Forgotten concerts: Led Zeppelin at Springfield Symphony Hall
Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012It was no trick, just a big treat when British rock gods Led Zeppelin performed in downtown Springfield on Halloween night in 1969. Sponsored by the Narragansett Brewing Co., Led Zeppelin performed at Symphony Hall, then known as Springfield Municipal Auditorium. The concert took place nearly three years before the opening of the Springfield Civic Center. Occurring at time before rock concert reviews in the Pioneer Valley were commonplace, there is no official chronicle of the band's Oct. 31, 1969 performance. Thankfully, Led Zepellin fan Barry Hayes preserved a vintage poster and torn ticket stub, which are featured at the band's official website. A front row seat to see one of the biggest bands in rock history in an intimate 2,600-seat hall went for just $5.50 back in 1969. Balcony seats were priced at $4.50 and $3.50. (In comparison, the face value for tickets to Led Zeppelin's reunion show in 2007 at the O2 Arena in London were priced at $200). The Springfield concert took place just nine days after the release of the album "Led Zeppelin II." The band had performed in Buffalo the night before and had a gig in Syracuse on Nov. 1. Indeed, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham toured much of the U.S. between an April 24 show at Winterland in San Francisco and a return engagement to that fabled concert venue on Nov.Barry Hayes ledzeppelin.com
The set list for the fall portion of the U.S. tour typically included: "Good Times Bad Times," "Communication Breakdown," " Can't Quit You Baby," "Heartbreaker," "Dazed and Confused," "You Shook Me," "White Summer / Black Mountainside," "Moby Dick," "How Many More Times" and "Whole Lotta Love." According to the poster, the show also included Springfield's Taj Mahal as the opening act. By October 1969, Mahal had released three solo albums. He had performed the previous year in the Rolling Stones "Rock and Roll Circus" film. There have been several unconfirmed reports that Led Zeppelin also performed at the Springfield Municipal Auditorium on Jan. 27, 1969, though it is not listed on the band's website. If so, that show would have taken place immediately following a four-night stint at the former Boston Tea Party and prior a run at the Fillmore East in New York.