June 7, 1977
Madison Square Garden
New York City, NY
Magical Sound Boogie (Empress Valley)
01 The Song Remains The Same
02 The Rover Introduction / Sick Again
03 Nobody's Fault But Mine
04 In My Time Of Dying
05 Since I've Been Loving You
06 No Quarter
07 Ten Years Gone
08 The Battle Of Evermore
09 Going To California
10 Black Country Woman
11 Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
12 White Summer / Black Mountain Side
14 Out On The Tiles / Over The Top
15 Guitar Solo
16 Achilles Last Stand
17 Stairway To Heaven
18 Whole Lotta Love
19 Rock And Roll
Review: Some rock bands have fans, others have admirers and still others have followers. But Led Zeppelin is the last great rock band who’s minions can be considered true believers.
Believing in Led Zeppelin makes its audience a unified community, which is rare in rock these days. The decline of rock as a social phenomenon and its development as big business has made the likelihood of such sentiment obsolete. Led Zeppelin is the only exception. The nearly 20,000 believers who filled Madison Square Garden light night (June 7th) for the first of six sold-out shows were part of rock’s largest fraternity. A passion for Led Zeppelin is enough to establish communications, if not necessarily friendship, among a large segment of today’s teenagers.
The audience displayed restraint that bordered on saintliness during the one-hour delay before the concert started. No announcement or explanation was offered. But a substantial number of people did show stupidity bordering on sadism in greeting the band with an assault of fireworks that made the Garden seem like Da Nang, The explosions faded after a few songs when singer Robert Plant exerted his moral authority by requesting that those offenders “cool the firecrackers – no more of those exploding things.”
After that, most of the explosions were from the stage, where Led Zeppelin proved that it was worthy of the adoration bestowed upon it. The 8-year old band virtually invented what has become known as heavy-metal rock, an English combination of blues structures and ear-splitting volume. But the band has grown with the times. Rather than relying on its earlier style of rock-to-break-your-kneecaps-with once represented by songs like Whole Lotta Love, Led Zeppelin performed a nearly three-hour set notable for its variety, sophistication and depth.
Each member of this quartet added something special to the band’s sound. Singer Robert Plant, a tall, muscular, golden-haired man whose unbutton shirt proudly revealed the best developed pectoral muscles in rock, sand with his usually effective rasp. He maintained pitch and melody well and exuded by a gregariousness and intensity. Lead guitarist Jimmy Page is one of rock’s legends. His playing was busy, wiry, sometimes scattershot. On In My Time of Dying, he continually shifted the emphasis of the dynamics until he built to an attention-riveting, machine gun-like finish.
No Quarter was the vehicle for versatile John Paul Jones. On that tune, he performed on keyboards, alternating between spacey abstraction and kinetic surges of energy. His performance blended the styles of Keith Jarrett, Huey Smith, Beethoven, and B. Bumble and the Stingers. Drummer John Bonham, meanwhile, played with deceptive subtlety. His cannonball approach made use of empty space on In My Time of Dying, that propelled the other musicians without overpowering them.
So while many in the audience enjoyed the show simply because being there conferred status on the high school ladder, Zeppelin pleased its older fans by playing with both complexity and poignance. (D. Marsh, Newsday- June 1977)
This is the first of a six-night stand in New York and a really good show at that. In My Time Of Dying was dedicated to the British Queen. "Tonight is the beginning of the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee, and that's heavy thing for us, so we'll do this one for Liz!" said Plant to the noisy audience. Kashmir is a little sloppy but the whole show is really powerful and Jimmy is on fire in Achilles Last Stand. The drumming is very sloppy in Stairway To Heaven and everyone chases each other through Rock And Roll, which makes for a very bizarre arrangement.
The first show of the band's six night residency at Madison Square Garden begins with a frantic The Song Remains the Same. The taper seems to be having a bit of trouble with his equipment, losing the right channel momentarily. Plant repeatedly exclaims "oh Jimmy!" as Page launches into a blistering sticky-fingered guitar solo. As the song ends, Plant tells the crowd "it's really great to be back, cause we never really knew whether we would ever make it back, y'know?... and I guess now that we have, we better do it good, right?" He insists that the crowd cool it with the firecrackers before dedicating In My Time of Dying to Queen Elizabeth II, in honor of her Silver Jubilee. The band hammers through a devastatingly heavy performance as Plant barks aggressively.
Since I've Been Loving You is an epic drama. Page is absolutely on fire, his fingers tear across the fretboard as he leads the crowd on an emotional journey. Plant is in top form, belting out each line with power and conviction. A fantastic performance, one of the best in recent memory. Someone near the taper can be heard saying "look here, on the roof!... they got a fuckin' Laserium!" as Jones begins his piano solo during No Quarter. There is a slight cut in the tape shortly thereafter. Page and Bonzo join in for another frenzied rendition of Nut Rocker. Page shreds wildly through an excellent guitar solo as Bonzo relentlessly hammers at his drums. Plant introduces Ten Years Gone as "a song about loves lost, but never gone." The crowd cheers loudly as the band begins a beautiful Going to California. The delicate atmosphere is interrupted by a barrage of firecracker blasts following the first verse.
Page and Plant get into a tongue-in-cheek rendition of Rawhide before Black Country Woman. Unfortunately, the latter is cut after just over a minute. The crowd erupts as Kashmir bursts out of White Summer/Black Mountain Side. The band completely loses track of one another during the latter half of the song. There are a couple briefly disturbing speed fluctuations near the beginning of an explosive Achilles Last Stand. Plant dedicates Stairway to Heaven to "the fact that good vibes are alive and well in New York." Page shreds erratically through the guitar solo. Plant exclaims "now let's go back to 1969!" before Whole Lotta Love. The band closes the show with a riotous Rock and Roll, getting caught up in the frenzy and losing track of one another during the guitar solo.