Friday, September 26, 2014

Led Zeppelin - 1975-05-18 - London

Led Zeppelin
May 18, 1975
Earls Court Arena
London, England

01. Rock and Roll
02. Sick Again
03. Over The Hills and Far Away
04. In My Time Of Dying
05. The Song Remains The Same
06. The Rain Song
07. Kashmir
08. No Quarter
09. Tangerine
10. Going to California
11. That's The Way
12. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
13. Trampled Under Foot
14. Moby Dick
15. Dazed and Confused
16. Stairway to Heaven
17. Whole Lotta Love
18. 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."

1 comment:

Zen Archer said...