April 1977: Led Zeppelin Breaks World Record for Concert Attendance in Michigan

Saturday, April 30, 2022
Pontiac Silverdome 1977

In 1977, Led Zeppelin was the biggest band in the world. The group was wrapping up the first leg of the massive North American tour when they landed in Detroit, Michigan, to play at the huge Pontiac Silverdome on April 30. The show attracted rock fans from far and wide, with more than 77,000 of them making their way inside to see the concert. By some estimations, there were upwards of 80,000 people crammed into the huge stadium to see Led Zeppelin. The number broke the world record at the time for the most people to attend an indoor concert. The Who held the previous record, playing to 75,962 people at the same venue.

"It was the craziest concert I've ever been to," David from Dearborn told Detroit public radio station WDET. "They were lighting fires on the floor of the Silverdome with empty beer cartons. There were people throwing M-80s and half-sticks [of dynamite] off the balcony." What sounds like firecrackers can clearly be heard during the intro of "Stairway to Heaven" in bootleg recordings from the show.

Guitarist Jimmy Page remembered the show vividly during an interview with Detroit radio station WCSX in 2014: "It was surreal," Page told 94.7 FM WCSX's Trudi Daniels and Jim O'Brien (via MLive). "We played to massive crowds on the outside, but that reminded us of A Clockwork Orange or 2001. I could relate to that because those were the sort of films back in the day. It was really odd walking into this air-lock...and it was vast, but I think we played well under the circumstances."