Celebrating Third And Fourth Days (The Symbols)
Much like Led Zeppelin’s first visit to Japan in 1971, their visit in 1996 meant they were able to relax and pull out many unique performances. It also meant allowed them the fiddle around with the setlist and rearrange the number and sequence of songs played. The first couple of shows in Tokyo were quite strict with the setlist, but by the third night they began to stretch out and take some risks.
With risk comes the potential for disaster and on-stage breakdown, and the first show in Celebrating Third And Fourth Day has several breakdowns. But that is the charm and reason for collecting these recordings. They don’t have to be musically perfect, but rather an honest record of the risks the artists are willing to take.
The Symbols utilize very good to excellent DAT recordings of both concerts, and are on par with other well known sets such as 10 Days (Hoochie Coochie) and Live Legend (Black Moon) and the individual releases of each show Welcome To The Rehearsals (Pour The Soul PTS 020/1) for February 8th and Fourth Night Live (Pore The Soul), Fourth Show At The Famous Old Building (Real Dragon) for February 9th. The fourth night is a bit duller sounding, especially when compared to Real Dragon.
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – February 8th, 1996
Disc 1 (59:24): Eastern, Celebration Day, Bring It On Home, Heartbreaker, What Is And What Should Never Be, Rain Song (intro mistake), hurdy gurdy solo, When The Levee Breaks, Gallows Pole, Tea For One (intro mistake), The Song Remains The Same
Disc 2 (69:57): Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Whole Lotta Love, Yallah (intro mistake), Four Sticks, Egyptian Pharaohs, In The Evening (including Carouselambra), Kashmir, Custard Pie (intro Black Dog), Rock And Roll
The third Budokan show starts off standard with the middle eastern tape before the first tune “Celebration Day” and the first medley of “Bring It On Home,” “Heartbreaker” and “What Is And What Should Never Be.”
Afterwards it the first big surprise of the night. “The Rain Song” is played acoustically with orchestra as it was on “Unledded,” but nowhere else on the tour. Page hits bum note at the very beginning and continues to make minor mistakes, but it sounds gorgeous.
The Nigel Eaton hurdy gurdy solo leads into “When The Levee Breaks,” not “Gallows Pole” as is most common on the tour. Afterwards is the second big surprise when they play “Tea For One” for the first time ever. It breaks down at the beginning prompting Plant to say, “This is the rehearsal for the bootleg.”
Page & Plant play a slow, dreamy version of “Down By The Seaside” from Physical Graffiti in the “Whole Lotta Love” medley, and “Break On Through” sees Page fiddling with the wah-wah pedal and Plant shouting “FREAK OUT.”
Plant introduces the orchestra before they attempt “Yallah.” But there is a major foul up in the equipment and they have to abort the song. “Thank you, another new song” Plant says sarcastically when they stop. “this is a remarkable evening. It’s fantastic. This is like the best rehearsal….we have been on tour now for one hundred and three, one-zero-three concerts, and there’s still major fuck-ups.”
“Four Sticks” is introduced as another new song and the rest of the show precedes to “Kashmir” without any more incidents. But the first encore is quite confusing. It sounds as if Page wants to play “Custard Pie” and plays a riff resembling the song. Plant stops and addresses Tokyo before Page starts “Black Dog.” At the end of the song Page plays riffs from “Out On The Tiles” and “Misty Mountain Hop.”
Overall it’s a strange but ultimately rewarding show for the Page and Plant collector.
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – February 9th, 1996
Disc 3 (58:37): The Rain Song, No Quarter, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You / Stairway To Heaven tease, Immigrant Song intro / The Wanton Song, Heartbreaker, Ramble On / What Is And What Should Never Be, Nigel Eaton’s hurdy-gurdy solo, Gallows Pole, Whole Lotta Love (Jimmy’s theremin session / Spoonful / Break On Through / Dazed And Confused)
Disc 4 (64:15): Tea For One, Dancing Days, Yallah, Four Sticks, Egyptian Pharaohs, In The Evening including Carouselambla, Kashmir, Out On The Tiles intro / Black Dog / In My Time Of Dying tease, Rock And Roll
The following Page and Plant make amends for the previous night’s disaster. Dispensing with the opening tape, they start off with a perfect rendition of “The Rain Song” with orchestra. It’s a low key beginning to a fantastic concert, one of the best from the tour. What really makes these performances of “The Rain Song” is, since it’s not segued with “The Song Remains The Same” as in the days of Led Zeppelin, they’re able to play it in the proper key. (Older live performances were played a step higher than the album cut).
The mellowness continues with the surreal arrangement of “No Quarter” before the rest of the band come on stage for “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” The Led Zeppelin II medley is lacking “Bring It On Home,” but has “Heartbreaker” and “Ramble On” with a short reference to “What Is And What Should Never Be” tacked onto the end (the staccato guitar riff).
“Whole Lotta Love” is played earlier in the set this night and includes Cream’s “Spoonful” in addition to “Break On Through” and “Dazed And Confused.”
Again further to make amends for the previous evening, they attempt “Tea For One” a second time with Plant explaining, “this song we attempted to do last night with disastrous effects. It’s our second attempt to do it in the history of mankind, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for the first minute and a half.” In contrast, this evening’s performance is flawless. And after “Dancing Days,” they play “Yallah” with no problems.
The rest of the show settles down into a comfortable groove with the very long “Kashmir” being the evening to a stirring close. The encores are “Black Dog” and “Rock And Roll.”
Celebrating Third And Fourth Days comes packaged in a standard fatboy jewel case with very basic artwork, just like the other titles in the series and is a good way to obtain these two interesting concerts from Page and Plant’s Japan tour.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)