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Ranking The 1975 Shows


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On 5/9/2021 at 9:16 PM, Strider said:

This is a question some of the Brits will be better qualified to answer than the rest of us, but I have always wondered if the 1975 Earls Court gigs would be better remembered and ranked higher by Zeppelin fans if they had played those shows at the Rainbow Theatre, Empire Pool, Hammersmith Odeon, or Royal Albert Hall instead? In other words, did the dull, dark, dead acoustical atmosphere of Earls Court as a venue contribute to the overall leaden feeling of the gigs themselves?

Could it be the case that the Earls Court shows are not as well regarded by some because the recordings of them are generally not top notch? While desk recordings exist of the final two nights, the audience tapes that are available are, while enjoyable, not a patch on some of the American shows from that or other years.

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I think the EC shows suffered from the same problem the North American shows did:  a general lack of inspiration.  There were definitely exceptions, and almost all of the '75 shows are enjoyable, but they definitely lacked the spontaneity of previous years (certainly from the perspective of an entire show vs. individual parts).  I don't think changing the venue in London really would have affected that much.  (In fact, DC from the 24th is probably the 2nd best version of the year.)

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I have a soft spot for the EC shows because of the acoustic sets and because for whatever reason I hold a higher opinion of them than what seems to be the consensus among the hardcore Zep community.

Putting that aside, for the U.S. 1975 tour I of course agree with the consensus of all the comments above. I really, really like the 2-12 MSG Flying Circus show, and it would definitely be Top 3 of the tour for me if Plant's voice were in better shape. As it is, it's still Top 5 - something about it just gets me, and the sound is phenomenal.

Objectively I guess I would have to put Seattle 3/21 at the top, although my admiration for its marathon length is not always matched by a desire to listen to it. Vancouver 3/19 is probably my personal favorite, as it balances performance quality, condition of Plant's voice, sound quality of sbd, and overall vibe quite nicely. I don't know what it is about 3/20 - maybe the horribly compressed and clipped sbd source - but I've always prefered 3/19 to it.

For me the biggest problem with '75 is what others have noted - the lack of consistency in both performance quality and energy. I think a Best of 1975 compilation would be rip-roaring and just as good as a Top 10 or perhaps Top 5 1973 show. But you'd have to assemble such a composite from a good number of '75 dates, because the truly transcendent, exceptional performances are a bit scattered about.

Edited by tmtomh
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2 hours ago, tmtomh said:

I have a soft spot for the EC shows because of the acoustic sets and because for whatever reason I hold a higher opinion of them than what seems to be the consensus among the hardcore Zep community.

Putting that aside, for the U.S. 1975 tour I of course agree with the consensus of all the comments above. I really, really like the 2-12 MSG Flying Circus show, and it would definitely be Top 3 of the tour for me if Plant's voice were in better shape. As it is, it's still Top 5 - something about it just gets me, and the sound is phenomenal.

Objectively I guess I would have to put Seattle 3/21 at the top, although my admiration for its marathon length is not always matched by a desire to listen to it. Vancouver 3/19 is probably my personal favorite, as it balances performance quality, condition of Plant's voice, sound quality of sbd, and overall vibe quite nicely. I don't know what it is about 3/20 - maybe the horribly compressed and clipped sbd source - but I've always prefered 3/19 to it.

For me the biggest problem with '75 is what others have noted - the lack of consistency in both performance quality and energy. I think a Best of 1975 compilation would be rip-roaring and just as good as a Top 10 or perhaps Top 5 1973 show. But you'd have to assemble such a composite from a good number of '75 dates, because the truly transcendent, exceptional performances are a bit scattered about.

Completely agree. I listen to 5/24 & 5/25, because of the acoustic set, more than other shows from ‘75. Love the laid back vibe. Plus Trampled Under Foot was more intense as well. 

