Led Zeppelin – How The East Was Won (Tarantura TCD-220~225 Box A, Admiral Page Edition)

How The East Was Won (Tarantura TCD-220~225 Box A, Admiral Page Edition)

Led Zeppelin’s first tour of Japan in the fall of 1971 is in many collectors opinions, the greatest set of dates they ever performed. Far away from the prying eyes of the Western Music critics they would play five concerts that each rank among their very best for a couple of reasons. First off the band had been together for three years, three years of non stop touring would tighten the group into one mind. Their interplay would be like second nature and come natural from watching and listening to each other, they knew where they were going even if the course had not been charted, masters of improvisation. Secondly is the song writing, give a listen to the first record. Electrified blues at its very best began to unfold over the next two albums where the blues structure gave way into even more of a light and shade contrast, heavy musical themes and gentle acoustic music was intertwined on the second and third LP’s and would reach their zenith on the fourth album. Lastly would be country of Japan itself, its thriving music scene was sheltered from the Western world and the politics of the day did not seem to follow them across the oceans. The love and adoration the band received was not so overwhelming that they were forced to shelter, they were free roaming and by all accounts the band thoroughly enjoyed their time in Japan. This welcoming atmosphere translated into five unique performances of the highest caliber, while all five follow a similar path, the music played in each is unique as the cities and the people themselves. 

Tarantura have released a box set fifty years in the making. This new set features all five concerts lovingly assembled from the best possible sources available for each concert. The recently released soundboards have not been used nor has the 9/29 Osaka soundboard which has circulated for years, all sources are genuine audience recordings carefully and seamlessly edited to provide the complete experience for each concert. The mastering has been masterfully done by Enigma, who has been heading up the sound mastering for the past two years. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to many of his works, not only Led Zeppelin recordings he has worked his magic on, but others such as Rainbow, The Police, and The Rolling Stones to name a few. His skills have elevated Tarantura to being at the top of the list for the Japanese Premium labels. To say the very least, his work on this set is astounding. The box in its self is a pure thing of beauty, all five shows house in gatefold sleeves with plastic trays, each with its own unique Japanese artwork on the exterior, slightly edited so the four Zeppelin members can be seen. Each concert has liner notes on the gatefold in both Japanese and English making it easy to understand what sources for each was used. There is a photo book that is bound by hand and requires gentleness when looking it it, the pictures all taken from this tour. There is a fold open insert with box set notes, again the front is adorned with a picture of the band arriving in Japan. If that is not enough there is a scroll unique to each box set, mine featuring “Admiral” Page looking quite proper. All CD’s and extras are housed in a beautiful rectangular box adorned with two unique art designs, Admiral Page and Guitarist Page as well as live and press photos from the tour. Simply put this is one of the finest, most attractive box sets in my collection that includes both official and non official sets. 

Flying Rock Carnival Bonus Discs (Tarantura TCD-220-1,2) 

Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – September 23, 1971 

Disc 1 (64:27) Immigrant Song, Tune Up, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day 

Disc 2 (79:15) Bron-YR-Aur Stomp, That’s The Way, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (Medley Features: Boogie Chillun, Hello Mary Lou, Mess O’ Blues, Evil Woman, Tobacco Road, Good Times Bad Times, For What It’s Worth, The Hunter, You Shook Me, Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You, Kind Hearted Woman Blues), Encore Anticipation, Communication Breakdown 

The first two discs of this set are actually the bonus discs for this set, the famous Flying Rock Carnival which began circulating in 2004 on Rock Carnival (Watchtower WT 2004111). Soon the complete recording surfaced with many of the major players releasing titles all being culled from the same root source. The liner notes state this is a recent transfer of the Flying Rock Carnival raw source, all previous versions come from a different transfer of a damaged copy of the master. This is my first version of this source, certainly enjoyable but not as much as the First Attack or Reflections sources. 

The gatefold sleeves features the band going for a ride in a hot air balloon, most certainly a carnival favorite. The rear cover, interior, and CD’s all feature photos from the performance. 

