Pittsburgh Steelers (Empress Valley EVSD-425/426/427)
Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA – July 24th, 1973
Disc 1: Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song
Disc 2: Dazed & Confused (including San Francisco), Stairway To Heaven
Disc 3: Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, The Ocean
Thinking about Zeppelin’s show in Pittsburgh is depressing both for what is and what might never be. For the past fifteen years there have been two tape sources circulating. The first appeared in 1989 and the second in 1990. Both are incomplete as we have them and the complete versions of both are in the hands of hoarders. All of the previous bootleg releases use these tapes.
The earliest is Early Days, Latter Days which uses the first source exclusively. Both Hello Pittsburgh on Image Quality (IQ-057/58) and The Resurrection on Electric Magic (EMC-013A/B) edit the two tapes together to form as complete a version as possible but missing “Stairway To Heaven” and “Moby Dick”. The sound quality of both these releases is distant and thin sounding due to the venue but clear enough to get an idea of the show and to be enjoyable on some level.
A new source surfaced but is incomplete. It does contain material that isn’t present in the others, namely the pre-concert announcements and the two missing songs “Stairway To Heaven” and “Moby Dick”.
This is a second generation at best and is noticeably more distorted and worse sounding than the other two. Pittsburgh Steelers is Empress Valley’s attempt to edit the sources together to give as complete a version as possible utilizing all of the available tape. They use as much of the third tape source as possible beginning with the announcements and the first three songs “Rock And Roll”, “Celebration Day” and “Black Dog”.
Source two comes in for Plant’s opening speech and “Over The Hills And Far Away” and goes to source three again for “Misty Mountain Hop” through to the end of “Moby Dick”. The first source is used again for the finale “Heartbreaker” to the encore “The Ocean”. The edits are poorly handled and there is the occasional digital click in the music that shouldn’t be there.
The Resurrection on Electric Magic sounds much better. It is interesting hearing the announcements before the show with that woman chastising the audience to get off of the dugouts and the threat of no Allman Brothers if they don’t behave. It’s a shame the tapes are not better recorded because this is one of the better nights from the tour. The previous night in Baltimore was an energetic performance and that carried over to this show as well.
What is really pathetic about this whole mess is this show was both filmed and professionally recorded and if any show screams for a soundboard source this is it. Two one second long fragments from Massot’s film appear in the credits of the official DVD (at about fifty seconds and one minute twenty seconds in). Both fragments looks deep in the show so it’s a fair assumption the whole concert was filmed and taped.
Also rumored to exist is a fourth audience source that is supposed to be complete. This too is in the hands of hoarders and is probably as bad as the other audience sources but we might never know. Empress Valley is capable of some of the best Zeppelin releases on the market. Pittsburgh Steelers is definitely not one of them. The tapes are listenable and the right remastering could really make them sounding great, but this release is a big disappointment and should be avoided.