Led Zeppelin – Bradford UK 1973 (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol.020)

 Bradford UK 1973 (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol.020)

St. George’s Hall, Bradford, England – January 18th, 1973 

Disc 1 (76:51):   Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused

Disc 2 (42:59):  Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker

Led Zeppelin were originally booked to play in Bradford on January 4th, but had to push the show back two weeks because Robert Plant contracted a flu in the first week of the new year.  Bradford is one of the better concerts they played in the UK.  Plant’s voice was close to being fully recovered, and the band displayed the improvisational flair that would come to fruition in Europe in March. 

A soundboard fragment circulates with most of “Dazed And Confused,” “Whole Lotta Love” and the second encore “Immigrant Song” which has been pressed many times such as on The Great Lost Live Album (Nasty Music NM-1973-01/02/03). 

But the audience tape has been pressed only TDOLZ on Bradford UK 1973.  One of their earlier efforts when their goal was to release every Zeppelin tape, no matter how poor, it is at best fair.  It’s listenable only once your ears adjust to the low fidelity.  The specifics of the performance do stand out, however, and it is possible to hear how good the show is.  The tape is cut in several places such as after “Since I’ve Been Loving You” while Plant is introducing “Dancing Days” and between other song.  “Dazed And Confused” has a small cut during the violin bow interlude and the second encore “Immigrant Song” is missing, only available on the soundboard recording. 

The show starts off with an aggressive “Rock And Roll” segueing into “Over The Hills And Far Away.”  Jimmy Page sounds a bit lost in the middle and doesn’t really complete the solo. 

Robert Plant apologizes for being two weeks late before before “Black Dog” and has fun poking fun at John Paul Jones before “Misty Mountain Hop.”  While trying to give the normal introduction, about walking through the park with a packet of cigarette papers, he gets horribly distracted.  “This is a song…hang on, let me concentrate.  All this flattery…you’re walking through the park one day…well, John Paul Jones was walking through the park one day.”

“Misty Mountain Hop” segues directly into “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” an arrangement invented in Japan the previous October.  The latter sounds especially heavy and brutal in this recording.  The same is said for “The Song Remains The Same.”  Plant’s voice sounds especially strong as he lets loose some infernal drones over Page’s frenzy.  “The Rain Song,” except for Page loosing is place by the end, is also very nice. 

“Dazed And Confused” contains some variations unique to the performance.  Page’s lead into the “San Francisco” interlude sounds different, and he gets into a funk groove in the start of the long improvisation.  The “Mars” section before the return to the final verse is also extremely intense.  The soundboard is much more clear, but the echo in the audience recording lends the air of mystery lacking in the professional recording.  Bradford ranks among the best performances of the epic piece of the UK  winter tour.

The long “Whole Lotta Love” medley continues the variations.  While Page is spiting out his sledgehammer riffs, Plant gives a parodic nod to The Rolling Stones’ “Let It Bleed,” singing “we all need someone to cream on.”  During the boogie section Page spits out some nasty, hostile sounding heavy-metal riffs, and after “(Baby You’re So Square) I Don’t Care” Plant continues the Elvis impersonation with the beginning of “Blue Suede Shoes” (“one for the money / two for the show / three to get ready / go, cat, go / stay off of my blue suede shoes”) as the rest follow along.

“I Can’t Quit You” brings the medley full circular, played as sludge-laden blues dirge.  Quotes from “Goign Down Slow” follow.  As Plant sings the finally “woman, way down inside…” fans in the audience singing along very loudly.  He encourages it for the next when he sings “…you neeeeeeed it….”  It’s a touching moment of audience participation. 

Bradford UK 1973 is simply packaged in a single pocket cardboard sleeve made out of glossy paper.  The front cover has a photograph from the film The Song Remains The Same and the back has a stage shot form the European leg of the 73 tour.  If this tape sounded any better this would be an essential piece of the collection with one of Zeppelin’s greatest performances.  But since there are better sounding tapes from the era this is for the Zeppelin die-hard collector. 

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