Live In Hampton 1970 (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 46)
Hampton Roads Coliseum, Hampton, VA – August 17th, 1970
Disc 1 (60:59): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed & Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Y-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (61:21): Organ Solo/Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (incl. Feel So Good Tonight, Boogie Chillun’, I’m Moving On), Communication Breakdown (incl. Good Times Bad Times)
Led Zeppelin’s fifth tour of the US comes after their famous appearance at Bath 1970 and a short tour of Germany in July. The first week of shows was cancelled because of the death of John Paul Jones’ father and began in New Haven on August 15th. Hampton, Virginia was the second show on the tour. The tape TDOLZ use for this release contains the complete concert. The sound quality is surprisingly listenable albeit still a bit of a challenge. The very beginning is very distorted and there is deterioration evident in the beginning of “Bring It On Home.” There is a cut after “Bron-Y-Aur,” several little cuts in “Thank You” and 8:14 in “Whole Lotta Love.”
The tape begins with a Page fanfare as they band come onto the stage. The taper asks his friend Mark for the time and by the voices it seems these are the same people who taped the 1972 Charlotte, North Carolina show too. The opening onslaught of “Immigrant Song” beings and this version is interesting for Page’s solo, where instead of playing the flurry of notes he slows it down into a moody sustain sounding like a middle eastern funeral wail emanating from the minarettes. The solo in “Heartbreaker” contains a reference to Bouree, a favorite tune for British musians growing up in the sixties.
“Dazed And Confused” as played early in the set and is introduced as “a thing from a long long time ago, when we were born.” Reaching seventeen minutes, Page and the rhythm section hit upon a heavy, three-note melody after the second verse which Page augments with heavy metal sounding trills. Its weights is like a sonic sledgehammer slugging the skulls of the audience and Page likes it so much he repeats it again later using the violin bow and later again after the call and response section leading into the third verse. Afterwards Plant makes a stage announcement saying, “Let me read this out. Mr. Robin Hogue. H-O-G-U-E, please go to the box office. Robin Hogue. Right, good evening.” “Bring It On Home” is nine minutes of fun and games as Plant, Page and Bonham engage in a duel. When Plant plays the harp the band play softly and then come crashing in for an effective, dramatic effect.
They sit down to play an acoustic set for the second time in the US, a risky move on their part. The audience are very quiet during “That’s The Way.” Plant goes into a long explanation about the next song, saying, “we’d like to feature Jimmy Page on guitar. This is a thing dedicated to a little cottage in Wales, and this cottage has a Welsh name, and the Welsh name means Golden Breast…. Anyway, this is called Bron-Yr-Aur.” There are many great recordings of this rare track but Hampton isn’t one of them. It sounds more like Page tuning his guitar for two minutes, struggling to find the melody of the tune and the deterioration on the tape doesn’t help matters.
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” starts out softly but builds into the intensity associated with the piece. The “Whole Lotta Love” medley reaches almost twenty minutes. There are interesting bird whistle sounds during Page’s theremin interlude. During “Boogie Chillun'” Plant sings “I feel so good today” and some snippets of Chuck Berry’s “Back In The U.S.A.” They play a bit of “Movin’ On” and “C C Rider” before the medley comes to a close. The encore is an eight minute version of “Communication Breakdown” which is in much worse sound quality than the rest. Page starts the song off with some psychedelic riffs and they include “Good Times Bad Times” in the middle.
Live In Hampton 1970 is packaged in a single cardboard sleeve with a photo from the Fillmore East in 1969. Like many TDOLZ releases, it is good to have this show on silver but given the sound quality will probably be the only version pressed unless a better tape source were to surface. The quality is much better than expected and although this isn’t the best concert from the tour contains some interesting variations that make it worth seeking out.