On this date in 1969: Led Zeppelin rocks Schenectady!


robertPlantRobert Plant – the former Led Zeppelin swaggering frontman is celebrating his 72nd birthday today.

Plant didn’t invent rock & roll superstardom, but he seemed to perfect it during his glory days with Led Zeppelin. We think of him as the golden, globe-trotting god, so it might come as something of a shock to realize that 40 years ago, Robert Plant didn’t celebrate his 21st birthday in some swinging hot spot like London or Los Angeles or some exotic castle in Kashmir.

No, back in 1969 Plant celebrated his 21st birthday in … Schenectady.

Back then the Aerodrome was the biggest and hippest rock & roll venue in the Capital Region, and it just so happened that Led Zeppelin played at the Aerodrome on Plant’s birthday.

Fred Baye, who was the assistant manager of the Aerodrome, remembers it this way:

“One of the hallmarks for me has been that I am the only one in the world who can say that I threw Robert Plant his 21st birthday party at the Aerodrome on August 20, 1969 with a unique array of party perks and attendees including Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Page and several other giants in the music world – just a week after the Woodstock festival.

“I bumped into Robert Plant in Philadelphia in 1992 and asked if he remembered that party. To my surprise, he spoke about specifics that surprised me. He said it was one of the highlights of his life.”


Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Nippertown on 8/20/2009. Minor updates were made to make it current.

  1. Marianne Higgins says

    I was at that show. I remember Fred Baye as a musician and a constant presence at the Aerodrome. I still have the card of the Ruins. It is light blue with a liquid light show look to it. Or maybe it’s a ticket. Anyway, the show was great. The band was DRUNKEN and UnRULY!! It was excellent. And where ya gonna see Zeppelin for 4.00? I was also at the Velvet Underground gig they advertise above. I lived a mile fromt here!! Kudos to Fred for giving us such a glorious gig!!p.s all the girls liked Fred!! 🙂

  2. Sara says

    Of course the band was drunk and unruly – it was a birthday party. And how can you remember this – weren’t you drunk and unruly too? Just teasing – those were the days for it. Thanks for sharing your recollections!

  3. Marty Feier says

    Hey Guys,
    I have a ticket from this show on my wall.

  4. Sara says

    How many people were at that show? It sounds like such a boffo time that I’m sure that close to that many people have tix on their walls. Congratulations on being one of the lucky ones! Do you remember anything else about the show or about the Aerodrome?

  5. Thomas Lail says

    My sister was there. She was 17.

  6. Marty Feier says

    I actually meant that I had a picture of the Aerodrome ticket on my Facebook wall(if you’d like to see it)..I wish I went….I was in summer camp…..A friend and former listener of my radio show sold me two unused tickets one for the Schenectady show and one for the Fillmore East. My friend is not into crowds and passed on the shows…I once dragged him out to see Stevie Ray Vaughan on his first album tour at Radio City or Skyway(Allens)?…After that, I surprised him once at his house by bringing Root Boy Slim and his sax player Ron Holloway over for a short visit. I think if I were old enough and I had broken legs like Joe on Family Guy, I’d still drag myself to the gig if I had the tix…

  7. Fred Baye says

    There were two shows. one at 8pm the second at 11pm. There were 2000 people at each show.

  8. AndyG says

    Saw SRV at both shows: Skyway in Scotia (which was a converted bowling alley) and at Radio City (which was Allen’s “under new management”). My ears were ringing for days after. My buddy from college, Gregg, dragged me to one of the shows – I don’t remember which one. The SRV box set has a pic from the Radio City gig – you can tell because there were stairs along both sides of the stage.

  9. Larry Amanat says

    My Brothers Jim ( Bass) And Bill ( Drums) Played that same night with the Last Thursday Band as an opening act! My Brothers said they remember the Big Shoes Zep was wearing and that they were Loud. Our whole family has been Zep fans ever since!!

  10. George Amanatides says

    My brother’s Jim bass player and Bill drummer were there cause you asked them to be the opening band.

  11. Marcella Rice says

    I was graduating from Nursing School in Schenectady, NY on Aug 20, 1968!!!–and we went to the Aerodrome to celebrate and 1968 is the

    correct year Zeppelin was there-NOT 1969.

    And they Opened for Archie Bell and the Drells!– Zeppelin was not well know at that time.

    I also saw them in NYC -Fillmore East, I believe, when

    they opened for Iron Butterfly–this Was in 1969.

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