Led Zeppelin’s Buffalo, New York Connections
By Rick Barrett
Memorabilia for any of Led Zeppelin’s appearances in Buffalo is scarce at best; and there are several reasons for this. First, there wasn’t the degree of concert promotion in the 70’s like there is today. Second, Led Zeppelin had the ability to sell out most venues with simple radio spots and a handful of print ads announcing the date and where to buy tickets. And because of this, there frequently wasn’t the desire for the band or promoter to pay for the design and printing of concert posters or flyers. So memorabilia that’s been uncovered for Zep’s Buffalo shows seems to be limited to ticket stubs, newspaper ads, and the rare original artifact relating to one of the specific concerts.
Buffalo was lucky to be one of the stops on Led Zeppelin’s 4th U.S. Tour, as the band came to Kleinhans Music Hall, located in an affluent area of town. Zep played on October 30, 1969 and here is an ad for the show:
Led Zeppelin tickets and stubs from any of their shows are highly collectible, and values depend on several factors. Obviously stubs from the earlier tours are in the highest demand because with age, less of them have survived, and many of the venues they played then were smaller than later in their career. For tours in the middle range of Led Zeppelin’s touring years, the most sought-after concert collectibles can oftentimes be items from smaller markets the band played. Buffalo falls into this category, and ticket stubs from either of the group’s appearances at Memorial Auditorium are scarce. Personally, I’ve only seen two stubs from Zeppelin’s concert there on June 10, 1972; one is in my brother’s collection and the other (pictured) went through my hands and sold for $200.00, particularly because it was a really nice large stub with all of the letters in “Zeppelin” intact. (For reference, a smaller stub with just “elin” might sell for $25 to $75 less, depending on condition.)
Hardcore collectors may be interested in knowing that theoretically there should be stubs in several different colors for
Zeppelin’s 1972 and 73 Buffalo concerts, as tickets to events in The Aud varied depending on what level your seat was located. This included the color olive for floor seats, and corresponding colors for ascending seating in the gold, red, blue, grey, and orange sections. Statistics would also suggest that orange ticket stubs would be the most prevalent, as there were 5,000 orange seats in the balcony, nearly a third of the arena’s capacity.
One of the holy grails that a collector could ever dream of owning connected to Zep’s visits to Buffalo would be an original contract! Can you imagine holding the document that legally bound the city to lease Memorial Auditorium to Concerts East, the promoter who paved the way for Led Zeppelin’s third visit to the Queen City? Because of this document (pictured), the municipality granted use of The Aud on Sunday, July 15, 1973 from 7 to 11pm “for the following and sole exclusive purpose and for no other purpose whatsoever ‘to present “Led Zeppelin’”. Besides the $750.00 Concerts East paid for the permit to implement the lease of the building, the City of Buffalo would receive 12.5% of the gross receipts for all admissions sold, which was likely to enhance the public coffers somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $12,000.00.
Unlike the 1972 concert (where there is no known audio recording whatsoever), Led Zeppelin’s 1973 performance is well documented on well over a dozen different bootleg CD’s. They range from single to triple disc sets and vary in sound quality, length, and caliber of design and
packaging. Besides the titles with basically the city and the year, you can relive the Buffalo 73 experience by tracking down “Razed And Confused”, “Misty Mountain Crop”, “Where The Zeppelin Roam”, and other similar collectibles from this exciting stop on Zeppelin’s 9th U.S. tour. (Check out the CD titles and covers below…)
Because of the short nature of the band’s 1975 U.S. Tour which only touched down in less than 25 American cities, Buffalonians missed out on the band’s 10th whirlwind trek across the country. In fact, Western New Yorkers would never see Led Zeppelin perform live in their city ever again due to well-known tragic circumstances. The third leg of the 1977 Tour ended after the death of Robert Plant’s son Karac on July 26th, 1977. That wiped out the August 6th, 1977 mega event scheduled for Rich Stadium, “Part 12” of the ongoing “Summerfest At The Stadium” series begun in 1974.
One might be lucky enough to uncover one of the few newspaper advertisements promoting the concert all over Erie County and Southern Ontario (the one pictured offered tickets and bus transportation to the stadium).
Yet besides those, the only pieces of memorabilia specifically for that August 6th, 1977 date are scarce, unused tickets (pictured) which were not turned in for a refund, and a 3” round button issued to promote the event. These original buttons are very difficult to find, and are even harder to distinguish from the number of virtually identical commercial reproductions (one of which is pictured here) that found their way to the marketplace in the 1980s.
The originals have a very slightly different (fuller, bolder, just a tad darker) hue of blue in the band name, and the registration of the blue inside the band name is better than on the repros. Either way, the buttons are still very cool items to own, especially for Zeppelin fans with a connection to the Buffalo area.
After three years away from America, the 1980 U.S. Tour was to cover Midwest and North Eastern states in October and November, with the Zeppelin entourage once again touching down in Buffalo for a show at The Aud on November 1st. But the entire 1980 U.S. Tour was cancelled after the untimely death of John Bonham on Sept 25th. Tickets had yet to go on sale for the Buffalo concert, so the only piece of memorabilia relating to that date would be the stunning full page advertisement (pictured) which ran in the Buffalo Evening News.
Although Buffalo was not graced with the number of concerts other cities enjoyed throughout the Led Zeppelin years, the shows that did occur still resonate with fans who saw them and who enjoy reliving their incredible memories. Those who also happen to own a piece of memorabilia pertaining to any of the 1969, 1972, or 1973 Zeppelin visits to Buffalo are very lucky people!
Bootleg CD titles of Buffalo, New York Led Zeppelin concerts:
Kleinhans 10/30/69: (4th U.S. Tour)
Hear Me Talking To You
Live At The Music Hall in Buffalo
Long Tall Sally
When A Glass Was Thrown
(No known audio)
Led Zeppelin live in Buffalo 7/15/73: (2nd leg of the band’s 9th U.S. Tour)
And It Makes Me Wonder
Best of Tour 73 Vol 1
Buffalo Memorial NY
Buffalo, NY July 15, 1973
In Concert And Beyond
Misty Mountain Crop
Razed And Confused
Slowing Down In Buffalo
Theramin Over Buffalo
Where the Zeppelin Roam
Rick Barrett grew up in Buffalo, New York and he attended numerous events at Memorial Auditorium in the 1970’s, as his grandparents lived just 3 blocks from The Aud. If you have any questions about Led Zeppelin memorabilia or would like to contact Rick Barrett, just email him at