Standing In The Shadow (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 037)
Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA – March 12th, 1975
Disc 1 (74:28): Rock And Roll/Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same (intro only), The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir, No Quarter
Disc 2 (56:22): Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, Dazed And Confused
Disc 3 (36:36): Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, The Crunge, Black Dog, Heartbreaker
Standing In The Shadow is an early release on The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin featuring the complete audience recording for the March 12th Long Beach show. Diagrams use the alternate source only with no editing of the Millard fragment. Diagrams runs at the correct speed, unlike Silver Rarities’ Trampled Under Jimmy’s Foot which runs too fast. The sound quality of this ragged tape has since been improved, but this release is still listenable. It comes packaged in a single sleeve to house the discs with a strange picture of John Paul Jones on the back. For review of the actual gig, this is the assessment Eric Romano wrote a decade ago on the Trampled Underground website:
On the 1975 World Tour, the band gig in support of Physical Graffiti. Critics slag the ’75 tour for its long solos, longer songs, and Plant’s ragged voice. Page says “The album will get back to something some people think we’ve been drifting away from- straightforward rock and roll.” Tonight’s concert supports his claim: a straightforward rock and roll show. An emphasis on expression tempers the length and heaviness of this show. The rock is mixed with soul…
Leading a poignant rendition of “No Quarter,” Jonesy plays the Godfather of Soul. He holds his own with an extended piano break after the main theme. For once, he justifies the length of his solo excursion, avoiding the usual wandering, tinkling chords. Tonight he has a plan! And he develops his themes, incorporating well-placed dissonance and darkness, to hold your interest. A greater reliance on rythm keeps the song from stalling out. Page enters strumming, and waits to get into his opening solo line. Over Bonham’s hypnotic beat, he adds a restrained solo that graciously leaves some room for Jones.
Beyond his soulful singing, Plant spends much time talking to the audience. He fills his casual monologues with jokes and explanations of Zep’s artistic intentions. Priceless! Jimmy drops out at the beginning of “The Song Remains the Same,” and Plant stops the band and takes up his schtick again while the guitar is repaired. He won’t shut up and they can’t start the song- is that Bonzo screaming “What are you doing you #@$% !” When they do start, the aggressive rhythm and Page’s lilting 12-string solos bring elation. A dropout eliminates the transition into “The Rain Song,” but Plant delivers his vocals lovingly. He adds exclamations after each line, and emotive vocables to the instrumentals. The change of mood is just another musical color to enjoy in contrast to the straightforward rock of “Trampled Underfoot,” “In My Time of Dying,” and “Sick Again.”
In Jones’s words, he and Bonham were “James Brown freaks and used to play his records all the time… on stage, we’d get into funk grooves a lot.” His skills on bass drive the concert, and true to his word, they offer up some JB’s when Plant sings “Licking Stick- Licking Stick.” Other sources name this song differently, but “Star Time,” the Brown box set, calls it “Licking Stick- Licking Stick.” They don’t play the music from King James, they keep on “The Crunge” beat. Jonesy drops a low note as Bonzo hits the bass drum, and it jumps up and smacks you in the face. Jones and Bonham: the JB’s. Page lays down the ninth chords for Plant to give up the soul with some scat: “B-b-b-b-b-b-Bridge!”
Flying high off the funk, the lads come back for another encore. Page keeps pausing inside the “Heartbreaker” solo, and Bonzo jumps into the silence with a shuffle beat. The band answers back with an oldie from Southside Chicago, “I’m a man, spelled M (boom!), spelled A (boom!), spelled N (boom!).”
Bottom Line: The recording can’t compare to Seattle or LA, but they give an above-average show with many special moments. Zep’s careful delivery heightens the effect of each piece compared to other ’75 gigs. A very incomplete source with superior audio also exists.