Hang On To Your Heads (TDOLZ Vol. 95)
LSU Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA – February 28th, 1975
Disc 1 (51:26): Intro, 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 (53:58): No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (60:44): Dazed & Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog
The second leg for Led Zeppelin’s tour in 1975 started on February 27th in Houston, but no tape is in circulation for that concert. Baton Rouge is the second date and has been in circulation thanks to one of the best audience tapes from the era which was first pressed on vinyl on Led Astrayon the Artemis label. The earliest compact disc version was discs five through seven of the Mad Dogs box set and on the original Tarantura label, who issued Freeze! (T3CD-2) (named after the taper) with a picture of Jimmy Page on the cover, both in 1993.
Tarantura reissued Freeze! again the following year but with a picture of Robert Plant on the cover. The date on Tarantura was erroneously listed as from February 13th and also made the claim it was sourced from the master reel-to-reel. Silver Rarities in Europe released Led Astray (SIRA 194/195/196) in 1995 and the Immigrant label released Blaze (IM-040~42) about the same time. Capricorn released this show except for “Dazed & Confused” on Bon Soir, Baton Rouge! (CR-2028/2029).
Hang On To Your Headsis one of The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin’s final releases. It first came out in the fall of 1999 as a limited edition boxset with 12 page insert full of tour pictures (from the Earls Court shows). Several years later it was released in a jewel case Like the others, it has excellent sound and dynamics, runs at the right pitch, and has not been remastered to death to let it have a natural sound.
Zeppelin took close to a two week long break after concluding the first half of the tour on February 16th in St. Louis. They started off the second half in much better health and with much more confidence than the first, setting a high standard in their performance. The show starts off with “Rock And Roll” and the new song “Sick Again” before Plant explains the program for the evening, speaking about the “cross-section of musical color that we’ve managed to get together in the last six and a half years. Some old stuff, some new stuff, some cool, and some pretty raunchy stuff too. So hang on to your heads.”
A groove is reached with “Over The Hills And Far Away” where the guitar solo sets the precedent for continued experimentation by Page later on in the tour and “In My Time Of Dying” is the first announced song from Physical Graffiti, “that’s just it’s finally been … the egg has been laid .. or it it the guy who got laid?” “Kashmir” is another and is dedicated to “quite a few people who passed our way. Mr. Royston, who’s travelling with us, Mr. Harold, who’s travelling with us, and many other folks who’ve given us inspiration from time to time.”
“No Quarter” is the first epic and is changed somewhat from the first leg. John Paul Jones played the electric piano during the solo in the early dates, but now switches to grand piano. One can assume the first such arrangement was in the previous show in Houston, but Baton Rouge is the earliest tape with this. This version is very confident with an economic delivery and concise ideas from Jones making this one of the more effective performances from the tour.
“Trampled Underfoot” follows which Plant describes as “about a motor car, but as you people know, the guys who used to sing the songs back in the thirties, like ‘Terraplane Blues,’ and things like this, they used to sing about a motor car, but all they were talking about was boogying, you see? Does anybody know anything about boogying? … So this is an English version of the southern yazoo delta boogy song.”
The second long epic of the night is twenty-five minutes of “Moby Dick” featuring “the man with a bicycle clip caught in his sock, the greatest percussionist since Big Ben, John Bonham.” The showpiece of the set is “Dazed And Confused,” lasting thirty-five minutes long and featuring CSNY’s “Woodstock” in place of Scott MacKenzie’s “San Francisco.” Page attempts several unique riffs during the long improvisation.
“Stairway To Heaven” closes the show and Plants has a long, strange speech where he calls Led Zeppelin “just a fun bunch of boys” who “really intend that every gig that we do should be really, we really intend to have a good time every time we play. Otherwise, you’d understand that we wouldn’t be on the stage anymore together. It wouldn’t be true, you know what I mean? True, true, true, true, and if what you’re doing you don’t do with conviction, then you’re lying to yourself, right? So I wish we could all join hands and sing this together, but as there ain’t enough room, here it goes.”
Page expended much energy in “Dazed And Confused” and delivers a sloppy version the closing track. He hits a few bum notes during the verses and can seem to generate many new idea in the solo. The encores include the first long theremin solo as a link between “Whole Lotta Love” and “Black Dog” which will be greatly expanded in a few weeks time to include “The Crunge.” Page again delivers a painful to listen to solo in the final song “Black Dog.” Plant thanks the audience and says, “I’m gonna smoke such a sweet cigar. Good night Baton Rouge.”