High Heeled Sneakers (Godfather Records GR 352/353)
Hampton Roads Coliseum, Hampton Beach, VA – September 9th, 1971
Disc 1 (66:04): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed & Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day
Disc 2 (77:12):That’s The Way, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick. Bonus tracks, Maple Leaf Garden, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – September 4th, 1971: Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick
The bulk of High Heeled Sneakers on Godfather Records in the popular Hampton Virgina tape from Zeppelin’s seventh tour. Beginning with its appearance on One More Daze (DS92D046) on Dynamite which contains “Immigrant Song” to “That’s The Way” and its full release in 1996 on Tarantura’s Jim’s Picks (HAMP-1,2) to last year’s Hampton Roads Coliseum 1971 (Scorpio LZ-08019), there have been a myriad of different editions. The sound quality between all these titles is so similar that to single out one release as “definitive” really borders on being too pedantic. High Heeled Sneakers does sound very nice with a touch more bottom end that the older releases giving the flat sounding tape more liveliness. Unfortunately there are some digital clicks scattered throughout “What Is And What Should Never Be” not found on the others which ruins what is an otherwise very solid effort. If Godfather were to perhaps go back and fix this problem this could be as close to definitive as possible.
Zeppelin collectors are well aware that there are some very painful cuts existing on this tape. The first verse of “Immigrant Song” is missing, there is a cut in the middle of “Dazed & Confused” eliminating the second verse, some minor cuts between songs, and “Whole Lotta Love” with the encores are all missing totaling about forty-five minutes of music. It is a shame since this is a great show in the middle of one of Zeppelin’s greatest tours. 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).
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. Godfather include the forty-five minute soundboard fragment from the Toronto show a week earlier. Unlike Hampton, there is tremendous depth and atmosphere to this recording which only exacerbates its incompleteness. This first surfaced in the early nineties on Jennings Farm Blues on Scorpio and last heard on Maple Leaf Gardens on Empress Valley, where it is edited with the audience recordings to great effect for the complete show. This is packaged in a trifold cardboard gatefold sleeve which is the norm for this great label and have several photographs from the era. Included also is a four page booklet with extensive liner notes giving the historic setting of these gigs. Overall this is a solid effort by Godfather which, if the problems in “What Is And What Should Never Be” on the Virgina tape were fixed, would be a sterling release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)