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PRELUDE TO EARLS COURT/ ROBERT PLANT FOREST LIVE GIGS/BOOT LED ZEP EARLS COURT REVISITED/BEDFORD VIP RECORD FAIR/ DL DIARY UPDATE

13 May 2015 2,232 views No Comment

ec mm 75

TBL Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

With just a few days to countdown to the 40th anniversary of the first two Led Zeppelin appearances at Earls Court – to get you right in the zone here is a feature that first ran in TBL issue 15. It focuses on some of the key performances on the US tour of early 1975 that provided something of an indicator to the five glorious nights that would follow in May 1975…

PRELUDE TO EARLS COURT:

Led Zeppelin’s tenth American tour kicked off in Minnesota on January 18 1975 and initially their performances were hampered due to Plant’s bout of flu and Page’s injury to his finger. The situation began to improve when they reached New York some ten gigs into the tour. For the Feb 3 Madison Square Garden date Page felt sufficiently recovered to re instate Dazed And Confused to the set. Just over a week later, Plant’s relief at finally shrugging off his flu bug was evident in a very loose and informal Valentine’s Day performance at the Nassau Coliseum. As their newly released double set Physical Graffiti hit the stores they moved up another gear. March saw they really hit their stride with outstanding performances at Long Beach,Vancouver and Seattle -eventually culminating in a memorable three day stint at the LA Forum.

Throughout those February /March dates they began to further develop the set clearly displaying points of reference in their playing that would be further explored when they returned to London to play the Earls Court shows.

So having evaluated the ’75 tour tapes, I’ve highlighted the key moments from seven performances that in hindsight, clearly provided a prelude to those five glorious nights that would follow in May 1975…

Date: FEBRUARY 14, 1975:

Venue: NASSAU COLISEUM UNIONDALE NEW YORK

Performances: KASHMIR/TANGERINE (snippet)

Bootleg Reference: NASSAU ’75 (TDOLZ)

zep 75 31

”This is one that regulars that come here know quite well…but you’ve still yet to hear the recorded version…this is a track about another of life’s journeys that never end..this time in Kashmir”

Kashmir was a new number that they were obviously itching to play live and with Plant’s voice suitably recovered they turned in a majestic Valentines’ Day performance in Nassau. Page strumming down relentlessly on the Gibson behind Bonham’s castinet like drumming.

Plant showing renewed confidence to throw in the echoed vocal naunces that became such an Earls Court trademark. Listening to this delivery re -emphasis my opinion that the best live versions of Kashmir  were all played in the year it was released on record.

Tangerine was of course a surprise inclusion at the Earls Court shows performed as a four part harmony. However perhaps they were already toying with the idea of bringing it back during the American tour. For on this night prior to Stairway To Heaven Plant let out a few lines from the long deleted Zep III stage fave. ”Measuring a summers day”…adding ”I’ve forgotten the words”. It was a brief teaser for a song that would again light up those memorable May days.

Date: FEBRUARY 28 ,1975

Venue: LOUISANA STATE UNIVERSITY BATON ROUGE

Performance: NO QUARTER

Bootleg Reference: FREEZE (TARANTURA) LED ASTRAY (SILVER RARITIES)

The May 18 and 24 Earls Court versions of the JPJ opus are amongst the very best they performed. The highlight being JP’s lengthy piano concerto that led to the loose jamming amalgamation with Page and Bonham. During the ’75 US that arrangement underwent much construction as it expanded in length. On this night in Baton Rouge Jonesy began applying for the first time that pleasing neo classical solo before Jimmy waded in with a long rambling solo. The improvisation of No Quarter would further develop later in the tour when Page and Bonham introduced an uptempo jazz tempo to the piece. This Feb 28 delivery was an early example of how the track would evolve to such huge effect a little under two months hence in London.

Date: MARCH 12,1975

Venue: CIVIC ARENA LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA

Perfomance: THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME (false start)/THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME

Bootleg Reference: TRAMPLED UNDER JIMMY’S FOOT (SILVER RARITIES)

Just to illustrate that not all went according to plan every night…. on this cooking performance in Long Beach their sheer enthusiasm got the better of them as they opened The Song Remains The Same….. only to bring it to a close some one minute in.

”Just a minute that’s it ….see you again Long Beach! Yes it happened for the first time in six and a half years…does anybody remember laugher?…. the first time we came here ..er we never seem to  get things together in Los Angeles.

OK, as I was saying. Nevertheless The Song Remains …..nevertheless,ad infinitum to the power of three re occuring..The Same!’’

