Live At Festival Hall 1972 (Power Archives PA-0310006/7)
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – October 4, 1972
Disc 1 (51:37): Rock And Roll, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song
Disc 2 (71:24): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker, Immigrant Song
Led Zeppelin’s third show in Japan in 1972, and their first at the Festival Hall in Osaka, is one of the most laid back and mellow shows from their early years. Unlike their visit to Osaka the previous year, the audience are very quiet and respectful and Plant in particular sounds lethargic. Live At Festival Hall 1972 was released in 2003 on the Power Archives label, a one off that produced only three discs before disappearing.
They primarily use the longer second tape source and use the first source for the beginning of “The Song Remains The Same” and “Immigrant Song.” This is a different tactic than the other two source mixes Connexion (Amsterdam AMS 9612-2-1/2), Rock Explosion 72 (Tarantura TCD-15, 16 SET), and Dancing Page (Tarantura TCD-15) who use the first source primarily and the second to fill in the cuts. The second tape is very sharp and clear mono but also flat and lacking in dynamics while the first tape is in more lively stereo. Both are really good and it’s a matter of one’s preference.
“Rock And Roll” starts off the set and “Black Dog,” which alternated with “Over The Hills And Far Away” is played second. “Misty Mountain Hop” is introduced as “about the problems that come across just a simple walk in the park on a Saturday afternoon.” Page plays a different solo than usual with interesting results.
Such is the low-key nature of this gig that Plant enjoys a spot of tea before “Dancing Days.” “The Song Remains The Same” was referred to as either “The Overture” or “Zep” in other concerts on this tour, but has no name in this since the band just start in. Page hits a couple of bum notes but it is an effective performance.
In “The Rain Song” John Paul Jones’ mellotron is very loud and almost drowns out the other instruments at the beginning. At least it is in tune so it only offers an interesting perspective on the piece instead of being hard to listen to. “John Paul Jones on mysterious mellotron” is all Plant can say afterwards.
“Dazed And Confused” reaches twenty five minutes. Page, Jones and Bonham play a very depressing melody before the violin bow episode and Bonham leads them into “The Crunge” during the long improvisation. “Stairway To Heaven” is referred to as “a song about the passage through life, adding to Bonham’s back passage, and things like that. It shant be long.”
During the theremin solo in “Whole Lotta Love” Jones and Bonham hit on a monstrous, spooky rhythm under Page before they hit the “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” riff. After “Boogie Chillun'” they play the Elvis classic “Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do.” This is from his 1957 film Loving You, not the song from Bye Bye Birdie of the same name. This is only the second of two recorded references to this song (the first from the first LA show in 1971).
Page plays a slutty sounding slide on guitar trying to keep up with Plant in “You Shook Me.” The first encore is “Heartbreaker” which includes Bach’s Bouree and Simon And Garfunkel’s “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” during the solo. The second encore is Led Zeppelin’s biggest hit in Japan, a searing version of “Immigrant Song” which wakes up the audience and creates the same hysteria they saw in 1971. Power Archives released this tape with little remastering so it has a very warm and natural sound to it.
They utilize graphics from the 1972 Japan tour book on the cover on the inside with a photo from one of the Tokyo shows on the back with a set list printed. It is packaged in a double slimline jewel case too. For Zeppelin collectors this is a nice release which offers a different angle to this well known show in contrast to the more popular first tape.