Blow Away (no label)
Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA – March 21st, 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, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Trampled Under Foot, Moby Dick
Disc 3: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven
Blow Away is a new release of the March 21st, 1975 Seattle show. This title uses the first audience source only which begins with the long introduction and runs through the first six minutes of “Stairway To Heaven,” being cut right before the guitar solo. It is an excellent sounding tape but flat, lacking in dynamics and a thin bottom end. The no label mastering is one of the best done to this tape and it sounds great. Many past releases complete the show by using the second very good sounding tape, but no label chose not to do so. It is a shame because if they did that, use the second source to fill in the gaps before “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” complete “Stairway” and the encores this could have achieved definitive status. As it is, this is a great sounding but incomplete source for one of Led Zeppelin’s all time legendary shows.
For historic reasons, we’ll post one of the best reviews ever written about this show. From the now defunt Trampled Underground website, this is a review of the Cobra release 214 & 207.19 but goes into remarkable depth and insight about the concert. This was written by Eric Romano twelve years ago:
Comments: This set represents a remarkable document. Zep didn’t gig for the shows to be relived between your headphones. The audio presented here, although stripped of the visual experience and physical presence of the band, resurrects the vibes and substantiates the legend of live Led. The set testifies to Zeppelin’s efforts to keep its interest in the music- they play for themselves as well as the audience. This approach, dubbed by some “tight but loose,” yields tonight the tour’s most extended set, and better still, much inspired interaction.
This tour’s PA mix pronounces Jones more than ever before; he and Bonham add heaviness to the already dark set. John Paul’s R&B riffs keep time and melodically expand “Rock and Roll,” while Page sustains the blue notes in his solo. I find tonight’s preview of “Sick Again” more enjoyable than the album cut, with Jones’s undulating fills high up on the neck, Bonham’s high-hat in the pause between riffs, and the tight outro segment.
Tonight’s “No Quarter” has garnered much praise, although some may mistake the song’s 25 minute length as the trademark of quality. The trademark is never given so cheaply, bought for a few extra minutes of cheap piano arpeggios. Jones noodles away, wandering through parts of his keyboard solo. Overlooking a handful of boring moments, the song’s still beautiful and dynamic. Dig on the main theme before the solo, the decaying echoes from the Theremin, moody piano/ drums action, and Jones taking the lead from Page during Jimmy’s solo.
“Dazed and Confused” features eerie thematic coincidences on law, starting with Plant’s comments on “a discrepancy involving a guitar and a man who’s being held by the police… as we try to maintain law and order in society.” Page once described live performance to an interviewer by saying “there’s so much ESP involved in it… it is a sort of communication on that other plane,” and the first fifteen minutes of this song might convince you. The drama builds with Jimmy’s solo bridge into “For What It’s Worth.” With restraint and purpose, he outlines rich changes. Here Page favors lyrical construction over the riff-based approach. Next, a stylistic crossfade as he bends some blues licks and breaks into an understated rythmic passage. The band joins in. In mournful voice, Plant draws on the police paranoia classic “For What It’s Worth” for some lyrics while Jimmy bows. The singer keeps up his preoccupation with the law, singing the line “I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy,” over a throbbing reggae beat. Page strums on the upbeats and tacks on twenty-odd minutes of guitar mania after the bow solo. They close the track without reprising the main theme. As Plant exclaims afterward, “master guitarist Jimmy Page.”
From one Jimmy to another, they dedicate “Stairway to Heaven” to Hendrix, a Seattle native. Some cute “Louie, Louie” riffs open the song, which inlcudes delicate phrasing and an atypical chordal segment of the solo. Although “the fishing wasn’t as good this time,” they push hard on the encores. You can hear Page singing backup on “Whole Lotta Love” before they slide into “The Crunge.” Although Plant only sings about half the lyrics, Page, Jones, and Bonham strut it out in tight syncopation. Much better than the oft-ragged delivery of other nights near the end of the tour. Plant throws out just a few lyrics from “Licking Stick- Licking Stick” before Jones solos on some tasty staggered riffs beneath the Theremin. Still energetic, Bonzo hammers out some extra “Out on the Tiles” to introduce “Black Dog,” which Plant doesn’t wreck with his voice. He still sounds decent- not many hight notes, but his signature tone has been evident all night! His last “Drive me insane” scream overlaps Page’s “Heartbreaker” intro. Jimmy solos with more fluency and less wandering than other tries from ’75, getting into some blues at the end but nobody picks up on it like the 12 March Long Beach gig. Let me get back to the Edgewater Inn for some room service and a spot of fishing!
Bottom Line: This magnum opus is Zeppelin’s “Finnegan’s Wake.” Sprawling, whacked-out, obscenely long and indulgent, but ultimately converging on many levels. The band maintains the original vision of aggression and dynamics. Eric Romano (8/9/96)