Sunday, 12 April 2015

January to July .... and everything in between

 
Lee Conklin, Yardbirds, It's a Beautiful Day, Cecil Taylor, The Fillmore, San Francisco, 23, 24, 25 May 1968. Original poster, handbill and ticket design.

 "The Yardbirds were a powerhouse live act" (Chris Dreja 2007)

"We knew [the 1968 American tour] was going to be the last one, and all the pressure was off. We played well and had a really good time." (Jimmy Page 1983)

The Yardbirds, 1968, locality unknown ?England.

Why the Yardbirds?

Since the mid 1970s I have been a fan of the Yardbirds - from the original, blueswailin' Five Live Yardbirds LP of 1963-5 with Eric Clapton, through the twin lead guitar monster of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page pumping out Happening Ten Years Time Ago or Strollin' On (Train Kept a Rollin') in the 1966 Antonioni movie Blow Up, and on to the final 4-piece that toured England, Europe and the United States during 1968 prior to morphing into Led Zeppelin around August - September of that year. A talented band that never attained the level of popularity or acclaim experienced by, for example, the Beatles and Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds nevertheless released a series of records and developed a live stage act which reinforced their position as one of the most significant and influential groups of the Sixties. They were amongst the top live bands of that decade, and rightly regarded as such by musicians and fans alike. The foundation of their success was, from the very beginning, their live performance and, as Chris Dreja noted in 2007, "The Yardbirds were a powerhouse live act" (Paterson 2007). Live the Yardbirds were energetic, experimental and a hard rockin', guitar and harmonica wailing band. They played blues classics, original compositions and contempory pieces such as the Velvet Underground's Waiting for My Man by Lou Reed. The variety in their composition and performance was a precursor to the New Yardbirds, or Led Zeppelin as they were subsequently known. In looking at the Yardbirds during 1968 we see an awesome band which had developed sonically from the 1963 Crawdaddy Eric Clapton version into one of the most powerful and professional rhythm and blues and psychedelic bands of the day. It is regretable that their live recordings do not reflect this power, though we can get a taste from the badly mixed Anderson Theatre LP and a number of low quality bootleg recordings.


 Keith Relf and Jimmy Page, live with the Yardbirds, 1968.

As a fan I have always been intrigued by the band's final days and seemingly premature break up. The incredible success of Led Zeppelin between 1969-77 and the untimely death of lead singer Keith Relf in 1976 has muddied the band's reputation, however their story is an intriguing one. A legacy of fans around the world continue to buy their records, CDs and videos, invest in numerous books and articles, write about them on blogs and social media sites such as Facebook and Youtube, and support the subsequent live and recorded incarnations. This blog deals with a mere segment of the Yardbirds story, namely the year 1968. It covers the period 1 January through to 7 July and focuses on the music, the gigs and some of the associated posters and ephemera. So what exactly happened during the band's final six months? A lot, actually!


 The Yardbirds, live, possibly in England, 1968.
 Left to right: Chris Dreja, Keith Relf, Jimmy Page and Jim McCarty.

1968 

The Yardbirds recorded and toured extensively in England, Europe and the United States during the first half of 1968 before calling it quits after their final concert at Luton Technical College on 7 July. For example, their 1968 tour of the United States was the band's eighth and longest, lasting from 27 March through to 6 June. The story of the breakup is well known and will not be repeated here in any detail. In summary, after years of touring, two of the members - lead singer Keith Relf and drummer Jim McCarty - were moving in different musical directions arising, in part, out of the use of hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, whilst lead guitarist Jimmy Page was beginning what would prove to be a globe-conquering live performance career. Bass player Chris Dreja initially wanted to carry on with Page, but also retired from the band at that stage to pursue a career in photography at the ripe old age of 21. A new, 4-piece Yardbirds was formed in August and began touring the following month, eventually changing its name to Led Zeppelin at the end of October. The Yardbirds were now just a memory, forever cast in the shadow of the global phenomenon that became Led Zeppelin. Eric Clapton's post-Yardbirds success with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Cream, and failure to acknowledge the important role played by the Yardbirds in his own development as a musician did not help their cause. All of this led to a diminishing of the band's reputation with time. Fortunately the quality of their recorded output and live performance over an extended period has ensured the Yardbirds maintain a significant cult status and worldwide fan base. Former lead guitarists Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page express pride in their work with the band, as do the other surviving members - Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell-Smith and Top Topham. The vocal and harmonica work of Relf is rightfully applauded for its soulfulness, innovation and significance in helping bridge the gap between blues, pop and modern, improvisational rock. The vocalisation of Robert Plant within Led Zeppelin is a natural progression of Relf's work with the Yardbirds. 

 The Yardbirds, outside Baghdad House, London, early 1968. Photograph: Linda Eastman. Baghdad House was a cafe run by two Moroccans and notorious for facilitating the consumption of drugs such as hashish. It was frequented by many rock musicians during the Sixties, including members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

What I find most interesting from 1968 are the patchy live audio and video recordings. These reveal a significant development in the Yardbirds sound and stage presence. Psychedelic clothes, painted instruments, light shows and special effects were used to enhance the impact on the audience, many of whom were under the influence of then popular hallucinogenic drugs such as marijuana, hashish and LSD. The 1967 Summer of Love may have passed, but it's influence was still pronounced during 1968, especially in the areas of politics,  music, fashion and alternate lifestyles, and most especially in the United States. Such was the transformation of the Yardbirds music over the relatively short period of time since the departure of Eric Clapton in March 1965, that by March of 1968 they sounded decidedly more Led Zeppelinish, rather than an updated, poppish version of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. The Yardbirds had begun their musical journey as an early Sixties English rhythm and blues band, as revealed by recordings with Clapton and Sonny Boy Williamson between 1963-5. Clapton's replacement Jeff Beck facilitated a 20 month  period during which  R&B was supplanted by, and morphed into, pop and rock. When Jimmy Page took over lead guitar duties in October 1966 the Yardbirds evolved yet again, heavily influenced by what was happening in America, where they toured extensively. By 1968 the band were playing a mixture of psychedelic heavy rock, best exemplified by Happening Ten Years Times Ago and Dazed and Confused, and light acoustic material such as White Summer. The pop schlock imposed upon them in the studio by English producer Mickie Most was not representative of the Yardbirds live act or of their potential within the burgeoning album-oriented FM-radio market. This is evident, for example, in the rehearsal performance of the song Train Kept a Rollin' on the Anderson Theatre bootleg tape from 30 March 1968. The driving bass of Chris Dreja and the vastly improved guitar playing of Jimmy Page shine through the distortion of the primitive recording to reveal something of what it would have been like in the hall that cold, spring, New York night. The Yardbirds were not the world-conquering outfit that Led Zeppelin became a couple of years later, but they were awfully close in regards to onstage presence and dynamics.

 The Yardbirds, London, early 1968. Photograph: Linda Eastman. This is possibly Chris Dreja's Mini in which he and Jimmy Page travelled to gigs during 1967-8.

