Led Zeppelin Barefoot Fantasy

Led Zeppelin Barefoot Fantasy

Robert Plant sees me in line and picks me out from a crowd of concertgoers waiting in a long line to get into the theatre. I’m thinking, “Why me?” He calls me over to him and takes my hand and leads me back to sit on the couch (in a room behind the stage) where he will be relaxing before the concert. Here he takes a warm wash cloth, he washes my feet and with lotion caresses and massages them while being totally focused and present with my feet…oh, so dreamy… I look up. “What?” The noise of thousands of young people in a very long line woke me from my dream and the realization that I was the only one with no shoes on hit me. I tried not to be noticed but there was nothing I could do about it.

It was May 17, 1969 and my friends and I had hitchhiked from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, to Athens, Ohio, to the O.U. Convocation Center to see Led Zeppelin, a relatively new rock and roll band from England, who were opening for Jose Feliciano.

We got to someone’s house, friends of friends, because you know, that when you are a hippie, everyone is a friend. There were bodies all over the living room, sandals and shoes, jackets everywhere. Drugs were available, mostly marijuana, and so we chilled there, crashed for a while before the concert. Only one thing, in the melee of bodies and clothing and drugs, I could not find my sandals. I left barefoot. I was 19 and going to a public event, hoping that no one would notice or deny me entrance to the concert.

I am not a stranger to being barefoot. Ever since I was young, I loved to walk, or run, around barefoot—my choice. Not just around the house but also out in the yard and down the street when playing with my friends. My mother called me “Zingara!” which means Gypsy. And even though she said it derogatorily, I always smiled and like it when she did that. Little did I know that as an adult, if you can call a 19 year old an adult, I would be out in public, at a concert with thousands of people, barefoot! The concert was amazing, of course, and I consider myself lucky to have seen them early in their career. This is a link to a review of the concert:

My memory is a bit sketchy about certain events in my past, including this concert, especially in the late 1960s to the early 1970s for reasons that…well, suffice it to say, I was a hippie! By the way, the next day, thank goodness, I did find my sandals before we hitchhiked back to Bowling Green.

I still like to walk around barefoot and even now when I am teaching my Yoga or Pilates class and we are doing a straddle stretch in front of the mirror, the bottoms of my feet are brown. But now, and with no embarrassment I will tell the class, “Well, once again, I haven’t washed my feet,” and laugh it off remembering the day I went to a Led Zeppelin concert barefoot.

Counting down the songs

Counting down the songs

When I was about 13 years old the Beatles arrived on the scene. I liked the Beatles, but I liked the Rolling Stones more. The first Stones song I ever heard was “Come On,” written by Chuck Berry. It was on a British EP.
I seemed to be attracted to the scruffier group and my favorite disheveled band was The Animals. When “House of the Rising Sun” came out, I would sit next to the radio each week and listen to the countdown. When the song cracked the Top Ten I was thrilled. The next week when they got to the last five and it had not been played, I kept hoping… When it came on as the Number One song I was ecstatic.
I felt the same way when “Satisfaction” hit Number One, although I liked “Last Time” better. (At least I did then.)
I’ve had lots of favorite songs over the years. When “House of the Rising Sun” or “Satisfaction” come on the radio my head is always filled with great memories. They’re part of the soundtrack of my life.
And memories continue to be made because I play and sing those songs in my current band.

The Who and…

The Who and…

In June of 1970 I was working for a company that distributed hippie paraphernalia. One of our clients gave us (myself and my two partners) tickets for The Who concert in Cleveland, Ohio. 7th row CENTER seats!

The concert opens with The James Gang, fronted by a then relatively unknown guitar player named Joe Walsh. Yeah, that Joe Walsh: the future Eagles lead guitar player. Walsh’s band came on and absolutely killed it. I can’t help but think that he was trying to impress Pete backstage.

Then some guy came out and sat on a stool and announced, “I’m gonna play a few songs from my new album, ‘Sweet Baby James.'” First time I ever heard “Fire and Rain.” And “Country Road.”

Then The Who came out. Lead singer Roger Daltrey announced that they weren’t going to play the Tommy Opera. That they’d already played a “final performance” of the famous rock opera. Obviously, we were disappointed, but then they started playing the hits like “Can’t Explain,” and we settled in.

After about five songs Townshend turned his back to the audience and approached his amplifier as though he were tuning his guitar… And started into “Overture” (the beginning of the Tommy Opera). The place went nuts.

When they got to the finale (“See Me, Feel Me”) the curtains opened and three arc spotlights shot out into the audience and nearly blew us off our chairs.