Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 113: 6/27/1972 Long Beach, CA

6/27/1972 Long Beach, CA (see below)
Immigrant Song^, Heartbreaker^, Black Dog+, Over the Hills and Far Away+, Since I've Been Loving You^, Stairway to Heaven^, Going to California^, That's the Way+, Tangerine+, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp^, Dazed and Confused+, What is and What Should Never Be*, Dancing Days*, Moby Dick*, Whole Lotta Love+, Rock and Roll#
^- source 1: (unknown gen)
#- source 2: (reel master>vhs>dat>cdr)
+- source 3: How the West Was, Too!
*- soundboard: (master quads>dat)

The second of two shows used to create 2003's How the West Was Won, the tape begins with Immigrant Song already in progress. Black Dog is introduced as "a story about a dog who liked to boogie." Plant comments on the show at The Forum two nights earlier, telling the crowd "that was too much, it was really great" before Over the Hills and Far Away, which is dedicated to "the freak" throwing firecrackers. Page's frantic soloing lends a sense of urgency to the mournful tone of Since I've Been Loving You. A highly dramatic rendition.

Stairway to Heaven features another dramatic guitar solo from Page. Plant tells the crowd "all parents can join in the choruses" at the beginning of That's the Way. A mournful Tangerine is introduced as "a nice little song that people usually chatter in." Plant jokes that Bonzo's rendition of It's Only Make Believe was meant to be on the last album, "but he paid us enough money to keep it off" before Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. The lead-in to the bow solo during Dazed and Confused features a great driving rhythm before everything slows down to a cool, jazzy tempo to accompany Page's ethereal wanderings. Bonzo is like an out of control locomotive during the guitar solo/workout section, with Page racing to keep up. The Mars, the Bringer of War section is extremely heavy. Page solos wildly as Plant's echoed chants soar over the crowd during the outro, causing someone near the taper to comment "look at Page... incredible!"

Plant comments on Americans' tendency to dismiss new songs that they don't know before Dancing Days, adding "this is one of those." Bonzo is introduced as "percussionist, second vocalist, fighter, drinker, lover of the world... in fact, general odd job man... and king of the coffee shop" before Moby Dick. The Everybody Needs Somebody to Love breakdown during Whole Lotta Love is explosive. The medley includes Boogie Chillen', another great rendition of Elvis Presley's Let's Have a Party, a raucous Hello Mary Lou, the first appearance of Blueberry Hill since 9/19/1970, and Goin' Down Slow, which includes a dynamic blues improvisation. The show ends with a quick and dirty Rock and Roll, the crowd is left begging for more.

The audience tapes are clear and well-balanced, save for source 2, which is a bit distant and noisy. The soundboard tape is superb.

For a fascinating breakdown and analysis of how How the West Was Won was created, visit Eddie Edwards's The Garden Tapes.

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