Susquehanna Day 1 (Tarantura TCD-221-1,2,3) 

Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – September 23, 1971 

Disc 1 (54:20) Introduction, Immigrant Song, Tune Up, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused 

Disc 2 (53:55) Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, Bron-YR-Aur Stomp, That’s The Way, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick 

Disc 3 (43:46) Whole Lotta Love (Medley Features: Boogie Chillun, Hello Mary Lou, , Mess O’ The Blues, Evil Woman, Tobacco Road, Good Times Bad Times, For What It’s Worth, The Hunter, You Shook Me, Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You, Kind Hearted Woman Blues, Encore Anticipation, Communication Breakdown 

The first night in Japan features Source 5 the First Attack Of The Rising Sun recording featuring a 2021 transfer of the master cassette with the gaps in Stairway To Heaven and Communication Breakdown filled with the Flying Rock Carnival source, and the cut on Moby Dick and Whole Lotta Love is filled with the Reflection From A Dream source 4. For the introduction a combination of Source 5, Front Row source 3, and an unknown source is used to provide the complete Mr. Udo introduction of Led Zeppelin to Japan. I used the excellent Watchtower release Timeless Rock (WT 2001010R/11R/12R) for comparison. The Watchtower is good but this Tarantura is better, the sound is just a tad lower in volume but has a wider frequency range, slightly less distortion, and more space between the instruments which give this detailed recording even more clarity with that warm analog sound. 

Source 5 is a stunning audience recording, certainly the best of the twelve known audio recordings from this show. I can remember how happy I was to update the Storm Of Fanatics Mud Dogs title with the Reflections From A Dream title on TDOLZ wondering, how could it get any better. It’s obvious the folks behind this recording have audio recording experience and excellent equipment as this is not some punter who brought his tape recorder to the show. Full three dimensional sound with excellent vocal and instrument separation make for an incredible listening experience. The taper was in the perfect location picking up that perfect blend of music to audience giving the “you are there” feeling, its recordings like this that most prefer over a soundboard any day of the week. I very much enjoy how the audience seem tentative, like they want to explode but hold back. Listening to Dazed And Confused when Robert sings the first line, there is slight applause almost as if they are looking around “is this ok?”, when no one objects there is a louder round of applause. I think at first the quiet, structured behavior almost confuses the band but after the unrest and confrontational nature of many of the concerts in North America, they soon warm and appreciate the respect given. 

The acoustic section of this concert is really nice, they tease Bron YR-Aur Stomp briefly before That’s The Way, they would play the song only one other time this tour, the first night in Osaka. Plant references America as he introduces Going To California, the respectful audience cheer and laugh which drops any barriers. The acoustic section is so well captured, the interplay of Page on guitar and Jones on mandolin is clear and detailed and the band play beautiful versions of these acoustic set mainstays. Plant’s voice is so good, he hits the high notes effortlessly not having to compete with the amplifiers. The gentle music has the audience in a trance as they listen in the most intimate fashion, their applause at the end speaks volumes. 

The Whole Lotta Love medleys from this tour are all unique and extremely exciting. The first night is very long clocking in at over 36 minutes featuring standards Boogie Chillun’ and Mess O Blues, the former features Robert whipping the audience to a near frenzy just before they play it proper. It’s interesting to hear the different audience source perspectives during around Tobacco Road, the farther away from the stage the audience is loud and very into it giving slightly different perspective to the main source. There’s a few more rare songs like Good Times, Bad Times and How Many More Times whips the crowd into a euphoric state, the audience is 100 percent into the gig as much as the performers, it’s exciting just listening. You Shook Me is dusted off and pummels the audience with its plodding heaviness, Jimmy rips a solo that levitates you, the audience cheer loudly as the band hit the note, well a series of them. This set perfectly captures the hysteria created after Whole Lotta Love finishes, this is what cheering for an encore sounds like, nothing is a given the audience all clap very loudly drawing our heroes back to stage, when they come back it’s a heroes welcome that gives you goose bumps just hearing it. Plant tells the folks down front to cool it and has to stop a stage invasion, they launch into Communication Breakdown and not surprising the audience is beyond themselves, a brilliant first night in Japan. 

The gatefold sleeve features front cover art work featuring the Zep boys on a sailing ship adorned in silk robes. The interior has two side stage shots and one of the acoustic set, the discs feature Jimmy and Robert, all photos unique to this performance. 

