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Strider

Strider's Trip to San Francisco 73

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Continued from the Bonzo's Birthday Party post...

Seeing LED ZEPPELIN in 1973...Part 2

When last I left you, I was nodding off in my BB's car, my ears still ringing and my spirit singing, as we drove through the misty night, south on the San Diego FWY, known locally in shorthand as the 405. It must have been late, maybe around 1am, when I was woken up and I recognized my home as he pulled in the driveway. My stepmom had left the door unlocked for me, as she had long gone to bed, so I said goodnight to my BB and headed off to bed, as he drove off.

While Silver Rider and Hotplant were partying it up at the Hyatt, I was trying to relive the show in dreamland.

Surprisingly enough, I didn't have as hard a time getting up for school as I thought I would. Up at 7, dressed(in Hobie surf shorts and my Zeppelin 1973 US Tour t-shirt), breakfast consumed, and at my girlfriend's house in time to walk to school together. She wanted to know about the show immediately, her interest piqued even more now that she was going to be able to go see them Sunday night. Of course, I had to retell the story a few more times once I reached school and I would bump into friends or someone would notice my shirt. Not too many 10-11-year olds were allowed to go to rock concerts at my school.

As I noted, there were a few others, but I didn't really hang out much with them. Even though I was into rock music, got to go to concerts, had a girlfriend, and had, thanks to my dad, even had a couple hits off a joint, I still considered myself a quiet, nerdy type. Yeah, I loved going to the beach and all that, but I was equally happy sitting in my room building model airplanes, cars or ships...I must have built my way through the entire Revell catalog. Many's the time I would exit my room four hours later, and my stepmom would notice my eyes were all red...I had gotten a glue-high. Another activity I enjoyed was reading...I could spend hours with a book.

Things other kids, boys especially, enjoyed, like comic books, marbles, trading baseball cards, playing cowboys and indians, held no appeal to me. Plus, many of the boys at my school still thought girls had cooties and were more interested in antagonizing them than kissing them. In fact, one of the strange rituals going on in schools back then involved either "pantsing" someone(usually a girl) or giving someone a "wedgie"(usually a boy). For some reason, this was considered hilarious and fun. I didn't, which further caused me to feel like I didn't belong...I had very few friends in 5th grade, maybe 3 or 4, counting my GF. I got along great with most of my teachers, though, and got straight A's, which allowed me to keep going to concerts. But getting straight A's also tends to put other kids off, for some reason. You get lumped in with the geeks, or nerds.

Fortunately I was tall for my age, so nobody bothered me. But just about every week, you'd hear about some poor kid who'd get a wedgie by the jock crowd, or a girl would be in the restroom and a group of boys would rush in and pull her pants down. If you went to school in the early 70's, you remember stuff like this.

Of course, considering what goes on today, it seems quaint, but back then I thought it ridiculous and annoying. When it happened to my GF, I went into Clint Eastwood mode and took swift and immediate action.

But, back to Friday, June 1, 1973: it's the last day of school and it's chaos as usual. But I did manage to chat with a couple of the other kids who went to the Zeppelin concert the night before. We compared pur experiences, all agreeing it was an awesome show. One of the kids was bummed though, because he had to leave after Stairway to Heaven because he had a curfew. Tough luck we said, but at least he got to see most of the show.

But mainly, I just wanted to hang with my GF all day, as I wouldn't see her again until Sunday, as I was flying to San Francisco after school.

Now, my being able to go to Led Zeppelin's Kezar Stadium show came down to fluke luck. It turns out there was a relative on my stepmom's side of the family, a cousin or uncle or something, who lived in San Francisco with his wife. I had only met him once or twice before, and I always got a weird vibe from him...he looked like Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider. Anyway, I guess my stepmom was talking to him on the phone one day and mentioned that I was going to the Zeppelin shows at the Forum. He said he had an extra ticket for the Kezar show and that we all should drive up for the weekend, and he would take me to the Kezar show on Saturday and we could then spend a few days in San Francisco. Unfortunately, being single, my stepmom had to work, and couldn't get that time off. So then, he suggested I fly up to SF for the show and then fly back down Sunday.

My stepmom had to think about that idea for a while...I had flown on a plane before, but never alone. But once I heard about his suggestion, the idea of being able to see Led Zeppelin in San Francisco took root in my brain and started to grow. I began doing all I could to convince her that I could handle it...that flying on my own would be no problem. She would be seeing me off at the airport, and Uncle Pete would be meeting me in SF, so the only time I would be "alone" was during the flight, and the stewardesses could keep an eye on me. It took a couple weeks, but she finally agreed. Then Jimmy's injury and the subsequent change of the May 30 show to June 3 almost threw a monkey wrench in the works, but we figured it out.

So, here's what the plan for the weekend was:

Friday June 1: Fly out of Orange County Airport to San Francisco that night at 6...arrive around 7 or 7:30.

Saturday June 2: Led Zeppelin @ Kezar Stadium...there were supposedly supporting bands, but I didn't know or care at that time.

Sunday June 3: Fly back to Orange County Sunday afternoon, where my BB would meet me and we would pick up my GF and head straight to the Forum for the show.

As for how we fixed the ticket situation, since originally he had gotten only 2 tix for both the Forum shows...once the first show was moved to Sunday June 3, that made it possible for my GF to go, but that meant we needed 3 tickets now. So my BB took our original tickets and went to this head shop that also sold tickets in Huntington Beach called Raspberry Roach. So for $30, plus our original 2 tickets, he got 3 tickets on the floor, 13th row from the stage.

