Eyes Big Crowd (Tarantura TCD-88)
International Speedway, Lewisville, TX – August 31st, 1969
(62:23) Train Kept A Rollin’, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed And Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown
Led Zeppelin’s set at the Texas International Pop Festival on Labor Day weekend is one of the most popular recordings. It is one of the hottest performances, but has one of the best soundings tapes to exists from their 1969 tours and can be found on many releases. It is commonly called a soundboard, but in reality is an excellent audience tape recorded in the photographer’s pit.
There are two other audience recordings in circulation. The Plays Pure Bob tape, so named for the Tarantura release in the mid nineties, is an excellent stereo recording and another, poor to fair recording called the “Reggie The Bullet” after the taper which Tarantura uses for this release. It was taped a distance from the stage and has many audience comments throughout the show and with some distortion by the end of the tape. Tarantura did an amazing job in making an otherwise difficult sounding tape listanable by increasing the volume without increasing the distortion or hiss to achieve a high degree of clarity. It is interesting as an alternative view of a well known show and the quality of the tape is such that, if it were the only one, is perfectly acceptable.
This concert routinely makes collectors’ top five lists for all time best Led Zeppelin concerts. Even though it was very hot there that evening they deliver their standard set (minus “White Summer”) to the 120,000 in attendance. The very beginning of the tape is very distorted but clears up during the opening song. The “Train Kept A-Rollin” and “I Can’t Get You” are employed for the final time as the set opener. “Dazed & Confused” reaches some intense creepiness and a peculiarity about this version is the inclusion, between 9:25 and 9:40 of the heavy majestic riff usually found as an introduction to “How Many More Times” (most notably on the Royal Albert Hall version found on the DVD).
“How Many More Times” reaches more than twenty minutes and contains some interaction between Plant and the audience after someone throws something at him (what exactly was thrown isn’t clear). The lyrics to “Eyesight To The Blind” are sung in the “Boogie Chillun'” style and “Communication Breakdown” with a short bass solo closes the event. Eyes Big Crowd is packaged in a single pocket cardboard sleeve with a collage of photos, press clippings and posters of the event. This is an interesting release by Tarantura whose actual mastering of the tape is very good.
1969.08.31 Dallas, Texas
Eyes Big Crowd (TARANTURA)
1. The Train Kept A Rollin
2. I Can’t Quit You Babe
3. Dazed and Confused
4. You Shook Me
5. How Many More Times
6. Communication Breakdown
SBD:Woopy Cat, Oh Boy ,Empress Valley label
AUD Source1:Plays Pure Bob (Tarantura)
AUD Source2:Reggie The Burllet’s Master Reel
This release has beautiful packaging and I must say looks great on my shelf. I agree with Hager that for a 1969 recording and thanks to the mastering of this source, we have a very nice release that gives a entire different perspective of what these lucky fans witnessed on this hot August day in Texas. This is one of my favorite 1969 shows to surface and even though this isn’t the best source and would probably not please the casual collector, I suggest anyone that is a fan of this show to seek this out.
A bit more can be added about the value of adding this nice title to one’s Zeppelin collection. For me, it’s always entertaining to hear the audience response to a concert, and this source provides this insight WITHOUT it being a distraction. Pot smoking during Dazed and Confused as Jimmy goes into the eerie bow solo, accompanied by coughs and fan cheering, provides a fantastic glimpse into what it must have been like to witness this outdoor show. And the recording’s surprisingly good for a 1969 audience tape, with all frequency ranges heard nicely. Bonzo’s riding of the cowbell in Dazed is heard perfectly, to give a further idea about the recording’s quality. Sure, it’s not the pristine alleged mixing board recording, but that’s one of the cool things about it for me. Compared to other audience recordings of Zep, whether 1969 or otherwise, this can easily be considered very good. Tarantura’s packaging is, as usual, extremely tasteful, making this precisely what’s so addictive about this hobby of collecting live music recordings.