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.
Disc 1 (56:42): Introduction, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir
Disc 2 (46:58): No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (70:54): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, medley, Black Dog, Heartbreaker
More praise is given to the second night in Long Beach, often called the most “visceral”performance of the entire tour. Millard, who recorded the March 11th show, was said to be in an automobile accident on his way to the venue and was able to record only the last half hour of the show. The other source is much more complete but is slightly distant with a heavy bass on the point of serious distraction. This tape was issued on vinyl on Live In Long Beach 1975 (no label) and on compact disc on Trampled Under Jimmy’s Foot (Silver Rarities SIRA 168/169/170) and Standing In The Shadows (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin). The Millard fragment was first issued on Long Beach Arena Fragment (Holy SH002) in the nineties and several years ago Badgeholders issued Taking No Prisoners Tonight (Badgeholders BH-004-1/2/3), an edit of the two.
Bootleg License follows the same path by using the inferior sounding complete source for most of the show and then editing in the excellent source three and a half minutes into “Stairway To Heaven.” The main source has several small cuts in “The Song Remains The Same,” at the beginning of “The Rain Song,” at 19:06 and 19:59 in ”No Quarter” eliminating the end, and in “Moby Dick.” The Millard source is complete with no cuts except for the crowd noise between the final song and the encores.
The show itself get off to an incendiary start with “Rock And Roll” segueing into a heavy “Sick Again.” Plant greets the audience in Arabic saying “Malacum salaam. Sorry about the delay but the treacherous conditions on the roads. There’s snowstorms back in Hollywood.” He follows with the usual spiel about the setlist being a cross section of six and a half years before an existential version of “Over The Hills And Far Away” followed by “In My Time Of Dying.” Plant speaks about Bob Dylan a bit afterwards when he says, ”That was an old work song actually. A long time before Mr. Zimmerman listened to it down in the village back in the 1960s.”
“The Song Remains The Same,” a source for troubles in the previous evening suffers a complete breakdown about a minute in when Page’s guitar disappears from the mix. “Just a minute, just a minute. Thank you very much. That’s it. See you again Long Beach! Goodnight! They didn’t tell you it was like this in Valhalla. It happened for the first time in six and a half years. Does anyone remember laughter?…We never seem to be able to get things together in Los Angeles on a very firm basis, but like I was saying the song remains nevertheless continuously the same.” The song picks up again and there are still problems with the guitar and Plant misses a cue, but it is still an improvement compared to the previous evening.
“No Quarter” begins with an unique, hazing sounding organ figure before leading into the familiar melody. Jones’ grand piano improvisations are more cohesive, boarding on jazz in parts before Page comes in and plays one of the most intense solos of the tour. Plant acknowledges the intensity afterwards, saying, “Well that was thoroughly enjoyable. Better than a good chick…almost.” The new song “Trampled Under Foot” is introduced as “Trampled Under Jimmy’s Foot” and is a fun track.
“Dazed And Confused” is about a half hour long. “Woodstock” is again included and the section with the violin bow causes considerable excitement as does the fiery solo in the middle. Afterwards Plant sings a bit of The Rolling Stones’ “Have You Seen Your Mother” and praises the “vibes” saying they are “a bit better than last night, too many reds. By the time we get to the Forum we should be sky high!”
The Millard fragment cuts in during “Stairway To Heaven” and makes the listener really with the entire show were captured in that wonderful sound quality. Plant dedicates the encores to Steven Weiss, Led Zeppelin’s lawyer in New York. The “medley” includes “The Crunge,” “Cold Sweat,” “Licking Stick” and a glimpse of the future “Darlene” at its most intense moments before the transition into “Black Dog.” “Heartbreaker” is the second encore, something they did on special nights and during the long solo the get into “I’m A Man.” The inclusion of a blues classic cover was tested on several nights on the tour including also St. Louis when they get into Jimmy Reed’s “Shame Shame Shame” or in New York when they play a bit of “That’s Alright.”
One final point to discuss regarding Bootleg License concerns a paragraph sent out by the Hidden Grok website just before this title’s release. It states: “Tarantura to Release New Box Set of Long Beach 75 Customers Alert: Tarantura is about to release a huge box set of the Long Beach concert without giving any information as to the content and source of the shows. Please note that there is a new Long Beach tape soon to surface of far superior quality to what is out there now. So be careful that you don’t spend a fortune on a re-hash of material just before the new source comes out so they can sell it to you again. PS – The real Tarantura label (not the one hijacked by you know who in Japan) would never even consider doing this marketing scam.”
There are many inconsistencies in this blurb. It mentions “a new Long Beach tape soon to surface of far superior quality to what is out there now.” Since there are two Long Beach shows the Hidden Grok claim is very vague. Which show is it referring too? Furthermore, saying that it is ”soon to surface” means it is not out yet and nobody has it. Since not a month goes by without a rumor concerning a “new Led Zeppelin tape about to surface” all such speculation should be taken with a fair amount of scepticism. Bootleg License has been in production for a while now and the suggestion that it was hastily constructed to rip people off, which is the impression one gets when reading this, is absurd. And finally nobody seems to know who the “you know who” is referred to in the final sentence. The motivation behind this warning is unclear and the lapses in logic are all too apparent and can be ignored. The bottom line is that Bootleg License is a solid release in great packaging worth having.