The Great Lost Live Album (Nasty Music NM-1973-01/02/03)
Old Refectory, Southampton University, Southampton, England – January 22nd, 1973
Disc 1: Rock And Roll, Over The Hills And Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Dazed & Confused
Disc 2: Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (incl. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Boogie Chillun’, (You’re So Square) I Don’t Care, Let’s Have A Party, I Can’t Quit You), Heartbreaker, Thank You, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown
Disc 3, rehearsal: drum/mellotron tuning, Love Me, Frankfurt Special, King Creole, Love Me. Bonus tracks, St. George’s Hall, Bradford, England – January 18th, 1973: Dazed & Confused, Whole Lotta Love, Immigrant Song
Led Zeppelin’s January 22nd, 1973 at the Student Union building at Southampton University follows their show at the Gaumont Theater, also in Southampton, the previous evening. It seems Jimmy Page thought it might be a good idea to play in a smaller venue and record it for a live album. For reasons that are unknown, the album was never released and sat in the archives for thirty years. When Page and producer Kevin Shirley were working on the DVD and How The West Was Won projects in 2002, this tape was considered for possible use. Although it wasn’t used on that project, through some means the working multi-track tapes circulated and have been with the labels in Japan for some time. A couple months ago the tape was posted online in anticipation of the silver releases that were scheduled to come out.
The Great Lost Live Album is the first of what will surely be many silver releases that will see the light of day over the coming months. Compared to the internet version, Nasty Music sounds much brighter with the emphasis on the higher frequencies, whereas the internet version has a much deeper bass. Nasty Music has as similar timbre to the KBFH tapes and not as constricted as the online version, which might not be to everyone’s taste. Many Zeppelin collectors like to hear an emphasis on the bottom end, but there times, like the beginning of “Dancing Days,” where the bass is too loud in the mix and that particular passage isn’t a concern on this. Early word on The Great Lost Live Album claims to have gaps between the songs. After listening to the three discs, there are none so that isn’t a concern.
Nasty Music is also more complete than what was posted online. For example three Plantations, before “Black Dog,” “Dancing Days,” and “How Many More Times” are present on this release but missing from the internet version as is Robert Plant’s dedication of “Dazed & Confused” to the manager of the Gaumont Theater. “Thank You,” which is missing the very end, is complete on the silver. The actual performance itself has come under some criticism with many collectors which is unfair. Any concert will have its highlights and cringe-worthy moments, and this is not an exception. What is fascinating to hear is Plant’s interaction with a crowd that is estimated to be about four hundred.
“Rock And Roll” sounds a bit sluggish, but the following song “Over The Hills And Far Away” is very good with an animated solo by Page in the middle. Before “Black Dog” Plant says, “And it’s a good evening. I believe we came here before. I don’t know if it was as warm then. We’re going to have a good time tonight. This is about a Labrador who became rather – rather dodgy with lumbago. The only thing he could do was boogie. He was a black dog. Black Dog!”
The “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” pairing follows immediately afterwards. Before “Dancing Days” Plant explains, “This is a bastard actually. This is a track from the new album. It’s a track that was written in the height of last year’s summer on July 6th. It’s a song about school days and little boys that never grow up. It’s called ‘Dancing Days’.” This is usually a great live piece but this version sounds tired with Page playing a bland solo at the song’s conclusion.
“Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp,” which normally follows “Dancing Days,” is dropped: “we don’t know it to be honest,” Plant explains. “Besides we can’t maneuver about.” The band play another new song, “The Song Remains The Same” instead. The right channel of the stereo flickers at eleven seconds into the track and becomes a bit weak at twenty-two seconds, but improves soon afterwards with another flicker at 2:51.
At the end of “The Rain Song” Plant says, “That was John Paul Jones, ably assisted by the Haleigh Orchestra which we managed to press into this small 3 X 26 box.” A power surge can be heard on the tape and there is a short delay while the roadies work on wiring onstage. Page plays a bit of the Tarantella while Plant caution “you can get a shock you know, Cerano.” Plant jokes with the audience about the show the previous evening at the Gaumont Theater before the band play a twenty-eight minute version of “Dazed And Confused.”
The recording preserves the dynamics of the piece and the song is very enjoyable in this show. Plant is out of tempo during the “San Francisco” section and Page takes his time finding his violin bow. Bonham plays the cymbals under Plant’s moans in the interim before the violin bow section begins. The sounds are soft, reminiscent of the Liverpool tape, but also very creepy.
“Whole Lotta Love” lasts for a half hour and the medley is typical for this tour with no surprises. There is a small cut on the tape at 19:47. They play the longest set of encores of the tour. “Heartbreaker” is first followed by the John Paul Jones mellotron arrangement of “Thank You,” This is an experiment he first introduced in Nagoya the previous October and played it several times since, but this is the best recording we have of this unusual piece.
At the song’s end Page plays some pretty figures on the guitar before Plant introduces the next number. “This is one of our early tunes and God knows if we can remember it.” They play an eight minute version of “How Many More Times” for the first time in two years which segues into the final encore of the night “Communication Breakdown.”
The third disc is a limited edition bonus with various material. The first tape is the short rehearsal fragment from the Southampton University gig. This has been released numerous times and is in excellent quality. The second is the soundboard fragment from the January 18 Bradford gig several nights before, containing “Dazed And Confused,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and the final encore “Immigrant Song.” Heart Attack (Condor 1997) and Elvis Presley Has Just Left The Building (LZ6897-281) are two very early releases containing both “Dazed & Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love.”
“Immigrant Song” appeared on two earlier releases, April Fool’s Day (LZ 05) and Tight But Loose (Saka ZLCD 385). Falling In Love With The Fallen Angel (Led Note LCD 1507) is the first release to put them all together on the same release in 1999 and it hasn’t been released since. So for those who don’t have the Led Note the bonus isn’t as pointless as it seems. The quality is excellent as well and the performance is very good as well. “Whole Lotta Love” is particularly brutal and this is the final time Led Zeppelin ever performed “Immigrant Song” in concert. The Great Lost Live Album is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with simple but effective artwork with rare photos of the gig. It will be interesting to see how Nasty Music stands up against Empress Valley and other future releases, but this is a very nice release. (GS)
Addendum: The download version of the Southampton 73 SBD from Presence (and now on every download site in the World!) has those missing Plantations you refer to in the review. That version has numerous glitches and feedback blips which I spent last night removing in Adobe audition. Regards, and keep up the great work, Jules McTrainspotter
Does anyone could compare this release with Empress Valley’s, for instance (both in terms of audio quality and completeness)?