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North America 1968/1969
69.jpg

Poster for Led Zeppelin's concerts at the Fillmore West , used to help promote its 1968/1969 tour of North America

Concert tour by Led Zeppelin
Locations North America
Start date December 26, 1968
End date February 15, 1969
Legs 1
Shows 34
Led Zeppelin tour chronology
United Kingdom 1968 North America 1968/1969 United Kingdom & Scandinavia Spring 1969

Led Zeppelin's 1968/1969 tour of North America was the first concert tour of North America by the English rock band. The tour commenced on December 26, 1968 and concluded on February 15, 1969.

Contents

Overview

The genesis of this tour was the cancellation of a concert tour by the Jeff Beck Group, which happened to be managed out of the same office as that occupied by Led Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant. Grant contacted the promoters and convinced them to take on Led Zeppelin instead.[1]

To help publicise the band in America before the tour, Grant sent white label advance copies of the band's debut album to key FM radio stations. The album itself was issued on January 17, mid-way though the tour. For this stint of concerts, Led Zeppelin played as the support act for bands such as Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly (both of which were also contracted to Atlantic Records) and Country Joe & the Fish. However, as the tour progressed, it became apparent that Led Zeppelin was easily outshining the headline acts,[2][3] As guitarist Jimmy Page explained:

[B]y the time we reached San Francisco, the other groups on the bill just weren't turning up. Country Joe & the Fish backed out of playing with us on the West Coast and Iron Butterfly didn't turn up on the East.[4]

In interviews, bass player John Paul Jones has expressed similar recollections:

To be honest, most of what Country Joe [and the Fish] was doing was just a band of friends going on stage. They would play, start a song and drift into another song, which sounded really great. And we would just go on and go "bang, bang, bang" with three driven songs with solos, and people must have thought, "What did we just see?" And there was nobody else doing that at that time. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the success. We got four numbers in by the time most bands had tuned up ... We were very tight and close as well. It was always kind of "us against the world" back then.[5]

It was during this tour that Led Zeppelin's drummer, John Bonham, developed a close friendship with the drummer of Vanilla Fudge, Carmine Appice.[6]

The average fee charged by Led Zeppelin for a concert during this tour was around $1,500. It has been stated that for one show they performed for a mere $320.[2] Figures like these would soon be dwarfed by the six figure sums routinely demanded, and received, by Led Zeppelin on subsequent tours as their popularity skyrocketed. Peter Grant recalled that "The Yardbirds had been getting $2,500 a night but people like Bill Graham had faith in us and so did the kids who saw it."[2] Grant, who was unable to attend the tour with the group, also stated:

I couldn't go with them, but it was a fantastic 12 date tour, and they said "Great, if that's what we've gotta do, we'll go and do it" ... Three of the group had never been to America before and didn't know what to expect. They did a week with the Vanilla Fudge. My instructions were for them to go over there and blast them out. Make each performance something everybody remembered. They really did that.[6]

A common legend has it that on the January 26th show at the Boston Tea Party they played for more than four hours with only one album worth of material.

Tour set list

The fairly typical set list for the tour was:

  1. "Train Kept A-Rollin' " (Bradshaw, Kay, Mann)
  2. "I Can't Quit You Baby" (Dixon)
  3. "As Long As I Have You" (Mimms)
  4. "Dazed and Confused" (Page)
  5. "Communication Breakdown" (Bonham, John Paul Jones, Page)
  6. "You Shook Me" (Dixon, Lenoir)
  7. "White Summer"/"Black Mountain Side" (Page)
  8. "Pat's Delight" (Bonham)
  9. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (Bredon, Page, Plant)
  10. "How Many More Times" (Bonham, Jones, Page)

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the tour.

Tour dates

References

  1. ^ Liner notes by Cameron Crowe for The Complete Studio Recordings
  2. ^ a b c Lewis, Dave and Pallett, Simon (1997) Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-5307-4, p. 15.
  3. ^ "Their Time is Gonna Come", Classic Rock Magazine: Classic Rock Presents Led Zeppelin, 2008, p. 17.
  4. ^ Nick Kent, "Bring It On Home", Q Magazine, Special Led Zeppelin edition, 2003
  5. ^ Dominick A. Miserandino, Led Zeppelin - John Paul Jones, TheCelebrityCafe.com.
  6. ^ a b Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 0-85797-930-3, p. 34.

External links

Sources

  • Lewis, Dave and Pallett, Simon (1997) Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-5307-4.
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