Jan 6, 1975: Led Zeppelin Fans Trash Boston Garden

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75_2-4-Boston_ticketsOn the evening of January 6, 1975, a few thousand rock fans were lined up outside the venerable Boston Garden, awaiting the sale of tickets at 10 a.m. the following morning to an upcoming Led Zeppelin show. “For years and years, we had people line up overnight to wait for tickets,” recalls Steven Rosenblatt, the ticket-office manager at Boston Garden on that winter night, “but we never had anything like this.”

The band was about to release their much-anticipated new studio album, Physical Graffiti, which was due Feb. 24. It had been nearly two years since their previous studio album, 1973’s Houses of the Holy.

Since the night was bitter cold, Rosenblatt allowed the awaiting ticket purchasers into the hall’s lobby to stay warm as they waited. But that wasn’t good enough for some of the crowd who then broke into the concert hall itself. Rosenblatt decided to put tickets on sale at 2:30 a.m. to help disperse the crowd.

Nonetheless, some inside the hall broke into the beer concession stands and set fire to the bleacher seats. Riot police were called in. By 6 a.m. all the tickets had been sold and order had been restored. But some $20,000 to $50,000 worth of damage had been done to the venue.

Boston Mayor Kevin H. White was unhappy with the situation. A few days later he canceled the Feb. 4 Led Zeppelin concert altogether and banned the classic rock band from playing the city for five years.

Watch them perform “Communication Breakdown” at London’s Earl’s Court on May 25 that same year

Related: Our inside story of how the band broke through with “Whole Lotta Love”

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  1. Barry
    #1 Barry 7 January, 2022, 07:43

    That’s a completely whitewashed version of what happened according to people I knew who were there. The line outside the old Garden started forming earlier than usual because people knew the concert would sell out quickly. The temperature dropped into the teens and caught many people unprepared. There were no cell phones back then and no one could call for help without losing their place in line. The doors were not opened early despite desperately cold people pounding on them and pleading to be let inside. When the doors finally opened, many people, finally seeing a way to get warm, rushed inside. The ticket line, which had been orderly for so long, quickly became chaos and resentful people trashed the place, setting fires in the arena to get warm rather than to do damage. It was a combination of extreme circumstances (ticket buyers having endured a long wait and being rightfully afraid of hypothermia and frostbite) and an arena management staff incapable of improvising and adapting to a terrible situation that not only became painfully obvious, but could have been predicted ahead of time by anyone with a bit of intelligent thought.

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