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Someone more knowledgeable than myself can maybe respond to this comment, but I'll never understand why Zeppelin didn't postpone the start of their 1975 US tour until March and then had it lead right into the Earls Court shows at the end of May.  I mean, 'Physical Graffiti' wasn't released until February and had they started in March, Plant's voice would have been in better shape and more healed up, with more consistency.  It would have also been better for the fans in the Midwest and East Coast of the States, weather-wise.  I realize that a follow-up US tour was scheduled for the summer that unfortunately got cancelled because of Plant's car-crash injuries, but even originally planning for the US shows to start right after the New Year seemed strange.  Especially since the album hadn't been released yet and the fans hadn't had time to become more familiar with its contents.

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1 hour ago, Bob B said:

Someone more knowledgeable than myself can maybe respond to this comment, but I'll never understand why Zeppelin didn't postpone the start of their 1975 US tour until March and then had it lead right into the Earls Court shows at the end of May.  I mean, 'Physical Graffiti' wasn't released until February and had they started in March, Plant's voice would have been in better shape and more healed up, with more consistency.  It would have also been better for the fans in the Midwest and East Coast of the States, weather-wise.  I realize that a follow-up US tour was scheduled for the summer that unfortunately got cancelled because of Plant's car-crash injuries, but even originally planning for the US shows to start right after the New Year seemed strange.  Especially since the album hadn't been released yet and the fans hadn't had time to become more familiar with its contents.

Physical Graffiti was supposed to coincide with the very start of the tour but was delayed, and Plant didn’t come down with the flu until the tour started. Zeppelin wasn’t very smart when it came to Plant’s voice (only rescheduling much of their 1977 tour when he came down with laryngitis) so in typical fashion they kept on with the tour, only rescheduling St. Louis from Jan. 27 to Feb. 16. 

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  • 5 months later...

I've been on an early Feb kick lately after being wowed by the 2/4 show (instrumentally, all the early Feb shows have pretty bad vocals) and thought I'd give a little love to 2 shows that don't get much love round these parts, 2/3 MSG and 2/7 MSG. As per usual, there's a little inconsistency but there are some gold nuggets to be found here.

2/3 is a firecracker of a show. Wooooweeee, are they fired up! Maybe Bonzo and Jimmy felt the need to compensate for Robert? Who knows. Bonzo is just going .. well, bonzo on "Sick Again" and OTHAFA. Jimmy's solo on OTH is really great too. So for anyone who hasn't checked out this show, I'd point them to those 2 songs and No Quarter, which is a nice one.

2/7 has a killer OTHAFA solo as well, one of the best (imo) No Quarters of the year and a fantastic Dazed and Confused (Robert sounding good on both NQ and D+C). I'd recommend those 3 songs for this show. Definitely worth checking out.

Edited by 1975NQ
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On 5/13/2021 at 1:47 PM, tmtomh said:

I have a soft spot for the EC shows because of the acoustic sets and because for whatever reason I hold a higher opinion of them than what seems to be the consensus among the hardcore Zep community.

Putting that aside, for the U.S. 1975 tour I of course agree with the consensus of all the comments above. I really, really like the 2-12 MSG Flying Circus show, and it would definitely be Top 3 of the tour for me if Plant's voice were in better shape. As it is, it's still Top 5 - something about it just gets me, and the sound is phenomenal.

Objectively I guess I would have to put Seattle 3/21 at the top, although my admiration for its marathon length is not always matched by a desire to listen to it. Vancouver 3/19 is probably my personal favorite, as it balances performance quality, condition of Plant's voice, sound quality of sbd, and overall vibe quite nicely. I don't know what it is about 3/20 - maybe the horribly compressed and clipped sbd source - but I've always prefered 3/19 to it.

For me the biggest problem with '75 is what others have noted - the lack of consistency in both performance quality and energy. I think a Best of 1975 compilation would be rip-roaring and just as good as a Top 10 or perhaps Top 5 1973 show. But you'd have to assemble such a composite from a good number of '75 dates, because the truly transcendent, exceptional performances are a bit scattered about.

