Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 31: 10/30/1969 Buffalo, NY

10/30/1969 Buffalo, NY  (?)
Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, What is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times

Plant improvises new lyrics during I Can't Quit You Baby in response to someone causing trouble in the audience, challenging them to a confrontation on stage. Judging by Plant's comments after the song, someone had thrown a glass or bottle at the stage. Page shreds through a quick solo in Heartbreaker. Dazed and Confused is becoming a true epic, growing longer and more complex every night. Page's playing is particularly elegant during White Summer/Black Mountain Side. A somewhat sloppy What is and What Should Never Be is followed by the return of the drum solo, making its first appearance as Moby Dick. The tape ends with How Many More Times which is unfortunately cut during the Bolero section.

The tape is a bit muddy, due mostly to some particularly boomy bass frequencies from Jones.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 30: 10/12/1969 London, England

10/12/1969 London, England  (master>cassette>dat>cdr)
Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, You Shook Me, What is and What Should Never Be, Dazed and Confused, How Many More Times

Plant is in good form, belting some particularly high wails during Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown. He stutters and moans the lyrics during I Can't Quit You Baby, performing some impressive vocal acrobatics. The tape is cut between songs, but Plant's dialogue with the crowd seems to be intact. Page's fingers are a bit sticky during the solos in Heartbreaker.

Bonzo goes wild during You Shook Me, unfortunately the tape is cut from the second verse to the finale. What is and What Should Never Be is excellent, the perfect balance of calm and storm. Plant screeches and squeals the second verse of Dazed and Confused. Bonzo attacks his drums full force during the guitar solo. The opening verses of How Many More Times are over the top, the whole band pushing it to the limit. There is a very eerie jam before the Bolero section, which features some Over Under Sideways Down licks. The medley includes a disjointed Boogie Chillen, unfortunately the rest of the song is chopped to bits, leaving us with an abrupt end to a great show.

The tape is fairly clear with Bonzo and Jones a bit muddy and in the back.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 29: 10/10/1969 Paris, France

10/10/1969 Paris, France L'Olympia
Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me, How Many More Times

The newly-surfaced french radio show, rebroadcast last month for the first time since its November 1969 premiere, begins with a brief stage announcement before Bonzo counts off to the first appearance of the Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown opener. Plant is in exceptional voice, faithfully recreating every high note. He shakes the mic violently during the intro to I Can't Quit You Baby. The modern french radio announcer makes his first intrusive appearance during Page's excellent solo.

Bonzo comments "they don't even know what it is!" as Plant introduces the first appearance of Heartbreaker to the crowd. The performance is very similar to the version on Led Zeppelin II. There is a strange echo effect added to Page's a cappella guitar solo. Whether this effect was added live by the sound engineer or later by the radio station is unclear. The same echo effect is used sporadically throughout Dazed and Confused, leaving us with an army of Bonzos. The DJ returns at the beginning of an especially eerie bow solo. Page is introduced as "The Wanking Dog" by Bonzo and Plant before White Summer/Black Mountain Side. The DJ once again intrudes during a quiet passage. Plant adlibs new lyrics during You Shook Me. Jones and Bonzo are like a well-oiled machine.

The recording ends with an excellent How Many More Times. Page solos wildly during an extended Bolero section, including some Over Under Sideways Down licks. Plant tells someone in the crowd to shut up during the "got you in the sights..." section, just before another interruption by the DJ. Plant makes mention of a girl who's been with Aynsley Dunbar during his intro to the medley, drawing laughter from the crowd. The medley includes John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillen, now with lyrics from Plant. The atmosphere on stage is very playful as Plant reaches the final "gun!" The finale is devastatingly heavy with Plant grunting seductively as the band explodes around him.

The tape is an excellent brand-new radio broadcast. Definitely a must hear.

Click here for audio samples courtesy of Black Beauty.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 28: 8/31/1969 Dallas, TX

8/31/1969 Dallas, TX The Only Way to Fly
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

I Can't Quit You Baby is elegantly heavy, Page plays with incredible finesse. Bonzo's fills sound like a machine gun, his right foot is especially quick. Page's equipment picks up a walkie-talkie frequency during the bow solo in Dazed and Confused, making for a strange break in atmosphere. The guitar solo is flawless and inspired. Bonzo plays a funky rhythm including a cowbell in the middle of the extended solo. The return to the main descending riff is devastating.

Bonzo goes wild throughout You Shook Me. Page has some equipment problems at the beginning of How Many More Times. Bonzo wails on the cowbell during Plant's band introductions. Plant makes references to Suzie Q while Page hints at Train Kept a Rollin' during an extended jam before the Bolero section. Page and Jones play the Whole Lotta Love riff during the "Rosie" section. The medley features a great Eyesight to the Blind boogie. Bonzo plays a wild mini solo during the epic finale. The set ends with an energetic Communication Breakdown. An excellent performance.

The tape is an excellent atmospheric soundboard recording. A must hear.

