight, at Indio, Calif.'s Desert Trip classic-rock mega-concert for a payday of more than $14 million. The latest rumors were set off just by Plant's website going dark except for the three words "Any time now ..." For many rational fans, this seems like a bit of a reach. But then again after Zep-influenced '80s hard-rockers Guns N' Roses pulled off the most unlikely reunion in music history last year to massive (and ongoing) business, anything seems possible at this point. And no doubt, millions of people ranging from the band's original fans to those fans' grandchildren would love to see Page, Plant, Jones and Jason Bonham conjure up Zeppelin's sorcery for one last victory lap. The band's dynamic and enduring music continues to transport listeners. The song really does remain the same.  

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7 minutes ago, lz2112 said:

Surprised they didn't mention Page playing a little bit of Dixie in Birmingham. 

Oh, I'm not surprised in the least. Erasing every last vestige of the Confederacy has become a national pastime.

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Newcastle's Mayfair Ballroom gets Blue Plaque honour

By Barbara Hodgson | 14 JUN 2017


The old site of The Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle is to be honoured with a Blue Plaque.

On Thursday afternoon, Ray Laidlaw from Lindisfarne - a past Mayfair performer - will unveil the plaque outside The Gate where the famous club once stood.

The Mayfair was one of the Newcastle’s most famous night spots, enjoying a golden era of ballroom dancing before morphing into the rock haven it became in its latter years.

Clubbers back in the day would flock there and there were tears over its closure in 1999.

Now its memory is making a return to the spotlight.

The Mayfair Ballroom is being awarded the special honour by BBC Newcastle - announced in conjunction with The British Plaque Trust - to mark BBC Music Day.

It’s been picked for the commemoration because it was the venue where the band that went on to become Led Zeppelin made its UK debut on October 4, 1968.


Musician Laidlaw - who himself appeared on the bill that same night in his own early group Downtown Faction - will perform the honours around 3.40pm on Thursday at The Gate complex where The Mayfair Ballroom stood from 1961 to 1999.

Over its rock years, crowds saw all the big stars perform there, including Pink Floyd, Queen, U2, The Who, AC/DC, The Police, Nirvana, Deep Purple, T Rex, Motorhead, Fleetwood Mac and The Clash.

The first incarnation of Led Zeppelin was the New Yardbirds and the original members kicked off their first UK tour at the Mayfair soon before changing their name and becoming one of the most successful heavy rock bands of all time, with up to 300m Led Zeppelin albums selling worldwide.


The Mayfair’s plaque is one of 47 being awarded as part of BBC Music Day to people and places that have influenced the musical landscape across the country.

These follow nominations from station listeners for icons they felt were deserving of the honour.

A local committee then chose its selection from the list which then went to a national committee which made a final decision on each plaque.

Phil Roberts, head of local and regional BBC programming in the region, said: “This is a fantastic piece of rock and music history right in the city centre.”

Mike Read, chairman of the British Plaque Trust, added: “A blue plaque is a recognised symbol of our national heritage.”



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50 minutes ago, SamoKodela said:

Haha, sorry for laughing, but it's a victory for Led Zeppelin! The demolition failed! Unbelievable!


20 minutes ago, SamoKodela said:

I guess the message is important enough it deserves another post, just to avoid all misuderstandings. ;) Nothing collapsed except a few support collums!

The sole purpose of today's six second partial implosion was to sever the exterior support columns that once supported the roof. The structure itself will be demolished using equipment, not explosives. It seems many thought the whole structure was supposed to be turned into rubble today, but that is simply not the case. In fact, the entire demolition effort is scheduled to last one year.

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9 minutes ago, SteveAJones said:



Oh I know that only the upper part that was holding the roof was suppose to collapse, but never heard that they would actually wait for gravity to

come along and take over, that's quite weird, I wonder how long will they wait, I hope this guy knows what he is talking about or is he just trying to make himself look professional because their project failed?!

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12 minutes ago, SamoKodela said:

Oh I know that only the upper part that was holding the roof was suppose to collapse, but never heard that they would actually wait for gravity to

come along and take over, that's quite weird, I wonder how long will they wait, I hope this guy knows what he is talking about or is he just trying to make himself look professional because their project failed?!

Well, actually the plot thickens. Come to find out the demo crew was sub-contracted by the Detroit-based Adamo Group. Adamo did the Tiger Stadium demolition a few years ago. Anyway, Adamo claims there was a wiring problem which may have resulted in some of the beams not being severed. So I guess one would say this isn't a fail, but it is a disappointment. 


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2 minutes ago, SteveAJones said:

Well, actually the plot thickens. Come to find out the demo crew was sub-contracted by the Detroit-based Adamo Group. Adamo did the Tiger Stadium demolition a few years ago. Anyway, Adamo claims there was a wiring problem which may have resulted in some of the beams not being severed. So I guess one would say this isn't a fail, but it is a disappointment. 


Yeah fail might sound a bit unkind, but it's said only 10 percent did not explode and even if some was at key locations it's actually a failed demolition and perhaps it wouldn't even collapse if all the explosives would explode. I'm not saying it's their fault necessarily, if someone sabotaged it, but let's hope it all turns out well. Once they decided they will do it then they will do it, let's hope they get it fixed without anyone getting hurt and some stadiums are not the most culturally important buildings being torn down because of over importance of profit I guess. There are others that are much more important, but I think Albert hall, Madison square garden and LA forum will not get demolished, let's hope.

Have a nice day Steve.

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Merriweather Post Pavilion Roof Collapses


The roof of the historic Merriweather Post Pavilion collapsed during renovation work on Saturday morning (Jan. 13), operators confirmed.

The Columbia, Maryland amphitheater completed its 50th season in 2017 and was partway through a $55,000,000 redevelopment process when the incident occurred. No one was injured when the roof, which was in the process of being raised, appeared to fall victim to extreme wind conditions.

"Merriweather's pavilion roof...was being hydraulically lifted 20 feet over a period of months," said owner IMP's chairman Seth Hurwitz in a statement. "The roof was in its near-final position and the next anticipated step was to secure it permanently." He added: "There is a team of experts assessing why the roof fell. Of course we will rebuild - and the 2018 season will start as planned."

Hurwitz also said: "Well, we knew it was too easy. So, just to see what we're really made of, we were shown what the roof was made of. Up close and in person...[T]he winds of fate prevailed and decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and build a new one. Was not our decision, but the bright side is all the money we save on imploding."

The Merriweather Post Pavilion opened in 1967 and eventually achieved a capacity of 19,139. It frequently appears in lists of the best venues in the U.S. Notable appearances have included those by Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Janis Joplin, and the only time Led Zeppelin and The Who shared a stage. In 2016 local activist Ian Kennedy, who'd led a successful campaign to save the amphitheater from closure, cut the beard off that he'd been growing in protest since the campaign began in 2003.





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Saving the Oakland Coliseum
The fading reputation of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has damaged its ability to survive, let alone compete with newer Bay Area facilities. Here's how the sports complex's image, and perhaps its future, can be salvaged.



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