Whole Lotta Led – Get The Led Out (Tarantura TCD-99, 100)
Whole Lotta Led – Get The Led Outis the latest and authoritative collection, of Led Zeppelin’s two Nassau Coliseum shows in New York during their eight tour. The common assumption concerning this time, and an attitude perpetuated by the band members, is that the band were playing legendary concerts but were not receiving recognition because The Rolling Stones were touring at the same time and were drawing all the attention. Because of this situation Zeppelin had to be booked in the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Long Island instead of Madison Square Garden in the city.
However this wasn’t exactly true. While The Stones played in the Garden for four shows, it wasn’t until late July when they did so, a full five weeks after the Zeppelin shows. The Stones did receive more press attention, but that was because the STP was their first tour of the US in three years and their first since the tragedy in Altamont.
Led Zeppelin also received attention from the press, the most important was by Roy Hollingworth who reviewed the first Nassau Coliseum show for Melody Maker. Zeppelin’s main beef has more to do with the cultural significance of the STP. This is the kind of attention Zeppelin avoided anyway. Whatever the case may be this tour is one of their very best with all of the tapes documenting inspired performances and amazing creativity. The tapes for the two shows are not as good as the tapes in circulation for Los Angeles and other stops. But the quality of the concerts outweigh the sound quality and determine their worth.
The Ultimate Power Blues (Tarantura TCD-99 – 1, 2, 3)
NassauCounty Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – June 14th, 1972
Disc 1 (61:52): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
Disc 2 (49:43): Dazed & Confused, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (43:22): Whole Lotta Love (includes Boogie Chillun’, Cumberland Gap, Hello Mary Lou, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Going Down Slow), Rock And Roll, Communication Breakdown, Weekend, Bring It On Home
Silver releases of June 14th are very scarce. The only solo release is on Sometime In New York City (IQ-043/44/45). Several years later it was released on Whole Lotta Led (Badgeholders BH-007-01-02-03-04) paired with the June 15th tape. This is one of the best concerts from the tour, but the sound quality has always ranked from poor to fair. While it was listenable for committed fans who wanted to explore it, the sound quality has always been prohibitive.
Tarantura use the master casette for this release. The sound, while still not great, is much improved over the other releases. It’s more clear and defined and, to a point, enjoyable enough to convey the tremendous power of the show. The show is complete except for a small cut at 1:57 in “Stairway To Heaven” and the second half of the fourth encore “Bring It On Home.”
Robert Christgau published an extensive review of this show in Newsday. In the articles, he observes: “Last night at Nassau Coliseum, 16,000 heavy rock fans cheered Led Zeppelin through three hours and four encores and tonight (June 15) another 16,000 will make the pilgrimage. No opening acts have been scheduled because Led Zeppelin stands alone – the band is the personification of heavy rock. Limiting its personal appearances, and carefully refining the basic concept in its annual album, the band appears quite likely to continue long after the various challengers – Black Sabbath is currently ranked first – have their plugs pulled. And every bit of that ascendancy is deserved.
“Led Zeppelin attracts a rougher, less affluent and self-righteous crowd than the country-flavored bands that dominate rock these days. For some reason, this crowd gets off not only on the kinky textures of Led Zep’s ensemble playing, but also on displays of dubious instrumental virtuosity – Page bowing his guitar, or John Bonham clubbing his way through a 15-minute drum solo. Also, the music ran a little long for everyone as jaded as myself. But Since I’ve Been Loving You, with John Paul Jones providing a great thick wall of organ behind Plant and Page, is the ultimate power blues and Rock and Roll, the first encore is simply the most dynamic hard-rock song in the music. It was a heavy evening.”
The tape starts off when the band hit the stage before playing “Immigrant Song.” From the opening salvo there is a fierceness to the playing which says that it would be an exciting show. June 14th is notable for being the first time, in “Stairway To Heaven,” Plant interject “does anybody remember laughter,” a phrase that would become a staple of the performances in the coming years.
Plant describes “Going To California” as “a feeling about the place that was foreign to any place outside of America. Anyway, it spread throughout the world really, and that’s what keeps you there, and everything else. San Fransisco was really the first place I felt it properly.” The rowdy audience settles down a bit to appreciate the mellow acoustic numbers. Plant’s introductions to the songs become more obscure.
