Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Led Zeppelin - 2018 - The Overture: The 1972 Japanese tour

Led Zeppelin
The Overture: The 1972 Japanese tour

Over the past few years Empress Valley have released some really nice box sets focusing on specific runs of concerts that are important milestones in Led Zeppelin’s concert history, Thunder Down Under – The Complete 1972 Australian And New Zealand Recordings, The Garden Tapes – The Song Remains The Same Concerts, and Earl’s Court – The Final Option. For their newest effort they chose to focus on Led Zeppelin’s second trip to Japan, a short tour consisting of six concerts that took place in the fall of 1972. After the success of the first Japanese tour in September 1971, plans were made for a return visit with Led Zeppelin again playing multiple nights in Tokyo and Osaka plus one date in each Nagoya and Kyoto. Compared to the previous year, the concerts were rather low key and subdued. The set list would go through changes as they were developing new pacing and dynamics of the concerts. They had been playing the same basic format for the past two years and this new sequence would feature Rock And Roll as the new opener, Dazed and Confused as the showcase number and Stairway To Heaven as the culmination of the set. The songs from the forthcoming, as of yet untitled, fifth record would be a major part of the set and Whole Lotta Love with its rich rock and roll Medley would retains its spot as encore. The tour did garner much attention from the tapers, multiple audience sourced documents/recordings exist for all six of the concerts, Led Zeppelin’s live prowess had quickly become legend.

This tour has also gotten much attention in the collectors markets with all six concerts being released multiple times and the premium labels have put together some very nice box sets documenting the entire tour. In 1992 the original Tarantura label released a deluxe 14 disc collection entitled The Campaign 1972, the set boasted front cover art based upon the famous “The Effect is Shattering” Houses of the Holy Advertisement featuring a powerful blast to the head and individual CD sleeves featuring traditional Japanese artwork with a Zeppelin somewhere in the scene. A wonderful set that continues to draw hefty prices. The last complete collection of this material dates back to 1999 when Last Stand Disc released Live In Japan 1972, a 12 disc box set featuring upgraded sound compared to the Tarantura but with less extravagant packaging, a hinged box with the “The Effect is Shattering” Houses of the Holy Advertisement featuring the head between two train car couplers and CDs housed in plain sleeves. Empress Valley has never presented this material in a collected form until now, in June 2018 the label released Complete Live In Japan 1972, a 12 disc set featuring the best recordings from each of the concerts with gaps filled by the next best source. The box has the same dimensions for the Ally Pally and History Lesson and several other sets, it comes in two different editions, The Campaign features “The Effect is Shattering” gun blast art on the cover, The Overture features “The Effect is Shattering” train couplers art, both have a slight holographic shimmer to them. Both versions have the same content, the CD’s are housed in three full cover sleeves (two concert per sleeve) featuring a live shot from the tour, looks like the Budokan October 3 concert. There are four stage pictures in a small envelope from the same concert, a fold open flyer with traditional Japanese art work that is quite beautiful and lastly let’s not forget the OBI. The packaging is beautiful, simple and effective.

Led Zeppelin
October 2, 1972
Budokan Hall

01. Introduction
02. Rock and Roll
03. Over the Hills and Far Away
04. Black Dog
05. Misty Mountain Hop
06. Since I've Been Loving You
07. Dancing Days
08. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
09. The Song Remains the Same
10. The Rain Song
11. Dazed and Confused
12. Stairway to Heaven
13. Whole Lotta Love
14. Crowd Anticipation
15. Heartbreaker
16. Crowd Anticipation
17. Immigrant Song
18. Communication Breakdown
19. Outroduction

The first night of the tour finds Led Zeppelin playing to a capacity audience at the world famous Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. There are eight known audience recordings in varying degrees of quality and completeness, Empress Valley uses the best recording as a basis for this concert. The recording has been released many times previous, early vinyl titles like Live At Budokan 72 (New OG 1149-50A-B), Live In Tokyo 10/2/72 (Toasted 1901 A-D), and Live In Tokyo Oct 2-3 1972 Budokan Big Hall (LLX 1233-4-5-6). On compact disc we have titles like No Use Greco (Tarantura GRECO 1), Dancing Days (Aphrodite Studio AS 91LZ002-3), Eastern Front (Great Dane 9226A/B), The Campaign (Tarantura 1972-5-1-12), Live In Japan 1972 (Last Stand Disc LSD 65/78), Presentation 1972 (Patriot 002-1/2), The Overture (Sanctuary TMOS-97201 A/B), Led Zeppelin Is My Brother (Empress Valley EVSD 319/320), and Budokan 1972 1st Night (No Label).

The recording is a near perfect, excellent audience recording, the taper was close to the stage and captured a clear, detailed and very enjoyable capture. The concert is virtually complete, there are a few cuts in the tape but none during the music, those few gaps are filled with other sources making as complete overview of the concert as possible. I pulled out my old go to version of the concert, EV’s Led Zeppelin Is My Brother, this new version is just a bit clearer and brighter. It does not sound like manipulation rather a better transfer, the very slight amount of tape hiss is still present as well. The second disc is also longer as the label has patched the missing parts of audience cheering, the transitions are very smooth and well handled.

The concert itself is merely a “nice starter”, the set list has had a near complete makeover, Rock and Roll is a natural opener and is played stand alone style yet hard to replace the Immigrant Song > Heartbreaker salvo from the previous year. This song would be the opener for the next couple years, not until the American tour in 1973 and the Rock And Roll> Celebration Day> Black Dog sequence would it be most effective. Starting their concerts with a killer one two punch has been a tradition since their earliest performances.

After being played very sporadically, Misty Mountain Hop finally gets a full time slot in the set, linked with Since I’ve Been Loving You, albeit with a pregnant pause, this would soon develop into a moment of high drama with Page playing a show stopping flurry of leads, here it is just good. The band have added even more previews from the fifth record, The Song Remains The Same and Rain Song get their inaugural performances, fully realized and very effective, Robert refers to it as Zepp on this night. This concert also marks the first time the Mellotron was used by John Paul Jones, the tape replay machine was used to allow Jones the ability to mimic the string arraignments during The Rain Song, the first version of the song is superb, the heavy section is very dynamic and quite impressive.

The Whole Lotta Love medley is a typical concert high point, Elvis numbers are always fun for the audience (and myself also, big Elvis fan), they play a great version of My Baby Left Me, Page rips some of his most tasty leads of the night during the song. Like the 1971 tour, the band digs out some very old numbers as well, Plant forces a bit of Killing Floor, aka the Lemon Song and after the group gets it together they manage an impressive version. The crowd awakens for the encores, Heartbreaker is well received and after a long period of clambering for more, the group returns with Immigrant Song and Communication Breakdown to end the concert proper, Jimmy hits the Wah pedal during Communication Breakdown and elicits a loud cheer from the audience, and me!

Led Zeppelin
October 3, 1972
Budokan Hall

01. Introduction
02. Rock and Roll
03. Black Dog
04. Over the Hills and Far Away
05. Misty Mountain Hop
06. Since I've Been Loving You
07. Dancing Days
08. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
09. The Song Remains the Same
10. The Rain Song
11. Dazed and Confused
12. Stairway to Heaven
13. Whole Lotta Love
14. Crowd Anticipation
15. Immigrant Song
16. Crowd Anticipation
17. The Ocean
18. Outroduction

The second night at Budokan is another somewhat tentative concert by the band and follows a similar pattern to the previous evening, that of the performance building and by the time of the encores, the old building has been really heated up. A staggering nine separate recordings exist from this concert, again in varying degrees of completeness and quality. For this version EV uses “source 3” as its foundation, this recording has been released on a few compact disc titles, 2nd Night In A Judo Arena 1972 (Tarantura T2CD-6-1,2), The Campaign (Tarantura 1972-5-1-12), Live In Japan 1972 (Last Stand Disc LSD 65/78), and Tokyo 1972 2nd Night (No Label), the label uses source 4 to fill gaps due to it being sonically similar and a bit of two other sources as well. The recordings are very good, again clear and detailed with the main source being a bit bass heavy that gives low end rumble but it has a very powerful sound because of it, it seems to accent Bonzo’s drumming, The Hammer of the Gods. The upper frequencies offer some crisp detail and all instruments and vocals are cleanly defined, both recordings are a bit more distant so the overall feeling is much more ambient than the previous evening, the audience sounds more animated.

For those who are familiar with the older Tarantura and LSD titles will find the sound much improved, the older circulating copies sounded like they had some sonic manipulation done to them, this version sound like a more direct, non tampered with version of the tape. I was somewhat surprised with this as EV had released the concert as part of their “Rock Explosion” series using the near excellent source 6, after several listens of both sources I find both compliment each other nicely and surprisingly I prefer this version of the concert, by the time the band are playing Since I’ve Been Loving You I was hooked by the sounds, sometimes the best sound is not always the best listening experience.

