Monday, November 30, 2009

Generous applause

On this day in 1972, there was an enthusiastic reaction among fans at the first concert of Led Zeppelin's U.K. tour. Reportedly, the audience at the City Hall in Newcastle, England, applauded for 30 full minutes after the band had left the stage and the concert was over. Guitarist Jimmy Page told the press, "For a first night, the reaction was just tremendous."

Over the next two months, Led Zeppelin would be playing 24 dates in front of more than 110,000 people. It was about half the rate of previous tours.

Page was heard to comment on the breakneck speed of Led Zeppelin's previous venture in the United States, saying, "The last American tour just got silly." He was right. Over the summer of '72, Zeppelin played 18 concerts in only 23 days.

Both Page and singer Robert Plant said they fought off some nerves before the first show of their U.K. tour. For one thing, they were debuting some unreleased material that would appear on their next album, Houses of the Holy, whose release was being held up by problems with the cover art.

But the audiences in the U.K. were up for anything. All the tickets for the entire tour reportedly sold out in four hours.

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