So after school Friday, me and my GF had one last quick makeout session, before I had to head home and pack for the airport. Since I was only going for a day or two, I didn't need much...a change of underwear and socks, toiletries, some magazines and books to read. Of course I was bringing my 73 Tour shirt...plus my burgandy red velvet bell-bottoms.

Packed, and ready to go, and still not quite believing this was all happening, especially that she was trusting me with Uncle Pete, after dinner, we drove out to Orange County Airport...now called John Wayne Airport...near where the 405 and 55 freeways intersect.

I was flying PSA...Pacific Southwest Airlines...who were local legends, known for their "Smiling" airplanes(yes, their planes were painted so that they literally looked as if they were smiling), and the friendly service from the stewardesses in hot pants and miniskirts, usually orange, purple and white.

These were the days when flying was still fun, before stewardesses became flight attendants and they charged you for every peanut.

Having flown before, and loving it...I couldn't wait to get on the plane and experience my first solo flight. No teary goodbye scene for me...after my flight number was called and we were allowed to board, once my stepmom was assured by the boarding gate attendant that a stewardess would keep an eye out for me, it was "see ya!" and I was hauling ass through the connecting tunnel ramp. Two beautiful stewardesses met me at the door of the plane, and pointed me towards my seat. Once in my seat, sadly on the aisle and not by the window, it was just a matter of waiting for takeoff. I LOVED takeoffs...the roar of the jets...the forces pulling you back in your seat...the way your heart

and stomach flips as you slip the bonds of gravity

and are airborne.

Once up in the air, I picked up the book I brought, William Peter Blatty's "The Excorcist" and read most of the flight up to San Francisco. I did have one nice blonde stewardess named Judy, who was sweet and kept checking up on me...she even kept me flush in peanuts and coke, and even brought me a sandwich. When I told her I was flying up for the Led Zeppelin concert, she said she wished she could go but that she was on quick turnaround. She was planning on seeing them in Seattle in July, though, when she had some time off.

Landing at San Francisco, it wasn't long before I spied Uncle Pete and his wife, whose name I can't remember...Merry or Margie, something like that. Driving from the airport, north to San Francisco, I couldn't keep from being excited.

San Francisco still had a magic aura to me...this was where the flower child/hippie-scene sprouted, and also the city of "Bullitt" and "Dirty Harry". Rolling Stone was always full of stories about these amazing concerts at the Fillmore West and Winterland. I had already read that Led Zeppelin felt they had first really made it in America when they played San Francisco. So to see Led Zeppelin in San Francisco was almost too much to hope for...but here I was, in the City by the Bay.

Alas, while San Francisco was different and much prettier than 1973-era Los Angeles, it also was different from 1966-67 San Francisco, as Hunter S. Thompson so memorably wrote in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

But, I didn't care about that...I was in the city they shot "The Streets of San Francisco", my favourite TV cop show at the time.

We actually drove by Kezar Stadium on the way to my uncle's place, which was only a quarter-mile or so from the Stadium, which was in the south-east corner of Golden Gate Park, right up against the Haight-Ashbury District. As the sun was sinking low in the western sky, we could see people already camped out at the stadium for the concert. My 11-year old eyes widely took in the scene...WOW!, these people were willing to camp out and sleep in sleeping backs, blankets, or just on cardboard in the cold night, just to be first in line to get in tomorrow. I still don't think I knew what I was in for.

After a fish and clam chowder and sourdough

bread dinner at the Wharf, I was ready for bed. My

uncle said there were 4 opening bands, he

couldn't remember who, but said the show started at 2pm, and that Led Zeppelin would probably go on at 6pm. He said he would leave it up to me how much of the opening bands I wanted to see and therefore how early we would leave for the show. Since they lived close by, the plan was to walk the few blocks down to Haight, then walk the quarter-mile down Haight to where it ends at Golden Gate Park, turn left and then, there it is, Kezar Stadium.

All I knew was that I didn't want to miss Led Zeppelin and I was tired. Upon returning to their place after dinner, I was shocked when my uncle and his wife lit a joint and began smoking. I knew my dad smoked, and had even let me sneak a puff or two. But my stepmom was not a smoker, so I assumed her relatives would be the same way...hmmm, I knew there was SOMETHING about him.

They asked if I wanted a toke...I said "no thanks". They showed me where I was sleeping, and after saying goodnights, I went to sleep around 10pm. If I was going to make it through 4 opening bands AND Led Zeppelin, I wanted to get plenty of rest.

I woke up at 10am the next morning, a full 12-hour sleep a rare thing in my life. As I just stretched and lazed around, I didn't hear anybody else up...it was still hours from the gates opening, and Zep not due to go on til 6...so I didn't feel rushed. But I was feeling thirsty, so I got up and padded softly to the kitchen to see if I could find some cereal and orange juice. I found orange juice, but no cereal...just granola. So I poured a glass of oj, and a bowl of granola and milk, and sat down to eat. Over the last couple of years I had developed a fondness for reading the morning paper over breakfast. Well, I didn't have the LA Times with me, but there was a stack of papers(and not just the rolling kind) on the table in the living room, so I grabbed some so I could have something to read while I ate my breakfast.

It was shortly after this that I thought I heard music coming from far away...but it was faint and then it would stop. Maybe someone had their steteo really loud down the block. Then again, the music, or actually, it was mostly a singing voice I heard, would start up again, as if being borne aloft by the wind. Still, I didn't think much of it...just somebody's stereo down the street. This is live and let live San Francisco, after all.

