Explodes At Nassau Coliseum (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-201EX)
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, USA – February 4, 1975
(76:04) Introduction, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, No Quarter (cut), Trampled Under Foot, Moby Dick (cut), Dazed And Confused (cut)
The original itinerary for Led Zeppelin’s 1975 tour of North America featured a massive assault on the East Coast. Five dates around New York City as well as dates in Boston, Landover (a suburb of Washington D.C.), Philadelphia, and Montreal, Canada, just to the North, were sold out with a massive demand for tickets. After unruly fans trashed the Boston Garden while waiting for tickets to go on sale, the mayor of Boston then cancelled the concert and Led Zeppelin would never play Boston again, sad as the city was an early stronghold for the band. The demand so was high that the date would be honored and the venue moved to the 15,000 seat Nassau Coliseum where the band had already had two other concerts scheduled, now a total of six concerts in the greater New York City area, a staggering accomplishment.
Of the six concerts in New York City, three were held at the Nassau Coliseum and three at Madison Square Garden. Recordings exist for all six concerts, five of the concerts have all been released on vinyl and silver compact discs, the lone hold out was the second New York date February 4, 1975, the first night at the Nassau Coliseum. The recording for this concert is a fair to good audience recording that is slightly distant and a bit muffled sounding and has a small amount of tape hiss. The recording is clear enough that the instruments can be discernible, John Paul Jones bass does distort a little and Bonzo’s drums get pushed in the back a bit so it does take a minute for your “bootleg ears” to adjust but once they do this is a mostly enjoyable recording save for the last two songs where the quality drops. Apparently the taper recorded the entire concert but recorded over some of tapes, all that remains is the 76 minute fragment.
“Jimmy Page Rules” is the first audible scream from the audience, the punter would repeat this a few more times as the announcer introduces “The American Return Of Led Zeppelin”, the same guy knows the opening song is Rock And Roll as well. There was a fevered pitch inside Nassau Coliseum that evening as the audience gives the band massive ovation as they take the stage. The opening salvo of Rock And Roll into Sick Again is strong, typically Jimmy’s fingers are a little sticky during the solo’s but musically very heavy. Robert gives a proper greeting to the masses, “Thank you very much. First of all, I’ll say good evening, and secondly our intention this tour is not only to get laid, but to try and play, to try and give the people who supported us for seven years of what one might call a cross section of musical color. This cross section of musical color will include some stuff from the new album, the new double album Physical Grafitti, which will soon be gracing your record shop” and Jimmy begins a laid back version of Over The Hills And Far Away.
Physical Graffiti was still a couple weeks away from release so most are hearing In My Time Of Dying for the first time, this is where the concert really gets into the swing as the band is sufficiently warmed by this point. Jimmy’s slide playing is fiery, Bonzo’s drums are powerful and he punctuates the changes in tempo perfectly, all the while John Paul Jones is laying down some excellent bass lines. There are points during the song you can hear Robert’s voice being a little strained but the power of the band helps cover it. The new music leads to some quiet conversations near the taper, certainly some were only there for the hits.
There is a tape cut at the first part of No Quarter, the recording begins just as John Paul Jones starts his piano solo, the audience get into a weird clapping style chant for some reason. Jimmy’s solo is interesting, at times focused and other times like he is waiting for the notes to manifest themselves, there are times where he gets the notes yet the muddy nature of the recording makes it difficult to enjoy. The sound drops a notch for Trampled Under Foot and is more muffled, thankfully the sound is actually a bit clearer, not sure how that happened. The song is incredible, Jimmy nails a great solo over the pulsating rhythm section.
“At this point in the evening we go to the dressing room and get some head…” is Robert’s introduction to “Mr. Ultraviolence” and Moby Dick, Jimmy must have been particularly pent up as he seems to play a rather speedy introduction. Only 12:14 is here, the recording abruptly cuts into Dazed And Confused in progress just as Robert is finishing the first verse. Only ten and a half minutes survived, the sound is at its lowest point, the tape suffering from phasing that makes it difficult to focus on. Robert’s vocals on San Francisco are mournful and do not sound like he used added effects. From what can be heard, the bow solo has a mysterious and ominous sound, much is certainly due to the poor recording but the bow solo portion is very well received.
This release is another from the Graf Zeppelin bonus title series and is not for sale individually, one needs to buy certain titles to get it. The sound quality and fragmented nature of the recording certainly dictate the lack of releases for this date, thankfully the company that released it is Graf Zeppelin, their mastering Technics have honored the original recording and not tried to over due it in an attempt to make it an easier listen. The inserts feature live shots mostly of Jimmy Page, the interior tray has a picture of the Physical Graffiti house. This title is definitely for the completest and not for the casual collector.