Sunday, August 21, 2011

Led Zepplin - May 25, 1969

Although I did not attend this much recounted concert, it was mostly known for two things: it was the only pairing of Led Zepplin and The Who (headliner) and it also became a turning point for the then new concert facility which suffered physical damage and a huge PR problem due to a raucous crowd of some 20,000.

According to those who were there, Zeppelin was still much of an unknown and played an energetic, no frills set which got them notice for the throngs there to see the headliner (as well as the ire of Who management who needed to get them off the stage due to a curfew at the pavilion).  As the The Who played on, the crowds were crashed through the fences and swarmed the facility, burning golf carts and an out building and overwhelming the police and security.

At a time when noise ordinances were not yet enforced, according to some the band was very loud, even on the lawn.  As the masses descended towards the stage and hung from the rafters, this show and the infamous Who show one year later caused a rethinking of rock concerts at the facility and a tempering of large draw acts for a few years.  Luckily that changed by the early 70's.

Before the encores at a Robert Plant & Alison Krauss concert at Merriweather in early 2011, Plant tells the audience about a phone call he received from former Led Zeppelin tour manager Richard Cole.  He was reminded that back in May 1969 Led Zeppelin opened for The Who at the Merriweather Post Pavilion calling the headliners “that band, those miserable bastards,” and there was so much damage caused that night that they had to give their earnings back. This brings great cheers among the crowd to which he cheekily followed up with “And next week, Iron Maiden!”

This recording from that night is supposedly only the second time this song was played live in concert and shows the powerhouse they were to become:

"Whole Lotta Love"

Get the original recording at iTunes - Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

More Stuff from the show...



  1. I was there LZ sucked. The Who where indeed,really really loud. People breaking fnces and doors to get in was common inteh DC area,as it was there were more anti-war protests in DC than anywhere else,and lot's of people had real experience fightingthe police in the streets. First rock show at RFK stadium people brought grappling hooks and ropes- hundreds of people scaled the stadium,like pirates swarming onto a ship

    1. LZ ROCKED ! It was my first concert and one of the best I EVER saw. A real late 60s moment in time. growing up and going to school in DC I saw a LOT of these moments believe me. Protest marches every other week with free bands etc. etc. And I had my fun too. But I always thought the lefties were dead wrong and still do.

    2. I was there and LZ ROCKED. LZ played some new stuff from their upcoming album - Led Zeppelin II. So I guess we were the first to hear it. This concert was a real late 60s moment in time. Growing up and going to school in downtown DC I saw a LOT of these moments believe me. Protest marches every other week with free concerts (Beach Boys etc.). I had my fun. But I thought the lefties were dead wrong then, and I still do. However front row for the 60's stuff was quite the spectacle for a young boy. Zooooom The 70s were quite boring by comparison. Make that real boring.

  2. I was there too. LZ rocked. I did not know who they were except seeing their excellent album cover in a music store window (LZ I). The Who, whom I had come to see were a real let down. I've alway's bragged a bit about seeing LZ at such a young age (I was 13), rare mentioning that the Headliner Who (Who?) were there. People would not let LZ off the stage. As I've heard later, this really pissed off The Who, WhoMM off-ed them from the rest of the tour, or at least that is what I understand. (I could be wrong, how would I know) Although it was as I said, I still grabbed a piece of Who smashed up guitar after they left the stage. Great memories of my first rock concert.

  3. I was the concert too I was 17 long hair and smoked a lot of pot like everyone else I didn't know who led Zeppelin was I just knew that the band came on before the who really sucked ice to top it yeah I saw the hood. Also seem Led Zeppelin good now I have another tale to tell of my sistas in the sixties

  4. I was at that concert also I didn't know who led Zeppelin was I just know at the time they were not very good of a live show of course they'd only been around for awhile but most of us wanted to hear the who because we didn't even know how big of a heavy metal band Led Zeppelin would become I'm saying and how popular Led Zeppelin would become well now I have something else to tell people that yeah I saw the WHO in 69 and didn't even know that. Isaw LED ZEPPELIN AS well. I'm still alive to tell the tale

  5. I was there but because of traffic was too late to see LZ. We spent the Who show standing shoulder to shoulder in the lawn. When they sang "...listening to YOU", they would turn on huge spot lights from the stage illuminating the 20000 people. I also remember a cop firing his gun in the air as we very slowly excited the venue. What a show!