March 19, 1975
Vancouver, BC CA
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, Dazed and Confused (incl. Woodstock), Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (incl. The Crunge), Black Dog.
The two concerts in Vancouver are almost cancelled, due to a strike by radio station CKLG-FM. 3-18-75: "CUPE local 1004 (Canadian Union of Public Employees) at the PNE and two other unions involved would have boycotted the concert if CUPE local 686, representing the CKLG strikers, had so wished. But CUPE spokesman Ole Johnson said the concert is “definitely on. We felt it was in the best public interest to allow the concert to be held," he said, “We aren’t intertested in hurting the over 20,000 people who have already bought tickets."
PRESS REVIEW: The familiar strains of Rock and Roll cut through the acrid Coliseum air and Led Zeppelin’s sixth Vancouver appearance is underway. Zeppelin’s current tour is proving the most successful in rock history and the drama of a rock event hangs heavy. A $250,000 light show complete with laser beaming to the far reaches of the Coliseum makes it even more difficult to separate the music from the spectacle.
Between songs, Robert Plant amuses with an apology for the band’s abortive performance the last time they were in town. A line of that fine white powder turned out to contain LSD and he found himself “admiring the wonderful light show and trying to remember the name of the band”. The result was an uncharacteristically short 70 minute performance. He dedicates Kashmir to this state of mind.
Plant’s patter ranges from surreal to pure tongue-in-cheek: “tonight we shall cleave from the musical limb…” This was his way of explaining that the format of the concert was to give a taste of the band’s history – material from all six albums was featured.
The amplification factor was the highest ever experienced in the Coliseum – the level hovering just below the pain threshold and it was a testament to the remarkable defense mechanisms of the human system that one because accustomed to.
Halfway through the set, Plant announces it’s time to go backstage for a “blow job” and Bonham takes the cue for his perfunctory drum solo. Bonham’s rendition of Moby Dick has no doubt been lambasted in every publication on the continent and unfortunately I have no choice but to add to the criticism. Twenty-five minute drum solos by anyone – and there are certainly greater drum talents – simply don’t work, even with all the special electronic effects in the world at his disposal. To put it simply, it wasn’t very musical.
The band’s tour de force, Dazed and Confused, was built into a 25 minute jam – even incorporating verses from Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock. Page’s stinging guitar complemented Plant’s primal blues to perfection.
As expected, Stairway to Heaven, Zeppelin’s masterpiece, drew the biggest response and Plant, his voice no longer quite what it once was, responded with a philosophical delivery. He obviously understands the significance his audience places in the often obscure lyrics and he plays with the phrasing for effect.
Other memorable additions to the Zeppelin repertoire from Physical Graffiti included In My Time of Dying, featuring some space flavoured slide by Page.
Page’s guitar was up to its usual exemplary standards – he leans a bit more heavily on various electronics (fuzz, echo, etc.) for various effects these days but always manages to maintain a tasteful balance. He has always been an innovator going back to his Yardbird days and enjoys skirting the peripheries of accepted sounds and forms. (-CMS, March 1975)