First Show From North American Tour 1975 (Wisteria Records WISCD 2021-007)
Met Center, Bloomington, MN – January 18, 1975
Disc 1 (50:03) Intro, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, When The Levee Breaks, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir
Disc 2 (53:54) The Wanton Song, No Quarter, Trampled Under Foot, Moby Dick, Stairway To Heaven
In late April 2021 The Dogs Of Doom unearthed an incomplete audience recording of the Bloomington concert on Liberation Series Vol. 10, in very good quality to boot. This quickly made the rounds and was quickly released as Bloomington 1975 (No Label) followed by Jesus-Live In Minneapolis (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1280/1281 &Jesus BONUS), Bloomington 1975 (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-118A/B), and this title from the new Wisteria label, First Show From North American Tour 1975 (Wisteria 2021-007).
The sound of the recently unearthed audience tape from Minneapolis falls into the good to very good range. It was recorded by Don R on a National Panasonic recorder with a built in mic, there are several cuts throughout the tape between song in an effort to conserve tape. Seemingly the taper only brought one tape, In My Time Of Dying and the encores of Whole Lotta Love and Black Dog are missing. The sound is slightly distant and a bit boomy and bass heavy capturing the acoustics of the 15,000 seat Ice Hockey arena. The sound is thankfully clear and each of the four instruments can be heard and is fairly well balanced, Bonzo’s drums are powerful in the mix, always a plus. Wisteria has boosted the volume just a bit and took just a bit of tape hiss off as well, the mastering of sound is well done and not heavy handed. The label has edited and removed tape at some of the track changes in an effort to clean up the original taper pauses, these are useless edits and the original tape pause may have produced a minor tape squeal but that’s it, nothing that sounds unusual in a tape of this age and origin, that being said the integrity of the original tape is in place.
I have been listening to this concert on and off over the past few months since it was torrented and to my ears sounds best in my home versus car, this is a tape that needs the open air to breathe and the confines of my car do not allow it to. The taper was able to get a nice capture of the opening concert on the 1975 North American Tour, there is a little bit of audience chatter a couple of times and you really get an idea on how much the audience enjoyed the performance. It is great to hear their reaction to certain songs, most notably When The Levee Breaks, as soon as Bonzo begins the drum beat a punter near the taper scream loudly with excitement. The audience source also masks a few flubs by Page who is quickly getting used to his three fingered technique, but like I stated in my review of the soundboard, a very well played concert by Led Zeppelin.
As far as the audience sources are concerned, this is certainly the best of the audience recorded versions of When The Levee Breaks and The Wanton Song making this an essential recording for Led Zeppelin collectors. Of course with the appearance of the excellent soundboard recording found on Wanton Song 1975 Met Center (No Label) and All Is Safe For Rock And Roll (Eelgrass EGL20280/81/82/83), Bloomington 1975 (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-118A/B), Jesus (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1280/81 & Jesus-Bonus), and Salvation Through Him (Eelgrass EGL20286/287) it lessens this recordings appeal, however it should not be discounted. Don R captured a timeless piece of Led Zeppelin history and the audience recording should be listened to as intently as the soundboard as it captures the event from the audience. Again praise and thank you must go to The Dogs Of Doom for seeking out and freely sharing this music with the fans.
The packaging is nice, live shots from the following run in Chicago adorn the artwork as well as an official tour graphic on the interior. There is an OBI included as well and based upon that, this set is a limited edition of 50 numbered copies, mine is 26/50. Wisteria has produced a nice sounding version of the show but their additional tape cuts are questionable as what they have removed is not offensive. Overall not a bad copy, the sound is good and I like their artwork on this title a lot.