This blog records - chronologically - some of the Yardbirds activity during 1968. It includes relevant reminiscences by band and audience members, including comments gleaned from recent email forum, Facebook, Youtube and blog postings. The listing is based on a variety of sources, such as the detailed Yardbirds timelines at the Chrome Oxide and Today in Led Zeppelin History websites and within Alan Clayson's book The Yardbirds (2002). Images are interspersed throughout. Photographs by Linda Eastman (McCarthney), Chris Dreja and Keith Trumbo are included, though the majority are anonymous. Some are accurately titled and dated, whilstothers are attributed to 1968 based on, for example, the stage gear of band members such as Jimmy Page and the moustache of lead singer Keith Relf. Most live performance photographs tend to focus on Jimmy Page, with few including bass player Chris Dreja, or Keith Relf for that matter. In the majority of the final Yardbirds performances Page wore red velvet pants, an ornate black top with long frills, and a ruffled silk shirt. The rest of the band often wore similar brightly coloured attire in tune with the fashion of the day, whether it be from Carnaby Street and the King's Road, London, or the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Page's famous 1959 Fender Telecaster, with his dragon-themed psychedelic paint work, is seen in most of the live images, though he also played a triple-pickup "Black Beauty" Gibson Les Paul on occasion - having made frequent use of it whilst a session musician throughout the Sixties and prior to it being stolen whilst on tour in the US with Led Zeppelin in 1970. For semi-acoustic work, a 12-string electric Danelectro and similar Vox Phantom XII were used on stage during 1968 for songs such as White Summer and Most Likely You'll Go Your Way. Page also had a Sola Sound Tone Bender Professional MKII pedal and Vox Grey Wah pedal running through Fender and Vox amps and Fender speakers. Dreja used a Fender bass. Relf was on vocals and harmonica, whilst McCarty used a Premier drum kit without the traditional Yardbirds logo on the bass drum head. According to one account, on the final US tour Page used a Fender Super Reverb with a Dual Showman extension cabinet.

 
Jimmy Page and Jim McCarty, Thee Image, Miami, 8-10 April 1968. Note the use of both Fender and Vox 4120 amps and speaker stack.


Though the Yardbirds were extremely busy, little has been written about the band during this period, despite information such as detailed timelines being readily at hand. Jimmy Page has himself commented upon this in recent times. The only real exception is Will Shade's piece in Ugly Things #20 which argues that they were the proto-psychedelic band and discusses the Page era in detail, including interviews with McCarty and Dreja (Shade 2000 & 2002). Most discussion and analysis concentrates on the Clapton and Beck years (1963-6), and the breakup in mid' 1968 which eventally gave rise to Led Zeppelin. The 4-piece of 1967-8 is seen as an unsuccessful pop singles band - due to the low quality of many of their studio recordings - and a mere testing ground for Page's flowering with Led Zeppelin. Alan Clayson, in his 2002 history of the band, refers to them as "dying on their feet" during this period and generally downplays any significance as a live act. Of course this is far from the truth, for the Yardbirds were one of the most successful pop and rock groups of their time, touring and playing to large audiences in Britain, Europe, Australasia and the United States, especially after Peter Grant took over management in early 1967 and ensured that some of the money coming in went to the band members. For example, many American musicians refer to the influence of the Yardbirds, highlighting the fact that the touring by the band during 1967 and 1968 left an indelible impression. An example of this is the group Aerosmith, who went on to record and perform a number of Yardbirds songs during the 1980s and beyond. Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, Ronnie Montrose and Tom Petty are just some of those who saw, and were influenced by, the Yardbirds during the band's final days. Individual audiences numbered in the thousands during the 1968 performances and they were entertained by a group of young, experienced and mostly energetic musicians. By the beginning of 1968 the 4-piece was a musically tight unit, with a well-developed stage act comprising hits from the past and new, expansive material. Their tendency towards extended improvisation began with the R&B "rave ups" from the Clapton era and fitted easily into the psychedelic, heavy rock jamming which became common later in the decade and was popularised by bands such as Cream, Santana and the Grateful Dead alongside, of course, the Yardbirds. Page and Grant were very much aware of their impact and built upon the Yardbirds experiences when Led Zeppelin so successfully hit the United States stadiums and auditoriums such as Fillmore West and East between 1969-71.

 
Jimmy Page and Chris Dreja, live, 1967-8. Unknown location.

The sad fact is that live performances by the Yardbirds during 1968 were not adequately recorded for posterity or released during their lifetime. A collection of low quality bootleg tapes and a single official release exist, but all are flawed. Remastering of extant material by Page awaits the band's many fans. The few live television performances and BBC radio sessions are the best record of the band during its final days, and recent remastering of this material has enhanced its quality. A cleaned up version of the band's only official live release - the Anderson Theatre,  New York gig from March 1968 - is yet to appear. Some of the American concert posters, such as Lee Conklin's Fillmore 23-25 May poster, ensure that the Yardbirds place in the cultural milieu that was America in the Sixties remains in the spotlight and will not easily be forgotten. From 1963 through to the middle of 1968 the Yardbirds were rightly considered one of the world’s top recording and live pop / rock groups. This is clearly seen from their activity during 1968. Poor management prior to 1968, an inappropriate record producer in Mickie Most, and constant in-hindsight comparisons with Led Zeppelin cannot diminish the achievements of the Yardbirds during their final days. Some of those achievements are outlined below.

The Yardbirds, studio portrait, United States, May 1968. Photograph: Keith Trumbo.

January

LIVE SHOW: 3 January 1968 - Saturday Scene, The Corn Exchange, Chelmsford, UK. The venue accommodated approximately 400 patrons. Details of it, and the Yardbirds previous performances there, are to be found at the ChelmsfordRocks website
http://chelmsfordrocks.com/cornexchange.html.

 The Yardbirds, January 1968, locality unknown, possibly England.


PRESS RELEASE: 15 January 1968. Announcement that the Yardbirds are scheduled to record a new single and album.

LIVE SHOW: Friday, 19 January 1968 - Middle Earth Club, Covent Garden, London. The Yardbirds were supported in this 10.30pm to Dawn gig by Rainbow Connection, Gold and DJ Jeff Dexter. A light show and films during the intervals were also presented. The Middle Earth Club was one of the most important counter culture venues in London at the time, having occupied a number of different venues in London since 1966. It was notorious for the consumption of hallucingenic drugs by its patrons and its place in the London Underground movement.


PRESS STORY: 22 January 1968. Bucks  County (Pennsylvania) Courier Times: The Yardbirds have composed a rock n' roll score for a ballet (it premiered in Paris a month ago). 

This refers to a 13-14 December 1967 event at the L' Olympia, Paris, comprising a ballet piece choreographed by Flick Collie, directed by Sean Murphy and danced by Pan's People, an English, largely female dance troupe often seen performing to pop music on television shows such as Top of the Pops. So-called "go-go dancers" were a common feature of live and mimened televison pop music performance during the early to mid Sixties. However by 1968 groups such as Pan's People were being viewed as decidedly uncool amongst certain sections of youth. Video survives of Pan's People dancing to the tune of the Yardbirds' Hot House of Omargarashid and Over, Under, Sideways, Down on the German television program Beat Club during 1968.

Pan's People dance to Over, Under, Sideways, Down on Beat Club, 1968.

Pan's People dance to Hot House of Omargarashid on Beat Club, 1968.

LIVE SHOW: 26 January 1968. All Night Rave, Bingley Hall, Birmingham, West Midlands, England.

February

PRESS RELEASE: 5 February 1968. Goodnight Sweet Josephine is to be the next UK single, for release 1 March. 

STUDIO SESSION: 6 February 1968. De Lane Lea Studios, London. The Yardbirds final single is recorded and mixed in London and produced by Mickie Most, though with increasing involvement by Jimmy Page who sought to use his extensive studio experience to move the band away from pop into rock, and into longer album tracks. Mickie Most had failed to move his production of the Yardbirds on from a Sixties pop mentality based around short, sharp singles, to the new, expansive and psychedelic FM-radio and album oriented material featuring extensive improvisation and richly textured compositions. Two songs are completed during this session, following initial sessions during November and December 1967 - A side: Goodnight Sweet Josephine b/w B side: Think About It. The latter song was a foretaste of what Led Zeppelin would sound like, with improved production values and heavy, distorted guitar sound by Page. The widespread use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD from late 1966 was to have a profound influence on the band and it's peers. 

