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Led Zeppelin – Deep Downunder (Empress Valley EVSD-428/429)

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Deep Downunder (Empress Valley EVSD-428/429)

Memorial Drive, Adalaide, Australia – February 19th, 1972

Disc 1:  Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

Disc 2:  Dazed & Confused, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (includes Boogie Chillun’, Hello Mary Lou, Let’s Have A Party, That’s Alright, Going Down Slow, The Shape I’m In)

Deep Downunder is Empress Valley’s release of the common tape from Zeppelin’s February 19th show in Adelaide.  This was the second stop (after Perth which has a tape that hasn’t surfaced yet, according to rumor) of their only Australian tour and was first released on commercial boot on disc one of Shivers ‘N’ Shakes (Red Hot RH003/004) which contains an hour of the tape (“Immigrant Song”, “Heartbreaker”, “Black Dog”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Going To California”, “That’s The Way”, and “Dazed & Confused”). 

Tarantura released the first complete edition in 1994 on Voo Doo Drive (T2CD-16-1,2) followed by Oooh My Ears, Man! on The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin (TDOLZ Vol. 34) in 1997 and Live In Adelaide on Equinox (EX-00-001/002), part of the excellent Thunder Down Under box set, released in the summer of 2000.  All of these releases derived from a fourth generation tape. 

In 2002 a first generation copy surfaced on FBO.  This had much better and clearer sound than the older copies in circulation with much less hiss.  Like all tapes made in an outdoor venue there is the occasional woop and swish of sound but this tape really captures the weight of the performance and is uniformly excellent.  This source was commercially released by Tarantura on VooDooDrive Ver.2004 (TCD-18) in 2004. 

Deep Downunder has excellent sound quality and didn’t try to eliminate the top end as Tarantura is guilty of doing leaving the entire sonic range.  The only flaw in this recording is that, after Plant’s opening speech about having the “Australian bug and the shivers and shakes”, the taper paused his recorder between songs.  One of the essential parts of a Zeppelin concert are the between song breaks and cutting them out produces a “jukebox” effect detracting from enjoying the event.  Also the encores for this show have never surfaced.

Despite the negatives, this is a great tape to hear.  All of the Zeppelin concerts in Australia and New Zealand are outstanding with the band giving potent performances.  Richard Mitchell, in an article entitled “Led Zeppelin Is Shattering Rock Experience” observed:  ”The controlled violence with which the UK group produced many of its sounds, hurled out of two giant banks of speakers at the 8000-strong crowd, has never been seen here.

From the start, all eyes were on brilliant lead guitarist Jimmy Page. He used six and twelve-string acoustic guitars with the ease that many had flocked to see. His electric guitar work was extraordinary. At one stage, using a bow, he smashed out a string of piercing notes only to end with a run of delicate sitar-sounding music. Thunderous applause followed all his work. Drummer John Bonham’s steady beat that at times sounded like a hammer striking steel included many feats that other drummers would find impossible. A magnificent solo in which he used his fists as well as sticks topped his performance.

“Singer Robin Plant [sic] overcame an ‘Australian bug’ in his throat and broke into his own in ‘Black Dog’, ‘Stairway To The Stars’ [sic] and ‘Let’s Have A Party’. At times he merged screaming enjoyed notes with Page’s guitar work. The other big rock show in town, Credence Clearwater Revival played more to the audience and enjoyed better involvement, but Zeppelin came back for an encore. The most successful twin rock shows to appear here on the weekend, they were sponsored in Adelaide by station 5AD and Channel Seven.”  (The Advertiser, February 21st, 1972).  

Jimmy Page throws in some “Train Kept A-Rollin’” whistles in the guitar solo in “Heartbreaker” and “Dazed & Confused” is very short, reaching just about twenty minutes.  The “Whole Lotta Love” medley is standard for this era and cuts out at the very end.  Empress Valley issued this with a miniature replica of the rare tour program which is a very nice touch.

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