The video, available on Celebration's Early Visions, includes bits of Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, and How Many More Times. The film is dark and a bit blurry, but is nonetheless an interesting early visual document of the band in a true live setting.

Click here for audio samples and a video sample courtesy of Black Beauty.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 27: 8/18/1969 (evening) Toronto, Ontario

8/18/1969 (evening) Toronto, Ontario (master>dat)
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

Page and Plant go wild during an excellent I Can't Quit You Baby. Plant mentions the band getting hassled in San Antonio, Texas. Whistles from the crowd echo Page's string slaps during an epic bow solo in Dazed and Confused. Bonzo is an explosion during the guitar solo. An awe-inspiring 11-minute White Summer/Black Mountain Side is followed by a very heavy You Shook Me. Bonzo mounts an all-out assault, his drums sound like cannon fire. Plant exclaims "oh fuck!" after failing to hit a high note during the extended outro, full of adlibs and soloing.

Plant loses himself in laughter during the band introductions at the beginning of How Many More Times. He introduces Page on "as many chicks as he can find." Bonzo grabs the mic to introduce Plant as "straight from the labour club." Page throws some Over Under Sideways Down licks into the guitar solo. The medley includes bits of Salty Dog and Walter Davis's I Think You Need a Shot during an excellent boogie. Plant relays a strange comedic story about being tied up and grifted during the "got you in the sights..." section. Bonzo delivers a short drum solo during the finale. Several shouted requests are granted with a riotous Communication Breakdown, which features a brief rendition of Lee Dorsey's Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On) following Jones's bass solo. An excellent performance, must hear.

The tape is clear and enjoyable with some distortion from Jones's bass.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day 26: 8/18/1969 (afternoon) Toronto, Ontario

8/18/1969 (afternoon) Toronto, Ontario  Absolutely Gems
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times

There are some tape disturbances at the beginning of Train Kept a Rollin', as well as some volume fluctuations during I Can't Quit You Baby. The taper seems to be having a lot of trouble with their equipment. Page's soloing in I Can't Quit You Baby is bluesy and soulful. Plant tells the crowd Bonzo "has to make all the noise, all the time, every time."

An excellent Dazed and Confused is unfortunately marred with tape noise after the bow solo. The sound improves somewhat during Plant's extended harmonica solo in an excellent You Shook Me. He teases the crowd with his moans during the outro. How Many More Times begins with some very playful band introductions from Plant. He instructs the crowd to clap "a little bit louder for Jimi Hendrix" before the first verse. Page shreds his way through the solo after a wild slide intro.

The tape is hissy and distorted with a lot of tape disturbances and volume fluctuations throughout. A great performance, unfortunately hindered by bad sound quality.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 25: 8/17/1969 Wallingford, CT

8/17/1969 Wallingford, CT  (master>cassette>dat>cdr)
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby

A strange fragment. The sound is very flat with Plant being the most prominent in the mix. There is some tape warble/distortion throughout Train Kept a Rollin'. Plant is in good form, belting out every line with intensity in I Can't Quit You Baby. Page makes his guitar scream during the solo. Unfortunately, the rest of the show is missing.

Day 25: 8/8/1969 San Bernardino, CA

8/8/1969 San Bernardino, CA  Summer of '69 (?)
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, I Gotta Move, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me, How Many More Times

The tape starts with a quick stage announcement before the band jumps into Train Kept a Rollin'. It is immediately apparent that this tape is all Page. It sounds like it was recorded from inside his amplifier. If it weren't for the occasional pauses in his playing, I'd wonder if the rest of the band had even shown up. 

Page's ferocious soloing during I Can't Quit You Baby is accentuated by the nasty tone of the recording. We finally get to hear Plant, Jones, and Bonzo as they play an uptempo boogie version of I Gotta Move while Page changes a broken string. Dazed and Confused cuts in during the first verse. The majority of White Summer/Black Mountain Side is missing, the tape is cut just as Page finally gets his guitar in tune. There is a cut during the guitar solo in You Shook Me, coming back for the finale. Page single-handedly invents the concept of shredding during How Many More Times. The medley is growing, tonight featuring The Lemon Song and Chuck Berry's School Days.

As mentioned, the tape is 95% Page. Loud and distorted with a strange crackling interference during How Many More Times. An interesting listening experience indeed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day 24: 7/25/1969 Milwaukee, WI

7/25/1969 Milwaukee, WI  Zeppelin Digital Vol. 1
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

Page's fingers are a bit sticky during I Can't Quit You Baby, but he manages to tear the notes out of the strings. The guitar solo in Dazed and Confused is played at lightning speed, a frenzied race to the finish. White Summer/Black Mountain Side features accompaniment by Bonzo on congas. The tape is cut between songs, possibly losing some of Plant's dialogue with the crowd. 

