Led Zeppelin - 2016 - Earl's Court The Final Option
Earl's Court The Final Option
Empress Valley Supreme Disc – EVSD 876~906
31 × CD - Box Set
I usually try to stay away from posting bootlegs on this blog, but (there is always a "but") couple of regular visitors that know I avidly collect silvers asked me if I had this one available for upload. (Since not everybody has the 850 EUR asking price available) It's a massive gorgeous box containing several sources for all 5 shows of the 1975 London run... 31 cd's in total.
Unless new soundboard sources emerge for the first three nights I think this will be for the time being the definitive release for these five shows, I don't think that Jimmy will ever grace us with anything like this box released officially... so this is it boys and girls...
Around this time 41 years ago Led Zeppelin took stage for the last night of this 5 night run and did not stop playing for almost four hours, so perfect timing to post this one. Ooooh yeah... i almost forgot... also as a bonus I included separate links for the pro shot videos of the last two nights .
May 17, 1975
Earls Court Arena
0101. Band Announcements
0102. Rock And Roll
0103. Sick Again
0104. Over The Hills And Far Away
0105. In My Time Of Dying
0106. The Song Remains The Same
0107. The Rain Song
0201. No Quarter
0203. Going To California
0204. That's The Way
0205. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
0206. Trampled Underfoot
0207. Moby Dick
0301. Dazed And Confused
0302. Stairway To Heaven
0303. Crowd Anticipation
0304. Whole Lotta Love
0305. Black Dog
The first show of the band's legendary five-night stand at Earls Court begins with a brief introduction by DJ Bob Harris welcoming them back to Britain before Rock and Roll crashes into motion. The equipment issues are evident from the start with Page's guitar cutting in and out during the initial verses. He blazes through the second guitar solo in Sick Again. As the song ends, Plant comments "you wouldn't believe that after all the trouble and messin' about to try and get this unearthly monster with us, the first thing that gets blown, right?" He introduces In My Time of Dying as "an old chain gang thing" before dedicating the song to Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey. An incredibly powerful performance, Page solos wildly as Bonzo's thunderous pounding echoes throughout the cavernous arena.
The Song Remains the Same is a riotous explosion of energy. As Kashmir comes to a close, someone near the taper can be heard saying "that's what I've been waiting for." Jones is introduced as "master of keyboards" before No Quarter. The instrumental section has returned to its original heavy rhythm, abandoning the free-form jazz workouts of the west coast shows two months prior. The coda features some excellent soloing from Page. Tangerine is introduced as "a song of first love." Its first appearance since 6/27/1972, the song is performed in a new electric arrangement. As the song ends, Plant tells the crowd "that's the first time that there's ever been such a thing as four-part harmony on stage with Led Zeppelin."
The first appearance of the acoustic set since the end of the 1972 North American tour begins with Going to California. That's the Way is delicately beautiful. Plant explains to the crowd that he's forgotten the words to some of the older songs, so he's brought along lyric sheets to help him remember before Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. Page shreds through the guitar solo during Trampled Underfoot. Bonzo is introduced as "a man of character, of good karma... Mr. Vibes extraordinaire" before Moby Dick. Plant introduces Dazed and Confused as "the first thing that we ever played together," adding "and at the end of the first attempt at playing it, we realized that despite efforts by the Melody Maker to break us up, we should carry on forever." While not as ambitious and over the top as the west coast marathons, the band delivers a high-energy performance during the guitar solo/workout section. The frenzied outro jam is punctuated by a thunderous finale. Stairway to Heaven features an epic guitar solo. The band closes the show with a devastatingly heavy Black Dog.
May 18, 1975
Earls Court Arena
0401. Band Announcements
0402. Rock And Roll
0403. Sick Again
0404. Over The Hills And Far Away
0405. In My Time Of Dying
0406. The Song Remains The Same
0407. The Rain Song
0501. No Quarter
0503. Going To California
0504. That's The Way
0505. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
0506. Trampled Underfoot
0507. Moby Dick
0601. Dazed And Confused
0602. Stairway To Heaven
0603. Crowd Anticipation
0604. Whole Lotta Love
0605. Black Dog
Review: There are moments during Zeppelin’s colorful, sometimes psychedelic, non-stop 240-minute show in the eerie wastes of Earl’s Court (the Stones do 50 minutes or less), when Jimmy Page’s searing guitar, carried by 60,000 watts of power, cuts right through the senses like some fast-acting drug and virtually blots out everything but the music.
And with lead singer Robert Plant looking like some demented Shirley Temple – thick blond hair falling in ringlets across his shoulders, Miss Selfridge’s blouse slashed open to the navel, neck and arms adorned with jewelry and a Bardot pout to his lips – this in its field is one of the most astonishing examples of pure theatre I have ever seen anywhere.
Up there on stage, flanked by 40 tons of equipment that is generating enough light to illuminate Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and London’s theatreland as well, Page in his black velvet suit embroidered with gold dragons allows a smile to flicker across a weary face. And 17,000 people burst into applause as he picks out the intro for Stairway to Heaven, one Zeppelin’s most popular numbers.
In contrast, the group’s keyboard player and bassist John Paul Jones is a shy, intense introvert who two years ago seriously considered giving up rock to apply for the job of chief organist at Winchester Cathedral.
He remains in the shadows laying down excellent sounds to form with John Bonham the rhythmic platform for Plant and Page’s exotic excesses.
“When Led Zeppelin are peaking, then kiss your skull goodbye!”… or so they say! (R. Gilchrist, May 20, 1975)
The second night produces a much more relaxed and tight performance. No Quarter has to be one of the best versions ever and the acoustic section is incredibly intimate and effective. Jimmy's soloing, especially in the greatly expanded Over The Hills And Far Away, is staggering. The encores sound banal after the very good version of Dazed And Confused and the dramatic Stairway To Heaven.
As the show begins, it's obvious that the band has loosened up. tearing ferociously through the opening numbers. Over the Hills and Far Away is introduced as "the ultimate dream." Page blazes through an excellent guitar solo as Bonzo and Jones hammer out a funky groove. In My Time of Dying is incredibly powerful. Bonzo is on fire during The Song Remains the Same. Page's guitar cuts out briefly during the second guitar solo. The Rain Song is absolutely beautiful. As the song ends, Plant introduces Jones as "the only man who wears onions on his shoulders that I've ever met in my life."
Kashmir features an incredible performance from Plant. No Quarter is outstanding. Jones's dramatic piano solo gives way to an epic instrumental section featuring a fantastic guitar solo from Page. The band receives a long ovation as the piece comes to a close. A truly amazing performance, one of the best thus far. Going to California is introduced as "a song about the permanent constant search for any man with a vivid imagination for a Guinnevere." Before Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Plant tells the crowd "I'm gonna sack whichever road manager has burnt the lyrics to the next song." As the song ends, he exclaims "we are The Knights Who Say Ni!" Peter Grant is introduced as "the man who made it all possible" before Trampled Underfoot. Page delivers an aggressive guitar solo.
Plant introduces Bonzo as "a man with no taste, no manners, no friends... my very best friend, the man who always kicks me when I'm down, ladies and gentlemen, John Bonham!" before Moby Dick. The Woodstock interlude during Dazed and Confused is hauntingly beautiful. Plant's ethereal howls echo through the arena as the bow solo begins. Page's fingers get a bit sticky as he shreds through the frantic guitar solo/workout section. The return to the main riff is devastatingly heavy with Bonzo thrashing wildly at anything within reach. The hypnotic outro jam is a cacophonous explosion of energy. As the song ends, someone near the taper can be heard saying "is that the end?"