Oh! Pretty Woman Day 2 (Tarantura TCD-222-1,2,3) 

Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – September 24, 1971 

Disc 1 (51:22) Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused (Medley Features I Got A Feeling) 

Disc 2 (63:39) Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California, Tangerine, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick 

Disc 3 (51:14) Instrumental Intro > Whole Lotta Love (Medley Features Boogie Chillun, Cocaine, Rave On, Your Time Is Gonna Come, I’m A Man, The Hunter, Hello Mary Lou, Pretty Woman, How Many More Times), Encore Anticipation, Organ Solo, Thank You, Encore Anticipation, Communication Breakdown (Medley Features It’s Your Thing) 

The second day in Tokyo is recreated from three main sources. A recent transfer of the “Light & Shade” source is used for the bulk of the set with gaps filled with the old “Pretty Woman” source for Moby Dick and the Super Stars source for the cut in Dazed, the splices are seamless and very well done. The recordings from this performance tend to be boomy and distorted, not difficult to enjoy but more challenging than the recordings from the first night. To me the mastering on this set is nothing short of astounding, Enigma has managed to temper the extreme bass boominess and bring out the best of the sound, a clarity that was there yet under the distortion. I have two other versions of this concert, Light & Shade Remastered (TDOLZ-VOL 027R) and Super Stars! (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-024 A/B/C/D/E/F) and this Tarantura is easily the best. The TDOLZ is too bright and brittle sounding, the Graf is much better having a much more natural sound but without addressing the heavy bass, this new Tarantura delivers on all fronts and is extremely well done. 

The second performance in Tokyo was an afternoon show, the Pretty Woman source is the only to capture the introduction and its difficult to make out, the quality switches just before Immigrant Song to much better quality. John Bonham spoke about the Japanese tour and fans, “It was a fantastic place to play. Rock music only started to really happen there a few years ago, but it’s now the second biggest market in the world. The people there were so friendly and we had the best Rock promoter in the world there looking after us. It turned out the Immigrant Song is one of our biggest favorites in Japan, and it’s the number we always open with. So the audiences were going potty right at the start.” One gets their feeling of excitement as the band play the first two numbers non stop for the first time in Japan. 

Since I’ve Been Loving You is really good, Robert starts with a mournful wail leading into the first verse, he masterfully builds the tension in his voice, from sorrow to anger and back again. Bonzo’s drumming is superlative, powerful but not overplayed, it’s interesting to hear the interplay of the three instrumentalists as they play three different variations of the theme to make the whole depending on who is taking the lead. Robert dedicates Black Dog to Cliff Richard, he must be in a Cliff kinda mood as he references the British crooner’s 1959 classic I Got A Feeling during the post bow section. Robert’s vocals are wonderful during Stairway To Heaven, no drums at the beginning means no distortion for the first few minutes and it sounds clear and vibrant. Based upon some of the clapping and cheering at the beginning of the song, there were certainly people at the previous days performance and the song made an impression on them. 

The acoustic set is again wonderful, the audience are fairly quiet as the band set up the chairs at the the front of the stage. Plant sings a line from Friends “I’m telling you now” just as they ready That’s The Way, gentle and beautiful version. The respectful audience give a nice ovation as Plant sings the first line of the song. Plant again reminisces about the golden era of San Francisco in the 60’s to introduce Going To California, his vocal is touching and perfectly sung, so nice to have such a perfect sounding acoustic section. This concert would also mark the first live appearance of Tangerine in the acoustic set, it would be played at the three remaining concerts as well and be a mainstay of the acoustic set throughout the summer of 1972. I have always loved the simple acoustic renditions of the song, a song of love. 

Whole Lotta Love is back down to a more normal length in this performance clocking in at 29 minutes but it is just as good as the previous evening and is most notable for the impromptu version of Your Time Is Gonna Come, and it is really fun but the band don’t really get it together. I’m A Man aka Mannish Boy is much better, the Muddy Waters version is well known to Page and the others, it moves into Rosie and The Hunter which delights the audience, they clap and shout in time with the band. Albert King’s Oh Pretty Woman is really good, the deep Blues track is expertly played and is a very rare inclusion into this medley, the boys are digging deep on this night even throwing in the ending of How Many More Times before getting to the end of Whole Lotta Love. Not as mind blowing as the previous evenings medley yet still tremendous fun. The band play a typically heartfelt version of Thank You for the last performance in Tokyo, they have certainly enjoyed their time playing in the historic Budokan Great Hall and the crowd in turn show their appreciation for the band. They clap along with the band, thankfully this only adds to the joy and does not overpower the music. Communication Breakdown is the final encore, this night they add a bit of the Isley Brothers It’s Your Thing during the funky middle section. 

