Led Zeppelin plays "Moby Dick" at Madison Square Garden in 1973

live 25/09/2018

Led Zeppelin performed three sold-out concerts back-to-back at Madison Square Garden from 27th - 29th July 1973. The gigs were also filmed for their concert film, "The Song Remains the Same".

During recording sessions, Jimmy Page often catches drummer John Bonham jamming in the studio and putting those recorded pieces together. The track "Moby Dick" features Bonham's drumming accompanied by a Drop-D blues-based riff on guitars and bass. Bonham's drum solo has often appeared on Led Zeppelin's first U.S. tour in 1968 up till 1977.

The track had gone through three name changes with the first being "Pat's Delight", a reference to Bonham's wife. During 1969 till 1975, the song was titled "Moby Dick" and was changed again during the 1977 tour where it was called "Over The Top" as the drum solo started with the beginning riff to "Out on the Tiles". 

Bonham's drum solos could range from 6 to 30 minutes long. The rest of the band would often leave the stage after playing the introduction for a break. Bonham would also often set his drumsticks aside or toss them to the audience and continue the solo with his palms.

The band hired a film crew who used up to four 35mm cameras and recorded the sound with a 24-track quadraphonic for each gig. A 16mm Éclair ACL camera was also used for insert shots, offstage and crowd shots. The film crew took notes and photos throughout the three gigs to learn stage lighting, setlist and other details. The live footages alone costs the band an estimate of $120,000 NZD.

Robert Plant and John Bonham could be seen wearing the same outfit for all three gigs so the editing of the film will be seamless, but there were still continuity issues as John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page did not receive the same memo as they wore different outfits for the gigs. According to Jones, he said he asked the film crew if they were filming on those nights, which they replied no to Jones. He thought it would be smart to save the same shirt for a night when they would be filmed.

Setlist:

  • Rock and Roll
  • Celebration Day (Bring It On Home intro)
  • Black Dog
  • Over the Hills and Far Away
  • Misty Mountain Hop
  • Since I've Been Loving You
  • No Quarter
  • The Song Remains the Same
  • Rain Song
  • Dazed and Confused (including San Francisco)
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • Moby Dick
  • Heartbreaker
  • Whole Lotta Love (including Let That Boy Boogie)
  • The Ocean