Mystery Train (Badgeholders BH003-01/02/03)
Sports Arena, San Diego, CA – June 19th, 1977
Disc 1: The Song Remains the Same/The Rover (introduction)/Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter
Disc 2: Ten Years Gone, The Battle of Evermore, Going To California, Mystery Train/Black Country Woman / Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer/Black Mountain Side/Kashmir
Disc 3: Guitar solo (inc. The star Spangled Banner-Dixie)/Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock and Roll
The excellent Millard tape for this concert has been released many times. The Badgeholders label here claims to utilize the master tape on this new release and it sounds accurate. This is a fantastic sounding stereo audience recording of a very dubious show. The problems that Bonzo had are well known, a “fit of food poisoning”. As a result he really drags the entire show down with the result that the rest of the band overcompensate and deliver great individual performances.
The concert begins sluggishly. The transition between “The Song Remains The Same” and “Sick Again” is botched. “In My Time Of Dying” sounds flat. I think the sound engineer cranked up the volume of the organ on “Since I’ve Been Loving You” to cover him, and he’s absent during the acoustic set, coming at the very end of “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”. A reviewer on the Underground Uprising site suggests the improvement of the sound quality also makes this show more enjoyable. I don’t agree with that. The great sound quality only emphasizes the mistakes more.
The concert isn’t a complete disaster though. Robert Plant gives some fascinating vocal interpretations in “The Battle Of Evermore” and “Going To California” which are unique to this show. Page gives some classic performances in his solos and a rousing finale of “Stairway To Heaven”. And “No Quarter” is one of the best from the tour.
The concert itself is a mixed bag but we like these tapes to hear the band warts and all. It’s as much fun to hear an almost perfect show as it is to hear the off nights. And for this reason this is a recommended title, definitely worth having. Another title, Wendy, have also released this tape with an almost identical title (and using the same photos too!) Others who have compared them state that the Badgeholders is superior to that one. So the consensus is that this is the title to find and enjoy.