On June 27th 1980 Led Zeppelin performed the shortest set of their entire career. John Bonham was to blame. The drummer collapsed after just three songs while performing with his bandmates at the Messezentrum Halle in Nuremberg German. Here you can listen to the footage of that 16-minute concert which includes the moment Bonham lost control. Led Zeppelin opened with Train Kept a-Rollin an amped-up rock n roller that had Bonham struggling to keep up. They then went into Nobodys Fault But Mine which is when things started to unravel. Bonham who had been seen crashing into his cymbals earlier that day kept on falling behind the beat much to the annoyance of Page.
Eventually the guitarist was forced to address the issue Theres two of us tonight who arent feeling at all well he explained. A bit of stomach trouble so were gonna do our best whatever as usual. And with that Led Zeppelin dived headfirst into a cover of Back Dog and Page commented The next number sort of reflects how Im feeling and possibly the other member. Its called Black Dog. By this point Bonham was all over the place. He managed to keep it together until the very end of the track at which point Page delivered a soaring solo intending to weave it into the intro of the following song In The Evening from In Through The Out Door. Sadly it was at that moment that Bonham collapsed.
There was a pause while the rest of the band attempted to revive the drummer. Plant could see the audience was growing restless If you could uh just hold it a minute – no need to go crazy pushing around. Hang on a tick. He then proceeded to blame the delay on a slight technical problem the problem being that Bonham – or so it is claimed – had eaten no less than 27 bananas earlier that day. We just have a minute problem he continued. So if you can wait patiently wed be very grateful. Hang on. The sad truth is that the whole banana electrolyte problem was almost certainly a cover-up story. Several witnesses recalled seeing Bonham stumble into the venue looking very drunk indeed. Its perhaps even more telling that just three months later John Bonham died after consuming over 40 shots of vodka and choking on his own vomit. The signs were there.