Stairway to Heaven is introduced as "a song that came to us in a moment of great peace and tranquility." Page blazes through an excellent guitar solo. Plant delivers the final line in absolute silence. The band plods their way through the show-closing Black Dog. As they leave the stage, Plant announces "we'd like to that the road crew, Showco... and Denis Healey for being such a perv, goodnight."
May 23, 1975
Earls Court Arena
0701. Band Announcements
0702. Rock And Roll
0703. Sick Again
0704. Over The Hills And Far Away
0705. In My Time Of Dying
0706. The Song Remains The Same
0707. The Rain Song
0801. No Quarter
0803. Going To California
0804. That's The Way
0805. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
0806. Trampled Underfoot
0901. Moby Dick
0902. Dazed And Confused
1001. Stairway To Heaven
1002. Crowd Anticipation
1003. Whole Lotta Love
1004. Black Dog
John Bonham's brother Mick recalls this night in his book 'My Brother John':
"Come May 23rd, Jacko (father), Debbie (sister) and myself, along with a good friend of mine set off to see for ourselves how the band had progressed since we had last seen them at Trentham Gardens. As soon as the band walked onstage, to rapturous applause, we were in awe at the whole bloody size of it. Showco had shipped in the PA system and light show that was used on their American tour and above the stage a huge video screen showing close up views of the band as they went about their business. For three and a half hours, we were treated to rock music from a band that you just know were glad to be home. Every enthusiastic move by the band was highlighted in a show that was second to none. Laser beams fired above the heads of the audience gave the effect of flaming arrows when they reflected off a mirror ball, filling the vast hall with snowflakes and stars..."
An excellent show ... "Good evening! Welcome to the show. Afer an absence of something like two years, I guess we're all ready for a little Physical Graffiti. Please welcome to Earl's Court ... Led Zeppelin! DJ David Jensen introduced the band in the great style Robert's voice is in strong shape (by 1975 standards) and the band rocks! "Last weekend we did a couple of warm-up gigs for these three. We believe these were the first three gigs to be sold out, so these must be the ones with the most energy stored up. You've been waiting!" Plant stated. Kashmir is thunderous and No Quarter contains some truly excellent improvisation from all three instrumentalists. The acoustic section is wonderful and Dazed And Confused and Stairway To Heaven are excellent version, though both will be bested the following night. The Whole Lotta Love encore has a really long jam leading into Black Dog, with the rhythm section cooking ferociously while Robert screams and ad-libs.
The band's third night at Earls Court begins with an enthusiastic introduction by David 'Kid' Jensen before Rock and Roll explodes out of the gate. Bonzo is like a thunderous stampede, hammering at his drums with incredible intensity. Page tears through the guitar solos during an aggressive Sick Again. In My Time of Dying is a wild cacophony. The band gets a bit lost in the melee at times. Plant hints at You Shook Me near the end of the song. Page's fingers are a bit sticky during The Song Remains the Same. Plant tells the crowd "my left arm is swollen beyond all proportion because I just had it chipped for cholera and smallpox and everything else that we might catch while we go hunting in the jungle for new words and new songs for a new album" following The Rain Song.
Jones is introduced as "Jonesy the maestro" before No Quarter. The electric piano intro is nearly inaudible due to PA problems, recovering before the first verse. Jones's ominous piano solo is followed by a long, wandering guitar solo from Page. Plant hints as When the Levee Breaks while introducing Tangerine as "a song of simple love, first love." That's the Way is beautiful. As the song ends, Bonzo announces "Robert Plant on vocals!" Plant tells the crowd "I think this evening is beginning to feel... silly!" before an explosive Trampled Underfoot. Bonzo is introduced as "a friend, a truly great percussionist, a man with a big heart" before Moby Dick.
Plant unleashes a spine-chilling scream at the beginning of the third verse of Dazed and Confused. The bow solo is preceded by a hauntingly heavy San Francisco interlude. Page shreds erratically through the guitar solo/workout section. The band nearly falls apart during the return to the main riff. The thunderous finale is punctuated by another blood-curdling scream from Plant. Stairway to Heaven is dedicated to journalist Chris Schaar Murray, who had recently described the band as "like a vibrator, it can get you off something ridiculous, but it can't kiss you goodnight." Page delivers an excellent guitar solo. The band closes the show with a devastatingly heavy Black Dog.
May 24, 1975
Earls Court Arena
1101. Band Announcements
1102. Rock And Roll
1103. Sick Again
1104. Over The Hills And Far Away
1105. In My Time Of Dying
1106. The Song Remains The Same
1107. The Rain Song
1201. No Quarter
1203. Going To California
1204. That's The Way
1205. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
1206. Trampled Underfoot
1301. Moby Dick
1302. Dazed And Confused
1401. Stairway To Heaven
1402. Crowd Anticipation
1403. Whole Lotta Love
1404. Black Dog
This is a monster of a show. The best of the five Earl's Court gigs, this show has the band reaching a peak for 1975, one that is even better than Seattle and LA two months earlier. Nicky Horne simply introduced the band: "Welcome to Earl's Court. For the next three hours ... your mother wouldn't like it!" No Quarter must be the best version ever recorded, and Dazed And Confused is an incredible journey. Dennis Healey was again remembered during the introduction to the Dazed: "We gotta fly soon. Y'know how it goes with Dennis ... dear Dennis. Private enterprise ... no artists in the country anymore ... he must be dazed and confusd!" Stairway To Heaven contains probably the best solo ever by Jimmy on the song while Plant's vocal is not the best. The humour was belonged to the whole group so Bonham took the microphone as they climbed for the encores and said: "I'd like to say at this point that I think football's a load of bollocks!" what caued a quick retord from Plant: "I'd like to say that soccer's a wonderful sport, the best sport."
The tape begins with Nicky Horne announcing "for the next three hours, your mother wouldn't like it" as the band takes the stage. Things get off to a somewhat sluggish start, Bonzo sounds tired as he fumbles through the drum outburst at the end of Rock and Roll. Page's fingers get caught in the strings during the second guitar solo in Sick Again. As the song ends, Plant jokingly hints at Living Loving Maid during his usual "six and a half years" spiel. Page's fingers are like razor blades as he slashes and shreds through an erratic guitar solo during Over the Hills and Far Away.
In My Time of Dying is introduced as "a song that came from the deep south of America." The PA problems persist, causing Page's guitar to cut out briefly during the initial verses. Plant references Hey Joe, exclaiming "so I gave her the gun, and I shot her!" as Page launches into the first guitar solo. The band's timing gets a bit sloppy as the song progresses. Plant tells the crowd "it really is a treat to be playing in England again" before dedicating No Quarter to "anybody who's got any hope that everything can be okay in our wonderful country again." The instrumental section is transformed into a somewhat disjointed free-form improvisation featuring an excellent laid-back guitar solo from Page. Tangerine is introduced as "a song of love in its most innocent stages." That's the Way is beautiful. Page shreds wildly as Bonzo pummels the crowd during an erratic Trampled Underfoot.