Plant's moans are echoed by rhythmic cannon blasts from Page, Jones, and Bonzo during the first verse of How Many More Times. The guitar solo includes a great funky jam just before the Bolero section. There is a cut in the tape after the "squeeze my lemon..." bit, possibly cutting out a rendition of Everybody Needs Somebody to Love judging by Plant's adlibs. The cut ends just as Plant makes a reference to I've Got You Under My Skin in the "got you in the sights..." section. The set ends with a quick Communication Breakdown, which includes a short bass solo from Jones during the breakdown.

The tape is clear and well balanced, a really nice document of a quick festival performance.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day 23: 7/21/1969 New York, NY

7/21/1969 New York, NY  Twist
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

The tape starts just as Train Kept a Rollin' is beginning. Page and Plant are both on fire during I Can't Quit You Baby. Plant's introduction of Dazed and Confused gets a big cheer from the crowd. Page now plays his bow solo unaccompanied, save for the moaned echoes from Plant. Bonzo plays congas during the outro. Plant mentions a delay of Led Zeppelin II's release before You Shook Me. He plays an excellent harmonica solo, but Page's soloing is the real standout. Bonzo turns the song into a thunderous march at the beginning of the last verse. Plant pushes his voice to its limit during the outro.

Plant struggles to be heard over the noise of the crowd while introducing White Summer/Black Mountain Side, which shows off Page's masterful fingerwork. Plant introduces Page "on five gallon hat" at the beginning of How Many More Times. They play a bit of The Woody Woodpecker Song during the first verse. Page's frenzied solo is followed by a call and response version of For What it's Worth with Plant. The "squeeze my lemon..." section prompts squeals of ecstasy from the crowd. Plant's teasing is raunchier and more seductive than ever, culminating in a tongue-in-cheek reference to You Make Me Feel So Young. Bonzo attacks his drums during the finale. The set ends with a ferocious Communication Breakdown, including the ever-present reference to Rosco Gordon's Just a Little Bit during the breakdown. An excellent performance, full of energy.

The tape is a bit noisy, but clear with Page and Plant in front.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day 22: 7/20/1969 Cleveland, OH

7/20/1969 Cleveland, OH  The Destroyer 1969
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me, How Many More Times

Plant's intro to I Can't Quit You Baby is met with a loud cheer from the crowd. Page is in good form during Dazed and Confused. The audio gets quiet and shifts primarily to the left channel in the middle of White Summer/Black Mountain Side, but is back to normal by the time the song fades out. Page's playing is inspired during You Shook Me. How Many More Times features references to The Lemon Song and You Make Me Feel So Young during the "got you in the sights..." section. Plant gets the crowd to echo his moans before belting the final "gun!" Overall, a standard performance for this tour.

The tape is a bit noisy with Plant in the back, again sounding like he's singing through a transistor radio.

Click here for audio samples courtesy of Black Beauty.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 21: 7/6/1969 Newport, RI

7/6/1969 Newport, RI  Zeppelin Digital Vol. 5
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown, Long Tall Sally

Our introduction to the summer festival circuit begins with members of the audience telling others to sit down. Plant's long, wailing intro to I Can't Quit You Baby causes someone in the crowd to remark "he's good." Page plays a bit of Joe Cocker's With a Little Help From My Friends during the last verse. 

Bonzo is going wild during the guitar solo in Dazed and Confused. Plant fights with the volume of his mic throughout You Shook Me. Plant's introduction of Page at the beginning of How Many More Times is met with a big cheer from the crowd. Plant is almost completely absent from Communication Breakdown. The set ends with a nasty Long Tall Sally played at breakneck speed.

A mix of two sources. The first has Page in front and is quite bright. Plant sounds like he's singing through a transistor radio and is less audible as time goes by. This source is used until the end of Communication Breakdown. The second source which finishes the show is more muffled, but Plant is loud and clear.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day 20: 6/27/1969 London, England

6/27/1969 London, England  The Complete BBC Radio Sessions
Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me, How Many More Times

The tape begins with a quick intro by Alan Black. A wonderfully flawless version of Communication Breakdown, including It's Your Thing, is followed by an equally fantastic I Can't Quit You Baby. Page's sticky fingers tear the notes out of the strings. There is a brief interview with Page and Plant before Dazed and Confused.

There is a bizarre post-apocalyptic comedy sketch interlude before a dynamic White Summer/Black Mountain Side. You Shook Me features Jones on organ. Bonzo's drums sound like a pounding heartbeat. Plant's extended harmonica solo has the whole band in top form. How Many More Times features a mellow jazzy groove during the guitar solo and the "squeeze my lemon..." interlude during the "got you in the sights..." section. A flawless radio performance by Led Zeppelin, definitely a must hear.

The tape is an excellent broadcast master.

Click here for an audio sample courtesy of Black Beauty.

