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Led Zeppelin – Blow Jobs (Tarantura TCD-41, 42)

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Blow Jobs (Tarantura TCD-41, 42)

Zeppelin’s two shows in Seattle represent for many not only the high point of their star-crossed tenth North American visit but the epitome of all that made them the heaviest and most exciting band in the 1970′s.  These shows are the heaviest of the heavy with some of their longest jamming and weird but effective improvisations and we are blessed that each one has two different but very good to excellent audience sources to enjoy. 

The ”main” source, the one which draws most of the raves, was actually interviewed for the old fanzine Proximity (Vol 6, No. 17, April 1995) and he is NOT Mike Millard mentioned on the front cover.  He’s the one who produced the excellent and clear but incomplete sources.  The March 17th show his tape begins with “The Song Remains The Same” and runs to the end of the show.  The March 21st tape begins with the opening announcements and cuts out at the end of “Dazed & Confused” missing ”Stairway To Heaven” and the encores.

The article in Proximity gives interesting background information about the taper.  He was able to bring a good reel-to-reel recorder past security into the venue by dressing in a suit and acting professional.  He placed the recorder on a chair in the concourse to stage left and used an external microphone pointed towards the stage.  That was able to filter out any distracting audience noise and produce a very clean sounding tape. 

The downside is the bottom end is very weak especially on the early releases and there is a flatness to the music.  There are very little dynamics and is very heavy on the compression.  Both concerts are also incomplete and releases in the past have either edited the other tape sources to complete the show or used the taper’s two nights to form a composite concert.  The discussion about the merits of this tape is pretty defined with some people praising it and others hating it.  Whatever the case it does give a very good and clear representation of the two nights.  

Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, WA – March 17th, 1975 

Disc 1 March 17th, 1975:  Rock & Roll, Sick Again, Over the Hills And Far Away, In My Time of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir

Disc 2:  No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick

Disc 3:  Dazed & Confused (includes Woodstock), Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (includes The Crunge and Rhythm Stick), Black Dog

Previous releases of the March 17th show on a silver title include The Hammer Of The Gods (T3CD-1~3) on Tarantura and its clone Two Days In Seattle on Whole Lotta Live (WLL013/014/015).  (The first five tracks were from the March 21st, and the rest are this show).  The first attempt to present the whole show with a combination of two audience sources was Seattle Won’t You Listen (TDOLZ 0022/23/24) followed by Gallery of Soldiers (Powerchord PC-0002-01/2/3) and finally the first three discs of Dinosaur In Motion on Empress Valley (EVSD-172-178). 

The editing is similar between all three titles with the second source used for the first four numbers with the excellent source picking up at “The Song Remains The Same”.  The sound quality is very similar between Gallery Of Soldiers, Dinosaur In Motion and Blow Jobs.  They all use the same generation tape so any differences are due to equalization done by the label.  Blow Jobs sounds a bit louder and clearer than the others, with the Powerchord following Tarantura and then Empress Valley sounding the dullest of the three.

The first night is very good and is sometimes neglected in comparison to the more well known second night.  After a furious opening Plant says, ”It’s great to be in Seattle, town of great fishermen, including our drummer” before “Over The Hills And Far Away”.  The Houses Of The Holy track took on a curious form by the last week of this tour and the guitar solo on this night is very long and discordant. 

Plant’s voice, which had been quite weak at the beginning of the tour is very strong and he’s able to unleash some impressive vocal dynamics in “The Song Remains The Same” and “The Rain Song”.  “No Quarter” reaches twenty-five minutes and is very uneven.  Jones doodles around on the keyboards until he finds a nice melody before Bonham and Page come in with their contributions and deliver a fantastic improvisation.  ”Dazed & Confused” reaches more than a half hour and is brilliant.  Before “Stairway To Heaven” Plant praises the “energy”.  “Whole Lotta Love” includes a long reference to “Licking Stick” before going into “Black Dog” and the close of the show. 

Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, WA – March 21st, 1975 

Disc 4 March 21st, 1975:  Rock & Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 5:  Kashmir, No Quarter, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Trampled Underfoot

Disc 6:  Moby Dick, Dazed & Confused (includes For What It’s Worth, I Shot The Sheriff)

Disc 7:  Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love/The Crunge/Black Dog, Communication Breakdown/Heartbreaker

The second night in Seattle first appeared on vinyl on the old Rock Solid label in the 80′s as 207.19 and 214 featuring the excellent but incomplete audience source.  Seattle Supersonic (no label) is the first compact disc release utilizing only the excellent source and fades out during “Stairway To Heaven”.  No Quarter on H-Bomb (HBM 93020104/5/6/7) is a four-disc set and the first attempt to edit together the two sources to form a complete show. 

207.19 and 214 on the Cobra label (Cobra 011) released this show using two tape sources over four discs in perfect miniature replication of the Rock Solid LP sleeve.  The also included “Whole Lotta Love” and “Communication Breakdown” from the September 9th, 1970 Boston show as filler just as the vinyl did.  More recent releases all of which edit the two sources together are Hammer of the Gods  (LSD- 82/83/84/85), Good Evening Seattle (Magnificent Disc MD-7501 A/B/C/D), and Dinosaur In Motion.

All these releases sound very similar since they are all from the same generation.  The old Cobra release sounds very thin compared to these more recent releases. Blow Jobs, like with the March 17th show, sounds a bit more clear and defined than Dinosaur In Motion making this perhaps the best available version of this show. 

The March 21st show is one of the longest and best Zeppelin concerts captured on tape and are essential for any Zeppelin collector to own.  The taper captures the opening announcements about no smoking on the floor and sitting behind the stage before another furious “Rock And Roll”.  After another long “Over The Hills”, ”In My Time Of Dying” really stands out on the first disc.  It is preceded by Plant’s long speech about forming Swan Song Records over Page playing the opening to “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp”. 

“No Quarter” introduced as a song with “more somber implications” and is longer than the first night’s version and much more tight.  Jones gets into some catchy jazz motifs before the improvisations begin.  This is followed by the second of three versions of “Since I’ve Been Loving You” played on this tour.  However ”Dazed & Confused” is the most talked about song from this show. 

It is the longest on record clocking in at about forty-five minutes and contains snippets of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” to create a “difference and balance between law and order” theme.  There are several improvisational passages that are unique to this piece and can be considered a masterpiece. 

“Stairway To Heaven” is dedicated to Jimi Hendrix and they play one of the longest encores sections of the year (second perhaps to the final night at  Earl’s Court) with Page taking the band by surprise and leading them into “Heartbreaker” in the middle of “Communication Breakdown”. 

 Blow Jobs comes packaged in the thick deluxe box set Tarantura have favored with recent releases.  It is limited to several hundred copies and is well worth seeking out since this is probably the best these tapes will sound.  With the fact that Empress Valley released Snow Jobs a couple months ago and the knowledge they have more excellent soundboards from this tour, the future seems bright that we have yet to see the definitive versions of these important shows. 

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Led Zeppelin - Blow Jobs (Tarantura TCD-41, 42), 0.8 out of 5 based on 6 ratings

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  1. Avatar of Sputnik
    Sputnik says
    November 12, 2010, 3:31 pm

    To my ears, the March 21, 1975 show sounds superb on this release! The tape has been amplified and equalized and sounds razor sharp and has a solid punch to it. I have this show on four or five different labels and this version sounds the best to me…. Just my opinion.

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