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Lasers and Live Led Zeppelin

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.

Some text sourced from r-o

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Photos

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Jimmy Page, February 12, 1975, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
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Jimmy Page, ca. 1977
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Laser beams on the arena ceiling, May 19, 1977, LSU Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Laser beams on the arena ceiling, May 19, 1977, LSU Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Jimmy Page, June 26, 1977, The Forum, Inglewood, California
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Jimmy Page, ca. August 1979
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Jimmy Page, ca. August 1979
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Jimmy Page, August 4, 1979, Knebworth House Grounds, Stevenage, England
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Jimmy Page, August 4, 1979, Knebworth House Grounds, Stevenage, England
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Jimmy Page, August 4, 1979, Knebworth House Grounds, Stevenage, England
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Jimmy Page, August 11, 1979, Knebworth House Grounds, Stevenage, England
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Steve Jander's handwritten laser note from Jimmy Page
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Jimmy Page, The Chase, ca. 1985
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Jimmy Page, December 10, 2007, O2 Arena, London, England
 
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

May 31, 1948 - John Henry Bonham was born at Redditch, Worchestershire
May xx, 1969 - The band’s debut album enters the US Top 10
May xx, 1969 - Recording sessions for Led Zeppelin II begin
May xx, 1970 - The band works on new material at Bron-Y-Aur
May 03, 1971 - Richard Cole jams on Whole Lotta Love playing congas
May xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy recording sessions on location at Stargroves and Olympic studios
May 27, 1972 - Warm-up gigs kick off in Holland for an upcoming American tour
May 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin gross nearly $250,000 for their performance in Atlanta, GA
May 05, 1973 - 56,800 attend the second show of the 1973 US tour at Tampa. This sets a record for the largest attendance for a one-act performance, previously held by the Beatlesfor their Shea Stadium show in 1965
May 10, 1974 - Swan Song Records is officially launched
May 11, 1974 - Led Zeppelin attend an Elvis concert and are thrilled when Elvis announces that Led Zeppelin is in the building
May 10, 1975 - Showco ships their PA system and video screens for the Earls Court shows from Dallas to London
May 23, 1976 - Page and Plant join Bad Company onstage at the LA Forum
May 21, 1977 - The Houston Summit claims $500,000 in damages to their venue caused by rowdy fans
May xx, 1978 - The band reunite at Clearwater Castle to rehearse
May 22, 1979 - It is officially announce that Led Zeppelin will headline at the Knebworth Festival in August
May 15, 1980 - After many revisions the European tour dates are finalized and the band is scheduled to open in Germany
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