Day 20: 6/24/1969 London, England

6/24/1969 London, England  The Complete BBC Radio Sessions
Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, What is and What Should Never Be, Travelling Riverside Blues

The band's fourth BBC appearance begins with the official premiere of Whole Lotta Love. The song is now fully developed and is very similar to the version on Led Zeppelin II. A sonic assault. A short Communication Breakdown includes a great double-tracked vocal by Plant. What is and What Should Never Be is also very close to the album version. The session ends with Travelling Riverside Blues a bluesy slide workout. My favourite BBC appearance so far, for it's excellent Led Zeppelin II previews and the oddity (until it was released officially on 1990's Led Zeppelin box set) Travelling Riverside Blues.

The tape is an excellent broadcast master.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day 19: 6/20/1969 Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England

6/20/1969 Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England (master>cassette>cassette)
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Sumer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me, Pat's Delight, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

The tape begins with Plant encouraging the crowd to "let it all out, enjoy yourselves." He let's out an extra long wail during the intro to I Can't Quit You Baby. After Dazed and Confused, Plant introduces someone on stage "all the way from New Zealand", but it's difficult to make it out. Plant asks the crowd for a harmonica following White Summer/Black Mountain Side, explaining that the temperature has caused his to go out of tune. 

Jones, Plant, and Bonzo play a strange little tongue-in-cheek instrumental interlude before You Shook Me. The end of You Shook Me includes Plant's "squeeze my lemon..." lyrics. The bow solo in How Many More Times is mostly a string slapping jam, which leads into an extended funky improvisation. Plant hints at the medleys to come in the "got you in the sights..." section, his voice breaking in the final "gun!" Plant tells the crowd it's the best night they've had in England before a crushing version of Communication Breakdown, which includes It's Your Thing during the breakdown.

A muffled, overloaded, rather hissy tape of an enjoyable performance.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 18: 6/19/1969 Paris, France

6/19/1969 Paris, France  Led Zeppelin DVD/Early Visions
Communication Breakdown (soundcheck)*, Communication Breakdown, Dazed and Confused
*- only available on Early Visions

The incomplete Communication Breakdown soundcheck footage focuses primarily on Bonzo. There are a few strange cutaways to the backstage antics of the show's cast. The beginning of the performance footage proper shows the band backstage, waiting for their cue to go on. They're greeted by a polite cheer from the studio audience. Plants swings his mic around à la Roger Daltrey during the guitar solo in Communication Breakdown. Dazed and Confused cuts in during the bow solo. On the Led Zeppelin DVD version, there are clips of soundcheck footage placed throughout Dazed and Confused where there were cutaways to backstage antics in the original broadcast. A short, but excellent early document of the band on french television. Must see.

The sound and video on Led Zeppelin DVD are top notch. Early Visions is slightly inferior, as would be expected.

Day 18: 6/16/1969 London, England

6/16/1969 London, England The Complete BBC Radio Sessions
The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair, Communication Breakdown, Something Else, What is and What Should Never Be

The band's third BBC appearance begins with the only recording of The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair, a funky blues song with a riff similar to that of Moby Dick. There is a false start before Communication Breakdown, followed by an engineer telling Plant not to talk during the intro. The song includes "squeeze my lemon..." lyrics during the breakdown. A raucous version of Something Else features Jones on piano. The first appearance of What is and What Should Never Be finishes the set in a form very close to the version on Led Zeppelin II. After some confusion in the studio, the tape ends with a strange interview with the band conducted by Chris Grant.

The tape is an excellent broadcast master.

Day 18: 5/30/1969 New York, NY

5/30/1969 New York, NY  Early Days/Latter Days
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

Plant's long wails during the intro to I Can't Quit You Baby make the crowd go wild. Page's ferocious soloing is too much for the taper's equipment to handle. Plant's introduction of Dazed and Confused draws another roar of excitement from the crowd. Page's bow solo begins with the string slapping workout that will become familiar in the years to come. Plant misses one of his echo cues from Page, causing the crowd to laugh and applaud. Bonzo is attacking his drums during the extended guitar solo. A ferocious rendition, and the crowd goes wild.

A heavy, plodding version of You Shook Me follows. Page's fingers dance across the fretboard during White Summer/Black Mountain Side. How Many More Times is played at breakneck speed. Bonzo's drums sound like cannons, relentlessly assaulting the crowd during the Bolero section. Page's frenzied guitar licks once again become too much for the taper's equipment. Plant's squeals reach higher and higher as Page starts the bow solo, which is more a frenzied full band improvisation than a traditional bow solo. The tape ends with a fast, raucous version of Communication Breakdown. And excellent intense performance by the band, the crowd is left begging for more.

The tape is overloaded and distorted at times, but the great performance makes it highly enjoyable. It seems to run a bit slow during Train Kept a Rollin', but improves soon after.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 17: 5/25/1969 Columbia, MD

5/25/1969 Columbia, MD  (1st gen>dat>cdr)
Whole Lotta Love

The second appearance of Whole Lotta Love, now with lyrics in the chorus. The theramin freakout is still missing, featuring a guitar workout instead. The structure of this section is closer to the version on Led Zeppelin II than what was played in San Francisco a month prior, but the mid-song guitar solo is missing this time. Another interesting document of the evolution of the song.

