Led Zeppelin – 911117 (Tarantura TCD-19/20)

911117 (Tarantura TCD-19/20)

Ulster Hall, Belfast, IR – March 5th, 1971

National Boxing Stadium, Dublin, IR – March 6th, 1971

Disc 1:  “Listen To This, Murphy”, Belfast – March 5th, 1971:  Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed & Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be

Disc 2:  Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Rock And Roll, Bring It On Home

Disc 3“I Can’t Believe It”, Dublin – March 6th, 1971:  Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Dazed & Confused, Going to California, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick

Disc 4: Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, C’mon Everybody (fragment), Rock and Roll

The Belfast tape is one of the most significant discoveries ever in the Zeppelin collecting community.  Not only is it a tape from one of their most poorly represented tours (the spring 1971 “Back To The Clubs” dates), but also is the live premier of their classic tune “Stairway to Heaven”.  The excitement was tempered with the release of Black Velvet on Empress Valley in late 2001. 

The production was impressive with a miniature replica of the Melody Maker issue covering the event, a small poster and nice graphics on the box.  But the Belfast tape is problematic for several reasons.  It is of poor quality, contains many cuts in the tape, and contains a high-pitched squeal in the middle of the show.  EV utilized tape from the following evening in Dublin to fill many of the cuts. 

For the numerous cuts in “Stairway To Heaven”, clearly the center of interest in the tape, they used the Ipswich concert from later in the year.  The edits in that track were very jarring and ran at different speeds.  Further, EV did not treat the squeal on the tape making it very difficult to enjoy the show.

This new release on Tarantura is an improvement by leaving the tape cuts as they are.  Although it is difficult to enjoy the show with them present, we at least do not have to deal with the different sources and sloppy edits.  Thankfully, Tarantura did collectors a big favor in eliminating the squeal on the tape.  The overall sound quality isn’t an improvement over the EV release.  In fact it may be a bit worse.  But the sound quality for the Belfast tape is poor to begin with and only really has historical significance. 

The second two discs document the Dublin show which has circulated for quite some time and has been released before, most notably on Crazed Attack many years ago.  Compared to the Black Velvet release, the Tarantura is a bit of an improvement.  Again it isn’t saying much since the tape is mediocre anyway.  Both concerts are very exciting and it makes one wonder why Zeppelin didn’t play more show in Ireland in their career.  The band hadn’t played a live show in about six months working on their fourth album and they put a lot into these concerts. 

One hears the debuts of “Stairway”, “Black Dog” (played with the “Out On The Tiles” intro from day one), “Going To California” and “Rock And Roll”.  The Belfast show has the only 1971 reference for “Bring It On Home” played as the final encore, and rare European references to “Moby Dick”.  911117 is overall nicely packaged and assembled.  The investment is prohibitive for the casual collector, however, and one can reasonably expect these shows to be released again in the future.

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