Led Zeppelin’s appearance on Danish television in 1969 is one of the classic moments of rock music history. It was Zeppelin’s second time on television but their very first playing a full live set of songs in front of a studio audience—they had previously lip-synched to “Communication Breakdown” for Swedish TV.
What is surprising watching this superb concert is the audience’s lack of response to Zeppelin’s fully charged performance. They sit listening intently showing little enthusiasm for what they’re hearing. For guitarist Jimmy Page this sort of apathy was part of the appeal of launching his newly formed band in Scandinavia:
They don’t cheer too madly there, you know? We were really scared, because we only had about fifteen hours to practice together. It was sort of an experimental concert to see if we were any good. I guess.
An advert for Zeppelin’s first gig together as ‘the Yardbirds med Jimmy Page’ in 1968.
Zeppelin first appeared under the name The Yardbirds with Jimmy Page at the Gladsaxe Teen Club in Denmark on September 7th, 1968. They developed their prowess touring Denmark and Sweden over the following months. However not everyone was convinced of this new band as one Swedish reviewer of their early gigs at the Inside Club in Stockholm noted:
It has been up and down for the Yardbirds. A couple of years ago, they were on top. For a while, a lot of people thought that the Yardbirds would lead the developing English pop but their efforts led nowhere.
The members changed and the Yardbirds currently touring Sweden have very little in common with the original line-up. It is not only the line-up that has changed. The style of music is different, as is the quality - only the name is the same.
Friday night they played the Inside. They were so loud it almost hurt. Sometimes playing loud has an important role in pop, but here it was just superficial effect.
That reviewer was no doubt soon reconsidering his opinion as the Yardbirds med Jimmy Page became better known as Led Zeppelin—the biggest rock band of the 1970s.
Recorded at the Danmarks Radio Studios, Denmark for TV Byen/Denmark Broadcasting Corporation on March 17, 1969, Led Zeppelin ripped through a stunning setlist of their early favorites: “Communication Breakdown,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” and “How Many More Times.”
Impressive, powerful and tight—Led Zeppelin at their best.