Personalities | Led Zeppelin | The Later Years (1977) | Key Events
If, by 1977, punk had seemingly launched itself into the music scene and wiped away all that went before (or so it was believed at the time), Led Zeppelin wouldn’t have noticed. Their eleventh US tour was also their first in two years and their first since Plant’s horrendous car crash. They could have played hour-long sets of their shorter songs, in keeping with the punk live shows of the times. Instead, however, Led Zeppelin continued to stretch themselves out over three hours a night. Things weren’t what they used to be, however, and the shows had something of a new intensity to them, perhaps borne of the feeling that Led Zeppelin’s empire was beginning to show signs of falling, and had been since 1976. Page had to cancel a show mid-way through, thanks to stomach cramps, while another saw him come on stage dressed as a Nazi.
Riot In Tampa
No strangers to riots at their shows, Led Zeppelin had to walk off stage at Tampa Stadium on 3 June, for fear of electrocuting themselves. A storm had broken out and rain started to pour into the open-air stadium, so Peter Grant cancelled the show. He intended to bring the band back the following day, but the riot that ensued from the cancellation was so bad that police had to use tear gas to calm the 70,000-strong crowd and the group was banned from returning to the stadium.
Incident In Oakland
Despite the slight dip in fortunes for the band, Led Zeppelin’s entourage hadn’t left their gangster-like behaviour behind. After Peter Grant’s son, Warren, was shoved by a security guard backstage at a show in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on 23 July, Bonzo gave the security guard a few kicks. When Peter Grant heard about the incident, he and John Bindon, a tough-guy actor and head of security for the tour, took the security guard into a trailer while Richard Cole waited outside. While nobody apart from those that were there saw what happened inside, the trailer ended up covered in blood and the guard came out looking as though he had received a brutal beating. While trying to leave Oakland after the second night’s show, Bonham, Grant, Bindon and Cole were arrested, and Bindon subsequently dropped from the Led Zeppelin entourage.
Almost two years after the car accident, tragedy struck Robert Plant and his family once again when his son Karac died while Plant was still on tour in the US. Aged just six, Karac had been attacked by a respiratory virus on 26 July and died the following day when his condition worsened. Karac’s death would inspire ‘All My Love’, which featured on Led Zeppelin’s last studio album, 1979’s In Through The Out Door. Understandably drained and weary, rumour has it that Plant blamed Page’s occult dabblings for the bad luck visited upon him and his family.
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