Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 55: 6/28/1970 Shepton Mallet, England

6/28/1970 Shepton Mallet, England (? gen)
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, Bring it on Home, Since I've Been Loving You, Thank You, That's the Way, What is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Long Tall Sally

The band's legendary performance at the Bath Festival begins with a brief soundcheck before launching into the first appearance of Immigrant Song. Still in its early stages (Plant sings different lyrics with a slightly different melody and structure), the overall pounding intensity remains intact. Page shreds through the solos in Heartbreaker, Plant's voice echoing over the thunderous attack. Dazed and Confused is an epic workout. Bring it on Home features some excellent harmonica work from Plant. Since I've Been Loving You is epic, Page's playing is soulful and Plant's wails are spine-chilling.

After a source change, singing birds can be heard as Page tunes his guitar. The original source returns for an excellent dynamic performance of Thank You. Page's frenzied soloing soars above Bonzo's thunderous pounding. The definition of light and shade. Our first glimpse of the acoustic side of Led Zeppelin comes in the form of an early version of That's the Way, introduced here as "Boy Next Door". Page's tone is dirty and raw during a ferocious What is and What Should Never Be. Bonzo's drums sound like relentless machine gun fire during a frenzied Moby Dick.

Plant tells everyone in the crowd to smile before the band launches into an explosive How Many More Times. Plant sings a few lines of Down By the River during the Bolero section. His voice echoes out over the crowd as he starts his boogie intro. The band joins in for slow and heavy renditions of Muddy Waters's Honey Bee and Long Distance Call. The pace picks up for Boogie Chillen' and Sweet Home Chicago. After Plant's lemon squeezing, he gets the band into excellent renditions of Elvis Presley's I Need Your Love Tonight and That's All Right. Page is in top form, playing anything Plant can throw at him. The return to the main riff is crushing, the finale a devastating explosion of energy. It's amazing the crowd survived.

After the one-two punch of Whole Lotta Love and Communication Breakdown, the band returns to the stage one last time to satisfy the crowd's demands for more. Long Tall Sally frames a raucous medley including Johnny B. Goode, That's All Right, and other classics from the annals of rock history. A riotous end to one of the most legendary Led Zeppelin concerts ever recorded. Definitely a must hear.

The tape is a mix of at least two sources, both similar in quality. Noisy and distorted, but fairly clear. The sound deteriorates considerably during the encores.


Anonymous said...

1970-06-28, Bath Festival, Shepton Mallet, UK (dadgad prod)
Show starts off with Immigrant Song, first time this is performed live. Right off the bat, it's clear this is going to be a painful listen. Very distorted, Plant can be heard, everything else sounds like background static. I can only hope things improve. And with Heartbreaker, things are sounding a little bit better, The guitar solo can actually be listened to. Dazed and Confused is next, well, I'm pretty sure it's Dazed and Confused. At this point I'm thinking I could record something in my basement that sounded more like Led Zeppelin ... and I don't have any musical talent. Bring It On Home is next. Since I've Been Loving you is next, it's clear that the tape input is getting overloaded, quiet passages sound a bit better than loud parts when everything is going on. Thank You is next, sounds not quite as bad, and then That's The Way, which sounded pretty good. What Is and What Should Never Be is next, which is a distorted mess anytime the whole band is playing. Moby Dick lacks the clarity needed to really enjoy the playing. How Many More Times is next. The encores are next, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, then a Rock medley with Long Tall Sally and others. Surprisingly the quality actually gets worse during Communication Breakdown, and by the Rock Medley I think I would rather be listening to two cats fighting.

That's The Way stands out, simply because the quality of the recording is not as noticeable during that song. Plant's vocals are out in front most of the time, but usually quite distorted. Quite a painful listen of what sounds generally like a good performance. Not sure where the recording was made from, but there is virtually no audience noise present.

Anonymous said...

All fairly irrelevant, as LZ's performance on the night was a ploddy affair, pre-blown offstage by the Airplane's jamming trio, Hot Tuna, Covington (?) Kaukonnen and (especially) Cassady. The Plant/Page bombast couldn't make up for LZ's (generally accepted) weak point, a stodgy rhythm section. Still'n'all, a good evening was had by all ...

FRX said...

"(generally accepted) weak point"?

In what circle is Bonham/Jones, arguably one of the greatest rhythm sections in rock history, generally accepted as the weak point of Led Zeppelin?

Thanks for reading nonetheless!

dragonspirit said...

In my opinion, up through HMMT, the show is outstanding. However, the three encores (especially WLL), are only OK. Still, a must hear for the pre-WLL part of the show.

Anonymous said...

"(Bonham/Jones as LZ's (generally accepted) weak point"?

Even though everyone is entitled to there opinion this comment stretches ones patience and tolerance of the ignorant. The only comparison I can conjure up would be a modern opinion stating "no really the world is flat"