Led Zeppelin – The Day I Was There

I received an e-mail from Richard M. Houghton, the author of the book I posted about recently, Jimi Hendrix – The Day I Was There. He was letting me know that he had signed copies of that book available. He also informed me that he was starting his Led Zeppelin The Day I Was There book. He was accepting stories from fans. So I decided I would document my Led Zeppelin concert experience for inclusion in his next book.

I have been meaning to create a concert and memorabilia database, blog site so what better opportunity to kick it off with this blog post 😉

Led Zeppelin

June 11, 1977

Madison Square Garden

New York City, NY

The Day I Was There

Led Zeppelin first occurred to me as music phenomenon when I was a senior in high school in 1968. I hung around with a group of friends and we were passionate about rock music. We would meet in the cafeteria before school and at lunch to discuss who we were listening to on WNEW-FM radio. We devoured Rolling Stone magazine cover to cover.

A member of our discussion group had friends in England. They had told him about Led Zeppelin. He raved about this new supergroup which was creating a stir across the pond in the fall of 1968. Led Zeppelin did not release their earth-shattering album Led Zeppelin until January 1969. It was everything I had heard about and more. I took that album with me everywhere. I played it relentlessly on my hi-fi system and in art class at school. Lots of people borrowed it from me.

I wanted to see Led Zeppelin live in concert after bonding with their first album. Progressive FM airplay stirred that need even more. On July 3rd, 1969 on the way home from The Fillmore East in the East Village, New York City after a Jethro Tull/Jeff Beck concert I bumped into two friends from high school. We rode the subway from Astor Place to Grand Central Terminal to catch the train back to Connecticut.

They were psyched about having seen Led Zeppelin at The Filmore East a couple of months earlier. I listened intently as they talked about sitting in the balcony with binoculars studying Jimmy Page’s guitar mastery. They watched his hands the entire show as they both played guitar in a band. They were knocked out by his musicianship and urged me to see Led Zeppelin if I ever got the chance. I made a personal commitment to make that happen.

Eight years later that became reality. I purchased tickets at a Ticketron ticketing terminal to see Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Led Zeppelin had booked a six-night engagement at this famous venue, June 7, 8, 10, 11, 13 & 14 ,1977. I scored tickets for Saturday evening June 11th.

I recall that my sister-in-law drove us from Norwalk Connecticut in her Volvo. Travelling by car to the Garden added to the excitement of the evening. There is a thrill in witnessing the streets and atmosphere of New York City at night. The lights, the people, and the stores. We parked at The Garden and joined our fellow Zep freaks as we headed into the venue.

I was handed this pin by a Garden employee. I refer to it often in my pin collection. WPLJ-FM 95.5 was one of two major FM rock stations in New York City in the mid 70s.

Our seats were fantastic for $10.50 each. We sat on the left side of the band as they faced out into the audience. We had a great view of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Bonham. John Paul Jones was tucked behind Bonham so we couldn’t see him as well.

Led Zeppelin proved to be everything I knew and felt about them in concert. My visual recollection of their performance centers around a couple of songs in their 21-song set list.

Set List:

The Song Remains the Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault but Mine, In My Time of Dying, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer ~ Black Mountainside, Kashmir, (Out On the Tiles intro) Moby Dick, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Heartbreaker.

I remember being tired that night and starting to drift off to sleep in my seat (I know who falls asleep at a Led Zeppelin concert?). They had played several acoustic numbers seated at the front of the stage. I snapped awake after Black Mountainside as I witnessed Jimmy Page kicking a three-legged stool as it slid fast behind him under Bonham’s drum kit. He grabbed his double neck guitar launching us into “Kashmir”. It was a powerful moment that swept me along for the ride. Ever since then “Kashmir” has been my favorite Led Zeppelin tune.

“Kashmir” was followed by the greatest drum solo I ever saw. John Bonham played “Moby Dick” with drum sticks, his hands, and the Gong. I have seen a lot of great drummers in my 49 years of live concerts. But no one has impressed me or reached me with their drumming skills like John Bonham. I realized after he passed away why Led Zeppelin did not want to reform without him as Bonzo was integral to their sonic experience.

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The evening ended with the encore of “Stairway to Heaven” which is the classic Led Zeppelin hit.  Hearing Robert Plant’s voice echo across the sea of people in Madison Square Garden as the huge disco ball cast its light on us was breathtaking to witness. His hair was golden as was the memory.

I’m always reminded of this concert when I see this rock t-shirt being worn. It’s a shirt I must add to my rock t-shirt wardrobe.

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American Express Unstaged, Dead & Company, Tonight!

Fans of the legendary Grateful Dead and John Mayer, get ready! These two forces are joining together to perform as Dead & Company for their #AmexUNSTAGED concert on 11/7 at 7:30PM ET. You can watch the livestream and the 24 hour rebroadcast at http://AmexUNSTAGED.com/DeadAndCompany.