* Goodnight Sweet Josephine - 2.40. Youtube: https://youtu.be/0vkp57lJ2zE. Two studio versions of this song have been released, including a phased version issued in the United States. The song was initially released by Columbia in the UK on 1 March 1968 but immediately withdrawn due to opposition from the band. The phased version was subsequently re-recorded using studio musicians and released in the United States on the Epic label, and in New Zealand on the Columbia label.

* Think About It - 3.57. Youtube: https://youtu.be/UseyCdGNfaY. This song is one of the highlights of the Yardbirds recorded career and was recorded by Aerosmith in 1979.

Cashbox advertisement for the Epic, US release of Goodnight Sweet Josephine, 1968. Photograph: Keith Trumbo.

LIVE SHOW: 9 February 1968. Top Rank Ballroom, Cardiff, Wales.

LIVE SHOW: 10 February, 1968. Barlong Hall, Dagenham, London.

PRESS RELEASE: 12 February 1968. Announces US tour for April and Australian dates thereafter. US gigs subsequently rearranged and Australian tour cancelled.

LIVE SHOW: 16 February 1968. Goldsmith College, New Cross, London. Supported by Jimmy James, Jethro Tull and Clouds.

 The Yardbirds, live, possibly in England, early 1968.

March

LIVE SHOW: 2 March 1968. West Refectory, Garden Court, University of Southampton, Southampton. The Yardbirds performed two encores at this show. On this date McCarty and Relf also expressed their desire to retire from the band. Page and Dreja convinced them to carry on through the final US tour.


RADIO SESSIONS: 5-6 March 1968, Playhouse Theatre, Hulme, Manchester. The Yardbirds performed for the BBC radio programs Saturday Club (broadcast 16 March) and Top Gear (broadcast 10 March). Additional broadcasts took place on 26 April and within various BBC programs, including Top of the Pops. Five songs were recorded. In a number of instances the quality of the performances by the band is extremely high:

* Think About It - 3.31. Remastered version - Youtube: https://youtu.be/7dIEj2yKkyQ.
* Good Night Sweet Josephine - 2.33. Youtube: https://youtu.be/r7Lj8SQGNcY.
* My Baby (Garnet Mimms)
* White Summer - 4.36. Remastered version - Youtube: https://youtu.be/AkrDMmtQJFc.
* Dazed And Confused - 6.01. A remastered, high quality version is available on Youtube: https://youtu.be/AYDhx_DgDxE. The BBC commentator at the end of the song states: "That's an amazing performance by the Yardbirds." This is almost identical to the later 1969 Led Zeppelin version, apart from the lyrics which are closer to Jake Holmes' original version.

Jimmy Page: On this day, 6 March 1968, I appeared on BBC radio's Saturday Club with the Yardbirds. The only way to play this material on the radio was via these sort of programmes and, although we were promoting the awful Goodnight Sweet Josephine, this was still a vehicle where you could pass Think About It, White Summer and Dazed and Confused under the pop-dominated radar. Think About It was to be covered later by Aerosmith.

LIVE SHOW: 8 March 1968. Pajama Hop at Aston, University of Aston, Birmingham. Support includes Simon Dupree.

Jimmy Page: On 8 March 1968 I played Aston University in Birmingham, UK with The Yardbirds. The four live Yardbirds set about warming up the Midlands and stoking up the heat in the UK.

France 

Jimmy Page (2008): "It seems not to be documented but I think we played a ‘triple’ in Paris around this point, ending up at a party for Eddie Barclay, whose Barclay Records was a major label in France. The Yardbirds arrived at the event but somehow we didn’t get to play. Bridget Bardot was there in her leather motorcycle outfit similar to the one on the famous photo of her posing on a motorbike. She looked hot." The triple gig Page refers to is three live gigs in Paris, plus a television performance.

Jimmy PageOn this day 9 March in 1968, I played French TV show Bouton Rouge with the Yardbirds in Paris and Dazed and Confused was performed. That night we played at the Faculte D’Assas.

TELEVISION SESSION: 9 March 1968, Maison de Radio, Paris, France. Bouton Rouge (French TV) live performance in studio. Performed three songs, with an introduction by the host.

* Train Kept A Rollin' - 3.20.
* Dazed and Confused - 5.45.

* Goodnight Sweet Josephine - 2.39.

In the absence of other material, this is the definitive video record of the Yardbirds live during 1968, with relatively good sound quality and a dynamic studio performance. Dreja's driving bass, Page's innovative guitar work and the integrated harmonica and vocal work of Keith Relf are highlights.

Yardbirds, live on the Bouton Rouge TV program, Paris, 9 March 1968.


A video of the complete program, in black and white (or tinted), is available on Youtube:
https://youtu.be/rcmuFPhM1UY (11m 42s). Photographs in black and white and colour of both the preparation and performance supplement the video record.

The Yardbirds live on Bouton Rouge, Paris, 9 March 1968.
Page and Relf relaxing, Bouton Rouge TV program, Paris, 9 March 1968. Source: My Beck Pages (Facebook)

LIVE SHOW: 9 March, 1968. Assas Faculty of Law (Faculte du Droit), Paris, France. Supported by Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll.

 Yardbirds, Assas Faculty of Law, Paris, 9 March 1968.

Jimmy Page, France 1968.

LIVE SHOW: 10 March 1968. L'Olympia Music Hall, Paris, France. On this day the Yardbirds attended a private party for French music producer Eddie Barclay, head of Barclay Records, though they did not play. 

PRESS RELEASE: 11 March 1968. Announcement that the Goodnight Sweet Josephine single release in the UK is delayed as the band is disappointed with result. The single will be re-recorded. This occurred around 13 March, using English session musicians and Page guitar elements.

SESSION: 15 March 1968. Jimmy Page does a recording session for Joe Cocker's Majorine and The New Age of Lily. (Source: jimmypage.com).

LIVE SHOW: 16 March 1968. Le Terminus, Corbei, Paris, France. The Yardbirds were booked to play the Students Union, Luton College, Bedfordshire, England on this date, but due to their stay over in France it was postponed until 7 July and was to be their last live performance. It is unclear whether they performed in Paris on the 16th or had returned to England after the Olympia show on the 10th.

England

LIVE SHOW: 23 March 1968. Retford College, Retford, Nottinghamshire.

Following this live show at Retford, the Yardbirds left England for an extended tour of the United States.

Final (8th) American tour

LIVE SHOW: 28 March 1968. The Aerodrome, Schenectady, New York. This was a nightclub and former bowling alley with a capacity of 3000 people and house band The Aerodromes. A promotional handbill and advertisement for the event are known.



Hudson Hawke: Of all my 60s memories, The Aerodrome in Schenectady, New York, has a certain power. It was located at 1588 State Street and had some fantastic groups for the time. The Doors... 3 Dog Night...Yardbirds etc. I have been told Hendrix played the venue. A man by the name of Jack Rubin was the major bankroller of the site, but I remember a man named Terry Hooper was also involved. Hooper was an acquaintance of the Beatles and had a small - very small - part in the movie A Hard Day's Night which was - for those that don't know the era -  a Beatles movie. Hooper went on the two rock & roll stations WPTR & WTRY to advertise the opening in 1967, I believe. I suppose the venue could hold over 2000 people, which was big by those days night club standards. I bought my first Rolling Stone magazine at one of the shops there. Those days it was much more a newspaper than a glossy. Yes, they had little boutiques there. What I really remember was the sound system. Trust me, they advertised it at the time of opening as one of the top systems on the East Coast and it was. Truly state of the art for its era. Most of it was solid state, but still some tube amplification and reproduction was originally installed. Made a difference. The stage had a high acoustic value when built, but lost some value when later rebuilt & modified. I believe I travelled there around 10 times in my high school & early college years. It fell into some disrepair in the late 60s & early 70s and closed, I believe, in 72 or 73. It is now torn down, but I believe it was a popular music icon from that era which brought some great music to the upstate area during my youth.


