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Boston Tea Party January 26 1969


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Hey guys,

I just would like to know, if there is any bootleg known, that features the complete four hour gig.

In Dave Lewis Concert file JPJ is qouted"the key Led Zeppelin gig-the one that put everything into focus"

Would be amazing to haer all the covers that Zep did on this evening...has anyone a "setlist" ?


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I have two 90-minute cassettes claiming to be one of the Tea Party shows. They aren't any better or worse than any other Zep boot circulating from their first American tour. They certainly don't add up to four hours. I have my doubts about four-hour shows to begin with. You only get to ever read about marathons in Boston '69, Nassau '72 and Seattle '75, but you never get to hear them in their entirety. In a lot of cases peoples' fanciful memories are eroded by time, be they the memories of JPJ, or a Rolling Stone writer, or a fan.

Luis Rey's Final Edition Live bootleg guide states the March 21, 1975 Seattle show is four hours, but Rey marks the recording at being 220 minutes, 20 minutes shy of four hours. For the most part, Rey's recording times are estimated and exaggerated in his book. I have many concerts he reviews and the lengths don't coincide with how long he claims the performance lasted. Some long shows might last four hours if you include all the applause time on the tape before and after the show and if the band waits 20 minutes before playing an encore.

The biggest obstacle of the existence of a four-hour show is in January 1969 cassette tape recorders were not around. Most recording machines at the time used small reels of tape like the ones that would self-destruct after Jim the Mission: Impossible guy played them. Those tapes were capable of about 20 minutes. Most people didn't lug big reel-to-reel decks to concerts nor would they be let in with them. These spools required the tape to be threaded during tape changes whereas cassettes did not, so protracted portions of the show would go unrecorded.

Sorry, but you're as likely to find a four hour Tea Party as you are a handful of four-leaf clover.

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The supposed "4 hour gig" didn't happen in January, it happened in May. This was confirmed by a writer who was touring with the band on their 2nd US tour and then mentioned it in a book. The January 4 hour gig has been a persistent myth. At most, the 1/26 tape is missing one or two songs, if any. They'd already played every single one of their live repertoire by the time the tape cuts out, except for "As Long As I Have You".

Whether the May gig was actually 4 hours long either is anyone's guess.

Remember, these gigs occurred 40 years ago. Jones' memory is as susceptible to human error as anyone's. He did once recall that after they played "Stairway to Heaven" at the Forum in 1971 that the audience was dumbfounded and that the band received a several-minute long standing ovation. The bootleg for the show proves that completely incorrect. The audience cheered like they did for any other song that night and then the band moved on to the next song.

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