Fabulous Forum, Inglewood (Capacity: 17,000)
We start off the 1970s decade with a WARNING! RANT ZONE AHEAD!
Here’s a perfect example of experiencing a spontaneous and historic “Only L.A. Appearance” Gift of the Rock Gods Concert; a true perfect storm of Rock Concert Goodness and then attending the band’s next concert expecting lightning to strike twice.
LED ZEPPELIN – Anaheim, CA -1969 – Best LED ZEPPELIN Concert EVER!
The Anaheim Convention Center held approximately half the 17,000 that the Fabulous Forum held; so that accounted for the “closer” vibe and why it soon became a full blown “party atmosphere” concert which of course Led Zep responded over-enthusiastically in the best way.
Whatever great things you’ve heard about this 1970 Forum concert, double or triple it and that was Led Zep in ’69, really. I’ve attended close to 100 live concerts in my life and only a handful were truly transcendent – LZ Anaheim ’69 was one of them.
Had I not been at Anaheim, then I’m sure that I would have had a completely different take on this concert and that is why it is wise – on rare occasions – to leave perfection alone. I know this; I’ve had it happen to me more than once (the Who, for example) most of the time you’re just setting yourself up for some level of disappointment.
Spontaneity is just that, and very hard to re-create – even Rock Gods find it difficult.
This unique situation only happens when you’ve had an extraordinary live concert experience as opposed the many fun, enjoyable, but not remarkable concerts. I’ve seen Robin Trower nearly a half-dozen times and thoroughly enjoyed and was thrilled every time but that’s because I didn’t have a transcendent concert experience with Trower – just a great love for a true Rock Guitar God and the fact that his style reverberates in my soul.
This was the first time we heard songs from Led Zeppelin II live and that, of course, was an absolute high for sure! While I absolutely love Led Zeppelin’s first LP (flat-out awesome!) when Led Zeppelin II was first heard on vinyl in late ’69 and heard on what most of us had back in the day; “state of the art” sound systems, we were blown away. That sound at that time was, …well, on acid it was without a doubt from the future. And the fun part? It sounded the same way stone sober!!
So before I go Rant, don’t get me wrong, I want you all to know that this was a great concert, as should be expected from these Icons of Rock, but nothing like the amazing chemistry between the audience and Led Zep that filled Anaheim seven months prior.
The snag was that Zeppelin came to town the same way we came to the concert; with too fresh of a memory of the insane reaction they well deserved at the Anaheim concert.
This was a perfect example of a band trying to recreate a previous magical spontaneous event. The die was cast with Plant telling us right off the top, with words to the effect, “We’re gonna get you looser than loose!” Sounds normal enough, the problem was that you don’t tell people what you’re “gonna do”, you just do it!
So it all comes down to spontaneity and Live Rock is spontaneous, not programmed. Well at least it didn’t use to be. It will either work or it won’t; you either connect with the audience or not. Telling us the “program” of how we’re “gonna feel”, is a bit like approaching sex with a manual; “Uh, did you get off?” “Well, yes, but something was missing.” Duh! Spontaneity! It counts for a lot. What do you think “Rock and Roll” is a euphemism for anyway? Wild, erotic, sensual, satisfying, fun, hot, spontaneous sex – as in intercourse, that’s what. …and as long as we are on this subject, it is high time I address this oxymoron called “Christian Rock”.
I hold my Rock sacred, so when I hear the term, “Christian Rock” my intuition tells me that something is wrong.
Rock and Roll represents and stands for freedom of spirit, freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of individuality, freedom of expression, freedom of sexuality and the freedom to worship Rock Idols – everything Christians abhor.
Bottom line is that everybody knows the attitude that Rock and Roll represents, I mean, who doesn’t want to be a “Rock Star!”
So when we hear “Schoolhouse Rock” we know it’s a parody and when someone says, “He Rocks!” we know the context and the cool-edge implied. But when we see or hear “Christian Rock” what message are we receiving?
Rock’s image is used to sell products (that mainly have an edge or at least a tie-in reference) and for countless other reasons, and that’s OK, its use is not serious. They’re using the selling power of Rock to better convey their product – … hmmm, and here I thought that “Christian Rock” was just a way to corral strays and control the younger flock – Flock Rock!
And I guess I was partially correct – as Christian churches now consider “Christian Rock” as one of the most-important recruitment tools of their successor congregations.
Rock is not a recruitment tool!
And to use it that way is blasphemous to those of us who hold Rock sacred and it’s also not a very “Christian” thing to do.
At least we know it’s a marketing plan and not to be taken seriously – because it can’t be. “Christian Rock” is an official oxymoron – hell, it’s the definition of a oxymoron!
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Rock Gods empowered me to speak on their behalf – somebody had to.
Back to the concert; if Zep would’ve opened with anything from their first LP; Good Times, Communication, How Many, or even with a LED ZEP II song, I would have been on board immediately and the Forum would have erupted, as it was that didn’t happen. Instead, we got as an opener, “We’re Gonna Groove”, more rah-rah – I know it was all meant for the good, they just wanted what the fans wanted, but next time, every time, can the rah-rah and just rock out! We’ll all know the outcome when you’re done, not before.
I’ve read where some reviewers of this concert say that this was Led Zep’s greatest show ever, and I’m sure it was – for them – obviously they weren’t at Anaheim.
Lineup: Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (guitar), John Paul Jones (bass), John Bonham (drums).
Setlist: We’re Gonna Groove (sheesh), Dazed And Confused, Heartbreaker, Bring It On Home, White Summer/Black Mountainside, Since I’ve Been Lovin’ you, Organ Solo/Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times (medley), Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown.
Like I said, don’t get me wrong, this was a great concert, historic as a matter of fact, and I had great seats and a great time, …