Milwaukee In The Bonanza (Tarantura TCD-122A/B)
Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, WI – July 10th, 1973
Disc 1 (49:29): Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter
Disc 2 (66:24): The Song Remains The Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Moby Dick
At the start of the second leg of the massive 1973 tour Led Zeppelin, and in particular Robert Plant, really took a couple of shows to truly get going. July 6th in Chicago was miserable, but the second show in Chicago and Minneapolis on July 9th were an improvement.
The July 10th show is even better and is a worthy prelude to the legendary July 12th show in Detroit. Plant is a bit tentative in the opening numbers, but warms up by “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and joins the band in one of the better performances from the era.
The tape is a distant, somewhat distorted but listenable recording of about three quarters of the entire show. Missing is the ending of the drum solo, “Heartbreaker,” “Whole Lotta Love” and whatever was played as an encore (probably “Communication Breakdown” since it was the encore for the preceding three shows).
The tape first surfaced in the mid-nineties and was pressed on One More For The Road (Red Hot RH-012/013). Rock And Roll Bonanza (Electric Magic EMC-027 A/B SS) came out almost a decade later. Electric Magic boosted the gain and corrected the speed to run closer to pitch.
Tarantura isn’t a dramatic improvement. It’s still a bit rough, but is noticeably cleaner and louder than the Electric Magic. It has the same cuts after “No Quarter” and 3:44 in “The Rain Song” as well as the latter part of the concert.
The press review was very positive. The most famous review comes from “Zeppelin Flying High” by D. Jaques and published in the Milwaukee Journal. He writes: “The Led Zeppelin soared high over Milwaukee Tuesday night. One of the granddaddies of hard rock groups, the Zep thoroughly entertained about 11,000 at the Arena. It had been three years since the group was in Milwaukee and rock music has taken some strange twists and turns since then. Some very good rock groups have compromised their musical integrity by selling their souls to gimmicks, gadgets and the foibles of a few loud and abusive fans. But Zeppelin was as true to its music as it was the last time around. The group had stage smoke drifting out over the audience, apparently a necessity for all rock bands that consider themselves superstars.”
After the opening Plant greets the audience, saying, ”very nice to be back and…when did we come here last? 1969 was it?. Remember that festival where it rained all day? Well things have changed since then.” (Plant is referring to the July 25th, 1969 Midwest Rock Festival, captured in a beautiful audience tape and most recently pressed on I’ve Got You…Under My Skin (Tarantura TCD-118). He forgot their visit to Milwaukee on August 31st, 1970).
There are some firecrackers early on and Plant tells the audience “methinks we’re gonna have a good night. On one condition. No more firecrackers, alright?” He continues to introduces ”Misty Mountain Hop” as a song ”not about firecrackers except the ones you put into cigarette papers.”
Also like the previous show in Minneapolis, “No Quarter” is extremely heavy and is showing progress in its on-stage improvisation in the middle. So good is it that afterwards Plant says, “Nice solo there from Jimmy and John. John Paul Jones synthesized piano. Mr. Bonham would like to be mentioned for his drumming too
“Dazed And Confused” also is showing more development with Page experimenting with a bizarre, majestic riff about six minutes in. It is unfortunate the tape cuts out during “Moby Dick” because it would have been interesting to hear what kind of improvisations would have occurred in “Whole Lotta Love.”
The packaging is quite simple. The discs are in sleeves and are housed in a single pocket sleeve with the title stenciled on the front and a picture on the back. There are “A” and “B” designs, depending upon the picture used on the back. Milwaukee In The Bonanza is another Led Zeppelin remaster from Tarantura which is a definite upgrade over what has come out before and can be considered to be definitive.