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Led Zeppelin Scandinavian Tour 1968

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Advertisement in the Copenhagen Berlingske Tidende for Led Zeppelin's (still called 'The Yardbirds') first ever concert, at Gladsaxe Teen Clubs.

The 1968 tour of Scandinavia was a concert tour of Denmark, Sweden, and possibly Norway by the English rock band, Led Zeppelin. The tour commenced on 7 September and completed on 17 September 1968, although there exists unconfirmed reports the band toured until 22 September. It was Led Zeppelin's inaugural concert tour, albeit billed under the moniker the Yardbirds featuring Jimmy Page, during that period.

Overview

The Yardbirds disbanded in July of 1968. By August, Page and manager, Peter Grant, had recruited Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham to form the 'New' Yardbirds. Their initial tour was a vestigial contractual engagement from the previous Yardbirds line-up. The band's debut performance was at the Gladsaxe Teen Club, Box 45, a social club founded by local young adults wanting a safe place to gather in the evenings, in the Egegård Skole in Copenhagen.[1] Tour manager Jerry Ritz was responsible for shuttling the band between venues, with equipment kept to a minimum to expediate setting up. As manager Grant recalled seeing the band on stage for the first time:

I recall standing on the side of the stage and being amazed. And Bonzo was only on fifty pounds a week and I recall him coming back afterwards and offering to drive the van for another fifty![2]

These concerts allowed the band to further work out arrangements for their forthcoming eponymous debut album. As Page explained in an interview for OZ magazine:

The group had only been together for two and a half weeks when we recorded it. We'd had fifteen hours rehearsal before shooting over to Scandinavia for a few gigs, then straight after that we cut the album.... In Scandinavia the songs began to stretch out and I thought we were working into a comfortable groove[3]

Danish photographer Jorgen Angel was the first person to photograph the band performing. He recounted to Hugh Jones in Proximity magazine:

When I first knew of the gig I was disappointed even before the concert because I was looking forward to seeing the Yardbirds again and what we were getting was one Yardbirds member and three totally unknown guys. My disappointment was only up until they started performing because it was a great concert.[4]

The tour was a critical success, after initial confusion over the Yardbirds name, drawing standing ovations and positive reviews throughout. Because there is a rush to cut an album as soon as they return to England, some of the later Norway dates seem unlikely.

Concert set list

Songs typically played on their first tour included many blues and Yardbirds standards such as 'Train Kept A-Rollin'', 'I Can't Quit You Baby', 'You Shook Me', 'White Summer', and 'For Your Love'. The concerts included soon to be released tracks from their debut album, including 'Dazed and Confused', 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You', 'How Many More Times', and 'Communication Breakdown'. Other songs thrown in as extended medleys included Elmer Gantry's 'Flames' and Garnett Mimm's 'As Long As I Have You'.[5]

A typical set list for the tour was:

  1. 'Train Kept A-Rollin'' (Tiny Bradshaw, Howie Kay, Lois Mann)
  2. 'For Your Love' (Graham Gouldman)
  3. 'I Can't Quit You Baby' (Willie Dixon)
  4. 'As Long As I Have You' (Garnet Mimms)
  5. 'Dazed and Confused' (Jimmy Page)
  6. 'Communication Breakdown' (Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham)
  7. 'You Shook Me' (Willie Dixon, J. B. Lenoir)
  8. 'White Summer'/'Black Mountain Side' (Jimmy Page)
  9. 'Pat's Delight' (John Bonham)
  10. 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Anne Bredon)
  11. 'How Many More Times' (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page)

Notes

  1. Reddon, Frank (2008). Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin, Volume 1: Break & Enter. Fort Erie: Enzepplopedia Publishing, 80. ISBN 0-9784446-0-0. 
  2. Lewis, Dave (2003). Led Zeppelin: The 'Tight but Loose' Files: Celebration II, 1st. London: Omnibus Press, 90. ISBN 1-84449-056-4. 
  3. Dennis, Felix (March 1969). "Led Zeppelin". Oz 1 (20): 54. ISSN 1944-9496. Retrieved on 6 May 2009.
  4. Jones, Hugh (Spring-Summer 2000). "The First Concert and Zeppelin in Denmark: The Recollections of Rock Photographer Jorgen Angel". Proximity. Retrieved on 6 May 2009.
  5. Lewis, Dave and Pallett, Simon (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, Revised Edition. London: Omnibus Press, 20. ISBN 1-84449-659-7.