Yardbirds live 1968. Unknown location.


LIVE SHOW: 29 March 1968. Senior Class Concert, Conard High School, West Hartford, Connecticut. Supported by Dick Davy. Show delayed until 9.30pm due to a snowstorm.

 TheYardbirds live, circa 1968. Source: Fans of Chris Dreja (Facebook) / liner notes of the Yardbirds Ultimate CD collection. This is a rare from the audience shot showing the band performing in front of a typical late 1960s psychedelic light show. Location is possibly the Anderson Theatre,  New York.

LIVE SHOW: Saturday, 30 March 1968. Anderson Theater, New York. Two shows - 8pm and 11pm. A live recording is made on a 4-track Grundig machine for Epic Records by Manny Kellem and subsequently released in January 1971, despite opposition from Jimmy Page. The recording is artificially overdubbed with audience applause. A silkscreen concert handbill is known, printed in multicolour.

Jimmy Page playing the 1967 Vox Phantom XII 12-string guitar on White Summer, 1968. Location unknown.


Recorded set


The Train Kept A-Rollin' (soundcheck - no vocals)
Dazed and Confused (soundcheck - no vocals)
The Train Kept A-Rollin'
You're A Better Man Than I
Heart Full Of Soul
Dazed and Confused
My Baby
Over Under Sideways Down
Drinking Muddy Water
Shapes Of Things
White Summer
I'm A Man
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago


Live Yardbirds, Epic, LP, 1971. A recording of the Andersen Theatre concert.

Yardbirds, Anderson Theatre, 30 March 1968. Audio of the concert, with crowd noise removed and 2 rehearsal songs at the beginning. This version differs from the live album. Youtube.

Jimmy Page (Platt, Dreja, McCarty 1983): We knew [the American tour] was going to be the last one, and all the pressure was off. We played well and had a really good time. We even managed to play consistently good  venues; it was almost entirely universities and psychedelic ballrooms. The only low point was the Andersen Theatre gig in New York, which was recorded for a live album. The then rats at Epic had got wind of the break-up and decided to get the last drop of potential profit out of us. It was pure convenience for them, being based in New York, where we didn't like playing anyway. It should have been done at somewhere like the Shrine, in LA, or the Fillmore. The Anderson Theatre was a horrible place, very cold and unfriendly, and it didn't help that the Vanilla Fudge, currently local heroes, were playing across town at the Fillmore East. To cap it all, the Epic sound team had no idea how to record us. They were really straight and they just draped a few mikes around. It was pathetic. When they discovered the inadequacies of the recording, they dubbed on all those ridiculous bullfight cheers.

Sinclair Cole (Youtube, 2010): I was there too. I was 19 years old. Best concert ever. First a ride on the great White Steamship, then the best concert ever. I only regret I didn't sneak in a recorder.

 Yardbirds, Anderson Theatre, New York, 30 March 1968. Original handbill, 8 x 11 inch.
April

RECORD RELEASE: 1 April 1968. US release of Goodnight Sweet Josephine b/w Think About It.

STUDIO SESSIONS: 3-5 April 1968. The Yardbirds final studio recording sessions as a group take place at Columbia Studios, New York. Songs include original compositions and a cover. They are eventually released on the Cumular Limit CD, except for Tangerine.

* Taking a Hold on Me - 3.05. Youtube: https://youtu.be/BqIRtlqQbsU.
* Spanish Blood - 3.15. Youtube: https://youtu.be/ypg3LQmo-g4.
* Avron Knows - 3.46. Youtube: https://youtu.be/rRTmT_Bztl0.
* My Baby - 2.56. Youtube: https://youtu.be/75-716B2NMw.
* Knowing that I'm losing you / Tangerine - 2.56. Youtube: https://youtu.be/X9EPkKNiJ10. It is unclear whether this latter song was recorded at the Columbia Studios session or later. According to Dave Thompson (2014) the recording took place in New York on 2 June 1968. The lyrics were by Keith Relf and music by Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page: 3 April 1968. I played the last studio sessions in New York with The Yardbirds. This is the first of three recording days in New York - the last ever Yardbirds studio sessions with Keith Relf on vocals, Chris Dreja on bass, Jim McCarty on drums and percussion and myself on guitars. The titles were: ‘Avron Knows’, ‘Hold on Me’, ‘Spanish Blood’, ‘My Baby’ and ‘Knowing That I’m Losing You’.

Around this time the band also heard the tapes from the Anderson shows. See  also Electric Magic (Led-Zeppelin.com) 17 March 2000 interview with Jim McCarty about release of April 1968 final Yardbirds studio sessions.

LIVE SHOW: Friday 5 April 1968. Colden Centre of Music and Speech, Queens College, New York. Supported by The Good Rats.



 Jimmy Page playing the dragon telecaster, 1968. Location unknown.

LIVE SHOW: Saturday 6 April 1968. Curry Hicks Cage, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts. Supporting The Association.

LIVE SHOWS: 8, 9, 10 April 1968. Thee Image, Miami Beach, Florida.
Thee Image was located at 18330 Collins Avenue. The Mothers of Invention were the first act to play the club on March 15, 1968. The Yardbirds were
supported by The Blues Image, The Kollerton and The Bangles. Below is  a handbill for the Country Joe (4/5-4/7/68) & Yardbirds (4/8-4/10/68) shows.


Yardbirds, Thee Image, Florida, 8-10 April 1968. Original handbill.  

Jimmy Page playing his Danelectro, most likely on White Summer, Thee Image, Miami, 8-10 April 1968. 4120 Vox amp on the floor, with a different head.

LIVE SHOW: 11 April 1968. Concert at the Boston Tea Party, Boston, Massachusetts. Supported by the Steve Miller Band. Concert poster produced.


Yardbirds, Boston Tea Party, 11 April 1968. Original poster. 

LIVE SHOWS: 12, 13, 14 April 1968. Action House, Island Park, New Jersey. Supported by The Music Bachs. Photographs from gig by Ron Kellerman available on Youtube video https://youtu.be/AA-cS-G_UrU of live gig in Sweden 1967. Kellerman was a friend of Jimmy Page. The following image is from the My Beck Pages Facebook site.

LIVE SHOW: 19 April 1968. Blue Village Teen Club, Westmont, Illinois. Audience member report that some of the band were visibly drunk during the performance.

Don Berry (Facebook 8 March 2015): I saw them within a few days of this show, at the Blue Village in Westmont Il (another Chicago suburb). That night is burned into my memory as one of my favorite concerts...ever.

John B (18 May 2015): I was at the Blue Village show and it was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen or heard. I was a real Yardbirds fan and was a bit high at the time. The band, especially Relf and Jimmy, seemed a bit higher than me. I didn't feel they were "drunk", but perhaps tripping. All of that aside, they practically melted the place and most of the audience (me, included) weren't really sure how to process the event - it was jaw-dropping. Page played the Tele with a bow and a wah wah. I remember seeing broken strands of the bowhair trailing as he sawed away. The fellows were dressed very "psychedelically" and Relf was sporting a long moustache. I specifically recall "Over Under Sideways Down" as being a highlight and thinking "Oh my god, this guy can actually play this stuff!" I was 17 at the time and all of this really made an impression on a boy from the Chicago suburbs. 