Plant sings a few lines of Rip it Up before announcing "tonight, there's a lad watching his dad who is a remarkable drummer... he's a better drummer that eighty percent of rock group drummers today and he's eight years old, so... Jason Bonham, this is your dad!" prior to Moby Dick. The penultimate performance of Dazed and Confused is introduced as "a song that came at the very beginning of our time." Page solos wildly through the lead-in to the bow solo. The mournful Woodstock interlude is fantastic. Page erupts in a furious cascade of notes during the guitar solo/workout section, his fingers tear across the fretboard at lightning speed. The outro jam is extended beyond all limits. Stairway to Heaven is introduced as "a song which typifies the mood of hope, which in our brighter moments surrounds us." Page delivers a truly amazing guitar solo, building tension with each note as the epic drama unfolds. An unbelievable performance, one of the best thus far.
As the band returns to the stage, Bonzo announces "I'd like to say at this point that I think football is a load of bollocks!" to which Plant responds "I'd like to say that soccer is a wonderful sport, the best sport," adding "and that's got nothin' to do with Bonzo's sentiments." Whole Lotta Love features an excellent theremin freakout, which includes bits of Sex Machine and Turn on Your Love Light.
May 25, 1975
Earls Court Arena
Great Taste Last Night
1501. Before The Show
1502. Band Announcements
1503. Rock And Roll
1504. Sick Again
1505. Over The Hills And Far Away
1506. In My Time Of Dying
1507. The Song Remains The Same
1508. The Rain Song
1601. No Quarter
1603. Going To California
1604. That's The Way
1605. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
1606. Trampled Underfoot
1701. Moby Dick
1702. Dazed And Confused
1801. Stairway To Heaven
1802. Crowd Anticipation
1803. Whole Lotta Love
1804. Black Dog
1805. Crowd Anticipation
1807. Communication Breakdown
1808. After The Show
The final Earl's Court show, the final 1975 show, and the last ever performance of Dazed And Confused. The initial string of numbers are high powered and aggressive! No Quarter is a really great jam and the acoustic section is pretty good. Moby Dick and Dazed are rather boring however, which is sad and rather unfitting as it is the last ever performance of the latter. Stairway To Heaven was dedicated to Plant's daughter: "Carmen - this song's to a little girl who sits probably wondering what it all about ... so, where is the bridge? Well, Carmen, were's your chance to find out where the bridge is ... and if you know, please let me know after the show." The solo is wonderful and the encores contain a tortured Theremin solo from Jimmy before the extra songs are played for the last night's sake.
The band's fifth and final night at Earls Court begins with Alan 'Fluff' Freeman announcing "we are here tonight because you and I have great taste" before Rock and Roll crashes into motion. Page blazes through the second guitar solo in Sick Again. As the song ends, Plant announces "good evening and welcome to the last concert in England for a considerable time." Page shreds frantically through an excellent guitar solo during Over the Hills and Far Away. In My Time of Dying is introduced as "an old work chant." Page solos wildly as Bonzo and Jones pummel the crowd. An incredibly powerful performance, one of the best thus far.
Bonzo is on fire during The Song Remains the Same, thrashing at his drums with wild abandon as Page's fingers race across the fretboard. The Rain Song is absolutely fantastic, one of the best in recent memory. Jones's somber piano solo during No Quarter features hints of Concierto de Aranjuez. The instrumental section is an epic journey. The band receives a thunderous ovation as the piece comes to a close. The climax is reached during the blistering outro. An outstanding performance. Page plays a bit of Tea For One as Plant introduces Tangerine. Going to California is delicately beautiful. Jones's mandolin work is fantastic. Plant makes a few references to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, asking the crowd "what is a shrubbery amongst friends?" before an excellent That's the Way.
The band gets into a bit of Robert Johnson's If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day before Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. Plant gives the crowd a brief history of Johnson's life before introducing Trampled Underfoot. Page shreds erratically through an aggressive guitar solo. Bonzo is introduced as "our blood brother" before a particularly thunderous Moby Dick. Plant says a few kind words about Peter Grant before introducing Dazed and Confused as "the essence of the early Zeppelin." The San Francisco interlude is hauntingly mournful. Plant's ghostly howls echo through the arena. Page's fingers are like razor blades as he slashes and shreds through the frantic guitar solo/workout section. Plant can be heard exclaiming "amen!" off-mic during the call and response section. Page solos wildly during the outro jam. A somewhat uneven final performance of the band's signature song.
Plant dedicates Stairway to Heaven to his daughter Carmen, saying "this is a song to a little girl who sits there, probably wondering what it's all about." Page delivers an excellent guitar solo despite breaking a string near the end. Plant sings the final line in complete silence. As the band returns to the stage, Plant says "is this our swan song, I wonder?" Page hints at Ozone Baby following an excellent funky jam during Whole Lotta Love. Plant unleashes a series of blood-curdling screeches during the violent theramin freakout. Page's fingers get a bit sticky during the extended guitar solo in Black Dog. As the song ends, Plant announces "good citizens of Great Britain, it's been five glorious days... thank you very much for bein' a great audience, and if you see Denis Healey, tell him we've gone."
Plant exclaims "this is somethin' we never do!" as the band returns to the stage once again, joking "any requests?" Page blazes through the fast guitar solo during Heartbreaker. Plant pushes his voice to the limit during the final verse. The band closes the show with an explosive Communication Breakdown. Plant does his best Jamaican accent during a fantastic funky breakdown. As the band leaves the stage for the final time, he announces "thank you very much for showin' us that England is still alive and well." A fantastic finale to 1975. Must hear.
