June 28, 1970
Bath Festival - West Showground
Dazed and Confused,
Bring It On Home,
Since I've Been Loving You,
Organ solo / Thank You,
That's Way (tentatively titled: The Boy Next Door), What Is and What Should Never Be,
How Many More Times (medley incl. Long Distance Call, Honey Bee, Meed Your Love Tonight, That's Alright Mama),
Whole Lotta Love,
Long Tall Sally ~ Say Mama ~ Johnny B. Goode ~ That's Alright Mama.
Peter Grant: "Some people were trying to videotape the Bath festival and they'd already been told beforehand they couldn't, so I had no qualms about throwing a bucket of water on to the tape machine which blew the whole lot up. Whoosh! It made a horrible smell and then it melted." (C. Welch interview)
Review: By 8pm, it was estimated that a quarter of a million people roughly the population of the city of Leeds were champing at the bit awaiting Led Zeppelin. Half-an-hour to set up then the members of THE definitive heavy band strode on stage Robert Plant, looking more like Norse warrior than ever, Jimmy Page looking like Mad Dan Eccles in an ankle length overcoat and yokels hat over his ears, John Bonham in purple vest crouched behind his green drums and John Paul Jones in straight trendy gear clutched his bass guitar.
They kicked off with a new riff from their next album called Immigrant Song. They actually took some time to warm up the crowd, but this may have been intentional as they built up to a fantastic climax with an act lasting over three hours.
Jimmy produced his violin bow to attack the guitar strings, and John Paul was featured on Hammond organ on Since Ive Been Loving You.
It was after John Bonhams phenomenal drum solo violent, aggressive and furiously fast had brought the crowd permanently to their feet, that the real fun began!
They had contrasted their rock style with the beautiful The First Time (aka Thats the Way) featuring John Paul on mandolin and Jim on six-string acoustic with Robert singing in the most attractive restrained style. Now it was time for the other extreme.
A wild rock medley - How Many More Times. The crowd wouldnt let them go. Tambourines thrown to the fans. As dusk fell and the lights flickered on the band roared into Communication Breakdown.
ANOTHER ENCORE at 10:50pm Zeppelin had won. They had made all the hang-ups worthwhile and given the crowd a night to remember whatever else happened. In their final minutes, they paid tribute to the masters of Rock and Roll with the songs of Little Richard, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. (MelodyMaker, July 1970)
The most legendary gig by Zeppelin ever certainly lives up to that, even in the average recording. Robert's voice is just amazing in its range and scope, and the band are blistering ... Jones is on fire, Jimmy is incendiary and Bonham is thunderous. The band just played a perfect gig! There are a few previews: Immigrant Song, which was written six days before has a completely different vocal arrangement, That's The Way (under it's working title and introduced as "something a little different"), and a great jam at the end, and Since I've Been Loving You is played for the first time in the UK. Moby Dick is exceptional and the How Many More Times and Rock Medley are immensely powerful. Plant speaking to the audience prior to the final encores: "We've been playing America a lot recently and we really through that coming back here we might have a dodgy time. There's a lot of things going wrong in America at the moment, that are getting a bit sticky. It's really nice to come to an open-air festival where there are no bad things happening and everything's turned out beautiful."
My most lingering memories of this night, in addition to the fact that the ground had finally dried out after the rain and the crowd's mood was palpably lifting, was the way the band came on right at sunset--afterwards we learned Peter Grant had orchestrated this, but at the time it seemed like an incredible piece of natural drama. There was a mad rush to the front, the result of this being that I couldn't personally see anything, but no trouble hearing--so incredibly loud you could feel the vibrations through the ground. And they were fabulous, of course.
I missed the previous year's festival, so was determined not to miss out on this one. It was my first ever taste of the new Pop Festival's...and it will be forever, my all time favourite!!
Not just because Led Zep played an amazing set...but Pink Floyd were awesome. John Mayall, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat....wow! How much would all their tickets cost today?!!
Mind you...I often wonder if they ever did find Harry!!!