Black & Blue And Snot All Over: 1975 Chicago Tapes Volume 3 (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 013/014)
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL – January 22nd, 1975
Disc 1 (54:37): 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, The Wanton Song
Disc 2 (67:42): No Quarter, Trampled Under Foot, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Communication Breakdown
For more than thirty years the first show in Chicago on Led Zeppelin’s tenth tour of the U.S. has been in circulation and is the source of many different releases. Of late the third and final show appeared online. For the first time collectors are able to hear the show in a good to very good audience recording. Although the taper was a considerable distance from the stage, the PA system was good enough for him to capture the show in surprising detail and was able to produce an enjoyable listen. The unfortunately named Black & Blue And Snot All Over is the first silver pressed edition of the tape and, according to their philosophy, presents the tape with no remastering.
There are cuts on the tape after “Over The Hills And Far Away,” after “In My Time Of Dying” eliminating the very beginning of “The Song Remains The Same,” a small cut at 5:32 in “No Quarter,” a cut one minute into “Moby Dick” right after the opening fanfare cutting out about ten minutes of the drum solo (it cuts back in during the tympani section), a cut 3:58 in “Stairway To Heaven” and one before the encores.
The troubled beginning of the tour is well documented. Page’s sprained finger and Plant’s flu resulted in rather lackluster, uninspired performances in the first week of the tour. There is no tape for the opener in Minneapolis, but the first Chicago tape has a very rough performance. The third show is surpisingly very effective. Plant’s voice is stronger than one would expect and Page is fluid and energetic enough to develop some unique improvisations. Audience tapes for the subsequent concerts in Cleveland, Indianapolis and Greensboro show the band taking a step backwards, but this night is perhaps the best in the tour’s first two weeks.
The opening “Rock And Roll” is tight but “Sick Again” is a bit shaky. Plant greets the audience as Page takes off his jacket. “First of all Page gets undressed and it’s a sight for sore eyes. This is the last night we got in Chicago. I’m getting over the flu. Page’s finger is getting just about healing and we’re gonna have a good time tonight. This is a track that sometimes refers to our state of mind and sometimes just refers to good vibes.” Jones’ bass contrasts nicely with Page’s guitar as he spits out very fast riffs during the solo section of the piece. “In My Time Of Dying” is “something that hasn’t even been on the radio yet. We got a new record label, but we haven’t got anybody to take it to the radio stations cause we’re so cheap.” Plant loses his place and gets into the “it’s pretty good up here” right before the “oh my Jesus” break in the middle.
Before “Kashmir” someone throws a rose on stage and another throws a firecracker. “What about that for two opposites? I get a rose and a firecracker” Plant jokes. The other new song “The Wanton Song” follows which Plant says is a “pre-radio station listening. This is a track that ventures into the field of, a field not to greatly covered by us among other fields…Women.”
“Trampled Under Foot” is “another one of those tracks that we hope will soon get to you through the good medium of FM radio, which as you know that we don’t even have in England. ‘It makes it hard. Terribly hard'” he sings from “Going To California.” He continues by dedicating the next song to “Chuck Berry, who I believe comes from Chicago, yeah? Is that right? You gentlemen, does Chuck Berry come from Chicago? Ah, there you go…” (Chuck Berry is actually from St. Louis). This version contains a unique solo in the middle where Page plays a country/western sounding ascending riff several times. This riff sounds like a slowed down version of the one used for “Wearing And Tearing” many years later.
After “How Many More Times” Plant jokes, “I think we should rehearse that. Maybe put it on an album. Here’s a song that came. I think now, when this new album comes out we will have done, five, six, seven…fourteen sides of music since 1968. This is ah, this is amazing if you know us pretty well. The one track is, in my opinion is, in my opinion, pretty good man, pretty good.” There are two encores following the final song, “Black Dog” with the “Whole Lotta Love” intro and “Communication Breakdown.” TCOLZ is the only silver pressed edition of this tape so far and present the tape without remastering letting it have a very natural sound to it. Despite the stupid title this is a very good release.