Condition Breakdown (Holy SH-006-A/B)
Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN – January 25th, 1975
Disc 1 (55:58): Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir, The Wanton Song, No Quarter
Disc 2 (38:39): Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love ~ Black Dog
Condition Breakdown was released in the mid-nineties and is thus far the only release of Led Zeppelin’s January 25th, 1975 appearance in Indianapolis, Indiana. After effective shows in the final night in Chicago and Cleveland, Plant’s voice regressed and is in the worst shape of the entire tour in this show. The next show, scheduled for January 27th in St. Louis, would be postponed until February 16th to allow him to rest his vocal chords before continuing on January 29th in Greensboro, North Carolina. The tape is a good audience recording that exists as a decent record of the show and becomes clearer as the show progresses. The higher frequencies are emphasized with the drums and bass pushed to the back and the sound is rather brittle in places.
There are numerous cuts on the tape beginning with one after “Over The Hills And Far Away” with the following song “In My Time Of Dying” missing. It isn’t clear if it is cut from the tape or if the band dropped it from the setlist that night although most collectors favor the latter opinion. There is a big cut between “The Song Remains The Same” and “The Rain Song” eliminating the final two minutes of the former and the first two minutes of the latter. There is mic handling noise in “The Rain Song” and a cut between that and “Kashmir.” There is a small cut at 1:24 and a rather large one at 11:15 in “No Quarter.” The second cut eliminates the transition from the solo into the second verse. A cut after “Trampled Under Foot” cuts out a bit of dialogue and a big cut in “Moby Dick” removes most of the drum solo. Another one afterwards cuts out a bit of dialgue before “How Many More Times.” That song is cut at 3:09 and comes back at the very end missing the violin bow episode and most of the soloing.
After a sluggish beginning Plant is apologetic, saying, “Well, sorry about the delay, but we came from Chicago where the weather isn’t good. Tonight, we intend to first of all, get over our ailments, and secondly try to give you some of the spectrum of what we’ve been getting up to for the last six or seven years.” Jimmy Page plays a very angry, disjointed solo in the middle of the piece while Plant ignores the high notes altogether. “Kashmir” is introduced as a new track with John Paul Jones on the mobile orchestra, and his contribution is audible as he plays cliched middle eastern melodies beneath Page’s guitar.
The fifth and final recorded reference to “The Wanton Song” follows. This was played in the warm up gigs in Europe and the opening week, but would be dropped after this performance never to surface again. Plant coughs he way through the introduction, saying, “we’re having a bit of trouble here with the monitor system it seems to be flashing. I think there’s some crushed window pane stuck in the speaker. This is another new one. It’s called…it’s about a topic which we’re not really very familiar with, that of females. So we got a long way to go before we really refine this line of melody, if you’d like to call it that. This is called ‘The Wanton Song.’ All we got to do is get the equipment right. Here comes cool hand Luke.” It is a shame they dropped it since it is a good live number that could have developed as the tour went on.
“Thank the stars for lemon and honey” Plant says as he takes a sip of tea. “This is another one that features Jonesy on keyboards. The man in constant darkness.” John Paul Jones plays a jolly little melody on the organ before Page comes in to deliver the apocalypic doom. “Trampled Under Foot” is rendered limp because of Plant’s poor voice and fails to really take off. “Moby Dick” sounds a tremendous in this recording and it’s a shame the solo is cut out. “How Many More Times” is introduced simply as “a very very very very old one” and again, it doesn’t make sense why there is a big cut in the middle. Is the taper holding on to it? It’s a shame because this is an intense version with Bonham in particular bashing the hell out of the piece by the end.
“Stairway To Heaven” closes the set and Page is in much better shape than Plant as he delivers a great solo in the middle. After he sings “there’s a songbird who sings / sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven” Plant quips “and I’m feeling that way myself.” Before the encores Plant says he they want to “try and go out with a bit of style.” A short “Whole Lotta Love” serves as an introduction to “Black Dog.” Page plays in interesting solo in the latter. The tape ends there and it isn’t known if they played a “Communication Breakdown” as second encore as they had the previous nights. Condition Breakdown is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with various well known photos from the tour on the front insert. On the back of this, and on the Cleveland show also released by Holy, is a double photo of Page. This is good release for the Zeppelin completists only, but there are much better concerts and recordings floating around.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)