I like the EC shows quite a bit as well. They're my go-to if I want to hear a show in its entirety (i like to put on 5/25 then switch to 5/24 at RS). I think the Zep community prefers the US shows due to the higher energy and raucous nature of the shows overall, as well as the risk-taking and lengthier songs. As astutely pointed out by Bonzo_fan, the improvisation was dialed back a bit at EC, probably due to the addition of the acoustic set (this makes sense to me as well).

So, one could say the EC shows are Zep at their refined best (tasteful, even), which is not a bad thing at all. I think it's apples and oranges. Sometimes you wanna hear a D+C like you get with 2/7 or 3/20 (the 2 best from the tour imho) and other times you wanna hear the classic perfection of 5/24 (my fav of the year).

 

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On 11/4/2021 at 12:43 PM, 1975NQ said:

I like the EC shows quite a bit as well. They're my go-to if I want to hear a show in its entirety (i like to put on 5/25 then switch to 5/24 at RS). I think the Zep community prefers the US shows due to the higher energy and raucous nature of the shows overall, as well as the risk-taking and lengthier songs. As astutely pointed out by Bonzo_fan, the improvisation was dialed back a bit at EC, probably due to the addition of the acoustic set (this makes sense to me as well).

So, one could say the EC shows are Zep at their refined best (tasteful, even), which is not a bad thing at all. I think it's apples and oranges. Sometimes you wanna hear a D+C like you get with 2/7 or 3/20 (the 2 best from the tour imho) and other times you wanna hear the classic perfection of 5/24 (my fav of the year).

 

I think the EC shows are the last great shows they did, although I'd still say a bit on the overrated side esp. compared to the West Coast shows in March.  Actually my opinion of them has gone up recently, I'd now probably put them ahead of the LA run (after the 3-24 soundboard came out last year, it's really hard to overlook LA's sloppiness).  Still no way EC is above the Pacific NW run.

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On 11/3/2021 at 10:23 PM, 1975NQ said:

I've been on an early Feb kick lately after being wowed by the 2/4 show (instrumentally, all the early Feb shows have pretty bad vocals) and thought I'd give a little love to 2 shows that don't get much love round these parts, 2/3 MSG and 2/7 MSG. As per usual, there's a little inconsistency but there are some gold nuggets to be found here.

2/3 is a firecracker of a show. Wooooweeee, are they fired up! Maybe Bonzo and Jimmy felt the need to compensate for Robert? Who knows. Bonzo is just going .. well, bonzo on "Sick Again" and OTHAFA. Jimmy's solo on OTH is really great too. So for anyone who hasn't checked out this show, I'd point them to those 2 songs and No Quarter, which is a nice one.

2/7 has a killer OTHAFA solo as well, one of the best (imo) No Quarters of the year and a fantastic Dazed and Confused (Robert sounding good on both NQ and D+C). I'd recommend those 3 songs for this show. Definitely worth checking out.

2-7 has it's moments, I agree about OTHAFA, and STH is pretty good as I recall, I'll try to give the show another listen.  Maybe 2-3 as well, we'll see.  That was the first '75 appearance of D&C (I assume they didn't inaugurate it in Pittsburgh), and as I recall, it showed.  The CB encore really wasn't dazzling, either.  Kinda typical show for the first leg (until the very end).  

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4 minutes ago, JohnOsbourne said:

I think the EC shows are the last great shows they did, although I'd still say a bit on the overrated side esp. compared to the West Coast shows in March.  Actually my opinion of them has gone up recently, I'd now probably put them ahead of the LA run (after the 3-24 soundboard came out last year, it's really hard to overlook LA's sloppiness).  Still no way EC is above the Pacific NW run.

Seattle - as the strongest - at least in terms of the quality of the soundboard/matrix. Compared to that opening, Earl's court had to be something different. How could you try to capture something like that? and as you say, the Pacific NW run. Just awesome. March has something for everyone. Earl's Court has great Audio and Video. Much more reserved, but hey. They still killed it.