The tape is a bit distorted at times, but clear and enjoyable.

Day 17: 5/28/1969 Boston, MA

5/28/1969 Boston, MA Masters of Excess
As Long as I Have You, I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, Pat's Delight, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

As Long as I Have You starts with a wah-wah heavy intro. I Can't Quit You Baby is followed by Dazed and Confused. Jones bends the notes of the intro for a jazzy effect. Plant sings a bit of Move on Down the Line during the bow solo. The tape is cut between songs, presumably losing some of Plant's banter with the audience.

The tone of Page's slide intro to You Shook Me is a bit peculiar, but he quickly regains it's familiar grittiness. The audience talks through most of Pat's Delight, occasionally offering whistles and polite applause. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is haunting and powerful, with Plant giving his all. How Many More Times is a bit sloppy and disjointed. A very loose For Your Love shows up during the first guitar solo. Page experiments with a variety of sounds during an unusual bow solo. Communication Breakdown starts with a bluesy improvisation by Plant, Jones, and Bonzo while Page changes a broken string.

The tape is muddy with very distracting stereo panning/tape warble during As Long as I Have You.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 16: 4/27/1969 San Francisco, CA

4/27/1969 San Francisco, CA Collage
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, As Long as I Have You, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown, Killing Floor, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Sitting and Thinking, Pat's Delight, Dazed and Confused

The tape starts with Plant mentioning that this is the band's last night in San Francisco. The beginning of Train Kept a Rollin' is met with shouts of "yeah! yeah!" from one excited audience member. Plant adlibs new lyrics about San Francisco during I Can't Quit You Baby. As the song ends, there is a pause while Bonzo repairs his snare drum, during which someone in the crowd requests You Shook Me. What follows is an As Long as I Have You of epic proportions. The first version of this song I ever heard and still my personal favourite, it has definitely developed into a major centerpiece of the live show. A perfect venue to showcase the improvisational abilities of each member of the band. Plant's voice is a bit rough around the edges during You Shook Me, but his harmonica solo is bluesy and dynamic.

How Many More Times is one of my personal favourite performances. The atmosphere is loose and lends itself to some excellent and very interesting improvisation. There is an amazing funky groove immediately following the bow solo. The "got you in the sights..." section includes an excellent heavy jam, complete with some strange lyrics from Plant (apparently trying to get around singing the final "gun!"). The first set ends with a mid-show encore of Communication Breakdown as requested by someone in the crowd.

The second set starts with a loose and funky Killing Floor, including new lyrics from Plant, whose voice seems to get rougher as time goes by. A somewhat subdued Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is followed by White Summer/Black Mountain Side. Sitting and Thinking is played as a loose blues improvisation. Someone in the crowd shouts for Pat's Delight before Plant introduces Bonzo. The drum solo itself is rather dull. The show ends with a somewhat sluggish Dazed and Confused. Despite the subdued second set, this is definitely a must hear. No collection is complete without this show.

The tape is an excellent soundboard recording with a slightly muffled audience recording filling the gaps.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 15: 4/26/1969 San Francisco, CA

4/26/1969 San Francisco, CA  (1st gen>vhs>dat>cdr>remaster)
Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Killing Floor, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, Pat's Delight, As Long as I Have You, Whole Lotta Love

A quick and nasty Communication Breakdown starts the show. The band is full of energy. Plant's screams are unwieldy during I Can't Quit You Baby. Dazed and Confused is a sonic attack and features the first appearance of Page's theramin. Plant's squeals are echoed by the audience during the outro of You Shook Me. The first set ends with an epic How Many More Times, which includes a funky Roll Over Beethoven during the bow solo. An excellent performance of White Summer/Black Mountain Side starts off the second set. Plant includes a quick reference to That's All Right during Killing Floor. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is followed by a thunderous Pat's Delight, which is unfortunately cut in the middle. As Long as I Have You is a wild cacophony, one of the best ever. The tape ends with the first appearance of Whole Lotta Love, although there are no lyrics during the chorus yet. The middle section includes a guitar workout rather than the familiar theramin freakout. Definitely a must hear.

The tape is very clear, if a bit distorted at times.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Day 14: 4/25/1969 San Francisco, CA

4/25/1969 San Francisco, CA  (2nd gen>dat>cdr)
Train Kept a Rollin', You Shook Me, Communication Breakdown, As Long as I Have You

A high-energy set from the second night in San Francisco. Plant skips the final chorus of Train Kept a Rollin', opting for another half-verse. The echo on Page's guitar is very prominent during an extended You Shook Me. Plant is in good voice, shouting wildly over Page's bluesy licks. Communication Breakdown has a frenzied intro. Plant experiments with new vocal inflections during As Long as I Have You. Unfortunately, the tape ends during the guitar solo.

