Rampaging Cajun (Eelgrass EGL-20235/36/37)
LSU, Baton Rouge, LA – February 28th, 1975
Disc 1 (51:33): 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 (53:52): No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (61:47): 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. Rampaging Cajun on Eelgrass is the first release of an excellent quality, nearly complete soundboard recording.
Like the other soundboards from this tour, it has remarkable depth and liveliness in contrast to the rather dry professional tapes from other eras. There is good mix between the vocal, drums and guitar and the audience reactions to the music is clearly heard. Some of the minor imperfections are some distortion at the beginning of “Rock And Roll” due to high volume overload of the bass and a drop in the guitar during “Sick Again” starting at the 0:52 mark. Crackling is audible during the rocking part and ending of “The Rain Song,” some static where the volume runs too high on Bonham’s drums and Plant’s comments before “No Quarter” are missing.
Despite the imperfections this is one of the better soundboards to surface from this tour and offers another perspective on what is a very strong show.
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.”
Rampaging Cajun is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with tour photographs on the artwork. It is a copy of the Empress Valley release of the same name and is the same sound quality but priced about a third of the original set. While any Zeppelin collector would want this tape in the collection, this is an excellent way to obtain it at a reasonable price.