Led Zeppelin – Texas International Pop Festival 1969 Stereo Matrix (No Label)

Texas International Pop Festival 1969 Stereo Matrix (No Label)

Texas International Pop Festival, Lewiston, TX, USA – August 31, 1969

(65:02) Intro, The Train Kept A Rollin’, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Dazed And Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

After being pleasantly pleased with Nite Owl’s wonderful LA Forum September 4, 1970 stereo matrix as reviewed on Live On Blueberry Hill Stereo Matrix Master (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1158/1159), I thought it was time to take a listen to one of his earlier works, a two source matrix of Led Zeppelin’s performance at the Dallas Pop Festival in the summer of 1969. Nite Owl’s work is a true matrix, two different recordings used at the same time, a crude description is that they are layered on top of each other but this does not in any way accurately describe the work it takes to produce a project like this.

For this project Nite Owl used the two best sources of this performance, the first source is what is commonly referred to as the soundboard or stage recording, a Crystal clear and perfectly balanced recording of sterling quality. This has been released many, many times as Don’t Mess With Texas (Oh Boy 1-=1969 TEXT1), Plays Pure Blues (Post Script PSCD-2016), Texas International Pop Festival (Oh Boy 1-=1969 TEXT1), Texas International Pop Festival (Last Stand Disc LSD-19), Texas International Pop Festival (Empress Valley EVSD 439), and Texas International Pop Festival Definitive Edition (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 053-056). The second is a very good to near excellent audience recording commonly referred to as the Plays Pure Bob source. Its releases have been fewer, Plays Pure Bob (Tarantura BOB 001), Plays Pure Bob! (Tarantura TCD BOB 1,2), and Texas International Pop Festival Definitive Edition (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 053-056). There has been several releases of these concerts using the soundboard as a foundation and the “Bob” source to fill in a few small gaps, The Only Way To Fly (Empress Valley EVSD 208/209), its reissue Ladies And Gentlemen (Empress Valley EVSD 208/209), Texas Blues (Godfatherecords G.R. 400), and Plays Pure Bob! (Tarantura TCD BOB 1,2).

There is a less common third recording from this concert that was not used and is referred to as the Reggie The Bullet tape, the recording is very rough and would not have contributed anything to this project except hiss and distortion. This has been released on Texas International Pop Festival Definitive Edition (The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 053-056) for those who dare. Finally there is 11 minutes of video footage from this concert, for the best version seek out the excellent History Lesson set (Empress Valley EVSD PRO-DVD).

First off this is an incredible piece of aural work and I refer to the original torrents liner notes for a description of what we are hearing:

STEREO MATRIX of two independent recordings mixed together:
#1: stereo stage recording (“SBD”) [* cut]: 1/4″ reel masters > 7.5ips safety copies > DAT > CD-R [dadgad]
#2: Freezer’s audience recording [** cut]: low.gen copy > bootleg CD “Plays Pure Bob” [Tarantura BOB-001]

SONGS: [65:02]

1. Introduction [0:46] *
2. The Train Kept A-Rollin’ (Bradshaw, Kay, Mann) [2:55]
3. I Can’t Quit You (Dixon) [6:50]
4. Dazed And Confused (Page, Holmes) [15:50]
contains: Mars, the Bringer of War (Holst) *
5. You Shook Me (Dixon, Lenoir) [10:42]
6. How Many More Times (Page, Jones, Bonham, Plant) [23:20] *
Suzie Q (Hawkins, Chaisson, Lewis, Broadwater) **
O Rosie (trad.)

The Hunter (Jones, Wells, Jackson, Dunn, Cropper)
The Lemon Song (Bonham, Burnett, Jones, Page, Plant)
Eyesight to the Blind (Miller)
7. Communication Breakdown (Page, Jones, Bonham, Plant) [4:39]

Restored version of the audience tape synchronized & mixed (panned right of center) to remastered version of the stage recording.
Only a single source is available during the three major cuts mid-song (as well as most of the warm-up on track 1).
A short section with severe mic disturbances during #2.1 (after a cut in the tape, before the band announcement) has been edited out. Additional micro-cut in #1.6 (HHMT) has been patched.

The Plays Pure Bob source is the longest and most complete, it is used for most of the introduction clocking in at 41 seconds, it should be noted the intro is not complete as there is a tape stretch where it sounds like the pause button was used, this has been removed for what I assume is an easier listen. There is a 52 second gap in the soundboard at Dazed and Confused from 11:02 to 11:52 and a 63 second gap during How Many More Times from 19:00 to 20:03 where it is only the “Bob” source. The transition of sources is seamless and perfectly done.

Nite Owl’s work on this project is nothing short of phenomenal, this matrix breathes new life into this concert not previously heard. There is a depth not previously heard as well as a warmth, especially noticeable when one compares this work to the soundboard. The “Bob” source has some audience talking that is noticeable yet only adds to the atmosphere, when you hear the audience interaction with Plant during the Lemon Song portion of How Many More Times, the additional audience sounds as if they stretch on and on. What is the most noticeable thing about this version is the bass guitar and drums, better clarity and definition, simply stunning.

Led Zeppelin’s performances during the summer tour of 1969 are superb, the band had fully gelled and were turning in incredibly visceral concerts feeding off the energy of the time. 1969 was the era of the large Rock festivals where the youth of America would congregate and listen to music when it was about the music. The Zeppelin seemed to raise their game and most often were the highlight of the days events, many times the whole festival. The Texas Pop Festival performance has been a fan favorite for years mostly due to the superb recording and blistering performance and this version is really like the icing on the cake and in my opinion a must listen.

The packaging is typical for the No Label, graphics taken from the event program as well as live shots from Led Zeppelin’s performance that day. Numbered sticker, picture CD’s, the whole kit and caboodle is here. All praise must go to Nite Owl, his work is as good as the reviews say, all the No Label folks did is press it up and make it look pretty. There is a second press of this title making the rounds and would suggest that if you like this concert, you will love this title and seek it out.

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