Heavy Metal Hullabaloo (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 63)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – February 3rd, 1975
Disc 1 (43:05): Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song
Disc 2 (51:18): Kashmir, No Quarter, Trampled Under Foot, introduction, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (51:32): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Communication Breakdown
After the cancellation of the St. Louis show and gigs in Greensboro, Detroit and Pittsburgh, Led Zeppelin played the first of six shows in New York. Spread out over eleven days, they also played shows in Montreal, Philadelphia and Maryland during this stretch. The first night in New York is interesting because they had already dropped “The Wanton Song” from the set, but also drop “How Many More Times” and replace it with “Dazed And Confused” for the first time. Heavy Metal Hullabaloo is a 1997 release on The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin and is thus far the only silver pressed version of the show.
The sound quality is good and clear but, since it is taped by “noisey Artie,” is marred by the comments by a bunch of stoned Long Islanders talking throughout the show and commenting on the action on stage. This is the perfect example of what Robert Fripp commented on about bootlegs, that they feature the audience as performer and the artist as backing music. Sometimes their funny comments do enhance the listening experience and the music can be enjoyed once one listens past the tapers. There are cuts in the tape after “The Rain Song,” “Trampled Under Foot,” two small cuts in the drum solo, “Dazed And Confused” and “Black Dog.”
The tape picks up with the general frenzy of the house lights going down and the taper’s friends lighting up a joint. And one of the friends correctly points out that Plant’s voice “sounds like shit.” His vocal chords are very weak and he tries his best for the two and a half hour show. “Sick Again” is good enough for one of the tapers to remark by the end, “I can tell already I’m gonna get the new album.”
Plant’s opening words to New York are, “it’s our great pleasure, and apart from that, it’s very nice to be back. Whatever happened to ah, whatever happened to nice warm weather? It’s so cold, yes? Never mind. I think we can overcome that tonight. I’d like to thank the guy from the narcotics squad. Thanks very much indeed. We intend tonight to try and cut through a cross section of what we would consider a spectrum of the music that we been able to create in the last seven years. So, so this means that it’s not gonna be, it’s just gonna be a little this, and a bit of that, and a bit of this, and a bit of that. Tonight we’ll do some new stuff from the new album that comes out shortly, Physical Graffiti, and then we’re gonna come out with a heart attack in the end. This is one that isn’t particularly new.”
“Over The Hills And Far Away” is developing in length with some of Page’s most experimental guitar solos. He tries an Celtic-tinged melody in the middle in keeping with the song’s opening theme. “In My Time Of Dying” is introduced as “some new stuff…even before FM radio.”
“The Song Remains The Same,” by contrast, “isn’t a very new one. It’s Whole Lotta Love. Whole Lotta Love. It’s a song that we really enjoy playing because we wrote it in retrospect after visiting parts of the American empire, after one of the tours that we did. We went to Bangkok, and places like that, and we had communications with people of all different races, sects, and creeds. We didn’t get to Harlem, and we found in the end that everything is relative. That the personality supersedes the race, and everything else.”
After “Kashmir” they continue with the journey theme, which is at the heart of all of Led Zeppelin’s best songs. “No Quarter” features “the vanishing keyboard player,” a that is a “wintry number…a lot of bull shit.”
These early 1975 versions are similar to the ninth tour with Jones staying on electic piano throughout the entire piece. He seems to stumble along in the early half of the solo and is thankfully rescued by Page’s delicate, pastoral guitar work. Plant mumbled the lyrics in the second verse.
“Trampled Under Foot” has “vague sexual connotations….linked to an automobile…it’s an old pinch off one of hte blues guys who used to live in the Mississippi that you never knew about.” Already the song has taken on a stage life of its own, but this version is sloppy and uninspired.
After an eighteen minute “Moby Dick,” Plant says, “we’re gonna do something that we haven’t done since Jimmy had a little accident on the way to rehearsal. Our train services aren’t too good, and Jimmy tried to catch a train that was trying to go without him, and he caught his finger in the door and broke a bone in the end of his finger which is giving him quite a bit of a problem. It meant that he couldn’t get married on this tour, and it means that it’s restricted his playing ability to only two fingers. So tonight we’re gonna try something because we’re back in New York, and because, and because of we don’t work our balls up we’re only gonna end up a the 82 club all night. We’re gonna try something we haven’t done since we were actually on this stage last a year, last August.”
They play a twenty-four minute version of the piece. They are tentative at the transition points and Page gets into the final verse too early, but it’s good for the first performance in a year an a half.
“Stairway To Heaven” is labeled “one of our brighter moments led us along this path.” The solo is outstanding, one of the highlights of the show. After the first encore of “Whole Lotta Love” and “Black Dog,” Plant admonishes, “Don’t forget soccer’s the new sport for America. That went down like a ton of bricks.”
They play a short James Brown funk melody as Plant sings a bit of The Yardbird’s “I Wish You Would” and “I’m just trying to find the bridge” from “The Crunge” before getting into “Communication Breakdown.” Plant’s voice is the strongest of the night in this song. Although the shows would improve, this is still a strong opening night in New York.
The title Heavy Metal Hullabaloo comes from a New York Times article from the previous month reporting on the high demand for tickets for this run of shows. It comes packaged in a glossy cardboard gatefold sleeve with several photos from the tour on the artwork. It is a listenable tape of an interesting show and, since it is the only silver pressed edition, is worth having.