Stormwatch (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-60377EX)
Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida, USA – June 3, 1977
(66:32) 2nd Source: AKA Flagge & Tattytura. Introduction, The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Crowd Noise. 1st Source: AKA Rock Solid Records. Introduction, The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Crowd Noise. 4th Source: New Source. Introduction, The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Crowd Noise. Bonus Trax: Nobody’s Fault But Mine (3rd source AKA Pot & Tarantura). Crowd Noise and Cancellation Announcement (3rd source AKA Pot & Tarantura), TV Report 1, TV Report 2, TV Report 3, Jimmy Page Interview
Stormwatch is a compilation of sources from Led Zeppelin’s aborted performance in Tampa on June 3, 1977 due to a severe thunderstorm which resulted in a mini riot by pissed off fans upon its cancellation. The name Stormwatch is certainly a prophetic title for the event and subsequent recordings of which there are four known and at least three news reports documenting the “event”. While there have been several titles to include the various recordings, almost always as bonus material, this is only the second title where a label has collected them in one handy title, the first being Billy Clubs and Riot Gear (Tarantura TCD-198) back in 2019. This new title from Graf Zeppelin follows a similar pattern, it is certainly not a copy, however it is part of Graf Zeppelin’s “gift” series.
The first recording on this CD is actually the second source which has seen quite a few releases over the years, Fucking TY (Tattytura TAK 001/2/3), Killer Missile (Flagge), and the aforementioned Billy Clubs and Riot Gear (Tarantura TCD-198). The sound quality of this tape is excellent, the taper was close to the action and picks up a well balanced clear and very powerful recording that captures the excitement and atmosphere of the event perfectly. I have the Tattytura title to compare, the Graf Zeppelin is not as loud, is clearer, and has much less distortion, sounding not only better but more powerful.
Source 1 is next, it has been around since the days of vinyl and has appeared on Strange Tales From The Road (Rock Solid Records RSR 243 A-T) as well as the massive compilation box set The Final Option. Compact disc titles are Strange Tales From The Road (No label) and Billy Clubs and Riot Gear (Tarantura TCD-198), I do not own a copy of this or the other sources. The sound quality is a very good audience source having been taped more distant from source 2, it is clear and well balanced, thankfully the audience is relatively quite near the taper. This source sounds rather flat yet is a solid listen, it does clear up halfway through The Song Remains The Same.
Where Graf Zeppelin differs from the Tarantura Billy Clubs title is it offers a fourth source that has never been released in bootleg form. The sound quality is poor to fair being distant and sounds as if it was recorded in a tunnel. The recording favors the upper frequencies and is thin and shrill sounding. It does slightly improve with every song, yet never rises above average, what it does is capture the uneasy portion of the audience, it sounds like a crazy South Florida crowd ready to party and have a good time, Led Zeppelin was the soundtrack.
The last two event tracks, Nobody’s Fault But Mine and the crowd noise cancellation announcement are from source 3, this recording is similar to source 1 have been taped in close proximity to it, it is more powerful than source 1 having a great bottom end that gives it its power. It is well balanced yet does have some distortion present, overall a great sounding document. The last minute of the crowd noise track sounds like source 1, the announcement of ticket info over the PA but has a different timbre to it, possible from a different lineage of the tape. This has been released on Polished Performance (POT-004/5), Un-Booted (Tarantura UN-77-1-3), and Billy Clubs and Riot Gear (Tarantura TCD-198).
The rest of the disc is made up of three TV News reports about the event. The quality of the three news reports is good, all have a hum to them but are very clear and give a slightly different report, all being accurate. The last track is Jimmy Page’s appearance on New York City DJ Scott Muni’s radio show, I have had a portion of this interview for years having taped a radio special called Jimmy Page A Day On The Radio back in the mid 80’s. The radio show was done certainly as a promotional piece as The Firm was beginning to gear up its media blitz. Would love to have a complete copy of that interview.
The packaging is excellent, Graf Zeppelin use pictures from the actual event paying homage to history in every way. The Tarantura title has been sold out for some time, this new title from Graf Zeppelin is part of the gift series and takes effort to acquire making this more of a completest release. That being said, it is an excellent overview of this “strange tale from the road”, for completest is worth seeking out.