I had no idea how late my uncle and his wife stayed up, but I didn't want to be the one to wake them up. So I just sat quietly reading, while eating my breakfast. It was then that I saw a short blurb about the Led Zeppelin Kezar Stadium show in one of the papers I was reading. It said the supporting acts were Roy Harper, The Tubes, and Lee Michaels. No times were mentioned, just said Saturday afternoon.

Well, I didn't know the Tubes or Lee Michaels, BUT I did recognize Roy Harper's name from the song on Led Zeppelin III. So I was kind of extra-excited that I would see the guy Zeppelin thought so much of, they named a song for him.

I began to think about getting ready, and since they were still asleep, I might as well take a shower and get dressed...there was only one bathroom in the place. While in the shower, I thought I heard a loud noise, but couldn't be sure. But when I finished and turn off the water, it was unmistakable...you could definitely hear music...and not just a faint voice like earlier, but a rock band was definitely playing somewhere. Whether on someone's stereo or a stage was still unclear to me. As I got dressed, my uncle and wife were finally stirred from their slumber, presumably by the racket outside. As the wife sleepily came out to start making coffee, I asked her if the music woke her up. Yeah, a little she said. I asked if people "always played their stereos so loud here?" Often, especially on weekends she affirmed. It's like an open block party.

I was dressed by now, and decided to go outside to see if I could determine where the party was. The very first guy I bump into out on the sidewalk, I ask him if he knows who's blasting the stereo, and he laughs and says, "kid, that ain't no stereo...that's the big concert over at Kezar!" I could feel the blood drain from my face and my heart leap into my throat....NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I bounded up the stairs back to my uncle's apartment and burst thru the door, breathlessly exclaiming "THE CONCERT'S STARTED!!!"

After moments of confusion and chaos, my uncle located the tickets, but all the Ticketron tickets said was 11am. That's about when I first heard the music outside, I said. Obviously, we were late. It was now well after 12 noon, so the uncle and wife set about showering and getting dressed, while I vowed always to personally verify a concert's start time and not rely on other people; especially your stoner uncle. Dammit, I knew there was something off about him.

While waiting for them to get ready, and all the while hearing echos of the music coming from Kezar outside, I browsed through the papers to kill time and try to calm myself. One of the papers was some counterculture-type weekly, and while going through the music section came across an ad for the two Kezar Stadium shows; one for the Grateful Dead that had already happened, and the other the Zeppelin show. At the bottom, it said gates open at 10am and that Led Zeppelin would go on at 2pm. Okay, there were 3 opening bands...one already had played, the second one was playing now, which meant that the third band would probably start around 1pm if Zeppelin was to start at 2pm. At that point, the opening acts meant nothing...all I was trying to calculate was the latest we could leave and still walk the half-mile or so to Kezar and make it by 2pm. I figured if we left by 1:30 we'd be in good shape...1:45pm and we'd have to walk fast. It was nearing 1 now. All I could do as wait.

Miracle of miracles, we made it out by 1:30pm, cooler, bota bags, and blankets in tow. We made our way down Haight, and that is when I was confronted by the detritus of the drug-culture firsthand. These weren't kind-eyed flower children but burnt out street urchins...bums. But I had plenty of time to contemplate that later. I had a Zeppelin concert to get to!

As we got closer, we could hear the music and the cheers of the crowd get louder. Suddenly, there it loomed...Kezar Stadium. It wasn't quite 2pm, but there was quite a long line of people waiting to get in. I sighed in resignation as we took our place in line. Our only hope is that the band went on late...I had been to a Rolling Stones show where they went on 2 hours late, so it was possible.

While the lines moved incrementally forward, I noticed the crowds of people standing on top of the buildings surrounding Kezar, or leaning out of windows, getting a free show. The multicoloured, multihued hoardes around me also kept me

entertained. It was truly a freak show of epic

proportions. Briefly, I thought of the Altamont

scenes in Gimme Shelter. But I didn't get a sense

of danger yet. There were a couple of TV news trucks parked outside.

The band that had been playing earlier was definitely off by now, as we could hear Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones and Little Feat music coming from the PA system. That meant Zeppelin would be next. I also noticed that it was hot, even though it was kind of hazy. Someone once said the coldest winter they ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Well, it wasn't cold this day. We finally made it to the gate after a half hour in line or so...whereupon there was some hassle over the cooler we were bringing...don't know if it was the glass bottles of juice or the wine or what...but we had to either take it back or just leave it. Since we were already there, we just left it, and headed into the Stadium. We handed the ticket-takers our tickets and I prayed that the taker would tear it cleanly. She did, and I placed it safely in my wallet.

Once inside the Stadium, the full impact of what this show would be finally hit me. Up til now, the largest concert I had attended was Wattstax at the LA Coliseum, a 95,000 seat football stadium, where the USC, UCLA and LA Rams football teams played. It was also used for the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics. Wattstax drew around 100,000 or so, but because everyone was seated in the bleachers, with the stage in the middle of the field, it didn't feel that crowded...it was like being at a football game, but with better music. But the feeling at Kezar was different. Even though the crowd was half that of Wattstax, 50,000, it felt immense because the crowd filled the stands around the stadium and the field in front of the stage, creating this one unbroken mass of humanity.

And oh, the humanity...by the time the day was over I would witness things you only heard about in movies or the news; some good, some depraved.

