Short Echoes: Thirty-Two Years Ago Today, Led Zeppelin Played Its Last Dallas Gig
I was 14 years old at the time, a student at Westwood Jr. High School, and Led Zep was the most important thing in my life.
I knew how to play all of the band's songs on air guitar. Its movie The Song Remains the Same had just come out, too, and the band opened the show with the title track from the film.
There was no opening act, and tickets were like eight bucks.
But getting tickets to the show was a nightmare...
They went on sale on a Saturday morning at one location: the Memorial Auditorium box office. And people camped out downtown for a week beforehand to stand in line.
I eventually bought mine secondhand from a seventh-grader named David McQuaid.
Originally, the show was scheduled to take place four weeks earlier. But, because Robert Plant was suffering from laryngitis, it had been postponed to April 1. And, during that additional downtime, somebody printed up thousands of fake tickets that looked just like the real ones. As such, a lot of kids wondered if the whole thing was just a big April Fool's joke.
Instead, the ushers at Dallas County Convention Center had no choice but to let everybody in. And when I got to my seat--of course--there was somebody already sitting in it, holding a ticket with the exact same seat number as mine. No surprise there: There were at least 15,000 people crammed into a building that held 9,000. I spent most of the night hanging off a rail on the front row of the balcony.
It was weird, though: Led Zeppelin hadn't played a show in almost two years, and when the band eventually went onstage that night, it sort of sounded like it. The performance was very sloppy, and the band members rarely made eye contact with each other. Hardly an amazing performance by any means.
But I was proud to have been there to see it--so much so that, the next day, I took my black Led Zeppelin 1977 concert t-shirt up to a store in Valley View Mall to have my last name stenciled on the back.
It was the last time the band played Dallas.