In 1969, Led Zeppelin Made Their Explosive Debut in Boston Marking a Legendary Week
via Led Zeppelin Archives / YouTube
In January 1969, Led Zeppelin, newly arrived from England, had a significant moment in rock history. They ignited the stage during a four-night stint at the Boston Tea Party club, establishing themselves as a leading rock sensation.
The story begins on Christmas Eve in 1968
When Led Zeppelin, consisting of Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, and John Bonham, flew to Los Angeles to kick off their first American tour. Financed by manager Peter Grant, Page, and Jones themselves, the tour started on December 26 in Seattle with a supporting slot for Vanilla Fudge. However, it was the headlining club performances that truly left an indelible mark, particularly the legendary nights at the Boston Tea Party.
On Instagram, Jimmy Page fondly reminisces about those groundbreaking shows, saying,
“The venue host was Don Law, who had established what was to be known as a bastion of underground music.”
“It was during this run of concerts that we were to play a three and a half hour set – this became quite legendary on the musical grapevine – but the audience just wouldn’t let us go and Don Law was quite clearly a cool promoter.”
Reflecting on the Boston Tea Party performances, Peter Grant, the band’s manager, recollected,
“They absolutely pulverised them… people in the audience used to tell me it was like a force. It was in their heads for three or four days. I thought, There’s no holding them back now.”
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John Paul Jones, in a 1973 interview with NME
He highlighted the significance of the final Boston show, saying,
“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.”
“By the end, the audience just wouldn’t let us offstage.”
“The response was quite amazing. There were kids actually bashing their heads against the stage – I’ve never seen that at 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.”
Witness to this electrifying spectacle
Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler, remembered the impact, stating during Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction,
“The middle section of Dazed and Confused was so fucking heavy that it made me cry.”
“Another time I cried over Led Zeppelin was an hour later,” he continued, “when Jimmy Page emerged from the dressing room with a beautiful girl on his arm.”
“Jimmy was such a motherfucker on stage [that] I couldn’t hold it against him.”
Led Zeppelin’s inaugural Boston performances in 1969 highlights the band’s explosive talent and the birth of a rock and roll legend that would captivate audiences worldwide for years to come.