January 31, 1975
Detroit, MI US
Rock and Roll, Sick Again, Over the Hills and Far Away, In My Time of Dying, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Kashmir, No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Communication Breakdown.
Press Review: Zeppelin Are Sexy
Rock and roll is powered by sex, just like the moms and dads feared two decades ago — and no band is sexier than Led Zeppelin.
For 2 1/2 hours at Olympia Friday night—no intermission, no warns-up, no relief — Zeppelin surged with a basic, erotic power.
I don't mean the sexy tease of Tina Turner, or the machismo aggressiveness of the Rolling Stones, or the layful perversity of the glitter bands, and certainly not the straightforward lyrics of some folk-rockers. Tins Buckley for example.
No, this was something more instinctive — a primal energy stored in the gut, and spilled out in a visceral surge by Zeppelin's muse. Even without lyrics they would be erotically disturbing, a meat-grinder for your baser urges. They were shooting from the groin, not the hip, through Showco speakers that poured 300,000 watts of power over the jam-packed audience. Zeppelin used every ounce of that juice. Their heaving, rhythmically jagged music set Jimmy Page's heavy-metal guitar against Robert Plant's heavy-breathing voice. John Paul Jones on mellotron (looking much happier than on the numbers where he played bass) net up a languid contrast; John Bonham's drums laid down an immovable bottom.
Page would slash an attack, twisting across the stage with his face in asthmatic contortions; Plant re-established the tension with eerie swoops and slides — he's done more for gasps and squeals than anyone outside dirty movies. They constantly pushed for ecstatic surrounder as they spread their choices from their earliest material to the newest, on the long-awaited Physical Graffiti, their first in two years and evidently a ferocious continuance of their trend.
The performance was a long way from studio perfection; Plant was flat on the opening numbers, not even trying for the high notes, and Page's guitar runs careened 'way off-track. But momentum quickly gathered into an orgasmic torrent where delicacies were not heeded.
Plant and Page held the front of the stage, androgynous in the bare-chested English manner, curls cascading as they strutted hip-jarring challenges. Stairway to Heaven near the end, was exhaustingly good; and when, earlier, Plant sang the line in How Many More Times about a lemon-squeezer, the old song was a reminder that this band has been at its peak for a good half-dozen years.
Like any long-lasting love, their endurance hasn't been accidental. No other band could go two, years without an album and still instantly sell out its concerts — but Zeppelin is wise enough to visit each city on its tours only once in two years instead of annually as other big acts do. And the concert was hardly spur-of-the-moment, either. That show seas planned with all the expense and bother of one of Cleopatra's seductions.
They brought in enough lights to set all downtown Windsor shining. The stage gimmicks were precisely timed — fog machines, smoke bombs, five giant ballroom globes to send globules of light flitting around the stadium; weirdly fascinating amplification for John Bonham's kettledrum solo; flashing lights spelling out the band's name; Jimmy Page attacking his guitar with a violin bow he wielded like a magic wand.
It was exhausting; it was exhilarating; it shook up the gut just as planned. Six years ago, when Zeppelin made its debut in the clammy old Grande Ballroom, I cautiously passed the opinion that they had potential. Nice call, pal. [The Windsor Star. February 1, 1975, John Laycock]
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