May 24, 1975
Earls Court Arena
He Must Be Dazed And Confused
1901. Band Announcements
1902. Rock And Roll
1903. Sick Again
1904. Over The Hills And Far Away
1905. In My Time Of Dying
1906. The Song Remains The Same
1907. The Rain Song
2001. No Quarter
2003. Going To California
2004. That's The Way
2005. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
2006. Trampled Underfoot
2101. Moby Dick
2102. Dazed And Confused
2201. Stairway To Heaven
2202. Crowd Anticipation
2203. Whole Lotta Love
2204. Black Dog
2205. After The Show
May 25, 1975
Earls Court Arena
Zeppelin Express Physical Rocket
2301. Before The Show
2302. Band Announcements
2303. Rock And Roll
2304. Sick Again
2305. Over The Hills And Far Away
2306. In My Time Of Dying
2307. The Song Remains The Same
2308. The Rain Song
2401. No Quarter
2403. Going To California
2404. That's The Way
2405. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
2406. Trampled Underfoot
2501. Moby Dick
2502. Dazed And Confused
2601. Stairway To Heaven
2602. Crowd Anticipation
2603. Whole Lotta Love
2604. Black Dog
2605. Crowd Anticipation
2607. Communication Breakdown
2608. After The Show
May 18, 1975
Earls Court Arena
Alternate Source 1
2701. No Quarter
2703. Going To California
2704. That's The Way
2705. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
Alternate Source 2
2801. Band Announcements
2802. Rock And Roll
2803. Sick Again
2804. Over The Hills And Far Away
2805. In My Time Of Dying
2806. The Song Remains The Same
2807. The Rain Song
May 24, 1975
Earls Court Arena
Alternate Audience Source
2901. In My Time Of Dying
2902. The Song Remains The Same
2903. The Rain Song
2905. No Quarter
3001. Going To California
3002. That's The Way
3003. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
3004. Trampled Underfoot
3005. Woodstock (Excerpt From Dazed And Confused)
3006. Stairway To Heaven
May 25, 1975
Earls Court Arena
Alternate Audience Source
3101. Dazed And Confused
3102. Stairway To Heaven
3103. Crowd Anticipation
3104. Whole Lotta Love
3105. Black Dog
3106. Crowd Anticipation
3108. Communication Breakdown
CD1-3 "WELCOME HOME" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 17th, 1975 (audience source mix)
CD4-6 "NO QUARTER" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 18th, 1975 (audience source mix)
CD7-10 "AWESOME FOURSOME" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 23rd, 1975 (audience source mix)
CD11-14 "FOURTHCOMING" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 24th, 1975 (audience source mix)
CD15-18 "GREAT TASTE LAST NIGHT" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 25th, 1975 (audience source mix)
CD19-22 "HE MUST BE DAZED AND CONFUSED" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 24th, 1975 (soundboard patched with audience)
CD23-26 "ZEPPELIN EXPRESS PHYSICAL ROCKET" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on may 25th, 1975 (soundboard patched with audience)
CD27 "ASSORTED DELIGHTS" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 18th, 1975 (Red Revil AKA No Quarter audience source)
CD28 "ASSORTED DELIGHTS" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 18th, 1975 (alternate audience source)
CD29-30 "ASSORTED DELIGHTS" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 24th, 1975 (alternate audience source)
CD31 "ASSORTED DELIGHTS" recorded live at Earl's Court Arena, London, England on May 25th, 1975 (alternate audience source)
Deluxe hinged open box housing individual glossy cartoon gatefold sleeves with discs plus inserts. Limited to 250 numbered copies. As for now, this is the most definitive and best sounding version for each of London May 1975 shows released. "Assorted Delights" contains bonus sources that are either previously uncirculated or not released in their entireties anywhere yet.
Some Background information
(Finding your way through all thoe different versions out there)
5-17-75, source 1
Arabesque & Baroque (Antrabata, 3cd), Join the Blimp (Tarantura, 4cd), & Nice Opening Night (IQ, 3cd)
Antrabata, Tarantura, and IQ share the same tape source. IQ has a couple more cuts between songs than the other 2 titles. Tarantura and IQ are both missing a short sentence after Dazed and Confused. Antrabata is missing most of the tape after Stairway, before Whole Lotta Love. Antrabata and IQ sound very much alike. Tarantura’s title is a good bit louder, as it was amplified some. This also brings up the background noise some too. These titles tend to run fast.
5-17-75, source 1 & 2 mixes
Chancellor of the Exchequer (Tarantura2000), Complete Earl’s Court Arena Tapes “I” (Empress Valley, 4cd), Devil’s Banquet (Power Chord, 4cd), Earl’s Court the Final Option: Welcome Home (Empress Valley, 3cd), Five Glorious Daze: Welcome Back To Britain (Tarantura2000), & La Promenade (Wendy Records, 3cd)
Power Chord debuted the second source and is it’s foundation. It uses source one to fill some gaps between songs, for all of Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, fragments of Moby and Dazed, and the several minutes of audience cheer after Stairway. The constant source switching is annoying. The title is unnecessarily spread across an extra disc.
Empress Valley “I” is almost completely identical to Powerchord’s.
Tarantura2000’s Chancellor also uses source two as it’s foundation, but elects to use source one for Tangerine and Going To California. That’s an odd choice since those songs are available on source two and the foundation of the whole title is that source. Like the other two mix titles, there are constant source changes.
Wendy’s title is almost entirely source one but makes an unnecessary splice to source two for the last two seconds of the Rain Song. Several seconds are missing from the introduction and at the cut/disturbance after Bron. It’s been speed corrected and amplified.
Tarantura2000’s title from the Five Glorious Daze box is the same exact mixture of tapes as Powerchord. But, it’s not as good since they’ve introduced some sound changes between songs that sometimes sound like cuts, incorporated some bad noise during the first half of That’s the Way, and has one or more micro cut/repeats within the title. It’s amplified a bit over Powerchord.
EV’s “Welcome Home” is a mix using source one as it’s foundation and barely misses any source one at the splices. This time they elected not to stretch the show onto an extra disc. It’s sound is similar to IQ for the source they share.
5-18-75, sources 1, 2, & 3
Arabesque & Baroque, The Second Night (Antrabata, 4cd), Argenteum Astrum (Tarantura, 4cd), Black Dragon with Blue Axe: Journey Into the Fourth Dimension and Black Dragon with Blue Axe (Empress Valley, 6cd), Complete Earl’s Court Arena (Immigrant, 3cd), Complete Earl’s Court Arena Tapes “II” and “No Quarter” (Empress Valley, 4cd & 2cd from 22cd box set), Femme Fatal (Wendy Records, 3cd), Earl’s Court the Final Option: “No Quarter” and “Assorted Delights” (Empress Valley), Five Glorious Daze: “It’s Time To Welcome Home” and “Magical Atmosphere” (Tarantura2000), No Quarter: Journey Into the Fourth Dimension and No Quarter (Empress Valley, 5cd), No Quarter (Empress Valley, 4cd; Good Believe, 1cd; Tarantura2000, 3cd & 5cd), & Red Devil (TDOLZ, 4cd)
The first source for this show is found on Good Believe, Empress Valley’s 2cd “No Quarter” from “Complete Earl's Court Arena Tapes,” Tarantura2000’s 5cd release, EV’s “No Quarter” from the 5cd “No Quarter” box, and EV’s “Assorted Delights” from “Earl’s Court the Final Option.”
The second source was released on Immigrant.
The third source is on Tarantura, Antrabata, TDOLZ – while those three titles do use source two for the encores, their objective was releasing all of source three. Tarantura2000’s “Magical Atmosphere” uses the third source as it’s foundation, and completes using the other two sources.
The rest of the titles offering the whole show are three source mixes.
The performance can easily be placed on three cds but some of these labels stretched it out to four discs.
Good Believe’s forty minute title was transferred from the old and incomplete vinyl release.
Empress Valley’s 2cd “No Quarter” from the 22cd box “Complete Earl's Court Arena Tapes” claims it was copied directly from the original acetate used for the vinyl release by the same name from many years back. Albeit, the first third of the show is now included. The title track isn’t complete and it’s sound is not in good condition. It seems to have some heavy suppression to remove unwanted sounds and has many “micro cut/repeats.” Additionally, it seems to be amplified to the point of being overblown. The strangest thing of all is a nearby person’s cough at 2:18. This exact cough is in the exact same place on the tape used by TDOLZ. Other identifying sounds, before and after the cough, are all very faint and do not match up to TDOLZ. In some instances, where talk near the taper is found on TDOLZ, there’s a convenient sound in the same place on EV that prevents clear interpretation. Combining that with some of the background suppression…it’s extremely difficult to be 100% certain about the truth. In all fairness, there are sounds on EV that aren’t on the other sources. Again, this is also from a label that release “less than honest” titles. Yet, no cd releases have cuts in this area. It is very possible that EV has spliced in tape during this section but it would also mean they did it perfectly in, and then out. The chances of that happening so seamlessly are super slim. The chances they’d add sounds and remove others to hide something are slim too – hopefully. Ultimately, sometime soon after the cough, the song is certainly from the proper source.
