Mercy On Me (no label)
Muzikhalle, Hamburg, Germany – March 21st, 1973
Disc 1 (56:48): 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
Disc 2 (72:15): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, The Ocean
Led Zeppelin’s Hamburg 1973 performance is one of the heaviest, darkest, meanest, and most brutal from one of their most brutal tours. The most common tape on silver is a three song fragment, “Dazed And Confused,” “Stairway To Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love” from a detailed soundboard recording which first surfaced on the famous April’s Fool Day (mistaken as a Paris show) and most recently on disc three of A Soundboard Platter (Scorpio LZ-07005-01~04).
An audience recording was used on Suspended Animation (Image Quality IQ075/076), but was missing the opening two songs “Rock And Roll” and “Over The Hills And Far Away.”
Mercy On Me presents the entire Hamburg show on silver disc for the first time. No label follow the practice established by labels in the past by editing together both the audience recording and the soundboard fragment to utilize all the best available sources. The audience recording is used for the beginning through the first five minutes of “Dazed And Confused.”
The soundboard recording cuts in and continues until he guitar solo in “Stairway To Heaven” where the audience recording comes in again. Finally, the soundboard tape cuts in again several minutes into “Whole Lotta Love” to the end of the song, and the audience tape is used for the encore “The Ocean.”
“It’s much better here than the Reeperbahn” Plant jokes, referring to Hamburg’s red light district. He continues by introducing the next song as being about four legged dogs and barks like one. Someone in the audience backs back to him. During the song he stops to encourage the audience to sing along, and is sarcastic afterwards when he tells them “nice to see you all joining in.” Jimmy Page plays a unique solo by the end, squeezing out the high notes and repeating them over and over.
More promotion for the just released new album continues after “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” Plant calls “Dancing Days” “a song that brings out the good simple things in life, mainly chicks, mainly women.”
“Dazed And Confused” is one of the highlights of the show. The improv assumed pluriform arrangements on this tour. But the constant is Bonham’s thrashing his drum-kit to no end, bringing a barbaric tenor to the piece. “Stairway To Heaven” is, by contrast, a “beautiful song…that the world over, really makes everybody quite happy.”
The show ends with twenty minutes of “Whole Lotta Love” with the standard inclusions in the medley with “The Ocean” being the only encore.
Mercy On Me is a significant imporvement over Suspended Animation. It is the best best way now to hear Hamburg in its entirty. The artwork is rather dark with very 70s inspired type face for the liner notes.