December 22, 1972
Wendy 2005 WECD-47/48/49
102 Rock and Roll
103 Over The Hills and Far Away
104 Black Dog
105 Misty Mountain Hop
106 Since I've Been Loving You
107 Dancing Days
108 Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
109 The Song Remains The Same
110 The Rain Song
201 Dazed and Confused (cut/repeat section at end)
202 Stairway to Heaven
203 Whole Lotta Love
~Everybody Needs Someone To Love
~Let's Have A Party
~Heart Break Hotel
~I Can't Quit You Baby
204 Immigrant Song
301 Stairway to Heaven
302 Whole Lotta Love
~Everybody Needs Someone To Love
~Let's Have A Party
~Heart Break Hotel
~I Can't Quit You Baby
303 Immigrant Song
305 organ solo
306 Thank You
Bass and Keyboards-John Paul Jones
46 years ago on Saturday December 23rd 1972, I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the closest gig Led Zeppelin ever played to Christmas in the UK. It was a cold dank day and the walk up Muswell Hill to the Alexandra Palace was a bit of a trek. All worth it of course, as this very impressionable 16 year old was again in the company of musical giants.
The venue itself had not been used for a gig for years and was a little cold and impersonal – the sound also suffered a fair bit swirling around the high ceiling. Zep of course were brilliant – I had already read they were playing new tracks off of what was still being described as Led Zeppelin V (it would emerge as Houses Of the Holy the following March.) Hearing Over The Hills And Far Away, The Song Remains The Same,The Rain Song and Dancing Days was an immense thrill. The Jesus character who frequented many London gigs at the time stripped naked in front of me (ooerr!) and played a tin whistle during Jimmy’s Dazed violin bow solo. The Whole Lotta Love medley was memorable for a great Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Let’s Have A Party and a scintillating I Can’t Quit You Baby. Zep gig number two was ticked and I wanted more…much more… though that opportunity would not come around for another two years. By then I had a new mantra..if Led Zeppelin were playing in the UK I wanted to be there…
PHIL TATTERSHALL’S ALLY PALLY EXPERIENCE:
Long time TBL contributor Phil Tattershall was also at the December 23rd show – here are his memories of his first Led Zeppelin concert…
The announcement of Led Zeppelin’s 72/73 UK tour was incredibly exciting. I’d had a copy of the double LP, Live On Blueberry Hill for a while and I’d captured their 1971 BBC radio performance as it was broadcast using our family reel-to-reel tape recorder. Both had been played to death.
I was 18 in 1972 and I’d recently started work, but my old schoolmate Dave* was still job hunting. He had a bit of spare time, also a motorbike, which meant he was just the man to journey into London in the vain hope of securing tickets for one of the Alexandra Palace shows from Harlequin Records. Unbelievably, he was successful and managed to buy three tickets, the third being for another schoolmate, Neil**.
I proudly announced to my colleagues in the office that I was going to see Led Zeppelin, but being much older than me, they didn’t share my excitement. I was shocked to learn that none of them had even heard of Led Zeppelin!
My first wage packet had been spent on a battery-powered cassette recorder and I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to try concert recording for the first time. Dave was a keen photographer and thought he’d try to take some pictures to complement my efforts.
The week before the show, we went for a ride on Dave’s motorbike to Alexandra Palace, to make sure that the ancient machine was capable of completing the 45 mile round trip. It was a curious hybrid vehicle, self assembled from parts of two other bikes dating from 1936 and 1948. It would need to transport three of us on December 23rd, so Dave had bolted an old sidecar to it. I remember that reconnaissance expedition well; it was freezing cold and I sat in the sidecar listening to a cassette of ELP’s Trilogy album on both legs of the journey. (I learned later that the sidecar was attached to the motorbike by a single bolt. Dave was a bit of a slapdash mechanic!)
Come the 23rd, Dave, Neil and I undertook that intrepid journey from Hertfordshire to north London. It was as cold as it had been the previous week, but the bike and sidecar served us well. Outside the venue, I bought a show programme for 25p, which I later learned was unofficial (and is now very collectable!) and chatted to a guy from New York who had bought a ticket from a tout and was fearful that it might be a forgery. It looked the same as mine though and I think he managed to get in OK. My voluminous police-service surplus great coat served a dual purpose: it kept out the worst of the cold and effectively concealed my rather large cassette machine. I gained access without hindrance.
