LZ Riders In AZ (Tarantura 121-1, 2, 3)
Community Center, Tucson, AZ – June 28th, 1972
Disc 1 (47:25): AZ drone, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven
Disc 2 (62:35): Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, Dazed & Confused, What Is And What Should Never Be, Dancing Days, Moby Dick
Disc 3 (35:25): Whole Lotta Love (incl. Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have A Party, Stuck On You, Hello May Lou, Going Down Slow, The Shape I’m In), Rock & Roll
In the rising heat of Tucson, Arizona, Led Zeppelin ended their eighth US tour. The audience recording of the June 28th, 1972 first was pressed on silver by Empress Valley on Crashing Revelry (EVSD-249/250/251) in 2003. It is a fair to good recording with a fair amount of distortion in the upper frequencies.
Five years after Scorpio pressed Get Back (Scorpio LZ-08013-1/2/3), utilizing a fan remaster sounding cleaner than the Empress Valley. Wendy label quickly copied the Scorpio and released Get Back To Where You Once Belonged (wecd-118/119/120) (along with bonus tracks from Long Beach).
LZ Riders In AZ claim to use The Piano Guy’s Sony cassette. There is a photograph of two cassettes included in the insert which could be the actual masters. The sound on Tarantura is significantly cleaner and better than the Scorpio, lending some weight to their claim. It is still a bit deteriorated, but the distortion is nowhere near as intrusive than on past releases. Tarantura have produced the definitive version of this show.
After the blow out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach shows, Tucson is a bit more laid back. They band are obviously tired from the intensity of the tour, and cut it a bit short. Not only do they play only one encore, but they even reduce the acoustic set from four songs to only one, “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.”
After the opening drone “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” is used as the opening salvo for the final time, two years to the day when it was introduced at the Bath Festival. Plant dedicates “Black Dog” to an audience member named Terry Hanson before giving the standard story about the black lab at Headley Grange.
Before playing “Over The Hills And Far Away” Plant tells the story about their last visit to Arizona in 1970. “I collapsed. Everybody went home and left me in Phoenix, and I just can’t get hot weather together at all coming from the mountains and things like that.” The song is played for the fourth time and sounds much tighter than before.
“Stairway To Heaven” is “a little song that came one night when all was lost.” This would be the final performance of the song with JPJ substituting the electric piano for the recorders at the beginning. When they tour Japan in October, he will use the mellotron to add a more authentic sound.
The acoustic section of the show, which grew to four songs over the past year, is reduced to only one on this night, dropping “That’s The Way,” ”Going To California” and “Tangerine” leaving only the up-beat “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.”
“This is the only song that we do sitting down today cause we’re so generally fucked. We’re coming to the end of our tether. We’ve been on the road twenty one days, and we’re had four days off, and, well, the next album’s called Burn That Candle, so you can tell what’s been going on.” He calls on Bonzo to help sing “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” with him. The band would continue playing only this song as an acoustic interlude until the European tour in March 1973.
“Dazed & Confused” is twenty-eight wired minutes as typical from this tour with the Houses Of The Holy track “The Crunge” making an appearance during the lengthy improvisation. “What Is And What Should Never Be,” which was introduced into the set list in the summer of 1969, is played live for the final time.
The “Whole Lotta Love” medley includes the rarely played Elvis hit “Stuck On You” with John Paul Jones playing accompaniment on the piano. Jones also plays an important part on “Going Down Slow,” taking a solo before Page ends the piece. There are several instances where Jones played keyboard during Page’s theremin exercises but this is perhaps the only time he played piano during a medley number.
“Rock And Roll” is the only encore of the night. The taper Piano Guy contends there were more encores (which he’s still hoarding), but they sound more like hubris instead of anything legitimate. He claims that “Since word is out there of extra encores for the 6/28/72 Tucson show, I thought you would like to know about them direct from the taper, me. There were extra encores. After ‘Rock And Roll’ the house lights came on for a few minutes so I started walking out, but before I got to the door the house lights went back off and John Paul Jones came out alone. He from there sat down on the organ and play a solo of about 3-4 minutes and then he played the opening of ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ and then the band joined him and they played the song complete.
“From there they went into ‘Thank You’ without an organ solo. Then they left the stage again and the house lights came on very dimly and went off again after 30 seconds. From there they came back on stage for a medley of ‘The Ocean/ Communication Breakdown/ Bring It On Home’. ‘Bring It On Home’ doesn’t have any harmonica. The way the encores were played in order is as follows (with times):
“Organ Solo/ Your Time Is Gonna Come (7:24)
Thank You (3:52)
Then they left the stage for 1:48
Then the medley of:
The Ocean/ Communication Breakdown/ Bring It On Home
“It seemed like when JPJ started going into ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ Page, Plant, and Bonham looked at each other like ‘What?’ but they played it anyway and played it very well. It was all good. I never released these encores. They are not out there at all. Only in the bank vault.”
It would be great if the claims were true, but nothing on the tape suggests this is true.
LZ Riders In AZ is limited to 200 numbered copies, packaged in a little box with an insert. It is such an improvement that it stands as definitive for this show.
I quite agree with Hager & Gobucks. This is a superb release, one of Tarantura 2000’s very best. Head & shoulders above other silver releases of this show I have heard, including Scorpio’s “Get Back”.
I totally agree with you guys – another superb release from Tarantura, both in audio and gorgeous packaging. It’s on steady play, and replay, which is the true test of any release’s quality.
Great review. Thanks GS. I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of this release. It is noticeably improved compared to prior releases of the show,as you point out. Definitive and worth seeking out.