12 March 2012, Cliff @ 8:57 am
Berkeley Daze – 2nd Night (Godfatherecords G.R. 724/725)
Community Theatre, Berkeley, CA, USA – 14 September, 1971
Disc 1: Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker [inc. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)/J. S. Bach: Bourrée from Suite in E minor for Lute, BWV 996] Since I’ve Been Loving You, [Out On The Tiles Intro/] Black Dog, Dazed And Confused [inc. Back In The USA]
Disc 2: Stairway To Heaven, That’s The Way, Going To California, Whole Lotta Love [inc. Just A Little Bit, Boogie Chillun', Hello Mary Lou, My Baby Left Me, A Mess Of Blues, You Shook Me, The Lemon Song]
Godfather here presents us with the latest incarnation of what began life as a legendary vinyl bootleg, Trade Mark Of Quality’s Going To California. Captain McCrunge, on the Underground Uprising website, contends that, “the phrase ‘Berkeley Community Centre, 1971′ usually brings knowing smiles from any collector. For many the second night was their first taste of illicit live Zeppelin.” Dave Lewis states in Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, that, “this concert was immortalized on an early double album bootleg release from the Trade Mark Of Quality label, under the title Going To California, complete with original sleeve caricatures by William Stout…another much loved and essential vinyl issue that lines up alongside Live On Blueberry Hill as a brilliantly authentic example of their live prowess of this era.” Similarly, gsparaco, reviewing the 4-CD Trade Mark Of Quality set elsewhere on CMR, writes that, “the September 14th show is one of the most famous Zeppelin bootlegs, right up there with Blueberry Hill and Mudslide.”
In the CD era, releases of this show have included Going To California (Electric Junk LZ-1992-1) on one CD, Going To California (no label, GTCA-7194CD 1/2), California Expedition (Cashmere CSCD-009/010), Going To California (Shout To The Top STTP-043/4), Going To California (Trade Mark Of Quality TMQ-0501002) on two CDs and Going To California – 1971, Berkeley 2 Daze (Trade Mark Of Quality [an imprint of Tarantura] TMQ-0501001-1,2, 0501002-1,2) on four CDs in company with the previous night’s show. There have also been the CD-R releases Going To California (Standard Series 031) and Pollution Alert!! (Beelzebub Records BSD 56/57). A couple of these releases fail to deliver all the music. As Rosina Diaz Scali points out on the Underground Uprising website, ”the violin bow episode” of Dazed And Confused “was sadly edited out” of the no label release, whereas the Electric Junk version fits the show on to a single disc by omitting the song in its entirety.
These two releases, however, are not alone in being incomplete; due to their being sourced from vinyl all editions inevitably fail to present the entire show, as gsparaco points out in his review of the “final edition” of theTMQ/Tarantura release posted on CMR on 5 June 2008: “It is unfortunate the master tapes are lost because the original vinyl releases edited the tape to fit on two LPs. ‘Celebration Day,’ ‘What Is And What Should Never Be,’ ‘Moby Dick,’ and the encores, which on good nights would include ‘Communication Breakdown,’ ‘Rock And Roll,’ and ‘Thank You’ with a solo organ introduction are all lost forever.” The setlist given on the band’s official website includes only one additional song, What Is And What Should Never Be, between Going To California and Whole Lotta Love.
Unfortunately, we may never be able to hear the complete performance. It has been widely contended that the stamper plates used to manufacture the original LPs were among those dumped in the ocean by a nervy bootlegger. (Despite a recent swoop on bootleggers by the authorities, the numerous secret service agents he thought were monitoring his activities seem to have been there to ensure the security of Ronald Reagan’s nearby ranch.) As gsparaco points out, it has sometimes been assumed that the master tape of this show was also confined to the deep; if true, this is particularly unfortunate as, according to Brian Ingham on the Underground Uprising website, “the story goes the taper turned the tapes directly over to the bootleggers and made no copies for himself.” Gsparaco, however, states that, “Luis Rey also mentions rumours that the master tape still exists with ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do?’ as an encore.” (Ingham, however, states that, “ Hey, Hey What Can I Do was not performed at this show.”)
