Led Zeppelin – Paris Olympia 1969 (Wendy wecd-104)

Paris Olympia 1969 (Wendy wecd- 104)

L’Olympia Theater, Paris, France – October 10th, 1969

Introduction, Good Times Bad Times / Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, White Summer / Black Mountainside, You Shook Me, How Many More Times

Led Zeppelin’s first full year is in general very well documented with excellent sounding audience recordings, soundboards and radio broadcasts.  The slight exception to this are the months surrounding the release of their second LP in the autumn.  Besides the great sounding tapes from Winterland in San Francisco in November, there really are not many good tapes in circulation, which might be the reason why silver manufacturers have all but ignored this Zeppelin period in the last decade (Wendy released the San Francisco tapes and Empress Valley released the Lyceum show, but that is it).  The October 10th Paris show was known to have been professionally taped and broadcast on “Musicorama” on Europe 1.  Nobody, it seems, taped it off the air in 1969 and the master tapes never surfaced either.  It was finally rebroadcast on Europe 2 on Friday, December 7th, 2007 in anticipation of the reunion the following Monday.  Wendy use a tape straight from the radio broadcast, presenting the entire seventy odd minute show including the French commentary scattered six times throughout the show.  

Knowing this would be released, the station wanted to ensure nobody would have a clean copy of the show.  Since some of the comments occur during the actual music, trying to remove it would also affect the music so Wendy wisely left them alone.  The set begins with the devastating opening bars of “Good Times, Bad Times” serving as a prelude to “Communication Breakdown.”  Only at these shows was this arrangement used as they were trying to achieve the most overwhelming sound they could muster.  This tape includes the earliest reference to “Heartbreaker” introduced by Robert Plant, saying, “We’d like to carry on with something on the new Led Zeppelin II album, which is eventually coming out in England and America.  It’s called ‘Heartbreaker.'”  This version sounds close to the studio arrangement and Page uses heavy distortion during the guitar solo.  Page’s “White Summer” was still played at this time and is introduced by Plant saying, “right now we’d like to feature…” Page can be heard behind him saying, “wanking dog.”  Plant continues, “wanking dog…Jimmy Page on guitar.  This is a combination of several things.  It goes under the collective title, as Percy Thrower would say, ‘White Summer,’ Jimmy Page.”  What follows is a virtuoso epic crammed into ten minutes. 

“How Many More Times” is stretched to over twenty minutes long.  The long improvisation starts off very dark and includes references to Holst’s “Mars, The Bringer Of War” and a very slow version of The Yardbirds’ “Over Under Sideways Down.”  Some people shout to Plant while he’s in the middle of “The Hunter” and causes him to say, “shut up!”  There is a long “Boogie Chillun'” part with a reference to Ainsley Dunbar and “Needle Blues” where Plant sings, “I got my needle in you babe, and you seem to think it’s alright.  Why don’t you roll over baby, see what it’s like on the other side.  I think that was Brownie McGhee.”  Paris Olympia 1969 is packaged in a standard single jewel case with thick glossy cardboard inserts with photos from the actual show and an obi strip for the side.  There have already been four silver releases of this tape and since they all come from the same source (“air check master”) the differences between them will be subtle.  The label use as liner notes comments made about the tape from an online posting.  With that said, Wendy is very good and is a worthy title to own for this great new concert.  (GS)   

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