Led Zeppelin – Baltimore 1972 (Wardour-018)

Baltimore 1972 (Wardour-018)

Civic Center, Baltimore, MD – June 11th, 1972

Disc 1 (65:02):  Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

Disc 2 (57:48):  Dazed & Confused (includes Walter’s Walk), What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick

Disc 3 (41:09):  Whole Lotta Love (includes Everybody Need Somebody, Boogie Chillun’, Need Your Love Tonight, Hello Mary Lou, Heartbreak Hotel, Going Down Slow), Rock And Roll, Communication Breakdown

There are so few very good documents from one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest tours.  Barely half of the shows of the US tour in 1972 were even taped and of the existing documents, the ones that are actually enjoyable can be counted on one hand (Charlotte, second New York, Los Angeles and San Bernardino).  The tape source from Baltimore is one of the good ones which had not seen its definitive release. 

Previous releases include Baltimore 1972 (Immigrant IM-026~28), Nutty & Cool (Baby Face BF-9604-1-A/2-B/3-C), three discs of the six disc set Baltimore Jack (TDOLZ Vol. 96) and The Axeman Of Cometh (Flagge).  Most of them used high generation tapes and the Flagge title, the most recent and previous definitive, has a poor editing job.  Wardour makes the claim that its source is the master tape.  While it is difficult to tell, this is a substantial improvement over the TDOLZ version of the show.  The older versions sound very dull with the music getting lost in a smudge of noise.

Baltimore 1972 is still distant and there are a couple of minor cuts, but the sound is much more sharp, crisp and focused.  All of the tapes from this tour are welcome and this is among the very best.  Zeppelin were touring North America for the first time since the release of their fourth LP and “Stairway To Heaven” had already become a classic, receiving tremendous ovations at every stop.  They were also conscious of competing with The Rolling Stones tour occurring at the same time and the tapes reveal how ferocious they can be in concert. 

There is an air of confidence and unfettered creativity that would disappear after this in their determination to become more professional in their musical presentation.  The basic set list is very similar to the previous tour with an expanded acoustic set with “Tangerine” and “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” and with “Dazed & Confused” being placed later in the set.  About two weeks after Baltimore they would experiment even more with the inclusion of some songs from Houses Of The Holy, about a year before its release.

“Dazed & Confused” really reached an apex with the usual inclusions of “The Crunge” and riffs from the songs “Walter’s Walk” and “Hots On For Nowhere”.  The version played on this night doesn’t have the former song, but it does have the latter with Plant scatting over it.  Plant speaks about seeing an Elvis Presley show the previous night in New York City before “Going To California”.  The “Whole Lotta Love” medley has the special inclusions of “Need Your Loving Tonight” and “Heartbreak Hotel” joining the standard “Everybody Needs Somebody” and “Hello Mary Lou”. 

During “Going Down Slow” the rhythm section lock onto a jazzy beat under a very tense Page solo.  This is the one of the few releases by Wardour of a Zeppelin title and they did a very good job with it.  The artwork uses photos from the actual tour but is given a drab tint making it not too attractive.  But it is limited to three hundred copies and can be considered the best version of this show available. 

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