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Led Zeppelin – Role To Play (LZ10372)

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Role To Play (LZ10372)

Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – October 3rd, 1972

Disc 1 (54:26): Opening introduction, announcement, 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 (74:19): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Immigrant Song, The Ocean

Led Zeppelin had their second and final tour of Japan in the first week of October 1972.  Just like the first tour the previous year, these concerts were also heavily recorded and bootlegged.  Role To Play features the eighth audience tape to surface of the October 3rd show in Tokyo.  The recording is distant and rough.  It clears up after the initial announcements by Mr. Udo, but become very fuzzy in parts like during “Misty Mountain Hop.”  

A nine second gap in “Dazed And Confused,” between 6:12 and 6:21, is plugged with the tape from the Majestic Rock release.  

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.”

Role To Play is a release that appeals to the Led Zeppelin bootleg completists.   It’s not good enough to be considered definitive and is too rough to appeal to more casual listeners   

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Led Zeppelin - Role To Play (LZ10372), 2.8 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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