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corduroyg

Tampa '77

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if you to go the youtube page theres some interesting comments from people who were there. anybody on here go to that show? they were definitely "on" that night, those 3 songs are all great versions. anyway 1 of the youtube comments is from someone who was sitting in the press box at the top of stadium. he says as soon as the band left the stage (after robert said theyd be back in 15 minutes) he saw a helicopter rise from behind the stage outside and he saw a part of jimmys dragon suit inside. who knows if thats true or not, but it seems pretty shitty if they left right away after saying theyd be back. the same guy also said led zep had a clause in their contract that if they play at least 15 minutes in an outdoor venue and something happens weather wise their contract is fulfilled. anyone know if all that is true????

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Not true. They traveled there by limo (there are some pics). Also,  Jimmy talks about it in the Scott Muni radio interview later that week, after this show and said they stayed "a good half hour" waiting for the rain to clear. And why would someone take a helicopter in a severe thunderstorm?

In Richard Cole's words:

"While Robert never bailed out during the tour, the weather intervened at an outdoor concert in Tampa, forcing a cancellation—a decision that didn’t sit well with many fans. Maureen Plant and Mo Jones had traveled to the States with their children to visit Disney World and spend a little time with the band. We had flown into Orlando to pick them up, then headed for Tampa, where 70,000 tickets had been sold for the performance at Tampa Stadium. As Caesars Chariot approached Tampa, it was raining steadily. Peter was gazing out the window near his seat with a concerned expression. I knew his policy was never to let Led Zeppelin go near a stage in damp weather, and to have an alternate rain date available.

In 1972, tragedy had struck Stone the Crows, one of Peter’s acts. Maggie Bell was the powerful lead singer of the band, and as the press began comparing her to Janis Joplin, Stone the Crows attracted a growing following. But during one of their performances in Wales, guitarist Les Harvey was electrocuted. Other members of the group, including keyboardist Ronnie Leahy and bass player Steve Thompson, tried desperately to revive Harvey, but he died onstage. Stone the Crows never recovered emotionally from the tragedy. I don’t think Peter did, either. In 1973, the band broke up.

An investigation showed that Harvey had been electrocuted when a short occurred in his equipment. After that, Peter decided the risks were too high to let anyone ever perform in circumstances, including rain, that might increase the risks of electrocution. Peter became very protective of his musicians. He spent a lot of money on special transformers capable of absorbing shocks before they could ever cause any harm to Led Zeppelin. Even so, the no-rain policy became an inflexible rule for all of his acts.

Ten minutes before our plane landed in the Tampa rain, I was looking at the tickets for that night’s show. “Oh, shit!” I exclaimed. “Peter, look at this. It says that the concert will go on, rain or shine! Who the hell put that on the tickets?”

 Peter was outraged. He had never permitted a concert with a rain-or-shine policy, and he had no intention of changing his game plan. Terry Bassett of Concerts West was on the plane with us, and Peter let him know how unhappy he was. “Bassett,” he yelled, “what the hell has happened here?"

For the moment, Terry was at a loss for words. Just then, the plane landed with such a jolt that it took everyone’s mind off the matter at hand. Peter’s fury was put on hold, at least temporarily.

The rain stopped an hour before the show was scheduled to begin, and the skies seemed to be clearing. Peter decided to let the show move ahead as planned. The band opened with “The Song Remains the Same,” bringing down the house. But after two more songs and in the middle of “In My Time of Dying,” (Nobody's Fault But mine) the sky exploded with thunder.

Within two minutes, rain began falling in torrents. Peter didn’t hesitate. He immediately ordered the band off the stage and the equipment covered with tarps. “If we can, we’ll wait it out,” he said. The fans didn’t budge. A few had brought umbrellas, but most of them were getting drenched. Nevertheless, no one’s spirits seemed to be dampened.

 We waited backstage patiently for the rain to stop, but it showed no signs of doing so. Finally, Peter grumbled, “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Before the crowd was notified of the cancellation, police escorts guided our limos out of the stadium. Then an announcement was made, asking the crowd to disperse peacefully—an announcement that brought a chorus of boos that lasted more than ten minutes. Some of the fans didn’t seem to believe it. Others were angry.

Despite the continuing rain, much of the crowd remained at the stadium. They chanted, “We want Zeppelin! We want Zeppelin!” They threw bottles at the stage, where our roadies were trying to dismantle the equipment before the entire stadium became a monsoon.

 Then the scene got ugly. Fights broke out in the audience, fans fighting with fans. Forty policemen in riot gear, most of whom had been stationed outside the stadium, dove into the crowd, flailing their billy clubs. The concert had turned into a full-fledged riot. Fists swung and blood flowed. Sirens blared from police cars and ambulances. Sixty fans ended up in the hospital. So did a dozen cops.

When we reached the airport and were boarding Caesars Chariot, one of our security men got word about the mayhem at Tampa Stadium. It brought back memories of the horrifying riot in Milan back in 1971. All of us were crushed, but Robert seemed to take it the hardest. “It’s so unbelievable,” he said. “People come to hear music and they get their heads bloodied.”

Maybe there was something in the air in Florida. When tickets had gone on sale for the concert, hundreds of overzealous fans had forced their way into the Orange Bowl—one of the sites where tickets were being sold—and proceeded to tear out seats, rip apart offices, and steal food from concession stands. A SWAT team from the Miami police department was called and finally brought the disturbance under control by hurling tear gas at the fans. The Miami Herald ran the following headline about the disturbance: “Black Sunday for Real at the Orange Bowl: Last Time a Blimp, Now the Zeppelin.”

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Page also said in the Muni interview a few days later that while they were waiting, a storm tracker airplane was up figuring out what the storm was doing and how long it would last.

 

Were they going to reschedule the show and honor tickets, but because of the fighting the city cancelled the show?

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2 hours ago, John M said:

Page also said in the Muni interview a few days later that while they were waiting, a storm tracker airplane was up figuring out what the storm was doing and how long it would last.

 

Were they going to reschedule the show and honor tickets, but because of the fighting the city cancelled the show?

And banned Zeppelin from performing in city of Tampa ever again. Plant did play there in the summer of '88 as did Page in September of the same year. Page and Plant played Tampa in '98 on their Walking Into Clarksdale tour.

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