They did not get it wrong a second time.

What happened next was simply the business. A speed ride through the opening track of Houses and  as Plant might put it a reoccurring anthem. It sounded great here ,it sounded great in Earls Court and it still sounded great 20 years later when Page and Plant deployed it so effectively on their 95/96 world tour. This is a Zeppelin anthem that gets less acclaim than the more overplayed Whole Lotta Love, Stairway and Kashmir -but on stage it always burnt and smouldered its way into the set. Pull it out and try it for yourselves on any night…the effect as those Houses ads read is still shattering.

Date: MARCH 19, 1975

Venue: PACIFIC ARENA VANCOUVER

Performance: WOODSTOCK (insert)

Bootleg Reference: PLEEASE (SILVER RARITIES)

”By the end of the tour I felt I could sing anything”.

Proof of that statement came nightly within Dazed And Confused. The San Francisco excerpt had long been a feature of the early part of the piece, but on this tour they began experimenting even further. Plant introducing another hippie anthem to proceedings -the Joni Mitchell pean to Max Yasgur’s farm and a hit for Crosby Stills, Nash & Young. The Zep arrangement was still built loosely on the melody employed for San Francisco-Plant bending the words to fit the structure. Against Page’s eerie minor chord strumming it became one of the most atmospheric parts of their performance. Plant’s repeated ”Back to the garden” refrain merging into the violin bow episode amongst the dry ice. The Vancouver performance was a blueprint for the equally dramatic versions performed at Earls Court run. During this part of the tour Plant also took to singing The Eagles Take It Easy and during the final LA stint he crooned a 50’s like To Be Loving  before moving into Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff. As he put it -he could sing anything…

Date: MARCH 21, 1975

Venue: SEATTLE CENTER COLISEUM

Performances:ROCK AND ROLL/SICK AGAIN/OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY

Bootleg Reference:SEATTLE SUPERSONIC (GEMA) 207.19 & 214 (COBLA STANDARD)

This Seattle show was simply one of the best gigs of their latter era.

Proximity editor Hugh Jones was there and relayed the events in a superb feature titled ”At The top of their game” in issue Vol 6 no17.

If proof was needed then this opening segment brings it all alive – as it epitomises what a potent three pronged entrance these songs really were. Rock And Roll segueing into the new sheer brutality of Sick Again with Plant teasing ”Do I look the same”, and then the opening speech followed by the ”Beginning of a dream and it starts here (R.Plant -Earls Court May*17) or on this occasion .”What we intend to do is to relive our pent uppedness on stage, and then to relieve it later on after the gig elsewhere. Now the thing is what we intend to do is to give you a cross section of what we’ve been trying to produce and write over the last six and a half years.

As you know the material varies greatly and so you will appreciate that we take it from one extreme to the other….and what better way to start than to gaze out onto the horizon and see what tomorrow may bring”

To quote Hugh Jones ”in those last few sentences Robert Plant may well have encapsulated Led Zeppelin as well as anyone ever has. The physical, the musical, the pretension and the arrogance-all backed up with music as varied and as good as his word for the next four hours”.

So the the regal intro of  Over The Hills And Far Away -the Page solo as always flickering and twisting into previously un investigated territory. Then a swirling finale with Plant crying out ”Samantha Samantha” perhaps a reference to the fun they were about to enjoy offstage as he put it And on this night in Seattle it all just burst forth with that knowing arrogance .To use that old Zep’75 maxim it all underlined the fact that it wasn’t just a case of them being the number one band on the planet…the real point in question was just how far whoever was at number two lagged behind.

Date: MARCH 25 1975

Venue: THE FORUM INGLEWOOD LOS ANGELES

Performance: TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT

Bootleg Reference: THE SEX MACHINE (LEMON SONG)

The May 24 ’75 delivery of Trampled was an incredible Page tour de force and again one of the most potent performances of their latter era. All through the US tour though, they were stretching the limits of the improvisational possibilities of this piece rendering the album version almost redundant. On this penultimate night of the tour Page, Jones and Bonham locked horns to produce a frightening barrage of noise over which Plant ad-libbed in required style. ”Give it to me, give it to me”

Nobody described the live delivery of this track better than noted US scribe Lisa Robinson when she astutely observed that ”Trampled with its Come Together like rhythm sounds as if The Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot – and Led Zeppelin won”

Date: MARCH 27 1975

Venue: THE FORUM INGLEWOOD LOS ANGELES

Peformances: IN MY TIME OF DYING/SINCE IV’E BEEN LOVING YOU/STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN/WHOLE LOTTA LOVE/BLACK DOG

Bootleg Reference: TOUR DE FORCE (RABBITT)

The final riot night of the US tour was a mass celebratory affair with the band fully aware that with this tour they had turned adversity into triumph. From the moment Linda Lovelace cutely introduced them onstage to Plant’s parting ”We’re coming back baby” comment, this was a true prelude to what the UK was about to be served.

