Led Zeppelin's 1973 Concert at Madison Square Garden Deserves a Revisit on Its 50th Anniversary

A legendary concert it was

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Between sports and music, Madison Square Garden is a venue that holds a lot of history. Considered to be one of the most iconic venues in the world, achieving that title means pretty legendary stuff has happened in that building, and one of those events is Led Zeppelin's 1973 concert which occurred at MSG between July 27th and July 29th. These tour dates (which were known simply as the Led Zeppelin North American Tour) are considered by many fans and critics to have been Led Zeppelin at it's peak. With today marking exactly 50 years from that final Madison Square Garden date, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the concert that's considered to be one of the best in MSG history.

Rock on!

RELATED: The 8 Led Zeppelin Albums, Ranked

The Album Behind the Tour

The North American Tour

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A hit album means it's time to take the show on the road, and take the show on the road they did. The Led Zeppelin North American Tour consisted of two legs that spanned all over the US and Canada, commencing on May 4th, 1973, and ending on July 29th, 1973. Those final dates, of course, were the MSG ones, which leads us back to the topic of those epic shows.

The MSG Dates

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Adding to that was the pressure of the groups meteoric rise over the course of 1972 and 1973. You could argue that 1971's "Black Dog" is what took Led Zeppelin from being a name that you possibly heard of to a household one, and by 1973 the band was in high demand. Especially back then, playing certain venues, arenas, and shows was full of pressure as it was the official indicator of not just whether or not you had "made it," but if you had the power to stay. Madison Square Garden is one of those places, and playing MSG in the midst of your rise to the top is no easy feat as all eyes are on you from both a positive and critical standpoint.

It's safe to say Led Zeppelin delivered. And according to a 2023 article from Uncut, the band was just simply going with the flow.

"None of us really knew what we were doing," says Plant in a quote featured in the publication. "We’d had a great deal of success, but it didn’t follow there would be more success as times move on. We wanted to spend time doing it properly and it was time well spent."

Additionally, the final night of that three-night MSG stint was taped by videographer Eddie Kramer, who told the pub:

"I was in the truck with my hands on the fader and all of a sudden it began moving up and down. It was like an earthquake. The audience was going crazy, cheering and stomping. When you can feel 20,000 people jumping up and down… well that gives you a moment to remember."

Here's video evidence of all 20,000 in attendance collectively losing their shit at the same time:

And we can just take a minute to pay homage to Robert Plant's hair? Alright, back on topic. Needless to say the dates were a massive success and turning point for Led Zeppelin. In short, if you didn't know about them before, you knew now. A 1973 article from Pittsburgh Stats states that all three MSG shows were sellouts. Furthermore, a press review by Irwin Sirotta from Walrus stated that "Led Zeppelin surprised the shit out of him," and that the band got "several of the loudest ovations he had ever heard," which should tell you everything you need to know.

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And yes, for those of you who are heavily into collecting vintage memorabilia, there are authentic concert shirts available from that MSG date.

Sounds like it was a hell of a show to witness. We only wish we could have been there.

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