Some Other Guyz 1970 Boston Garden (Tarantura TCD-205, 206A)
Having been pleasantly surprised the Tarantura’s recent mini box set, Bath Of The Blues, I decided to get their most recent Led Zeppelin release featuring both audience sources from the excellent September 9, 1970 Boston Garden concert. Led Zeppelin’s sixth American tour in the fall of 1970 was one of continuous growth and musical maturity for the band and as a live act, was devastating. While the well known concerts from the L.A. Forum and Madison Square Garden get most of the attention, many of the other concerts are just as good performance wise and extremely enjoyable once one gets past the average sound quality. The Boston concert is certainly one that falls into that category, a superb concert with average sound quality. Tarantura has collected both recordings for this new set and like the Bath Box, was mastered my Enigma.
Boston Garden, Boston, MA, USA – September 9, 1970
Disc 1 (61:06) Introduction, Tune Ups, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (60:11) Plant MC / Organ Solo, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Announcer Speech / Plant MC, Communication Breakdown, Final Announcement
The first two discs are taken from the fair to good first audience source, the instruments and vocals are discernible but favors the vocals and guitar. The bass is not as clear and Bonzo’s drums are in the back, there is also a bit of hiss present as well. The recording has some audience noise present as well, definitely some clapping and the occasional muffled talk, no worries though, this is a very listenable and enjoyable recording. This concert was famous for Robert singing a bit of Ramble On in the Whole Lotta Love Medley which, at the time, was a curiosity and thus featured on side four of the old vinyl title 207.19 (RSR/International RSR248A-D). The full show was eventually released as No License No Festival (Silver Rarities SIRA 164/165) followed by 207.19 / 214 (Cobra Standard Series 011) and Come Back To Boston (Holy SH 001-A YU-20/21). Whole Lotta Love and Communication Breakdown are featured as bonus tracks on Complete Boston Garden 1970 (Graf Zeppelin LZCD-909A/B).
It’s been years since I’ve listened to No License No Festival and was pleased to find out how well it has aged. When I compare this new title to the old Silver Rarities I find that this new T2K title is a bit louder and has better upper frequencies and slightly reduced lower frequencies. This adds much needed clarity to the sound, it has increased the tape hiss by a very small amount but now the between song commentary is much easier to hear. Overall the sound is more relaxed and enjoyable with less fatigue on the ear. The label uses the second source to fix the numerous cuts in the recording. The first disc is largely unaffected save for the one near the end of Bron-Yr-Aur, the second disc has several near the ends of songs, the Organ solo, Thank You, Moby Dick, and a couple sporadically about in the Whole Lotta Love medley and around Communication Breakdown. The edits have eliminated the tape stretching sound, a common effect on the old tape machines, a nice improvement.
Mono Master By Joe Maloney
Disc 3 (61:07) Introduction, Tune Ups, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 4 (60:12) Plant MC / Organ Solo, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Announcer Speech / Plant MC, Communication Breakdown, Final Announcement
The third and fourth discs feature the mono recording done by Joe Maloney whose vast archives from the greater Boston area have been the subject of numerous bootlegs over the years. The recording falls into the good to very good range, he was closer than the first source and was able to capture a really nice sounding capture. There is much better clarity between instruments and like the first source Robert’s vocals are prominent in the mix. What’s interesting is the clapping that is prevalent in source one is actually behind Joe giving one a better idea on the position of the two tapers. Joe also did a better job of taping, he came prepared and there are only two gaps that needed filling, an 8 second gap after Bring It On Home and a lengthy one on Moby Dick from 1:14 to 3:15. This recording was first used on the first two discs of Tarantura’s Wreckage In Boston box set, Worse Than G.M. (Tarantura TCD-26), followed years later by Live At The Boston Garden 1970 (Wendy WECD 244/245), and most recently Complete Boston Garden 1970 (Graf Zeppelin LZCD-909A/B).
I do not own the Tarantura Wreckage box but do have both the Wendy and Graf titles. The Wendy title is strictly Joe’s tape, Graf features Joe’s tape with source 1 filling the two small gaps. The excellent Bootledz site states Wendy is similar in sound to the Tarantura title and it does sound very good. There is obviously a bit of mastering applied as there is virtually no tape hiss to speak of, yet it is very tasteful and the Wendy sounds really good. Props go to Wendy for the artwork, a take on Harry Potter with a live shot of Page over Hogwarts on the cover and Plant flying via broom on the rear. The Graf Zeppelin trumps the Wendy title, the sound does not feature the noise reduction found on Wendy and has better overall frequency range and sounds very warm in comparison. The patches in the Graf title are perfectly done and seamless and to my ears, is a perfect presentation of the material. When I compare this new title to the Graf Zeppelin I was very surprised and happy. First off the differences are minimal, if anything this new T2K title is just a tad brighter in the upper frequencies with slightly less bottom end. If I had to favor one over the other it would be difficult as they both sound great and if anything, compliment each other nicely.
