Sweet Home Chicago (Wendy wecd- 38/39/40)
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL – January 20, 1975
Disc 1: Rock And Roll/Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, When The Levee Breaks, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song, Kashmir, The Wanton Song
Disc 2: No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog, Communication Breakdown
What is great about collecting Zeppelin titles is the many and various ways different labels market and re-issue different tapes. The fascination with comparing titles is on the level of a sport and there are even some websites devoted exclusively to comparing the different versions. Very few bands can claim this distinction! The virtue of this kind of production is in the luxury of waiting. If there is a title that you want but either can’t find or can’t afford, just be patient. Rest assured there will be a release sooner or later. And knowing Zeppelin manufacturers, they will oftentimes produce two competing titles.
The tape used for Sweet Home Chicago, Wendy’s latest release, has circulated for thirty years. It initially surfaced on vinyl as Live At The Chicago Stadium on Digger Records. Silver Rarities released this in the early 90’s as Live On The Levee followed by Tarantura’s Luftshiffe and Cobra’s cdr title Live At The Chicago Stadium, using the vinyl artwork as inspiration. Wendy’s release uses tapes that are closer to the master and overall sounds very good. Certainly much better than the Cobra release.
There has been some confusion about the date and sequence of songs of this show. Louis Rey in his book claims the bulk of the show is January 21st with “Rock And Roll”, “How Many More Times” and “Stairway To Heaven” being from January 20th. People closer to the source have definitively stated that isn’t the case, that all of the songs come from the first show and the same tape source. There is also some controversy surrounding the placement of “In My Time Of Dying”. The Cobra release, Louis Rey and Lewis & Pallett in The Concert File claim that “In My Time Of Dying” was played later in the set after “No Quarter”, placing the track in the latter part of the show just as it was in Brussels. The Silver Rarities and Tarantura releases placed “In My Time Of Dying” before “The Song Remains The Same” as was the custom of a majority of the tour. Again sources close to the tape state the latter is actually correct, that the song was placed earlier in the set list after the European warm-up dates.
The show itself is not bad. This was one of the first concerts on their Physical Graffiti tour and the rust is apparent. But you can hear a very rare live version of “When The Levee Breaks” and “The Wanton Song”. The rarities in the set are the main redeeming features. It is interesting to hear the deafening silence to the newer numbers. But the mainstays of the set, “No Quarter” and “Stairway To Heaven” are very good and “How Many More Times” receives a big ovation. Sweet Home Chicago is better sounding than previous releases and longer, including the house announcer at the very beginning. It comes packaged in a double slimline jewel case with an obi strip on the outside. The graphic design is simple, yet effective and since no other label has really done this show justice, this release is worth having.