Posts Tagged ‘Richfield Coliseum’

Despite being part of a tour that eventually evolved into violence and heartbreak, Led Zeppelin put it all together during their April 27th, 1977, stop at the Richfield Coliseum near Cleveland .

Zeppelin-ologists claim this was one of Led Zeppelin’s best shows on the tour, And much like the 10th anniversary Springsteen concert at the Agora , this 1977 Coliseum show was one of the most bootlegged of Led Zeppelin’s career.”

The best of those bootlegs remains the three-disc set “Destroyer”, which included the entire 18-song performance from the opening “The Song Remains the Same” through to a two-song encore of “Rock and Roll” and “Trampled Under Foot” that arrived more than three hours later. Better still, unlike lo-fi fare such as the fan-made bootleg Listen to This Eddie from later on during the same tour, “Destroyer” offered remarkably clear audio. The exceptional sound quality throughout the performance is described by some sources as “almost perfect”.] It was the first, and for many years the only, professionally recorded mixing desk tape to escape from the band’s possession

Led Zeppelin ended up running through an impressive setlist of fan favorites that night in Cleveland, including “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir,” while sprinkling in newer fare like “Achilles Last Stand” from their latest album “Presence”.  A standout moment arrived courtesy of John Paul Jones . who led an improvisational run through “No Quarter” that stretched to 20 minutes in length.

“Working from both electric and acoustic pianos, John Paul Jones again impressed with his general versatility,” It was one of the best rock jams I’ve ever witnessed.”

The liner notes for “Destroyer”, issued by the Shout to the Top label, actually thank John Bonham for use of the tapes, though initial vinyl pressings incorrectly placed the concert at Seattle. Later, a bootleg of the bootleg appeared; it was edited down to two discs by omitting Led Zeppelin’s lengthy take on “Moby Dick.”

Together, these bootlegs seem to celebrate a band at the top of its game. A show held three days after this Cleveland stop went on to draw more than 76,000 fans to Detroit’s Pontiac Silverdome setting a record for an indoor arena at that time. In actuality, however, Destroyer documented the beginning of the end.

Dates in support of Presence, Led Zeppelin’s seventh studio record, had kicked off on April 1st, 1977, in Dallas, with 51 concerts scheduled. They’d never get there.

When Led Zeppelin reached the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati on April 19th, 1977, more than 2,000 fans without tickets attempted to crash the gates – resulting in around 70 arrests. Later, on June 3rd, a riot broke out in Tampa after an open-air concert was cut short by a thunderstorm, leaving behind scores of injured fans. Moving forward in a tense, drug-fueled environment, Led Zeppelin’s performances were criticized as increasingly overblown and inconsistent.

Then Robert Plant’s son Karac died on July 26th, 1977, after a a severe stomach virus . Already fearful that things were going off the rails, Plant took an extended period of time away to grieve. A tour originally intended to last through August. 13th abruptly ended.

“By 1977, I was 29, just prior to Karac’s passing, and that sort of wild energy that was there in the beginning had come to the point where we were showboating a bit,” Plant told Uncut magazine in 2008. “Unfortunately, we had no choice. We were on tours where places were going ape s—. There was no way of containing the energy in those buildings. It was insane. And we became more and more victims of our own success. And the whole deal about the goldfish bowl and living in it, that kicked in.”

Led Zeppelin eventually rallied to produce 1979’s album “In Through The Out Door” but by September. 24th, 1980, Bonham was dead aged just 32, and Led Zeppelin were no more. Already scheduled North American concerts, including a return to Cleveland on October. 25th-26, 1980, were cancelled.

That left a July 24th, 1977, date in Oakland, less than three months after Led Zeppelin’s heralded stop at the Richfield Coliseum, as their last-ever concert in the U.S.

Led Zeppelin, Cleveland, April 27th, 1977 Set List
“The Song Remains the Same”
“Sick Again”
“Nobody’s Fault but Mine”
“In My Time of Dying”
“Since I’ve Been Loving You”
“No Quarter”
“Ten Years Gone”
“Battle of Evermore”
“Going to California”
“Black Country Woman”
“Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”
“White Summer/Black Mountain Side”
“Moby Dick”
[Guitar Solo]
“Achilles Last Stand”
“Stairway to Heaven”
“Rock and Roll”
“Trampled Under Foot”