 

4 minutes ago, JohnOsbourne said:

I think the EC shows are the last great shows they did, although I'd still say a bit on the overrated side esp. compared to the West Coast shows in March.  Actually my opinion of them has gone up recently, I'd now probably put them ahead of the LA run (after the 3-24 soundboard came out last year, it's really hard to overlook LA's sloppiness).  Still no way EC is above the Pacific NW run.

 

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3 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

I think the EC shows are the last great shows they did, although I'd still say a bit on the overrated side esp. compared to the West Coast shows in March.  Actually my opinion of them has gone up recently, I'd now probably put them ahead of the LA run (after the 3-24 soundboard came out last year, it's really hard to overlook LA's sloppiness).  Still no way EC is above the Pacific NW run.

 Yeah, I think they're the last great shows they did as well, As far as PNW run being superior to EC ... we may have to agree to disagree lol. I may be in the minority with my opinion here, but overall I'd rather hear certain songs from EC vs PNW. It really just depends on my mood. For instance, the D+C from 3/20 is something else ... all the D+C from EC sound tame in comparison. But my fav part of that song is the Woodstock section, and I'm just mesmerized by 5/24 with that part. It just sounds kinda perfect and magic to me. Staying with 3/20, that show also has a CRAZY WLL .. in a good way lol, Usually, my eyes glaze over with encores from 75, but that one is just wild. It's too bad they didn't give it that extra something more often in 75. I also think Robert sounds much better 5/24 (last 2/3 of show) than he did all year so that influences my listening as well.  Granted, RP sounds killer on 3/21 but for some reason that show has always left me cold. My fav 75 versions of SRTS, RS, Kashmir, NQ, DC and STH are all from EC. 

So yeah, overall I look at it as apples and oranges vs one run being empirically "better" than the other. 75 is really the only Led Zep year where I'm not 100% gung ho on a whole show, like I am with previous tours/shows. It was a weird year for them. It forces me to view shows song by song which is actually kind of fun (until I hit burnout stage which I'm sure will happen soon). I had a great time doing the NQ rankings but wouldn't want to do that for any other song from this year, that's for sure.

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3 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

2-7 has it's moments, I agree about OTHAFA, and STH is pretty good as I recall, I'll try to give the show another listen.  Maybe 2-3 as well, we'll see.  That was the first '75 appearance of D&C (I assume they didn't inaugurate it in Pittsburgh), and as I recall, it showed.  The CB encore really wasn't dazzling, either.  Kinda typical show for the first leg (until the very end).  

Yeah, give it another listen! I'd love to hear what you think. I think a problem 2/7 has by the hardcore LZ community is it suffers from "ugly sister" branding, compared to 2/6 and 2/8. But overall the show is great, and Page is playing much better than most nights of this tour. It's really grown on me. For some reason, I keep going back to it. I recently listened to the whole show (minus MD) and then listened to Montreal from the night before and realized I liked it (2/7) as much or better in some parts (part of this had to do with RP sounding better as the show went on). 

I don't think 2/3 is nearly as good as 2/7 but love the energy of the show, particularly with Bonham. And Page sounds pretty good on some songs. Def agree about the /CB encore lol

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6 hours ago, 1975NQ said:

 Yeah, I think they're the last great shows they did as well, As far as PNW run being superior to EC ... we may have to agree to disagree lol. I may be in the minority with my opinion here, but overall I'd rather hear certain songs from EC vs PNW. It really just depends on my mood. For instance, the D+C from 3/20 is something else ... all the D+C from EC sound tame in comparison. But my fav part of that song is the Woodstock section, and I'm just mesmerized by 5/24 with that part. It just sounds kinda perfect and magic to me. Staying with 3/20, that show also has a CRAZY WLL .. in a good way lol, Usually, my eyes glaze over with encores from 75, but that one is just wild. It's too bad they didn't give it that extra something more often in 75. I also think Robert sounds much better 5/24 (last 2/3 of show) than he did all year so that influences my listening as well.  Granted, RP sounds killer on 3/21 but for some reason that show has always left me cold. My fav 75 versions of SRTS, RS, Kashmir, NQ, DC and STH are all from EC. 