The tape is a bit hissy and distant, but fairly clear and enjoyable nonetheless.

Day 14: 4/24/1969 San Francisco, CA

4/24/1969 San Francisco, CA  Dancing Avocado Supreme
As Long as I Have You, Killing Floor, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, Pat's Delight

The tape starts with a couple minutes of the band tuning up. Jones and Page stop playing after Jones's equipment malfunctions in the middle of As Long as I Have You, leaving Plant and Bonzo to improvise before Page comes back for a duel with Bonzo. This all makes for a very hectic, disjointed rendition. 

Jones's improvisation is on display during Killing Floor. Plant comments on the continuing equipment problems before White Summer/Black Mountain Side. Plant improvises new lyrics in Babe I'm Gonna Leave You. The recording ends after an energetic performance of Pat's Delight, which features Bonzo's new gong.

The tape is an excellent audience recording captured with two mics placed right on the stage. Every instrument is clear and balanced with Plant a bit behind the rest of the band.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 13: 3/25/1969 Middlesex, England

3/25/1969 Middlesex, England  Led Zeppelin DVD
Dazed and Confused

Led Zeppelin's segment in the documentary Supershow. The band gives an energetic performance, with even Plant pushing his low voice to the limit. There are some strange edits in the guitar solo and at the end of the song.

The video is a slightly grainy and blemished color film. There are lots of quick cuts and mismatched visuals, as well as a smoke machine in the middle of the song. An excellent document and a must see.

Day 13: 3/22/1969 Birmingham, England

3/22/1969 Birmingham, England  (master>cassette>cassette)
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused

The tape starts with Train Kept a Rollin' already in motion. Plant is screaming wildly during I Can't Quit You Baby. Page is plagued by squeals of feedback at the beginning of Dazed and Confused. The short recording ends right before the bow solo.

The tape is clear, but distorted.

Day 13: 3/19/1969 London, England

3/19/1969 London, England The Complete BBC Radio Sessions
I Can't Quit You Baby, You Shook Me, Sunshine Woman

The band's second BBC appearance starts with an introduction by Alexis Korner. Plant's low voice develops into a growl during I Can't Quit You Baby. The songs are separated by more talk from Korner. You Shook Me is followed by the oddity Sunshine Woman, featuring Jones on piano.

The tape is a noisy, slightly muffled recording of a radio broadcast.

Click here for an audio sample courtesy of Black Beauty.

*- the version of What is and What Should Never Be commonly included with this tape is actually from the band's third BBC appearance on 6/16/1969.

Day 13: 3/17/1969 Gladsaxe, Denmark

3/17/1969 Gladsaxe, Denmark  Led Zeppelin DVD
Communication Breakdown, Dazed and Confused, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, How Many More Times

The Danish television broadcast starts with Communication Breakdown, Plant's voice is much lower than usual, sounding very bluesy and syrupy. Page shows off his fast fingerwork in a flawless solo. The introduction of Dazed and Confused is met with polite applause from the studio audience. Bonzo's intensity is on display as he attacks his drums with enthusiasm. The guitar solo section after the bow solo has the whole band going wild. Plant's emotional delivery of Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is mesmerizing. This version gives a new appreciation for the song. The band is in full swing during How Many More Times. Jones gets the band into a funky jam after the bow solo. Plant avoids attempting the final "gun!", causing a bit of confused hesitation in the process. The tape fades out at the end of the song.

The audio and video quality is amazing. Definitely a must see.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Day 11: 3/14/1969 Stockholm, Sweden

3/14/1969 Stockholm, Sweden
soundboard: (master>dat)
audience: 1969 Scandanavian Tour... the Audience Recordings

Train Kept a Rollin'*, I Gotta Move, I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side*, How Many More Times*
*- audience source only

The audience tape begins with a lengthy introduction of the band. The levels fluctuate wildly during Train Kept a Rollin'. Plant, Jones, and Bonzo play an excellent bluesy jam, in which Jones shows off his chops, while Page changes a broken string. Bonzo loses the snares from his snare drum during I Can't Quit You Baby.

It sounds as if the band is about to play Communication Breakdown right after the bow solo in Dazed and Confused. There's something wrong with Page's equipment near the end of the song, causing his guitar to drop out for the last verse. How Many More Times includes an extended jam/guitar solo, but the band seems to get lost a few times. The audience tape ends with another lengthy stage announcement.

The soundboard tape is a great, if a bit bass-heavy, broadcast master. The audience tape is terribly hissy and muffled. What a contrast.

Day 11: 3/15/1969 (evening) Brodby, Denmark

3/15/1969 (evening) Brondby, Denmark  Led Zeppelin is a Gas
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me

Plant thanks the audience for their patience before Train Kept a Rollin'. Page's guitar licks sound like razor blades in I Can't Quit You Baby. Dazed and Confused is dedicated to "the young ladies working the strobes." Page slaps the strings aggressively during the bow solo. His guitar tone is dirty and gritty in You Shook Me.

