June 14, 1977
Madison Square Garden
New York City, NY
01 The Song Remains the Same
02 Sick Again
03 Nobody's Fault But Mine
04 Over the Hills & Far Away
05 Since I've Been Loving
06 No Quarter
07 Ten Years Gone
08 Battle of Evermore
09 Going to California
10 Black Country Woman
11 Bron Y Aur Stomp
12 White Summer/Black Mountain Side
14 Moby Dick
Press Review: Led Zeppelin's British rock quartet shows sell-out at Madison Square Gardens
NEW YORK — Even though millions of young people have managed to acquire it, Led Zeppelin remains an acquired taste. The British rock quartet, which this week opened a run of six long-since sold- out shows at Madison Square Gardens, makes a monstrously loud, deliberately abrasive kind of music far removed not only from the sweet rustlings of classical music, jazz and Tin Pan Alley, but even from the tuneful, rhythmically enlivening rock songs of the 1960s.
That said, this was the best Led Zeppelin show this observer has ever heard, and that includes the sound track from the group's recent concert film. It was certainly superior to the 1975 Garden shows, the last the band had given in New York. That time the guitarist, Jimmy Page, had an injured finger. Since then Led Zeppelin has been off the road, waiting for the singer, Robert Plant, to recover from first an auto accident and then a throat infection.
This tour amounts to a re-assertion of the band's preeminence in the fickle youth market of America, and on its own terms the opening show was certainly a triumphant reassertion. It lasted three hours and included some 18 songs, depending on how you count — a Led Zeppelin "song" is often an excuse for a meandering instrumental that sucks in all sorts of extraneous material as it goes along and sometimes segues subtly into something altogether different.
The repertory included much that was predictable, from "The Song Remains the Same" to "Stairway to Heaven" by way of "In My Time of Dying" (dedicated somewhat wickedly to Queen Elizabeth n and her Silver Jubilee): "The Battle of Evermore" (was also dedicated to the British monarch). "No Quarter," "Kashmir," "Achilles Last Stand" and others, But there was also an acoustic set that lightened the heavy-metal load.
The mood of the Garden concert, offstage and on, seemed fresher and less hostile than some Led Zeppelin concerts and crowds of yore. The audience waited more or less docilely for 70 minutes past the scheduled starting time before the band appeared. When it did so, the mood of the musicians was good-natured and almost puckish. And Plant laudably and earnestly attempted to discourage the hurling of firecrackers and cherry bombs.
Quite apart from its sheer massiveness and its mood, this was a first-class Led Zeppelin performance on several objective criteria. Plant's voice sounded fresh throughout, but especially during the acoustic portion, in "Going to California." And it was aided by a whole battery of echo and filter effects.
Similarly Page's guitar playing, always concerned with coloristic exploration was positively kaleidoscopic in that respect. And his work along with everybody else's was projected forcefully and clearly by the sound system. The other two held up their ends, too. (J. Rockwell, 7.2.77)
The final night at the Garden and an excellent show. The band is very powerful and Page is playing a great concert, stopping the hearts of the crowd in Since I've Been Loving You and especially No Quarter. Ten Years Gone is an excellent version and the concert is powerful where the tape finishes. This is all that exists of the show.
The sixth night at The Garden and the band's final New York performance in its original form begins with a fiercely energetic The Song Remains the Same. Plant's aggressive snarl dominates a ferocious Sick Again. As the song ends, he apologizes for the delay, saying "there was a real reason for it, I'd got no clothes to wear," which is met with shouts of "bullshit!" from the crowd. Page's fingers are like razor blades as he slashes and shreds through an erratic guitar solo during Nobody's Fault But Mine. Plant again tries to sing the chorus of Over the Hills and Far Away in its original melody, but falls short. Page is all over the place during the guitar solo. Plant introduces Since I've Been Loving You as "a song about the doubts of love," adding "and if there's anybody wandering around this auditorium tonight who's in doubt... don't be." Page has reverted to the sharp, angular soloing style characteristic of the 1975 North American tour.
Jones is introduced as "one of the greatest yachtsmen on Central Park" before No Quarter. Page and Jones get into a spirited interplay prior to an epic guitar solo section. There is a cut in the tape during the final verse. Page nearly destroys the guitar solos during Ten Years Gone. Plant hints at Gallows Pole before The Battle of Evermore. Going to California is introduced as "a song about the desire to find what you want and sometimes almost giving up." Page hints at Pinball Wizard at the beginning of Black Country Woman, which is dedicated to Ral Donner. Plant delivers a powerful performance during Kashmir. Unfortunately, the recording ends just over three minutes into Over the Top.