So yeah, overall I look at it as apples and oranges vs one run being empirically "better" than the other. 75 is really the only Led Zep year where I'm not 100% gung ho on a whole show, like I am with previous tours/shows. It was a weird year for them. It forces me to view shows song by song which is actually kind of fun (until I hit burnout stage which I'm sure will happen soon). I had a great time doing the NQ rankings but wouldn't want to do that for any other song from this year, that's for sure.

The 3-21 D&C is fantastic, best of the year without question (the Vancouver versions aren't far behind), but I think the 5-24 version is my second favorite, there's something very smooth about it, no disjointed parts like many D&C's from that year (and I agree with 5-18 fans about Page's fluidity that night).

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3 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

The 3-21 D&C is fantastic, best of the year without question (the Vancouver versions aren't far behind), but I think the 5-24 version is my second favorite, there's something very smooth about it, no disjointed parts like many D&C's from that year (and I agree with 5-18 fans about Page's fluidity that night).

I question this 😃  This stuff is all subjective.. I know 3/21 is beloved, Iit's just never clicked for me.. Doesn't make one opinion right or wrong. And yeah exactly 5/24 is smooth vs disjointed which I agree most DC are from 75. I actually like the 5/17 DC an awful lot as well. I'd put that one up there with Vancouver shows for sure.

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3 minutes ago, 1975NQ said:

I question this 😃  This stuff is all subjective.. I know 3/21 is beloved, Iit's just never clicked for me.. Doesn't make one opinion right or wrong. And yeah exactly 5/24 is smooth vs disjointed which I agree most DC are from 75. I actually like the 5/17 DC an awful lot as well. I'd put that one up there with Vancouver shows for sure.

I love the 5-17 version of NQ, definitely a precursor of the '77 versions.  (I'm not a '77 fan, but it's interesting to see the evolution and patterns here.)

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1 hour ago, JohnOsbourne said:

I love the 5-17 version of NQ, definitely a precursor of the '77 versions.  (I'm not a '77 fan, but it's interesting to see the evolution and patterns here.)

Me too, that one is killer.. And yeah I'm not a 77 fan either but it is cool to see those patterns. 

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OK, I re-listened to the 2-7 show, and I was very pleasantly surprised, definitely better than I remembered.  NQ is very good, and TU is excellent (it has shades of the great March versions).  And Heartbreaker is pretty hot.  But the real revelation was D&C, that was crazy good.  The Philly version is noteworthy because it's reminiscent of '73, this version is unique, really interesting playing by Page.  (Unfortunately a bit disjointed on the return to the main theme at the end, but that's typical for '75.)  So I would definitely move this one up a lot, to the middle of my rankings, but I still can't put it ahead of Philly or Montreal or the NY shows at the end of the first leg (nor any March West Coast shows).  However, it deserves more attention, I agree.

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On 11/6/2021 at 5:49 AM, JohnOsbourne said:

I think the EC shows are the last great shows they did, although I'd still say a bit on the overrated side esp. compared to the West Coast shows in March.  Actually my opinion of them has gone up recently, I'd now probably put them ahead of the LA run (after the 3-24 soundboard came out last year, it's really hard to overlook LA's sloppiness).  Still no way EC is above the Pacific NW run.

Not sure about that as I thought they had some very good shows from start to end in 77' such as Cleveland 4-28, Pontiac 4-30, Maryland 5-30, most of the NY & LA runs as well. Then there is the fantastic 7-24-79 show which is just out of sight. I would say 7-24-79 was their last, great show.

BTW, been listening to 3-11-75 and once Robert is warmed up he is singing very good and the band is just shit-hot. JP, JPJ, & Bonzo are employing combinations I never heard before and Page & Bonham are really on fire.

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