Jim Cole (15 June 2015): April,1968. Attended the show with the Shirley sisters who had gotten to know the band from earlier tours. Went with some of my former bandmates from the "Finchley Boys" from Champaign, Illinois. We went back to the Holiday Inn after the show & hung out with the band. They said the band was breaking up after the tour. Keith put an LP on his portable record layer and started playing the Simon & Garfunkel album "Bookends" which included "Mrs. Robinson". Keith & Jim McCarty were sharing a room and Keith announced that when the band breaks up he & Jim would continue on doing material like the Simon & Garfunkel we were listening to. I almost fell out of my chair! The Yardbirds sounding like S&G!! Say it isn't so....and so it goes.

T.R. Grauer (15 June 2015): 1968 at the Blue Village in Westmont. Got in before the doors opened and talked to Jimmy Page one on one.

LIVE SHOW: 20 April 1968. The Cellar Teen Club, Arlington Heights,  Illinois. A series of photographs were taken by audience member Roy Vombrack.

Don Dawson (Facebook 7 March 2015): I wuz there that night @ The Cellar Club!!! Page wuz really wasted but managed to pull himself back together, after rallying with a brilliant solo rendition of White Summer, while playing seated. Then the rest of the band got back in gear to finish their show set. That was around the time of The Yardbirds' LITTLE GAMES album. Crazy nite.


Keith Relf and Jimmy Page, The Cellar Teen Club, 20 April 1968. Photograph: Roy Vombrack (Facebook).


Roy Vombrack 18 May 2015, (in response to comments on the show included in the Clayson book): The Yardbirds did NOT use Vox amps at that show, they used Fender, as can be seen from my photos (whether Bandmaster, Bassman or Dual Showman I can't say). Page did not have trouble with his amps. The fuse for the bass & guitar amps electric circuit blew during "Smile On Me" (half-way through the 2nd set). Jim McCarty promptly went into a drum solo, followed by a duet with him and Keith Relf on harmonica (with Page playing tambourine). Power was restored, and the show continued. Page did stop playing earlier in the show to complain about the distracting strobe lights the house lighting guy used.
 
LIVE SHOW: 21 April 1968. Le Scene, Indianapolis. This was a "special gig" booked by Tom Bredwell who ran this under 21 club. 

Anonymous (31 May 2009): Memory must fade more than I realize. I was at Le Scene every weekend I could get out, from 1966 -68 or 69, and I don't remember this band at all, I DO remember The Cardboard Bachs playing frequently, and The Yardbirds doing an amazing special show.

CopperScaleDragon (16 December 2009): John, I forgot to mention, if you remember Judy from Le Scene, our own Mama Cass, and Dan, the artist who did the paintings, The Bomarcs was there band. They played a lot in the early days of the club, and yes, the Yardbirds did do an amazing show! (Once we got the doors open and stopped the drunks from the bar next door from assaulting our guests.)

Mahitable (18 September 2010): What great memories I remember when Tom Bredwell lived upstairs and named one of the overstuffed chairs after me...Aunt Pammie, I had my birthday there one year and remember the girls got me a cake and the store spelled the words on it wrong was supposed to say "Flower Power" and said "Flour Power" What great days those were ...being picked up at the Airport when I returned from NYC in the big black limo covered in vinyl flowers, Going to see Hendrix in Chicago in same limo, the night of the Yardbirds concert ! great music and friend..... I worked at Le Scene for some time remember some great times there when Tom Bredwell lived upstairs, going to see Hendrix in Chicago in the big black Limo covered in dayglow flowers,the Yardbirds concert.

Anonymous (12 February 2011): I discovered Le Scene when in 1968 at the Canned Heat / Iron Butterfly concert at the downtown Armory someone walked through the house passing out business card sized printed promotional pieces for the Yardbirds concert (Jimmy Paige era).

Susan Eickman (October 2014): We had a totally enjoyable afternoon dining at Rileybrook Hall and talking with Tom Bredwell about the wild and crazy life he and others of us from the "60's" experienced. As it turns out our paths had crossed before back when he owned and operated an under 21 dance club in Indianapolis' Fountain Square neighborhood. The club was called Le Scene and featured live bands including a "special gig" one night when Tom had booked the Yardbirds. 1966-'69.

Ron Barrow: [What was the first concert you ever went to? ] The first real concert was the Yardbirds (aka Led Zeppelin) in 1967?. It was in an Indianapolis club called Le Scene. I couldn't get in, but I heard every note!!!

VIDEO SESSION: 25 April 1968. WUAB TV studio, Upbeat (TV) (color) (lip sync) (broadcast) - Heart Full Of Soul. Youtube: https://youtu.be/kNuQPTzuof4. Episode broadcast on 4 May. Other bands recorded for the show included: Blue Cheer, The Fireballs, Bob Francis, Bobby Goldsboro, Harumi, The Human Beinz, The McCoys, The Outsiders, Freddie Scott, The Short Kuts, Sly and the Family Stone, The Velvet Underground, Mary Wells and Kim Weston.

 The Yardbirds miming to Heart Full of Soul, Upbeat TV program, 25 April 1968.

LIVE SHOW: 25 April 1968. Palace Theater, Cleveland, Ohio. Bootleg recording of part of the concert.

* The Train Kept A-Rollin'
* Mr. You're A Better Man Than I
* Heart Full Of Soul
* Dazed And Confused
* White Summer
* I'm A Man


Also on the bill was Traffic and Blue Cheer. Concert poster by Bear in the Art Nouveau style.



LIVE SHOW: 26 April 1968. Cincinnati Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (St. Xavier High School prom). The band charged a fee of $2000.




At the Autograph Live site there is a posting from July 2011 by Neal relating to a collection of Yardbirds autographs originally obtained by his uncle KC McKeown, his girlfriend Diane and their friend Rip Pelley at the school prom concert that evening. They were the only ones to do this, and apparently Pelley booked the band that night. Neil also noted that the Jesuit priest who was the principal of the school brought the band a bottle of scotch whiskey. Jimmy Page then asked KC "What is a prom?" There was also a posting by MH Kitchen who was at the concert doing the light show with a friend, Rick Lemkuhl. Kitchen noted that is was "an incredible, unbelievable evening." One of the students who was there indicated that it was thanks to class president Pete Ruehlman that the band appeared.

LIVE SHOW: 27 April 1968. Wriston Quadrangle, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Supported by Procol Harum. The was an open-air, middle of the day gig and the first of two booked for that day.


Jimmy Page, Rhode Island, 27 April 1968.

LIVE SHOW: 27 April 1968. Clarkson College, Potsdam, New York.

mrogers: [What was your first ever live concert?] The Yardbirds, Clarkson College, Potsdam, New York, April 1968. Sat right in front of Jimmy Page :D

mrogers: The Yardbirds played our college in April '68 and the setlist is similar to what is on the Live Yardbirds album. It was an incredible but short show. They were six hours late getting to the campus so there were possibly 200 people waiting for them to play. I remember a few of the hits (Shapes of Things, I'm a Man, Smokestack, Mr. You're a Better Man Than I Am) and Page playing his Telecaster with the violin bow during White Summer. Here's a scan of them performing that was from a college yearbook. [image not available]

LIVE SHOW: 29 April 1968. Upstate university, New York. Supported by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys. Date unconfirmed. 

