Look at these photos of Led Zeppelin playing The Spectrum this day in 1970
There was a gong. Because of course there was a gong. It was the advent of the 70s, era of rock and roll excess, and UK heavy / occult sensations Led Zeppelin were giving it all they had during their Philadelphia headlining shot on tour in support of Led Zeppelin II.
The show rolled through The Spectrum 46 years ago today. Tickets were $5.50 apiece. And Led Zep’s official concert archive has terrific collection of notes, photos and ephemera from the gig.
In the pictures, the stage appears tiny and tucked up right against the stands in comparison to the more elaborate arena rock structures we’d see later in the decade. Page’s ornately patterned shirt is a thing of beauty.
The concert was reviewed by Clark De Leon for the Philadelphia Inquirer, who vividly and poetically described the way “the lemming-like, sell-out crowd poured into the Spectrum like water into a dry sponge,” described Robert Plant as “Rapunzel with a comb out” with “pelvic virtuosity” who “gave every straight chick and gay guy the treat of their day.”
Of Jimmy Page’s guitar playing, he wrote “The instrument seems to say, ‘you know I can’t do this, but if you insist, I’ll try,’ every time Page produces another new sound on his versatile music machine.”
John Bonham reportedly had a dang near half-hour drum solo at the gig (again, era of excess and whatnot) and De Leon drew a comparison to the famously unhinged Ginger Baker.
In a review for the Bulletin (reprinted on Zeppelin’s site) W. Mandell had this to say: “In numbers where each of the foursome is given long, free-running solos, their expertise and unpredictable balance of musical instruments is exposed. John Bonham, the group’s 21-year-old percussionist gave an astounding 25 minute demonstration which brought the audience to its feet. And John Paul Jones, who alternates between bass and organ, added significantly with his melodic organ arrangements.”
Below, look at some assorted memorabilia from the gig, and find more at Led Zeppelin’s site. Were you at this concert? What were your memories of the show? Let us know in the comments!