Every year collectors are confronted with many new releases covering old, previously released tapes. Many of these are upgrades, and many are simply pointless. But every once in a while a tape will surface that not only exceeds expectations, but also can be placed in the “Holy Grail” category. The following are the top five tapes that may or may not even exist, but would love to see them released and circulated one day.
1. Led Zeppelin June 28th, 1970. Zeppelin headlined the second night of a three-day long festival with one of their most incendiary sets caught on tape. This show was also important for the band’s ego, to be a viable artistic act in their home country. At least five tapers were in the crowd of 160,000 and three of them captured part of Zeppelin’s set. None of them are very good. Gentle Ghost and Paradise Films also filmed the event, but their surviving footage amounts to several thousand feet of 16mm footage with some performances and many interviews. A better sounding audience, a soundboard, and/or footage of Zeppelin’s set is high on the list.
2. In the summer of 1966 The Beatles played not only their final tour of the U.S., but also their final live concerts ever. The tour began in controversy because of John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” statement. The band toured amid death threats, boycotts, and constant harassment. The two shows in the middle of the Bible belt at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee on August 19th are known as the “cherry bomb” concerts. At the evening concert, during “If I Need Someone,” a fan in the audience threw a cherry bomb towards the stage. The band though someone was firing a pistol at them, and this event lead them to the decision to stop touring. The only tape in common circulation from this tour is the final one at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, but the two Memphis shows were taped on reel-to-reel by a young woman in the audience. The tapes were recently sold at auction but so far no copies were made and nothing has ever leaked to collectors.
3. The final show of Bob Dylan’s second Rolling Thunder Review tour ended on May 25th, 1976 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The previous show at Fort Collins, Colorado on May 23rd was videotaped for the “Hard Rain” television special, but no tape has ever surfaced for this important show. Any tape would be special because this is the only confirmed time that “Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts” from Blood On The Tracks was ever performed. Joel Bernstein, a guitar technician, once wrote: “Regarding the performance of ‘Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts” at Salt Lake: I recall it well. It was sung by Bob and Joan Baez, each on guitar, on one vocal mike. Bob had written the first word or two of each verse on his shirt cuff, I believe, though it might have been his wrist (I’m pretty sure it was on the cuff, so to speak). They each sang the lead vocal on some verses, and Joan joined Bob in harmony for others. In a recent edition of the Telegraph (interview with Mike Evans, security chief for the tour), you will find a copy that I sent John Bauldie of the lyrics to the song with notations “B”, “J”, and “B&J” in the margin, which was a previously worked-out arrangement of the singing, although I doubt whether they stuck to that strictly. I recall my amazement that there were _no_ lyric mistakes, and I believe that the verses were sung in the correct order. Perhaps if one day a tape surfaces of the show that will be confirmed. There may have been minor variations in the lyrics, in the sense of substituting ‘the’ for ‘a’, or other things of that type, but no actual ‘mistakes.’ I remember wishing that show had been videotaped and properly recorded instead of the show before at Fort Collins…it was far superior in spirit and performance.” If that isn’t enough, some reports suggest they also performed “Black Diamond Bay” from Desire, which would be the only time that classic was ever performed.
4. Genesis has a long history of live performances dating from the late sixties to the early nineties. There are many great documents from most tours, and the 2007 reunion tour will be released officially through themusic.com. Besides the early appearances on the BBC, the earliest audience tape in existence is their first overseas gig on March 7th, 1971 from La Ferme IV, in Belgium. A fair audience tape, it has been released on two silvers Twilight Francehouse (Highland HL203) and Besides The Silent Mirror (Alternate Recording Company ARC 012). Genesis did a lot of touring before this, and it would be great to hear a tape with original guitarist Anthony Phillips and drummer John Mayhew.
5. When Yes toured in early 1976 the original plan was to promote the five solo albums. This was abandoned early on and the band reverted back to a more reasonable set. They rehearsed “The Remembering” from Tales From Topographic Oceans, and a poor quality tape of that session with Patrick Moraz adding his talents to this great track exists. On two nights on the Solo Album tour, May 30th, 1976 in Charleston, West Virginia and May 31st, 1976 in Johnson City, Tennessee, they actually dropped “Ritual” as the set closer and played “The Remembering.” Neither of these shows were taped however, and if one were to surface for either of them would be tremendous for Yes collectors.