Rey may be right to suggest that the tape survives. Those responsible for the Trade Mark Of Quality label were the legendary vinyl bootlegging duo Dub and Ken. However, as another bootlegger known as “Eric Bristow” testifies in an interview with Clinton Heylin, author of Bootleg! The Rise & Fall Of The Secret Recording Industry, it was a later associate of Ken, the “super-paranoid” Mike, who was responsible for the aforementioned watery destruction. In fact, the circumstances of the dissolution of the original partnership provides some evidence to suggest that the tape may still exist. Dub began producing bootleg LPs with his father, unceremoniously dumping Ken in the process. As “Bristow” relates: “Ken…went to the pressing plant himself and told this sob-story of how the two Dubs were shutting him out to the lady who owned and ran the pressing plant at the time…and she just said to him, ‘Well, why don’t I just make you your own stampers?’…All of a sudden there were two sets of stampers.” Clearly, then, if the stampers thrown into the ocean did include those for Going To California, they must have been Ken’s duplicates, leaving Dub’s originals in existence. With Ken being the partner frozen out, it is logical to assume that the tape also remained in Dub’s possession. It is noteworthy that “Bristow” only mentions stampers being disposed of, not tapes. Certainly, at least one set of the Trade Mark Of Quality label stampers survived. “Bristow” notes that in 1984 Ken went into partnership with “John Wizardo” and Peter, the latter having “inherited” the stampers. “He’d gone to the pressing plant,” relates “Bristow,” “and the woman at the plant was going to throw them in the trash, so he said, ‘I’ll keep them!’” Ken subsequently teamed up with “Bristow,” bringing the stampers with him. Of course, this does not preclude the loss or destruction of these stampers or the tape in the intervening years, and the casual treatment of the stampers does not bode well for the tape’s chances of survival. As gsparaco states, “I’m sure if it does still exist it would have surfaced by now.” However, we can always hope.
The second Berkeley show opens with what gsparaco calls “the double onslaught” of Immigrant Song and Heartbreaker. Immigrant Song provides a suitably brutal, ear-assaulting beginning and an eight-minute Heatbreaker contains a splendid guitar solo from Jimmy Page. As Paul Holdren writes on Underground Uprising, “the audience appreciates every moment of Page’s crystal clear ‘Heartbreaker’ solo. Page’s performance in this song, and on the evening as a whole, transcends description. His play throughout is fluent, daring and extraordinarily fast. And despite taking so many risks, his play is impeccable…This is the most enjoyable ‘Heartbreaker’ imaginable.” Argenteum Astrum, posting on the band’s official website, is similarly impressed, commenting that, “the playing is simply wonderful, with Jimmy’s playing shining through as true musical inspiration, especially in his Heartbreaker solo.” During a brief quiet section Page plays a little of Simon And Garfunkel’s The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) before giving us a snippet of the Bourrée from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite in E minor for Lute, BWV 996. Rey, in Led Zeppelin Live: An Illustrated Exploration Of Underground Tapes (Updated Edition, 1993), surmises that Plant would play this, “probably as an ironic ’tribute’ to Jethro Tull’s own famous version.”
There has been some debate about Robert Plant’s vocal performance, particularly at the beginning of the show. Brian Ingham, on the Underground Uprising website, contends that, “Plant’s vocals at the start of the show are terrible. They do improve, but cannot match his efforts from the previous night’s show.” On the same site, however, Paul Holdren argues that, “Plant’s voice, one of the true wonders of this entire tour, literally seems to float above the audience, as the instrumental machinery wreaks havoc in ‘Immigrant Song.’” Ingham’s view has some substance; although Plant’s singing in Immigrant Song is, in my opinion, not so bad, the wordless wailing is painfully off-key. However, even Ingham seems to imply that the problem might not rest entirely with Plant, stating that, “the tape starts off in very good mono. Plant’s vocals are slightly distorted on the tape until it switches to excellent stereo.” Plant himself seems aware that there is an issue, stating before Dazed And Confused that, “there was a pollution alert today and I lost my voice.” (“After the incomparable range that he’s just demonstrated on [Black Dog],” argues Holdren, “you can only wonder what he is talking about.”) Personally, though I consider that Holdren exaggerates the quality of Plant’s vocals, I have no significant issues with his performance overall, having some sympathy with Rey’s assessment that, “although Plant has lost half of his voice (in his own words) [sic], he still sounds fresh and clear.”
The next song is a splendidly moody and atmospheric version of Since I’ve Been Loving You. As Don Wheeler, posting on the band’s official website, rightly argues, the song is ”incredible on this show.” Holdren writes that, “Plant forces his voice to the limits. Page highlights every line with a different flourish, alternating between subtlety and bravado.” The website The Year Of Led Zeppelin rates it as, “a spine-chilling performance, one of the best thus far.”