He posits “Tangerine” as “a song that relates, in my imagination at least, to the golden days, before England was England. When it was all broken into little places like Westminster, Mercy, and the feeling of chivalry was still in the air and King Arthur used to ride around, or walk around, doing good deeds, and there was a general good feeling about the place” and “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” is dedicated to “Dion cause I heard he was absolutely incredible the other day, Dion and the Belmonts that is. This is about a dog with blue eyes. It’s got nothing to do with Dion.”
“Dazed And Confused” reaches a half hour and includes the “Walter’s Walk” and “The Crunge” sections during the long improvisation in the middle. The level of intensity reached is one of the highest of the tour in this piece and sounds majestic even in this thin recording. Page plays the opening notes to “Over The Hills And Far Away” after “What Is And What Should Never Be” while Plant is talking. The song would have to wait a couple more days before receiving its live premier.
The very long “Whole Lotta Love” medley includes a rare reference to “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” a tune the also played in Australia in February. Such is the enthusiasm at this show that Zeppelin reward Nassau with four encores (at last). “
Weekend” is a cover of the Eddie Cochrane tune they would occasionally pull out. “Bring It On Home” cuts out during the long instrumental battle in the middle. It is not known if they played anything else afterwards. Ultimately, this is one of the strongest concerts in Zeppelin’s career that comes through even in a medicore recording such as this. The Ultimate Power Blues is the definitive version of this show.
Willie And The Hand Jive (Tarantura TCD 100- 1, 2)
NassauCounty Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – June 15th, 1972
Disc 1 (60:04): NY drone, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
Disc 2 (58:35): Dazed & Confused, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (includes Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Boogie Chillun’, Willie And The Hand Jive, Hello Mary Lou, Money Honey, Heartbreak Hotel, Cumberland Gap, Going Down Slow)
June 15th is the better sounding of the two tapes. It is very clear with very nice atmosphere, even with the taper and his friends shooting off their big mouths throughout the show. These are the same guys who recorded shows in 1971 and 1975. The earliest releases of this tape can be found on Tangerine (Mud Dogs-020/021), Welcome Back Led Zeppelin (Tarantura NCNY-001,2), Long Island Line (IQ-049/50), and the aforementioned Whole Lotta Led (Badgeholders BH-007-01-02-03-04) with the previous night’s show.
The show is complete except small cuts in “Tangerine” and “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.” Most of “Moby Dick” is cut (only three minutes remains) and it cuts out at the very end of “Whole Lotta Love” missing the very end and the encores. The sound is a bit louder than the previous releases which may not be too some collector’s tastes. But it still is very clear and enjoyable.
June 15th starts off with the drone pumped through the PA. Tonight is the first time it was used and will continue for the remainder of the tour. It’s origin and purpose were a mystery, but it is a simple but effective method to gain listener’s attention before the opening song. Both Page and Plant were fascinated by the use of drones in music, evidenced by many songs they wrote in Led Zeppelin, Page & Plant and solo. It lends an exotic, other-worldly timbre.
The show reaches the intensity of the previous night at certain points, and certainly in the first two songs. “Was anybody here last night?” Plant asks after “Heartbreaker.” The opening hour is highlighted by a powerful “Stairway To Heaven.” Plant gushes about the song prior, saying: “I think amazed us really. It’s a real gas to be able to do it every night. It’s one of those things you could never get fed up singing.” (It’s funny hearing him say that, knowing in several years he would hate singing it).
The acoustic set provides a quiet moment in the middle of the din and Plant keeps the jokes flowing. Nice versions of “Going To California” and “That’s The Way” are highlights. “Dazed And Confused” reaches a half hour in length. Page takes his time getting into “The Crunge,” prolonging the slow funk riffs until setting into the other track.
“Whole Lotta Love” contains the normal tunes in the medley like “Boogie Chillun'” and “Let’s Have A Party.” But it has the only known live reference to “Willie And The Hand Jive” by Johnny Otis, played in a heavy funk groove during the boogie instrumental before they hit “Hello Mary Lou.” The tape unfortunately runs out at the end of the song and unlike Tarantura’s earlier release of this show, they didn’t edit in the beginning for continuity.
Overall the two New York shows are as strong and powerful as the California shows. The only think New York lacks are the Houses Of The Holy numbers. But the intensity is present and proves these are classic Led Zeppelin shows.
The Ultimate Power Blues is packaged in a tri-fold gatefold sleeve and Willie And The Hand Jive in a gatefold sleeve, and both fit into a custom box. Tarantura utilized extremely rare pictures from the tour. It’s limited to 150 numbered copies and stands as an excellent collection for these two shows.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)