For the second night in Tokyo, the band moves Black Dog to second spot after Rock And Roll, yet both are not connected but makes for a stronger opening. Black Dog would retain second spot for the remainder of the tour. Other than some brief tuning, the band waste little time with chatter and seem content to just hammer the set out. Page is harassed by his acoustic guitar prior to Bron-YR-Aur Stomp, he can’t seem to get it in tune and Plant fills in the gap by asking “just one moment Gentlemen and Honorable Ladies, and Geisha’s”. Gone are the long acoustic sets of previous tours, the singular acoustic number is a perfect excuse for a hoedown, the audience clap along and enjoy the looseness of the song.

The Song Remains The Same is called The Overture at this concert, this version reminds me of the studio version, Plant’s vocals have the soft high sound to them, like a warm summer day. The Mellotron is clearly heard in this version, it sounds like Jones has to cohere then a bit at the beginning, once they get going it adds the needed orchestral vibe. Dazed and Confused is missing from source 3 so we get a nice chance to hear and enjoy source 4 for Dazed And Confused. It sounds like the taper was in a similar position to source 3 but this version does not have much bottom end and favors upper frequencies but is very clear and detailed. There is just a bit of audience noise making for a nice ambient recording, Plant’s vocals are in the forefront so we get to hear all his scat vocalizations. You can hear a couple source changes sporadically, just a few seconds, the splices are perfectly done and if not for the timbre change, you would not know it. The playing in Dazed finds the band shaking off a bit more of the cobwebs, Jimmy plays some great leads during the fast section after the bow solo and the rhythm section of Jones and Bonham are their typically perfect for this era.

Whole Lotta Love continues to change and evolve, Plant teases Elvis’ Blue Suede Shoes just before they launch into it eliciting cheers and laughs from the audience. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love now has lyrics and continues to evolve, by the next year it will become a powerful force during the European tour. The band continues the Elvis tribute with Let’s Have A Party and get into a killer bit of You Shook Me, as with the previous night, Page uses these songs to just soar by playing almost lyrical and quite fluent lead guitar. The encore cheer is interesting, someone close to the taper has what sounds like a cowbell they consistently beat on until the band returns and someone else has a clown horn that alternates with the bell, sounds like a crazy circus cheer. Immigrant Song is an encore mainstay, the song was very popular in Japan although it sounds a bit out of place when not coupled with Heartbreaker, old habits die hard I guess. The Ocean makes its one and only appearance in Japan as the final encore, amazingly you can clearly hear John Bonham counting in “One…two…three” yet sadly no “We’ve done four already” bit, again the temperature is raised by Whole Lotta Love and the encores!

Led Zeppelin 
October 4, 1972 
Festival Hall 

01. Introduction
02. Rock and Roll
03. Black Dog
04. Over the Hills and Far Away
05. Misty Mountain Hop
06. Since I've Been Loving You
07. Dancing Days
08. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
09. The Song Remains the Same
10. The Rain Song
11. Dazed and Confused
12. Stairway to Heaven
13. Whole Lotta Love
14. Crowd Anticipation
15. Heartbreaker
16. Immigrant Song
17. Outroduction

The first night in Osaka and the band seems to be more relaxed, perhaps the jet lag was behind them and they have adapted to their surroundings so to say. There are three known recordings from this date, all falling into the good to very good range. EV uses a mix of all three recordings using the second and best source as a basis, it is clear and detailed and supposedly been taped in the 5th row. Previous editions of this material can be found on such compact disc titles as Osaka Tapes: Raw Tapes (Amsterdam AMS 9610-2-1/2), Connextion (Amsterdam AMS 9612-2-1/2), The Second Daze (Mud Dogs 011/012), The Campaign (Tarantura 1972-5-1-12), Live In Japan 1972 (Last Stand Disc LSD 65/78), Moral Reader (Wendy WECD 94/95), and most recently Osaka 1972 1st Night (No Label). I have the recent No Label that uses source 3 as its foundation and this version is easily its equal.

The band hit the stage and get to it, very little chatting from Robert, in fact he introduces Over The Hills And Far Away while Jimmy is playing the beginning, after getting into some tasty leads during Black Dog, Page seems to have hit a bit of a stumbling block during Over The Hills, always on the edge…but effective! The transition from Misty Mountain Hop to Since I’ve Been Loving You is spot on, Jimmy was ready and nails it, in fact this is one of the best versions of the song from this tour, Page is in no hurry and he plays some nice quiet notes, not pushing at all, only adding to the drama. Plant does not seem to be pushing his voice, he sounds good just keeping it simple and not going to the high sustained notes, not having to battle the loud instrumental machinery (Nice Luis Rey Reference) he sounds joyous on Bron-YR-Aur Stomp.

Dazed and Confused is superb on this night. Page plays an embryonic passage that will soon evolve into San Francisco, even in this early stage it has an eerie sound with Plant’s moaning scat in the background. The post bow solo has Page seemingly improvising several themes trying to connect them all without loosing coherence, easy for him to do with the steady rhythm section of Jones and Bonham laying the foundation. Very enjoyable version of Dazed, made even more enjoyable by the great recording.

Other than the orchestra needed for The Rain Song, the Mellotron is also used for the flute like beginning of Stairway To Heaven, giving the piece a pastoral feel. Again Whole Lotta Love steals the show, Bonham kills it during the jam right before Everybody Needs Somebody To Love unleashing a thunderous barrage letting the band know he means business. The medley feature some more Elvis standards, it is documented that the band caught one of The King’s concerts at Madison Square Gardens prior to the stop in Buffalo in June and must have been an inspiring experience. Heartbreaker makes its second, and last, appearance in the first encore spot followed by the now obligatory Immigrant Song ending a superb, and vastly underrated concert.

Led Zeppelin
October 5, 1972

01. Introduction
02. Rock and Roll
03. Black Dog
04. Misty Mountain Hop
05. Since I've Been Loving You
06. Dancing Days
07. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
08. The Song Remains the Same
09. The Rain Song
10. Dazed and Confused
11. Stairway to Heaven
12. Whole Lotta Love
13. Crowd Anticipation
14. Mellotron Solo
15. Thank You
16. Outroduction

Fourth concert of the tour has the Zeppelin boys playing their only live concert in the city of Nagoya, while the rust has been shaken off the band seem in a hurry, after this concert they have a three day mini vacation. There are two known recordings from this concert, both incomplete but when edited right we can hear the full concert. This title uses source 2 as its foundation with source 1 filling a few gaps in the main set and for the encore. The Campaign (Tarantura 1972-5-1-12), Live In Japan 1972 (Last Stand Disc LSD 65/78), Live In Nagoya (Smile TOE 001), The Geisha Boys (Akashic AKA-9), Rock N’ Roll Springtime (Image Quality IQ-053/054), Dragon (Flagge), Sakura Looking Up! Great Discovery (Jelly Roll 10/11), High Noon (Wendy WECD 56/57), and Rock Explosion ’72 Live at Nogoya Kokaido (Empress Valley EVSD691/692) are all compact disc titles featuring this material.

Source 2 is a good to very good recording, it is a clear and fairly detailed document, the lower frequencies are a bit muddy but it captures the atmosphere perfectly. Source 1 is merely a fair more distant recording. For this version EV uses a similar mix as their Rock Explosion title with significantly upgraded sound. The hiss is greatly reduced, the volume is a bit louder and the sound is significantly clearer, it is not the mastering but a far better generation tape used, we can now enjoy this concert in best quality to this point, in fact this is the one recording that really surprised me, happily I might add.

The audience sound excited to see the band. As soon as they start Rock And Roll, they quiet right down. The sound quality improves and by the time the band plow into Black Dog it is clear and enjoyable. Page gives the solo a great workout and the audience duly rewards him with a nice ovation at its conclusion. The is the only concert on the tour not to feature Over The Hills And Far Away that usually follows Black Dog, yet Roberts opening remarks he states “Very nice for English boys to be in Nagoya…here is song off fourth LP…it’s called Misty Mountain Hop”. Page’s guitar seems to drown out Jones’ organ a bit giving the song a heavier sound that is really great, again he plays a great transition solo into Since I’ve Been Loving You that instantly changes the mood, he seems to toy a bit with the audience before playing the main guitar lead and the whole effect is like hearing the band in some subterranean small and smoky blues club.

Page has to do a bit of tuning prior to Dancing Days, they sound as if they are playing to an empty hall, the Japanese audience is extremely quiet as they listen to the song for the first time. “Too many Geisha’s spoil the broth…Here is song with John Bonham singing” is Robert’s chatter prior to Bron-YR-Aur Stomp. The recording is so clean you can almost make out the onstage chatter as they set up chairs at the front of the stage. It immediately gets the crowd involved as they clap perfectly in time with the song making for a very enjoyable version of the song. The Song Remains The Same is called The Overture on this night and sounds a bit tentative.