May

LIVE SHOWS: 3, 4 May 1968. Grande Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan. On the 3rd support from The Frost and The Stuart Avery Assemblage, who jammed with Yardbirds. On the 4th support from MC5 and Odds & Ends. Concert postcard produced by Gary Grimshaw, in blue or purple, featuring an original photograph of Jimmy Page by Yardbirds bass player Chris Dreja which had been taken in his London studio during 1967.

Jimmy Page: "3  May 1968 - On this day I played Detroit with the Yardbirds. The first of two nights at the famous Grande Ballroom in Detroit - an established underground venue - and the Yardbirds show was promoted with this image. The photo was taken by Chris Dreja."


Gary Grimshaw, Yardbirds, Grande Ballroom, Detroit, 3-4 May 1968. Original handbill. Photograph: Chris Dreja, who has indicated that the original was taken in his studio during 1967.


 
Jim McCarty and Jimmy Page during the concert at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit, 3-4 May 1968.

Jimmy Page during the concert at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit, 3-4 May 1968. Source: Facebook.

David (25 July 2013): I saw The Yardbirds at the Grande Ballroom or That's Not Jeff Beck! Ok it's 1968. Detroit Michigan. It's May 3rd. I'm standing outside the Grande Ballroom ( we pronounced it Grandee ) looking at a playbill for the evenings performance that I had eagerly awaited. The Yardbirds! with special guests The Frost and some other group. But I was there to see The Yardbirds - one of my favorite groups. They were one of my favorite groups because Jeff Beck was their lead guitarist. I thought he was and still do the greatest guitarist around. So as I stood looking at the poster of a man with back lit frizzed out Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix hair I thought to myself which Yardbird is that? Well, it wasn't Keith Relf. Nor was it Chris Dreja. Could have been Jim McCarty maybe. Why would they use a picture of the drummer to represent the group though? That's how my mind worked in those younger days. Let's see whose left. Paul Samwell-Smith the bass player. Nah that wasn't him either. That left Jeff Beck. Well that's not Jeff Beck- the nose is all wrong. Hmm.  A side note. You have to understand the era. This was 1968. Even though the computer had been invented there was no Google or You Tube or any kind of instant communication to keep up with the news in the music business. Sure there were magazines about rock and roll but mostly teenybopper stuff. And it was all 3 months behind the actual happenings. So I had no idea of the personnel changes within the group. Anyway I'm in the Ballroom and what a time we had. Smoke, incense, purple haze and strobe lights. Darkened hallways, paisley, bellbottoms- man this was really the 60's wasn't it?  Suddenly The Yardbirds are on stage. Wait there are only 4 of them. What's going on? Yes Keith is still the singer/harmonica player. There's Jim on the drums but Chris is playing the bass? And wait a minute whose that playing guitar? That's not Jeff Beck! No it wasn't at all. But -- oh man I'll tell you what-- whoever it was sure knew how to play guitar! An amazing performance by the group. Although you could tell things were not quite right. Sometimes they looked a little tired to me. Keith sounded a little morose with the in between songs chatter. All in all  I left the building happy but wondering who that new guitarist was. It took some months later but I read that the young man's name was Jimmy Page! Of course later that year saw the birth of The New Yardbirds/ Led Zeppelin group. As much as I love Jeff Beck I have to admit it was Jimmy Page who inspired me to learn to play the guitar and his performance that night was spectacular. Stay Tuned.

Chris Cornell (Guitar Player magazine): There’s a Yardbirds poster in the book with just you. So somehow you became the Yardbirds for a brief period.

Jimmy Page: What’s so interesting is this is at the point when Jeff has sort of left the band. There’s a producer that’s looking after us in England called Mickie Most, and he’s producing Jeff Beck in his solo capacity and he’s producing the Yardbirds with just the four of us. Both of these entities are managed by Peter Grant, which is quite interesting. So anyhow, this poster is for a gig at the Grande Ballroom. This is part of the whole underground circuit that the Yardbirds were doing. We were doing the Fillmore, Winterland, Grande Ballroom, etc. And then there was the advent of what was called underground radio, which in fact was stereo radio — not playing singles. They were only playing things that were longer than two and a half minutes. That’s how I got the whole idea of what could be done. This is what I rather hoped would eventually come to be with the Yardbirds, but it’s actually where the work was done, if you like, that develops into Led Zeppelin. 

LIVE SHOW: 5 May 1968. Hullabaloo Scene, Mentor, Ohio. Supported by the James Gang (Joe Walsh on guitar) and the American Navy with John Paul Jones. A modern poster for this classic concert was recently produced by the artist Bear.

 The Yardbirds at the Hullabaloo Scene, Mentor, Ohio, 5 May 1968. Photograph: Tracy Brown.
LIVE SHOW: 8 May 1968. Hal Baby's, Aurora, Colorado.

LIVE SHOW: 10 May 1968. Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara, California. S
upported by Three Dog Night (replacement for Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich), and Turquoise. Concert poster by Frank Bettencourt.


Jimmy Page: On this day I played the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara with the Yardbirds. the band were looking good, sounding good and it had an ever increasing cult following on the underground scene.

 Frank Bettencourt, Yardbirds, Earl Warren Showground, 10 May 1968. Original poster.

LIVE SHOW: 11 May 1968. Melodyland Theatre, Anaheim, California. Supported by The Troggs.

INTERVIEW: c. 13 May 1968. A short television interview, with the band sitting near a rock ledge, possibly in Los Angeles, California, is available on Youtube (https://youtu.be/MAR0eeGfwJc). It appears to be an extract from a longer interview and only involves comments from Jimmy Page.

LIVE SHOW: 17 May 1968. Field House, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington. Supported by The City Zu.

Jimmy Page on stage with the Yardbirds at University of Puget Sound, Washington, 17 May 1968.

LIVE SHOW: 18 May 1968. Casey's, Lewiston, Idaho. Supported by Easy Chair. Information on the venue is contained here: http://pnwbands.com/caseys.html, including the following reference to the Yardbirds appearance in 1968 by a worker at Casey's:

David Rogers (22 February 2010): I worked at Casey's of Lewiston (Dance Hall) from 1966 to 1968 and then off and on in 1969.  Casey's was owned by Pat Patoray and it was named after his son, Casey, who was my age and worked with me for his Dad. Casey's was very well known in the era as one of the top light shows in the nation. It was compared to the Fillmores east and west, Avalon and the Cheeta which were major venues of the time with big light shows. Because Casey's had such a significant light show a lot of major bands played there and it was a great show case for bands in the Pacific Northwest. Pat's dream was always to get Jefferson Airplane there but it never happened... The Yardbirds played Casey's and Jimmy Page was the lead guitar player. I spent some time with him and he carved his name in the ceiling of the dressing room. I always intended on getting into Casey's and taking that item.

World in Sound (Facebook 13 November 2014): In May 1968 they [Easy Chair] opened for Jimmy Page’s Yardbirds at Casey’s in Lewiston, Idaho. When fans sent their Yardbirds albums backstage for autographs before the show, Page, the only band member present, suggested that Easy Chair sign for the absent Yardbirds. Easy Chair shared stages also with Blue Cheer, Cream, Mothers Of Invention, Country Joe & The Fish, Chambers Bros and many more...

Jennifer K. Bauer (28 January 2015: The peak moment came on May 18, 1968, when some 2,200 people filed up the stairway to Casey’s to watch the Yardbirds, who if not the most popular rock band of the 1960s were certainly one of the hippest. By that time Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck had left the group, but the lineup still included a wan, dishevelled guitarist named Jimmy Page. When old Casey’s stories are bandied about, this is the fact that most astonishes listeners of a certain ilk, aged 14 to 40: the fact that Jimmy Page — the demigod of histrionic guitarists, whose subsequent fame as a member of Led Zeppelin in the ’70s carried an intrigue, an underexposure, that is perhaps impossible in the MTV age — once played in Lewiston. And they want to know: What do you suppose he did while he was here? Did he eat an Effie Burger? Did he sit on the banks of the Clearwater River and ponder the charms of the pastoral life? Did he stand at the foot of those wide, magnificent steps off Fifth Street, stoned out of his gourd, and gasp, “My God, it’s a Stairway to Heaven!”?

