Quick Diet (Godfather Records GR 805/806/807)
San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, CA – May 28th, 1973
Disc 1 (58:59): Introduction, Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter (first verse cut), The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Dazed And Confused
Disc 2 (63:44): Moby Dick, Stairway To Heaven, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love (incl. The Crunge, Honey Bee, Boogie Chillun’, Going Down), The Ocean
Disc 3 (70:05): Bonus, Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX – May 16th, 1973: Stairway To Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
Once can say there were two waves of Led Zeppelin 1973 US tour soundboard fragments. The first was during the late eighties and early nineties when tapes from New Orleans, Seattle, New York, et al, surfaced and were quickly pressed and released. A decade later a second spurt of activity yielded fragments from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and Denver. San Diego was the last and strangest show to appear.
The first silver pressing for the May 28th San Diego show was on San Diego 1973 (Watch Tower WT 2001045/46) and was followed by Three Days Before (Empress Valley EVSD 153/154) in much improved quality. Quick Diet makes the San Diego soundboard available again after more than a decade in sound quality just as good as Empress Valley and at a very reasonable price.
The soundboard is excellent stereo. It is let down at the beginning by volume and balance fluctuations between the guitar and vocals. It settles down by “Celebration Day” where it becomes very well balanced and enjoyable. “No Quarter” has a cut omitting the first verse, all but the final ninety seconds of “Dazed And Confused” is cut and several little cuts in Moby Dick. The Watchtower edition has lots of little cuts in “The Rain Song” which basically ruined it, but that is fixed on the Empress Valley and the new Godfather.
The previous show in Salt Lake City was good but degenerated by the end. San Diego is almost the opposite. The first half hour of the show is wrought with tension and lackluster playing but recovers nicely. But the press enjoyed the show. Carol Olten published her review “Led Zeppelin Hits Peak At Sellout” in the San Diego Union.
She writes that, “The culmination of all rock ‘n’ roll of a decade appears to have occurred with Led Zeppelin and the crowning achievement capable of its star instrument, the guitar, seems to be the possession of Jimmy Page, the British group’s leader, if such there be. Appearing Monday night in the Sports Arena before a sold-out house of 16,000 persons who began to gather outside the entrances at noon, Led Zep attested to all praises that have preceded its performance here, namely sold-out concerts all around the country and gold record sales that continue to mount.
“Accompanied by John Bonham, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant in combinations on vocals, guitar, drums and keyboards, Page shone as the supreme master of the heavy fuzz box guitar riff. His evolution from the early days of British rock with the Yardbirds appears complete. Nobody, but nobody plays guitar like Page. His is the final force, the power of a riff. A few solos Monday night were too excessive, but the sheer driving power of most over-shadowed any inadequacies.
“Essentially, however the set was as powerful as rock ‘n’ roll ever gets. Raunchy, flashy, and full of fuzzy sheet metal noise that brought a musical form to its culmination – or, perhaps just into another dimension. Whatever, Led Zep has the power.”
The opening songs are a bit rough but things warm up nicely with a scorching version of “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” During “No Quarter” John Paul Jones, after the intense spooky part of the solo, plays “weird piano” according to Robert Plant afterwards. It is a happy, jolly sitcom theme out of place with the tenor of the song, but still very interesting to hear.
“Moby Dick is played out of sequence when Jimmy Page’s guitar loses a part. Plant offers a hilarious introduction, saying it is “Something people in China will never see. Something people in Russia and Korea will never see. A man who joined us two weeks after we started, and takes twice our money.” Jones plays the opening riff on bass guitar.
The show ends with the longest version of “Whole Lotta Love” on the tour. Jones and Bonham get into “The Crunge” during the theramin solo, but Page and Plant ignore them. Plant gets into “Honey Bee” before “Boogie Chillun’” and they all get into a great version of “Going Down.”
A firecracker goes off when they return for the encore angering Plant. “We can be louder that those silly fire crackers, can’t we? Whoever threw that firecracker deserves to be jerked off by an elephant. The show closes with “The Ocean.”
While not on par with the best performances of the tour, it is highly enjoyable as it reaches the end and is recommended for the rarities John Paul Jones brings to the performance
Godfather include the May 16th Houston fragment on the third disc. It was previously released in late 2001 within a week of one another on Going Down (Watchtower WT 2001039/40) and Two Nights (Celebration SOBO-021/22). Both were paired with the May 25th Denver fragment. The former sounded great but the latter was plagued by a awful mastering which ruined the music with a horrible metallic crunch.
Godfather use the best available source, finally offering a good and affordable way to obtain this tape. It contains about the final hour of the show in excellent quality. Houston is singled out as being one of, if not the best, concert from Led Zeppelin’s 1973 US tour and really the only one on par with the hot European dates in March. This fragment does have a brutal version of “Whole Lotta Love” and “Communication Breakdown” as the encore.
Quick Diet (named after Plant’s remark at the start of the San Diego concert) is packaged in a trifold gatefold sleeves with copious amounts of ’73 tour shots and liner notes detailing the two concerts. This is a really nice production all around and a good way to finally have these rare and out of print shows.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)