The Last Concert In America (Tarantura TCD-101-1, 2)
The Day On The Green, Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, CA – July 24th, 1977
Disc 1 (79:14): The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore
Disc 2 (78:43): Going To California, Mystery Train, Black Country Woman, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, Trampled Underfoot, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (suite), Kashmir, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll, closing mc
Led Zeppelin’s 1977 tour had its dead-beat moments and its magical. This tour Peter Grant took it upon himself to ensure the little private world they or he, had created around the band would no longer be taken advantage of in any way by scalpers and promoters no matter what their reputation. Grant went about hiring flat out thugs surrounding himself and the band, from his old wrestling days to ensure this would happen, no matter the status of a legendary promoter. It was at the Oakland Coliseum, a giant and deep hole, wrapped up with cement, where Grant and some of his thugs would, on July 23rd. beat one of Bill Graham’s assistants into a near coma just because they thought he assaulted Grants son.
The assault never actually happened, and Grant and his thugs were supposed to be arrested on the 24th, in a big show of force, after the concert. They somehow managed to get away. Bill Graham figured he’d get them next time. Tarantura has presented Led Zeppelins final American concert, a very good audience tape of the July 24th. show at Alameda County Coliseum. The taper is close to the stage, and something I find really cool about the opening is that, even though the band is taking the stage late, a person close to the taper can be heard saying “it’s twenty-five to four”, as the band is taking the stage.
There really isnt any open airy-ness to the sound, it does actually sound somewhat tight, which again is very good. However, the opening first couple of minuets of The Song Remains The Same is a bit distant and a canned. There are people yelling sit down right into the tappers mic, there’s a girl screaming, the bass and drum are up front with Plants vocals distant, as is Pages guitar. At 4:39 into TSRTS, it does open up, becoming much brighter, fuller and more balanced, with the audience somewhat removed. Yells of “sit down” right next to the taper come through loud and clear well into a rip-roaring Sick Again.
I can detect what sounds like a slight cut between songs, before Nobody’s Fault But Mine, but most importantly about this whole release is that Tarantura found a way to fill in all of the openings to most songs, or another source, because all of the openings to every song is here. The first few notes of each song are not cut off and there is a nice flow to most of the show. All the Plantations are here, without any cuts.
Since I’ve Been Loving You starts with the typical Page intro, which to my ears does sound to be EQ’d to high, as are Plants vocals. About two minuets in, the volume drops and it slowly works its way back up. But, it is very balanced over all. At the end of the song, a Kodak Instamatic Camera can be clearly heard being used, and the film advanced. Plant dedicates No Quarter to Bill Graham and it clocks in at a total of 22:40.
Dazed And Confused was not played on this tour and there is speculation if Moby Dick was played at all as well on this night, because it was not played every night on this tour. That could be why its missing from this show. No Quarter does have the full John Paul Jones piano solo, the song is muffled in parts and does get a bit organ/bass heavy towards the end, but the Page solo comes through and clear around 19:50.
During Ten Years Gone, Plants vocals are a bit muffled,but Pages guitar and his solo come through nice and clear. It really cleans up even more at 6:30 in.
The acoustic set as a whole comes through in excellent quality being nice clear and balanced. Mystery Train sounds spontaneous by Plant and after a couple of lines the band joins in.
Both Trampled Under Foot and Achilles Last Stand are smokin. They’re played with real intensity like the way the band is capable of playing them. I say it this because its a bit of a shame they book end White Summer…, Kashmir and Pages guitar solo in which he plays the Star Spangled Banner. White Summer sounds like the tape is sped up, but it is just Page going off on a tangent. Kashmir is pretty mellow, its kind of like being on a wave going up and down, with the intense Achilles leading into Stairway To Heaven. Unfortunately, there is still no complete Whole Lotta Love. It stops at 1:16 in, which is at the end of the 1st. verse, and there is a seamless cut into an incredibly intense version of Rock and Roll, which is how Led Zeppelin would leave America.
Over all, this is a very good audience recording, meaning one below excellent. A girl does shout “PAGE” at quite a few moments between songs right into the mic, but that just adds to the atmosphere. Over all, the band is really on this day. There are some mic movements at various parts on CD 2, but nothing that interferes with the music. It is balanced over all and very listenable, given that its at a stadium with over 67,000 people on who knows what inside. Again, the first few notes of each song are not cut off, but the show is not complete, with missing Whole Lotta Love.
Tarantura has done an excellent job with editing that did have to be done, and with EQ’ing. This is now the definitive release for Led Zepp’s last concert. It comes in a nice heavy duty cardboard jacket with glossy pictures on the front and back of the venue. Glossy pictures on the inside show Page playing a brown Telecaster, and one from his back, playing his double neck. Shots of the crowd and stadium on the inside as well as clippings from local papers. The CD’s have silk screened pictures of Plant and Jones sitting during the acoustic set. Highly recommended.