Dazed and Confused is again a show stopper, an audience member laughs with joy upon hearing the beginning bass line, Page is in no hurry to get things going and again seems to toy with the audience and sounds like he even throws Robert a bit out of time. The real journey begins once they begin section 3 and the instrumental wizardry weaves its magic on us. The song features an instrumental version of The Crunge and at 19:20 Page begins to play a bit of As Long As I Have You, pure nostalgia for sure. Stairway is very well received and they get a nice ovation as Robert begins singing, Jones’ Mellotron drowns out the guitar during the first few minutes.

The place gets hopping with another brilliant Whole Lotta Love and the audience begins to get loose. The Theramin section gives way to a great Everybody Needs Somebody To Love and the medley of oldies is great. Robert works the crowd up before Let That Boy Boogie and has a blues “conversation” with them, the bass seems to overpower everything but the vocals, Page lets it rip for his solo that is extremely fluent. As usual the band gets into a bit of Elvis with Let’s Have A Party and another ‘69 flashback with You Shook Me to round out the medley section in superb fashion. The encore is unique, the only version of Thank You from the Japanese 72 tour, Jones does his organ solo as a prelude and includes the traditional folk song Sakura Sakura (Cherry Blossom Cherry Blossom) that is very well received by the audience, a fantastic ending to a well played, very laid back concert by the band.

Led Zeppelin
October 9, 1972
Festival Hall

01. Introduction
02. Rock and Roll
03. Black Dog
04. Over the Hills and Far Away
05. Misty Mountain Hop
06. Since I've Been Loving You
07. Dancing Days
08. The Song Remains the Same
09. The Rain Song
10. Dazed and Confused
11. Stairway to Heaven
12. Moby Dick
13. Whole Lotta Love
14. Crowd Anticipation
15. Stand By Me
16. Immigrant Song
17. Outroduction

After three days of rest, the band is back in the familiar city of Osaka for the best concert of the tour. The playing is sharp and inspired, so much that John Bonham even revives his Moby Dick solo…the vibes are real! There are four know recordings from this concert in varying degrees of completeness and for the most part they all have passable sound. For this set EV uses Source 2 commonly referred to as the H-Bomb source along with filler from sources 1 and 3. The taper was positioned in the fifth row and was able to get a great recording, albeit slightly unbalanced, he must have been in front of Jimmy’s amp as the guitar is slightly in the forefront, the rest of the band can be clearly heard and is really a nice document. There have been several recordings using this source dating back to vinyl on titles like Live (No label / matrix#), My Brain Hurts (Idle Mind IMP 1115A-B) and its reissues by Jester and renamed as Dedicated To John Henry Bonham. The concert has seen steady distribution on compact disc as Let Me Get Back To 1972 (H-Bomb HBM95R01/2/3), Tapes From The Darkside (H-Bomb HBM9301-3), Live In Japan 1972 (Last Stand Disc LSD 65/78), most releases of this concert use mixes of several sources as does this new version, The Campaign (Tarantura 1972-5-1-12), My Brain Hurts (Tarantura TCD-16-1/2), Moby Dick (Bolkskine House BHRCD-10), and Stand By Me (Wendy WECD 50/51).

Digging deep was needed to access this version, I needed to dig up an old version of the H-Bomb title Let Me Get Back To 1972 (many thanks to WGPSEC). This new version is a significant upgrade and is sourced from a very low generation of the tape. The old H-Bomb source was rather dull and had some noticeable tape hiss and had speed problems, the section around Everybody Needs Somebody To Love was very evident on the H-Bomb source, this new version does not have this or any speed issues. The sound is louder, cleaner, greatly reduced hiss and one can instantly notice is not heavy handed mastering but a much better version of the tape. I’ve been listening at a loud volume and it delivers a strong enjoyable sound. It seems the band really enjoyed playing in Osaka, the previous year provided two of the best concerts of all 1971 and while the playing thus far has been solid, the second night in Osaka is really special, the band delivers on all fronts.

The concert hits the note from the first song, although it seems there is some equipment adjustments needed as after Rock And Roll Robert talks of a problem and judging by the vocal levels, guessing a PA issue, Black Dog is the answer, then the best version of Over The Hills And Far Away follows, Plant’s voice has warmed up and the instrumental machinery is warmed and running like a precision machine, Page flies during his solo. Plant manages to get an introduction in for Misty Mountain Hop due to some tuning by Page, he talks of getting busted, something that can’t be talked about in England or America. Dancing Days is consistent with the other shows on this tour, the song has been a solid part of the set throughout. Bron-YR-Aur Stomp has been, sadly, dropped from the set, perhaps they knew Bonzo wanted to do a drum solo. Robert talks of being in Hong Kong over the previous days and then introduces The Song Remains The Same as “The Campaign”. Like the other tunes from the forthcoming fifth record, both The Campaign and The Rain Song have been very strong, although Page’s guitar is a bit out of tune prior to the solo that renders this version a bit flat, The Rain Song is superb though.

Dazed And Confused is excellent, the best version of the song from this tour. The beginning has that mysterious quality to it, Bonham is amazing, he does a couple short fast fills, pauses then hits the gong to great effect. The quiet section before the bow solo has Page working with San Francisco, this bit of improvisation inspires Robert who starts singing lines from Neil Young’s Down By The River, the audience gives them a nice round of applause for their efforts. During the slapping with the bow, Page seems to be in some unspoken dialog with the audience, the short section has a very intimate feeling. The audience seems to hang on every note and sound emanating from Page’s guitar, the Grand Sorcerer of the Magic Guitar in complete command. The fast section is good as well, as with the other shows from this tour Page plays a bit of The Crunge and seems to be working out new places to go making for an interesting, and well received version clocking in at close to 30 minutes.

Plant does a bit of hoedown improvisation prior to Stairway To Heaven, the intimate setting of the 2,700 seat Festival Hall sounds like a gathering of friends for those short few seconds. I love the Stairway’s from 72, they play it with confidence and it’s not yet a burden, Plant hits the highs as well, his voice has recovered sufficiently. Robert introduces “Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight we have an added pleasure John Samurai Bonham” in a moment of sheer hilarity, until you hear the drum solo. He plays with precision and the 16 minute solo is fast and intense and by far one of the more enjoyable Mody Dick’s I’ve heard. Whole Lotta Love is again a show highlight, it’s nice to hear it without the speed issues. Page gets into some cool riffs, he plays a couple notes of The Stones’ Satisfaction, Etta James’ Somethings Got A Hold On Me, Robert conjures up his Elvis roots again with Milk Cow Blues, Heartbreak Hotel, and Wear Your Ring Around My Neck and the medley ends with a superb Goin’ Down Slow, Page going from slow to incredibley fast and detailed leads that tease the audience to their delight, the last few seconds are sadly cut. The encores are interesting, first the band play a stand alone version of Ben E King’s hit Stand By Me that has Robert introducing Bonzo who does add backing vocals here and there, such are the happy feelings shared by group and audience. The song meanders along for 6 minutes and while an interesting oddity, never really hit me like Blueberry Hill. With just a minute to catch ones breath they plow into Immigrant Song full force and it’s a spectacular ending to a really great concert.

Led Zeppelin
October 10, 1972
Kyoto Kaikan

01. Introduction
02. Rock and Roll
03. Black Dog
04. Misty Mountain Hop
05. Since I've Been Loving You
06. The Song Remains the Same
07. The Rain Song
08. Dazed and Confused
09. Stairway to Heaven
10. Over the Hills and Far Away
11. Whole Lotta Love
12. Crowd Anticipation
13. Immigrant Song
14. Outroduction

The final concert in Japan is a quick one, the band further cut the set down, Dancing Days is the latest casualty. While being the shortest of the six concerts the playing is really good and quite inspired, the band hammers the gig out in record time like they have a train to catch. There are three known sources for the Kyoto gig, the first is rather poor sounding and used on very early titles like The Campaign (Tarantura 1972-5-1-12), the second main source and third filler source are much better and have been used on the following titles, Live In Japan 1972 (Last Stand Disc LSD 65/78), The Last Night In Japan (The Diagrams of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ 078), Mirage (Flagge), Live In Kyoto (Empress Valley EVSD 693/694), The Old Capital (Wendy WECD 66/67), and Evil Spirits in Kyoto (Tarantura TCD 170-172).

The sound quality of the main source 2 is overall very good and noisy, the vocals and guitar are in the forefront, the bass and drums are audible just not as clear and they are just a bit thin and raw sounding. Compared to Live In Kyoto its hiss is louder but it’s clearer, brighter and sounds more natural, you can hear the noise reduction on the older EV title and for me, not a huge upgrade but a more natural sounding one although not as significant as the Nagoya and second Osaka shows. “Nice to be in honorable Kyoto” is Roberts intro, albeit a bit prematurely as even Bonzo starts his drum intro to Rock And Roll then stops till the others are ready.

