Hampton 1971 (Cannonball CA-2004022/23)
Hampton Roads Coliseum, Hampton Beach, VA – September 9th, 1971
Disc 1 (49:22): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed & Confused
Disc 2 (46:44): Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick
One of the very few soundboards to surface from Led Zeppelin’s 1971 US tour is from the September 9th show in Hampton Beach, Virginia. It is a clear but flat recording containing much of the show. It’s unfortunately missing the beginning of “Immigrant Song,” the third verse in “Dazed And Confused” and the ending of “Whole Lotta Love” and the encores (which were mostly likely “Communication Breakdown,” “Thank You” and, if the crowd were lucky, “Rock And Roll”).
In total about forty-five minutes of music is missing. In the ensuing years neither the rest of the soundboad nor an audience tape have ever surfaced leaving only this fragment of the show.
There have been many releases in the past. One More Daze (DS92D046) on Dynamite contains “Immigrant Song” to “That’s The Way”, along with “Moby Dick” from Long Beach, “White Summer” from the Julie Felix show and “Dancing Days” from Detroit.
In 1996 Tarantura released Jim’s Picks (HAMP-1,2) which was followed by their rival at the time Antrabata on Inspired (ARM020971) limited to 325 copies with certificate of authenticity. The excess discs in Antrabata’s production run were issued as Hampton 1971 on the Theramin label and Jim’s Picks were reissued on Dead Battery by the mysterious Flagge label. The American label House Of Elrond released this tape on Hampton Kicks (MG 6741/2) with two 1969 soundboard fragments as filler.
Hampton 1971 came out in 2004 on Cannonball along with a bunch of other titles, and subsequent to this both In The Wake Of Zeppelin (Akashic AKA-34A) and High Heeled Sneakers (Godfather Records GR 352/353) were pressed and released. The sound quality between all these titles is so similar that to single out one release as “definitive” really borders on being too pedantic. It is a shame since this is a great show in the middle of one of Zeppelin’s greatest tours.
Both “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” are extremely heavy and devastating. So much so that Robert Plant introduces “Since I’ve Been Loving You” as “something a little cooler.”
“Dazed & Confused” is referred to as “a little ditty from way back.” The versions of the piece in late 1971 contained several interesting variations from others. It was about this time where Page began to introduce the Bouree into the violin bow section as well as the descending drone over which Plant sang a high pitched moan. (A motif that is very effective in the first Tokyo show on September 23rd, 1971). During the call and response portion Page plays a bit of The Yardbirds’ “Over Under Sideways Down” prompting Plant to laugh.
This tape has one of the better-recorded versions of “Celebration Day” (a song that is very hard to find a clean version) and acoustic set. The playing is so relaxed it makes one wonder exactly how the concert ends. Hopefully someday the rest of the tape will surface and we can enjoy it in its entirety or an audience tape would surface.
Hampton 1971 is a nice release on the underrated Cannonball label. It’s not as expensive as the high end labels, but sounds just as good and is readily available.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)