Let’s Have A Party (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-013A/B/C)
Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, West Germany – March 19th, 1973
Disc 1 (58:59): Introduction, Rock And Roll, Over The Hills And Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song
Disc2 (66:05): MC, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love
Disc3 (66:40): MC, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love
Led Zeppelin’s March 1973 tour of Europe is among their legendary eras. By far the majority of these shows were in Germany and all of them exists on tape. The Berlin show on the nineteenth can be found on both a complete audience tape and an excellent sounding soundboard fragment of the hottest parts of the show.
The earliest release with material from this concert is the rare vinyl A Good Job – Inedits 6 (LZ 73 A-B) which has “Dazed And Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love.” One two compact disc releases have the audience recording of the entire concert. The first to come out was Majestic Holies (Immigrant IM-015~16) in the mid nineties. A decade later Wings of Desire (Wendy Records WECD-191/192) was release with the audience tape and the soundboard recording used in “Whole Lotta Love.”
Most titles in the past fifteen years have utilized the twenty-two minute soundboard recording featuring most of “Whole Lotta Love.” Among the earliest were Air Raids Over Germany (Tecumseh TRC-005) which has the “Whole Lotta Love” medley from this show along with “Dazed And Confused” and “Bring It On Home” from the 1970 Berlin tape and the entire fifteen minute 1980 Nuremberg show.
Nasty Music (Tarantura T3CD-011-1-2-3) also has “Whole Lotta Love” along with other songs from the era and Let’s Have a Party (ARMS ARMS.15PR) is a one disc title with only the twenty-two minute “Whole Lotta Love” medley. Twopenny Upright (Antrabata ARM 161171 180773 190373) also has “Whole Lotta Love” along with other material and finally A Soundboard Platter (Scorpio LZ-07005-01~04).
In the ensuing years a second, very good buy fragmented audience tape surfaced.
Let’s Have A Party on Graf Zeppelin is a three disc collection utilizing all three tapes. The first two discs contain the complete show from the first audience tape. It’s very good but thin and lacking in dynamics. It cuts out at the very end of “Whole Lotta Love” cutting off the encores. The second disc edits the second audience recording, which is much clearer and enjoyable than the first, with the soundboard “Whole Lotta Love” fragment. It’s not essential for enjoying the show, but is a nice bonus to have.
The first disc has a short introduction before the opening “Rock And Roll” which segues into “Over The Hills And Far Away” which Plant calls “a song from the last album.” After taking a cigarette from someone in the front row, he introduces “Black Dog” as a song “about a four legged creature who liked to boogie all the time until he became incapable of moving afterwards with his lady friend.”
The playing is fluid and Page’s riffs dynamic, but the audience are strangely quiet (their pre-gig stomping notwithstanding). Plant addresses the situation after “Black Dog” joking, “we are led to believe that this place often gets quite noisy, and considering we’ve come here before, I bet there are sixty guys in the back there who haven’t come to see a concert. So we’re gonna try to have a nice good time, somehow or other.”
“Misty Mountain Hop” forms a strange little diptych and is played with utmost sincerity. Plant’s narration in the latter and punctuated by busts of notes from Page’s guitar.
There is a long pause before “Dazed And Confused” which Plant describes as “a very old song.” Someone requests “Whole Lotta Love” but he jokes, “it’s not ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ that was recorded by Jethro Tull.” Page plays a riff that could either be “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel or (and more probably) the opening riff to “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” by T Rex.
Nevertheless, “Dazed And Confused” is another masterpiece in improvisational skill. Bonham in particular forgets all restraint and bangs away throughout he entire piece. During the long jam session they try a cover of Ricky Nelson’s tune “I Got A Feeling” right before the funk section that leads into the call-and-response.
It seems that every version of this piece in Europe is grounds for more onstage experimentation by the band, at times trying hard to push it into a Mahavishnu Orchestra style jazz-fusion piece. One can hear echoes of John McLaughlin in Page’s playing at certain points. Their second LP Birds Of Fire was released this month).
After “Stairway To Heaven” Plant mentions they are traveling to Hamburg the next day.
The set ends with the “Whole Lotta Love” medley, reaching almost twenty-five minutes. It includes funky arrangements of the normal inclusions including “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,” “Boogie Chillun’,” “Baby I Don’t Care” and “Let’s Have A Party.” The climax is reached with a devastatingly heavy and sloppy performance of “I Can’t Quit You,” lacking the reference to “Stones In My Passway” like the British performances but does include the lemon reference.
At the final climax Plant yells “Elvis Presley has now left the building. Good night.” The encores, mostly likely “Heartbreaker” and maybe “The Ocean,” have never surfaced.
Let’s Have A Party is a really good release on Graf Zeppelin. Everything this label releases is worth having and, much like Tarantura, do their own mastering. The Berlin show hasn’t been out in a while, so this is an excellent way to pick up what is a surprisingly good and difficult show to find.