John Paul Jones: “As far as I’m concerned, the key Zeppelin gig, the one that put everything into focus, was one that we played on our first American tour at the Boston Tea Party. We’d played our usual one hour set, using all the material for the first album and Page’s White Summer guitar piece and by the end, the audience just wouldn’t let us offstage. It was in such a state that we had to start throwing ideas around, just thinking of songs that we might all know or that some of us knew a part of and work it out from there.

So we’d go back on and play things like “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Please Please Me”, old Beatles favorites. I mean, just anything that would come into our head and the response was quite amazing. There were kids actually bashing their heads against the stage – I’ve never seen that a gig before or since, and when we finally left the stage, we’d played for four plus hours.

Peter (Grant) was absolutely ecstatic. He was crying, if you can imagine that, and hugging us all. You know with this grizzly bear hug. I suppose it was then that we realized just what Led Zeppelin was going to become.” – (NME, Feb. 1973)

An amazing show … this could be quite possibly one of the the best Led Zeppelin concert from 1969. The sound is vibrant and crisp and the playing is amazing. Jimmy’s soloing throughout is nothing short of breathtaking and Jones’ thundering bass and Bonham’s amazing drums only add to it, as does Robert’s crystalline and wonderful voice. An incredible show … one of the very best! Some sources reports that another set of rock ‘n’ roll medleys was performed but a big care must be taken with these statements.

There is an amazing wah-wah intro before Train Kept a Rollin’. The entire song is an explosion of energy. Page’s guitar sounds like razor blades during I Can’t Quit You Baby. Killing Floor starts with a great fast-paced Hendrix-inspired intro. Page throws a siren lick into the middle of an extended, dynamic guitar solo. «I got my needle in ya baby!..» follows lyrics from The Lemon Song. The whole thing moves at a frenzied pace to the final beat. Jones and Bonzo turn the intro of Dazed and Confused into a funky rhythm exercise. Plant hints at Shapes of Things during the extended bow solo. The return to the main riff after the guitar solo is devastating.

The introduction of You Shook Me is met with a loud cheer from the crowd. Plant’s harmonica solo is gritty and soulful, followed by a surprise organ solo by Jones. Possibly the best version of You Shook Me ever. Communication Breakdown starts off with an excellent bluesy jam. Bonzo attacks his cymbals throughout the song. Page’s fingerwork in White Summer/Black Mountain Side is astounding. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is a haunting assault. Plant interrupts a wild intro to Pat’s Delight to introduce Bonzo. The solo is a blitzkrieg of drums and the crowd loves it. Unfortunately, the tape cuts off near the end of an amazing performance of How Many More Times, which includes a bowed rendition of For You Love following Plant’s «when I was a young man, I couldn’t resist…» interlude. Luis Rey was not far off when he called this their «best-ever concert.» Four hours or forty minutes, this is a turning point for Led Zeppelin. This is the foundation on which everything to come will be built. Definitely a must hear!

Boston Tea Party
Boston, MA

01 The Train Kept A Rollin’
02 I Can’t Quit You
03 Killing Floor incl.:
– The Lemon Song
04 Dazed And Confused incl.:
– Shapes Of Things
05 You Shook Me
06 Communication Breakdown
07 White Summer/Black Mountain Side
08 Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
09 Pat’s Delight
10 How Many More Times (cut) incl.:
– For Your Love
– Over Under Sideways Down