But that's enough preamble, let's get to the show. It was close to 3 o'clock when we figured we better figure where to sit. The field was packed, and the sun would be setting in the west directly behind the stage, which meant if you stayed on the field you'd be looking directly into the sun. Not good. So we headed for the shady part of the south bleachers, and found a spot on the wooden benches big enough for the 3 of us. Once our seats were established, I wanted to get a coke...they had snuck in their bota bags, but they were filled with wine. It took 15 minutes to get a coke, and I was freaking out that Zeppelin would come on at any moment. 3:30 came and went with no Zeppelin yet. But I had my coke and had taken a piss, so I was sure I would be able to make it through the concert without having to leave my seat.

As the tunes of the era...Santana, Allman Brothers, David Bowie...continued to flow from the PA system, and the 4 o'clock hour approached, I noticed 2 things:

1) The speaker stacks looked larger than the ones at Wattstax.

2. The stage was high...very high. I don't see how anyone in front could see a thing. Periodically through the show, you would see someone stand on someone's shoulders trying to reach the lip of the stage and pull themselves up for a peak. I guess all those people camped out overnight so they could be first to rush to the stage wasted their time.

Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted as the house music stopped and I heard the crowd roar and the band made its way on stage. I can't remember if Bill Graham made the announcement or not. But there was a false start or two, while the sound was worked out. Finally, things were sorted out, and as Rock and Roll crashed thru the sound system, the show began proper.

Once again, your first sensation is one of teeth-rattling loudness, and the general excitement of the band being on stage and the concert, after a long wait, finally being underway. It was weird that it was still daylight, this being a precursor to Graham's Day on the Green series of shows, and so you didn't have the dramatic transition from complete darkness to the bright lights that you had at the Forum.

In fact, the impact of most of the dramatic lighting and staging effects(the violin bow segment, the smoke machine during No Quarter, no explosions during Whole Lotta Love) would be lessened or negated completely by the daylight hour of the show. This concert's success would be dependent on the music and the boy's personality alone.

Fortunately they had both in spades. A quick sartorial review finds Robert in his signature look for 73: tight blue jeans and the tiny blue blouse, which he would not wear at any of the LA shows, but did wear at one of rhe 1972 LA- area shows.

Jimmy is wearing a white suit, with the jacket buttoned, and his usual 1973 black and white loafers. Bonzo is in a coloured wife-beater with scarf. And Jones is wearing some dark shirt and trousers. After the first few songs, Jimmy removes the jacket to reveal a white long-sleave puffy shirt. Maybe not as puffy as the one from the Seinfeld episode, but it's an interesting look all the same.

Rock and Roll flies by as people are rushing to get in their seats...several times, in fact, we have to make way for people finally getting to their seats in our row(we're on the aisle) during the first few songs. Again, I'm just blown away by the fact that I'm seeing Led Zeppelin in the flesh that time simultaneous stops and flies by...before I can get my wits about me Bonzo has started the drum solo heralding the end of Rock and Roll. Then Jimmy's fanfare rings in the beginning of Celebration Day. This song blew me away hearing it for the first time at the Forum on Bonzo's Birthday, so I welcome the chance to hear it again.

Celebration Day does not disappoint...as Jimmy's frantic riffing and Robert's opening verse lead to that explosive moment when Jones and Bonzo blast into the song as Jimmy carves out that swinging, funky riff, the overwhelming awesomeness of this song blows you away. The live version of this song is so powerful, it blows the studio version away. With Bonham hammering away, and Jones laying down a bouncy bass line, while Jimmy struts and swaggers around the stage, and Robert delivers the strangely bipolar lyrics about being happy to join a band, while a woman has people breaking down her door that she's tried to reinforce with additional security...well, the song works it magic so well, you wonder why they didn't play it every tour.

Less than 4 minutes and the song ends and just as quick, Jimmy and band kick off that lick from Bring It On Home...and just when people think it's the song, the band stops and Robert squeals "Hey hey mama, said the way you move...gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove", as the band executes that tricky serpentine riff with military precision.

Yes, Percy and band have us grooving for sure, and as I scan around the sea of humanity, I see the hippie-dance is alive and well in San Francisco. Black Dog is such a sexual swagger of a song and Robert milks it for all its worth, thrusting and cocking his hips just so, drawing yelps from the

femmes in the audience. And the ah-ah call and

response turns into a shared orgasmic cry between

Plant and the audience. Thankfully, Jimmy comes

along to offer us a smoke via his smoking guitar

solo.

Finally, after the bang-bang-bang succession of the first three songs, there's a break and the crowd has a chance to cheer, as Robert delivers his greeting and the first Plantation of the day.

Jimmy plays the opening part of Over the Hills and Far Away, doing a nice job of transferring the delicacy of the studio version's acoustic beginning to the electric guitar. OTHAFA signals to me the crucial heart of the 1973 show...the stretch from OTHAFA to Rain Song, which includes 4 new songs from Houses of the Holy, all of which sound better in concert than on record.

When a band's new songs sound just as good and are as eagerly awaited by the audience as the old favourites, that's the sign of a band that is still creatively viable, and not just a nostalgic, jukebox band.

As OTHAFA flowed into Misty Mountain Hop, the contraband was flowing freely among the audience around me. Misty is a totally San Francisco friendly song...its lyrics conjuring images of Golden Gate Park love-ins and be-ins. Pipes, bongs, joints, roach clips, all manner of smoking devices were in use at Kezar. Oh, and my uncle and wife were among the users. But I abstained, even though I had plenty of offers. Besides all the smoke going around, the air would periodically be filled with balloons, Frisbees, hats, shoes, and other items of clothing.

Thanks to the sun and heat, I was getting thirsty. My coke was gone, but someone offered some orange juice, which I gladly accepted. Later, I would also take a swig of wine from my uncle's bota bag.

