A Coherent CR500K krypton water-cooled laser was first used on the 1975 US Tour. The beam was split and sent over Jimmy's head so he could wave his bow through it during Dazed And Confused. It was also projected on the ceiling of the arenas during No Quarter piano solos for the audience to watch.
The Coherent CR500K laser was carried over onto the 1977 US Tour with the addition of (3) 5-watt water-cooled argon lasers. One overhead to create Jimmy's pyramid, and two for Jonesy's solo.
There was a laser wave over the audience during the piano solo. Later in the tour, an audio feed from the piano was used to modulate the laser patterns. The lasers always got a crowd reaction.
For the 1979 Knebworth shows, Laser Technician Steve Jander was given a soundboard tape from a 1977 date.
He was also given a handwritten note of instructions from Jimmy Page, which is transcribed below.
"Harmonizer into Sonic Wave. Bow strobed overhead leading into first bowed chords and appearance of pyramid. Staccato repeat (pyramid turns 1/4). Repeat speed up and pyramid revolves and stops when I start on the wah wah. Smoke on the back of pyramid. More high and low wah wah notes leading to more staccato repeats ending with bow waved strobing above my head. Pyramid builds to a spin even before drum entrance."
In addition to the laser pyramid effect, Jander came up with the idea for a glowing bow from the part in The Song Remains The Same fantasy sequence where Page waves the sword over his head and it strobes colors. The violin bow could light up like neon and strobe colors as he waved it overhead. A powerful laser beam was emitted from the end of the bow which Jimmy could aim off into space. Two 100-micron diameter quartz fiber optic cables (with one spare) carried light from the 20-watt argon and krypton lasers to a tiny lens that produced the beam and to a piece of glowing lucite rod attached to the length of the bow. There was enough power coming out the end of the lighted bow to smoke the linoleum on the stage. Page almost nailed John Bonham in the face, even after he told him not to point it at anyone. Jander had his finger on the main shutter button and had to terminate the beam a couple of times.
The 1980 Over Europe was very scaled down, as compared to the 1977 and 1979 shows, so the lasers were not utilized. About the same John Bonham was found dead in Jimmy Page's house in September 1980, Steve Jander was preparing to fly to England for 1980 US Tour rehearsals, so the lasers most likely were going to be used again.
Jimmy Page continued to use the pyramid laser effect on his 1985 and 1988 solo tours and once again with the remaining members of Led Zeppelin at the 2007 O2 Reunion concert.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History
April 24, 1969 - 2nd US Tour begins (1st as headliners) at the Fillmore West
April xx, 1970 - Robert comments about the violence in the audience near the end of the fifth tour
April 04, 1970 - Jimmy Page performs White Summer/Black Mountain Side on the Julie Felix BBC show
April 16, 1970 - Whole Lotta Love was certified Gold in the US after selling over a million copies. The single had peaked at No. 4 on the US singles chart. In the UK, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on December 5, 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK and he halted the release.
April xx, 1971 - Untitled is rumored to be released this month
April xx, 1972 - Recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy at Stargroves and Olympic studios
April xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin rehearse their new stage show in preparation for their huge 1973 US Tour
April xx, 1974 - Swan Song concentrates its efforts on signing new acts
April xx, 1975 - Jimmy does some mixing at Electric Lady studios for TSRTS soundtrack
April 19, 1975 - 51,000 tickets sell in two hours for three nights at Earls Court, two added dates see another 34,000 tickets sold
April xx, 1976 - The band decide they will release their film to theaters
April 30, 1977 - Led Zeppelin breaks the record for the largest attendance for a single-act show in the Pontiac Silverdome with 76,229 in attendance
April xx, 1978 - The band hold a meeting, this time with Robert, to discuss Zeppelin’s future
April 03, 1979 - Page, Bonham and Plant jam with Bad Company again in Birmingham
April 27, 1980 - The band rehearses at Rainbow Theater for an upcoming European tour
April 26, 1988 - James Patrick Page III’s birthday. He is named after his father is the only son of Jimmy and Patricia Ecker. Jimmy spoke of his son saying: "He is wonderful. He has made a big difference to my life."
April 21, 1998 - Page and Plant released Walking Into Clarksdale.