Exclusive: Photos of Led Zeppelin performing in Salt Lake City in 1973 have emerged after 50 years

Led Zeppelin performing in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 26, 1973
Led Zeppelin performing in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 26, 1973 (David Proctor)

The first photographs of Led Zeppelin performing in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 26, 1973 have emerged after more than 50 years. The show had been the most recent performance by Led Zeppelin that had no photographs in circulation.

Seven photographs of the performance at the Salt Palace shot by Salt Lake Tribune journalist David Proctor can now be made public after they emerged in an Idaho record shop just two days after LedZepNews issued a public appeal for imagery of the show on television in Salt Lake City. The images were jointly purchased by LedZepNews and LedZepFilm.

Proctor attended the May 26, 1973 show and his Salt Lake Tribune review from the newspaper’s May 27, 1973 edition is featured on Led Zeppelin’s official website. But his photographs remained unpublished, leaving fans with no imagery of the performance until today.

Led Zeppelin performing in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 26, 1973 (David Proctor)

“Like four British Caesars, Led Zeppelin came, saw and conquered a frenzied, sold-out Salt Palace audience Saturday night,” Proctor wrote at the time. “Easily the most elaborately staged rock performance ever seen in Salt Lake City, it will be remembered for years to come.”

Proctor died in 2019 and part of his collection of music journalism-related items found their way to The Record Exchange in Boise, Idaho where LedZepNews and LedZepFilm jointly purchased the photos online on May 1.

The emergence of the photos in a neighbouring state after more than 50 years appears to have been a bizarre coincidence after LedZepNews editor James Cook appeared on KSL TV 5 in Salt Lake City on April 29 appealing for images of the show. The station’s online article about our appeal even mentioned Proctor and quoted from his review of the show.

The Record Exchange listed Proctor’s photographs for sale in its online eBay store on May 1, describing them as images of an unidentified Led Zeppelin performance from May 1973. Six of the seven images were annotated on the back with Proctor’s name and the month and year they were taken but had no further information. One of the images was incorrectly labelled “ca. 1974”.

One of the handwritten annotations on the back of one of the photographs

The photographs show the members of Led Zeppelin wearing a unique combination of outfits, with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones wearing white T-shirts. That allows us to rule out performances with circulating photographs as none show that combination of clothing.

Furthermore, Robert Plant is seen in the photographs wearing a distinctive blouse that he was previously only known to have worn on stage a single time during Led Zeppelin’s May 28, 1973 performance in San Diego.

That performance was the next show after the band’s May 26, 1973 show in Salt Lake City, suggesting Plant may have also worn that blouse on the preceding date to the San Diego show.

Combine those clues with the fact that we know Proctor took the images, that he attended the May 26, 1973 performance in order to review it for the Salt Lake Tribune, and that he lived in Salt Lake City at the time and we’re able to conclude the photos originate from that show.

To verify our theory that the photos originate from the May 26, 1973 Salt Lake City show, we shared copies of them with concert attendee Randy Frazier who contacted LedZepNews following KSL TV 5’s coverage and sent us a photograph of his ticket stub for the concert.

“Now these do look like the show I went to at the Salt Palace,” he said. “This all looks correct.”

Frazier also recognised the outfits worn on stage by the band in the photographs, particularly Page’s shirt and Plant’s open blouse. “I definitely remember Jimmy Page’s shirt with the shoulder patterns,” he added.

Nick Dzaich-Pounders from The Record Exchange in Boise, Idaho where the photographs surfaced told LedZepNews he was glad his shop played a role in the emergence of the images.

“The Record Exchange is very happy to not only be a part of these Zeppelin photos seeing the light of day, but to keep David Proctor’s memory alive,” he said.

The emergence of the Salt Lake City photographs means that Led Zeppelin’s performance at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 23, 1973 is now the most recent show without any photographs circulating publicly.

Do you have any material about Led Zeppelin that you’d like to share? You can contact LedZepNews by emailing us on ledzepnews@gmail.com

Here’s the uncropped version of the photograph featured at the top of this page:

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1 Comment on "Exclusive: Photos of Led Zeppelin performing in Salt Lake City in 1973 have emerged after 50 years"

  1. I was there but don’t remember it.
    Can neither confirm nor deny any possible drug influence.

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