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Led Zeppelin’s Destroyer: How a 1977 Richfield Coliseum show became an iconic bootleg

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Led Zeppelin’s Destroyer: How a 1977 Richfield Coliseum show became an iconic bootleg

By Troy L. Smith, Cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio – In 1977, Led Zeppelin was at the peak of its powers. They were the biggest band of the decade, a live performance act for the ages and the embodiment of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

In April of that year, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham made their way to Northeast Ohio for a two-night stand at Richfield Coliseum. The first night of that run would produce a soundboard recording that would become known as the legendary “Destroyer” bootleg.

Our latest episode of the CLE Rocks podcast looks back at that time. Richfield Coliseum became an epicenter of live music in the Midwest. It was the perfect location for what would become Led Zeppelin’s final tour after Bonham died in 1980.

LISTEN to CLE Rocks: Led Zeppelin’s Destroyer.

The episode includes interviews with photographer Janet Macoska, who shot Zeppelin’s April 27, 1977 performance. As well as John Gorman, head of legendary radio station WMMS at the time. You can also hear soundbites from the iconic show and the story behind how “Destroyer” came to be.



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11 hours ago, Mikelangelo said:

I'm having momentary merrory loss: Destroyer and Listen To This Eddie were not sourced from the same show, no?

Destroyer is April 27, 1977 Cleveland. Soundboard.

The Destroyer is April 28, 1977 Cleveland. Audience tape.

Listen to This, Eddie is June 21, 1977 L.A. Forum. Mike Millard audience tape.


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Perhaps ignored, but although very important as far as availability, the 4/27 show makes Jimmy look very unsteady playing wise. I have one of the 4 LP box sets, and at first I thought there may be speed problems, but a friend had the same soundboard but a different label. The 4/28 show is much better performance wise, although I wouldn’t call it a great quality audience tape. It’s listenable for sure but my version there is some uneven instrument levels. I haven’t heard recent remasters blah/blah but many times a bootlegger

may clean up a show, but unfortunately also castrate the Zep Blitzkrieg.

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  • 2 years later...

The Destroyer 4 lp box (axe-weilding barbarians on original cover) was my first bootleg purchase. I always felt 4/28 was one of very few 77 performances that absolutely matches up to the 6 night Forum run. The previous night's sbd came out sometime later,, maybe 79, and I remember being shocked at how back to back nights could be perfect 180's from eachother. Needless to say 4/28 was the first legendary gig of the 77 tour and the following (record-breaking) gig in Detroit was also significantly better than the rest of the 1st leg. 2nd leg, TOTALLY different story. But WATCH OUT for the 3rd leg, as a dear friend of mine once said- it's PORNAGRAPHIC!!!




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