 Keith Relf and Jimmy Page, Fillmore West, 23-25 May 1968. 

 
LIVE SHOW: 19 May 1968. Outdoor gig, Centralia / Chehalis, Washington.

LIVE SHOW: 19 May 1968. Francisco Torres, University of California, Santa Barbara.

SESSION: 21 May 1968. Jimmy Page does a recording session for Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man and Teen Angel. (Source: jimmypage.com). There is much conjecture about who played what on the song and whether Jimmy Page or Alan Price played the prominent lead guitar. Also there is a suggestion that John Bonham was on drums, whilst we know that John Paul Jones helped produced the session, or sessions. Both Mickie Most and Eddie Kramer were also involved and it is possible that it went through a number of iterations before finally being released. The initial session was in London on 3 April 1968 and the song was release in May. The various dates do not accord as Page was in Columbia Studios, New York, on 3 April and on the west coast in May.

LIVE SHOWS: 23, 24, 25 May 1968. Concerts at the Fillmore West, supported by It's a Beautiful Day and Cecil Taylor. Concert poster by Lee Conklin (reproduced above). Photographs from the concert and a low grade audience recording are known, with a series of photographs here:

http://rarezeppelin.tumblr.com/post/79710410824/yardbirds-fillmore-auditorium-june-1968.

Jimmy Page: On this day in 1968, I played the first of three dates with The Yardbirds at the “mecca” of the underground, The Fillmore in San Francisco. Numbers featured that night were: Train Kept A Rollin’ / Mr You’re a Better Man Than I / Heartful of Soul / Dazed & Confused / Shapes of Things / White Summer / I’m a Man / How Many More Years / Drinking Muddy Water. Some of these numbers would appear in the set of the yet-to-be formed Led Zeppelin when we played The Fillmore again seven and half months later, in January 1969.

The Steve Hoffman Music Forum site reproduces comments from individuals who saw the band perform around this time: 

glea: The Fillmore '68 show is the best representation of what they sounded like that tour, with the long jam things. I saw them a different night of that stand. You do have to accept, this band was at its end. Page already had the blueprint for Led Zeppelin. He just needed new blood to carry it out. Keith Relf and the others were done. They had gone as far as they were going to go in that format. I saw Led Zeppelin just a few months later when they came over in Jan 69. It was a huge leap, but the thread of continuity was there. I know we were all knocked out when we heard that first chord, knowing it was Train Kept a Rolling... I saw the Yardbirds three times with Page. 66, 67, and 1968. The first time was one of the first gigs Page played lead, it was when Beck bailed and went back to LA. That was a great show, with a lot of songs from the new album and all the hits. The Stumble was the only odd song they played. The next two times were at the Fillmore. 67 was again heavy on the hits, with a lot of stuff from Little Games. They did play Most Likely You'll Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine. 68 was the most adventurous. Yeah, they play Waiting For The Man and How Many More Years... I remember two long medleys that included Hey Gyp and Smokestack Lightning. Daze And Confused stood out as it was new and so different. The tape from the Fillmore that is around is just one set, half of the show... The two sets the night I saw them in 68 was something like this... I took notes:

First Set
Train Kept a Rolling
Mister Your A Better Man
Heart Full Of Soul
Dazed
Shapes Of Things
Smile On Me
Medley including Hey Gyp (and maybe I Wish You Would)
Over Under
Second Set
White Summer
Medley: Smokestack Lightning - How Many More Years
Waiting For My Man ?
My Baby
Drinking Muddy Water
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
I'm a Man
The crowd was pretty thin at this gig, maybe just half full. It's A Beautiful Day and Cecil Taylor opened. That help at all?
LIVE SHOW: 29 May 1968. Concord Coliseum, Concord, California. One report said they were supported by The Mood, The Flamin' Groovies and The VIPs; another says The Flamin' Groovies and Linn County. Information on the venue during 1967-8 is located here:

Audience comments:

howlinrock (3 November 2008): One of my claim to fame's is my band (at that time) "The Mood" opened for The Yardbirds in Concord, California, in 1968. with The Flamin Groovies & The VIPs. I met all the band members. Keith Relf was stoned out of his mind on LSD. Jimmy Page had 3 women in tow and Dreja & McCarty were holding hands. Page told our lead guitarist he used banjo strings on his tele. It was a strange scene for a 18 year old kid.

howlinrock: I saw them two times - once at the San Jose Civic in 66 and then again in 68 in Concord, California, when my band played as the opener for them with The Flamin Groovies & Linn County. I met all the band members. Keith Relf was stoned out of his mind on LSD. Jimmy Page had three women in tow and Dreja & McCarty were walking around strangely holding hands. Page told our lead guitarist he used banjo strings on his telecaster. It was a strange scene for a then 18 year old kid. The set list was as described here. Sadly I have no photos.

Paul Choisser (29 January 2011): When the Yardbirds played, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) was their guitarist and at one point in the show when he was generating enough feedback he pulled out a violin bow and began bowing his Gibson Les Paul.


Yardbirds, Shrine Exposition Hall Los Angeles, 31 June 1968. Advertisement.

LIVE SHOWS: 31 May  and 1 June 1968 Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles, CA (p1). 81 minute recording made by D.C. Cole. Also performed the following night. Set for 31 May:

First show


The Train Kept A-Rollin'
Mr. You're A Better Man Than I/Heart Full Of Soul
Dazed and Confused
Shapes Of Things
I'm A Man
White Summer
Smokestack Lightning / How Many More Times

I'm Waiting For The Man
Bye Bye Bird
(Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
Drinking Muddy Water
New York City Blues (Become My Friend)  (?)
I Wish You Would / Hey Gyp

 The Yardbirds at the Shrine Exposition Hall, 1 June 1968.

 The Yardbirds at the Shrine Exposition Hall, 1 June 1968. . Source: Steve Hoffman Forum.
  The Yardbirds at the Shrine Exposition Hall, 1 June 1968.
The bill included the Yardbirds, B.B. King and Sons of Chamblin. The black and white concert poster and handbill was designed by John van Hamersveld.


Yardbirds, Shrine Exhibition Hall, Los Angeles, 31 May 1968. Original poster / handbill.

D.C. Cole noted the following regarding the band's performances: "The 1968 shows at the Shrine were amazing. Their music had developed to such a point that some of it was the most advanced rock n roll ever done. It was like electronic Stravinsky. I was frustrated with the band in 1967. I’d been following them since their very first American tour. Obviously, Beck was incredible. Page was a let down on their first tour as a four-piece. He carried on valiantly without Beck, playing both lead and rhythm. But his tone was muddy, not like Beck’s sultry sound. On their last tour, Page had got it together and was stunning."

Yardbirds, Waiting for My Man, (audio only), Shrine Auditorium, 31 May 1968. Youtube, featuring footage from a 1967 French concert.

AC50: When I saw the Yardbirds, toward the end of their existence in 1968, Page was using a Fender Super Reverb with a Dual Showman extension cab. After the show, I personally watched this get loaded into the underneath baggage compartment of a Greyhound Bus to travel to their next stop on the tour. I also know of him playing through Vox AC30s, Vox AC100s, Jordan, and Rickenbacker amps.


