The Knebworth Festival 1979 – Led Zeppelin’s Triumph

In August 1979, the English rock band Led Zeppelin performed two monumental concerts at the Knebworth Festival, held at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, England. These concerts, featuring a stellar lineup of other artists, marked a significant event in rock history, showcasing Led Zeppelin’s unparalleled musical prowess and stage presence. Here’s a review of the setlist and the performances that defined these unforgettable nights.

The anticipation for Led Zeppelin’s return to the stage was palpable. The introduction set the tone for what would be an epic journey through the band’s legendary catalog. As the first notes of “The Song Remains The Same” echoed through the grounds, the crowd erupted in excitement.

Setlist Highlights

  1. The Song Remains The Same
    • Opening with this classic track, Led Zeppelin immediately captured the audience’s attention. The energetic performance set a high bar for the rest of the concert.
  2. Celebration Day
    • Following up with “Celebration Day,” the band maintained the momentum, delivering a lively and spirited rendition that had fans dancing and singing along.
  3. Black Dog
    • “Black Dog” showcased Robert Plant’s powerful vocals and Jimmy Page’s iconic guitar riffs, reminding everyone why Led Zeppelin was at the pinnacle of rock music.
  4. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
    • This bluesy track highlighted the band’s versatility, with Plant’s harmonica solo adding a unique touch to the live performance.
  5. Over The Hills And Far Away
    • A fan favorite, this song’s intricate guitar work and dynamic shifts between acoustic and electric sections were flawlessly executed.
  6. Misty Mountain Hop
    • The infectious groove of “Misty Mountain Hop” had the crowd moving, with John Paul Jones’ keyboard playing standing out.
  7. Since I’ve Been Loving You
    • A hauntingly beautiful performance, this track allowed each band member to shine, particularly Page with his emotive guitar solo.
  8. No Quarter
    • Known for its dark and moody atmosphere, “No Quarter” was a mesmerizing experience, featuring an extended keyboard solo by Jones.
  9. Hot Dog
    • This lighthearted and fun track provided a brief respite from the heavier songs, showing the band’s ability to effortlessly switch moods.
  10. The Rain Song
    • A lush and lyrical performance, “The Rain Song” captivated the audience with its melodic beauty.
  11. White Summer – Black Mountain Side
    • Page’s solo guitar performance was a masterclass in technical skill and creativity, leaving the audience in awe.
  12. Kashmir
    • One of the most anticipated songs, “Kashmir” delivered a powerful and epic performance, with its driving rhythm and Middle Eastern influences.
  13. Trampled Under Foot
    • With its funky groove, this track kept the energy high, propelled by Jones’ keyboard and Bonham’s relentless drumming.
  14. Sick Again
    • A raw and gritty performance, “Sick Again” maintained the hard rock edge that defined Led Zeppelin’s sound.
  15. Achilles Last Stand
    • The complexity and intensity of this song were showcased in a breathtaking performance, highlighting the band’s technical prowess.
  16. Guitar Solo
    • Page’s solo segment was a standout moment, demonstrating his virtuosity and creativity with the instrument.
  17. In The Evening
    • This track added a sense of mystery and drama, with Plant’s vocal delivery and Page’s atmospheric guitar work creating a captivating soundscape.
  18. Stairway To Heaven
    • Arguably the pinnacle of the concert, “Stairway To Heaven” was delivered with emotion and precision, culminating in a powerful and unforgettable climax.
  19. Rock And Roll
    • The energy ramped up again with “Rock And Roll,” a crowd-pleaser that had everyone on their feet.
  20. Whole Lotta Love
    • The band’s signature song did not disappoint, with its iconic riff and extended jam session electrifying the audience.
  21. Communication Breakdown
    • Ending the night on a high note, “Communication Breakdown” was a fast-paced and exhilarating finale, leaving the crowd wanting more.

The Knebworth Festival 1979 was a testament to Led Zeppelin’s enduring legacy and their ability to captivate an audience with their dynamic performances. Each song was delivered with passion and precision, showcasing the band’s musical evolution and reaffirming their status as rock legends. These concerts were more than just a return to the stage; they were a celebration of Led Zeppelin’s unparalleled contribution to music.