They even gave a hint of Earls Court fashion by introducing his Miss Selfridge cut off shirt and Page wearing the Dragon suit trousers that would become such a visual imprint of May ’75.

Their confidence was subsequently overflowing as they attacked the new In My Time Of Dying, Plant throwing in a few lines of You Shook Me.

”Anybody remember?” he asks at the end as he would a month later in SW5.

The version of Since I’ve Been Loving You was a real bonus and something sadly that Earls Court did not receive.

”A change in the programme- we were gonna do…..but this is a blues and I think this is where we first came in”. An impromptu set revision that delighted the LA audience.

A rare latter day stand alone delivery (in 1972/73 it had been segued with Misty Mountain)) recalling the majesty of Blueberry Hill at this very venue five years back. Rarely played in ’75 they ached their way through the old Zep III standard -Page’s solo as precise and inventive as that night back in September ’70.

On the home straight it was nothing less than a victory stomp. Stairway played as was the case as Earls Court as though Plant believed every word, and the final incendiary Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog medley with the added visual spectacle of that neon lit sign. Images and sounds that London would soon delight in.

Acknowledging their enthusiasm,  Plant told the final LA audience ”It’s really nice to know that we’re giving you what you are giving us because after tonight I think we’ve got three gigs in England. I don’t believe well work again for quite a long time, so this has got to be good”.

That last night in  LA  was indeed good…very good ….and Earls Court would be even better.

Dave Lewis – first published in TBL issue 15

Look out for a series of Earls Court 40th Anniversary posts on the TBL website in the coming days.  

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Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters  – July Forest Live Dates:

forest sss

Nugent and Belle will be guest support on both the previously announced Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters Forest Live dates.

Here is a reminder of the ticket information etc:

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters woodland concerts announced:

 Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters have announced two special dates as part of Forest Live, the summer concert series promoted by the Forestry Commission.

 After nearly 50-years in music, Plant, continues to surprise and challenge his audience with music that is smart, exciting, and completely of the moment. His incredible legacy as the front man of Led Zeppelin and as a solo artist, only serves to keep pushing him forward. Returning to his native England after an extended sojourn in America, last year saw the release of his 10th ‘solo’ album, ‘lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar’, his latest project recorded with The Sensational Space Shifters. The album received worldwide acclaim for its contemporary song-writing and brilliant musicianship. Following a recent sell-out tour of indoor venues, fans can look forward to an exceptional live show which will include tracks from the 2014 album as well as new interpretations of Led Zeppelin classics and other solo material from a long and very successful career.

Forest Live is an independent programme organised by the Forestry Commission to bring forests to new audiences. Over Forest Live’s 14 year history, money raised has contributed to a wide range of projects, from wildlife conservation to making improvements for visitors. With everything required for a great night out, including full catering and bar facilities, the gigs are renowned for their relaxed atmosphere.

 ROBERT PLANT and The Sensational Space Shifters

Friday 10 July – Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury, Glos

Saturday 11 July – Cannock Chase Forest, near Rugeley, Staffs

Tickets £48.50 (plus £4.85 booking fee) are available from 03000 680400 or buy online: forestry.gov.uk/music

Further Info:

robertplant.com

forestry.gov.uk/music

facebook.com/fcforestlive

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Boot Led Zeppelin – Earls Court ’75 Revisited at the Shepherds Bush Empire:

boot intro

Last Saturday, we had a splendid night out at the Boot Led Zeppelin gig. The band and crew and prodiction manager Hannah made us very welcome.

With the good lady Janet and Sam in attendance, it was a bit of a Lewis dynasty going on – of course it was great to illustrate to them both,the glory that was Zep at Earls Court 40 years ago, as recreated by the Boot Zep line up of Raff, Jesse ,Matheu and James.

It was also my privilege to be asked to introduce them on stage and by the evening’s close it was a clear case of Earls Court ’75 well and truly revisited. New singer Jesse was really excellent displaying all the rock god moves of one R. Plant and maintaining  excellent vocal control throughout.

To paraphrase Cameron Crowe as I often do on tribute band occasions ”To anyone who’s ever searched for the perfect music to galvanise an audience, or any band who ever needed a sure-fire cover song or any musician looking for clues on how to mix textures, cross musical boundaries or just plain rock, there’s no substitute – play Led Zeppelin.”

