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Led Zeppelin – Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before? (Eelgrass EGL-20241/42/43)

 Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before? (Eelgrass EGL-20241/42/43)

Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA – March 17th, 1975

Disc 1 (58:20):  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 (58:03):  No Quarter, Trampled Under Foot, Moby Dick

Disc 3 (68:55):  Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog

The latest Led Zeppelin soundboard to escape the Showco archives is the March 17th, 1975 Seattle show.  There have been many releases of this show in the past sourced from two audience tapes, but Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before? is the debut of the complete professional recording.  Unlike the Nassau Coliseum and Baton Rouge soundboards, Seattle is very clean and enjoyable sounding.  John Paul Jones’ bass is a bit high in the mix, but overall it is closer in timbre to the Dallas recordings.    

The first night is very good and is sometimes neglected in comparison to the more well known second Seattle show on March 21st.  Plant’s voice, which had been quite weak at the beginning of the tour is very strong and he’s able to unleash some impressive vocal dynamics.

A rather negative review was published in the newspapers.  “Squeeze all the air out of a three-hour Led Zeppelin concert at the Coliseum and you might have an hour of music and visual effects worth your attention.  Nevertheless, a sellout crowd that broke four plate-glass doors and brought a two-feet-deep stack of counterfeit tickets gust to get into the place, sat spellbound, despite the fact that ushers and police relieved them of the equivalent of a green garbage dumpster full of booze.  Led Zeppelin’s appeal might be explained by the fact that they’re known in the trade as a ‘street band,’ meaning that their following precedes critical attention by about two years.”

Although calling Zeppelin a “street band” is a bit condescending, the author does correctly point out that the band were ahead of the critics in the seventies.  The appeal is best summed up by Donna Gaines when she writes in Teenage Wasteland that Zeppelin brought grace to bleak suburban landscapes.  A trip to the record store to buy a Zeppelin LP was a trip to Camelot by restoring dignity to an otherwise humiliating life.  

The setlist in 1975 was all about journey, movement and travel, dramatically carrying along the listener.  Robert Plant himself emphasizes this ethic repeatedly on this (and other tours). Opening with the fanfare “Rock And Roll” segueing into “Sick Again,” a short commentary upon their previous tour, Plant sets the stage, joking with the audience how they’re happy to be back in Seattle “a town of great fishermen, including our drummer,” and that they  will offer “a cross section” of their catalogue. 

“Over The Hills And Far Away,” which “sums up the looking ahead and wondering,” follows.  Instead of being a travelogue, it sets an anticipatory mood for things to come.  The melody came out of various “White Summer” improvisations in 1970 and the solo lifted (more or less) from “Immigrant Song,” two other tunes with strong connotations of movement and change.

The newspaper article called “Kashmir” a “spooky tune” which has some distortion in this recording.  But the epics come off very well.  John Paul Jones’ piano solo in “No Quarter” sound meandering in the audience recording, but sounds much better on the soundboard.  Page’s dramatic crescendo is one of the high points of the night.

Plant begins to babble before “Trample Underfoot,” rambling on about the meaning of the song and offering soccer scores, telling Seattle “Wolverhampton Wanderers seven, Chelsea One. Trampled Underfoot.”

Before “Dazed And Confused,” while Plant is giving his long introduction, someone throws something on stage.  He reacts by singing the first line of Max Bygraves 1954 novelty tune “You’re A Pink Toothbrush.”  (Could we assume a toothbrush was thrown onstage?)  The song (sort of) gives this release a title.

“Dazed And Confused” reaches thirty-five minutes and includes the “Woodstock” snippet.  By this time in the tour the song began to take life past the previous tour’s improvisation to be a much more deliberate, slow, and drawn out affair.  Some may call it self-indulgence, but Page is taking his time to explore ideas more fully.  

“Stairway To Heaven” closes the show and the encores include “Whole Lotta Love,” with a long “Licking Stick” interlude, segueing into “Black Dog.” 

Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before? is packaged in a quad fatboy jewel case with high quality inserts with tour photographs.  The design is clean and basic, recalling the great Silver Rarity releases from the protection gap days.  Unlike the previous couple of soundboards, this one is worth seeking out.  

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. Approx. 1% too fast? That’s all? Is it possible that some of us are getting a little too picky or discriminatory if being just 1 or 2 percent off-speed is considered too much? As for my own ears, I don’t consider being off-speed significant enough until it’s approx. 3%, as anything less than that is even considerably hard for me to notice or detect. Hell, it sure wouldn’t surprise me if even many (or most) CD players are at least 1% or so too fast or too slow.

  2. Not to worry; it is exceedingly difficult at various intervals to discern the proper speed!

  3. Sorry, it seems that only EV’s version runs too fast (about 1 %).

  4. I wish all soundboards were this clean; even the speed is proper!

  5. I comment on the EV release not having heard this version and direct my comments to the review based on comments regarding Baton Rouge and Nassau. Jimmy’s guitar is down in the mix compared to those two aformentioned releases and both aformentioned shows are as good if not better from a performance perspective. The guitar mix on this release is reminiscent of the mix for some of the 77 board releases. That should not be taken to mean the sound is like a 77 board, it is still of a higher quality ambient sound like the rest of the 75 boards, just using the 77 board mixes as an example. A must have of course as is any and all sound board releases regardless of label affiliation.

  6. I simply love what Eelgrass has been doing; this release and Clapton’s Stardust quickly come to my mind!

  7. Agree – 77′ boards tend to sound thin/dry but this one is good for 77′. Suppose I wasted some $$ to get the limited EV title but it sounds good – not great as some of the 75′ titles. It must be good if Eeelgrass took the time to copy it…I assume Eeelgrass copied as in the past?

  8. I have the Empress Valley version. I like the show very much…. I don’t think Led Zeppelin ever had a poor performance in Seattle. Although, 1977 was a bit weak. However, I’ve yet to hear a 1977 soundboard recording that even comes close to the 1975 soundboard recordings, except 04/27/77. However, this is just my opinion. I would love to hear the Seattle 1977 soundboard/audience matrix presentation. I’ve read that it’s quite good.

  9. i just got this set — it seems the sound is different from the original Empress valley version — i mean in a better way

  10. Great review, i particularly relish the prominence of Jones on this show. It would be nice to have a board for Nassau 13th but it’ll probably be a 77 board up next. You get what you’re given & for that I’am grateful

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