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Mixed reviews of Led Zeppelin at Three Rivers Stadium 1973 #tbt newsclip

Written by Scott Mervis on .

LZ

July 24, 1973, Three Rivers Stadium: The biggest crowd ever for a concert in Pittsburgh to that point, for Led Zeppelin, easily in the Top 5 on any list of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Must have been insanely great, right?

"The show itself was not memorable as far as rock concerts go," said PG critic Mike Kalina.

Huh?!

"The only standout work was performed by lead guitarist Jimmy Page."

But wait. Led Zeppelin was, above all else, an ensemble. Three killer players and one golden god putting the hammer to the blues.

Well, according to Kalina, Robert Plant's singing "was not particularly stirring."  

Ledzep3plumdusty.blogspAnd that rhythm section, the one with perhaps the greatest rock drummer of all time? "...drummer John Bonham and guitarists-keyboard man [?] John Paul Jones were only fair."

There you have it.

Turns out, there was a secret reason it was only fair. According to the PG's critic, "On their records, a network of technical tricks was employed to create their 'sound.' The group proved last night they can't duplicate their studio sound on stage."

So, we're to believe from this review that five albums into their career -- they were touring on "Houses of the Holy," which came out that March -- Led Zeppelin was in the process of proving that they couldn't play live.

Good thing there wasn't commenting on stories back then.

Press critic Pete Bishop had an opposing view, calling them "powerhouse rock 'n' roll personified." Plant, he said, was "a leather-lunged yowler" and Page "demonstrated his virtuosity on almost every number." As for the rhythm section, Bonham and Jones "provided excellent backup."

Led Zeppelin -- which made its Pittsburgh debut at the Hunt Armory in January 1969 before headlining the Arena in 1970, only returned one more time, to the Arena in 1975. Sadly, the scheduled 1977 and 1980 shows were canceled -- the first after the death of Plant's son and the second after the death of Bonzo.

One final footnote on this show: It was a Tuesday night!

Dewey G. posted on my Facebook page: "I can't begin to even explain the excitement 13 year-old me felt about this show. It was just about the greatest thing that had EVER happened. This was the show before the run of MSG NYC shows where The Song Remains The Same, which is why there's that whole Pittsburgh sequence in the film - when the band gets off the plane and goes through the tunnel, at which point Pgh becomes NYC."

Here is the goofy layout in the Press:

Led

 

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Rolling Stones might be coming to Pittsburgh

Written by Scott Mervis on .

RollingStongesTour-SongMango.com Looks like we might be in for a British Invasion.

Reports on various websites indicate The Rolling Stones will announce a 14-date summer tour as early as Wednesday and Pittsburgh is expected to be one of the cities.

Songmango.com is saying the band will play the entire "Sticky Fingers" album each show, tied to the re-issue of classic 1971 album.
 
It says the tour is to kickoff in late May at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The local date could be June 20 at Heinz Field.

The last time we saw the Stones here was 2005 at PNC Park.

 

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Bowie slammed for 1974 Arena show in #tbt newsclip

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Bowie

Bowie ... boring?

Those words usually don't go together, but that is how this Civic Arena show from Nov. 19, 1974 is described in a Pittsburgh Press review by Pete Bishop.

The glam-rocker had been here on The Diamond Dogs Tour for two nights in June at the Syria Mosque. This return trip, re-branded as The Soul Tour, stripped away the theatrics, costumes and the malfunctioning six-ton set design with a collapsing catwalk and a cherry-picker that kept stranding him above the crowd on "Space Oddity."

bowieposterThe biggest oddity in the review is Bishop finding Bowie's songs to be "too complex" and lyrics "too esoteric" to stand on their own without the theatrics. In this era of progressive rock, his '74 singles "Diamond Dogs" and "Rebel Rebel" seem like pretty straight-forward rock 'n' roll.

For some reason, "Changes," which was released in 1972, is referred to as the current single, and the review finishes with a warning that Bowie is committing "rock and roll suicide" with his newer songs, which he was previewing on this tour. 

His next album, "Young Americans," would give him his first No. 1 hit in the U.S., "Fame." (And I really felt like Casey Kasem writing that sentence.)

 

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Jimmy Buffett might skip Pittsburgh for first time in 25 years

Written by Scott Mervis on .

jimmy-buffet-2012Not only has Pittsburgh frozen over, but it could be that hell has frozen over too.

This would be the first sign:

JIMMY BUFFETT IS NOT COMING TO PITTSBURGH THIS SUMMER.

Yes, NOT.

Mr. Margaritaville has been as regular here as potholes and pierogies, but the 2015 itinerary is out and Pittsburgh didn't make the list.

It's a shocking turn of events, as he has played to Parrotheads in Burgettstown every year since the place opened in 1990. Except for 2005, when his boat sailed into PNC Park.

Buffett goes from Virginia (June 20) to Cincinnati (June 23), then it looks like he takes July and half of August off and is in Camden, NJ, on Aug. 18. Looking at the Pavilion schedule, there does not appear to be a conflict around those dates.

Live Nation confirms there is no Pittsburgh date on this tour, but will not tell us why. We can guess that it's not for lack of ticket sales.

Maybe there's a woman to blame. Maybe it's nobody's fault.

Whatever the reason, it's a sad day for Parrothead Pittsburgh.

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Aerosmith Rocks: #tbt classic newsclips from Mark Madden, Barry Paris

Written by Scott Mervis on .

aero

With "Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014" going into theaters tonight, I did a media teleconference last week with Brad Whitford and Tom Hamilton (hey, they were the ones doing it, what can I say), so for this week's #ThrowbackThursday classic news clip, we have some vintage 'Smith reviews.

The most interesting thing about these are the writers. Yes, Mark Madden wrote music reviews for the Post-Gazette in the '80s while he was also working as a sports editor and before he went on to be the shock jock of Pittsburgh sports radio. And so did Pittsburgh's greatest wit, Barry Paris, who went on to become a film critic and esteemed biographer.

Madden knows his hair bands and doesn't pull punches, now or then, as we see in his appraisal (from 1987) of Dokken and Joey Kramer's solo.

Paris was not long for the loud, rough-and-tumble world of concert-reviewing, as we could glean from his closing graph of this 1982 review (the previous graph is about Aerosmith bailing out fans arrested at their shows, which they actually did):

 

paris

 

 

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