Fresh Garbage (Scorpio LZ-08011)
Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA – January 9th, 10th, 11th, & 12th, 1969
Disc 1, January 10th: The Train Kept A Rollin’, I Can’t Quit You, As Long As I Have You (inc. Fresh Garbage, Shake), Dazed And Confused, How Many More Times (inc. Dream Lover, The Hunter)
Disc 2: White Summer – Black Mountain Side, Killing Floor, You Shook Me, Pat’s Delight, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Communication Breakdown, For Your Love
Disc 3, January 11th: Intro, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown. Bonus track, January 9th: The Train Kept a Rollin’
Disc 4, January 12th: As Long As I Have You (inc. Mockingbird, Fresh Garbage), I Can’t Quit You, Dazed And Confused, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Communication Breakdown, You Shook Me
Disc 5: White Summer – Black Mountain Side, The Train Kept A Rollin’, Pat’s Delight, How Many More Times (inc. The Hunter), Killing Floor
Fresh Garbage collects together all of the relevant documents from Led Zeppelin’s legendary four night set at the Fillmore West on their first tour. All of the main Led Zeppelin biographies state how important these series of gigs were for the success of the group with the public and their acceptance by the music industry. On the same bill with Taj Mahal and headliners Country Joe And The Fish, the initial scheduled called for two sets on January 9th, 10th, and the 11th but a final night was added on. The opening show coincided with Jimmy Page’s 25th birthday and the final night was when their debut album Led Zeppelin was released in the US. The tapes from these shows began to surface back in the days of vinyl but Scorpio is the first to present them in one cohesive set. The audience recordings are fair to good but given the historic importance, are more than acceptable and reveal a fascinating chapter in the band’s live history.
The first two discs cover the two sets of the January 10th show, the second of the four evenings. This tape was first released in the eighties on the vinyl For Your Love (Rock Solid Records RSR 238) and was also included in RSR’s The Final Option. One of the earliest compact disc releases was East/West (Digger Productions DP 2677-2678) which was missing most of the “For Your Love” encore. For Your Love (Silver Rarities SIRA 134/135) is one of the most important releases in that label’s history and features the complete encore but runs too slow. Subsequent releases include Whole Lotta For Your Love (Pirate Records SCLE 003/03), For Your Love (Empress Valley EVSD 414/415), and Syonen Zep(Akashic AKA-2). Live Adventure At the Fillmore West (Wendy Records WECD-25/26) was released several years ago with a complete “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and with greatly amplified sound, but there was an inexplicable cut and repeat in “How Many More Times” on both this and the Empress Valley.
The Scorpio has several advantages over the other titles. Isn’t as loud as Wendy and is very easy to listen to. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” is complete, and the second cut in “How Many More Times” is handled much better. There is no repeat and the edit is much smoother. Thus in addition to the small cuts between numbers there are cut at 2:09 in “Dazed And Confused,” at 5:30 and at 10:16 in “How Many More Times,” and 6:42 in “Pat’s Delight.” The show begins with the “Train Kept A-Rollin'” segue into “I Can’t Quit You” which they would use for most of the year. “Thank you very much and good evening from Led Zeppelin. It’s great to be back. We’re gonna do something that goes a little faster. This comes from a great singer named Garnett Mimms…it’s called ‘As Long As I Have You.'”
Three long early epics are are played consecutively in the first set. The Mimms cover is ten minutes long and contains references to “Spirit” and “Fresh Garbage,” two tunes familiar to the audience. “Dazed And Confused” is a bit longer than it studio counterpart and afterwards Plant says, “On behalf of Led Zeppelin we’d like to finish this set off with a thing on the album as well and the album will be out in about three weeks called Led Zeppelin…this is a thing called ‘How Many More Times.'” Like the studio version this also contains a violin bow episode, something that would be dropped. During the long improvisation Plant sings snatches of Bobby Darin’s 1959 hit “Dream Lover” and the traditional “The Riddle Song.” The second set begins with Plant introducing Page, saying “we’re gonna do what we did last night. We’re gonna feature Jimmy Page. This is a thing called ‘White Summer.’ Jimmy Page.”
The second set isn’t exactly mellow, but is much less frenzied than the first. “You Shook Me,” reaching eight minutes and the drum solo “Pat’s Delight” reaching nine are the highlights. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” sounds dramatic in this recording and Plant refers to Joan Baez at the end. The encore is introduced by Plant saying, “It will be out pleasure to do a thing Keith Relf had something to do with. You remember him?” For a long time this was the only version of Zeppelin covering the Yardbirds’ biggest hit until the surfacing of the Whisky A Go-Go tape revealed an earlier one played less than a week here. Over the course of the seven minute song Page in particular squeezes out all of the late sixties psychedelia he can out of his guitar trying hard to impress the crowd.