The gatefold sleeve finds our heroes aboard the Kurofune Express train, the interior features color live shots of Jones, Page, and Plant while the CD’s focus on the latter two. There is a very nice shot done from the barrier between the stage and audience on Jimmy’s side that offers an interesting perspective. 

Black Rain Day 3 (Tarantura TCD-223-1,2,3) 

Prefectiral Gymnasium, Hiroshima, Japan – September 27, 1971 

Disc 1 (65:24) Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused 

Disc 2 (61:54) Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, Tune Up, That’s The Way, Going To California, Tangerine, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick 

Disc 3 (29:35) The Lady Is A Tramp > Whole Lotta Love (Medley Features In The Light, Boogie Chillun, Let’s Have Some Fun, Nine Times Out Of Ten, Be-Bop A Lula), Encore Anticipation, Communication Breakdown, After The Show 

The third show in Hiroshima is the lesser circulated of the five although there are a couple very old vinyl bootleg titles featuring this performance, Hiroshima Live In Japan 1971 (Trade Mark Of UFO UFO 1027A-B / UFO 1031 A-B) and Hiroshima Part 1 and 2 (Geil no matrix) featuring source 3. The compact disc titles are just a few more, Live In Japan 1971 (Last Stand Disc LSD-42/53), Peace/ Hiroshima (Peace 1-2A), Peace Of Mind (Mud Dogs 002/003), Message Of Love (Lemon Song LS-7210/11), Zingi (Tarantura TCD-KUROFUNE-3-1/2), Love & Peace In Hiroshima 1971 (Bumble Bee BB-0702007-8), Live Peace in Hiroshima (Wendy WECD-710927), and Love And Peace (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-591/592/593). I have the last two in my collection, I must admit I always found the Wendy Live Peace In Hiroshima a difficult listen so I was overjoyed when I first got the EV’s Love And Peace. The packaging was nice, gatefold sleeve in a box with an OBI (sound familiar?) plus a cool newspaper foldout reproduction. 

This new version is a three source mix using the Love & Peace source 5 for the majority of the concert with gaps filled with the Digger source 1 and the Mud Dogs source 3, all three sources claim to be from low generation or master tape transfers. This coupled with excellent mastering from Enigma makes for the best sounding version to date. Tarantura uses the same basic mixing of sources EV did, the EV has been my go to source for this concert since I first got it, the sound is really good. When I compare the EV to this Tarantura it’s clear that this new title has better sound. Both are pretty much the same volume wise, this new Tarantura has a much wider range of frequencies and is full sounding, there is also better instrument separation giving a clear and more dimensional sound making the EV sound rather flat in comparison. 

The famous benefit concert for the people of Hiroshima for which the band receive the Peace medal from the mayor of Hiroshima Setsuo Yamada. Robert had this to say ” We were born after the atomic air raid. We are not in a position to blame anybody, as it just happened in the past history and it was a human being who did it. It is not our fault, but our past should be blamed. We would like to express our sincere apology about it. In this regard we would like to help any victims who have been suffering from the bombing. Music can bring peace and joy to you. We, the musicians, will feel honorable if we can be of help to anybody.” The band would raise 7,000,000 yen all of which went to the victims. The title of this set is rather sad, after the bombing of Hiroshima, the massive amount of ash that went into the atmosphere caused a black rain which fell hours after the bombing, the radioactive water furthered the contamination of the environment and thus the survivors. 

