Symphony In A Thousand Parts (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol.064)
Sports Arena, San Diego, CA – March 10th, 1975
Disc 1 (52:41): 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 (50:41): No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (59:58): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love / The Crunge / Black Dog
Led Zeppelin’s first California date on their tenth US tour was on March 10th in San Diego. Traditionally a site for wild shows, they add more energy to their performance. Symphony In A Thousand Parts presents the only extant recording of this gig. It is a distant but clear recording capturing the insanity of the show very well with several imperfections on the tape.
There is a drop out in 5:23 in “In My Time Of Dying,” a slight shift in balance for sixteen seconds in “The Song Remains The Same,” a small cut before 2:54″Kashmir,” a three second dropout in5:10 to 5:13 “No Quarter, a cut in “Moby Dick,” balance issues for ten seconds in “Dazed And Confused” and a cut right before the call and response section, a dropout in “Stairway To Heaven” and a dropout in “Black Dog.” Unfortunately the tape is not complete because they played “Heartbreaker” as a second encore, but the taper either left too early or ran out of tape.
Steven Davis discusses this show at length in Hammer Of The Gods since it is most likely the only Led Zeppelin concert he ever attended. He described the heat and the reaction of the audience and ultimately calls this show a “masterpiece.” There is noticeable fortitude at the beginning and they deliver the most intense version of “Sick Again” on record.
The audience are going wild and Plant has to engage in crowd control at the very beginning. “San Diego, good evening. Now we got to tell you a few things, and the first one is…if you could listen…if you could shut up a minute…if you could shut right up. Don’t get pushing around. Just stand or sit down. Just stand still. Don’t get pushing about because it effects what we’re trying to do, OK? And the second thing is, it should have been the first, but we really, we’re really glad to be back in California, but what happened to the sun? Anyways, it’s bound to shine tomorrow.”
After tight versions of “Over The Hills And Far Away” and “In My Time Of Dying” he continues addressing the problems in the crowd, saying, “If you could creat some kind of order amidst the chaos, then you’d be achieving what we all try and do sooner or later. So try and keep it, don’t wiggle around so much. You can ball afterwards. Mind you, it’s good music to ball to.”
As the din continues, Plant changes the opening line of “The Rain Song” to “This should be the springtime of your loving.” Nevertheless this is another very delicate and gorgeous version of the piece.
He has to interrupt his introduction to “Kashmir,” saying, “Welcome back to San Diego. Right, that featured…hey listen, just please. It really, it really foils the continuity of what we’re trying to do. If you could keep it a little bit human, OK? Here’s a track of um, here’s a track off Physical Graffiti that features John. It’s about another one of those journeys that, even if you just went to San Bernardino, you could end up in the same place as we did. This is called ‘Kashmir.'”
Before “No Quarter” Plant asks for the crowd “to cooperate and move back so the people at the front don’t get their belly’s tossed around in little bits and pieces? If anybody’s gonna enjoy this, they ain’t gonna be able to enjoy it if they’re half was across a piece of wood. So, could you please do the obvious thing? That doesn’t mean sideways. That doesn’t mean round and round. That doesn’t mean. That means just move back a little bit, OK?” Jones’ piece is stretched for twenty minutes in this show with the keyboardist getting into some jazz in the middle.
“Dazed And Confused” reaches the half hour mark and at this point in the tour sounds much tighter and more confident. Although there are some balance problems in the first couple of minutes, the heavy echo in the recording works very well with the dynamics of the piece. It gives the impression of a fever dream where nothing is as it appears to be and is the fodder for pure nightmares. This is one of the standout recordings of the song’s latter days (it would disappear after Earls Court in May).
Plant describes “Stairway To Heaven” as “a little bit of light came through to us and we’re gonna pass it on to you.” The first encore includes “Whole Lotta Love” stumbling into “The Crunge” along with the theremin solo closed out with a nine minute version of “Black Dog.”
It is shame “Heartbreaker” wasn’t recorded since reviews speak about how loose it was with Plant kissing the back of Page’s head during the solo. TDOLZ package this in a pretty cardboard gatefold sleeve and since it is the only silver release of this tape it is a good one to have.