Since I've Been Loving You followed immediately after Misty Mountain in its 1973 linkage form. This was the song that the San Franciscans who preferred the bluesy-Led Zeppelin really dug, as Jimmy sent his bent-note blues moans around Kezar Stadium. Even if Robert's voice wasn't at his 70-72 peak, the 1973 SIBLY's were extremely emotional and powerful.

As the concert went on, I did notice another quirk about outdoor shows. While plenty loud, you didn't have the sound bouncing around the hall like you did indoor shows. Where the sound has nowhere to escape indoors, outdoors it just dissipates in the air. For that same reason, crowd noise at outdoor shows isn't as loud as indoor ones. The 18,000 at the Forum sounded just as loud, maybe even louder, as the 50,000 at Kezar.

Also, at outdoor shows, the clarity of sound was at the mercy of the wind. The worse the wind, the worse the sound.

Luckily, it wasn't that windy that June day...but being San Francisco, there were a few gusts here and there that messed with the sound.

The band moved through its Holy trinity of No Quarter, TSRTS, and Rain Song, each one sounding amazing, although No Quarter seemed too short. All the 73 No Quarters were short compared to the 75 and 77 versions, but the Kezar one seemed barely 10 minutes. I think Jimmy forgot part of the solo.

During Rain Song, I learned how quiet 50,000 people could be as Jonesy's Mellotron and Jimmy's gossamer-like guitar lines hypnotized the crowd to reverent silence. After holding their breath for 8 minutes the crowd erupts in a roaring ovation for one of the most beautiful songs in the Led Zeppelin canon.

Unfortunately it is during Rain Song that I begin to feel something...but I'm not sure what.

Dazed and Confused begins, as the sun is streaming thru the stage...they should have have had a backdrop to close off the rear of the stage from the sun. But then, all those VIP's and such that got to laze around in the bleachers behind the

stage wouldn't have been able to see the band.

Whatever...but thanks to the sun, the dramatic evil red lighting for Dazed and Confused is lost. By the violin bow segment, my skin is tingly, my head feels like it's vibrating...and not from the loud spund. I had been high from pot a couple times, and knew what a contact-high felt like, too. THIS did not feel like anything I had been through before. I mentioned this to my uncle, and he looked at my eyes, and said I might have been dosed...that it's possible I was having an acid trip. So whether someone dosed my coke when I wasn't looking, or it was that orange juice I drank, I apparently was now on my first acid trip. Meanwhile, Jimmy Page is summoning the hounds of hell again, as the coolest soundtrack to a horror film never used unfolds at the hands of his bow. The sound is seeping into my brain, as Jimmy starts shape-shifting before my eyes. Dazed and Confused, indeed.

I have a decision to make...we can stay or we can go home, where my uncle says he an chill me out, if I want. Now, Led Zeppelin is my favourite band. Am I really going to wimp out and leave my favourite band early? My uncle and his wife have been enjoying the show so far, and I don't want them to have to miss the rest of the show. Besides, whether I was at the show or at the apartment, I was going to trip no matter what. I didn't feel sick sick, just funny, like my senses were going crazy. I knew enough from reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas that if I just maintained my grip, that I would come through the other side okay. So I told them that I think I could manage and wanted to stay to the end of the show. By the end of the body and mind assault that is the 30-minute maelstrom of sound Dazed and Confused, my uncle's wife passes me a joint, saying it will help relax and take the edge off my trip.

I don't know if it works, because everything becomes a blur...or more precisely, something out of Dali. Stairway to Heaven is playing, and my last clear memory of the day is of Jimmy Page levitating above the stage and fracturing into a 1000 doves.

After that I alternated between holding my head in my hands or staring open-mouthed at the stage. I figured I just had to hold on for an hour more. But the rest of the show does not register in my memory with any clarity. According to the timeline, the rest of the setlist was the same as May 31 at the Forum...only Communication Breakdown was the first encore, then the Ocean.

Once we got back to the apartment, they talked with me and tried to reassure me. A few more tokes, and the grass began to take affect...I got hungry. It was sometime between 7 and 8 when we got back according to my uncle. Finally after 4 hours of keeping me company, and feeding me soup and hot cocoa, I had come down enough to try to sleep around midnight.

Sleep eventually came down. And sleep I did until around 12 noon the following day. Sunday, June 3.

Upon waking up, I immediately vomited and then had to take the biggest poop I'd ever had to take. Side effects of acid trips, I was to learn later. Strangely, however, after that I felt like a million bucks. Just to be sure though, I was planning to sleep on the flight back to Orange County.

Both my hosts were very apologetic and concerned about any after-effects. I assured them I felt fine, and that I didn't see any need to tell my stepmom/his sister. They pampered me the rest of my stay, and I asked about the end of the show, the part that I couldn't remember. They had washed my clothes while I was asleep, so now my yellow 1973 Zeppelin tour t-shirt was a little tighter...bit it was clean, so it was safe to wear to that night's Zeppelin show at the Forum, the final night of my Zeppelin Trifecta.

Plus knowing that I had gutted out a concert while tripping my balls off, gave me a little insight into the strength of my consitution and my concert stamina. Which would come in handy in the future.

A little after 4 in the afternoon, I was on a smilin' PSA, flying south to Orange County, where my BB and GF awaited to escort me to my third Led Zeppelin show of the week. I nodded off, visions of doves in my head.

