When Led Zeppelin kicked off their infamous 1973 North American tour with a highly anticipated concert at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, I was ensconced in a musty pup tent with three of my best Boy Scout buds, at a campground 50 miles away.
Though my posse and I were about to spend the next two days engaged in various Scouting activities amongst hundreds of fellow Scouts from around the Atlanta area — this was a yearly spring gathering at a Scout camp east of the metropolis — I cannot remember much of that weekend beyond that Friday night in the tent with my pals Freddy, Harry and Spencer, as we anticipated the arrival of Page, Plant, JPJ and Bonzo — the men of Led Zeppelin, by then the biggest and baddest band on Earth.
We had a radio tuned to an Atlanta rock station as we huddled in the tent, and when our heroes took the stage, the DJ reported that the Zeppelin had landed.
My Scouting days were numbered by then, but my immersion in rock ‘n’ roll as it was presented, sold and experienced by me and my buds during the first half of the 1970s was just beginning.
How much of that experience was shaped by Jimmy Page and his fellows did not occur to me until this week when I listened to this week’s episode of Let It Roll.
The table from which I would feast on all of rock ‘n’ roll’s delights — absurdly and sublimely, I’d argue — was set by one Mr. Page, whose artistry and influence oftimes got obscured by the bombast and hype that accompanied his band.
Case in point was Zep’s kickoff concert that early-May night in Atlanta, an event hyped beyond anything I’d ever seen at the ripe old age of 12. On the other hand, when I did finally join a band less than three years later — with Fred on guitar and Harry and Spencer working security and tour support—guess whose song we learned first?
—Ed Legge, aka The Freebird Yeller
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.