This concert features the longest introduction, most certainly pre concert announcements, what is being said pleases the audience as they clap and cheer in appreciation. About seven minutes in the band is finally introduced and the 6,000 strong clap and cheer awaiting the mighty Led Zeppelin, who get a massive ovation as they take the stage followed by Immigrant Song and the proverbial Hammer Of The Gods. The sound of the main recording is very good, the only drawback is the drums are a bit low in the mix, the vocals, guitar, and bass have excellent clarity and balance. The drum sound is better as the concert progresses. Since I’ve Been Loving You is quite dramatic during this tour, Robert is full of mournful cries, this night he’s almost crying. Jones’ Organ is very clear in the mix and it’s interesting to hear some of the flourishes he plays here and there. Jimmy’s guitar tone is incredible during 1971, it has a certain growl to it that sounds wonderful on these amateur recordings. Robert gives a standard introduction to Black Dog each night as being from the fourth album due to be released soon. Having been playing the song live since the initial live dates in Ireland back in March the song at this point is extremely tight and very dynamic, the band storm through the song with power and swagger. 

Dazed And Confused is very dark and eerie, Plant’s vocals at the end of the bow solo are haunting and seem to float in the air as if conjured from the depths of Jimmy amplifiers. The synergy of the three instrumentalists is on full display as Page plays slow and fast crescendos never repeating the same theme. Around 18 minutes in Jimmy play an interesting segment and you can here John Paul Jones change his rhythm instantly and begins to follow the guitar, masters of improvisation. Stairway To Heaven gives the listener a good idea on the intimate setting of the small venue, the acoustics are quite good and the audience is very quiet as they listen intently to the new music. There’s a full loud whistlers during this concert, Robert comments “this is a bird seed commercial” before referencing New York as an introduction to Celebration Day. 

The warm up to the acoustic set is intimate with Robert telling the audience it’s ok to enjoy themselves, he also introduces his cup of tea to a nice round of applause. The 1971 Japanese tour features some of my favorite acoustic sections, they are all superlatively played, and well captured from a recording standpoint. These sets really showcase what a versatile musician John Paul Jones is, his mandolin play is really nice, he and Jimmy intertwine their playing which flows like a gentle moving stream especially during Going To California, gentle ripples of sound cascading back and forth. The Whole Lotta Love medley is the shortest of the tour, it doesn’t mean that it is lesser than the others as it certainly has its own unique moments. The band vamp it up for a minute by playing a bit of Frank Sinatra’s The Lady Is A Tramp before Page breaks into the iconic Whole Lotta Love riff. The band play an up tempo variation of the riff that will become In The Light years later before the theremin section which is really cool, more love for Cliff Richard as they play Nine Times Out Of Ten, the 1960 hit he had with The Shadows. If that wasn’t enough they get into Gene Vincent’s Be Bob-A-Lula driving one audience member near the taper crazy! The audience are having a blast as the band get back into Whole Lotta Love, their frenzied response brings the band for a blistering take on Communication Breakdown to end the concert that does not go without incident when Robert halts the song to stop another stage invasion, catastrophe adverted the band start up with Jimmy soloing away…another classic! 

The gatefold cover features the band in a schooner being fired upon by forces onshore during a rain storm. The interior features color live shots mostly from the acoustic set as do the CD’s. There is a black and white shot from the audience very side stage which gives one an idea of how small the stage was. There is a massive back drop of “LED ZEPPELIN” which easily identifies photos from this concert. 

Please Please Me Day 4 (Tarantura TCD-224-1,2,3)

Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – September 28, 1971

Disc 1 (70:09) Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused (Medley Features Over Under Sideways Down > Third Stone From The Sun)

Disc 2 (72:46) Stairway To Heaven, Please Please Me > From Me To You, Celebration Day, Bron-YR-Aur Stomp, That’s The Way, Going To California, We Shall Overcome, Tangerine, Down By The Riverside, The Grand Ole Opry, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick

Disc 3 (55:00) Whole Lotta Love (Medley Features Boogie Chillun’, D In Love, Bachelor Boy, C’Mon Baby, Maybellene, Hello Mary Lou, Be-Bop-A-Lula, Heartbreak Hotel, Say Mama, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, You Shook Me), Encore Anticipation, C’Mon Everybody, High Heeled Sneakers, Communication Breakdown (Medley Features Cat’s Squirrel > Watch Your Step)