EV’s 2015 “No Quarter” reissues the audio from the EV’s original 2cd title from within the 22cd box.
EV’s 2016 first two cds of “Assorted Delights” reissues the audio from the 22cd box – with all of the defects they introduced intact (again). This time the liner notes refer to the familiar vinyl source (No Quarter through Bron) as “alternate source #1” (cd1) and the other part (intro through Kashmir) as “alternate source #2” (cd2).
Tarantura2000’s 5cd release contains 3 versions of this source, all very incomplete and full of “micro cut/repeats” (probably from software to “clean up” the sound). The first 2cds (TCD-53-1/4) are missing Kashmir. The second 2cds (TCD-54-1/2) only contain 4.5 minutes of No Quarter – the title track that’s always been 18 minutes on other releases of this source. It’s Bron-Yr-Aur has the “metallic” sound. The fifth cd (TCD-55) is sourced from the old vinyl release. Like the other four cds from this 5cd box, the sound has been “cleaned up,” producing all the digital problems, cut repeats, and so forth. That’s the Way starts off with some bad static and there are very serious digital problems after the song. The title is a big downgrade from the vinyl and Good Believe titles. Certainly one of the absolute worst titles by Tarantura2000.
Immigrant’s title is exclusively from the second source. The encores run too fast.
Source two is the basis for Tarantura2000’s 3cd title. When source two has a gap, it is filled with source one. When source one isn’t available to fill a gap, source three is used. This release reveals a few more minutes of tape than Immigrant. It has a longer introduction, the ending of Moby Dick, and some extra tape before the encores.
Wendy’s title is a mix that’s highly similar to Tarantura2000, using source two as the foundation. It often displaces a more of source two than necessary. Instead of using all of the source two intro, it elects to use source one for most of it. It offers an extra two minutes of tape after Stairway that are not found on titles prior to EV’s 2015 “Journey” release.
TDOLZ uses source two’s introduction and encores. Tarantura and Antrabata also use source two’s encores.
Antrabata’s cuts are in slightly different places. It has at least one additional cut beyond TDOLZ and Tarantura. It also has a slight instance of digital interference 80 seconds into That’s the Way.
TDOLZ’s tape seems to be more reliable when comparing the intro’s and cuts. The tape after the show on Red Devil and AA may be from a different source than the Antrabata.
Taratura2000’s “Magical Atmosphere” uses source three as it’s foundation. The cut at the track change for Going To California really make it sound like they’ve copied and edited directly from TDOLZ. The source two filler definitely seems to be copied directly from EV, as their micro cut/repeats are certainly repeated on this title too. The splices between songs often displace much more of source three than necessary.
Antrabata claims the source used was a “Master or 1st generation tape source,” but it’s sound is completely inferior to TDOLZ’s. Tarantura sounds a small bit better than the TDOLZ but may be due entirely to amplifying.
Empress Valley’s 4cd “II” and “No Quarter (4cd)” - EV mixes three sources for the music. Roughly speaking, the first third is the same as Immigrant. The middle third is from the original “No Quarter” title/source, and the last is the same as TDOLZ. The tape before and after the show are mixed too. The first part has been amplified a hair more than Immigrant’s. Additionally, EV has treated the tape some (usually between songs but during songs occasionally too), making the sound very awkward. The purpose of using the overblown/noisy “No Quarter” source for the middle part is not known. Overall, the title is really pointless. It switches sources too much and doesn’t offer good sound quality. Unnecessarily spread across four cds.
EV’s “Black Dragon with Blue Axe” reissues the audio found on the 2002 titles of this show by EV, onto this 3cd title.
EV’s “Journey Into the Fourth Dimension” has “new source” printed on the discs, but they do not contain a new source. Perhaps they meant to trick buyers when they edited/removed the signature clapping after Tangerine, Trampled, and maybe other similar edits elsewhere. This is another pointless mix, not offering the bulk of any of the three sources. (The section of s2 after Stairway mostly intact, only missing 11 seconds.)
EV’s “No Quarter” from “Earl’s Court the Final Option” is a three source mix using source two as it’s foundation. It misses little of source two at the splices. It’s not been amplified as much as Immigrant’s title.
Tarantura2000’s 3cd “No Quarter” from 2006 is a three source mix. It uses source two as it’s primary, then source one, then source three. It doesn’t include all of source two.
Wendy’s title is a three source mix using source two as it’s foundation. It doesn’t include all of source two.
Tarantura2000’s “It’s Time To Welcome Home” from the “Five Glorious Daze” box is a three source mix. It mainly uses sources two and three, but makes no attempt to offer all of either – it’s a useless mix. It has an odd and unnecessary splice after Tangerine to very briefly swap out one guy yelling during source one in the background for a different guy yelling during source three. Instead of mixing tapes to offer a more complete show, they decided to not include all the available tape after Stairway. The encores are from source two as usual, but for the last ten seconds of the show, they chose to splice to a poorer quality tape of source two.
Taratura2000’s “Magical Atmosphere” from the “Five Glorious Daze” box is a three source mix. Please see the “Source Three” section above for notes.
Arabesque & Baroque, The Third Night (Antrabata, 4cd), The Awesome Foursome (CG, 3cd), Complete Earl’s Court Arena Tapes “III” (Empress Valley, 4cd), Earl’s Court the Final Option: Awesome Foursome (Empress Valley), Express (Scorpio), Five Glorious Daze: Please Welcome To Earl’s Court (Tarantura2000), Physical Express (Jelly Roll, 4cd), Rites of Manhood (Tarantura2000), Thunderstorm (Tarantura, 4cd), & Welcome To the Show (TDOLZ, 4cd)
CG & TDOLZ both use a single source each, which do not document the complete performance. Both have incomplete Trampled Underfoot’s. CG placed Moby across the last 2 cds to fit the show on 3 discs. TDOLZ properly used 4cds to keep the songs together.
Antrabata, Jelly Roll, and the two Empress Valley titles all use source one as their foundation and then use source two to fill Trampled. EV’s “Awesome Foursome” includes almost every second of source one. These various titles have highly similar sound quality. Antrabata has at least 6 more cuts between songs, an unnecessary slight cut in Trampled, and is missing approximately 50 seconds of Moby.
Tarantura doesn’t have the few tape problems found on TDOLZ from between Over the Hills through Going To California. As with TDOLZ, Trampled is not complete but Tarantura cuts out 11 seconds too soon and then misses two dozen seconds of tape after the song. Tarantura’s Moby Dick is cut, missing two dozen seconds. Regardless of these faults, Thunderstorm is much better sounding than the others. It doesn’t have any extra background noise with the improvement of the music.
Tarantura2000’s “Rites” uses source two as it’s foundation. It uses source one for the introduction, part of Trampled, and possibly during the end of Dazed. A third source is used after Dying, Trampled, possibly during the end of Dazed, after Stairway, and during the last dozen seconds after the show. There’s a lot of channel shifting during Moby and Dazed. It seems to be a faked stereo effect. There are also a lot of little clicking sounds in the background during different sections of Dazed.
Scorpio’s title is a mix that uses the first source as it’s foundation and the second source to complete Trampled. It’s sound has been amplified more than TDOLZ.
