Charlotte 1972 (The Diagrams of Led Zeppelin Vol. 80)
Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC – June 9th, 1972
Disc 1 (65:11): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Celebration Day, 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 (69:45): Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll, Communication Breakdown
Led Zeppelin’s eighth tour of of the US was one of their most intense, both in terms of schedule and in performance. With eighteen shows in about three weeks, they produced concerts so wired that thirty years later it produced an official release. The concert in Charlotte is the third of the tour (discounting the June 8th Boston show since no evidence ever surfaced proving it took place). The first silver release was an incomplete fragment of the show on Acoustic Tales In Charlotte (SIAE CS.CD.10-003) which has “Tangerine,” “That’s The Way,” “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp,” “What Is And What Should Never Be,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Rock And Roll,” “Communication Breakdown,” and “Dazed And Confused” out of proper sequence.
Don’t Do It If You Don’t Want To (Holy Grail HG-104/105) and Knees Up Mother Brown (Image Quality IQ-024/025) both have the entire show but run a bit fast. Compositions (Tarantura CC-001, 2) was issued in the summer of 1997 and is one of the final titles released by the original Tarantura label.
TDOLZ released their versions two years afterwards and the sound quality is on par. It runs at the correct speed and is a clear, crisp mono recording. There are numerous cuts scattered throughout the tape but most of it is present. The tapers hold conversations throughout the show which serve as an interesting commentary of the event. It was not a sell out and the audience are very quiet and perplexed throughout the first half of the show. The tape picks up right before “Immigrant Song” which is segued directly with “Heartbreaker.” At the end of the second song Page breaks a string on the guitar and instead of just waiting around doing nothing the band play “Celebration Day” on which he uses the double neck.
A regular in the 1971 set, this song was dropped from the new set list and was played in Brisbane and Amsterdam before Charlotte. Page flubs the first solo but plays a meditative solo at the song’s conclusion. Afterwards Plant says, “Alright, we got the string fixed. It’s really nice to be on holiday again. After ten months in England it gets…” He gets distracted by Bonham warming up and then goes into the usual story of “Black Dog.” Plant’s speech before “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is cut but the taper gives a remark about the police in the crowd.
“Good evening in the back” Plant says afterwards. “I didn’t even know you were there until I heard you snoring. Nice one. Sounds very much like the beginnings of a bull fight” as Page and Bonham get into the melody for “Knees Up Mother Brown” and Plant sings, “Knees up, knees up, never let the breeze up / Knees up Mother Brown.” “That’s on the next album actually. This is something from the last one. It will requires a bit of silence.” The band, and especially Plant give a passionate delivery which gives them the first loud ovation of the night. The long acoustic set follows and the crowd offer polite applause but it is obvious they are bored and want only the heavy electric numbers. “Tangerine” is about “far away places in England like Glastonbury where King Arthur had his bands, or whatever he did. I don’t know if he had bands…It’s about as close as you can get when you’re in New York.”
Before “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp” tapers have another interesting conversation: “I’m hoping they’ll get better. Looks like they’re kinda drunk or something.” “You don’t think they’re good?” “Oh, they’re pretty good but I hope they get better. They are much better than this. We’ll put that on the record.” “Did they play acoustics last time?” “No, this is the first time they ever done this on the tour.”
Someone in front of the stage requests “Hey Hey What Can I Do?” However, the band are getting ready for “Dazed And Confused.” The audience perks up during the fast part after the second verse so much so that they rush the stage and Plant has to calm them down, singing “keep it cool / don’t do it if you don’t want no trouble / cool it cool it cool it.” Page plays a slower majestic sounding riff before the violin bow section. During the long improvisation in the middle they get into “Walter’s Walk” with Plant scatting over the melody. There is a cut in the tape eliminating some stage dialogue but it picks up with Plant speaking about “reaching a rapport with officialdom. So whatever you do don’t collapse the stage. Don’t sit on the stage. Otherwise we’re all gonna blow it. Okay?”
After “What Is And What Should Never Be” Bonham extends “Moby Dick” to almost twenty minutes, completely losing any momentum gained in the preceding half hour. Things pick up again with “Whole Lotta Love” and the song begins great. It sounds as if Plant plays the electric piano with his elbows during the theremin solo (imitating John Lennon’s technique). They get into “Everybody Needs Somebody” and a bit of the boogie. But instead of singing “Boogie Chillun'” Plant sings “woman…way down inside” leading them back into the song’s finale. This is the only show on the tour with no medley. When they come back for the encores someone begs them to boogie, but they play “Rock And Roll” instead and afterwards Plant says, “Good night. Let the sun shine on you.”
When the come back for the second encore Plant says, “Right. We were just on our way to the airport and we couldn’t do it.” “Liar!!” someone loudly shouts. Charlotte 1972 is packaged in a glossy cardboard gatefold sleeve. The photos on front and on the inside are from the Sydney show the previous February, but the photo on the back is from taken from the acoustic set in San Diego. The black and white photos on the black background give it a stately feel. This is a good production of a good but very bizarre and frustrating concert. Any clear tape from this tour is good to have and TDOLZ is worth having.