Stand Up, Sit Down Up There Settle Down (Tarantura TCD-214,215 Valkyrie’s Vigil Box)
Stand Up, Sit Down Up There Settle Down is a mini box set covering Led Zeppelin’s two November 1969 performances at the legendary San Francisco venue, the Winterland Ballroom. The Tarantura label has a long history with these concerts having released both in years past, the most recent being the long out of print excellent Good Old Led Zeppelin (Tarantura TCD-89,90,91,92). When The Dogs Of Doom released a second source for the November 7th concert, volume 7 of their liberation series, the time was right for a reassessment of these concerts. This review will focus on sound only, Gerard Sparaco did comprehensive reviews of the earlier titles Final Winterland on the TCOLZ label and the aforementioned Good Old Led Zeppelin title. I encourage those interested to follow the links and read these reviews. The Tarantura label has released Stand Up, Sit Down Up There Settle Down with three different box covers, War, Occult, and Valkyrie, the internal sleeves are the same. Each box is a limited run of 69 and last I looked, is surprisingly still available.
Winter Of Our Content Day 1 (Tarantura TCD-214-1,2)
Winterland, San Francisco, CA, USA – November 6, 1969
Disc 1 (48:20) Introduction, Good Times Bad Times Intro / Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, White Summer / Black Mountain Side
Disc 2 (47:59) What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Applause, C’Mon Everybody, Something Else
There are two known recordings for the first night in San Francisco, the first, recorder 1, is a very good yet slightly distant recording. It’s clear enough for the individual instruments to be heard yet there is distortion and tape hiss which bury portions of the drums during the more furious parts, which is often. This recording has seen several releases over the years, Blow Up (Immigrant IM-029/030), Punk! (Tarantura T2CD-8) and its clone The End Of ’69 (Whole Lotta Live WLL-007/8), Pb (Tarantura PB1001B), and Room 2/3 (Image Quality IQ-019/020/021). Recorder 2 is the better of the two, the sound is very clear with better balance. All instruments and vocals can be easily heard and there is only a very small amount of distortion during the most bombastic parts. This recording is certainly the preferred version, the atmosphere is well captured. Winterland Party (Wendy WECD-23/24) and Good Old Led Zeppelin (Tarantura TCD-89,90,91,92) both feature this second recording and both use source 1 to fill in small gaps. Final Winterland (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 064-069) was an excellent title that featured both recordings in standalone versions.
I’ve had this concert in my collection for years, The End Of ’69 (Whole Lotta Live WLL-007/8) was not a title I used to listen to very often. The Whole Lotta Live label sold knock off’s of Tarantura titles and a flawed version of recorder 1 was used. I upgrade when I bought both Final Winterland (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 064-069) and Good Old Led Zeppelin (Tarantura TCD-89,90,91,92). I actually dug out the End Of ’69 title and gave the first disc a listen, it’s been a very long time since I’ve listened to it. Loud, in your face, distortion with a shrill top end is how I describe it. The sound of the Final Winterland disc 3 & 4, Good Old Led Zeppelin, and this new Stand Up Sit Down all make for interesting listens. Final Winterland still holds up extremely well, its frequency range favors the mid and highs and is very clear and detailed, and consistent. This new version Stand Up Sit Down sounds more similar to the Good Old Led Zeppelin title. The bottom end is much better than the TCOLZ which gives it a powerful sound, it also has a bit more tape hiss and certainly better represents the original tape source. The mastering of this new title is excellent and is certainly on par with the Good Old Led Zeppelin set, a title which many, including myself, consider the best version of the two source mixes.
Winter Of Our Content Day 2 (Tarantura TCD-215-1,2)
Winterland, San Francisco, CA, USA – November 7, 1969
Disc 1 (55:54) Introduction, Good Times Bad Times Intro / Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, White Summer / Black Mountain Side
Disc 2 (63:38) Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Bring It On Home
Like the previous nights concert in San Francisco, there are two known tape sources for the November 7th concert. The first is a good audience source, it is not particularly well balanced as the drums are low in the mix. John Paul Jones’ bass is a bit up with Jimmy’s guitar which is nice to hear him so clearly. The sound is pretty low fi yet the atmosphere is well captured. This recording has been released as Winter Of Our Content (Missing Link ML-008/9), Room 2/3 (Image Quality IQ-019/020/021), Final Winterland (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 064-069), Good Old Led Zeppelin (Tarantura TCD-89,90,91,92), and Return To San Francisco (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-1107A/B/C/D). Of the three versions I have of the first recording, the Graf Zeppelin title is the best in terms of sound quality, fuller with more natural sound when compared to the TCOLZ and older Tarantura set, in fact the Graf version pushes the sound to the very good category.
When The Dogs of Doom released the second source in February 2021 it made some noise in the Led Zeppelin collecting community for its improved sound quality and completeness as the encore of Bring It On Home was included, its first known live appearance. The second source has not been released on its own, all of the subsequent titles are two source mixes using source 1 to fill small gaps in White Summer and Moby Dick, these titles are Return To San Francisco (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-1107A/B/C/D), Rare Magic (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1445/1446), Final Winterland 1969 2nd Night: Source 2 (No Label), and Winter In Winterland 1969 (Wisteria Records WISCD 2021-005). I have the Graf and Wisteria titles to compare to, the Graf title has a rich full sound with a really nice bottom end, the Wisteria has lowered the bass a bit and has a thinner sound. This new title by Tarantura is more similar to the Wisteria title but has a more crisp upper end which adds to the clarity. The sound loses the nice bottom end found on the Graf Zeppelin title and increases the tape hiss as well but the overall mastering gives it a more powerful sound. Other than the mastering, the only other difference in these titles is Graf Zeppelin includes the nearly three minute fragment of Issac Hayes opening set, the song Walk On By that is found on the original tape.
Not only is the sound of Recorder 2 superior, it is also longer. We now get the full How Many More Times clocking in at just over 22 minutes, the first source cut in the middle of The Hunter. The transition from The Hunter to Boogie Chillun’ is superb, a great bit of vocal from Robert while the musicians slowly build the boogie as it moves into Move On Down The Line and Bottle Up And Go. Curiously Robert’s Lemon Song Lyrics do not get the response they usually get. The first known live recording of Bring It On Home is this new tapes biggest revelation. Clocking in at just over 9 minutes the audience are very into it and clap along immediately. Robert starts with his old blues voice which slowly clears as the introduction builds, Jimmy’s break into the main riff is electric. This inaugural version is not as tight as versions that would come the following year but the passion is there, Bonzo plays it pretty tentative yet every so often take a chance with a dynamic fill. The middle section’s jam section is more feeling out that full on quiet into storm and back although it does have its moments of sheer power, it seems like the longer it goes on the more they begin to gel.
The packaging is excellent and up to the high standards of the Tarantura label. Three different covers featuring obscure art themes of War, the Occult, and the winged warrior Valkyrie, I chose the latter. All three box arts are numbered editions of 69 each, mine is 0046. The box and interior sleeves all have OBI’s on them and the interior of the box also has artwork featuring the gig poster art with the Zeppelin in its holding dock. This piece of art is stunning, the lower part of the poster also features the Rolling Stones Oakland November 9 concert advertisement which would be immortalized on the Liver Than You’ll Ever Be bootleg. The box also has the magnetic clasp which keep the fold open style closed and secure.