Dazed And Confused In Tampa 1970 / 2021 Longest Version (Wisteria Records WISCD 2021-006)
Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, FL – April 9, 1970
Disc 1 (63:34) Intro, We’re Gonna Groove, Dazed And Confused, Heartbreaker, Bring It On Home, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Since I’ve Been Loving You, John Paul Jones Organ Solo, Thank You
Disc 2 (56:09) What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Whole Lotta Love
On April 9, 2021, the 51st anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s performance in Tampa, Florida April 9, 1970, The Dogs Of Doom released a gift for us all to commemorate this occasion, a second audience source for the concert. The recording is incomplete and is centered on the first half of the show. The recording falls into the good category, it is slightly distant and suffers from distortion that makes hearing the bass and drums difficult yet thankfully the guitar and vocals are clear in the mix. Once one’s ears begin to adjust this is a very listenable and enjoyable recording. It did not take long for fan produced projects and bootleg titles to be available with the first excellent source used as the foundation and gaps, where applicable, filled with the new source to present the most complete concert possible. Getting Loose (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1458/1469) and Makundju (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-005) both feature a mix of sources, Graf Zeppelin also includes the second new source on its own.
Wisteria jumps into the market with this new title and like the EV and Graf titles, is a mix of both source 1 and 2. Wisteria has amplified the sound of source 2 slightly and is tastefully done, this also makes the transition between sources easier on the ears. Source 1 has been circulating for years first on vinyl as Makundju (Screaming Olseau 7501 A-D), TampaFlorida 1970 (Private Collection PC 019 / 020 A-B), and The Final Option (Various). Compact Disc versions are Bring It On Home (POT POT008-009), Makundju (Cobra 021), Who’s Birthday (Tarantura /t2CD-15-1,2), First Choice (Sugarcane Records SC 52001/2), and the best of the lot,Tampa 1970 (No Label). The sound of source 1 in just a bit quieter than the No Label and compliments source 2 easier.
Wisteria has tidied up the tape. They removed a minute of tape during the intro and between some tracks where there was already cuts in the original tape sources which is curious since they use the “Longest Version” moniker in the title. Like the Bloomington 1975 concert, there is no real need for these cuts, yet they are here. That being said the sight cuts and transitions between sources is well done, there is nothing jarring about them. The taper most certainly only brought one 60 minute tape with him, thankfully capturing the beginning portion of the concert that is missing from source 1. The breakdown of sources is source 2 for the concert intro, We’re Gonna Groove, Dazed and Confused, and almost 2 minutes of Heartbreaker that makes up the first 30 minutes. The second source is then used for the first 3:06 of What Is And What Should Never Be and a small portion of the introduction to Moby Dick. It should be noted that the batteries were dying on the second side of the cassette master from source 2 so there are speed fluctuations for the 3 minutes. These have been adjusted for speed but there is only so much that can be done and it does sound odd during portions. The patches are smooth, the rest of this title is all source 1.
Radio DJ Mike Lawrence from WFSO Radio, the leading underground Rock Radio AM station in St. Petersburg, FL commandeers the the introduction of the band. We’re Gonna Groove is the opening number, even with the average sound, the feeling is very powerful. Through the distortion keen ears will pick out Bonzo’s cowbell and Jimmy adding some interesting lead splashes. You also get the feeling that the rhythm section is very tight and together on this evening, common place for 1970 Zeppelin. Being an unknown song, the band get a huge welcoming ovation then they proceed to go right into Dazed And Confused. There is trouble in the crowd near the front, Robert tells the audience during Page’s bow solo “Can we try to get a little more together…if you wanna shout, shout in the break”, Page does play throughout and at times sounds as if he may be tuning his guitar a bit. The beginning of Dazed And Confused is ferocious, the fast section is just intense and Jimmy plays incredibly and throws in some interesting leads ala Hendrix. The musicians have the ability to start stop on a dime and again Page does have more tuning issues that stall the last portion of the instrumental just before going back into the main theme. The Les Paul needs to be addressed and the crowd is well behaved during the three minute tune up.
“This is a thing called Heartbreaker” is Robert’s introduction as Jimmy’s echoplex heralds the intro to Heartbreaker. Clocking in at just under 2 minutes, the short fragment reveals it was certainly a strong version of the song. Interesting that in the two different sounding recordings, the atmosphere inside the Curtis Hixon was captured in both, the band create an intimate vibe in the 8,000 seat venue. The appearance of the second source has provided us with a more complete picture of this concert, and it does not diminish its legend, it adds to it. Spring 1970 was a very strong and creative period for Led Zeppelin, albeit tense due to climate in the southern portion of the United States making it difficult for long hairs to express themselves. This would lead Page and Plant to retreat to a quiet place and the resulting Led Zeppelin III would reflect a rich acoustic vibe.
The packaging features artwork based upon photos of the Curtis Hixon Hall with a 1969 photo super-imposed over it. The inner rear cover features the color photographs from the concert itself. This is a numbered edition of 50 and the OBI included has your number, mine is 09.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)