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Vancouver 12-28-68 (Vancouver Sun Looks Back)


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This day in History: December 28, 1968

Jim Allan has impeccable '60s cred. He was one of the founders of The Retinal Circus, Vancouver's premier psychedelic nightclub, which brought in acts like The Doors and The Grateful Dead at the dawn of their careers. He later managed Spring (who had a local hit with Country Boy Named Willie), did a stint as business manager for Terry Jacks and the Poppy Family, and co-owned the Granville Book Company.

But everyone has skeletons in the closet. And Allan's can be found on a Led Zeppelin website, where he trashes the quartet in a review of their first Vancouver appearance on Dec. 28, 1968.

The newly formed Zeppelin were opening for Vanilla Fudge at the Pacific Coliseum. The 22-yearold Allan was a stringer for the Columbian in New Westminster, where his submissions appeared under a column called Teen Talk.

"Later I had my own column, Pop-pourri," Allan recalls. "Oh God. This was 1968."

Allan was not impressed with Led Zeppelin's singer Robert Plant, who he dubbed "a farce."

"His Mick Jagger singing style, tossing his head from side to side and strutting about the stage, left me quite cold, " he wrote. He had mixed feelings about guitarist Jimmy Page ("he had flashes of brilliance but they were too few and too far between"). And while Allan dug John Bonham's drum solo ("extremely good in spots"), overall he found the drum legend "wasn't consistent in his efforts."

He ended the Zep part of the review with "Led Zeppelin went over like a Led balloon." Then he went on to praise the Vanilla Fudge, who he found "sensuous."

"I remember being a Vanilla Fudge fan, and liking them a lot," he recalls. "But Led Zeppelin ... they weren't the ones filled with hot air, it was me."

Led Zeppelin would survive his negative review, coming back to play to ecstatic Vancouver crowds in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1973.

© The Vancouver Sun


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