Last Saturday night at the Shepherds Bush Empire, play Led Zeppelin they did…and very well indeed.

boot zep dave pic one

Boot Led Zeppelin now take their Earls Court ’75 Revisited show to the following venues in the coming days. Be sure to catch them if you can…

Friday May 15 – The Wardrobe Leeds

Saturday May 16 – 02 Academy Newcastle

Sunday May 22 –  ABC – Glasgow

Saturday May 23 – Liquid Room Edinburgh

Sunday May 24  – 02 Academy Birmingham

Ticket details at:

https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/boot-led-zeppelin

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The Print Bank Charitable Trust Auction:

There is a charity auction of iconic rock photographs at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday May 16. The auction is being held by The Print Bank Charitable Trust and sponsored by Rockarchive.com. All profits raised will be split between the charities Shelter, Shooting Star Chase, PETA & Teenage Cancer Trust. One of the auction lots features an images of Jimmy Page shot by Jill Furmanovsky at Earl’s Court in 1975. It is signed by Jimmy.

Details of the auction and the images are available at www.theprintbank.com.

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VIP Record Fair : Bedford Harpur Suite Saturday May 16:

The VIP Record Fair is pitching up in Bedford again this Saturday May 16. Last October’s fair was very well attended. It runs from 10am to 3.30pm. I will be having a TBL stall at this one and look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

DL Diary Update:

It’s been another intensive few days of checking and assessing the initial bound proof copy Mark Smith at Rufus Stone has supplied of the Five Glorious Nights book. The final process of signing off a book is always a slog as we look to make it as perfect as it can be. Suffice to say, as Ringo might put it – it’s been a series of hard days nights this past week. More details will follow of the distribution date.

five glorious still wading

There’s also been further work on the text and layout of the forthcoming Tight But Loose magazine TBL issue 39. There’s some great stuff lined up including a very perceptive piece on the Jimmy Page  Sound Tracks release by Larry Bergmann jr, another in depth analysis of the recent Led Zep reissues from Richard Grubb, plus a Nick Anderson Collectors column that rounds up the recent Physical Graffiti promotional material and more. I am aiming at a June distribution for this and my objective is to make it another epic – more details as it all unfolds.

As mentioned above, it was great to get away from the intensity of all that is going on here last Saturday, when the TBL crew pitched up for the truly excellent Boot Led Zep gig. With my very good friend Dec staying with us on his first visit since he moved to Ireland a couple of months back, it was a very busy weekend. Dec was double booked for another event on Saturday so missed the Boot Led Zep gig but my fellow May 24 second row attendees Tom and Phil were in attendance. it was also great to see long time TBL contributor Ian Avey and Rufus Stone main man Mark Smith. Thanks also to Mathew St. John Higgins and  Pat Casey for additional photos. Below pic – after the show with Boot Led Zep’s Raff with myself, the good lady Janet and Phil and Tom.

boot zep with raff

Latest DL vinyl acquisitions:

At the excellent Vinyl Barn stall in Bedford last week there were  a couple of gems searched out as follows:

David Bowie – Hunky Dory – original RCA pressing with lyric sheet insert. One of best for sure.

Branford Marsalis – Scenes From A City – The sax man’s 1984 album has a cover that is clearly taken at the famous 96 St Mark’s New York location as seen on the Physical Graffiti  sleeve. You gotta have it!

As mentioned above, we have the VIP Record Fair in town on this Saturday May 16th. I’ll be having a stall for that one with various TBL goodies featured – and I’ll also be taking the opportunity to preview the Earls Court photo book. I look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

On the player here: The recent acquisitions mentioned above plus Led Zeppelin Earls Court Volume 1 and 2, Led Zeppelin No Quarter May 18 bootleg, Bob Dylan Basement Tapes RSD release, Pretty Things Silk Torpedo, David Crosby If I Could Only Remember My Name and Sandy Denny Rendezvous.

With the Five Glorious Nights photo book and TBL 39 due for June , it’s shaping up to be another summer of Led Zeppelin and before all that, there’s the not inconsequential matter of the 40th anniversary celebrations of those Five Glorious Nights. It all commences on May 17th….when we will be turning the clock back 40 years to the glory that was Led Zeppelin at Earls Court…be sure to join me…

Dave Lewis, May 13, 2015.

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YouTube Clip:

Seattle March 17, 1975:


Until next time…

Have a great  weekend –

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –  May 13, 2015 

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