From the Archive: Led Zeppelin Sold Out in Indy


Shield Archive

Sold out box office sign in the Market Square Arena in 1975. The Market Square Arena was demolished in 2001.

Will Smith, Staff Writer

Message from 2021-2022 Editorial Staff: 

The first issue of The Spartan Shield was published Oct. 15, 1968. The Shield Staff is celebrating The Shield’s 53rd birthday by digitally republishing stories from The Shield Archive. The Shield has always been known to inform our readers with the best in popular music. In the 1970s that was no exception for our well-versed review writers Will Smith and Bob Blackman. In 1975, Shield writer Will Smith covered a sold out concert at the Market Square Arena as part of Led Zeppelin’s “‘75 North American Tour.” The following story published Feb. 7, 1975 has not been edited by the 2021-2022 staff.

Story from The Shield Archive:

British rock group Led Zeppelin before a sellout crowd of at least 20,000 at the new Indianapolis Market Square Arena let it be known that they are still the driving force in the music world.

The band was met with frantic approval and a volley of exploding flashbulbs by an audience that had waited patiently for over 40 minutes after the scheduled 8 p.m. showtime for what promoters had billed as “An Evening With Led Zeppelin.” 

“We’ve been on the road for 18 months and we’ve gained a few pounds.” Vocalist Robert Plant commented between songs early in the show.

Plant sported a probable alcohol-induced potbelly and drummer John Bonham looked somewhat like a sumo wrestler in a derby hat as he flailed at his amber-clear drums. 

Included in the two and a half-hour hour set were songs from their fourth album and “Houses of the Holy.” Co-mingled throughout their performance we’re cuts off their largest double album “Physical Graffiti” which were well-received by the audience.

Each of the four musicians were spotlighted during the latter portion of the show providing a forum for their individual talent as solo performers.

John Paul Jones, who normally plays bass for the group, sat down at a wall of keyboards to the side of the stage. With fog rolling and colored lights flashing, he floated into the mesmerising “No Quarter” alternating keyboards and sparkling a jazz flavored interlude that demonstrated his expertise and his ability to keep the group from sounding too one-dimensional focusing on Jimmy Page’s guitar.

“How Many More Times,” a long cut off their first album, provided Page with an additional opportunity to showcase his unequalled ability to milk the strangest sounds from his double neck Les Paul guitar and his passion for playing it with a violin bow.

The expected drum solo by John Bonham was greeted enthusiastically in addition to his regular set of drums he also Incorporated a large gong situated behind him and to synthesized timpani.

Unfortunately Robert Plant was the only member of the group that didn’t seem to “have it.” His singing was so anemic that at times he left out entire lines to keep from sounding completely lame.

Some in the audience thought it might have been due to “road fever” or “too much booze” or “gettin’ old.”

As a working unit Zeppelin shined in such numbers as “over the hills and far away,” “rain song” and their last feat “Stairway to Heaven.”

Three fourths of the way through a 10-minute Standing Ovation and Encore eminent, a massive backdrop light lit up and dimly blinked “LED ZEPPELIN.”

It moved in such an accelerated motion that the already amphetamined audience totally went into hysterics as it reached its peak intensity.

The group reappeared and kicked in to “Whole Lotta Love.” During the drum solo Jimmy Page wailed on guitar the riffs of many of the songs not played during the regular show.

When it finally ended and the house lights came on, Many exhausted fans remained in their seats and wondered if what they just witnessed was some kind of dream.