Note: Kezar Stadium, former home of the San Francisco 49'ers and Oakland Raiders NFL/AFL

teams...the Stadium where Viking Jim Marshall

picked up a fumble and ran the wrong way against

the 49'ers...where Dirty Harry was filmed...THAT

Kezar no longer exists. It was demolished and in

its place a 10,000 capacity facility built, complete

with a running track.

to be continued...

Edited by Strider

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Once again Strider you have transported me back to the 70's and I am with you as you describe your memories and experiences for us. You are a very good writer. But what I want to know is if those burgundy red velvet bell bottoms we hip huggers as well. :D

I was slipped some extra substance on my grad night and remember feeling funny on the bus to Disneyland and then pretty much nothing else. My boyfriend had to hang on and support me as we went around the park. I do have a picture of us from the night so that is the only proof I was there cuz I remember nothing.

Anyway, I look forward to the next chapter of your LZ trifecta.

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Yes, they were hip-huggers. :)

Sorry about your grad night experience...lucky your bf was there to help. At least you got a picture...I don't have any pictures of my Zeppelin concerts.

Resting my thumb for the third and final chapter.

Oh, and I apologize for the formatting snafus...and for not being able post these on time on their correct anniversary date. I underestimated how much time it would take to write these posts.

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Another excellent tale Strider, your personal experience really opens a window to the time when giants walked the earth wink.gif (moreso than Mick Wall could ever dream of)

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Thanks again for sharing, Strider- eagerly awaiting Part 3! (when your thumb has recovered)

I hope you consider writing a book about your lifetine Zeppelin experiences someday....it would definitely be a great read!

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Your poor thumb, Strider. :lol: But another terrific job. B) (Btw, I think that thing about Jimmy levitating probably actually happened . . .)

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enjoying your stories, strider!

you do seem to have been very "advanced " for your age..... concerts, girlfriends, pot ..... not saying i don't believe you, just that i find it really amazing!

part way through you say that your step-mum was single..... how can that be? doesn't being married to your dad mean she is not single?, or was/is she not actually married to your dad? :unsure:

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enjoying your stories, strider!

you do seem to have been very "advanced " for your age..... concerts, girlfriends, pot ..... not saying i don't believe you, just that i find it really amazing!

part way through you say that your step-mum was single..... how can that be? doesn't being married to your dad mean she is not single?, or was/is she not actually married to your dad? :unsure:

Regarding the pot, it was my dad who had let me try it a couple times, but only a puff or two. I NEVER smoked marijuana on my own at that age. And I didn't want to smoke any with my stoner uncle or at the concert, either.

I was already naturally high enough from the excitement of going to a concert, that I didn't need or want any additional stimulant. Plus, as anyone who went to concerts in the 70's can tell you, there were certain concerts that you were gonna get a contact-high, no matter what...you could be Amish, you still would get high from the smoke around you. Especially at Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, and Black Sabbath gigs.

I only smoked the pot later at the concert, after I'd been dosed unkowingly with lsd, in hopes the pot would take me down from my trip.

As for my stepmom, I believe I mentioned in my first post, the Bonzo's Birthday Party one, that my parents were divorced. My stepmom, feeling overwhelmed (she never particularly cared for kids), and wanting me to still have a male role model in my life, signed me up for the Big Brother program, and I happened to get paired up with a cool dude who liked rock and roll and knew about the ins and outs of getting tickets; something he taught me as well. That is who BB refers to...sadly, I cannot recall his name, but for almost two years he was my best friend.

I don't know if the Big Brother program is still around. If they are, maybe I can ask them to search their records for 1972-73, and find out his name. I'd like to thank him for all he did.

Lastly, I realize a lot of this sounds crazy for a kid; I can't help that. It is what it is. I can't make you believe me. I've had enough experience reminiscing amongst a group of friends, or with people waiting in line at shows, to know that incredulous is the usual reaction.

It seems most kids weren't allowed to go to concerts until they were 15-16. So, yeah...I was a lucky kid in some respects. But there were parts of my childhood I wouldn't wish on anybody.

But I learned to take the good with the bad.

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Lastly, I realize a lot of this sounds crazy for a kid; I can't help that. It is what it is. I can't make you believe me. I've had enough experience reminiscing amongst a group of friends, or with people waiting in line at shows, to know that incredulous is the usual reaction.

It seems most kids weren't allowed to go to concerts until they were 15-16. So, yeah...I was a lucky kid in some respects. But there were parts of my childhood I wouldn't wish on anybody.

But I learned to take the good with the bad.

I believe ya ! I was 13 when I saw Zeppelin for the first time and I know plenty of other kids in and around my age who where at the same show . I can relate to your experiences and they bring back some wonderful memories .A lot of good laughs as well !

Yeah, we probably experienced a bit too much for such a tender age and no doubt there's plenty of us, for many reasons, who have no desire to return to that period of time but your stories do take me back to some very enjoyable moments of my own concert going history...hey don't bogart that thing :lol:

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I believe ya ! I was 13 when I saw Zeppelin for the first time and I know plenty of other kids in and around my age who where at the same show . I can relate to your experiences and they bring back some wonderful memories .A lot of good laughs as well !

Yeah, we probably experienced a bit too much for such a tender age and no doubt there's plenty of us, for many reasons, who have no desire to return to that period of time but your stories do take me back to some very enjoyable moments of my own concert going history...hey don't bogart that thing :lol:

You are right about that Ally. Experiencing too much for our youth. There are things in my childhood that will remain locked up in the deep recesses of my grey cells and never be spoken or written. They are not things I want to revisit. If I were to write about them, it would sound a bit crazy and one would wonder how I am a normal person now. But I guess what one considers normal is a matter of personal opinion. That being said, I did have alot of good times to and those are what I focus on when I think of my youth.