This Webcast is going up on the living room wall via HiDef, Optimum, Macbook Pro, and Google Chromecast baby!! Thanks American Express and Dead & Company!

“Bobfest”, Bob Dylan – 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration Deluxe Edition

Madison Square Garden proves once again why it is the “World’s Most Famous Arena”. Twenty-two years ago on October 16, 1992, New York City’s hottest concert ticket was the assemblage of musical friends at Madison Square Garden to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s first Columbia Records album.

Columbia Records and Legacy Recording, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition in three configurations (2CD2DVDBlu-ray Disc) on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

It is so heartwarming to see George Harrison performing in the spot with Dylan that gave us The Concert for Bangladesh. I also see that the late Richie Havens sings “Just Like A Woman”. There is a version of “It Ain’t Me Babe” by June Carter Cash/Johnny Cash. The Band appears and does “When I Paint My Masterpiece“. Plus so many other great artists played Dylan classics that night. This is a righteous, must have music video 🙂

For the song listing of artists performing and more, go here: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/news/bob-dylan-30th-anniversary-concert-celebration-deluxe-edition-released-first-time-dvd-blu-ray

 

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Donovan Appearing At The Fest for Beatles Fans

donovanWe love Donovan. We have waited patiently to see him live in concert near us. Donovan will be one of the special artists appearing at The Fest for Beatles Fans , an event I have blogged about recently. We are ticketed to attend this event. 🙂

The last time we saw Donovan live was November 12, 1971 at Madison Square Garden. It was our first big concert arena experience. There in the middle of the Garden floor sat Donovan. The stage he was perched cross-legged on slowly turned in a 360 degree fashion like a lazy susan.

Donovan’s Fest for Beatles Fans concert performances will occur in the ballrooms at the Grand Hyatt which will allow us a closer sound and visual experience.

I have listened to Donovan’s canon anticipating next month’s event. My favorite Donovan recording is Barabajagal. What’s yours?

The Real Donovan
The Real Donovan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Kashmir – Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

I saw Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in 1977. The song I recall the most was “Kashmir” from Physical Graffiti.

 

 

Jimmy Page was sitting on a little stool playing some acoustic Zep when suddenly he kicked the stool out from underneath him and he and Led Zeppelin launched into “Kashmir”. I’ll never forget that moment.

 

Here is “Kashmir” from the movie, Celebration Day.

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 – Special One Night Event, Tuesday August 13th

The indoor edition of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 arrives in select cinemas nationwide for a special one night event this Tuesday, August 13 at 7:30pm (local time)!

For tickets and the cinema near you go to: http://www.fathomevents.com/#!clapton-crossroads

The cinema event will include exclusive video from this year’s legendary guitar festival including behind-the-scenes footage at Madison Square Garden.

Performing Artists: Allman Brothers Band, Blake Mills, Booker T., Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr., Gregg Allman, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes

Best Concert I’ve Ever Been To…

 

I was recently asked, “What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?”. I have been debating that question within for the past few days.

I have attended 381+ concerts in 43 years. I am still fact checking that number 😉 because it’s probably been even more shows than that. It’s a tough question because I have seen some great concerts and musicians over the decades, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Santana, U2, Metallica (the last two listed in the same night…) to just name a few.

I have to say the best concert I’ve ever been to was The Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden on June 25th, 1975.

There is an electricity, an excitement that the Stones create that is unequaled by any other band. They exceed the claim they are the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.”. I am sure some might argue with that title . I’m open to hearing your opinion but only if you have seen the Rolling Stones will I entertain that discussion.

There are several reasons why the Stones in ’75 was the best concert I’ve ever been to see. The first was the adventure we had that night. I bought the tickets for this event by standing in line at Ticketmaster. The show sold out in record time and I got nose bleed seats at the Garden. By the time the night was over we were on the floor of MSG. We had so much fun eluding the ushers and finding unoccupied seats on various levels of the Garden. Each time we moved down a level the music and crowd intensified for us.

The second reason was how good The Rolling Stones were collectively. The stage started as a star folded up like an unblossomed flower. Keith Richards rang out the licks of Honky Tonk Women as he pushed the star edge down to reach the fans. He sounded sharp, brilliant as he played his guitar in a low slung fashion.

Mick Jagger was the rooster on acid, prancing about in his full body white sequinned costume. He implored us to love him and we did with every word he sang for us. Jagger put on quite the show, at one point he was added to a trapeze and flew out over the audience at us. Another time he rode an inflated dragon that spat confetti at us.

Ron Wood and Keith Richards jousted with their axes and played tasty, competitive riffs.

Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts held down the rhythm section. I was very impressed with Charlie’s drumming skills. He played that drop down beat on “Gimme Shelter” with all his strength.

It was a real coup to get tickets to see them that year. The luck of the draw for seats was the fact that they played the Garden six nights straight, which increased chances for a seat. I think its going to be next to impossible to see their 50th Reunion Tour, but we’ll certainly try to get to one of their concerts.