For the first night in Osaka there are only three known audience sources, the main source is source 1 with the gaps and missing sections filled with the other two sources, this means that Dazed And Confused is not complete. This is a similar mix to what was used for the Osaka 1971 1st Night (No Label 2018), most other releases of this concert use a two source mix, of these I only have Please Please Me (Wendy WECD-710928). Older source mixes are featured on titles Please Please Me (Tarantura T3CD-4-1-3), C’Mon Everybody (Mud Dogs-013/015/015), and Live in Japan 1971 September 28th Osaka (Last Stand Disc LSD-54/55/56). Perhaps the most relevant issue of this concert came in 2020 when Empress Valley released a portion of a soundboard recording featured on a variety of titles like Live In Osaka 928 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1255/1256/1257). The sound of this new Tarantura easily beats my old Wendy title Please Please Me (Wendy WECD-710928) which suffers from too much compression that squashes the tape hiss and does add clarity and volume but makes for this harsh sound. This title does not have the additional tape before the concert and source 2 used for the final encore has that metallic sound. This new Tarantura is warmer sounding, does have a tad bit of hiss and actually sounds a bit clearer and far more enjoyable.

There are initial announcements followed by a long period before the band arrive onstage and Robert says “Good Evening”, do a quick soundcheck and blast into Immigrant Song followed by a really great version of Heartbreaker, Bonzo is a bit low in the mix but Jonesy is clear, his bass playing is really good and a major part of the opening songs powerful and forceful sound, the audience pummeled from the start. Robert greets the audience with a promise of happiness and talks about the trip from Hiroshima via the bullet train. A really good version of Black Dog features Page playing these solos that seem to go on just effortlessly, when he goes back into the main riff and ends the songs, Jones and Bonzo are right there, really inventive and extremely tight.

The band take this creativity into Dazed And Confused, Bonzo does a drum roll that leads into Jimmy’s bow solo which has Page playing some outer worldish themes. They come out of the bow solo flying with Page unleashing his hellfire, Plant gets in with I’ve Got A Feeling lines, shortly afterwards Bonzo plays a snippet of the drum pattern from The Crunge followed by Jimmy doing a quick bit of Over Under Sideways Down, the Third Stone tease comes towards the very long outro just before the song ends at the very end. A really interesting and complex version of the song. Robert seems slightly put off by how quiet the audience is, it makes for a crystal clear Stairway To Heaven, he gets them loose as he sings The Beatles’ Please Please Me and then From Me To You with the rest of the band joining in, the audience is very happy and instantly clap along just to be blown back by Celebration Day which wakes them up. After teasing it at the first Tokyo gig the band finally play the first known complete live version of Bron-YR-Aur Stomp and it’s really nice, the audience love it and are in a clapping groove when the band goes right into That’s The Way. The relaxed vibe of the concert has Robert giving a rambling introduction to Going To California as being from between Japan and Atlantis. The audience don’t known how to respond to the music and they begin clapping expecting a Stomp style hoedown, Robert has them following his lead when he breaks into We Shall Overcome, most clap some sing with him, the clapping continues as they get into Tangerine and throughout, the culmination of the acoustic set is a joyous band and audience version of Down By The Riverside. Switching back to electric they get a bit of picking going on to which Robert reply’s “Welcome to the Grand Ol Opry” as a prelude into What Is And What Should Never Be, no language barrier here, music being the universal translator. An amazing acoustic set.

Bonzo is definitely feeling it as evident by his 19 minute Moby Dick solo, he just never lets up and just hammers at it the entire time, his stamina is stunning and is one of his best solos from 1971. The Whole Lotta Love medley is another classic as the band cover the gambit, Chuck Berry’s Maybellene, more Cliff Richard with Bachelor Boy, Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel and Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Ricky Nelson’s Hello Mary Lou, Gene Vincent’s Be-Bop-A-Lula all entwined with Blue classics like John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillun’ and Willie Dixon’s You Shook Me. Another epic Whole Lotta Love medley clocking in at nearly 37 minutes leaves the audience delirious and wanting more. The encores are worth their effort as “Veterans” Phil Carson joins on bass and Clive Coulson on vocals for a jam style take on “Rock and Roll music” beginning with Eddie Cochran’s C’Mon Everybody and Tommy Tucker’s Hi Heeled Sneakers, the latter finding Jonesy switching to organ for some boogie licks on the keys. The band finish the three hour plus concert with an all out jam version of Communication Breakdown with the band touching on Cat’s Squirrel ala Cream and Bobby Parker’s Watch Your Step. Source 2 is used for the end of the concert, it is as good as I have heard this and captures an essential piece of the concert….EPIC!

