Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin’s Flying Rock Carnival 1971 Complete

Led Zeppelin’s Flying Rock Carnival 1971 Complete

Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – September 23rd, 1971

Disc 1 Introduction,Immigrant Song,Heartbreaker,Since I’ve Been Loving You Black Dog,Dazed And Confused,Stairway To Heaven,Celebration Day
Disc 2 Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,Going To California,What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick
Disc 3 Whole Lotta Love,Communication Breakdown

Recently I had the opportunity to have a listen to a CDR copy of this release.  I had high hopes for this one prior to listening, but when the “ordeal” was over, I was very disappointed. Here are my thoughts…

This title features the complete tape which was once used in Watch Tower’s Rock Carnival which was an excellent release in all ways. Flying Rock Carnival uses that original tape plus newly surfaced portions of an inferior sound quality tape (or tapes) to complete this release.

I like to think that I have a pretty good pair of “bootleg ears” that can usually adjust to almost any sound quality show. However, with this show that just did not happen. From “Celebration Day” right through until the end it is a very tough listen. The sound, I can only describe as being “un-natural”. There is a noticeable “breathing” sound, level fluctuations, and possibly tape switches. Is the poor sound caused by too much compression?…too much noise reduction?…a bad EQ job? My guess is all of the above to some degree. There are many other folks more technically inclined than me who could dissect exactly what has been done with this source. As for myself…I have no desire to listen again to try and understand whats going on. Hopefully someday someone will get access to the raw, underlying source and do it up properly.

My verdict on Flying Rock Carnival….FOR COMPLETISTS ONLY…and they might even want to think twice.  Its a mess.

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  1. MOre reviews on this one please!!!
    When will it be released “oficially”?
    One of Zep’s better shows ever!

  2. I have obtained this title, notwithstanding the foregoing review, and am extremely pleased I followed my gut instincts about this release. Respectfully, it’s far from a mess, and is actually an excellent title. The recording of this landmark show is superb, with definition and separation in the instruments and vocals, as bolstered by what I consider to be wonderful range between low, mid, and high frequencies. I also find the packaging to be tasteful, with the insert in English closing by welcoming the listener to an experience close to Jimmy and Bonzo on stage. Although I’m not yet sure about how it compares, my initial impressions are that this title surpasses (for me) the great Empress Valley title “First Attack of the Rising of the Sun”, and is clearly superior to the “Rock Carnival” fragment Watchtower released a few years back. So, for me, this no label production is truly a no brainer as the definitive presentation (to date) of this incredibly powerful concert.


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