Back In Toronto Longer & Upgraded (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-1102A/B)
O’Keefe Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – November 2, 1969 (Late Show)
Disc 1 (44:08) Every Day I Have The Blues (Edward Bear), Led Zeppelin Live Introduction, Good Times Bad Times – Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused
Disc 2 (46:14) Introduction, White Summer Black Mountain Side, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Moby Dick, C’Mon Everybody, Something Else
Of the six concerts Led Zeppelin played in Toronto during 1969, we are blessed to have recordings for four of them. Recently, The Dogs Of Doom unearthed a longer version of the second show from the November 2, 1969 engagement. Collectors know this concert from the titles Beast Of Toronto (Immigrant IM-043), Listen To My Bluebird (Image Quality IQ-077), and Draw Like Heavy Magnet (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-1101EX). This upgraded version is from the same source as the older titles, it comes from a verified first generation reel, the master cassette was copied to the reel using a Dual TG27 deck at 3 3/4 IPS, and was then discarded. Good news is we also get extra tape not included on the early titles. Dazed And Confused is now complete and we also get the final encores, Eddie Cochran’s C’Mon Everybody and Something Else plus a five minute portion of opening act Edward Bear’s version of the BB King classic, Everyday I Have The Blues.
Like many of the newly unearthed Zeppelin recordings, the collectors market would see a handful of titles featuring this new version, O’Keefe Centre 1969 Late Show (No Label), Love Letter From Canada (Wendy WECD-416/417), Tront Cowgirls (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-ALIAS-027/028), and most recently Good Time Jimmy’s Got The Blues (Tarantura TCD-226/227). It is interesting to listen to this new version of the tape versus the older IQ title, this new version is a bit louder and has a whole wider range of frequencies not found on the older titles. The bottom end is much deeper and warmer and while powerful is actually less distorted. The upper range is also a little toned down and the overall sound is cleaner, you can certainly hear the generational difference and really feel the power of the performance. I will say the older versions of this recording are more consistent, there are parts of this new version that are a bit more muffled, perhaps from different transfers.
The beginning five minutes of the recording is as mentioned before, opening act Edward Bear playing Every Day I Have The Blues. The feel of the music is quite reminiscent of the Allman Brothers Band, who also took huge inspiration from the Blues Master BB King. Really good version, the audience enjoy it very much. This is followed by an introduction by Ritchie York, “Ok, the time has come. For the third time in 1969 we’re pleased to present John Paul Jones, John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page…Led…Led Zeppelin!” to a nice round of applause. Robert’s talk of Bonzo’s diarrhea gets a laugh from the audience and tells them it’s nice to be back in Toronto, the intro of Good Times Bad Times is like a punch in the face, Jonesy’s bass is strong in the mix as the frenzied introduction to Communication Breakdown begins the concert proper. The funky middle section finds Robert referencing Bluebird from The Buffalo Springfield, the song soon gives way to I Can’t Quit You Baby, Robert the master of tension does a mumbling blues intro that’s quite effective, the audience is transfixed.
Robert jokes with the audience about playing half of Led Zeppelin IV before Heartbreaker, super powerful version of the song, when Jones kicks in, it gets very heavy in the best way. Dazed And Confused clocks in at 19:28 and is now complete where the older versions have a tape cut near the 12:03 mark, the middle section features an interesting interlude that almost sounds like a Western theme. In his excellent book, The Led Zeppelin Tape Documentary, Luis Rey refers to this as Some Tears certainly based upon Robert’s rambling references. Killer version of Dazed, sadly the quality of the recording following the bow solo is a notch down, a bit more muffled. The second disc starts off with nearly a minute not found on the older titles, a bit more of Jimmy’s tuning and Robert’s introduction to his showpiece White Summer.
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is played by special request, the song was certainly on their mind as it was played just days later during their three night run at the Winterland. Robert superbly weaves lyrics from Neil Young’s Down By The River and Ramble On as if they were part of the song. The song is a perfect blend on light and shade, pure drama, sadly they would only revisit the song two more times after this version, Winterland November 7, 1969 and second show September 6, 1970 in Hawaii. With the appearance of these new tapes it does bring hope for what could be out there lurking in closets. Moby Dick features over seven minutes of new tape and now clocks in at 19 minutes, nearly as long as Dazed.
The tape cuts after the drum solo and How Many More Times was either not recorded or that portion is lost to the ages, but the encores are present and are incredible. One of the early classic Zeppelin titles from Tarantura was their version of the November 6, 1969 entitled Punk! most certainly as it contained the Eddie Cochran songs C’Mon Everybody and Something Else, the same title could have been used for this title. The encores for this show feature the same duo, the tape starts just as the band are starting C’Mon Everybody, Rock And Roll in its purist form. The response from the audience is massive as the group heads right into Something Else, again a classic version of the song gets the crowd amped. At about 1:10 the audience start cheering and we are soon to find out why, there has been a stage invasion! The band carry on with the song but as soon as they finish they are gone and the place erupts, Punk Rock attitude indeed. Another glorious performance from 1969, a year in which they were playing the blueprint for the coming decade.
The packaging is the usual, inserts with pictures from the performance, always a nice addition. There are actually a few photos that show the audience on the stage, these could have made a nice addition. As usual Graf Zeppelin turns in a nice version of the tape, gentle mastering, nice packaging, picture discs, numbered stickers, the whole lot. Again praise to The Dogs Of Doom for seeking these artifacts out and releasing to the masses.