Led Zeppelin – Live In New Zealand 1972 (Empress Valley EVSD-440/441)

Live In New Zealand 1972 (Empress Valley EVSD-440/441)

Western Springs Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand – February 25th, 1972

Disc 1 (47:31):  Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp 

Disc 2 (38:18):  Dazed & Confused, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

For the longest time there were three tapes from Zeppelin’s tour of Australia and New Zealand that were either hoarded or rumored to be hoarded.  In the autumn of 2000 one of the three, the almost complete Sydney tape, surfaced on the Tarantura title Ayer’s Rock

A year later the same label issued the second of the three tapes on Going To Auckland (TCD-6).  This title caused consternation not only for being a four-disc set (“normal” and “remastered” versions), but also for running about 3% too fast. 

The manufacturers issued very defensive statements through the Air Raid 2000 site claiming the tape speed was correct, but later rectified the situation on Going To Auckland (AKA-38) issued on their Akashic label twice; once in 2004 and again last year. 

Genuine Masters also released this tape on Kiwi Express (GM-LZ-25.02.1972-DVD-A-06) to good reviews.  Live In New Zealand 1972 is Empress Valley’s latest release in their project of releasing the entire tour on definitive versions.

The sound quality of the tape is very good to excellent albeit a bit thin and lacking in bottom end.  The music is clear and Empress Valley didn’t use excessive mastering on this like Tarantura.  It is a shame that this, like many of the Australian shows, is heavily cut and missing significant portions of music.  

It fades in right at the end of “Immigrant Song” and contains little cuts between most of the songs.  Plant acknowledges the importance of the event after “Black Dog” by saying, “we’d like to really thank you for the faith for making this the biggest thing to happen in New Zealand.  And all the traveling involved it’s an amazing thing to hear.  We traveled thirty-six thousand miles but at least we stopped in Bombay which is a great place to stay after a war”. 

“Going To California” is normally played as the first acoustic number but is missing and judging by Plant’s comments before “That’s The Way” about American accents it was played.  Plant sings “Tangerine” with much more emotion than usual.

The latter half of “Dazed & Confused” is cut at the end of the violin bow solo.  It is a shame too because the part that is present is truly amazing and sounds like one of the all time greats.  The piece does contain an early reference to “The Song Remains The Same”, the light and airy riff leading to the power cadence Page used in the middle of the guitar solo and is played right before the violin bow section begins. 

Regarding this version, Tim Blanks, host of “Fashion File” on CBC observed:   “Led Zeppelin changed my life. I was a screwed-up-tight schoolboy when I saw them in Auckland, New Zealand, on a midsummer night in 1972, shortly after the release of their epochal fourth album.

The stage was a distant blur. Fortunately, the couple beside me had binoculars. It was during the showpiece ‘Dazed and Confused’ that Jimmy Page began to ravage his guitar with a violin bow and my synapses involuntarily combusted.

“The sound was so alien, so witchy–coming from a man rumored to be in touch with dark forces–that I was whisked out of my seat, compelled to dance in the pagan style popular among mutant hippies of the day.” 

The cut also omits “Moby Dick” and “What Is And What Should Never Be”(if they were played).  “Whole Lotta Love” in its entirely is present and the usual Ricky Nelson and Elvis rockabilly classics are inclusions in the medley, “Hello Mary Lou”, “Let’s Have A Party”, “(Baby You’re So Square) I Don’t Care” and “Going Down Slow.” 

The only encore “Communication Breakdown” is complete with a fiery solo by Page to end the afternoon’s show. 

Empress Valley use their long box style packaging and include a mini replica of the tour program that was also included with their Adelaide release Deep Downunder.  The front and back covers have pictures from the Melbourne show with the one on the front cover very dramatic with Plant staring at the rain clouds above the stage. 

Live In New Zealand 1972 uses the lower generation tape that has surfaced and is an excellent release worth having. 

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