A short instrumental intro taken from Out On The Tiles provides, as usual, a powerful preface to the first of the songs from the untitled fourth album, Black Dog. Here Page brilliantly plays an expanded instrumental section. The song would have been unfamiliar to the audience, with the album not being released until November. Keith Shadwick, in Led Zeppelin: The Story Of A Band And Their Music 1968-1980, argues that the band was, “taking a risk putting their new material – ‘Black Dog’ and especially ‘Stairway To Heaven’ – to their audiences without prior warning. It was the ultimate test for the material and one not taken lightly by any popular group at the time” However, despite one Atlantic Records executive’s opinion that touring before the new album’s release constituted “professional suicide,” the concerts were both sold out and well-received by fans, as the audience reaction at the end of Black Dog attests.
The first disc ends with a truly staggering version of Dazed And Confused, twenty-two minutes here, though it would soon get longer. Rey states that the song is, “prolonged by rare song references inside what seems an interminable, cloudy solo. The violin bow solo is particularly dramatic, with ominous, deep, droning vocals in perfect exchange.” Page’s violin bow section and his fast solo are equally impressive and here, as for much of the show, Plant is in good voice and he sings a few lines of Chuck Berry’s Back The U.S.A. (which had been released on the album of the same name by the MC5 the year before this performance) during the latter part of this performance.
The second disc’s opening performance of Stairway To Heaven, a song which, like Black Dog and Going To California, was still unreleased at this point, is marvellous. Having received only a handful of public performances, the song still possesses a beguiling air of freshness which makes it both my preferred live version of the song and my favourite number from the show. Dave Lewis, in Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, refers to it as, “another superb performance…as impressive as on any night on the tour.” At one point Plant inserts what Lewis claims to be the unique line, “You are the home of the children of the sun,” referencing the song Going To California, which contains the lines, “The mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake/As the children of the sun began to awake.”
The acoustic section of the show, which features John Paul Jones’ mandolin to very good effect, comes across as wonderfully intimate. First we are treated to an utterly gorgeous rendition of the delicate That’s The Way. This is succeeded by a gently lyrical performance of Going To California, which, despite being another song from the as-yet-unreleased album, receives a warm welcome at the end of Plant’s rather meandering introduction, doubtless due to the location of the concert. (Plant’s introduction ends with him saying, “this is called Going To California…which is somewhere round here.”)
Disc two then concludes with a lengthy Whole Lotta Love medley. Holdren contends that, “the rest of the concert notwithstanding, the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ medley is the highlight of the night, and likely one of the best ever.” Argenteum Astrum is also impressed, arguing that, “the wild and long medley is exciting, especially with Robert’s great vocals.” Gsparaco comments that the medley section is, “played on fire with amazing fluidity.” and Rey comments on its “classic virtuosity.” Included in this performance are Just A Little Bit, the 1959 Rosco Gordon single, recorded by Roy Head (single, 1965), Them (The Angry Young Them, 1965), Etta James (Tell Mama, 1967) and Magic Sam (Black Magic, 1968), a couple of lines from which appear before the medley section proper, during the theremin section; Boogie Chillun’, recorded in 1948 by John Lee Hooker; Hello Mary Lou, the Gene Pitney-penned Ricky Nelson hit from 1961; My Baby Left Me, written by Arthur Crudup in the late 1940s and later recorded by Elvis Presley (b-side to I Want You, I Need You, I Love You, 1956), Dave Berry (single, 1964) and Creedence Clearwater Revival (Cosmo’s Factory, 1970); A Mess of Blues, written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and originally recorded by Elvis Presley in 1960; You Shook Me (of which Holdren writes: ”Page’s guitar wails and moans more than Plant in an ideal version”) and The Lemon Song (which he adds, “returns the band to the WLL main theme. A spectacular conclusion”). The whole magnificent edifice comes in at twenty-five minutes.
Thus ends, at least on disc, a show which is quite rightly regarded as a classic among Led Zeppelin live performances. Gsparaco calls it, “one of the greatest Zeppelin performances on record,” and “an essential concert.” Captain McCrunge concurs, stating that, “For many, it…ranks among the higher points of their entire live career…The band really were hitting a peak.” Argenteum Astrum is of similar mind, arguing that, ”the whole band is playing better than ever,” Rey reckons it, “a most satisfying performance,” The Year Of Led Zeppelin calls it, “an amazing performance,” and Holdren rates it as “a classic show!”
