Final Rendez-Vous (Godfatherecords G.R. 865/866)
Piston 70, Ecole Centrale, Chatenay-Malabry, France – December 6, 1969
Disc 1: (65:45) Good Times Bad Times, Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, White Summer – BlackMountain Side, You Shook Me
Disc 2: (62:39) Moby Dick, How Many More Times – Koncerthuset, Stockholm, Sweden – March 14, 1969, FM Broadcast: DJ Banter, I Can’t Quit You Baby, I Gotta Move, Dazed And Confused, How Many More Times, DJ Banter
During 1969, Led Zeppelin was establishing themselves as an absolute powerhouse as a live band. Where earlier in the year their performances were wild and potent, the constant touring matured the band dramatically and by years end would settle them into an unbelievably tight unit.
Their final gig of the 60s has been the center of many releases since its recent surfacing. Generating a huge buzz when discovered, we knew it would be only a matter of months before multiple versions would be released. Releases to date include Seconds After Catching Fire (Tarantura), No Cancellation (Akashic Records), This Is Jimmy (Boleskinehouse Records), Centralien (Wendy), Les Rendezvous De Paris (Empress Valley) and two 4CD versions (each containing an original and remastered version) with LZ Au Gala De L’Ecole (Graf Zeppelin) and Chatenay-Malabry 1969 (no label). For some background on the event and a breakdown of the performance please refer to my previous article of the no label release.
The recording comes from a good to very good audience source. The drums are unfortunately pushed to the back of the mix while the vocals, guitars and bass are equally up front. There is some distortion present but it remains a very listenable and exciting document to hear. When comparing sound quality between Chatenay-Malabry 1969 (no label) and this new Godfather I found the no label’s remaster to be a bit harsh on the top end while their original master on the third and forth discs are very similar sounding to Godfather’s version. Even further, Godfather’s level is a bit quieter giving it a more natural sound and is now my preferred choice when listening.
Final Rendez-Vous contains bonus material from Stockholm, Sweden on March 14, 1969 to fill out their second disc. This is a 22 minute tape taken from an FM broadcast in excellent quality. It has popped up on many releases before and is an interesting show where Page breaks a string and the band jams on “I Gotta Move”. Plant wails on vocal and harmonica while Jimmy changes his string. It has a killer early version of “Dazed” but unfortunately “How Many More Times” cuts out after only two minutes. This is also the first version on CD to include the DJ comments and was a great choice to include as a bonus.
Final Rendez-Vous and Chatenay-Malabry 1969 are both nice releases but Godfather releasing this as a 2CD set gives them the edge. The mastering is not overdone and it comes in their usual excellent tri-fold packaging with complimentary bonus material and features an 8-page booklet with notes from Paul De Luxe.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)