Above the 1972 bootleg programme which I purchased outside the venue on the night – – the image is actually Marc Bolan taken from a poster (thanks to Pete Burridge for that info).
Inside the hall it was apparent that there had been problems during the soundcheck and curtains had been hung from the ceiling in an attempt to tame the cavernous venue’s wallowing acoustic. It was an all-standing event and I was surprised that the hall was nowhere-near full, probably little over two-thirds of the floor space being occupied. I later learned that fire regulations had limited the number allowed to attend.
There was no support act, just a children’s cartoon shown on a small screen above the stage. I remember the cheer from the audience when one of the cartoon characters swallowed the contents of a bottle labelled ‘Super Speed Pills’. Hmmm… that certainly wouldn’t be allowed in these days of political correctness and child protection.
The lights dimmed, I pressed the record and play keys of my cassette machine and hoped for the best. As the band took to the stage, the bloke standing next to me was hit on the head by a beer can thrown from behind, prompting a stream of foul language from him and his companions. The can’s impact and the subsequent profanities are perfectly captured on my tape. Sadly the music, at the time the loudest noise I’d heard in my life, is less well preserved. The poor cassette machine was overwhelmed by the volume and the recording is hopelessly overloaded. The tape tangled 25 minutes into the show anyway, so it’s hardly an indespensible document. Dave fared little better in his efforts to capture the visuals and his pictures were disappointing too.
The show itself was astonishing. Of the songs from the yet-to-be-released Houses of the Holy LP, I remember being particularly impressed by Dancing Days, while friend Neil, a guitar player himself, was blown away by The Song Remains The Same. The high point for me was the violin bow sequence in Dazed and Confused. Thanks to my bootlegs, I was very familiar with the live version of the piece and always imagined each “da-da da-da” element being generated by a bow strike. When I witnessed every other ‘da’ blasting out as the bow hit thin air, I genuinely thought some sort of sorcery was afoot. (It wasn’t magic, of course, but an Echoplex unit. I was so disappointed when I found out. Jimmy was a mere human after all!)
Luckily, another amateur recordist was on duty that night and his results were infinitely better than mine. My first experience of Led Zeppelin live was preserved for posterity and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. One thing the taper missed as he flipped tapes was Robert’s “Goodnight – we’ll see you next year”. I remember it well, because I was thrilled that it wouldn’t be too long before I could see them again. As it turned out, I had to wait until May 1975, but I’m sure Robert’s intentions were honourable when he gave me what seemed a personal assurance. I also recall narrowly missing out in the scramble to grab the tambourine he threw into the crowd at the end of the Whole Lotta Love medley.
The motorbike journey home in cold rain was deeply unpleasant, but we didn’t care; we’d seen the greatest band in the world.
When safely home, I extracted the tangled mess of tape from my recorder and reassembled it into a spare cassette shell. As already described, the sonic results were disastrous, but, forty years hence, I still have that souvenir.
A couple of days later, back at work, the office manager, who was ten years my senior at 28, asked, “How did your pop thing go Phil?” “Pop thing!??!!”, I thought to myself. This wasn’t a “pop thing”: this was Led Zeppelin. But there was no point in entering into lengthy discussion on the topic. The older generation would never understand.
*Dave had another go at photographing Led Zeppelin in 1975 and was rather more successful. The photos can be seen in TBL issue 15.
**Those familiar with one of the better audience recordings of the first Knebworth show will have heard a voice loudly proclaiming “I can’t hear the bass, can you?” during The Song Remains the Same. That’s Neil.
There are two sources for the first of two shows at the Alexandra Palace in London in the middle of Zeppelin’s UK winter tour. The first, presented on the first two discs of the current release, runs from the beginning through to the second encore and unfortunately doesn’t capture the organ solo and “Thank You”.