The sound quality is most impressive for an audience recording from 1971, as numerous commentators testify. Gsparaco calls it, “the best recorded show from the tour,” and Argentium Astrum, posting on the band’s official website, contends that, “the sound on this recording is absolutely fabulous!” The Year Of Led Zeppelin states that, “the tape is an excellent audience recording…A wonderful recording.” Argenteum Astrum’s's Led Zeppelin Database website refers to the Cashmere, Cobra and Beelzebub releases as, ”excellent mono/stereo audience,” whereas the Shout To The Top and TMQ/Tarantura releases are accorded the status of “superb mono/stereo audience.” The reference to mono/stereo is due to the fact that, as referred to above, there is a switch to stereo near the beginning of Heartbreaker. The Title Comparisons page of theBootledZ website comments: “TMQ could possibly be copied and edited from STTT. Their content is identical except for TMQ’s edits at cuts and removal of the vinyl noise. TMQ amplified their title significantly. Cashmere’s title is highly identical to TMQ but has a cut during Dazed not found on the other titles. Their sound is almost as loud as TMQ.” Despite the high quality of the tape, resulting in what gsparaco reckons is, “the best recorded show from the tour,” the sourcing from vinyl for all CD releases does cause problems with some editions. Rosina Diaz Scali, writing on the Underground Uprising website expressed a preference for the no label version over the Shout To the Top release, arguing that it, “used a much better preserved vinyl source with hardly any evidence of a crack or pop throughout, whereas Shout To The Top’s offering has its fair share of surface noise.” Brian Ingham, on the same site, notes specific problems on the latter release: ”Immigrant Song (vinyl scratching at beginning…a couple of vinyl ‘pops’ near ending)…Stairway to Heaven (minor vinyl “pops” at beginning)…You Shook Me (3 noticeable vinyl “pops” in middle…)…Lemon Song(vinyl scratching at beginning).”
Despite BootledZ’s contention that the TMQ/Tarantura version could “possibly” have its origins in the Shout To The Top release, Gsparaco suggests that the former is sourced directly from vinyl. He clearly rates it very highly, regarding it as, “the definitive version…The label uses what sounds like a virgin vinyl source and do a professional sounding, flawless transfer…their mastering is absolutely phenomenal…Listening to it you will have to remind yourself of its origins.” The TMQ/Tarantura and Godfather versions would therefore seem to have something in common, as the Recent Updates page of the Led Zeppelin Database states that Godfather’s source for this new release is an “unplayed LP.” As with the TMQ/Tarantura release, there is no sign of the set’s LP origins in the form of pops, clicks or scratches. The sound of Berkeley Daze – 2nd Night is most impressive. The TMQ/Tarantura release has, to my ears, a little more presence, but this new Godfather transfer sounds cleaner and more refined and it effectively eliminates the hiss that is clearly audible on the TMQ/Tarantura version.
Obviously, as all CD editions derive ultimately from the LPs, this release features the small cuts inherent on the tape. Ingham catalogues them thus: “Immigrant Song…first couple of notes cut…Since I’ve Been Loving You (small cut at beginning)…Dazed & Confused…(…cut during ending section).” Godfather’s sleeve notes are remarkably forthcoming on these cuts, including those between songs, and lists them at some length: “After [Heartbreaker] finishes there is a cut which connects to Plant saying the phrase Thank You.” After his introduction to ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ there seem to be two or three quick cuts. As the song starts with Page’s intro, the recording cuts again, connecting to a point a few seconds further into the song. the recording runs through to the end of that song and then cuts after Plant says another ‘Thank You,’ resuming with his spoken introduction to ‘Black Dog.’ After that song, there is another cut, again connecting to Plant’s introduction to the next song, ‘Dazed and Confused.’ There is a cut during Jones’ bass intro, similar in length to the brief cut at the beginning of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You.” The song plays through complete until the outro guitar solo, where it is cut just as it starts getting going, connecting to the very end of the song with Bonham’s final drum rolls and Page’s final soloing…Afterwards, the recording is again cut, resuming with the silence just before the start to ‘Stairway To Heaven’…That song is complete, but the recording again cuts out afterwards, connecting to the moment just before Page starts, ‘That’s The Way’…The recording continues through the entirety of that song, as well as through to Plant’s intro and all of ’Going To California.’ Afterwards the tape cuts to Bonham hitting his snare just before the beginning of ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ which is also featured complete.” Although these problems may appear extensive when presented in such detail, they are in fact small enough to cause virtually no diminution in one’s listening pleasure.
This release comes in Godfather’s usual tri-fold card packaging, featuring William Stout’s classic artwork of the band members riding what appears to be a porcine version of Disney’s cartoon elephant, Dumbo, set against a yellow background. The sleeve also features both onstage and offstage photographs of the band members and the usual sleeve notes by “Paul De Luxe.” There is no booklet.
Godfather’s Berkeley Daze – 2nd Night restores this essential show to the catalogue in a very impressive sounding version at a reasonable price and it is therefore very highly recommended to Led Zeppelin collectors.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Led Zeppelin - Berkeley Daze - 2nd Night (Godfatherecords G.R. 724/725),