 Yardbirds, Shrine Exposition Hall Los Angeles, 31 June 1968. Advertisement.
June

LIVE SHOW: 1 June 1968. Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles, California. Complete recorded set:

 
Second show


The Train Kept A-Rollin'
You're A Better Man Than I/Heart Full Of Soul
Dazed and Confused
Shapes Of Things
I'm A Man
White Summer
Smokestack Lightning/Beck's Bolero/I'm Waiting For The Man
Bye Bye Bird
Drinking Muddy Water
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
New York City Blues (Become My Friend)
I Wish You Would / Hey Gyp
I Ain't Done Wrong
Over Under Sideways Down



Yardbirds, Shrine Exhibition Hall, Los Angeles 1 June 1968. Left to right: Chris Dreja, Keith Relf, Jim McCarty, Jimmy Page. This image was used for the cover of the bootleg album Last Rave-up in L.A.



Jimmy Page: 01 June 1968 - I had my last rave up in LA with the Yardbirds. This was the last time the four live Yardbirds would play Los Angeles. The intrepid warriors played the Shrine Auditorium on this day in 1968. This was not the last date of the US tour, we had two more dates, both at the Montgomery International Speedway in Alabama, before the curtains would close on this incarnation of the Yardbirds in the USA.

Yardbirds, Shrine Auditorium, 31 May and 1 June 1968, audio. Duration: 1 hr 37 mins.

LIVE SHOWS: 4, 5 June 1968. Big Spring Fair, WBAM All Star Spectacular, Montgomery International Speedway Fairgrounds, Montgomery, Alabama. Final performances of the Yardbirds American tour, after which the band members return to England.


Yardbirds at Montgomery Speedway, 4-5 June 1968. Photograph: Carolyn May Jordan Wright.

 Yardbirds at Montgomery Speedway, 4-5 June 1968. Photograph: Carolyn May Jordan Wright.

PRESS RELEASE: 10 June 1968. 6 week US tour beginning on 14 September is announced. This never takes place.

PRESS RELEASE: 12 June 1968. Two Yardbirds Fly - announcement that Keith Relf and Jim McCarty are leaving the band. 

MEDIA ITEM: 21 June 1968 - Yardbirds split - but the name goes on. GO magazine article.


July

LIVE SHOW: 7 July 1968. Luton Technical College, Bedfordshire, England. Start time: 8pm. Admission: 10/6. This is the Yardbirds final show, having been deferred from 16 March which they were still in France. It is unclear as to whether this gig actually took place - refer Peter Grant reminiscences below.

PRESS RELEASES: 8-9 July 1968. Announcement of the departure of Keith Relf and Jim McCarty from the Yardbirds and the formation of a new Yardbirds with Jimmy Page and Chris Dreja. Tours for Scandinavia in September and the US in October are also announced. 

CANCELLED LIVE SHOW: Friday, 12 July 1968. According to London OZ magazine, number 13 of June 1968, the Yardbirds were due to play a 10.30pm to Dawn concert at the Middle Earth venue on this date.

 OZ magazine, London, no.13, June 1968. Advertisement.

Peter Grant (1994): Well, as I recall, we never played a gig after that American tour, so in reality it fell apart in America. Jim McCarty wasn't in the best of health and we had to use a session man. We had a club date in the States for $5,000. That was a lot of money. Jimmy wanted to do it and so did Chris, but the others didn't. There was a big row in a Holiday Inn. So I drafted out a letter giving Jimmy the rights to the name, which they all signed.

[Q: So you don't remember the gig at Luton?]

No, I can't remember that. What I can remember distinctly is driving Jimmy around Shaftesbury Avenue near the Saville Theatre after the split..." (Chris Welch, The Man Who Led Zeppelin).



Epilogue

Just over a month after the official breakup of the original Yardbirds, on 12 August 1968 Page and the three other members of what would eventually become Led Zeppelin had their first rehearsal - Jon Bonham, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant. On 7 September 1968, the new version of the Yardbirds performed in Scandinavia. Both Page and Dreja maintained rights to the band name, and Page was keen to keep using it, however Dreja was not and in October 1968 asked the band to drop the name. A new name was chosen - Led Zeppelin - and first used on 25 October at the University of Surrey gig, though the poster listed them as the New Yardbirds. The rest is history.

Addenda - American Tours 

The Yardbirds undertook 8 American tours between 1965 and 1968, occupying varying lengths but on average of 6 weeks duration. The first tour was forstalled due to work permit issues. The 1968 tour was the longest, at almost 10 weeks. Start and end dates given below are approximate only as the various band members would disperse at the end of the tours and return to England in stages.

1. 3 September - 22 September 1965

2. 11 December 1965 - 22 January 1966

3. 4 August - 15 September 1966

4. 21 October - 4 December 1966

5. 25 December 1966 - 7 January 1967

6. 14 July - 29 August 1967

7. 5 October - 13 November 1967

8. 27 March - 6 June 1968


References

Aquarium Drunkard, The Yardbirds - I'm Waiting for My Man - Velvet Underground Live 1968 [blog] 2013. URL: http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com/2013/01/15/the-yardbirds-im-waiting-for-the-man-vu-cover-live-1968/.


Clayson, Alan, The Yardbirds The Band that Launched Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, Backbeat Book, San Francisco, 2002, 208p.

Concert Dates: Jimmy Page [website]. URL: http://www.ledzepconcerts.com/concertdates/index.php?m=cdjp-1968.

Facebook [various websites]. URL: https://www.facebook.com/.

Jack, Richard Morton, Jimmy Page - the summer '68 interviews, Galactic Ramble [blog], 2010. URL: http://galacticramble.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/jimmy-page-summer-68-interviews.html.

Jimmy Page Public Performances (pre-Zeppelin) [webpage]. URL: http://forums.ledzeppelin.com/index.php?/topic/7445-jimmy-page-public-performances-pre-zeppelin/.

Jimmy Page's Guitars and Gear [webpage], 2015. URL: http://www.groundguitar.com/jimmy-page-gear/

Paterson, Beverly, Up close with Chris Dreja of the Yardbirds, MusicDish e-Journal, 1 May 2007. URL: http://www.musicdish.com/mag/index.php3?id=11774.

Platt, John, Dreja, Chris and McCarty, Jim, The Yardbirds, Sigwick & Jackson, London, 1983, 160p. 

Steve Hoffman Music Forums - Live Jimmy Page Yardbirds Era, URL: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/live-jimmy-page-era-yardbirds-question.193962/.

The Philip Cohen Collection - Yardbirds, Fillmore West 1968 [blog], 11 October 2013, URL: http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=1599.

Shade, Will, The Yardbirds Psychedelic Saga: Glimpses from the Jimmy Page Era, Ugly Things, #20 2000 and September 2002.

Thompson, Dave, Robert Plant: The Voice that Sailed the Zeppelin, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2014. 

Today in Led Zeppelin History [website]. URL: http://forums.ledzeppelin.com/index.php?/topic/13110-today-in-led-zeppelin-history/.

Yardbirds [website], URL: http://chromeoxide.com/yardbird.htm. Includes a comprehensive timeline.

Yardbirds Photos 1963-Now [website]. URL: http://yardbirdsphotos.com/Home.html.

Youtube, Dazed and Confused, Fillmore West, 24 May 1968, URL: https://youtu.be/QOtHY7tOOfA.


Acknowledgements


Thanks to Tim Brennan for clarifying the Shrine photographs, and to all those fans on Facebook and other Yardbirds-related chat sites for sharing their memories of seeing the band live.
 
Michael Organ
Last updated: 12 August 2016