Thursday, March 21, 2002

Pb Zeppelin

On this day in 1970, the first concert of Led Zeppelin's fifth North American tour shattered an attendance record.

A crowd of 19,000 gathered at Vancouver's Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum. It was actually the largest paying attendance ever in the PNE Coliseum at that time. The old house record had been set by the Beatles.

The two-and-a-half-hour set list began with "We're Gonna Groove" (a song that did not appear on any Led Zeppelin album until 1982). A version of "Communication Breakdown" included a few verses of the seldom played "Ramble On." The night marked the first time "Since I've Been Loving You" was performed in North America; the song was not available on album until the end of the year.

At the end of the show, the crowd mobbed the stage. Robert Plant was used to that happening regularly at Led Zeppelin concerts. He joked about the situation, saying, "Never before in the history of Led Zeppelin has this happened."

For whatever reason, John Bonham found a dressing room door backstage worth kicking in. Band manager Peter Grant was quick to pay for the $1,500 damage that Bonham's actions caused.

Incidentally, that concert also became the first Led Zeppelin show to be released on a bootleg. The story behind the first Led Zeppelin bootlegs is explored in an article by Hugh Jones in the April 1999 issue of his Led Zeppelin fanzine Proximity. The article can be found online here.

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