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Last update March 2009 - new photos.
 


   Led Zeppelin:6-28-70

Messr's Page and Plant onstage Bath 1970 © Derek Halsall

   There is probably more information about Led Zeppelin's performance at Bath on the net than any other band that played the festival. Not only because of their popularity, but because bootlegs of their performance were widely sold afterwards, whereas most of the other tapes of the other artists recorded were available only to traders or bootlegged less frequently. 

   Theres no doubt that many people were drawn to Bath to see this particular band , as they were becoming a massive drawcard, even in the year since their 1969 appearance at Bath, their fame had exploded exponentially and they were the headliner , at least of the Sunday show (although apparently Zappa was actually paid more than they were for his appearance ).

   We finally have a few stills to show you from the performance, taken from a short 8mm film of the festival sent to us by Jochen Laschinsky, the footage is silent, fleeting ( 22 seconds of Zep ) and is also very dark, the clips have been enhanced to even get them as legible as they are now , but apart from a bit of 16mm black and white footage that we don't have access to, this is the only known footage of them that exists ( apart from a rumour that 20 minutes of 8mm colour film is out there somewhere) .

   As there has now been a discovery of 18 minutes of colour footage from the 1969 Bath festival, it seems increasingly likely that THIS is the 20 minute footage that is being referred to. The 1969 footage is of a number of bands, not only Zep, It would be wonderful if 20 minutes DID exist of 1970, but we are beginning to doubt this as time passes and its still not surfaced.

   That would be a huge amount of 8mm stuff as the reels were usually pretty short , but if you know of anything definite about the footage (or any more Bath 69 footage either ) we would like to hear from you with details.

 

Stills taken from super rare 8mm footage of Zeppelin onstage at Bath sent to us by Jochen Laschinsky ©

NB: Apologies, but this footage is NOT for sale and will not be available as a download on this site , please only contact us regarding publishing rights if you wish to use it as part of a commercial documentary project and we will put you in touch with Jochen .

   The reason why known footage ( including the black and white stuff) is so dark is probably due to the fact that the band had the setting sun behind them, thus creating a backlight problem that most cameras of the time could not cope with . If Peter Grant had allowed the video cams onstage to film then this would not have occurred as they were filming at an angle from the sides not directly at the stage, but control freak that he was he ushered all cameramen apart from those under his control offstage. Jochen being the exception of course.


          6-28-70  Zeppelin setlist.

It appears that only audience tapes of the performance are in circulation  and estimated times of these tapes vary from 120 to 140 mins in length  .  The sound quality of the three different CD's we have heard is NOT good. Very , very trebly and distorted to boot , the best of the three is half way decent when remastered . Collectors items only .Apparently two songs - Heartbreaker/That's The Way circulate which are taken from much better quality audience tapes , but we have yet to hear them . The soundboards are out there but kept in house and may never circulate .

  • Immigrant Song
  • Heartbreaker
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Bring It On Home
  • Since I've Been Loving You
  • Organ Solo>Thank You
  • The Boy Next Door ( Thats The Way).
  • What Is and What Should Never Be.
  • Moby Dick
  • Rice Pudding Intro/How Many More Times (includes Down By the River, The Hunter, Gotta Keep Moving, Boogie Woogie, Honey Bee, Sweet Home Chicago, Need Your Love Tonight, that's Alright, Long Distance Call
    Blues, Lemon Song, etc.)
  • Whole Lotta Love
  • Communication Breakdown
  • Rock Medley (includes Long Tall Sally, Johnny B. Goode, Rocky Road Blues, Say Mama, That's Alright, etc

Jimmy Page in yokel mode © Derek Halsall


     For many there was no doubt that Zeppelin were a main draw card, its incredible to think how big an act they had become in just one year, as the 69 Bath festival drew just 12,000 and Zep were part of the bill, in 1970 150,000 came and a large part of the Sunday crowd were there for Zeppelin. 

      The band themselves seem to have recognised what a big boost a good performance here would be for them in the UK as Robert Plant and John Bonham testified in this interview....
 

 Bath is going to be my big thing this year, said Plant .So many people together can be really wonderful. The festival feeling is something you really need. We all need it.

 John Bonham also was looking forward to the festival: 

Anyone who goes to Bath will see and hear Led Zeppelin play as they've never heard us play before. We are really looking forward to that gig. In fact we are quite excited. It's going to be a fantastic day I can assure you.

     Sorry Zep fans, but I have to admit I found this show was a bit overblown and boring, especially the Rock & Roll medley, but the majority of the audience were rapturous, so who am I to tell them they were wrong?. I never was a real consistent  Zep fan, although I think their early BBC radio shows are brilliant , I really was not terribly fond of their cock rock persona onstage . I didn't like Bonhams drum solo - (compared to Hiseman from Colosseum, it lacked variety and was merely powerful ,not innovative ) and I found the medley of Rock & roll songs wore on a bit . 
 

    Listening to the tape again after all these years confirms my prejudices , although I have clear pictures in my mind of Plant onstage ( we were quite close to the stage , having gotten into position to see Hot Tuna and The Airplane ) and certainly Page got into some fairly meaty solos .The tape suffers from poor sound and some people have remarked on dodgy mixing for Zeppelin's set , so perhaps its not fair to really judge this show by the tape.  Bonhams solo is better then I remember, but still lacks variety in my opinion. Many of the people who have contacted me feel the same way too , remember , there was also a large proportion of the crowd who had come to see the US bands and who were not Zep fans . 

   However, I think we are in the minority - apparently  Q magazine readers thought the Zeppelin show at Bath was one of the 100 greatest UK gigs ever played. I can't go along with that , but the band certainly delivered the goods for those who liked their stuff and it was a value for money show in terms of length of the performance. 

 A lengthy positive review of the Zeppelin show can be found here -look up the month of June.

 

Zeppelin at Bath :1969

Zeppelin at Bath 1970:1
Zeppelin at Bath1970: 2
Zeppelin at Bath 1970: 3


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Ross Mortimore's streaming Quicktime movie of the crowd features clear images of the stage PA , Colosseum onstage and bikers with Canned Heat at Bath as a soundtrack provided courtesy of Bob C .

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