7 April 2010, gsparaco @ 11:43 am
Mary Kezar (Wendy wecd-68/69/70)
Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, CA – June 2nd, 1973
Disc 1: Introduction, Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hill And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song
Disc 2: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, The Ocean
Disc 3: Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, The Ocean, outroduction
Led Zeppelin’s show in San Francisco was supposed to be the huge finale to the long first leg of their most important tour. Promoted by Bill Graham, it was their only concert with support with Roy Harper and Lee Michaels and The Tubes opening. As it is this is a massive concert and is captured on an excellent audience recording first given a vinyl release on Persistence (Roon Dog R-100). The taper was very close to the stage and is able to capture every little detail emanating from the stage that afternoon.
Compact disc releases of this tape have been an almost perennial with four songs, ”Heartbreaker”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Communication Breakdown” and “The Ocean” appearing on Led Zeppelin: The Butterqueen on Unbelievable (UM 026/27/28). The complete tape was released on Vibes Are Real (Continental Sounds CS.CD10-002), Takka Takka (Tarantura KEZAR-1/2), Persistence Kezar (Holy SH 004-A), Two Days After (Immigrant IM-037~39), Best Vibes In Frisco (Jelly Roll JR004/5), Who’s Next? (TDOLZ Vol. 32), and The Grateful Lead (Tarantura TCD-3-1/2).
As good as the tape is it does have small cuts in “No Quarter”, “Dazed & Confused” and a massive one in “Moby Dick”, cutting out the entire drum solo. The latter one was must unfortunate since the press singled it out for particular praise. Luckily in 2001 a twenty-eight minute fragment, including approximately fifteen minutes of the drum solo, surfaced and was released by Electric Magic on Imperial Kezar (EMC-008A/B/C), edited with the audience recording.
The following year a half hour more was found, totaling an hour featuring the complete “Moby Dick” and running to the end of the show. This was released simultaneously as Led Five (EVSD 155) on Empress Valley and as Vibes Are Real (WT2001047) on Watch Tower. Mary Kezar on Wendy is an archive release offering both tape sources complete and (mostly) unedited. The audience tape sounds as good as the other releases and Wendy didn’t try to bolster the volume.
Wendy did slow the tape down a bit to be closer to the actual pitch. Likewise the soundboard recording does not sound harsh as the previous two titles. They use a bit of the audience source to patch holes in “Whole Lotta Love” and “Communication Breakdown”. Given the sound quality of the audience source, an edition like using the soundboard to fill the gaps in the audience recording, like what Electric Magic did with Imperial Kezar, wouldn’t be inappropriate.
The way Mary Kezar is assembled makes it difficult to listen to the entire concert in one sitting. It’s a minor concern since this is a great performance all around by the band. They have equipment trouble at the very beginning but then play one of the most laid back yet slick concerts that summer. “Moby Dick” on the soundboard recording is very exciting and the tape ends with Bill Graham thanking the artists on the bill and everyone for coming. This release isn’t the definitive version of the show (I’m not sure what that would look like), but is enjoyable and recommended.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)