Tarantura2000’s “Five Glorious Daze” title is almost the same as their previous release of this show. While it’s the same exact source mixture and audio content, it’s been slowed down a hair and the channel shifting is a little different. The show starts out with the right channel being much more prominent than the left. The shifting problems during Moby and Dazed are a little less noticeable. This time, two minutes into Tangerine, there’s a strange sound change that’s not on their previous release. It almost sounds like a brief source change, but likely isn’t. (Although, manufacturers do insert random brief source changes for unknown reasons.) It’s sound quality is similar to their original version.
5-24-75 audience source 1 & 2
Earl’s Court the Final Option: “Fourthcoming” & “Assorted Delights” (Empress Valley) & Fourthcoming (IQ, 4cd)
IQ’s “Fourthcoming” uses the first source for everything but No Quarter, where it shares the same source as “Assorted Delights.”
EV’s cds 3 and 4 of “Assorted Delights” from the box set feature the second source that sounds as if it were copied from vinyl. It starts with Dying, skips Moby and most of Dazed, and ends with Stairway.
EV’s “Fourthcoming” is the same mix of audience tapes as IQ, except it fills a couple of gaps between songs with the soundboard, and fills the big cut in Moby with the second source.
Arabesque & Baroque, The Fourth Night (Antrabata, 4cd), Complete Earl’s Court Arena Tapes “IV” (Empress Valley, 4cd), Earl’s Court Arena 2405 Evoluzione (Empress Valley, 4cd, original and reissue), Earl’s Court (SIRA, 3cd), Earl’s Court Incident (Red Devil, 3cd), Earl’s Court the Final Option: He Must Be Dazed and Confused (Empress Valley), Five Glorious Daze: For the Next Three Hours, Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It (Tarantura2000, 4cd), Graf-Zeppelin-Marsch (Tarantura, 3cd), He Must Be Dazed and Confused (Empress Valley, 4cd), Odysseus (Celebration, 4cd), To Be a Rock and Not To Roll (Watchtower, 4cd), & Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It (TDOLZ, 3cd)
SIRA, Tarantura, Antrabata, and TDOLZ are the older titles, released when Moby Dick wasn’t available from the video soundtrack.
TDOLZ and Tarantura are virtually identical. The Tarantura has been slightly amplified.
SIRA mixes the soundtrack and audience tape. Excluding the soundtrack of Moby Dick, about 95% of the sb tape was used on this release. The audience tape was used to fill in the difference. However, they did split Moby across the last 2 discs to fit the show on 3 cds.
Antrabata also used the audience tape to fill in the soundtrack gaps.
Celebration was the first title to release Moby Dick. It notes the show as being from the soundboard. They may or may not have meant to mislead, maybe only meaning the recording was from a professional source instead of the audience. Upon their later release of the video, the cuts during the acoustic set were found to match their audio release of the “soundboard.” Odysseus does not use the audience tape to fill in gaps. It has a slight cut after Moby Dick and is cut while Dazed is ending, just like it’s predecessors. Also like it’s predecessors, the soundtrack generation seems to be the same, but only up thru the fifth minute of Dazed. From that point it clears up by a generation. Overall, it’s sound is amplified and even almost overblown in places.
Watchtower’s version is noted being from the soundboard. It has the most soundtrack tape before and after the show. Instead of using the partial soundtrack tape for Going To California, they spliced to the audience tape before it starts. Moby Dick contains 3 brief spots with severe static that are not found on the other releases. It is not cut after Moby Dick or during the end of Dazed. This title has almost six extra minutes of tape after Stairway.
Empress Valley used the same cds for their first two releases of this show (22cd box & He Must Be…). They make no source indication of any kind. Like Watchtower, they decided to not use the soundboard fragment for Going To California. It switches to the audience recording a few seconds early. Most of the tape after Stairway is not included. It is also missing some tape before and after the show.
Empress Valley’s third release (“2405”) is different from their first pair. It’s introduction has even less tape than their others, which were already short. The instance of static during the later part of Dying has been poorly removed, making the interruption more noticeable than the static. This time, the available sound board fragment is used for Going To California, but misses it’s last 4 seconds. All of the tape after Stairway and after the show are present. EV’s reissue title of the same name uses new discs, but has the same disc times. It’s a copy of the original.
Watchtower and the Empress Valley’s releases are from lower generation video soundtracks than the earlier titles by other labels. The music is clearer and there is less background noise. Watchtower and Empress Valley’s third release have the least amount of background noise and are almost completely identical. EV’s first pair of releases have more background noise than the third release. Watchtower and the Empress Valley titles have less low end then Celebration’s. However, Celebration’s slightly lower frequencies can be attributed entirely to the overloading. Those three titles lack really good low end. They are not left sounding high and tiny. There’s plenty of great mid range sound.
Red Devil’s release seems to be sourced from Watchtower’s release, but isn’t a direct copy. The introduction, tape after Stairway, and tape after the show have all been shortened. No Quarter has been moved out of sequence, placing it between two acoustic tracks. (The move was evidently done to use one less cd, just like with “Robert’s Last Stand.”) The cue stops match Watchtower until the move. The sound quality is identical to Watchtower.
Wendy’s title uses the soundboard as it’s primary tape and uses the audience tape too. Wendy has also introduced two new cuts, just before the opening song and the Song Remains the Same. They chopped out 9 seconds during In My Time of Dying where the split second of static is found in the tape. Instead of using the soundboard portion available for Going To California, they’ve elected to use the audience\tape. The splicing displaces available sb tape there too. The sound isn’t amplified as much as EV.
Tarantura2000’s title uses the soundboard for it’s foundation and uses the audience to fill. Instead of using all of the available board for California, they displace about 23 seconds of it. After Stairway and Robert’s “Good Night,” they’ve removed the sound from the microphone being set down. The title’s sound has been amplified a touch more than EV’s 2405.
EV’s fourth version to release the soundboard (with audience filler) is from the 31 cd box, subtitled “He Must Be Dazed and Confused.” While it shares the same name as their third release, it is different. This time they decided not to use the soundboard tape for the first part of California. A few minor static spots have been introduced just before Stairway and during the first couple of minutes. This release has all the tape after the show, unlike the last version. It’s sound isn’t as amplified as EV’s prior version.
A 2 Last Nights (Tarantura), Bataille de Trafalgar (Wendy Records, 4cd), Conquistador (Watchtower & Water Tank, 4cd), Complete Earl’s Court Arena Tapes “V” (Empress Valley, 4cd), Earl’s Court `75 Final Court (Celebration), Earl’s Court the Final Option: Zeppelin Express Physical Rocket (Empress Valley), Five Glorious Daze: Watch Out For the Holy Grail (Tarantura2000, 4cd), Shake For Me Baby (Missing Link), Welcome To the 1979 Knebworth Festival’s bonus disc “Epilogue” (Watchtower, 1cd), When We Were Kings (Empress Valley, 4cd), Young Person’s Guide To Led Zeppelin (Empress Valley, 4cd), & Zeppelin Express Physical Rocket (Empress Valley, 4cd)
Missing Link and Tarantura are the older releases and do not contain the extra material (TSRTS & Rain) found on Celebration.
Celebration uses the same tape found on the other titles for the shared songs. All three slow down during Kashmir but Celebration makes an adjustment just before No Quarter. This title also misses the last 3-4 seconds of Tangerine. There doesn’t seem tape generation difference. There’s no amplification and doesn’t have any background noise. The new material comes from a clean but flat sounding professional source.