This source is good to very good but very flat and dull sounding. The music has a plastic spork hitting mashed potato quality. Previous releases of this source include the vinyl Alexandra Palace and Riot House on P. Jump Records (JMP 2) and on cd as Flawless Performance on Image Quality (IQ-013/14/15) and Riot Show on Cobra (006).
The second source is documented on the third disc runs from “Stairway To Heaven” through to the very end and recording the complete encore. This tape is significantly more clear detailed, dynamic and powerful with a hint of distortion present and has been released as Riot House on Chad (G.60 where it is erroneously dated from the following night and coupled with material from Raleigh, North Carolina April 7th, 1970), Alexandra Night on Right Stuff (RS-21012) and used by Image Quality to complete the first tape source on Flawless Performance.
The two London shows are a highlight from their longest tour of the UK that winter. After “Over The Hills And Far Away” Plant complains about the freeze, comparing it to their last show they did in London in 1971. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” sounds interesting with Jimmy’s howling guitar underlying Plant’s moans.
While Page tunes his guitar Plant dedicates “Dancing Days” to “summer, inebriation and good times, and also requires a different tuning. This is dedicated to those who might still be in high school.” The guitar solo in “Stairway To Heaven” contains some haunting riffs at about the eight-minute mark that sound like a variation of the riff used in the final verse at the end.
Before “Whole Lotta Love” members in the audience are shouting out requests. There are several votes for “Gallows Pole” but they don’t get it. There is a cut at 11:40 during the medley but is otherwise complete. Plant comes in too early for “Let’s Have A Party” during Page’s boogie improv.
The encores are the longest for the UK winter tour with the complete “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” that was used for two years as the set opener. This is the final time this was heard in public and this is also the penultimate recording of “Immigrant Song” (the final being on the Bradford soundboard).
The long show ends with John Paul Jones’ mellotron solo leading into a rare version of “Thank You”. The solo is three minutes long and is similar to the versions played in Nagoya on October 5th and Newcastle on November 30th and Cardiff on December 12th. It’s a fast paced and catchy tune played mostly with the string sounds. He plays the mellotron also for “Thank You” giving the song a different, softer feel. This is one of JPJ’s more interesting on-stage experiments and the second tape source for the first London gig is the best recording of the four.
Unlike previous releases, Wendy chose to archive the two sources instead of editing them together for a complete show so there is some duplication of material. They also chose to follow the Cobra release in duplicating the old vinyl artwork with the picture of Jimmy taken from the Sydney, Australia show the previous February.
On the back Wendy presents some nice pictures of the Hyatt West Hollywood aka “The Riot House”. It is rather strange since the concert is from London and not LA. Also on the back is a photo of the band c. 1975. Sometimes it is nice to honor a past vinyl title on a cd release but perhaps this shouldn’t be one of them. However this is a bit of an improvement over past releases, sounding pretty good and mastered at the correct speed.
12-22-72, source 1
Alexandra Night (Right Stuff) & Riot House (CHAD & Wendy)
These titles are from the excellent sounding shorter tape, containing the last hour of the show.
Right Stuff and Wendy are identical in content. Both are missing a second at the beginning, 26 seconds after Whole Lotta Love, 26 seconds
after Heartbreaker, and a few seconds after the final song. Neither have the tape glitch during Immigrant Song on CHAD.
Right Stuff seems to run a little slow. It's music and background noise are a hair louder than the other two.
12-22-72, source 2
Flawless Performance (IQ, 3cd), Riot House (Wendy), & Riot Show (Cobra, 2cd)
Wendy is the only title solely from the second source. The only fault is the cut/repeat of tape after Dazed and Confused.
IQ and Cobra use the second source (poorer sounding tape) through the end of Heartbreaker. The mellotron solo and Thank You are
borrowed from the first source, but it's quality is not near as good as CHAD's.
Cobra moved Dazed out of sequence in order to squeeze the tape onto two cds, missing about 15 seconds of tape in the process. A few more
seconds are missing from the beginning and ending of the second source.
IQ seems to run a little slow. It's music and background noise are a little louder than Cobra's due to amplification. Wendy's title has been
amplified a bit more than IQ.