Heavy Zeppelin (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 008/009/010)
Capitol Centre, Landover, MD – February 10th, 1975
Disc 1 (47:16): 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 (63:06): Kashmir, No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (62:12): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Out On The Tiles intro/Black Dog, Heartbreaker
The third release by the new Led Zeppelin dedicated label TCOLZ and the second to feature the silver debut of recording. Heavy Zeppelin documents the complete show from the Capital Center in Landover on Februry 10th, 1975. The sound quality of the tape is fair since it was taped a considerable distance from the stage. The tapers speak continuously throughout the show, begging for the band to play “Dazed And Confused” and flirting with the girls in front of them. The music is however listenable and once the ears adjust it is enjoyable to listen to. Imperfections in the tape include the first minute of “Kashmir” missing and there are cuts at 4:12 in “Over The Hills And Far Away,” at 4:57 and 9:00 in “In My Time Of Dying,” 3:06 in “The Song Remains The Same,” 14:28-14:35 in “No Quarter,” 2:24 in “Trampled Underfoot,” tape deterioration around nineteen minutes in “Moby Dick,” a cut at 12:29 and 13:33 in “Dazed And Confused,” deterioration 1:57-2:35 in “Stairway To Heaven,” and 3:09 in “Black Dog.” There are also some speed issues with “Heartbreaker” which the label thankfully addressed and minimized making the final encore listenable.
The Capital Center opened in 1973 and this is Zeppelin’s first concert in this venue. They would play four shows there in 1977 and were scheduled for three in October 1980 before the cancellation of the entire tour and the dissolution of the band because of the death of drummer John Bonham. Several newspaper articles detail the frenzy surrounding the event. “When Led Zeppelin descended on Washington, 18,700 concert tickets were snapped up in three hours. Some people who could not get tickets vented their disappointment just as, perhaps, disappointed Viennese did when they could not get into a Mozart recital. They threw bottles at the police. The tempestuous behavior by disappointed ticket seekers called to mind the sporadic violence in gas station lines last whiter during the oil embargo, the other recent shortage of a life-sustaining commodity. Rock music is to the youth culture what gasoline is to the more adult culture: it is that without which life lacks tang.” (“Led Zeppelin – A Heavier Than Air Craft For Sure,” Courier, Feb 19, 1975)
And again, “Several hundred youths trying to crash a sold-out Led Zeppelin concert last night began throwing rocks and hollies at police. Fifteen persons were arrested. Sgt. Robert Law of the Prince Georges County police said about 70 officers called to the scene were showered with debris. ‘We have several police cars damaged and windshields broken.’ Sgt. Law said last night. ‘The tires on a police cruiser were slashed and windows were broken.’ No injuries were reported. The concert went on as scheduled inside the Capital Centre. The 18,700 tickets for the show by the British rock group were sold within hours, the fastest sellout in the history of the new arena in suburban Washington D.C. Sgt. Law said the disturbance was started with ‘disorderlies trying to crash the gates.'”
Steven Davis also referred to this show in his book Hammer Of The Gods, writing, “On February 10 the band flew to Washington for a show a the massive Capital Centre. Jimmy hadn’t slept in days and was feeling weird as the group huddled at the side of a specially built sixty-foot stage. The hall was dark, the amps had been switched on and were buzzing, and the audience was setting off firecrackers and cherry bombs. It sounded like Saigon as the Viet Cong entered the city. Jimmy as shaking like a leaf. He hated waiting backstage before a show, preferring to jump out of the limo and run onstage. Bonzo as sweating visibly as the crowd noise built to a warlike Nuremberg roar. ‘This is ridiculous,’ Bonzo said. And then they heard it: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Led Zeppelin!'”
The tape is very good at picking up the general pandemonium within the venue but only one cherry bomb is audible before the band start. The tape starts with one of the tapers saying he’s afraid they’ll cut out a lot of their old songs before they play “Rock And Roll.” After “Sick Again” Plant says, “Good evening. Good evening. I should think so. Good evening to yourself. Well it’s more than a pleasure to be back in this area again. In fact, it’s more than a pleasure to be back in America generally. We tonight, we intend to initially have a really good time, as that is the essence of keeping a group together, and we’d like to included you too, by enjoying it. We intend to cut across a cross section of the music we’ve managed to get together since 1968. This includes some of the raunchy stuff, some of the cool stuff, in fact, what we consider to be a complete good deal. Starting with perhaps a song about a dream.”
They play as scorching version of “Over The Hills And Far Away” with Page in particular on fire. For “In My Time Of Dying” he asks if anyone has heard the new album yet on the radio since it was still two weeks away from release. The tapers enjoy “No Quarter,” claiming they did it really good last time and remark about the dry ice effect. Like many of the early 1975 versions, this is basically an expanded edition of the song from 1973 with John Paul Jones remaining on organ throughout the entire solo. One of the tapers makes an interesting point after “Trampled Under Foot.”
He observes they hadn’t played anything earlier than the fourth album and except for “Rock And Roll” the first half of the show is drawn from either Houses Of The Holy or Physical Graffiti, their latest two records. The actual set list belies Plant’s claim to give a cross section of their music. Only “Dazed And Confused” is played from the first album, “Moby Dick,” “Heartbreaker” and a minute’s worth of “Whole Lotta Love” from the second, nothing from the third and only three from the fourth.
Plant introduces Bonzo before “Moby Dick” by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, children of the sun, direct from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in two seconds you will witness one of the most amazing experiences. Our percussionist, not Karen Carpenter, but John Bonham.” The drum solo is about twenty minutes long and “Dazed And Confused” reaches thirty. The recording sounds best in capturing the audience reaction to the laser show and Page is confident enough to include the Bouree. The show is strong enough that they included the second encore, and eleven minute version of “Heartbreaker” to send the show.
Heavy Zeppelin is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with no artwork to speak mention on the front and back cover. The instead chose to follow the brown paper bag motif as they did on the first two releases. A booklet is included with photos and newspaper articles to give some kind of context for the show. Like the first two releases, the sound quality is good but not great and appeals to the hardcore Zeppelin collector. For those, this is a welcomed release because this show has never appeared on silver before.