Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA – February 3, 1975
Disc 1 (76:03) 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, No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot
Disc 2 (78:35) Moby Dick, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Communication Breakdown
With the sheer number of titles being released by the No Label group it is almost impossible to figure out what is worth having and what you should pass on. Ultimately I decide on what I need to fill a gap and or what is a decent upgrade. I have always liked the much maligned 1975 American tour, something that brought me to purchasing this release documenting the first night at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. Zeppelin collectors know of this concert as it was recorded by Artie, a taper who previously recorded Zep shows at the venue in 1971 and 72, his tapes are good recordings but he and his friends talk over music without abandon. For this fact alone most people stay away from this recording, it has had only one previous release from a long time ago, Heavy Metal Hullabaloo (TDOLZ 063), a long out of print title that is not too hard to track down.
The recording is a good to very good audience recording, for the most part it is clear, detailed, and typical with recordings from this venue, quite atmospheric. Artie and his friend do a lot of talking as they smoke a bunch of dope and enjoy the concert, there are not many Zep recordings where you hear so much talking and after a while I find that this recording is a perfect snapshot of the era. When I compare this to the old TDOLZ title, I am quite impressed with what I hear. The sound is louder and clearer than the old title, and once you get into it, the recording and performance really suck you in. The band has gotten past the rough spot of the tour the previous week and the healing process is almost there. Roberts’s voice is low and raspy, but hell, take one listen to Page soloing during Over The Hills.
Of course this concert is famous for having the first performance of Dazed and Confused from 1975, it is very short clocking in a just over 23 minutes, crazy to think that the song would stretch for over 40 minutes in just a months time. Plant gets into San Francisco and then a bit of Celebration Day lyrics, “her face is cracked from smiling”, harkening back to 1971 when he used to introduce it as being a song about New York. Shorter means there are a few sections missing, but who cares, the improved sound makes it really easy to enjoy this great piece of improvisation. A very well played concert, obviously the band is glad to be back in New York City.
The packaging is typical, nice looking inserts with black & white and color shots, most of them actually being from the concert itself. You get a cool numbered sticker and the CD’s have pictures on them. A really nice upgrade of a great concert, some may find the taper comments annoying, for those who can get past it you will find a tasty bit of Zeppelin.