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Flashback Brisbane: Led Zeppelin tells fans to keep the noise down at Brisbane Festival Hall


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Led Zeppelin tells fans to keep the noise down at Brisbane Festival Hall
Grantlee Kieza, The Sunday Mail (Qld) | Feb. 25, 2017


YOU know you’re making too much noise when Led Zeppelin tells you to pipe down but that’s exactly what happened when the British rock band played to a raucous Brisbane crowd 45 years ago this week.

While early critics of the group had suggested they would go down like a “lead balloon’’ the four musicians – guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham – were billed as the biggest band in the world when they arrived at Festival Hall in February 1972.

Already they were on their way to a global reputation for mayhem and debauchery that would see them rocking around the world in a converted four-engine Boeing 720, and trashing hotel suites.

Bonham, who eventually choked on his own vomit after a drinking binge, is said to have ridden a motorcycle through a floor of the ­Continental Hyatt House hotel in Los Angeles.

When they hit Brisbane, Led ­Zeppelin were in the midst of a two-year world tour taking in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada and Japan, capitalising on the release of their fourth album.

The black vinyl disc had no title but it did have the eerie track Stairway to Heaven and went on to sell 37 million copies.

In the days when a concert ticket cost less than an LP, more than 6000 people packed into Festival Hall for the band’s only Brisbane show on February 29, 1972.

It was the end of Led Zeppelin’s Australasian tour which had started 13 days earlier at Subiaco Oval in Perth before moving to the Memorial Drive tennis stadium in Adelaide and the Kooyong stadium in Melbourne, where rain caused a premature curtain call.

A concert in the Western Springs Stadium in Auckland was followed by a performance at the Sydney Showground.

There had been plans for a concert in Singapore, too, but the band was refused entry because their hair was too long.

One newspaper report said the concert in Sydney “must rate as one of the best ever held in Sydney – but, if the crowd had not stormed the fences, it could have been the worst’’.

As many as 30,000 people were crammed into stands designed to hold a maximum of 25,000.

There were no seats left at midday and no standing room by 1.30pm but people were still coming through the gates an hour later.

The Sydney overcrowding did nothing for the mood of the musicians and their anger was evident in Brisbane almost as soon as the show started.

They popped a fuse on their amplifiers with the opener, Immigrant Song.


Writing in The Courier-Mail the next day, Susan Ivimey said it was one of the biggest crowds seen at Festival Hall since the Beatles in 1964. The noise from five tonnes of amplifying equipment “was deafening’’ but not enough to drown out the crowd.

“Despite the numbers,’’ The Courier-Mail reported, “the audience was well-behaved after a warning by the lead singer, Robert Plant, that the group would not compete with noises off stage.

“The show was close to three hours of non-stop music. One of the most popular sequences was the 15 minutes John Bonham spent solo on the drums.’’

The band’s set list included Stairway to Heaven, Dazed and Confused and Whole Lotta Love.

“Led Zeppelin’s technical skill is irrefutable,’’ The Courier-Mail reported, “but one was left with the feeling it would have been nice to hear more of the lyrics above the constantly loud backing.’’




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Brisbane Festival Hall where the concert was , used to be an Iconic venue which has since been demolished to make way for a multi story hotel.

The foyer of the hotel has a gallery to remember the iconic venue & L.Z feature in the gallery amongst other famous artists that petformed there

Would have been an awesome venue, approx 5,000 standing. Sound would have been unreal.

Unfortunately only being 14 at the time, I was unable to attend

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