Misty Mountain Hop is introduced as being about “Japanese grass”, again the smaller venue has an intimate sound and feel to the concert, this is highlighted during a killer Since I’ve Been Loving You. Jones’ organ is clear in the mix, an essential element as it helps lay the blues foundation and Page lays down a passionate solo coupled with Robert’s moaning is perfection. The Campaign is played quite fast and the version of The Rain Song is just wonderful. When I look back at each of the six concerts, The Rain Song has been a highlight each of the times it was played. Dazed and Confused clocks in at just over 18 minutes, a compact version but still retains its intensity, perhaps a bit more. No “San Francisco” or Crunge workouts but the bow solo was great and the fast section was, well fast. In a bit of hilarity, after the song ends Plant says “If the man who’s sleeping in the front row will you please stand up”…who could sleep after that?

Another curiosity of the set is that Over The Hills And Far Away is played after Stairway To Heaven, Robert introduces it as “honorable track of fifth LP” while pointing out someone taking pictures. Whole Lotta Love has many a highlights, Freddie King’s Hideaway, Elvis’ That’s All Right Mama, and a rare version Brenda Lee’s Lets Jump The Broomstick along with the usual boogies. The sole encore is Immigrant Song, and like the previous night in Osaka, contains a bit of the old Yardbirds nostalgia You’re A Better Man Than I.

Final thoughts, Empress Valley have nailed this set. They present each concert using the best tapes for each and filling gaps with the next best one making for a very pleasurable listening experience. What I like about this set is that there is no unnecessary filler found on previous box sets, I do not need poor sources mixed with better sources done in redundancy and they gave us the best of the best. Speaking of sound quality, the label has done a great job by using low generation tapes and not tweaking the hell out of them, we get nice, natural sounding recordings. There are several upgrades in this set, Nagoya, and the second night in Osaka have been significantly upgraded, the other four are easily on par, and if anything a bit better than what has been released before. The mastering of the sources and edits are smooth and well done. The packaging is simple yet effective, while some expect more from a premium label like Empress Valley, we do get some cool extras and by keeping it simple it can be offered at an attractive price. Great box set and well worth seeking out.

Once again our good friend ethiessen1 has dropped some serious coinage and the first thing he did after receiving his package from the far east was rip it and wetransfer me the files so I would torrent them here for all to enjoy... All thanks to our benefactor, I am just the (very happy) messenger.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Guns N' Roses - 2017-11-28 - San Diego (IEM Matrix)

Guns N' Roses
November 28, 2017
Valley View Casino Center
San Diego, CA

Not In This Lifetime San Diego 2017 - Collector's Edition

101. Intro (2:00)
102. It's So Easy (3:15)
103. Mr. Brownstone (4:01)
104. Chinese Democracy (3:40)
105. Welcome to the Jungle (6:58)
106. Double Talkin' Jive (6:31)
107. Better (6:09)
108. Estranged (9:19)
109. Live and Let Die (3:35)
110. Rocket Queen (11:38)
111. You Could Be Mine (6:28)
112. New Rose (3:36)
113. This I Love (5:48)
114. Prostitute (5:40)

201. Civil War (8:11)
202. Yesterdays (3:42)
203. Coma (9:53)
204. Band Introduction (1:39)
205. Slash Guitar Solo (4:39)
206. Speak Softly Love (4:30)
207. Sweet Child O' Mine (7:55)
208. Wichita Lineman (3:39)
209. Used to Love Her (3:26)
210. My Michelle (3:43)
211. Wish You Were Here (6:12)
212. Layla (coda) (3:15)
213. November Rain (9:20)

301. Black Hole Sun (5:57)
302. Knockin' On Heaven's Door (13:52)
303. Nightrain (8:26)
304. Patience (7:30)
305. Madagascar (5:46)
306. Whole Lotta Rosie (5:22)
307. Don't Cry (4:04)
308. The Seeker (3:14)
309. Paradise City (7:11)
310. Outro (3:15)

Guns N' Roses - 2017-01-22 - Kobe (IEM Matrix)

Guns N' Roses
January 22, 2017
World Hall
Kobe, Japan

Kobe 2017 - Definitive Edition
Multiple Stereo IEM Sources Matrix Recording

101. Intro (Looney Tunes - The Equalizer) (3:02)
102. It's So Easy (3:34)
103. Mr. Brownstone (3:57)
104. Chinese Democracy (3:38)
105. Welcome To The Jungle (5:46)
106. Double Talkin' Jive (5:32)
107. Better (6:07)
108. Estranged (8:49)
109. Live and Let Die (3:22)
110. Rocket Queen (10:35)
111. You Could Be Mine (5:58)
112. You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory (intro) - New Rose (3:40)
113. This I Love (5:22)
114. Civil War (7:38)

201. Coma (9:43)
202. Band Introduction (0:35)
203. Slash Guitar Solo - Speak Softly Love (6:45)
204. Sweet Child O 'Mine (6:32)
205. Out Ta Get Me (4:09)
206. Wish You Were Here (3:52)
207. November Rain (9:19)
208. Knockin' On Heaven's Door (9:47)
209. Nightrain (6:26)
210. Sorry (6:44)
211. Don't Cry (4:12)
212. The Seeker (3:09)
213. Paradise City (7:29)

Guns N' Roses - 2017-01-21 - Osaka (IEM Matrix)

Guns N' Roses 
January 21, 2017
Kyocera Dome
Osaka, Japan

Osaka 2017 - Definitive Edition
Multiple Stereo IEM Sources Matrix Recording

101. Intro (1:20)
102. It's So Easy (3:28)
103. Mr. Brownstone (4:00)
104. Chinese Democracy (3:39)
105. Welcome To The Jungle (5:33)
106. Double Talkin' Jive (5:41)
107. Better (6:09)
108. Estranged (8:50)
109. Live And Let Die (3:19)
110. Rocket Queen (10:29)
111. You Could Be Mine (5:57)
112. Attitude (2:59)
113. This I Love (5:27)
114. Civil War (7:30)

201. Coma (9:38)
202. Band Introduction (0:36)
203. Slash Guitar Solo (6:20)
204. Sweet Child O' Mine (6:24)
205. Wish You Were Here (4:17)
206. November Rain (9:18)
207. Knockin' On Heaven's Door (10:04)
208. Nightrain (6:31)
209. Angie (intro) - Patience (7:21)
210. The Seeker (3:07)
211. Paradise City (8:01)
212. Outro (Far Away Eyes) (4:29)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Led Zeppelin - 1972-06-19 - Seattle, WA (Lets Do It Again / Badgeholders)

Led Zeppelin
June 19, 1972
Seattle Coliseum
Seattle, WA

101. Immigrant song
102. Heartbreaker
103. Black Dog
104. The Ocean
105. Since ive been loving you
106. Stairway to heaven
107. Going to California
108. Black country woman
109. That's the way
110. Tangerine
111. Bron-yr-aur-stomp

201. Dazed and confused
202. What is and what should never be
203. Dancing days
204. Moby Dick

301. Whole lotta love
302. Rock and Roll
303. Organ solo
304. Louie Louie
305. Thank You
306. How Many More Times
307. Over the hills and far away
308. Dancing days

Everything you have heard about this concert is absolutely true.  This show may rank number one, or at least in the top three.  They play with ferocity, professionalism and looseness that is rare even for them.  This show is so good that Robert Plant was still talking about it five years later at their stop in Seattle on the 1977 tour.

Unfortunately this classic show is cursed with one of the worst sounding tapes available.  Some have said it is THE worst.  I wouldn’t go that far.  Even though it is plagued with a loud audience and numerous cuts, it is listenable and enjoyable once you give it a chance.  It is almost impossible over the three hours to not be swept up in the party atmosphere.  The surprises begin after the third number with the premier of “The Ocean” and the fun never stops.

“Black Country Woman” from Physical Graffiti is premiered in the acoustic set, and ironically is the longest live version played by the band.  “Whole Lotta Love” includes the Roy Orison classic “Only The Lonely”, and the encores include more previews from Houses Of The Holy with “Over The Hills” (the beginning is unfortunately cut), and the second version of “Dancing Days” this evening.

