The Rashomon Of Rock

by Dish Staff

A new documentary from Jeff Krulik, whose 1986 film Heavy Metal Parking Lot remains a cult classic, turns the camera on a concert that may never have happened:

It’s Jan. 20, 1969, the day of President Nixon’s inauguration. At a suburban Maryland gymnasium, a band starts playing to a crowd of about 50 teens. That group’s name: Led Zeppelin. This story is just too crazy to be true, right?

Maybe not. In his new documentary, Led Zeppelin Played Here, director Jeff Krulik tries to get to the bottom of this legend by talking to some musicians, writers and local fans who don’t believe the concert happened … and others who swear they saw them.

Richard Metzger digs the film:

What I loved about Krulik’s charming, low key film is that the whole mystery of this did-it-or-did-it-not occur spur of the moment Led Zeppelin show is something that he uncovered while making a film about something else entirely. The Rashomon-like onscreen narrative becomes quite intriguing as the viewer goes along with the filmmaker on his fact finding mission, Krulik serving as a dogged rock snob gumshoe on the trail of this elusive and either legendary—or apocryphal—Led Zeppelin show. In the end, we’re left to decide for ourselves if this concert actually took place or not, his Columbo with a MOJO subscription sleuthing having provided no definitive answers.

What Krulik had to say while working on the film in 2011:

I do hope to present a strong case [that] the concert happened. It’s a mystery worth solving/explaining. And I personally believe it did happen. We just live in such a proof driven/conspiracy theory/immediate info society now that people doubt these unbelievable claims unless there’s concrete example, i.e. ticket stub, photo, diary entry. Nothing has turned up yet, and will likely not turn up. This was a hastily assembled concert on an off night, a rainy, cold Monday in January ‘69, and the band was new and hoofing it, taking whatever gig they could.

Watch Krulik’s 30-minute Heavy Metal Parking Lot below: