Led Zeppelin – Days Confused (Empress Valley EVSD 458//459/460 & SBD-7/8/9)

Days Confused (Empress Valley EVSD 458/459/460 & SBD-7/8/9)

Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, TX – March 5th, 1975

Disc 1: Introduction, 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

Disc 2: No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick

Disc 3: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog

Bonus audience recording:

Disc 1: 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

Disc 2: No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick

Disc 3: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog

Days Confused is the latest Empress Valley release from their stash of 1975 soundboards. The band booked five shows in Texas at the beginning of the second half of their tour beginning on February 27th in Houston. The others include March 3rd in Fort Worth, the two in Dallas and finally March 7th in Austin. The two Dallas dates were always said to have occurred on March 4th and March 5th based upon ticket stubs and newspaper evidence. With the 2003 release of the first night’s soundboard on Chasing The Dragon came the claim that the shows were actually moved back a day so according to Empress Valley the proper dates are March 5th and March 6th, so the second night in Dallas on Days Confused is labeled March 6th instead of March 5th.

In the intervening years there has been nothing to confirm the memories of Empress Valley’s commentator and the physical evidence points to the original assumptions about the date being correct. Until something else surfaces that can corroborate their story we can assume that this recording is the second show in Dallas on March 5th. All of the soundboards released so far by Empress Valley from this era have been remarkable for their balance, clarity and detail and this one is similar to the others.

The audience recording was used to plug three small gaps: the introduction leading into “Rock And Roll”, about thirty seconds of the introduction before “No Quarter”, and about the same length at the very end of “Moby Dick”. Unlike Snow Jobs, the volume of the bass isn’t as high although there are times where the volume is raised for a short amount of time drowning out the guitar (the end of the guitar solo in “Over The Hills And Far Away”, during the opening of “In My Time Of Dying”, and during the fast improv in “Dazed & Confused” are three of the most noticeable). The first hour of the show is rocky. After the opening numbers Plant asks for no drops in the energy before the band play a great version of “Over The Hills”.

There are some bum notes in “In My Time Of Dying” but it is effective as is “The Song Remains The Same”. Jones suffers from an out of tune mellotron which even Plant jokes about but it affects “The Rain Song”. The tape is able to pick up Bonham asking for more bass drum in the monitors and Plant sings a bit of “When The Levee Breaks” before they play “Kashmir” where Jones’ mellotron is still out of tune. “No Quarter” is a significant improvement and this evening’s version is very good with Jones playing a pretty and melodic bagatelle before Page and Bonham come in with the doomy, apocalyptic duet lasting twenty-four minutes.

Jones ends the improvisation by playing electric piano and grand piano simultaneously and Plant even acknowledges that afterwards (“grand AND electric piano”). “Trampled Underfoot” is heavy with Plant quoting some lyrics afterwards (“come to me for service every hundred miles”) before introducing Bonham as “a man who can go for hours…but is a lousy lay” before a twenty-seven minute version of “Moby Dick” that simply flies by and ends with a shout by the drummer. “Dazed & Confused” is extended to more than a half hour and includes several interesting new ideas by Page in the improvisation which are not developed but are welcome additions.

“Stairway To Heaven” sounds great and the event closes with the standard encores for the tour. The band gets into “The Crunge” in “Whole Lotta Love” before the theremin chaos which segues into “Black Dog”. Enthusiasm seems somewhat tempered for this release since it is not a new show (like Conspiracy Theory) nor is there previously unknown surprises (like Snow Jobs). All Days Confused offers is an excellent sounding tape of an excellent concert. The show is close to three hours long yet, since there isn’t a dull moment, goes by very fast.

The first three hundred copies come with a free three cd bonus containing a remastered version of the audience recording. The same audience recording that first surfaced on Dallas Second Night (running from “Rock And Roll” to “Dazed & Confused”). The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin released the complete tape on the very nice Live In Dallas (TDOLZ Vol.014) in 1996. Empress Valley included a version in the special six-disc version of Chasing The Dragon but this bonus is much better than the others. The tape is still distant and boomy but is clearer than previous releases. It is issued in the TMOQ style sleeve for convenience’s sake.

The focus of attention is upon the soundboard recording and this is another great release. Days Confused comes packaged in the tri-fold gatefold sleeve which fits into a slipcover. There is no insert with commentary this time but the label did use some interesting stage shots on the artwork. It has been close to a year since the last release of the last soundboard recording and one hopes they speed up the release schedule. On the one hand it is good they are not releasing them all at once (at this asking price who could afford to buy ten shows at once?), but one per year is a long time to wait between recordings. There should be no doubt about obtaining this title though. It is complete, excellent quality and a great show from Zeppelin’s tenth U.S. tour which is very much recommended.

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