Complete Performance In Minnesota (TDOLZ Vol.043)
Civic Center, St. Paul, MN – July 9th, 1973
Disc 1 (50:22): Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter
Disc 2 (47:14): The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused
Disc 3 (60:43): Stairway to Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
July 9th is the third date of the second half of Led Zeppelin’s fabled 1973 US tour. Following the first two in Chicago, notable for Robert Plant’s weak vocals, St. Paul is a considerable improvement as the band play in inventive show overall. This tape surfaced in the late nineties and is very distant from the stage but clear enough to capture the atmosphere of the event. There is a significant cut at 3:48 in “Stairway To Heaven” and on after “Moby Dick” that cuts out the introduction and first verse of “Heartbreaker.” Blues Quaaludeon the cdr label Red Dragon is the first commercial title. TDOLZ issued Complete Performance in Minnesota soon afterwards with slightly improved sound quality and running at the correct speed. In the decade since its release this remains its only silver pressing.
Looking past the limitations of the sound quality and the obscurity of the show, this is one of the more interesting performances from the tour. An announcer can be heard the very beginning telling the crowd to behave before the lights go down. The band hit the stage with “Rock And Roll,” “Celebration Day” and “Black Dog” all played in a row. Robert Plant greets the audience before telling them that they would “like to do a song off the new album, Houses of the Holy. This is a song about the passage through time and life.” Page’s solo during “Over The Hills And Far Away” is the first of what would be many interesting variations on well known pieces.
Afterwards Page plays the “Dancing Days” riff before Plant addresses the audience about the commotion during the song. He tells them that “there’s one thing that we’d like to get straight at every concert that we ever play, and that behavior like that is just a real bummer for everything that we’re all trying to do together, right? So listen, if you want to, if you want to continue to do that, you know that it could you that ends up getting underneath all that pushing and shoving. So please stop, right? I mean, there’s no point is there really? It may be a total physical impossibility for you to revers a little bit so the people a long here don’t look like over easy eggs, you know? Can you do that? Just a little bit move back. It would be a lot simpler because then everybody could breathe. This is what happens when you, now that’s really silly, isn’t it boys?”
“No Quarter,” which Plant introduces as “another thing about the journey that lasts a lifetime if you know what I mean” is characterized by John Bonhan trying hard to engage in a duel with Page in the middle solo. His beats are all out of time with the guitar and Page continues with the proper solo to the song. It’s a strange effect which isn’t duplicated in any other show. “Dazed And Confused” is called “white Christmas” and “John Bonham comes to you courtesy of the makers of Quaalude, and all we’re waiting for is Mr. John Paul Jones.” The middle improvisation sees Page trying several intricate riffs.
“Heartbreaker” contains more interesting soloing by Page where he tries a country and western style riff over the heavy Bonham beat in the guitar solo. In “Whole Lotta Love” they hit a bit of a snag when Page is late coming out of the theremin solo. The rhythm section plays a very heavy beat until Page finds his way again. The only encore is “Communication Breakdown” which was played for the first couple of nights on this leg of the tour. TDOLZ package this title in a single cardboard sleeve with a photo from Kezar on the front. Overall this is not one of the classic shows of the era and not the greatest recording, but it is good enough and has interesting points to make it worth investigating.