Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA – March 3, 1975
Disc 1: (55:00) 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: (58:55) No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3: (59:15) Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog
Empress Valley offered some exciting news recently with the release of another stereo soundboard from Led Zeppelin’s 1975 American Tour, and adding to the fact that no audience source has ever circulated for this date in Fort Worth was certainly another bonus. An Eelgrass version was inevitable and as usual they wasted no time in offering collectors a more affordable, direct copy of the EV original.
CMR’s relayer67 did a great job breaking down the performance in his review of Empress Valley’s Rock Super Stars so I will urge everyone to check out his article if they haven’t already. While touching on some different points I will concur that his assessment of Bonham and Jones is spot on. They are extremely tight tonight and are the reason this concert is so successful.
The recording is a nice clear, punchy soundboard that starts with a tad of slight overload on the lower frequencies but by midway through “Rock And Roll” the mix is near perfect and it seems to have improved. Plant’s voice definitely starts off sounding weak but he learns to control it as the show progresses and will use it to his advantage. There is a minor amount of hiss present but this is almost not even worth mentioning considering the overall sound quality. What I really like is that the bass guitar has some serious weight to it especially when Jimmy is soloing, it fills out the mix nicely (like in “Sick Again”). Page sounds good in “Over The Hills”. His delicate intro is very nice and the solo, being more relaxed and experimental, pays off in this version.
“In My Time Of Dying” gives Plant a bit of a break and he can get into the vocal comfortably without having to reach for the stratosphere. Someone misses a cue but they rectify the issue quickly and avoid any type of catastrophe. Jones sounds amazing under Page’s slide soloing. “The Song Remains The Same” continues with the band sounding very aggressive with Bonham at the forefront. Plant is careful with his voice by the end but “The Rain Song” will give him another break and is a nice contrast that follows.
“No Quarter” is awesome, especially hearing it in this quality. Jones is obviously the star and his fingers sounds as “mysterious” as Robert describes him. Page creeps in for the solo and offers some nice fluidness in his playing, a really nice version that needs to be heard. Plant’s voice has improved dramatically by “Trampled Underfoot” and he sounds confident in his performance. The Clavinet sounds nice and heavy here adding to the enjoyment although Page has both flashes of brilliance and sloppiness in his solos. Bonham’s solo is inspired and playful during “Moby Dick” and is one of the more enjoyable listens.
The 32 minute “Dazed And Confused” contains the “Stardust” lyrics and is a good solid version of their experimental masterpiece. Plant even says “speaking of journeys, that was some journey” after and talks about building up good vibes before a beautiful performance of “Stairway To Heaven”. Jones’ electric piano creates a nice mood for the piece in this recording and Jimmy rips out a very nice solo. The “Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog” medley finishes the Fort Worth audience off in typical Zeppelin fashion.
Empress Valley certainly deserves credit for liberating this fine recording and we can all tip our hats to them as well (I know I’ve definitely bought my share of EV titles over the years, and I still continue to support them). However, Rock Super Stars from Eelgrass is a great way to obtain this new soundboard at a budget price. It comes packaged in a fatboy jewel cases with double sided artwork and is a more than acceptable production. I must say I do enjoy the ’75 soundboards more than any others, if just for the more rounded sound quality they have to offer. Rock Super Stars is a great show from 1975 that I am thankful to have, especially in this amazing soundboard quality.