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In 1972, Roy Colbert was writing a column for The Evening Star in Dunedin, earning $4 a week less tax, and spending $150 going up to Auckland to see rock concerts. And he flew north to see Led Zeppelin play Western Springs on Friday 25 February 1972.

History made: Led Zeppelin, Western Springs
Photo by Jed Town

When Led Zeppelin came to Auckland they had already been denied entry to Singapore because of local laws banning males from wearing long hair. The good thing about coming up for concerts was that I got to talk to the bands. The promoters knew me, and that I'd spent all this money coming a long way, so they made sure I got interviews.

I was playing cards when the promoter Barry Coburn called up and invited me to co-promoter Robert Raymond's Remuera house. I thought he was just making conversation, and I realise now they needed pot.

All the band and Peter Grant were there. Robert Plant opened the door - he had a woman in each hand; he literally was balancing a girl in each arm. "I'm Robert Plant and I'm the greatest rock'n'roll singer in the world," was his greeting.

Peter looked evil, just a huge man in a huge chair. John Bonham was very big as well and making a lot of noise. I spoke to Jimmy Page a lot. I was a record geek so I had millions of anal questions about recordings he played on, obscure bands like Cartoone. They were all pretty shattered - they were at the bottom of the world. I didn't know about the whips in the guitar cases.

These were the drug years - me and my mates constructed the concert around drugs, and I thought we should have some nitrous oxide because they didn't do it in Auckland - we did it in Dunedin all the time. So I remember we had to drive some distance to get a huge cylinder of NO2. We were seated on the bank and got a good seat halfway up the hill, and passed the blue cylinder backwards and forwards along the row until it was empty.

An MC introduced Led Zeppelin. They opened with Immigrant Song - I can't think of a better song to open. Breaking into the opening rumble when the opening vocal started up, it was like a lion roaring in a jungle.

Not too many years earlier The Rolling Stones and The Beatles played 25-minute shows and now a near three-hour show was like a whole life experience. I like all types of music. I liked folk music, and they did folk as well. At the show Plant thanked the crowd for "makin' this the biggest thing that's ever happened in New Zealand".

There were sound effects for Dazed and Confused, and Rock and Roll was much better live. The finale medley in Whole Lotta Love included an extended Boogie Chillun, an excellent Hello Mary Lou, and a riotous rendition of Elvis Presley's Let's Have a Party.

It was an enormously long experience, way longer than anything I had seen before. It was all Page and Plant really - totally complimentary, their two bodies slinky and curving like snakes. Page held the guitar really low and Plant was strutting. They bent into each other.

I was about 22. I'd like to think I was 18 because then I wrote about it for Rolling Stone and I thought I was just like Cameron Crowe, but he was like 16 and I was a grown-up.

I wasn't a huge Led Zeppelin fan - I liked them, but I didn't love them, but it may be the best concert I've ever seen.

From: NZ Herald
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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