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.