What makes this show legendary isn’t necessarily all of the previews (“The Ocean”, “Over The Hills And Far Away”, “Black Country Woman” and “Dancing Days” played two times), but is the loose attitude of the band that enables them to do so.  They play as if they are all alone in a room with no distractions and no pressure.  There isn’t a hint of self-consciousness in the entire performance and the light and shade ethos really shines.  Despite the poor sound quality this is an essential show to own.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Roger Waters - 1984-07-26 - Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, IL

Roger Waters 
July 26, 1984
Rosemont Horizon
Rosemont, IL

Lunatic Rave
Mid Valley 732/733

Soundboard Recording

01. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
02. Money
03. If
04. Welcome To The Machine
05. Have A Cigar
06. Wish You Were Here
07. Pigs On The Wing
08. In The Flesh
09. Nobody Home
10. Hey You
11. The Gunnerís Dream
12. 4:30AM (Apparently They Were Traveling Abroad)
13. 4:33AM (Running Shoes)
14. 4:37AM (Arabs With Knives And West German Skies)
15. 4:39AM (For The First Time Today ñ Part 2)
16. 4:41AM (Sexual Revolution)
17. 4:47AM (The Remains Of Our Love)
18. 4:50AM (Go Fishing)
19. 4:56AM (For The First Time Today Part 1)
20. 4:58AM (Dunroamin Duncarin Dunlivin)
21. 5:01AM (The Pros And Cons Of Hitch-Hiking)
22. 5:06AM (Every Strangers Eyes)
23. 5:11AM (The Moment Of Clarity)
24. Brain Damage
25. Eclipse

Eric Clapton - guitar
Roger Waters - bass / guitar / vocals
Tim Renwick - guitar / bass
Chris Stainton - bass / keyboards
Andy Newmark - drums
Michael Kamen - keyboards
Mel Collins - saxophones
Doreen Chanter - backing vocals
Katie Kissoon - backing vocals

Pink Floyd - 1970-04-29 - San Francisco (Definitive Westworld)

Pink Floyd
April 29, 1970
Fillmore West
San Francisco, CA

Definitive Westworld

101. Grantchester Meadows
102. Astronomy Domine
103. Cymbaline
104. Atom Heart Mother
105. The Embryo

201. Intro
202. Green Is The Colour
203. Careful With That Axe, Eugene
204. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
205. A Saucerful Of Secrets
206. Interstellar Overdrive

Live at Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA. USA 29th April 1970.
Stereo soundboard recording

David Gilmour
Rick Wright
Nick Mason
Roger Waters

Atom Heart Mother on KQED the next day

Pink Floyd’s concert at San Francisco’s famed Fillmore West is one that most collectors, even causal fans, have in their collections. The quality is excellent and the performance is its equal, the Floyd certainly shared a common vision with the psychedelic West Coast music community that inhabited the Bay Area. By spring 1970 the band had settled nicely into a group of songs that would, for the most part, form the basis of their live sets for throughout 1971. Like many I love these years, the Space Rock themed explorations enhanced with subtle mood nuances powered by incredible musicianship from all four Floyd’s make for some of the most invigorating listening one can find. Needless to say, material from these years takes up a bit of space on my shelves and is steadily taking over!

Back to the Fillmore show on April 29, 1970, the subject of this new release from the folks at Sigma where they revisit one of their earliest titles, Westworld (Sigma 4). The concert has been released many times, the first title I bought was Black Glass (Eclipsed NK-008), much to my disappointment the sound was hidden under a deep layer of hiss but thankfully I was able to upgrade to Live At Winterland (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-170-2) and later Interstellar Encore (Pigs On The Wing OMS002/3) a title I ditched as it was CD-R that was thankfully copied as Pink Pigs Over Fillmore West (Euro Boots EB-30), and finally Westworld (Sigma 4). What I have always found frustrating about this concert is the lack of real information about the tapes themselves. What is known is that the circulating bootlegs are two source mixes, the soundboard portion many to believe is an Open Air Mic recording, the audience portion being just that, an excellent audience source. Why was the soundboard recorded? Possible radio broadcast? Bill Graham’s people? Who knows, the recording is excellent mono yet sadly incomplete. The audience recording is even more frustrating, first off, is what circulates complete or is the entire concert sitting in someone’s attic, some even believe that the same person is responsible for both, while others believe one got a hold of the other and made the mix of both. I for one would love to hear this concert in the quality captured by the audience tape, certainly the work of someone with really good equipment. The last item with this concert is the channel chirp that plagued latter releases, most attribute it to a faulty reel in its earlier analog days.

Is this title an improvement over the original Westworld? Well the title says this is the Definitive Westworld. The sound for one is only a very slight improvement, to my ears it sounds very slightly cleaner, they have not boosted the sound as much either especially between songs and the sound is more open for lack of better word. The reel chirp is a bit confusing, the label boasts they did significant work to eliminate it. I pulled out my old Pink Pigs Over Fillmore West and based upon several listens of this new title, used Cymbaline as a base-point. On the old Euro Boots title it’s there, can’t miss it and noticeable. Same song on Sigma 4, you don’t hear it. Again back to Sigma 209 and you can faintly hear the remnants of the chirp, barely. This is my theory, I read about, did not download, a remastered version of this tape where they took the original mono source where left and right channels are the same and used only the channel that did not have the chirp and mirrored it thus creating a version with no chirp, this could explain the very slight difference in sound from Sigma 4 to Sigma 209, the former used this remaster, the latter did not.

What is soundboard and what is audience? Well certainly the whole first set is the soundboard / open air mic recording. Its clarity of instruments, vocals complete mix is superior. It sounds like there is a patch in Atom Heart Mother, about 10-10:45 where it sounds like an audience source, the drums are way lower in the mix and it almost sounds like you can hear the sound moving thanks to the Azimuth Coordinator. The audience source is used for Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets, and Interstellar Overdrive. Curious is the first three minutes of Set The Controls, it is either a third source or a different generation of the audience source.

For those who are not interested in any of the previous two paragraphs worth of babble, this new release sounds a tiny bit better than the original Westworld. Make no mistake we are dealing with the same sources so better transfer, better mastering techniques and software and those we should thank. That being said the Fillmore East show is an excellent concert, in fact that entire Spring 1970 American tour is, Stonybrook, Port Chester, KQED, and Santa Monica are the other circulating boots from this tour. The set-lists are superb, hell just the inclusion of Grantchester Meadows is worth the price alone (save for Stonybrook as its not on that recording). The West Coast dates feature a band playing to the same like minded counterparts as Europe, before the hoopla would creep in.

The packaging is what we come to expect from Sigma, full color inserts wonderfully adorned with live shots of the group in the intimate theater setting. The gig poster is recreated on the front cover, always liked that one with the Ummagumma pic with the band and all their instrumentation. Oh crap let’s not forget…a sticker! Definitive Westworld is certainly a decent upgrade to the original, better sonic quality for sure but to me, I hear nothing to make the claim as Definitive as we all know, the title is only as good as the next release or a better generation of the tapes appear.

Pink Floyd - 1977-02-01 - Vienna (Revised)

Pink Floyd
February 1, 1977

101. Sheep
102. Pigs On The Wing (Part 1)
103. Dogs
104. Pigs On The Wings (Part 2)
105. Pigs (Three Different Ones)

201. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)
202. Welcome To The Machine
203. Have A Cigar
204. Wish You Were Here
205. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9)
206. Money
207. Us And Them

Original Silvers: Welcome To Vienna (Golden Eggs), phase corrected

As it seems the all releases for this show are out of phase, it was noticed by one of our sites members , and as proof that there are still super cool people in this world Davidestrada gracefully fixed them for all of us to enjoy... So all thanks go to him
Here is his explanation (I am technically challenged, so I have no clue what it means... but my ears say: WOW!!!):
"The main source on that show is inverted, That means the waves are facing each other. That cancels out the punch and gives it a thin pingy sound. The patch before Money and After Money is good but all the main source is not. I checked out 2 other releases I have from then and they are the same as this new one. Download the link I sent and you will hear the upgrade difference. No EQ just flipped one side and got it in Phase (Moved one side 8 micro dots to line up)"

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Pink Floyd - 1977-02-01 - Vienna (Welcome To Vienna / Golden Eggs)

Pink Floyd
February 1, 1977

Welcome To Vienna
Golden Eggs 29/30

101. Sheep
102. Pigs On The Wing (Part 1)
103. Dogs
104. Pigs On The Wings (Part 2)
105. Pigs (Three Different Ones)

201. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)
202. Welcome To The Machine
203. Have A Cigar
204. Wish You Were Here
205. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9)
206. Money
207. Us And Them

