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A whole lotta thrills on Led Zeppelin's big night

Armed with guitars, sleeping bags and flasks of hot tea, fans looked more ready for their pipe and slippers than a night in the mosh pit.

A generation of rock fans have grown up and were back to watch Led Zep- but this time with sandwiches and families in tow. Tucking into his crisps and juice, he said of their rocking start to the evening: year-old daughter Alannah - who was keenly awaiting the performance - had been "weaned on Zeppelin".

A gathering of younger rock disciples had begun an impromptu jamming session in the line. Unlike music shops across the country - this was one place where guitarists could indulge in their own version of Stairway to Heaven - A song whose guitar solo was voted best of all time by Guitar Magazine, and which has since been ruined by generations of aspiring teenage rockers.

Many of those queuing earlier over the weekend were there to claim their wrist band, which, along with the original ticket, would let them through the doors. They had been advised to pick it up a day early in order to avoid a bottleneck on the night, as the process of acquiring it included handing over a photo ID. But from Saturday night those with standing tickets were queuing simply to ensure a good spot in the arena.

Some 20 million fans registered for one of the 20,000 tickets, each costing £125, which were allocated using a ballot.

Despite strict checks on the ID of the original buyer, to discourage ticket touts, many were still on sale on eBay throughout yesterday, with one seller even asking £10,000 for a pair of sought-after VIP passes.

At North Greenwich tube station, forlorn fans were scattered around the entrance, holding signs requesting tickets. Canadian Randy Rollo, 59, was waiting to see if someone would be able to get him a last-minute pass.

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"I won a competition to come over here with my local rock radio station", he said. "But the ticket company turned out to be dodgy and now I've got no ticket.

"The station was very upset when they found out, and gave us US$2,000 to try and get one on the night. At least if we don't get in we'll have had a free trip to England, and I'll spend the money on my hot rod."

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