Geisha, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Tarantura TCD-120)
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – September 29th, 1971
Disc 1 (75:39): Intro, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused
Disc 2 (62:41): Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California, Tangerine, Friends, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (59:32): Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, keyboard solo, Thank You, Rock And Roll
The fortieth anniversary of one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest gigs gets an overhaul by Tarantura. According to the liner notes, “The Japanese vinyl bootleg double LP Live In Japan 1971 and its American reissue Live in Osaka 9/29 71 featured a substantial part of the amazing ‘stage recording of the final concert of Led Zeppelin’s 1971 tour of Japan. /further selections from this recording were included on other vinyl bootlegs such as Strange Tales From The Road and Unburied Dead Zeppo’s Grave.
“Whatever tapes were used to make those LPs have since been lost or hoarded or have deteriorated, because none of the countless versions of this famous recording that have been released on CD or circulated among tape traders has ever sounded as good. This 3-CD set presents the concert in its entirety, collating the available material from the LP’s and using the best available copies of the stage recording, plus two alternate audience recordings, to complete the picture.”
The five sources include use of the three vinyl releases Live In Osaka 9/29 (Great Live Concerts GLC D-553-1/ 2), Strange Tales From The Road (Rock Solid Records / International RSR 243 A-T) and Unburied Dead Zeppo’s Grave (TM 1698) and two other audience tapes that have been released before on Smoke Get In Your Eyes (Scorpio LZ-08025) and Nine Two Nine (TDOLZ Vol. 82).
The way Tarantura edit the sources together starts with Live In Osaka from the beginning through “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” For “Black Dog” and “Dazed And Confused” they use Strange Tales with the audience tapes used as filler.
“Stairway To Heaven” to “That’s The Way” is taken from Live In Osaka with a thirty second fragment from one of the audience tapes used in the latter. “Going To California” is taken from the stage recording as is “Tangerine.”
“Friends,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and “What Is And What Should Never Be” come from Unburied Dead Zeppo’s Grave. “Moby Dick” comes from Live In Osaka with bits edited in from the audience recordings. “Whole Lotta Love” is from Live In Osaka also with edited from the other audience tapes, and the encores come from the stage recording as well as Live In Osaka.
The edits are smooth and the sound has not been tweaked much, so it has a nice natural sound to it.
“Immigrant Song” sounds very aggressive. Jimmy Page liberally uses the wah-wah pedal during the solo. And that will be something he does constantly throughout the set. ”Heartbreaker” contains references to both “59th Street Bridge Song” and Bach’s Bouree, both of which are recognized by the audience and are applauded.
Before “Dazed And Confused” Plant makes the strange comment about “common complaint in Osaka, rice in hair. You think I’m joking, right?” He then thanks Japan for their hospitality on their first visit, praising “wonderful glorious Japan, which has been incredible. Great hotels, great bars, great people, and without giving you any…it’s not bullshit really because this is our last night in Japan…and we’re gonna have a good time and I think you will too.”
“Dazed And Confused” reaches the half hour mark in this show. The violin bow interlude produces very intimidating airline crashing noises to bounce off the walls of the Festival Hall. The long improvisation includes a strange reference to the 1930′s jazz standard “Pennies From Heaven.” It has a spaced out coda which is a standard for the song in this year. Plant complains a bit about how quiet the crowd is afterwards, telling them they are “much too quiet, much too slow, too silly, and fast asleep.”
The acoustic set begins after “Celebration Day.” At this point Bonham disappeared from the stage with no word on when he would return Before “That’s The Way” Plant asks, ”where’s Mr. Bonham? Jimmy’s here, he can’t go any further than here. He can’t go over there cause there’s a big hole there.” The first two songs, “That’s The Way” and “Going To California” are expanded to kill time until he returns. “Going To California” reaches ten minutes!
Plant complains more afterwards, “Where’s Bonzo? Bonzo, Mr. Bonham, Mr. Bonham. Listen, after three everybody say Mr. Bonham. 1,2,3 Mr Bonham. For fuck’s sake, Mr Bonham, what can you say? Mr Bonham went for bath with Geisha, yeah, right on. I’m afraid Mr., where is he? Where’s Bonham? He refuses to come. Fuck you mate. Where’d he go?”
They proceed to play “Tangerine” and Bonham returns in time for the anticipated performance of the night “Friends” from Led Zeppelin III. This is their first and only live performance of the piece. Plant begins the first verse too early but otherwise it’s an effective stage piece and it makes one wish they kept it in the acoustic set.
Each of the Japan shows has a unique and wired “Whole Lotta Love” medley. The final night in Osaka reaches closes to forty minutes and contains a complete cover of the Elvis classic “I Gotta Know,” performed by Led Zeppelin for the only time. This leads into a cover of “Twist And Shout” which is also played for the only time live by Zeppelin. The medley reaches its climax with “Good Times Bad Times” and “You Shook Me” from the first album with very long instrumental passages in between.
The encores begin with “Communication Breakdown” which also is expanded with a very long instrumental passage in the middle, pushing what is a three minute track into seven. A four minute organ solo is a prelude to “Thank You” and the show, and the tour, ends with “Rock And Roll” from the as yet unreleased fourth album played for the only time on this short tour.
Geisha, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is limited to only 300 copies. The discs are in sleeves housed in a box with a four page insert with liner notes.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)