Did You Know Led Zeppelin Chose Connecticut’s Oakdale Theater Instead of Woodstock ’69?
Woodstock took place 52 years ago on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, NY August 15 - 18, 1969. It featured numerous legendary rockers of the day, you know the lineup by now. A question that I have always thought about is why didn't Led Zeppelin play Woodstock?
Did you know that Led Zeppelin chose to play CT's Oakdale Musical Theater on August 17, 1969, instead of Woodstock?
Why? Was it because the allure of Wallingford was far greater than Bethel, NY? Was it money? Or maybe a contract dispute?
According to ultimateclassicrock.com, Led Zeppelin was invited, but the band's legendary manger Peter Grant decided that the band should be headlining their own shows. According to the article, Grant was quoted as saying 'I said no, because at Woodstock, we'd have just been another band on the bill.'
Led Zeppelin only graced Connecticut stages twice, basically within a year. The first time was August 17, 1969, at the Oakdale Musical Theater in Wallingford. The next, and last time, Zeppelin returned to CT, it was almost a year to a day later, August 15, 1970. This time, Zeppelin played in front of 11,000 at the Yale Bowl in New Haven.
I called up my good friend Mike Tremaglio, to get some more information about the Oakdale show. Mike is from Southington, and he wrote the book on Led Zeppelin's live concert appearance history, literally.
Mike is the co-author of Evenings With Led Zeppelin: The Complete Concert Chronicle - Revised & Expanded Edition, and it's available for pre-order right now. Mike has spent decades researching and sourcing proven material and information about each of Zeppelin's 500+ concerts. If there's a question about ANY of Led Zeppelin's concerts, Mike has the authority, and world-wide respect, to answer it, with the facts to back it up.
First, neither of us was at the Oakdale show in 1969, I was only 2 months old, and Mike had just gone to his first concert ever just prior to Zep's appearance, Tom Jones, at the Oakdale, during Jones' 5 night run July 15-20, 1969. He said to me as he relayed his story "I was young...if I only knew...' Hahaha. (Mike eventually saw Zep live at Madison Square Garden, lucky dog)
There's a good story behind Mike's quest to find out everything about the show at the Oakdale in 1969 too. Evenings With Led Zeppelin: The Complete Concert Chronicle lists two songs from the setlist - Train Kept a Rollin', and I Can't Quit You Baby. Why? Because the rest of the songs that Led Zeppelin played that night cannot be confirmed. If you do a search on the show, you'll find a crowd-sourced list at setlist.fm that names 6 songs, with the caveat of 'Possible setlist' underneath.
Mike told me that the recording of the Oakdale show, which exists, is allegedly being hoarded for unknown reasons. Here is what has been released from the show - from Lemon Boots via YouTube -
Will this recording of Plant, Page, Jones, and Bonham rocking the revolving stage in the round 1,700 capacity Oakdale Theater tent ever surface? We're watching.