Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – September 29, 1971
Disc 1 (63:10) Opening, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused
Disc 2 (54:40) MC, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California, Tangerine, Friends, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick (fades out)
A few years back, can’t remember how long, the Tarantura label put a short snippet of a Led Zeppelin recording online that was supposedly recorded by Mr. Peach, the Master of live recording in the Far East. While no date was given fans quickly surmised that it was from the famous second night in Osaka, September 29, 1971, the sound quality sounded good and one would have guessed a release was imminent, then nothing. Years later, to celebrate Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary the folks at Tarantura have finally released the tape and in typical fashion have released it with eight different covers, I believe 30 pieces each. I was lucky to have gotten a copy as it sold out within hours of its release then it was all over but the wait for it to arrive.
The recording done by Mr. Peach is very good plus, it sounds like he was close to the stage and used good equipment. The sound is clear, detailed and well balanced with just a small bit of hiss one would expect, yet is sadly incomplete. There are a few cuts and based upon what is written on the back cover, Peter Grant somehow busted Mr. Peach and confiscated the third tape so the recording finishes during Moby Dick. There is a story here, one that I would certainly like to hear, What happened? Was he found during the concert or afterwards? Peach must have had someone with him who he handed the tapes to, thankfully to make sure they got out. The volume is a bit louder than I would have wanted, Tarantura typically like to boost volume and have done so but the tape still sounds really good, easily the best I have heard of the circulating audience recordings from this date.
The acoustics inside the Festival Hall are excellent and its intimate size can be heard during this recording, the audience is totally into the performance and shouts of “JIMMY” are heard, thankfully Peach had no major interference near him, the atmosphere of the concert is perfectly captured. There are a few cuts, from 6:13 – 6:18 in Heartbreaker, the next is 28:52 to 29:45 in Dazed and Confused and there is just 4:23 of Moby Dick before the tape runs out. Logic would tell me there is a cut somewhere in the acoustic set but nothing stuck out, the pro’s will find it. The splices are well handled and sound like they are filled with the same source as the TDOLZ 929, a clear but more distant release.
What can be said about this concert that many before have not already said? Simply a wonderful performance, one that most never tire of and in my book a top ten. This new recording captures two thirds of this legendary performance, I have the TDOLZ 929 and many editions of the soundboard recording, to me this is like looking at something totally familiar from a new angle and really enjoyed hearing it from this perspective. Dazed is stunning in this recording and Robert’s comments prior to That’s The Way make more sense as you can hear constant clamber by the audience for Jimmy and based on Robert’s comment, he is keeping his distance and it also eludes to Peach’s position, obviously very close to the stage. While I have a stack of titles to review, I start this CD and am content to listen, all the while the others begin to collect dust, such is the nature of this concert.
The packaging is what we have come to expect from Tarantura, a gate-fold sleeve style that comes in eight different covers, the first two feature a Japanese art of a rickshaw, the next three feature a live shot of the band on the front and back cover, the last three have an drawing of a girl riding a stork, this is the version I have. There is an OBI, mine features the white lettering which is the only thing different on the version I have. The back cover is a shot of Jimmy in front of Boleskine House, the interior has live shots and media shots from the Japanese tour and a picture of the master cassettes. The CD’s have pictures on them as well, first one features Jimmy, the second Robert and Jonesy. Since this title sold out so quickly I would not be surprised to see a second edition as it certainly warrants one, get it if you can.