Missing Link’s title is a little louder than Tarantura due to amplification. It is missing the last 3-4 seconds of Tangerine due to a fade out. Tarantura does not fade.
Empress Valley was the first to release the full show from a professional source. They used the same cds for their first two releases of this show (22cd box & Zeppelin Express…). Kashmir, No Quarter, and Tangerine have been available for many years. It splices to the old pro source for the final two minutes of No Quarter and continues to use it through the last half minute of Tangerine. From that point, the audience tape is used for thirty seconds to complete the song and a little bit of time afterwards. These two Empress Valley titles are missing most of the extremely long introduction, almost 8 minutes of tape after Stairway, a little more after Black Dog, and a bit more after the show too. The music and background noise are slightly louder than Watchtower’s. The difference is just due to amplification.
Empress Valley’s third and fourth releases, When We Were Kings and Young Person’s Guide, are different from their earlier pair of releases. This time the large amounts of tape before the show, after Stairway and Black Dog, and after the show are available. The big overlap of tape between discs is present again, but about a minute less than before. The loudness of the music and background noise is less this time, making it virtually identical in sound to Watchtower. (Young Person’s Guide uses the same disc times and matrix numbers, but they’re not the same discs from WWWK.)
Watchtower’s Conquistador is musically similar to Empress Valley. Fortunately it lacks the large amounts of tape overlap between discs. It misses a few seconds of Robert’s commentary just before switching back to the soundboard before Going To California.
Watchtower’s “Epilogue” claims to be from an alternative board source. It starts with a shorter introduction and ends just after Kashmir. The sound is almost completely identical to Conquistador.
Empress Valley’s music and background noise are slightly louder than Watchtower’s. The difference is just due to amplification.
Red Devil’s release seems to be sourced from Watchtower’s release, but isn’t a direct copy. The introduction, tape after Stairway, and tape after the show have all been shortened. No Quarter has been moved out of sequence, placing it between two acoustic tracks. (The move was evidently done to use one less cd, just like with “Robert’s Last Stand.”) The sound quality is identical to Watchtower.
Water Tank’s title has the same matrix numbers, disc times, cuts, and sound as Watchtower. It’s either a direct disc copy or is issuing unused discs from Watchtower’s production.
Wendy’s title is similar in sound and content to WT and the latter EV’s, just using a little of the audience tape for Tangerine. The title misses the first 41 seconds of the seven plus minute introduction. It has a brief moment of static in No Quarter, just before the splice to the older board. It’s this spot were Wendy offers a few seconds of the better board before splicing out to the older. They also offer about six seconds more of the older board right before the splice to the audience tape to complete Tangerine. That’s ten seconds of the better board not found on prior releases.
Tarantura2000’s title from the “Five Glorious Daze” box set presents most of the soundboard and fills the usual musical gap with the audience tape. Most of the introduction, tape between Stairway and Whole Lotta Love, and the tape after the show are all missing. Dying has a micro cut/repeat – a very common item (still) on T2K titles. An extra soundboard snippet appears on this title of Robert speaking, just before the usual soundboard starts up before California. It’s sound has been amplified a bit.
EV’s “Zeppelin Express Physical Rocket” from the Earl’s Court the Final Option box is different from their previous titles. There’s a bit of static found that starts about halfway into the introduction. Like the T2K box, this Dying also has a micro cut/repeat in the same place. The only part of the soundboard it’s missing is when it splices to the audience source six seconds too early. It’s sound is similar to Wendy.
5-25-75 audience sources 1 & 2
Arabesque & Baroque, The Final Night (Antrabata, 4cd), Buck Rogers (Tarantura, 4cd), Earl’s Court 75 (Mud Dogs, 3cd), Earl’s Court the Final Option: “Great Taste Last Night” & “Assorted Delights” (Empress Valley), & Great Taste Last Night, (IQ, 4cd)
EV’s cd 5 of “Assorted Delights” from the box set debuts the second audience. It starts during Dazed, and continues through the rest of the show.
EV’s “Great Taste Last Night” from the box set is a mixture of both audience tapes and the soundboard. The primary tape is the first audience source, then fills from the second audience tape when available, then relies on the board for gaps before Dazed. Not much effort was made to preserve all available audio from source one, but it does offer 45 seconds of tape after California that’s not been available previously. It’s sound is amplified a little less than Antrabata.
All of the other titles seem to be from the same bootlegger's tape and share most cuts.
The IQ has evidently been amplified which usually brings up a little hiss but this contains a lot of hiss. The sound level isn't any better than the others.
Mud Dog's sound is inferior, its' track list is rearranged to fit the show on 3cds, and has an unnecessary cut in Dazed which then repeats a 25" section. It does contain the full introduction.
Antrabata's intro is missing 40 seconds but doesn't have any hiss and sounds very nice. Tarantura is missing the last half note of Rain Song. Overall, it is missing about 15 seconds of tape from between songs. However, it’s sound is definitely louder than Antrabata’s. It is probably only due to amplification but it makes it more enjoyable to listen.
Since I also have it on my laptop at the moment as a nice bonus for the ones that do not have it yet I have added the videos for the 24th and 25th of May
Led Zeppelin at Earls Court - May 24, 1975
(by Kenneth Winovich)
Led Zeppelin's fourth concert at Earl's Court back in 1975 can't be described in any other way than sheer brilliance. For three hours and thirty-three minutes, they pounded a thirsty British audience who'd been starving for their return to England with a salvo of cuts from their double album 'Physical Graffiti' interspersed with their catalog of hits. Introduced by Nicky Hopkins with "your mother wouldn't like it", it was evident right from the start of the show that the band were going to captivate their mostly youthful audience despite the fact that the cameras were rolling.
The band settled into a tight groove from the opening track 'Rock And Roll' and they never let up. Lead singer Robert Plant, with his Indian arrowhead necklace, belted out all the songs with ease with just a few hints during the show of his recovered flu from the U S Tour that ended just two months prior. Alongside Plant was Jimmy Page, dressed in a black dragon suit that made him appear at times as if he was literally on fire on either of his sides and musically, that was definitely apparent as well. With his bell-bottom cuffs engulfing his entire shoe legnth whenever he bent his legs, he fingered off a blazing guitar solo during 'Over The Hills And Far Away' all the while coming dangerously close to getting hit in the face by his own necklace. This iconic image had every male kid in 1975 wanting to get a pair of the widest bell-bottoms possible!
The Zeppelin Earl's Court marathon was full of drama and pent-up tension. Page extended his arm horizontally across the audience from left to right after he fired off the first slide guitar note verse to 'In My Time Of Dying' and he's backed up by the best rhythm section in rock that can best be described as a well-oiled machine. In fact the rhythm section was so hot I expected bass player John Paul Jones to loose one of his onions that dangled from his shoulders who's purpose is perhaps to
ward off vampires. Blood sucking vampires? No. Perhaps the press? Maybe.
