Jump to content

Down For The Count! Led Zeppelin: Live in Chicago 4/9/77


Recommended Posts

It's now Saturday, April 9th,1977 and an infamous moment in Led Zeppelin's history is about to be made. The onstage collapse of Jimmy Page. It's the third show of four that Led Zeppelin performed that week at the Chicago Stadium. My tickets are identical in location to where I was seated at the Thursday evening show. First Balcony, front row, viewing Page and Bonham's side.

  It'a a party night and the crowd's mood was raucus! I was with some of my football teamates that evening, so we were indulging a bit. Enjoying the Festivities! The lights go dead , but camera flashes illuminate Zeppelin as they take to the stage. Similarily dressed as in the first two shows. Page again wearing his white satin garb and notorious black and white zapatos. Jimmy plays a descending chord pattern prior to TSRTS and then charges right into opening.  It's feels like a good night as Page, Bonham and Jones initiate proceedings. Robert moving boldly with the changes as Jimmy solos aggressively. A well- executed tandem of The Rover and Sick Again follow. I notice Page is not smoking cigarettes tonight and there are no Heinekens atop his Marshalls.

  " Good Evening Chicago! " is Robert's greeting. Jimmy treats us to an A Cappella version of Since I've Been Loving You. My first thought was that they were shifting the set. But the band doesn't respond to Page! Robert covers for Jimmy by exclaiming " Tonight's a blues night!" In order Jimmy begins Nobody's Fault But Mine. Page remembers to engage his MXR Phase 90 pedal at the appropriate times. Jones and Bonham are hypnotically linked as they carry on. Plant's voice, here with a Arabic tinge, also tranlates into his body motion.

  Now is the proper time for Since I've Been Loving You. Or is it Tea For One? It's a combination! Robert arrives in pain and can you feel it. The band's dynamics and chemistry come off well here. No Quarter crawls out at you next. The sound is ominous and dramatic. Jones solos regally with lasers in spectacular display behind him. Page and Bonham join him in a rock and roll boogie section more reminiscent of 1950's era rock + roll.  The gears shift and it's into the meat of the solo section. Page bleeding his notes out in sustain and then unleashing a flurry of Django/ Les Paul mutated licks. Man! JPJ and Bonzo are kicking major ass!  Jimmy's angular octave blocks lead back to Jones' sole piano. There are no obvious problems in Page's playing tonight. Not until the next song.

  Firecrackers are going off abundantly and Robert's getting pissed off. Another plea to the fools lighting these things off. Ten Years Gone begins fine but then, as Page begins the middle solo, he turns back to his roadie, calling for something.  His chair is brought forth and set up by his pedals. Jimmy thens drops back in his chair on a 45 degree angle. He  jabs at his foot pedals from afar. What a bizarre sight!  Page actually fumble- fingers his way to the conclusion of the the song. A Herculean effort indeed! Robert is immediately at Jimmy's side and the rest of the band huddle around him. I can see Jimmy shaking his head side to side, as if he was saying " No way!"  His mates help him up and walk him off the stage. Things don't look too promising. About five minutes later there is an announcement over the P.A. -" Jimmy is ill and feels he cannot give his best. Retain your ticket and there will be a rescheduling." Wow! That was it? I triple -checked to make sure I had my ticket. As my buddies and I got up to vacate the stadium, a guy got up behind me and moaned " They ended it just as I'm peaking on Mescaline!" Sorry dude....

   There was a ripple effect from this show's cancellation. August 2nd would be the rescheduled date and they would add an additional concert set for August 3rd. Something to really look forward to over the summer of 1977. More Zeppelin shows! My tickets for the 8/3 concert were incredible. On the main floor , 3rd row dead center. How I received those seats is another story. But, it was never to be. One week exactly before Zeppelin was return to Chicago, I received a phone call from one of my friends. He told me he had just heard on the radio that Robert Plant's son had died. My heart just fell. That's it. It's over. I felt deeply that the band  would never be the same. Those type of tragedies alter you forever.

   Easter Sunday will be the final date of Led Zeppelin's 1977 stay in Chicago. For this show, Jimmy Page has been digging around in his wardrobe for something very special to wear......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:) Nice. Great account of the show.

I've only seen bits and pieces of 8mm film transfered to DVD.

Jimmy is clearly hurting during Ten Years Gone, even from what I've seen.

I agree, it's strange how it just kind of hits him all the sudden.

(though that does happen)

Must've been something he ate while getting that Telecaster strapped on... :) jus kidding

Again, bad night, but great story. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...