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PHYSICAL GRAFFITI WEEK ON TBL/ RETRO REVIEW/TBL LED ZEP ’75 SNAPSHOT FEB 27-28 / EARLS COURT BOOK/DL DIARY UPDATE

27 February 2015 7,017 views 3 Comments

feb 26 sick again

Physical Graffiti Covers City! New Led Zeppelin album released!

Physical Graffiti Week on TBL:

 TBL ’75 Snapshot Retro Review:

Jaan Uhelszki, Creem, 1975

ROCK’S BIGGEST bruisers, Led Zeppelin, have got another album. In rock chronology this is an Event, since the defending champions of the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll draw have released only six albums in the past seven years. In fact, we’ve spent eighteen excruciating months between products, pacifying ourselves with heavy rock’s second prizes – Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, and BTO. And these heavy metal hitmen couldn’t begin to plug up the leaks Led Zep left when they took on an extended, self-imposed exile to some musicians’ netherworld.

Now, just as cold turkey has begun to lose its chill. Zep are back with a package deal: a double album and an American tour. The announcement provoked unchecked carnage in the under-eighteen age group, primarily directed at long black limousines, uniformed adults, and popcorn sellers. Throngs of potential ticket-buyers foamed with anticipation, their palms growing sweaty, their eyes glassy.

Days passed without the appearance of Physical Graffiti. Then the first shipment arrived late one Thursday. The fans descended on Marty’s Records downstairs from CREEM like dragonflies, clustered around the cash register, furtively clutching the album to their heaving bosoms, slobbering and drooling down the shrinkwrap. Worried parents contemplated a vaccine, but once Physical Graffiti touched the turntables the mysterious malady subsided. The stricken nodules were lulled into a state of tympanic euphoria.

Physical Graffiti can stand on its own historically without the support of Zep’s five other million sellers, but inevitably the cuts on this album will be scrutinized with Nancy Drew-like precision in search of a successor to ‘Stairway’ or an equal to ‘Rock and Roll.’ Graffiti is, in fact, a better album than the other five offerings, the band being more confident, more arrogant in fact, and more consistent. The choice of material is varied, giving the audience a chance to see all sides of the band. Equal time is given to the cosmic and the terrestrial, the subtle and the passionate.

The exotic and musky ‘Kashmir’ is intriguing in its otherworldliness. Jimmy Page’s grinding, staccato guitar work sounds like a cosmic travelog to spiritual regeneration, swelling around the lyrics, which are heavily laden with mystical allusions and Hessean imagery. Although ‘Kashmir’ is certainly the best cut on the album, it could be trimmed without losing any of its mesmeric effect, because at some point the incense grows a little murky, and the slow burning guitar degenerates into opulent cliches, causing the instrumental interludes to echo an Exodus soundtrack.

Not all of the cuts are exercises in advanced audial basketweaving, but trace a musical cycle running from Page’s grandiose productions to basic drunken boogie. ‘Trampled Underfoot’ is seemingly effortless funk that is rescued from mediocrity by the elaborate punctuation of Page’s guitar. His fingers traverse the neck of his instrument with a velocity so violent that only a machine could improve upon it. Each batch of notes he pulls from his guitar is uniquely his own, personal as a thumbprint. Just as unique are Plant’s laments and his sexual heaves and sighs that turn the lyrics of a simplistic rocker like ‘Wanton Song’ into an introspective, personal statement. ‘Custard Pie’ and ‘Boogie With Stu’ are macho masterpieces in the tradition of the strutting, swaggering English flash blues formula pioneered on Zeppelin’s early albums. ‘Night Flight’, ‘Sick Again’ and ‘Ten Years Gone’ smack of pop picaresque, much in the manner of Rod Stewart’s ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ – vignettes and transient insights, slices of a popstar’s life.

Led Zeppelin moves in strange ways. Sure they’re gutsy, ballsy, and flamboyantly aggressive, always spiked with a lot of eroticism, but they’re also cerebral…by way of the glands. They have this unique ability to wind you up and prime you for a full-throttled tilt. You rocked, you rolled, and oh mama those juices flowed – but you also listened to the words.

Surprisingly, in an era where disposable bands and itinerant musicians constantly play a game of musical chairs, Led Zeppelin is a unit – the same four members for the past seven years. Their longevity is due to a kind of magnetism, magic if you will. That rare chemistry was evident even at their first rehearsal, where they fit together like jigsaw pieces, transcending their common R&B backgrounds to achieve a gut-wrenching new synthesis. Lisa Robinson describes it as a case in which “the Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot and Led Zeppelin won.” Zeppelin make more noise, has more guitar gimmickry, more sexuality, more flash, and generates more violence than any of their competitors, so that they are more than mere musicians, simple superstars. They have become the longest-lasting model for those culturally bankrupt ‘trendies’ to follow. Underage masses walk, talk, dress and dope like Zep. They have become a necessary trapping for the terminally hip, as well as providing the audial backdrop for any social gathering.

A Led Zeppelin album is like a select invitation to a key club of rock ‘n’ roll, where the kohl eyed gypsy Jimmy Page is finally accessible through his smoky guitar solos. Robert Plant preens and moans, lusts and longs for lost memories…and takes you along. Like a sonic vortex, Zeppelin draws you into their private caprice, spiraling, coaxing your willing psyche into a suprasensory haven where you can taste and savor this dream stuff that superstars thrive on. This is not pop music, but a harder stuff, more heady and potent, like a round of whiskeys and coke. Zeppelin are avatars in a cultural vacuum.