New master tape transfer, excellect audience recording

1977 was probably the last year of Pink Floyd as a unitary group, in fact all the tensions deriving from the creative process that would go in to creating of "Animals" led to the exclusion of Richard Wright as a member of the band, even thou it was not officially credited until the band toured "The Wall" at which point he was presented as a sidelining musician.
After the long running tours of 1974 and 1975, where the band played brand new songs that would eventually find their place on "Animals" (although presented still by their working titles, "Raving and Drooling" becoming "Sheep" and "Gotta Be Crazy" became "Dogs"). The Floyd decided not to tour the whole of 1976 to develop the record that, according to Roger Waters, was scheduled again to be a concept album, holding a microscope to the social and political situation in Great Britain at the time, which were grand protests, held both for economic and racial reasons (The punk phenomenon had exploded in a big way and the shirt worn by Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten with the claim "I Hate Pink Floyd" is still famous today).
The Arrangement and sound of the songs were tightened to make the dramatic lyrics more effective, causing both Gilmour and Waters to quarrel countless times(The continuous reworking of the solos by Gilmour were also rancorous to the group) Famous in Floyd circles is the moment in which Snowy White, hired as guitarist/bassist to assist them both on the album and on tour, arrived at the recording studio right between a dispute between Gilmour and Waters about a guitar solo being erased by mistake.
After dozens of recording sessions,the album was released in January 1977 in the UK with a well remembered stunt, Waters had the ingenious idea of having a giant pig inflated with Helium and let fly over London during the photo-shoot for the cover.
After the release of the album and the subsequent rehearsals for the tour (Which took place at the Olympia Exhibition Hall in London), the group with Snowy White and sax player Dick Parry, planned to play the "Animals" album in full but with the order of the songs altered and then they would move to "Wish You Were Here" in it's entirety with the encores "Money" and "Us and Them" from "Dark Side of the Moon".
The Hipgnosis Studios also created the stage setting for the shows, like the Flying Pig but also the cannon shooting sheep made of perforated tea-bag paper. The other novelties included more inflatables which did not appear at every concert but very sporadically, since the group had chosen to vary venue sizes, moving from warehouses to large stadiums. Another important novelty were the videos created by Gerald Scarfe, which took six months of dedicated work to create (Scarfe remembers that Waters was relentless on the work schedule that he forced upon him, also Waters never submitted any of his work to any of the other band members to get their opinions on it).
The footage greatly enhanced the music, becoming indispensable at future performances; even today, Waters, on his current 2018 tour utilities the films prepared by Scarfe in 1977. Each novelty was conceived and presented to the public regardless of cost, the group performing a total of fifty-five concerts divided into a 29 date European Tour (9 of which in the UK) continued with a 25 date tour through North America, one leg in the spring and another later in the summer, culminating with the infamous July 6 show in Montreal.
The tour was not very long but it was a nerve wrecking affair for the band, finally destroying the already precarious balance between the band members.
But the tour continued with every date sold out, little by little the band got more lost behind their collective egos, unresolved conflicts and the lack of common vision about their musical future, despite everything one more masterpiece was still in the making, but that is a totally different story...

Friday, June 08, 2018

Pink Floyd - 1972-12-07 - Lille (French Side Of The Moon)

Pink Floyd
December 7, 1972
Palais Des Sports

The French Side Of The Moon
Golden Eggs 7/8

101. Intro / Speak To Me
102. Breathe
103. On The Run
104. Time
105. Breathe (Reprise)
106. The Great Gig In The Sky
107. Money
108. Us And Them
109. Any Colour You Like
110. Brain Damage
111. Eclipse

201. One Of These Days
202. Careful With That Axe Eugene
203. Echoes

Monday, June 04, 2018

Iron Maiden - 2018-06-01 - Stockholm

Iron Maiden
June 1, 2018
Tele2 Arena

01. Pre-intro: Doctor Doctor (UFO)
02. Intro: Churchill's Speech
03. Aces High
04. Where Eagles Dare
05. 2 Minutes to Midnight
06. The Clansman
07. The Trooper
08. Revelations
09. For the Greater Good of God
10. The Wicker Man
11. Sign of the Cross
12. Flight of Icarus
13. Fear of the Dark
14. The Number of the Beast
15. Iron Maiden
16. The Evil That Men Do
17. Hallowed Be Thy Name
18. Run to the Hills
19. Outro: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python)

Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Dave Murray - Guitar
Adrian Smith - Guitar
Janick Gers - Guitar
Steve Harris - Bass
Nicko McBrain - Drums

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Led Zeppelin - 1973-06-02 - San Francisco

Led Zeppelin
June 2, 1973
Kezar Stadium
San Francisco, CA

A Celebration For Being Who You Are
The Godfatherecords / G.R. 636/637/638

101. Opening Announcements
102. Rock And Roll
103. Celebration Day
104. Black Dog
105. Over The Hills And Far Away
106. Misty Mountain Hop
107. Since I've Been Loving You
108. No Quarter
109. The Song Remains The Same
110. The Rain Song
201. Dazed And Confused
202. Stairway To Heaven
203. Moby Dick
301. Heartbreaker
302. Whole Lotta Love
303. Communication Breakdown
304. The Ocean
305. Bill Graham Outroduction

Forty five years ago today people... forty five years! Let that sink in for a minute. Time flies, once young demigods, we now sit here remembering the days of glory... but thanks to the tapers that risked to incur in the wrath of Peter Grant, and modern technology we can now relive those days a wee bit.
I just love The Hammer Of The Gods!

This massive outdoor show, played in front of 50,000 people, was intended to be the final concert of the first part of Led Zeppelin’s 1973 American Tour, leading onto a break of just over a month before the itinerary resumed in Chicago on 6 July. It was supposed to follow two shows at the Inglewood Forum on 30 and 31 May (the latter, of course, oft-bootlegged as Bonzo’s Birthday Party) , though the first of these shows was rescheduled for the day after the Kezar Stadium event due to Jimmy Page injuring a finger. The Kezar concert was a daytime show and Led Zeppelin were supported by Roy Harper, The Tubes and Lee Michaels.

The show appeared on LP as Persistence (Roon Dog) and there has since been a plethora of CD releases. Four songs from the show (Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown and The Ocean) appear on Led Zeppelin: The Butterqueen (Unbelievable) and the complete show features on Vibes Are Real (Continental Sounds), Takka Takka (Tarantura), Persistence Kezar (Holy), Persistence (Cobla), Two Days After (Immigrant), Best Vibes In Frisco (Jelly Roll), Who’s Next? (TDOLZ), and The Grateful Lead (Tarantura). The tape does have small cuts in No Quarter, Dazed And Confused and a far more substantial one in Moby Dick, which excises the majority of the number. In 2001 a soundboard fragment lasting a little under half-an-hour and including approximately fifteen minutes of the drum solo, appeared on Imperial Kezar (Electric Magic), edited with the audience recording. The following year a further half-hour surfaced, giving us the complete performance of Moby Dick and running to the conclusion of the show. The soundboard tape was released on Led Five (Empress Valley) and Vibes Are Real (Watch Tower). Wendy’s issue, Mary Kezar, a three-CD set featuring the complete audience recording supplemented by the hour-long soundboard excerpt, was reviewed by gsparaco in April 2010. Wendy has recently reissued Mary Kezar in new packaging, featuring the same photograph as the new Godfather release on the front cover.

Led Zeppelin arrived extremely late for their performance and hurried on to the stage, only to find the start of the show held up by an equipment malfunction, so we hear Robert Plant talking to the audience for a while, before deciding to leave the stage. “Well, thank you very much for a great show,” he jokes, “we’ll see you in five minutes.” “‘Rock and Roll’ finally commenced the proceedings,” writes Dave Lewis in Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, “The band were a bit sluggish to start with, but didn’t take long to warm up.” The start of the show made a greater impression on attendee Gary Hodges, contributor to the website Brit Rock By the Bay, who remembers, “suddenly Led Zeppelin stormed on, opening with ‘Rock and Roll.’ The sound was huge and crisp – it almost felt warm.” Keith Shadwick, author of Led Zeppelin: A Band And Their Music 1968-2000, also detects no sign of sluggishness, calling it “a barnstorming version,” and it sounds suitably frenzied to my ears.

The tremendous momentum is maintained with a crunching Celebration Day and a thunderous Black Dog which here, as elsewhere on the tour, gains a few bars of Bring It On Home as an introduction. After all this mayhem, things calm down temporarily with the relatively subdued start of Over The Hills And Far Away, which Plant states, is “about the passage of man up and down the track.” During the heavier, almost brutal, latter part of the song, Plant makes his customary reference to ”Acapulco gold,” and prior to Misty Mountain Hop he goes on to comment on the smell of marijuana drifting up on to the stage, saying “smells good up here, it’s all going in the right direction.” At this point an enormous joint was thrown on to the stage, and we hear Plant stating that he will save for later.

Since I’ve Been Loving You is a very effective performance with an excellent vocal turn by Plant and atmospheric keyboards from John Paul Jones. As well as being an excellent performance in its own right, the song acts as an effective prelude to a ten-minute No Quarter, which, as Lewis puts it, “was developing into a showpiece all of its own.” With Jones, as Hodges puts it, “playing moody electric piano,” the song comes across as splendidly mysterious and dramatic in this performance. Dave Anderson, on the Underground Uprising website regards it as a “killer version,” and Argenteum Astrum, both on his Led Zeppelin Database website and on the band’s official site, argues that it is “one of the best 1973 versions” of this number.