The tape is hissy and a bit muddy with Page overpowering the rest of the band.

Click here for an audio sample courtesy of Black Beauty.

Day 11: 3/15/1969 (afternoon) Gladsaxe, Denmark

3/15/1969 (afternoon) Gladsaxe, Denmark  Led Zeppelin is a Gas
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, As Long as I Have You, You Shook Me, Communication Breakdown

The tape starts with Plant mentioning a forty-five minute delay. His voice breaks a couple times in Train Kept a Rollin', but it doesn't slow him down. He's warmed up by I Can't Quit You Baby, which draws shouts from the crowd. Page's fingers get a bit sticky in the last solo.

As Long as I Have You has a frantic intro. Bonzo is attacking his drums nonstop. Page's playing is aggressive in the solo. Plant is going wild, telling the audience to "sock it to me." An excellent version of I Just Want to Make Love to You is included before the last verse. There's a tongue in cheek intermission jam before Plant introduces You Shook Me, "despite Che Guevara." Page's guitar tone is very loud and abrasive. The short show ends with Communication Breakdown, which has a Hendrix-inspired intro.

The tape is noisy, but clear with Page and Plant again up front and Bonzo and Jones buried somewhere in the back.

Day 11: 3/3/1969 London, England

3/3/1969 London, England  The Complete BBC Radio Sessions
You Shook Me, Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused

The first of the BBC sessions. You Shook Me (featuring Jones on organ) sounds somewhat sluggish, magnified by Plant's voice being lower than usual. Communication Breakdown is similar to the version on the first album, with double-tracked vocals by Plant and a short funky breakdown. I Can't Quit You Baby includes alternate lyrics as well as a bit of Nineteen Years Old. The session ends with a short rendition of Dazed and Confused

The tape is an excellent broadcast master.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 10: 2/14/1969 Miami, FL

2/14/1969 Miami, FL Yellow Zeppelin
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, Killing Floor, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, How Many More Times, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, As Long as I Have You, You Shook Me, Pat's Delight

The energy is very high during Train Kept a Rollin', Plant especially seems to be very into it. Page is in good form during I Can't Quit You Baby, repeating licks until they sound just how he wants them to. Plant introduces Dazed and Confused as "a thing off the album, that's currently doing pretty well, apparently." Plant sings a line from Sugartime just as Page is finishing the bow solo.

Page is again repeating licks ad nauseam during Killing Floor to hypnotizing effect. Plant sings a bit of Walter Davis's I Think You Need a Shot, ending with the line "I want you to roll over baby, see what it's like on the other side." The band breaks into a funky jam just before the final guitar solo. Plant's voice is on the brink of breaking from the strain during Babe I'm Gonna Leave You. Page duels with both Plant and Bonzo in the middle of How Many More Times before a funky Roll Over Beethoven jam. Unfortunately, there is a cut in the tape during the bow solo, leaving us without the end of the song.

There is chatter coming from the audience during White Summer/Black Mountain Side. A high energy version of As Long as I Have You starts with an erratic guitar intro. Plant is screaming wildly, improvising lyrics about "Detroit city." Another duel has Plant squealing before Bonzo and Jones join in for a full band battle. Plant loses himself in the outro and has to stop to regain his composure before finishing the song. Plant is shredding his voice during You Shook Me, almost losing it completely by the end of the song. Bonzo is introduced as "a friend of Che Guevara" before Pat's Delight finishes the recording.

The tape is somewhat noisy with Page and Plant in front and Bonzo being buried under Page's guitar. Despite this, it is an enjoyable listen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Day 9: 2/2/1969 Toronto, Ontario

2/2/1969 Toronto, Ontario  (master>dat)
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, Killing Floor, How Many More Times

The tape starts with an announcer introducing the group and telling the audience they will be playing two sets. Unfortunately, only the first set survives. Plant is in strong voice during Train Kept a Rollin', but something happens to the tape at the beginning of I Can't Quit You Baby, making it even murkier. Plant shouts his way through Dazed and Confused.

Page's solo in You Shook Me is interrupted by a cut in the tape. A slowed-down Killing Floor begins with a Machine Gun-like intro. It's quickly morphing into what will become The Lemon Song on Led Zeppelin II. The first set ends with How Many More Times, in which Plant improvises lyrics over the bow solo, as well as adding some lyrics from Money into the "got you in the sights..." section.