The front cover of this set finds our heroes safely into the port city of Osaka with the Osaka Castle in the background. The interior features shots of the entire band, Jonesy even gets on a CD! A nice black and white front stage shot of the band show how basic these concerts are, the four musicians and their instruments, no hoopla, just the music.

The Barbarians And The Geisha Day 5 (Tarantura TCD-225-1,2,3)

Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – September 29, 1971

Disc 1 (66:43) Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused (Medley Features St Tristan’s Sword > Pennies From Heaven)

Disc 2 (72:21) Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, Tune Up, That’s The Way, Going To California, Tune Up, Tangerine, Tune Up, Friends, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, What Is And What Should Never Be, Mody Dick

Disc 3 (65:17) Instrumental Intro > Whole Lotta Love (Medley Features Boogie Chillun’, I Gotta Know, Tossin’ And Turnin’, Twist And Shout, Fortune Teller, Good Times Bad Times, Jam, You Shook Me), Encore Anticipation, Communication Breakdown (Medley Features Just A Little Bit), Encore Anticipation, Organ Solo, Thank You, Rock And Roll

The second night in Osaka and the last night of the Japanese tour is perhaps the most famous of the entire tour thanks to the original soundboard recording of nearly the complete show. This is the first recording from this concert I got, a friend taped a vinyl transfer of the Live In Japan 1971 (UFO 1001 A-D) on cassette and began my love affair with this performance. Years later I added Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Mad Dogs-035/6/7), and years later 929 (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 82). Over the years I have collected several other titles featuring various mixes including the butchered soundboard released by EV in 2018. I find it fitting that Tarantura did not use any of the “professional” sources for this concert, this box set is every bit about the Japanese people and their love for Led Zeppelin, now and then. This is certainly the most bootlegged of all the Japanese shows, I wont bore you with all the titles, most certainly most collectors have their share as I do.

This set is made up of the entire Mr. Peach recording, source 4 and the very good source 3 with source 2 to a much lesser extent. The Peach tape, clocking in at 120 minutes has been remastered for this set by Enigma and we get a chance to hear more closely how the original tape sounds. Having bought the Live In The Fairy Tale (Tarantura TCD-190-1.2) set when it came out I have had the opinion that this recording best captured the power of Led Zeppelin and the response of the audience. The sound of this original title has been mastered for loudness and does not accurately reflect the recording, one gets a better feel on this new version. The sound is not as loud and has a more natural sound and much better frequency range since the volume and compression are not as aggressive. That does not mean more hiss, it is actually a pretty clean recording that is now warm and inviting, this is a very pleasant surprise. Compared to my old 929 TDOLZ title this is a substantial upgrade, definitely a much lower generation of the tape, Tarantura says this is 2021 transfer so better tape, newer technology. Louder sound, more clear and dynamic making for a nice companion source to the Peach recording.

This is perhaps my favorite version of Immigrant Song, Jimmy plays a bit longer solo filled with lots of leads though his wah pedal in a rather laid back style. The band are relaxed in their surroundings and play a visceral performance that is a culmination of their time in Japan, these are some of my favorite live versions, the aforementioned Immigrant Song and an incredible Since I’ve Been Loving You, just tremendous in the playing, Jimmy just adding this small flourishes without cluttering it up, all effortless. While speaking no Japanese, Robert seems at ease with his commentary and if one would not know of the language barrier one would get the feeling of intimate dialog with the audience. I love the aborted beginning of Dazed And Confused, Jonesy gets a nice round of applause, the crowd claps excitedly for the song. The band have been toying with adding bits in, Jimmy gets into what would become St Tristan’s Sword about 21 minutes in that would carry on for about a minute, Robert scats over “I’ve gotta a feeling….oh yeah…I got a bad feelin” followed by Jimmy playing a melancholy riff while Robert gets in with a song made popular by Bing Crosby, Pennies From Heaven. Jimmy picks up on it and increases the tempo before falling back into the voice and guitar call and response section.