Then we hear the two numbers which open Houses Of the Holy, then the band’s latest album. As I stated in my review of Godfather’s The American Return, the two songs complement each other effectively, for, as Jimmy Page stated in an interview with Guitar World in 1993, The Song Remains The Same ”was originally going to be an instrumental – an overture that led into ‘The Rain Song.’” Before The Song Remains The Same Plant makes scathing references to the press, referencing “a paper that’s published on the west coast that always seems to criticize poor old English groups,” and ironically dedicating the song, “to the musical papers that think we should remain a blues band.” The Rain Song is beautifully executed here, and it constitutes a splendid conclusion to the first disc, marred only by what seems to be an equipment problem which results in a few seconds of loud and horrible noise near the end. “I’m sorry about that strange, er, whatever it was,” says Plant.

A repeat of that sentence opens disc two, though now we hear Plant go on to say, “it really blew it, it really blew it. It could have been a lot nicer without it.” Returning to the subject of the press he then says, “Right, anyway, that was one of those things that we keep getting criticized for doing [laughs]. After five years of evolving, I think we can do a few things like that now and again.” Dazed And Confused is then introduced as, “an oldie but gooie that you might remember.” It is played in a superb version, stretching to half-an-hour, which brilliantly highlights the interplay of the musicians. As Argenteum Astrum comments both on his Led Zeppelin Database and on Zeppelin’s website, “Dazed And Confused is one of the best versions ever with Bonham and Jones going crazy at the end with the complex rhythms.” “Everything is played with extreme confidence,” asserts Anderson, “especially Dazed, with the rhythm section playing guessing games with Page.” I suspect that he tortured, menacing sounds Page wrings from his guitar with the violin bow are the source of Hodges’ description of this renditon as, “very psychedelic.” Tony Gassett, on Underground Uprising, rightly contends that Page is “on top form” here. Before this, an instrumental section that would later resurface on Achilles’ Last Stand leads into Plant singing a snippet of Scott MacKenzie’s 1967 hit San Francisco.

Stairway To Heaven follows, providing another indisputable highlight of the show. Hodges states that, “Jimmy Page played his red Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck guitar during a monumental version of ‘Stairway to Heaven.’” This is another song on which Gassett maintains that Page is “on top form,” and another of Anderson’s “killer versions.” Disc two then concludes with what gsparaco rates as a “very exciting” rendition of Moby Dick, with John Bonham demonstrating his astounding virtuosity on the drums for in excess of twenty-seven minutes.

A storming version of Heartbreaker, complete with lengthy guitar work from Page, opens the third disc and this is followed by an equally exciting Whole Lotta Love. The latter song was pruned back after the European dates earlier in the year, the band largely dispensing with the lengthy medleys and including just The Crunge and John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillen’ during most shows of the American Tour. The first encore is a blistering Communication Breakdown and then the show closes with The Ocean, the third song from the show to feature among Anderson’s “killer versions.” The event, and disc three, conclude with an “outroduction” from promoter Bill Graham.

This is a tremendous show, which as gsparaco contends, “is a great performance all around by the band…They play one of the most laid back yet slick concerts that summer.” Other commentaters are overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Lewis states that, “the band turned in a superb performance, one of the most memorable outdoor appearances of their career.” Gassett calls it a “generally superb show,” and Anderson rates it, “one of the best from this period.” Hodges states that, “they were at the peak of their career – relaxed and confident, solid and tight, yet also taking chances.” David Miller, Assistant Editor/Photo Editor of Brit Rock By The Bay, writes, “musically, it was a great concert. Led Zeppelin were at their best.” Dan Cuny, a contributor to that site, adds that, “throughout their set, I was mesmerized by the showmanship of the band. It was truly one of the best performances I have ever seen.” Tee, posting on the official Led Zeppelin website, argues that, “it was excellent…the show itself was just spectacular in every respect.” Pete MacDonald adds that, “to this day this concert ranks, by far, as the most amazing performance by musicians I’ve ever seen,” and Matt Roberts calls it a “seminal show.” Also on the band’s site, in addition to his own, Argenteum Astrum enthuses, “a really big outdoor festival show and one of the greatest concerts ever! The sound is amazing and Robert’s voice is very powerful…he screams and gets right up there for perhaps the last time in his career…his range would be lessened on the following tours…The entire band shines on this show…and the entire show is excellent!”

The press did not necessarily agree. Philip Elwood, writing in the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, argues that, “the quartet’s performance lacked the dynamic spark of earlier local presentations. Plant’s vocals and bodily gyrations seemed tired and routine, and drummer John Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones had trouble solidifying their back-up sounds in in the early going.” Such a lacklustre performance might have resulted, if Rolling Stone is to be believed, from the band’s financial motives in playing to such a large audience; the magazine states that, “Zeppelin are back doing what they do best – converting heavy metal into dollars.” Comments such as these are perhaps unsurprising, given the negative attitude shown towards the band by large section of the press at the time, particularly in the USA. As Danny Goldberg, the band’s press agent at the time, points out, “the rock critics were brutal to Led Zeppelin.” One who was most certainly not was Charles Shaar Murray, who wrote in the UK music paper New Musical Express that, “Led Zeppelin and 50,000 San Francisco people got together to provide one of the finest musical events I’ve ever had the privilege to attend…altogether a magical concert…a revelation.”

For a tape recorded in an open-air venue amidst an audience of fifty thousand people in 1973, the sound quality is very impressive. As gsparaco (who considers the sound quality “excellent”) points out in his review of the Wendy release, “the taper was very close to the stage and is able to capture every little detail emanating from the stage that afternoon.” All audience-sourced releases derive from the same tape; most are broadly similar and are rated as “excellent” by Argenteum Astrum on Led Zeppelin Database. However, Persistence Kezar (Holy) is clearly inferior in terms of sound. It is rated as merely “good to very good” by Argenteum Astrum, who states, “this is the worst sounding of all June 2, 1973 releases.” Susumu Omi, on Underground Uprising, is even blunter, stating, “HORRIBLE!..sound quality is much more inferior to both ‘Persistence’ [LP] and ‘Vibes are Real.’” The latter release also has its problems. As Ingham points out, Continental Sounds ”used fairly high generation tapes that ran 3% too slow” and also failed to present the songs in the correct running order. (For further detailed and specific comparison of the various releases, see the Title Comparisons section of the BootLedZ website.)

Of the Wendy release, gsparaco goes on to point out that, “the audience tape sounds as good as the other releases…Wendy did slow the tape down a bit to be closer to the actual pitch. Likewise the soundboard recording does not sound harsh as the previous two titles.” Godfather’s A Celebration For Being Who You Are presents the audience tape with the soundboard only being utilized to fill gaps where appropriate, including the Bill Graham outroduction, which the taper did not capture. This decision emanated from the label’s desire to maintain “the same atmosphere” throughout the show. When details of the Godfather appeared on the Recent Updates page of his Led Zeppelin Database website, Argenteum Astrum stated, “the title presents a mix of audience and soundboard sources and is reported as a truly definitive and speed/pitch corrected version of this excellent show.” Posting a comment on the News & New Releases section of CMR Argenteum Astrum goes on to say that, “this is a huge…improvement over few past titles, such as ‘Mary Kezar’ (Wendy) or ‘Imperial Kezar’ (Electric Magic). The sound isn’t amplified, the speed/pitch seems to be corrected and splice between audience and soundboard are done in a truly perfect way, not missing any note from actual show!” Godfather states that work has been done on the tape to eliminate fluctuations in sound and to reduce wind problems, an obvious potential hazard with an outdoor concert. The cut/edit a little before twenty-two minutes in Dazed And Confused (which seems to excise no actual music) is still noticeable but a little less jarring. The overall result is a full, clear and dynamic sound which results in a satisfying listening experience. version of the soundboard segment.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rainbow - 1976-12-16 - Budokan, Tokyo (Definitive On Stage - Rising Arrow-063)


Definitive On Stage 
Rising Arrow-063

101. Over The Rainbow
102. Kill The King
103. Mistreated
104. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
105. Catch The Rainbow
106. Man On The Silver Mountain / Blues / Starstruck / Man On The Silver Mountain

201. Keyboard Intro
202. Stargazer
203. Still I’m Sad incl. Keyboard Solo
204. Drum Solo incl. 1812 Overture
205. Still I’m Sad (reprise)
206. Do You Close Your Eyes
207. Over The Rainbow

Amazing soundboard of the evening show...