I wasn't quite as young as Strider when I was first exposed to MJ, but it was around 71-72 when I was in the 8th grade. Went to a movie,, a drive in, (you know those large outdoor screens onto which movies are projected) with a friend who had an older sister and we smoked a couple. From then it became a quite regular habit, until around 24 when I had my first kid. Parenthood makes you grow up and change priorities.

My first concert did not come until I was 16 in 1974. California Jam I and saw several bands thoroughout the day. A great first experience.

Edited by ledzepfvr

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You are right about that Ally. Experiencing too much for our youth. There are things in my childhood that will remain locked up in the deep recesses of my grey cells and never be spoken or written. They are not things I want to revisit. If I were to write about them, it would sound a bit crazy and one would wonder how I am a normal person now. But I guess what one considers normal is a matter of personal opinion. That being said, I did have alot of good times to and those are what I focus on when I think of my youth.

I wasn't quite as young as Strider when I was first exposed to MJ, but it was around 71-72 when I was in the 8th grade. Went to a movie,, a drive in, (you know those large outdoor screens onto which movies are projected) with a friend who had an older sister and we smoked a couple. From then it became a quite regular habit, until around 24 when I had my first kid. Parenthood makes you grow up and change priorities.

My first concert did not come until I was 16 in 1974. California Jam I and saw several bands thoroughout the day. A great first experience.

You sound normal to me but then , there aren't too many who would say that about me :D

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Regarding the pot, it was my dad who had let me try it a couple times, but only a puff or two. I NEVER smoked marijuana on my own at that age. And I didn't want to smoke any with my stoner uncle or at the concert, either.

I was already naturally high enough from the excitement of going to a concert, that I didn't need or want any additional stimulant. Plus, as anyone who went to concerts in the 70's can tell you, there were certain concerts that you were gonna get a contact-high, no matter what...you could be Amish, you still would get high from the smoke around you. Especially at Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, and Black Sabbath gigs.

I only smoked the pot later at the concert, after I'd been dosed unkowingly with lsd, in hopes the pot would take me down from my trip.

As for my stepmom, I believe I mentioned in my first post, the Bonzo's Birthday Party one, that my parents were divorced. My stepmom, feeling overwhelmed (she never particularly cared for kids), and wanting me to still have a male role model in my life, signed me up for the Big Brother program, and I happened to get paired up with a cool dude who liked rock and roll and knew about the ins and outs of getting tickets; something he taught me as well. That is who BB refers to...sadly, I cannot recall his name, but for almost two years he was my best friend.

I don't know if the Big Brother program is still around. If they are, maybe I can ask them to search their records for 1972-73, and find out his name. I'd like to thank him for all he did.

Lastly, I realize a lot of this sounds crazy for a kid; I can't help that. It is what it is. I can't make you believe me. I've had enough experience reminiscing amongst a group of friends, or with people waiting in line at shows, to know that incredulous is the usual reaction.

It seems most kids weren't allowed to go to concerts until they were 15-16. So, yeah...I was a lucky kid in some respects. But there were parts of my childhood I wouldn't wish on anybody.

But I learned to take the good with the bad.

thankyou for replying, strider.

i think i've got it now, so, your dad was twice married, and twice divorced, is that right? i knew what a BB was.

i did specifically say that it wasn't that i didn't believe you, i do. just that you were so young. these days your dad would have probably had a call from child protection!

i am another one who experienced a few things way too young, alcohol at 13, thanks to an alcoholic father.

and started going to concerts around that time too, but they were only ones at my little country town, the only really decent one being the ac/dc one i have mentioned on here before.

led zeppelin never did small venues in rural australia!

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Nice read. I was at Kezar as well. My girlfriend's and I last show there in California. She was getting mad at me and my wanting to stay longer, so she said "I'm leaving Now!" It was close to the end of the show and we left to hitchhike home with droves of others on the freeway ramp, we could still hear Zeppelin as we got a ride. I would've stayed but hitching alone was not an option and my friend was a tall and tough protector, so I sadly had to leave. :( Singing..."As I walk down the highway all I do is sing my song"..... :)

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Nice read. I was at Kezar as well. My girlfriend's and I last show there in California. She was getting mad at me and my wanting to stay longer, so she said "I'm leaving Now!" It was close to the end of the show and we left to hitchhike home with droves of others on the freeway ramp, we could still hear Zeppelin as we got a ride. I would've stayed but hitching alone was not an option and my friend was a tall and tough protector, so I sadly had to leave. :( Singing..."As I walk down the highway all I do is sing my song"..... :)

Oh, that's so sad, Hotplant. Do you remember what song you left at? You mentioned this was the last of the California shows you attended, so were you at the May 31 Forum show, too? Or the May 28 San Diego show? What prevented you from going to the June 3 Forum gig?

I find it fascinating that you, me and Silver Rider...and who knows how many others here...were at the same shows all those years ago. Although I was too young to lurk around the Riot House, the Rainbow, and Rodney's English Disco then. We should all get together in 2013 at the Hyatt and reminisce.

Two other things about the Kezar show that stick out in my memory...

1. How weird it was that when the concert was over, it was still light out.

2. Considering the lingering aftermath of Altamont, how generally peaceful the massive crowd was. Sure, there was drug use, public drunkenness, nudity, but there wasn't the aggression, fighting and violence there was at, say the 1976 Angel Stadium Who concert, which also drew 50,000.

