I’ve Got A Feeling (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-907A/B)
Boston Garden, Boston, MA, USA – September 7, 1971
Disc 1 (74:03) Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick
Disc 2 (75:34) Whole Lotta Love incl. Killing Floor, Communication Breakdown incl. I’ve Got A Feeling, Organ Solo, Thank You, Rock And Roll. Bonus Trax: Recorder 2: Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You (middle part cut), Black Dog, Dazed And Confused (cuts out)
One of Led Zeppelin’s early triumphs was the East Coast city of Boston, Massachusetts. The music fans of the city took to the band immediately during their inaugural four night stand at the Boston Tea Party in January 1969, and from there it just grew and grew. The summer of 1971 would prove to be a particularly volatile one with Led Zeppelin’s concerts in both New York City and Boston being quite unruly, thankfully both concerts were recorded and listeners can experience a unique insight into the power of Led Zeppelin’s mystique.
There are two fragmented recordings from this concert, the first and better of the two has been released as Listen To Me Boston (Tarantura BOS-1,2) and Boston Garden Party (Magnificent Disc MD-7101 AB). The poorer quality second source was used on Tarantura’s box set of the band’s Boston 1970, 71, and 73 concerts entitled Boston Journal Wreckage In Boston: Calm Down (Tarantura TCD-25,26,27). Finally Empress Valley would use a mix of both to provide as complete a version as possible on Listen! Listen! Listen To Me! (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-437/438). This new release by Graf Zeppelin revisits these 1971 Boston concert tapes by employing the method used by Empress Valley and have added bonus material so basically you will get both recordings in one convenient package.
The main source used for this is source 1, a good to very good audience recording taped fairly close to the stage. Like many recordings from this era the vocals and guitar are more prominent in the mix although the bass and drums can be heard, just a little muddy. There is a bit of tape hiss present and some crowd noise near the taper that does not interfere and adds to the overall ambiance of the recording. The recording is incomplete missing the acoustic section, Moby Dick and most of Whole Lotta Love. The second recording refereed to as source 2 is extremely fragmented and falls easily into the good range. It sounds a bit more distant than source 1 yet is overall clearer. Its main drawback is that only the first four songs are uncut, like source 1 it has a bit of hiss but nothing too distracting. When compared to the Empress Valley title Listen! Listen! Listen To Me!, this new title from Graf Zeppelin’s source 1 is similar in sound, a bit clearer and just slightly less hiss, not a significant improvement but a noticeable improvement. The second source is the same, definitely clearer but a bit better dynamics and just slightly less hiss. The transition between sources is wonderfully handled by Graf Zeppelin as is the overall mastering of these two sources.
The introduction is classic, in fact the announcer sounds like the same guy who did the concert announcements on the 1970 Boston tape. He reminds the crowd that Lawrence Welk is going to be there Saturday night and the audience is having none of it!, shades of things to come. Immigrant Song is incredibly powerful and pummels the audience and the segue into Heartbreaker is flawless. Bonzo’s drumming during Heartbreaker is superb. You get a feel of the intimacy during Page’s solo, the Boston Garden sounds like a small hall. I was quite pleased with the second source of this set, while overloaded in places it is actually very listenable and offers a little bit of a different perspective from the first source.
Since I’ve Been Loving You is very good, Plant’s vocal delivery is unique, almost reacting to the music and being lost into the deep blues. The versions of the song during the USA summer 1971 tour are tense and not as relaxed as Japan and the fall UK tour. It’s curious that during the Black Dog and Dazed And Confused portion of the show the crowd seems relatively mellow and drawn in by the performance. You get a feel of unrest in the air during Robert’s introduction to Stairway To Heaven and can hear fireworks that destroy his concentration. When one considers the lighting at concerts back then, much of the illumination coming from spotlights that made it hard to see the audience, it must have been a bit unnerving. Robert’s pleading does not stop, he attempts to quiet the unrest during the acoustic set as well, you can hear a distant almost moaning during Going To California. Beauty among the darkness.
A really hot Killing Floor is the sole remnant of the Whole Lotta Love medley, the song is rarely played at this point and sounds fresh as the band have not lost their “touch” one bit. Page destroys Plant in an attempted call and response, he cannot be held back. When the band break into the Whole Lotta Love ending they do so with swagger, just sounds so frickin’ cool, a great eight minute fragment. Communication Breakdown features Page giving his wah pedal a workout during an extensive funky Crunge like middle section much to the chagrin of the audience. The anticipation builds, someone close to the taper comments “I don’t see the house lights on” and shortly after John Paul Jones begins his pastoral organ solo leading to a typically heartfelt version of Thank You. John Paul’s bass gives a solid backbone to Rock And Roll, a version reminiscent of the version played in Japan a few weeks after this performance. The song brings the house down, another Boston jewel.
The packaging is simple yet effective, live shots of the band from 1971, the photo on the rear is stunning, Page, Plant, and Jones during the acoustic set shot from behind with spot lights coming at them from a distance. The CDs have pictures on them and are entitled Snowdonia and also feature the same shots as the rear and let’s not forget the numbered sticker, mine is 073. This recording has not seen a release in a very long time, while I cannot compare to the Tarantura versions it is certainly better than the EV title plus the fact that you get both sources make this even more attractive. For the committed collector this is an attractive title, yet it may not appeal to the casual collector.