Monday, March 10, 2008

Day 70: 4/1/1971 London, England

4/1/1971 London, England  BBC Zep
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I've Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Going to California, That's the Way, What is and What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love, Thank You, Communication Breakdown

The band's sixth and final BBC performance begins with a brief introduction and an apology from Plant for postponing the show due to his voice. It's obvious from the opening wails of Immigrant Song that he isn't in top form. His voice sounds hoarse and gravelly, but that doesn't keep him from pushing it to the limit. Page's fingers are a bit sticky during the guitar solo in Heartbreaker. Since I've Been Loving You is mournful at first, growing in intensity until exploding with raw energy during the finale.

Page's bow solo during Dazed and Confused is eerie and haunting. His fingers get sticky during the ever-extending guitar solo section. Bonzo plays a jazzy rhythm during the final verse. There is a long pause while Jones tunes his bass pedals before Stairway to Heaven. A highly dramatic performance, Page shreds through the solo. A hint of the epic quality the song will develop over the years. Plant asks if there's anyone who hasn't been taking Mandrax in the room before Going to California. After another long pause, Plant starts What is and What Should Never Be in the wrong key, causing some laughter and a second take. He barely makes an effort to deliver a good performance, seeming sloppy and inattentive. It's no surprise this was left off of the official BBC Sessions release.

The medley during Whole Lotta Love includes John Lee Hooker's Bottle Up and Go, Fixin' to Die Blues, That's All Right, For What it's Worth, Elvis Presley's A Mess of Blues, and Muddy Waters's Honey Bee. The band is quite subdued, even sounding a bit sloppy at times. Thank You begins without the familiar organ intro, Page plays a great dynamic solo. The show ends with a somewhat disjointed Communication Breakdown. Page's fingers are getting stuck in the strings and Plant has all but given up by the end. The tape ends with the announcer asking the crowd to leave through the exits in the back.

The tape is an excellent stereo broadcast master combined with the official BBC Sessions release. There are a few odd pitch changes when switching sources.

1 comment:

Melissa Layton said...

After the band postponed the March 25th, 1971 because of Robert Plant's voice loss at the time.