Led Zeppelin fans were in an uproar over newly surfaced bootleg audio reportedly recorded during the band’s 1971 Vancouver show at the Pacific Coliseum on August 19, 1971.
Fragments of the audio first surfaced via a user named Spindle on the official Led Zeppelin forums last month, but were first collected in the following clip.
The tracks include a rare outing for Led Zeppelin III melody gallows pole [the third song in the clip]which was thought to have been performed in full by the group only a few times (the rest of the time it was incorporated into medleys).
Elsewhere there are clips of stairway to Heaven, Rock’n’Roll and an improvised rendition of the band’s legendary riffer Whole lotta lovewhich, in contrast to the studio version, adopts a galloping rhythm.
The rest of the setlist (that doesn’t appear in the audio) is supposedly included Immigrant Song, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused, Going to California and connection erroramong other.
Set on the first night of the North American leg of their 1971 tour, it’s an intense, gritty performance that captures all the frenzied excitement and explosive panache of a band then dominating the rock world.
In fact, demand for tickets to the first date of the US race meant that over thousands of fans were left without tickets in front of the 15,000-seat Coliseum. Canadian music journalist Rick McGrath was in attendance and writes on Led Zeppelin’s website (opens in new tab):
“I had to watch the concert from the stage – about ten feet from Page. About 3,000 Zepheads from Seattle pulled up for the show, only to find that tickets were out. I remember them leaning on the glass in front of the Pacific Coliseum until show time, when the promoters decided it was safer to let them in rather than risk crashing through the glass… so the Coliseum swelled to about 18,000 fans on.”
During the show, the city’s noise control officer was also reportedly assaulted and beaten, damaging his monitoring equipment. A news clipping from the period reports that an arrest warrant was issued for Peter Grant, the notorious manager of Led Zeppelin (opens in new tab).
Thanks to Led Zeppelin’s extensive online archive, we also know what equipment Jimmy Page brought with him for the shows, including four Marshall cabs, two Hiwatt units, two Vox “echo chambers” (probably a long tom or short tom), an Echoplex, two Gibson Les Pauls, a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, a Vox Wah pedal and of course his Sonic Wave Theremin. It even mentions that Page uses Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings…
Unfortunately, a full bootleg release of the show seems unlikely, as forum talk suggests the original tapes were sold to a private collector.
However, there seems to be some positive news for fans on the official site. Fan site LedZepNews reports that the acclaimed documentary become Led Zeppelin — the first to be sanctioned by the band — registers social media accounts, suggesting a promo campaign and launch is imminent.