Many of Joe’s recordings have been getting proper digital transfers and made available via the regular torrent sites, each one has Joe’s recollections of the event and provide a glimpse of a young Rock fan during the Seventies, I thought they deserve repeating here, so take it away Mr. Maloney:
“This show was originally set to be included in the Schaeffer Music Festival At Harvard Stadium. It was to be a twelve hour multi-band concert, that was to be part of the City of Boston‘s “Summerthing” concert series. Unfortunately, area resident complaints were filed with the city, due to problems with some of the concert crowd trespassing, noise, causing property damage and the theft of sound equipment from a previous Janis Joplin show, the city cancelled the license for the show.
Mayor Kevin White worked with the promoters and an agreement was reached to move the show to BostonGarden. As soon as the tickets went on sale, I drove the 104 miles to the Garden Box Office and got my tickets (there wasn’t any such thing as Ticketmaster, or scalpers, back then. You were on your own to get tickets). As you can hear on this recording, it was a great show. It was almost exactly the same as the 1970 Royal Albert Hall show, in London, that was included in the Led Zeppelin dvd box set (the one with the “Devil’s Tower” rock formation on the cover). Naturally, being an “enthusiastic” Boston crowd, nobody stayed in their seats, so there were some problems when the crowd clogged the aisles and surged toward the stage.
Luckily, I had seats in the first row of a floor section, in the 20th row, so when I had to stand on the seat, as the crowd flooded the aisles, I didn’t have to worry about people obstructing my view, or interfering with the recorder microphone. All in all, it was two and a half hours of mesmerizing, classic Led Zeppelin. The only one in the crowd who couldn’t have enjoyed the show was a guy who was sitting behind me. He got to his seat just after we arrived and he was surrounded by the unmistakable aroma of cough medicine. Back then, there were some over the counter brands of the stuff that still contained codeine.
During stage announcements, at the beginning of this recording, you can hear him let out a “Ahhhhhhhrrggghhh”! sound. During the show, I made it a point to see how he was doing. I turned around, about 30 minutes into the performance, looked down and saw him slumped in his seat and passed out. It was probably the best show that he had ever been to, but never got to see or hear. Ahhh…. those were the days! Hopefully, he’s still around and can listen to this and see what he missed. Enjoy this trip back through the mists of time!”
Joe’s recording gives a different perspective, being closer to the stage you hear more shouts of “Sit Down” and general unruliness…this is a Boston crowd! Being one of the first cities to really embrace Zeppelin, the band turn in another strong performance. There is a long introduction by an announcer who talks of a Beatles record and the possibility of a Paul McCartney concert then Radio DJ JJ Jackson does the formal introduction of the band. The opening of Immigrant Song and Heartbreaker sweeps over the Garden (home to the Boston Bruins Hockey team) setting the pace early on. Dazed And Confused is very dramatic, the opening bass lines powerfully distort the recording in the best possible way, Bonham’s use of the gong can eerily be heard in the background. Page’s use of the wah pedal is masterful and the 16 minute version of the song is extremely focused.
What is curious after reading Joe’s account of the concert, is how restrained and well behaved the audience is during the acoustic section. The fall 1970 acoustic sections came on the heels of Bring It On Home and often impatient audiences got a little rambunctious. The Boston crowd actually gets into it allowing the band to present a gentle That’s The Way and Bron-Y-Aur, the latter features Page getting a huge ovation. An intense version of Since I’ve Been Loving You is played to zero fanfare and is given a nice round of applause at its conclusion, Led Zeppelin III was still a month away from release.
“You’ve seen John Paul Jones on the mandolin…now we’d like you to see John Paul Jones’ organ”, a curious intro to the organ solo. By the time of John Bonham’s drum extravaganza Moby Dick, the audience is fever pitched and shouts of “Sit Down’ can be heard amid the claps and whistling as the Boston audience cheer him on. Plant asks the audience to listen to him and be cool as police have moved to the front of the stage, of course they launch into Whole Lotta Love and the place explodes. The medley is an orgasm of Rock and Roll…Boogie Chillen’ leads it off followed by Fleetwood Mac’s Stop Messin’ Around followed by the most complete appearance of Ramble On and it’s great. Page struggles with the lyric portion but gets the heavy part, it basically shares an arrangement with Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth, the song that immediately follows. Richie Barrett’s Some Other Guy popularized by The Beatles takes the song where it never was originally, Muddy Waters’ Honey Bee brings things back to the Blues and of course no WLL medley would be complete without the Squeeze My Lemon portion of The Lemon Song. A blistering version of Communication Breakdown ends the evening, another excellent Boston show.
The packaging is the same as Bath Of The Blues, a mini box that houses two gate-fold sleeves. The box came with two different covers, a balloon art and the other embossed black, both feature an OBI. The interior sleeves are the same for both boxes and feature live shots of the actual concert as well as OBI’s. On the back covers the members are listed under the caption Lead Balloon, oh the humanity of it all! The CDs have pictures on them with an Apple motif and reference “Zepple Records”. I like that both recordings are featured here, after giving it some thought that’s what was missing from the Bath set. I prefer having both sources versus a remaster of the same one. While usually one gets played more, it’s nice to have them both. Nonetheless, this title was limited to 70 copies of each box, Mine is number 62.