© Jaan Uhelszki, 1975

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TBL Led Zep ’75 Snapshot: 

Led Zep Houston 1975 by Mark Bowman Images Edit 2

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 27 1975

HOUSTON, TEXAS

SAM HOUSTON COLISEUM

Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

This one from our TBL friend and associate Mark Bowman – he also took the pics here from that night.

Background Details; After Robert and Jimmy spent a holiday in Dominica for 10 days, while Jonesy and Bonzo flew home to their families, a well rested Led Zeppelin, Peter Grant and the crew reconvened in Houston, Texas to start the second leg of the 1975 USA tour on February 27th, 1975.

This night was special as it was the first live show after the US release of the eagerly anticipated double LP, Physical Graffiti.  By all accounts, they played a ferocious show that night that clocked in at nearly 3 hours and 45 minutes.  Reporters mentioned in the newspaper the next day that the “kids went crazy”, and the crowd definitely spurred the band to greater heights that night…   One concertgoer mentioned – “This was the FIRST concert I have ever been to where the live sound in the arena was equal to greater than the sound on the Led Zeppelin studio recordings that were recorded so well…”

Robert mentioned to the crowd that “we were off for a few days, but we’re back, well rested and in our glory.!”  Very prophetic, looking back 40 years later….  Unfortunately, no bootleg recordings have ever surfaced of this particular show to document the power they were playing with that night, so it just will remain a very special evening for the ones who were there….

First Hand View from Mark Bowman:

JP and JPJ Houston 1975 by Mark Bowman

The beauty of this show – there was none of the violence and aggression from the fans that had marred some of the earlier dates in the Eastern US gigs on the 1st leg.  Robert specifically commented about how the crowd had a “very happy and a good feeling vibe” that night for the band, which kept them focused on the task at hand….which was to rip the roof off the arena that evening.  I only had a little Kodak 110 Instamatic camera with me at the time, so all my photos are grainy and low resolution.  You still get the general idea by looking at them – but what I would have given to have my 35mm with me that night to truly capture this incredible evening.  It turns out to be the only time I ever saw the mighty Led Zeppelin perform live…  As fantastic as it was to attend the reunion O2 show in London in 2007, this gig was the COMPLETE package….  It is burned into my memory banks for life. Mark Bowman

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FRIDAY FEBRUARY 28 1975

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY ASSEMBLY CENTER

Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

Background Details:

Plant comments that Physical Graffiti has finally been released: “The egg has been laid… or is it the guy who got laid?’

There are a few unusual dedications. A heavy and dramatic version of ‘Kashmir’ is dedicated to “Mr Royston and Mr Harold who are travelling with us” and ‘Trampled Underfoot’ is dedicated to “Sam Martel – a wild cat.” John Bonham is introduced as “The man with a bicycle clip caught in his sock… the greatest percussionist since Big Ben!”

‘Dazed And Confused’ clocks in at 33 minutes and just keeps getting better and better. The ‘San Francisco’ section has now been dropped and instead Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’ is performed. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ now includes a Theremin/’Crunge’ section prior to the link with ‘Black Dog’.

Plant: “Baton Rouge – a really good audience… and Led Zeppelin, just a fun-lovin’ bunch of boys. It’s been more than our pleasure.”

Snapshots Listen: How it sounded today:

I have this on the Rampaging Cajun CD set – another steller soundboard from 1975.  The undoubted highlight is the 18 minute version of No Quarter – Jonesy is awesome on this -it swings into the grand piano solo with such ease building the template for the majestic Earl’s Court versions. Jimmy is also just exquisite. The whole show is another favourite 1975 night of mine.

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Jimmy Page on Radcliffe & Maconie BBC 6 Music Show:

Jimmy Page joins Radcliffe and Maconie on their BBC 6 Music show February 27th from 1pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b053mlxy

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Five Glorious Nights Led Zeppelin At Earls Court Photo Book Latest:

The previously mentioned large format photo book I am working on is currently at the collation stage – publisher Mark and I have been wading through potential photos for the book. We have already searched out some excellent previously unseen images and the potential to produce something really special is becoming well apparent.  There’s a long way to go with all this yet  and I’ll keep you up to date as it unfolded.

If you have not already done so, be sure to register your interest to receive further ordering details and a pre release price offer:

Go to:

www.fivegloriousnights.co.uk

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DL Diary Update:

A week of contrasting emotions here  – the euphoria of the Physical Graffiti reissue has been dampened somewhat by both Janet and I being laid low with a cold virus. The departing Dec also had it at the weekend and has struggled this week. He is off to live in Ireland on Saturday – as previously mentioned.

That fact has played heavy on my mind and whilst Ireland may not be that far away, it does feel like the end of an era…and poignantly on the 40th anniversary of the release of Physical Graffiti – as during these past 40 years, Dec has been intrinsically  linked to so many of my adventures- and me his. Anyway it has to be ever onward because there is a lot to do, not least the collation of the Earls Court photo book, work on TBL 39 and keeping the Evenings With project on track.

So ends a week of Physical Graffiti on TBL….I hope these daily updates have added to your enjoyment of yet another memorable reissue period.

Right, I am off to get a Lemsip  and beat off this cold – I need to be on form to watch the Capital One Cup Final between Spurs and Chelsea on Sunday and before all that, later this afternoon, there’s a Skype session with Mike Tremaglio and a listen in to Jimmy’s BBC 6 Music interview.

DL

You Tube clip: Jimmy Page backstage at The Brits:

Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –  February 27, 2015 

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3 Comments »

  • Ian Avey said:

    Hi Dave,

    It’s been great following all the activity this week to accompany this amazing release. Thanks for your tireless work and enthusiasm!

  • Paul Gross said:

    Thanks Dave! Looking very forward to the “Five Glorious Nights” project!

    (and TBL #39)

  • roger berlin said:

    Thank’s

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