What was once the domain of athletes and hot dog-chewing baseball fans became the site for the opening concert of one of rock n’ roll’s biggest tours of the 1970s. On May 4 Led Zeppelin launched their 1973 North American tour at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. A record-setting 49,236 ticket holders filled seats in what then was the home of the Braves and the Falcons.
This was the first time the playing field was opened to an audience, and the concert’s promoters promised to repair any damage to outfields and base paths. Approximately 16,000 fans were packed like canned sardines on the grass. A stage had been built at the far eastern end of the turf so a maximum number of people could view the performance.
However, nobody anticipated the gridlock it would create.
Police towed an estimated 100 cars left on the side of interstate highways next to the stadium. The expressways were backed up for miles north of the Downtown Connector. At one point all exits from the South Expressway were closed because there was no place for the cars to go, police said.
The previous attendance record at the stadium was set in 1965 by another British group – The Beatles.