Just ask Silver Rider.

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I hope you consider writing a book about your lifetine Zeppelin experiences someday....it would definitely be a great read!

May I respectfully suggest Strider's memoirs of a rock 'n roll adolescence in 1970's California would make for greater/wider interest (including Zeppelin, Stones, et al). Hell, there could even be a screenplay in there. Like "Almost Famous" minus the sugar, with elements of "Dazed and Confused" or maybe "Slums of Beverly Hills."

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Thanks again for sharing, Strider- eagerly awaiting Part 3! (when your thumb has recovered)

I hope you consider writing a book about your lifetine Zeppelin experiences someday....it would definitely be a great read!

A book? That's quite a compliment, Stargroves Tangie...and FireOpal, Anjin, and others who have suggested likewise, thank you. Flattery and food are a way to a man's heart.

But a book? I'm not THAT confident in my writing; hell, that's one of the reasons it took so long for me to share these Zeppelin memories with you. A better writer would've been able to say what I did in half the space.

And reading a post on the board is one thing, but would you really pay money to read my gobbledygook? I know what a publisher would ask me: what makes my take on Zeppelin worth publishing? There's already been a plethora of books on Led Zeppelin recently. There have also been several coming of age in the '70's memoirs, none of which set the publishing world on fire.

More importantly from the publisher's view, I have zero contact with the band or anyone who knows the band. I don't even know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. I have zero inside information. I'm afraid most, if not all publishers would take a pass.

Actually, given that all Zeppelin books, with the dry scholarly exception of Susan Fast's, have been written by men, what is needed is a woman's point of view. A woman to write what it means to be a Led Zeppelin fan, and what their music means through a female sensibility.

That would be unique.

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A book? That's quite a compliment, Stargroves Tangie...and FireOpal, Anjin, and others who have suggested likewise, thank you. Flattery and food are a way to a man's heart.

But a book? I'm not THAT confident in my writing; hell, that's one of the reasons it took so long for me to share these Zeppelin memories with you. A better writer would've been able to say what I did in half the space.

And reading a post on the board is one thing, but would you really pay money to read my gobbledygook? I know what a publisher would ask me: what makes my take on Zeppelin worth publishing? There's already been a plethora of books on Led Zeppelin recently. There have also been several coming of age in the '70's memoirs, none of which set the publishing world on fire.

More importantly from the publisher's view, I have zero contact with the band or anyone who knows the band. I don't even know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. I have zero inside information. I'm afraid most, if not all publishers would take a pass.

Actually, given that all Zeppelin books, with the dry scholarly exception of Susan Fast's, have been written by men, what is needed is a woman's point of view. A woman to write what it means to be a Led Zeppelin fan, and what their music means through a female sensibility.

That would be unique.

I think you underestimate your writing abilities. You write very well. If you were to write in half the space we would lose some of the great discriptions of your experience IMO. But then if your wrote in half the space your thumb would not be in a sling right now. :D I think your unique perspective is the amount of times you have seen Zeppelin and post Zeppelin projects.

Well, if your not ready for a book, you should at least put this trilogy in the timeline section of this site as Silvermetalist has suggested. Having these threads eventually get backloged in the forum pages would not do them justice. They need to also be in a place where they can be easily accessed.

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Well, if your not ready for a book, you should at least put this trilogy in the timeline section of this site as Silvermetalist has suggested. Having these threads eventually get backloged in the forum pages would not do them justice. They need to also be in a place where they can be easily accessed.

I've taken your advice...and SuperDave, silvermedallist, and others who suggested...and submitted all three 1973 posts(after some slight editing and rephrasing and corrections) to Sam and the moderators for the Timeline. Hopefully they are not too long...I didn't see a word-limit posted for the Timeline section.

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Another great read Strider. It's too bad someone spiked your drink with LSD and you don't remember much of the second part of the show. That must of been quite unique to experience an acid trip at 11 years old. Not necessarily a good experience. Love the great details in this show experience and the real drama you provided to make the read that much more interesting. Awesome! :thumbsup:

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Actually, given that all Zeppelin books, with the dry scholarly exception of Susan Fast's, have been written by men, what is needed is a woman's point of view. A woman to write what it means to be a Led Zeppelin fan, and what their music means through a female sensibility.

That would be unique.

I'm not familiar with the Susan Fast book; it looks pretty interesting - going by the reviews on the Amazon site anyway. It's a refreshing change for someone to analyze the power and beauty of their music seriously; everyone else seems to want to rehash the mudsharks 'n underage groupie tales ad infinitum. I guess I can't blame them. :)

Actually there is one female writer I can think of, who wrote a book on Jimmy nigh on 8 years ago, then disappeared. [cue eerie music] Juliann White.

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Actually there is one female writer I can think of, who wrote a book on Jimmy nigh on 8 years ago, then disappeared. [cue eerie music] Juliann White.

Thanks FireOpal, I wasn't aware of her book. I haunt bookshops so I will see if I can dig up a copy on my rounds.

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Thanks FireOpal, I wasn't aware of her book. I haunt bookshops so I will see if I can dig up a copy on my rounds.

I have this book and it's truly awful. Beyond disjointed and so inaccurate it would make Ronnie Wood proud.

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I have this book and it's truly awful. Beyond disjointed and so inaccurate it would make Ronnie Wood proud.

Chi-town, you can sell your copy on Amazon and make a quick $20. Or if you have her other book, "The Romantic Phenomenon of Jimmy Page" you can make almost $200.

OK, sorry to go OT. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Edited by FireOpal

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