Rocky Mountain Hop (Godfather Records GR540/541/542)
PNC, Vancouver, BC, Canada – March 19th, 1975
Disc 1 (56:25): 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 (57:44): No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (67:58): Dazed And Confused (incl. Woodstock), Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (The Crunge), Black Dog
Rocky Mountain Hop contains the soundboard reocrding of Led Zeppelin’s March 19th, 1975 Vancouver show which first surfaced on Snow Jobs (Empress Valley EVSD-403/404/405/406/407). It’s an extremely enjoyable and dynamic sounding recording; one of the best to surface from the 1975 tour. It has wide separation with a great balance between instruments and ambient audience noise.
John Paul Jones’ bass is higher in the mix compared to the other 75 boards, but not overwhelming nor distorted but provides great counterpoint to Page and Bonham making this a fascinating listen. One of the functions of the bass is to elicit a visceral reaction to the music and this soundboard is an excellent example of that effect.
This release has caused many to pay more attention to this show and give a re-evaluation as one of the best nights on the tour with particular attention upon the developing epics. There are some rough spots in the beginning. Both “Over The Hills And Far Away” and “The Song Remains The Same” teeter on the brink of disaster, but both “No Quarter” and “Dazed & Confused” were truly places for on-stage experimentation by the band. Sometimes, like “No Quarter” in the preceding show in Seattle, really goes nowhere. But on this night the improv comes together very well with Page in a very abstract mood.
“Dazed & Confused” is similarly very experimental with Page extending the soft transition into “Woodstock”. He falls a bit right after the violin bow solo hitting upon a theme that really goes nowhere before hitting upon the bombastic notes signaling the beginning of the “Dazed & Confused” solo. Later in the piece he plays call and response games with Bonham at about the half hour mark that is interesting.
The encores, which have never been heard before, are standard for this tour. There is an almost full version of “The Crunge” played with Plant hitting some high notes. The jamming after the theremin bit becomes so intense that Plant tries to lead the band into James Brown’s “Lickin’ Stick” (“Mama, come here quick” is as far as he gets) but wisely gets out of the way of Bonham who is thrashing the hell out of this drum kit before leading the band into “Black Dog.”
Rocky Mountain Hop is housed in a tri-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve with detailed liner notes from Paul De Lux. This is one of the essential tapes to own from the 1975 tour and Godfather have produced a very nice, affordable and available edition.