Final Night At The Garden (TCOLZ 057/058)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – June 14th, 1977
Disc 1 (65:31): The Song Remains The Same, The Rover intro./Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter
Disc 2 (59:31): Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Moby Dick
Led Zeppelin’s final New York show on the 1977 tour has one of the better sounding audience recordings. Unfortunately it is only two-thirds of the show and has been extremely hard to find. I was first pressed in the vinyl boxset Strange Tales From The Road (Rock Solid Records / International RSR 243 A-T) along with many and various other tapes. The first silver disc pressing is “The Song Remains The Same” to “No Quarter” on Over The Hills And Far Away (Tarantura T19CD-4~6), along with the June 22nd Los Angeles show. It came out again on silver several years later in the spring of 1999 on Strange Tales From the Road (STFTR 001-008), a straight copy of the vinyl. The sound was good but it ran a bit too slow.
Final Night At The Garden is the first time the tape has been available on its own. It has been speed correct compared to Strange Tales and includes the four minute “Moby Dick” fragment omitted from the previous releases.
It is a shame the entire show does not exist because it is an energetic performance in front of a lively New York crowd. After the opening songs Plant jokes around with the audience, saying, “Well good evening, and far be it from we … sort of aliens to say, but welcome to the last night at the garden. We must apologize for the delay but there’s a real reason for it. I’ve got no clothes to wear.” People by the taper shout “bullshit!!” “I was sitting in the back. So now you can see what it’s all about, right? Blue jeans!”
“Over The Hills And Far Away” just recently was added to the setlist to replace “In My Time Of Dying.” It broke up the string of three big blues songs. It was also added because, “you get a bit bananas when you play the same place six times cause I see so many faces I almost know.”
“No Quarter” is by “one of the greatest yachtsmen in Central Park, John Paul Jones.” They favor a twenty-eight minute version which has it’s highlights, such as Jones playing “Sakura Sakura” on the piano. There are also some parts which drag a bit but in the end Page delivers a furious solo.
Before the acoustic set Plant points out journalist Lisa Robinson since she’s “in the press section at the front here. You know Lisa Robinson? Anybody heard of Lisa Robinson? The grandmother of rock and roll. One of the finest women you could ever meet and she’s come to hear what is becoming now, quite a legend, and that is the acoustic set. When we see how many mistakes we can make. So watch very carefully.”
Robinson published a review of the shows in New York for Hit Parader magazine pointing out that the acoustic set was the highlight of the show and how she was surprised to see the musicians bring their kids along on tour.
“Going To California” is “an old George Formby song” and “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” is dedicated to Ral Donner. “You remember Ral Donner? Yes, Ral Donner. Somewhere in New York, and he’s the only guy who made Elvis jealous. So this is for you Ral, and you wife and ten kids” and at the end, instead of shouting “Stryder” Plant shouts “Ral.” Page also includes a bit of “Dancing Days” in the middle.
The tape concludes with a great version of “Black Mountain Side,” “Kashmir” and only four minutes of Bonham’s set piece. I remember reading about a decade ago that the complete tape surfaced on tape and was about to be booted, but that has never happened. Hopefully someday another tape of this show will be available. But until then this is a very good release by TCOLZ worth having.