“You’re much too quiet, much too slow, too silly, and fast asleep…this is another track off the new album, the fourth album. This is called Stairway To Heaven”, the band put much effort into presenting Stairway To Heaven during these 1971 concerts, like the American tour prior to this, these fans are hearing the song that would in a few years become anthem like in its iconic status. The band deliver focused and very direct performances, all dynamic with Page really hitting the solos, nothing drawn out or extended, simple majesty. Celebration Day would be played a lot in 1971, curious as to why they eventually dropped it until 1973, it is very well played and with Page using the double neck the sound is full with that certain ring to it. The Japanese versions are all excellent and very well done, the audience seem to enjoy it too.

The previous evenings acoustic set was really good, the band and audience had a blast, both finding the common dialog in the music. The final night in Japan would be just as good. The Festival Hall acoustics are wonderful and make for a wonderful clear and detailed recording of the acoustic set, the harmonizing vocals on the last chorus during That’s The Way receives a huge ovation and a smile to your face. Certainly a highlight of the acoustic set is Bonzo has gone missing which leads to some colorful dialog from Robert; “Where’s Bonzo? Bonzo…Mr. Bonham…Mr. Bonham. Listen, after three everybody say ‘Mr. Bonham’… 1..2..3.. ‘Mr Bonham’. For fuck’s sake…Mr. Bonham…what can you say…Mr. Bonham went for bath with Geisha. I’m afraid Mr., where is he? Fuck you mate. Where’d he go? Alright then, no Mr. Bonham. Mr. Bonham, then, I know what you mean, so shhh. I’m a country boy”, we now know Bonzo was having intestinal issues, they proceed with Tangerine without him, three part harmony at its finest. “Who’s this coming over the screen? Mr. Bonham. Japan is a wonderful place, and you’re too much. We don’t usually do things like this” and the band break into the only known live version of Friends, the song is a culmination of the welcoming and loving nature of the Japanese people.

Like the previous evening, Moby Dick is a prime example of Bonzo at his most powerful, he plays with his hands and accentuates it by stomping powerfully on his bass drum in an aggressive rhythm. What can be said about Whole Lotta Love that hasn’t been said already. The band play another long version filled with unique songs thrown in, most notable Freddie King’s Hideaway, Tossin and Turnin’ from Peter Criss’ first solo album, Twist and Shout made famous by The Beatles, Fortune Teller, more The Throb than The Who. Led Zep I classics come from Good Times Bad Times and You Shook Me delight the audience (and listener!). The band give their all during the encores beginning with a wah fused Communication Breakdown complete with a chunky middle section, they are seemingly in no hurry to finish. The audience cheer in appreciation and begin a clap chant of “Zeppelin…Zeppelin” going on for five minutes solid that really sums up this set perfect, fans on incredible music wanting more. The band return again with a passionate version of Thank You that is preceded by a Jonesy organ solo giving the others a chance to catch their breath. The band end with the sole version of Rock And Roll from this tour, while the band do sound near exhaustion the song acts as a war cry, the audience clap and cheer, when it’s over, the band and audience are satisfied. 

The gatefold sleeve features Zeppelin enjoying their final evening at a wondrous evening with many Geisha, it looks like a festive time. John Paul Jones and John Bonham are featured prominently on the inside while all four members are featured on the CD’s.

After spending a considerable amount of time listening to and reviewing these concerts in order over a weeks time brings new insight into this tour and why it’s considered one of the best sequences in Led Zeppelin’s history. That being said this box set is as good as it looks. The packaging is stunning, the Japanese artwork combined with many amateur style photographs give this set a unique look and feel compared to other releases of this material. The sound of these sources is as good as I have heard, much praise should go to Enigma for the excellent mastering work, mastering that accents the original sources, not overpowering them. This work is certainly the highest achievement yet. The beauty and presentation are of a quality equal to the nicest box sets on the official market. This box was limited to 100 sets per cover design, so 200 copies perhaps more if there are promo copies floating around, this set sold out almost immediately is very hard to find.

Share This Post

Like This Post


Related Posts


    Leave a Reply

    Thanks for submitting your comment!

    Recent Comments

    Editor Picks