As the crowd was still trying to recuperate after the first four tracks, Plant settled into a playful mood with both his band and the audience, making the comment "Well, alright Johnny Bonham!" Plant introduced the next song 'The Song Remains The Same' by commenting "if you give it, you get it back" and the adrenaline rush then flew right off the scale. The audience had been giving and so got it right back! The barrage of electrifying double-necked chords and notes peeled off by guitarist
Jimmy Page throughout the song were enough to leave any of their nearest competitors decimated. This song has enough power and energy to move mountains with it's relentless sound waves and again Page has the backing band to help hammer it all home. This version is thunderous due to the ambience of the hall and Bonham's wrists.
But Zeppelin also have the ability that few other band's possess to slow it all down a bit without boring their audience (or pissing them off) while at the same time still make it exciting as in the next track 'The Rain Song'. Plant's voice echoes both naturally due to the hall's ambience and with special vocal fx. Bonham adds his signature touch by smashing his Paiste gong and Robert Plant licks his finger and forges on with the next verse of lyrics. Plant purposely stutters "Just...just...just a little rain" now and then to emphasize certain words in the song lyrics for maximum effect. This is why
a Led Zeppelin concert becomes an event. Dynamics. Light and shade. From a whisper to hell-fire.
The powerful 'Kashmir' was next after a Bonham "2...3...4" count in, with it's far east trappings that ensnare the listener throughout the song's length with it's hypnotic, addictive beat. Plant again stutters with "bbbbbbb....baby! Star Delight!" before he unleashes an echoed "Where I'll be!" It's worthy of note to mention the tight interplay between Page and Bonham before Plant set's about moving the track near completion with "Sure as the dust that blows high in June.....when moving through Kashmir". Although the song moved along a tad slow, it still was breathtaking as hour one finished. Plant jokes with the audience that "If you take the A449 past Droitwich and take the third turnoff on the right, it's just up the road a little with a white fence."
To kick off hour number two was the ever solid John Paul Jones who is featured on 'No Quarter'. You easily get a sense for how good he really is when the dry ice machine get's a little carried away and Mr. Jones is unable to see his piano yet still somehow manages to come away without playing a single sour note. Things only get better when he stands up and switches to another piano which ushers in a wonderful jam exchange between him, Page and Bonham which ends with the crowd going nuts. As Plant starts the final brooding verse, he stomps three times on the stage with his right foot for added drama and then belts out "They choose the path where no one dares.....oh, what misery without quarter." Plant again belts out a 'natural' repetitive echoed "Give it to me" with the entire sentence sung real fast about ten times as Page waves his arm laterally along the crowd on the last played chord. Fantastic! Talk about drama!
Up next was the wonderful 'Tangerine' as Jimmy Page played the song on the upper twelve string electric guitar and this gets a huge round of applause from the audience and they more than readily will enjoy the acoustic set which was brought back from the past but wasn't played on the 1975 U S Tour which is what makes these Earls Court shows even more intimate. The wonderful 'Going To California' was next with the multi-talented John Paul Jones on mandolin and any Zep fan can see why the band always ran to Jonesy when they couldn't quite work out how they were going to polish off a track and he's more than reliable. The joyful 'That's The Way' was next with as Plant worded it 'stage chairs supplied by habitat'. The acoustic set comes to a close with 'Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp' after Plant introduced it with "the blues as in 'clichés, toupees and three plays'. John Bonham
clearly wants to sing on the track and Plant quips with "Can we have some blues from Bonzo?" Plant tells of the song's story about his blue eyed dog who 'keeps his mouth shut'. When the acoustic set is over, Plant slips out the joke "Are ya' alright, Wally?"
It's at this point in the show that one really learns just how captivating and sensational Led Zeppelin are when they unleash the next song 'Trampled Under Foot'. Guitarist Page keeps bending his left knee in order to press down on the wah wah pedal while Plant preens across the front of the camera, all the while with stage bathed in kaleidoscopic twirling lights in six different colors. It's a far-out spaced-out colorful journey. So good that you don't even want the song to ever stop! Plant fires off another natural echoed "Give it to me....give it to me.....give it to me....yeah!" followed by several senetences of 'Gallows Pole' lyrics and it fits in well with the songs driving beat. The crowd goes bonkers and are overcome with emotion when it's finished. And Zeppelin have by now surely pummeled their audience all of hour number two! No let-up.
Then it was time for the 'master of the skins' to demonstrate his proficiency at the drum stool. John Bonham pounded out another great 'Moby Dick' performance. The drum solo contains about five parts and gets rolling with snare drum and floor toms all played with sticks. But then Bonham alternates with his left hand by hitting different floor/rack toms all the while complicating the beats by stopping and then starting up the snare drum. He then cleverly places his left-hand stick on the
snare drum at a 45 degree angle and then taps on it with his right-hand stick all the way down the legnth of that stick while keeping pressure on the snare head before a sudden outburst of floor toms! The next part of the solo involves knurling up his left thumb and pressing down on the top of the snare drum followed by bare-handed strikes of the rack toms and gong! For the next part of his solo, Bonham plays two tympani's with sticks and a phaser effect is added while he presses on their foot
pedals. He even taps on the tympani rims and their side mounting brackets. I even caught him playing 'Whole Lotta Love' with the drums and finally Page joins him on stage as he unleashes a flurry of strikes while criss-crossing his arms! As the band wait for him to finish with a last drum strike, he stands up and twirls his sticks at them and brings the drum track to a close! What a climactic ending!
The crowd, already 'dazed' by Bonham's drum solo then find themselves at Jimmy Page's mercy in what will become a 31 minute guitar extravaganza in 'Dazed And Confused'. This half-hour plus opus has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. It includes plectrum scrapes, wah wah, hammer-ons, pull-offs, power chords, violin bow, echo, crypton lasers, dry ice, lightening-fast high-pitched in-your-face guitar notes and enough dance moves that will seal the deal for all-time as to who the best rock guitarist in rock is. This nice spacey version includes many exploratory excursions causing Plant to comment afterwards about all it's plots and time signatures and a very eerie and lively 'Woodstock' insertion highlighted by Plant's "We are star dust. We got to get ourselves back to the Garden" (Of Eden or Madison Square perhaps!). There is nothing else in rock that compares to it whether it's the '72, '73 or '75 live versions and even all previous versions from the late 60's and early 70's. There will be one more showing next show before it is retired. Zep were looking toward the future.
The show ends with the melodramatic 'Stairway To Heaven' and this has got to be the best live version of the song ever recorded. For me the jury's still out on that one as I have yet to finish listening to every live show there is but it will probably top them all! The guitar solo is Jimmy Page at his brilliant outstanding best and it leaves one asking why this show still sits in the vaults. After three hours of no bullshit opening acts, Led Zeppelin slayed their audience and now, at the three hour plus mark, they close out this marathon with their most beloved track. The fans scream and stomp for over seven minutes before the band return to the stage for two encores. The heavy-hitting 'Whole Lotta Love' kicks off the first encore with it's James Brown 'Sex Machine' middle medley and a very striking Plant/Page theramin battle leaving all wondering whether Plant or Page won the battle. The show closes out with 'Black Dog' which was filled with energy both in the rhythm section and Page's soloing. Wow! If you're like me and can't stand watching a boring movie and only watch academy award winners or nominators, then you go ahead and apply the same with music and music videos. Who wants to waste their time watching a boring act? Then you're best directed to watch a show like this. If your co-worker or neighbor says to you "You need to get out of the 70's man", simply respond "For what? Poodle rock"? This is why Zep fans never get enough. Outstanding! Tops!