On April 14, 1970, Led Zeppelin played at the Civic Centre in Ottawa. Their setlist was packed with hits, and 8,000 eager fans were there to experience this event. This was a particularly interesting period in the band’s career as they were coming off the massive critical success of Led Zeppelin II, which was recorded while they were on tour in North America the previous year. While the band didn’t record Zeppelin III on this tour, the uncompromising schedule and distance between dates took a toll on the band. With 25 tour dates in less than a month, the band had only a few days to recover while on the road. Ottawa was one of the last dates on their Spring 1970 North American tour, and fatigue must have been settling in seeing as how the band had to cancel their last stop in Las Vegas due to the strain on Robert Plant’s voice. However, listening to the bootlegs below, one can only hear the explosive sounds of their cumulative efforts on stage.
“Led Zeppelin live was an extraordinary animal. From the very beginning no two performances were alike. Such was the creative spark between the four that the basic structures of their songs were repeatedly reworked, extended and improvised on, making their studio counterparts almost unrecognizable. – Led Zeppelin experts Dave Lewis and Simon Pallett
Although the tour itself was a massive success for the band, the group was also given a hard time in some US tour dates due to tension arising from the Vietnam War. It has been said that the song “That’s the Way” was written as a result of these troubling experiences during the spring tour, which is, ironically, one of their most beautiful songs. They reportedly had a gun pulled on them in texas, and repeatedly refused service at restaurants. Crowd control issues also arose, with many US dates ending with violent clashes between fans and police. Even more troubling is the fact that Jimmy Page had his 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom ‘Black Beauty’ guitar stolen in transit from Milwaukee to Montreal via Toronto (just prior to the Ottawa show). The guitar, which had one of Page’s favourite setups, had been purchased by him in 1962 and was used in many sessions and live performances.
It had a big tremolo arm and Joe Jammer custom wired it for me. I was starting to use it more than anything else. It got nicked off the truck at the airport; we were on our way to Canada. Somewhere there was a flight change and it disappeared. It just never arrived at the other end. I advertised for it in Rolling Stone. Just a photograph – no name – and a reward. No luck though, even though it was very recognizable for all the custom work that Joe Jammer done on it. – Jimmy Page, CREEM Magazine, Winter 1980
After the short, yet exhausting Spring 1970 North American tour, the band retreated to a remote cottage in Wales known as Bron-Yr-Aur where they would write much of the material for Zeppelin III (Oct. 1970). Despite some of these setbacks, the Ottawa show on April 14, 1970, went off without a hitch. Bonham’s drumming was thunderous, Plant’s vocals resonated throughout the venue, Jones provided the backbone, and Page’s guitar was wild and unrestrained. The Ottawa Civic Centre may no longer hold much meaning for the current generation of Ottawans, especially with the Lansdowne redevelopment currently underway, but it was home to a number of classic rock concerts. Having opened in 1967, Led Zeppelin were one of the first major names to grace the stage at the Civic Centre, with many more to follow over the years.
Setlist – Ottawa Civic Centre, April 14, 1970 (more detail here)
Remarkably, there are bootlegs that exist from this show. Although the sound quality isn’t great, it’s really interesting to be able to hear
Read more here: http://bit.ly/zXw35k
Here are some pictures related to the event. I do not own these images, although I wish I did.