The tape is very murky, sounding as if it was recorded underwater. Page and Plant are up front while Jones and Bonzo are barely discernible.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Day 8: 2/1/1969 New York, NY

2/1/1969 New York, NY  (master>dat>cdr)
White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Pat's Delight, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

The show starts with Plant apologizing for the delay. He explains that someone forgot to bring Jones's bass to the venue, so Page kills time with an impromptu version of White Summer/Black Mountain Side. Once Jones has his bass back, the band can properly start the set with Train Kept a Rollin'. Squawks of feedback interrupt Plant's intro to I Can't Quit You Baby

Plant's apology for the short set prompts someone near the taper (or the taper himself) to quip "to hell with the Butterfly!", referring to Iron Butterfly, for whom Zeppelin was the opening act. A short but powerful drum solo is met with cheers from the crowd. How Many More Times is unfortunately cut just as the first guitar solo is beginning on my copy of the show (I seem to have acquired a bum file somewhere along the line), but the band merged Dazed and Confused into the middle section, creating a wild hybrid. The set ends with multiple requests for You Shook Me from the audience before a hurried version of Communication Breakdown.

The tape is muddy and distorted with moderate hiss. A step down from the previous night's tape.

Day 8: 1/31/1969 New York, NY

1/31/1969 New York, NY  East/West
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, Pat's Delight, How Many More Times, You Shook Me

A quick, efficient set tonight. Get in, get off, get out. Page is in good form, playing an extended solo in I Can't Quit You Baby. Plant's voice is strong, he seems to be holding back during the first few songs, but he loosens up as the set goes on. A rather subdued drum solo in Pat's Delight is followed by a short How Many More Times, similar to the version from the first album. Plant has a dialogue with the crowd during the "got you in the sights..." section. Someone in the audience requests You Shook Me and the band complies. 

The first night in New York may not be the most exciting set the band ever played, but the crowd is left cheering for more. The tape is similar to others from early '69, fairly clear with some distortion. The drums are slightly muddy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 7: 1/26/1969 Boston, MA

1/26/1969 Boston, MA  Tight But Loose
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Killing Floor, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, Communication Breakdown, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, Pat's Delight, How Many More Times

There is an amazing wah-wah intro before Train Kept a Rollin'. The entire song is an explosion of energy. Page's guitar sounds like razor blades during I Can't Quit You Baby. Killing Floor starts with a great fast-paced Hendrix-inspired intro. Page throws a siren lick into the middle of an extended, dynamic guitar solo. "I got my needle in ya baby!.." follows lyrics from The Lemon Song. The whole thing moves at a frenzied pace to the final beat. Jones and Bonzo turn the intro of Dazed and Confused into a funky rhythm exercise. Plant hints at Shapes of Things during the extended bow solo. The return to the main riff after the guitar solo is devastating. 

The introduction of You Shook Me is met with a loud cheer from the crowd. Plant's harmonica solo is gritty and soulful, followed by a surprise organ solo by Jones. Possibly the best version of You Shook Me ever. Communication Breakdown starts off with an excellent bluesy jam. Bonzo attacks his cymbals throughout the song. Page's fingerwork in White Summer/Black Mountain Side is astounding. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is a haunting assault. Plant interrupts a wild intro to Pat's Delight to introduce Bonzo. The solo is a blitzkrieg of drums and the crowd loves it. Unfortunately, the tape cuts off near the end of an amazing performance of How Many More Times, which includes a bowed rendition of For You Love following Plant's "when I was a young man, I couldn't resist..." interlude. Luis Rey was not far off when he called this their "best-ever concert." Four hours or forty minutes, this is a turning point for Led Zeppelin. This is the foundation on which everything to come will be built. Definitely a must hear!

The tape is very clear with Page in front and Bonzo and Plant in the back. The drums sound a bit thin at times, but overall, a great recording of an amazing performance.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day 6: 1/23/1969 Boston, MA

1/23/1969 Boston, MA  Boston After Dark
Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, As Long as I Have You, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me

Plant mentions that, according to Page, Boston is "the best place he's ever played" and it shows. The vibe is very loose, but full of excitement and energy. The band pauses after Train Kept a Rollin' while Page fixes a broken string. Plant uses this time to promote the first album and complain about a strange sound coming from his microphone. Every high note Plant hits during the intro to I Can't Quit You Baby is met with a squeal of feedback, prompting laughter from the crowd and Plant. 

Every member of the band is in good form, giving a raucous performance of As Long as I Have You. Plant has his voice back and is pushing it to the limit, filling every corner with squeals and shouts. Bonzo attacks his drums relentlessly during the extended guitar solo, then pulls back for a duel with Page. Plant tries to bring them back into the final verse, but he has to repeat "born in darkness" three times before they follow.

Plant introduces Dazed and Confused as "a thing that was written by the crew." Jones is the foundation holding everything together while everyone else goes wild. Someone in the crowd requests White Summer before the band launches into an inspired version of You Shook Me. Unfortunately, the tape ends here. I bet the rest of the show was just as exciting as the first bit.

The tape is very clear with all instruments evenly balanced for the most part. There is what sounds like a damaged section of tape during I Can't Quit You Baby, but it recovers quickly. A very enjoyable document of the band's first night in Boston.

Click here for an audio sample courtesy of Black Beauty.