Disc three contains the two fragmentary recordings beginning with the January 11th soundboard recording. This tape first surfaced in the early nineties on Birth of the Gods (Balboa BP-0001) and contained the introduction, “I Can’t Quit You,” “Dazed and Confused,” “You Shook Me,” and the first four minutes of “How Many More Times.” Whole Lotta For Your Love (Pirate Records SCLE 003/03) is the only other silver release with the truncated tape and curiously the short version was posted on Wolfgang’s Vault. “You Shook Me” can be found on Fillmore East (Mud Dogs-007) and “I Can’t Quit You,” “Dazed And Confused,” and “You Shook Me” are on Hampton Kicks (House Of Elrond MG6471/2).
The longer source with the second half of “How Many More Times” and “Communication Breakdown” first surfaced on Syonen Zep Zokango (Akashic AKA-2) followed in quick succession by Pb+ (Wild Card 1/69-3/70), Psycho A Go-Go! (Led Note LCD 1504) and Anybody Got a Les Paul? (Equinox EX 00 020-0). How Many More Years (Empress Valley EVSD-430) was issued several years ago as part of their Legendary Fillmore series. This tape sounded much better than the older one even though another band’s music can be heard during the softer part between songs. Fresh Garbage sounds hissy but excellent and well balanced.
The tape documents the first set of the evening and comes in after Page broke a string during the first song. Plant chats with the audience while they are all waiting. “The next one on the agenda is a thing…Otis Rush number. It’s on this album Led Zeppelin coming out in a couple of weeks” There is a long pause before Plant asks, “are you warm enough tonight? Are you really warm? It’s so warm in here. That’s the word, hot. Nearly there.” John Paul Jones practices his bass while they are waiting. “It’s a good job at doing two spots.” After another long pause Plant asks, “has anybody got a Les Paul? No? Jeff who? Tell him to bring it here then.” Page finally tunes the guitar before they play “I Can’t Quit You,” the second song of the night.
Plant tells the audience that “we’ve decided, this is about the third night, and the way everything’s going we want to live here because you’re so nice.” After some babbling about the police they carry on “without any cough mixture” to play “You Shook Me.” Still the cut at 4:18 in “How Many More Times” right in the middle of Page’s guitar solo. “Tell you what. There is nothing we can say except for thank you.” The audience is very wild in demanding and encore and Plant has to shout “hang about” to get their attention. “You sort of shown us that we should do another one. But listen, if we do another one then there won’t be enough time to do another set afterwards because everything is running late.” Off mic he is told they can do an encore. “Oh, we can. Thanks. I wasn’t sure but thanks very much.”
“Train Kept A Rollin'” is said to be from the first show in San Francisco on January 9th. It can also be found on Twinight (Immigrant IM-002~3) and Whole Lotta For Your Love (Pirate Records SCLE 003/03). The sound quality is fair to good but distorted. It is a shame only one song is present on the tape. The origin of the song is also not determined either since the first thing audible on the tape is Plant saying twice how nice it is to come back for a second time. There is a long discussion on the Led Zeppelin Database website reviewing all of the clues, but the conclusion that its provenance won’t be known conclusively until more information surfaces is accurate.
The final two discs are the most interesting of the set. Containing the fourth and final night, the only other silver release of this show was many year ago on California ’69 (Lemon Song LS-7206/7). Its neglect is puzzling because the sound quality is not too bad at all and the performance is really good. The Sunday night crowd were the most quiet of the four nights with very little of the screaming and shouting found in the other shows. There are cuts between all of the tracks so a lot of the dialogue is missing. The tape begins with Bill Graham saying, “let’s welcome Led Zeppelin” and the Garnett Mimms medley “As Long As I Have You” is used as a set opener as it was in the final night in Los Angeles the preceeding week. “Communication Breakdown” is the set closer and a seven minute version of “You Shook Me” is employed as the encore.
The second set begins right at the beginning of “White Summer,” the song which normally opened the second set. the chord that Page plays at the beginning of “White Summer” is identical to that used by The Doors for “The End.” The highlight of the second set is a seventeen minute version of “How Many More Times” which, during the violin bow part, includes Plant’s ad-libs from the LP: “I was a young boy I couldn’t resist…” A three minute version of “Killing Floor” closes the show and Zeppelin’s first foray in San Francisco. Sets like Fresh Garbage are a double edged sword. If one of the tapes is not as good as it could be then it can ruin the entire set. But when it all comes together like on this one it is a phenomenal piece to have. Not only does it make it easy to obtain the tapes, but it provides an historic scope and context that single releases can’t achieve. This is easily one of the best Zeppelin releases on the Scorpio label and is worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)