No Use Gneco (Tarantura TCD-65-1,2,3)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – October 3rd, 1972
Disc 1: Introduction by Goro Itoi, Rock And Roll, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song
Disc 2: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven
Disc 3: Whole Lotta Love, Immigrant Song, The Ocean, Apology by Goro Itoi
Among all of the tapes for Led Zeppelin’s second tour of Japan in the fall of 1972, the second gig of the tour, and the second one at the Budokan in Tokyo, has the most unique sources available ensuring that this concert has been in constant circulation in one form or another for more than thirty years. There have been at least five different tapes in various degrees of completeness. Among the earliest was the vinyl release Live In Tokyo Oct 2-3 1972 Budokan Big Hall (LLX). On compact disc the Tarantura label issued separate recordings in The Campaign (Tarantura 1972-S-1/2) box set, which contains the entire 1972 tour of Japan, and on 2nd Night In a Judo Arena (Tarantura T2CD-6-1/2).
The second encore “The Ocean” appears on The Lost Geisha Tape (Tarantura TS-1) along with the September 29th 1971 show. Other releases in the nineties include Live In Tokyo (Amsterdam AMS9609-3-1/2/3), The Second Daze (Mud Dogs-011/12), the massive box set on Last Stand Disc titled Live In Japan 1972 (LSD-67/68), Explosion (Flagge) and Live At the Big Hall Budokan Oct 3 1972 (TDOLZ Vol. 73). More recent titles are Majestic Rock (Reel Masters TSTc405031/32) and The Great Dictator (Wendy WECD – 54/55).
No Use Gneco uses a sixth, previously unreleased tape source. It is a good to very good mono audience recording that is reasonably clear and enjoyable. There is some distortion during louder passages and some songs fare worse than others like “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Stairway To Heaven.” Another tape source is used after “The Rain Song,” cutting in at 7:30 and lasting for nineteen seconds containing audience cheering. The audience are quiet for the most part but there is someone with a clown horn and cowbell making intermittent noise throughout the show.
This tour of Japan is notable for being the start of an overhaul of the set list. For two years their shows began with “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker,” but starting here and lasting for three years “Rock And Roll” is installed into the opening slot. The number isn’t segued with the second number as was Zeppelin’s custom and Plant has time to greet the audience before Bonham counts in “Black Dog.” The versions of this song were incredibly heavy. “Arigato. That’s all I know of Japanese” Plant says before introducing “Over The Hills And Far Away” as something from their fifth LP.
The band recorded Houses Of The Holy the previous summer and the initial plan was for it to be released before this tour. It would have to wait another six months before its publication but the entire album, except for “No Quarter” and “D’yer M’ker,” would make an appearance in this show.
“Misty Mountain Hop” was also added to the set list for the first time and is segued directly with “Since I’ve Been Loving You” which contains the blues histrionics of a band who truly loved playing the piece. After “Dancing Days,” another new song, the band sit to play “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.”
The acoustic set reached four songs and about twenty minutes on their previous tour, but this one song set is the only remnant. Having the full slate of acoustic numbers would have pushed the length of the show to a routine three hours, but it does eliminate one of the more fun parts of the stage act. Following this are the two opening numbers from the new album.
“Last night it was called ‘Zep’ and tonight we’ll call it ‘The Overture'” is how Plant introduces “The Song Remains The Same.” They both made their stage debuts the previous night and are both played close to their studio counterparts.
“Dazed & Confused” reaches twenty-six minutes in this show. Plant punctuates Page’s ascending riffs after the second verse and Page uses some “The Song Remains The Same” style chimes on the guitar before launching into the fast riffs that lead into the violin bow section. They play an instrumental version of “The Crunge” sixteen minutes into the piece before the call-and-response section. The coda is very intense and Plant sounds out of breath as he says, “well…good evening!”
He introduces “Stairway To Heaven” by saying, “here’s a song about time. And ah, and ah, some of the flashes that govern our passage through it. Heavy trip, man.” There is a short delay as Jones tunes his keyboards before they play the piece. Plant sings “Blue Suede Shoes” before the band play the final song of the set, a twenty-five minute “Whole Lotta Love” medley. The inclusions are common for this era with “Everybody Need Somebody To Love” before Plant doing an Elvis impersonation during “Boogie Chillun’.”
Page plays great boogie on the guitar before “Let’s Have A Party.” The final song in the medley is a long, drawn out and heavier than granite version of “You Shook Me” augmented considerably from its studio counterpart. The show closes with two encores, their biggest hit in Japan “Immigrant Song” and “The Ocean.” The final track is a minute long announcement by Goro Itoi explaining that the show is over.
No Use Gneco is packaged in a tri-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve that fits in the outer box and includes a mini-replica of the tour program, a ticket, and other handbills about the event. The first edition is seventy-five numbered copies and the second edition is limited to fifty-five numbered copies and the only difference in the artwork is the first edition having a black spine on the box and the second having a green spine. Both editions sold out within days of its release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)