Monday, April 30, 2018

Led Zeppelin - 1977-04-30 - Pontiac, MI

Led Zeppelin 
Pontiac Silverdome 
Pontiac, MI 

101. The Song Remains The Same
102. Sick Again
103. Nobody's Fault But Mine
104. In My Time Of Dying
105. Since I've Been Loving You
106. No Quarter

201. Ten Years Gone
202. The Battle Of Evermore
203. Going To California
204. Black Country Woman
205. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
206. White Summer / Black Mountain Side
207. Kashmir
208. Out On The Tiles / Moby Dick

301. Guitar Solo
302. Achilles Last Stand
303. Stairway To Heaven
304. Rock And Roll
305. Trampled Underfoot

Friday, April 20, 2018

Led Zeppelin - 1975-03-21 - Seattle (Winston Remaster)

Led Zeppelin
March 21, 1975
Seattle Center Coliseum
Seattle, WA

One Extreme to the Other
Winston Remaster

221 minutes 23 seconds

101. Intro
102. Rock and Roll
103. Sick Again
104. Over the Hills and Far Away
105. In My Time of Dying
106. Song Remains the Same
107. Rain Song
108. Kashmir

201. No Quarter
202. Since I've Been Loving You
203. Trampled Underfoot

301. Moby Dick
302. Dazed and Confused

401. Stairway to Heaven
402. Whole Lotta Love
403. Black Dog
404. Communication Breakdown
405. Heartbreaker

Get it Here

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Judas Priest - 2018-03-15 - Youngstown

Judas Priest
March 15, 2018
Covelli Centre
Youngstown, OH

01. Intro tape: War Pigs / Guradians
02. Firepower
03. Running Wild
04. Grinder
05. Sinner
06. The Ripper
07. Lightning Strike
08. Bloodstone
09. Saints in Hell
10. Turbo Lover
11. Angel
12. Evil Never Dies
13. Some Heads are Gonna Roll
14. Breaking the Law
15. Hell Bent for Leather
16. Painkiller
17. The Hellion
18. Electric Eye
19. Metal Gods
20. You've Got Another Thing Comin'
21. Living After Midnight

Tapers Notes:
Somehow Rob Halford manages to not sound like a screechy old man this tour, hitting all the high notes you'd expect clean and strong.  This was taped by my son, who went to the show in his full length leather jacket with the fringe and studs that he wears when performing with Call for the Priest.  Security and the merch guys loved the jacket.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Rainbow - 1978-07-02 - Chicago

July 2, 1978
International Amphitheater
Chicago, IL

Definitive Chicago 1978
Rising Arrow (Rising Arrow-059)

01. Over The Rainbow
02. Kill The King
03. Mistreated
04. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
05. Man On The Silver Mountain
06. Blues
07. Night People
08. Man On The Silver Mountain (Reprise)
09. Still I'm Sad
10. Beethoven 9th
11. David Stone Solo
12. Cozy Powell Solo - 1812 Overture
13. Still I'm Sad (Reprise) - Guitar Crash
14. Over The Rainbow

Deep Purple - 1972-07-14 - West Palm Beach

Deep Purple
July 14, 1972
Spring Auditorium
West Palm Beach, Florida

Made In Florida
Darker Than Blue (DTB 226)

01 Highway Star
02 Smoke On The Water
03 Strange Kind Of Woman
04 The Mule
05 Lazy
06 Space Truckin'

1972 would be a year on the road for Deep Purple, their most recent record Machine Head, released in March of that year, was a hit making them a hot item on the live circuit. For this new release Darker Than Blue documents the band’s stop in the summer of 72 in West Palm Beach Florida. The recording is an incomplete audience source that falls into the poor to fair range, it is distant and suffers from distortion, Blackmore’s guitar is in the forefront, the bass and drums are virtually completely buried with vocals and keyboards heard but lower in the mix, there is a bit of crowd chatter also but this adds to the atmosphere of the event. The recording is also incomplete, there are cuts between every song and one can assume that Child In Time and an encore were either not recorded or not played possibly due to being a support act. I did some digging on the Internet and could not find a billing for the evening.

The beginning of the tape starts a few seconds into Highway Star, the recording is certainly at its poorest but does clear a minute in and from there plateau’s off. The sound sounds almost a bit fast to my ear also, but once your ears adjust to the sound you find that the band is playing very well, Blackmore is playing well and his fingers are nimble, he delivers a furious solo. Smoke On The Water sounds repetitive, since Blackmore is high in the mix the first thing you hear is the simple riff over and over and over, the always brilliant Strange Kind Of Woman features the obligatory call and response between Gillan and Ritchie that is always nice.

We finally get to hear Ian Paice proper during The Mule, he delivers an amazing drum solo and pounds the audience into mush, he gets a nice ovation that is abruptly cut. Jon Lord gets a bit of spotlight time at the organ jam that leads into a great band jam that will eventually get into Lazy and once the band gets into the song proper Blackmore leads the band through a game of catch me if you can, Lord proves he is up to the task. The audience is in a fever pitch as the band plays a shuffle that leads into Space Truckin’ they clap joyously along with the beginning of the song, there is a cut at 3:10 as the band almost sound like they are playing a variation of The Kinks’ You Really Got Me riff. The song eventually gets into the middle section of Mandrake Root that steamrolls the audience and ends in a feedback storm, the recording stops as the last notes of Lord’s organ fade. Great performance and I really love early 70’s live Purple, too bad so many recordings have crap sound.

The packaging is typical for Darker Than Blue, full color inserts made to look like the official Made In Japan release, some really nice live shots on the rear and inside. You get a collectable sticker and picture CD to boot. While it is nice to see a show that I don’t believe has been out on CD before, the poor sound will make this release for the Purple completers, casual buyer steer clear.

Deep Purple - 1970-12-01 - Hannover

Deep Purple
December 1, 1970
Hannover, Germany

Hannover 1970
Darker Than Blue (DTB 156)

01 Speed King
02 Wring That Neck
03 Mandrake Root
04 Black Night

Deep Purples gig in Hannover Germany in December 1971 has been captured, in part, in a fair to good sounding mono audience recording. There are signs of distortion when the band is going full force and the drums are slightly buried in the mix but overall has a relatively clear and enjoyable sound. The performance is par for the time, Deep Purple where on fire and giving incredibly brutal performances. It is fair to say that at least two songs are missing, Into The Fire and Child In Time

“Two words…a thing called Speed King” is Ian Gillan’s introduction as the band takes the stage and begins the opening jams that leads into the song. Fast and aggressive, Ian is in fine voice and wails away in fine fashion. I like when Ian asks “do you know what a speed King is ?” and his answer comes via a response from Ritchie guitar and it leads into a nice blues duel for Blackmore and Jon Lord to loosen their fingers on.

Blackmore climbs out of the blues via his fret board and starts ripping into leads to leads the group back into the main theme.

The tape is cut at the songs conclusion and picks up again with the opening stains of Wring That Neck, the sound quality goes down a bit and sounds a bit more muffled. Lord and Blackmore trade solos back in forth in the usual way and Roger Glover even gets into the mix and the whole thing leads into the middle section. Lord takes center stage first and goes through some classic parts and proceeds to conjure up some incredible sounds from his organ, as if opening and inter dimensional gateway, if you did not know better you would think the Pink Floyd where playing. Blackmore goes into his solo spot and hits the boards running but soon slows down and plays a slow melancholy piece sounding somewhat like a cross between Paint It Black and Still I’m Sad. He soon goes into some medieval themes and even a hint Jingle Bells for good measure before leading the band back to Neck and its finale.

Mandrake Root follows and it sounds as if someone was fiddling with a loose cord as a couple of bumps are notable. After the main theme the band goes into the fast riff section, Blackmore leads the band through the chain saw like rhythm and Lord takes the opportunity to solo over the top. Blackmore comes in and its his turn to head to the stratosphere and walks the line between nimble notes and boisterous feedback to great effect. Farther one in the piece Blackmore takes a stab skyward and again the piece takes on a very outer space kind of feel to great effect, of course this is no smooth ride with Ritchie piloting ! They song is another excellent example of the key to early Deep Purple, the musical interaction between Blackmore and Lord that provides the catalyst for the onstage magic the band created.

Black Night is the final song on the tape, it is incomplete and starts in process with the second verse, the sound is a little louder and slightly more distorted giving a great nasty sound to the song. A great aggressive version of the song, Blackmore is literally all over the place. At the concerts conclusion one can only surmise on the other songs absent from the concert as the fragments we have a superbly played concert.

Packaging is simple black and white photos that looks live there were taken at the actual show and a picture of the poster for the concert itself. Again if one can turn on their bootleg ears and get beyond the marginal sound quality there is some incredible music found within these gems. Certainly not one for the casual collector but I have been on a Purple tare of late and these early shows have been more than satisfying my hunger.