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.
We’ll have reviews of both Snow and Balls posted this weekend. But both are really nice releases…
I don’t buy these for the cover and appreciate having “Were Playing Our Balls Out” re-relesed at a reasonable price. The Millard tapes are important for any collector. Would like to have some more of the ’77 LA Forum shows, and some of the Floyd ’75 Sports arena shows, at a good price as well.
It is nice to see TCOLZ release new stuff and old shows with out processing the life out of them. The prices are very reasonable and the covers remind me of the old vinyl boots I used to buy before cd’s. I like nice packaging as much as the next person, and will buy EV/MV or Tarantura titles from time to time, but this gives us collectors a nice reasonably priced option.
I know. Wendy uses the same source and, as always, they tweaked it. Add the colorful cover that has nothing to do with the show and you have a high premium Japanese effort.
Not trying to break your stones Steve but I think you are missing the point of the TCOLZ label. From what I understand their goal is to release low gen versions of shows with no mastering just the raw sound as it was taped in a low budget package. I just ordered the TCOLZ Led Zeppelin – “Were Playing Our Balls Out” (6CD) The Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA 27th March 1975 show today which has the famous Millard source as well as the rare second source all for the price of a regular 3CD title. This show has not been released on silver disc in a while other then the very $$$ EV Deep Throat box set so it is a great chance to pick it up at a reasonbable price with both known sources. A great deal I think….I for one appreciate what TCOLZ is trying to achieve and hope they continue to release these old soureces in low gen non equalized form.
There are no plans to review the Wendy, so if anyone knows please drop us a note.
Does anyone know how this title compares to Wendy’s “Every Picture Tells A Chicago Story”?
Well, it depends on what you expect. Personally I think the most important thing is the music and even if TCOLZ has cheap cover artwork and stupid titles it is much better than the overrated and equalized to death Japanese rubbish like Empress Valley or Tara2000. So I think TCOLZ is a real winner of the battle and we can only wish that the other Led Zeppelin dedicated labels will understand quickly what is the exact point of releasing bootlegs.
Their version of it should be cheaper than everyone elses. They didn’t do anything to justify charging more than the few dollars it cost to press the CDs. They downloaded the show for free, took three seconds to come up with the worst name of any bootleg ever, didn’t bother to remaster it so it arguably sounds better than the version released online, and printed up the most generic cover possible, using the exact same template they’ve used for all of their releases. I’d be stunned if they spent more than three hours putting this piece of crap together, including the time it took them to download the show.
I don’t have anything against labels putting out shows that were distributed for free online, providing they at least put some effort into them to add value for the people who spend their money on them. This reeks of somebody who doesn’t care about Led Zeppelin or their fans doing anything they can to make a buck.
But at least TCOLZ is much more cheaper than other Japanese efforts.
The show was released for free online, the title they came up with is awful, and the cover “art” is, as usual, non-existent. Why did they bother to release this, other than as an obvious grab for cash?