Watch this video clip of the forthcoming Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane and tell me you don’t feel the charisma they generate 😉

 

Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen Together on Stage at the Garden

We were in New York City last night, attending Patti Smith’s concert and reading at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I will have a separate blog post published soon at how magnificent an event that was for us.

Little did we realize that down the street a ways rock and roll history was being made at Madison Square Garden. They do not call it “The World’s Most Famous Arena” for nothing 😉 Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band were in town performing their concert magic at the Garden.

We saw Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band perform at the Boardwalk in Atlantic City in April of this past year. I privately hoped that since Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen are close friends, Bruce who lives in New Jersey might make a surprise appearance that night. He did not.

The last time Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen shared the same stage together was at the University of Michigan in 1980.

brucebob.jpg

Here is what Rolling Stone Magazine‘s Andy Greene reported: “Just because you’ve been good little boys and girls this year we have a little Christmas treat for you,” Bob Seger told the crowd early in his set at Madison Square Garden last night. “Mr. Bruce Springsteen!” With that, the place went absolutely insane as Springsteen came onstage, gave Seger a hug and launched into “Old Time Rock & Roll.”

The excitement level in the arena is fever pitch. You can see from the faces of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger thay are having a great time performing with each other. Alto Reed, the Silver Bullet Band saxophonist plays his heart on this song. I wonder if Bruce Springsteen flashed on what I was thinking when the video panned to Alto Reed. Perhaps Alto Reed might play with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band when they tour in 2012. Just a surmise on my part nothing more. No one will ever take Clarence Clemmons place in the E Street Band but I couldn’t help but contemplate on Alto Reed as that distinct possibility. Read more here: http://www.rollingstone.com/videos/new-and-hot/bruce-springsteen-and-bob-seger-perform-old-time-rock-roll-in-nyc-20111202#ixzz1fViElEjP

Paul McCartney – The Love We Make

NYC - MSG: Concert for New York City banner
Image by wallyg via Flickr

As we head towards the solemn remembrance of the events of 9/11 a documentary film is being released that chronicles Paul McCartney‘s poignant and cathartic journey through the streets of New York in the aftermath of the World Trade Center‘s destruction.

The Love We Make

Directed by iconic documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter, Salesman, Grey Gardens) and award-winning filmmaking partner Bradley Kaplan (Muhammad and Larry, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!, Sand and Sorrow), THE LOVE WE MAKE documents Paul’s role in the planning and performance of the monumental benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, “The Concert for New York City,” which took place less than six weeks after the terrorist attacks.

File:TheConcertForNewYorkCityAlbum.jpg

Paul McCartney has a wonderful, symbiotic relationship with New York City. We witnessed this first hand live at Yankee Stadium in July of this year and again at Citi Field in 2009 during some of the most personal and giving live concerts we have ever attended.

We will try to get tickets for the September 8th benefit that American Express is hosting in partnership with AEG LIVE and Regal Entertainment Group. All proceeds from the screenings will benefit MyGoodDeed – the respected nonprofit organization which leads the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Otherwise we will watch the event on Showtime this month on Cablevision.

This is just one of the many ways we plan to honor and remember 9/11. We will never forget!

Lou Reed and Metallica, LuLu

A real electric synergy ignited between Metallica and Lou Reed the night they first appeared together live at the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert. Rosemary and I witnessed this incredible collaboration in person at Madison Square Garden on October 30th, 2009. It was the first time we were seeing Metallica and Lou Reed in concert. They performed two Velvet Underground classics, “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat“. It was powerful!

The raw force they generated with “Sweet Jane”, done Lou Reed, Rock and Roll Animal style made me think to myself…(Wow, I hope that Lou Reed and Metallica get around to recording together some day because they are just scratching the surface for what they can carry out together seismically.) Loutallica! My silent wishes have been granted. Lou Reed and Metallica will be releasing a new studio recording, LuLu on November 1st, almost two years to the day of their auspicious NYC concert début.

There is a Web site focused on this important teaming, http://www.loureedmetallica.com/. It has published content early and will be further updated as we get closer to the drop date.

Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu

Five of the 10 songs planned are now listed, (Tracks 3,6-9), ” Frustration, Junior Dad, Little Dog Mistress Dread, and Pumping Blood.”

I find the inspiration of the LuLu recording, challenging and revealing all at once. LuLu was inspired by German expressionist writer Frank Wedekind‘s plays “Earth Spirit” and “Pandora’s Box,” which tell a story of a young abused dancer’s life and relationships and are now collectively known as the “Lulu Plays.” Lou Reed says about LuLuand Metallica:

We had to bring LuLu to life in a sophisticated way, using rock and the hardest power rock you could come up with would have to be Metallica. This is the best thing I ever did. And I did it with the best group I could possibly find. By definition, everybody involved was honest. This has come into the world pure. We pushed as far as we possibly could within the realms of reality.

Gentlemen, Bring It On! (60 days and counting…)