The Lights Go Down (TDOLZ Vol. 86)
Assembly Center, Tulsa, OK – August 21st, 1970
Disc 1 (66:01): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (60:26): organ solo, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
The August 21st Tulsa show occurs very early in Zeppelin’s sixth US tour. It was their second night in Oklahoma and a very good audience tape captures the event. It is distant but has a really nice live sound with great dynamics. It surfaced in the early nineties and was pressed first on Bottle Up & Go (Scorpio) where it is missing the introduction. Tarantura followed with Tulsa Hillbilly (Tarantura T2CD-10) which, according to the bootledz site, “It sounds like Tarantura used two different gens of tape to present this show. With that comes a couple extra cuts. The first disc ends 6.5 minutes into the organ solo and then is restarted on the second disc. Tarantura is missing a few seconds before the show and is missing a minute after WLL.” Whole Lotta Live in Europe released an identical copy soon after on You Gotta Be Cool (Whole Lotta Live WLL009/10).
TDOLZ released The Lights Go Down in the autumn of 1999, one of their final releases. It is packaged in a box with the discs housed in sleeves and a deluxe picture booklet with pictures roughly from the era and is limited to two-hundred numbered copies. The sound quality is very nice on Diagrams. There is a cut at 3:20 in “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and at 10:20 in “Moby Dick” which eliminates about two minutes of the drum solo. This defect is unfortunate (if you like drum solos). To those who are not fans of “Moby Dick” the missing two minutes is hardly noticeable. Wendy reissued this title several years ago called Tulsa Symphony: Ode To Joy (WECD – 80/81). Not only does Wendy’s title make no sense, but they took the Diagrams and cranked the volume to painful levels, squeezing the life and joy out of it and leaving nothing but an unlistenable mess.
The tape opens with the promoter introducing the members of the band and as they walk out Plant quips, “It’s a big drop tonight. Right, well you’re going to get very warm instead of very docile. Well we’re going to change that so be prepared to take off you ties. “Immigrant Song” leads straight into “Heartbreaker” which was a new arrangement at the time. Jimmy Page, while playing the solo in “Heartbreaker” stops and says, “Actually you can turn down the house lights now.”
It’s hard to believe why the promoters were concerned enough about trouble in the audience to turn on the house lights since the crowd is very quiet. But apparently there was a rush to the stage in the first song. Plant tells them “Yeah, turn the lights off and every body sit down. Before we carry on the lights go down. Now listen, the thing is, if we’re gonna have a good time and you are then we got to work hand in glove with the so called authorities, right. So in that case you sit down, and they’ll be cool and turn the lights off. So let’s wait for them to turn off the lights.” The lights are finally turned off and there is a bit of cheering, but Plant says,”that’s not a victory, that’s just commons sense so don’t take it as a victory.”
Page picks up where he left off and leads the solo into a mellow riff trying to calm them down. Afterwards Plant continues the discussion saying, “Let’s just hope you, let’s get rid of that, let’s hope we have reached an understanding with, with the electrical supplies up there. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take your ties off.”
From here on out the audience are silent enough to prompt comment from Plant. When they get ready for the acoustic section Plant jokes, “Has everybody gone asleep upstairs? Spotlight over there please. Spotlight, yes, there still awake. Are you alright? You got your popcorn? Right, we can’t very well wake you up with the next number, but if you’re on your way into dreams, maybe this will sort of disillusion you a bit. This is a thing from Led Zeppelin III, which should be in your shops.”
They follow with a beautiful version of “That’s The Way” and before “Bron-Y-Aur” Plant gives a long explanation about it’s meaning, saying: “Jimmy’d like to play a number from the Welsh mountains, or about a place in the Welsh mountains. A little cottage way up there in those films that you see. And this cottage has got a Welsh name which means the Golden Breast, and it’s really, to see it you’d know what we were talking about. It’s on the side of some beautiful hills, and there’s all this spiel coming down the hills, and all that sort of thing. It’s a beautiful, it’s a beautiful, it’s really a beautiful place, there’s no two ways about it.
The medley in “Whole Lotta Love” includes references to “Boogie Chillun,” “Bottle Up ‘n Go, Matchbox,” “Who’s Loving You Tonight,” and “Heartbeat.” Plant tries to end the song at this point with the “WOMAN” cue. But with the feedback he tells them all to song “PA IS CRAP!!” and leads them into “My Baby Left Me” and “That’s Alright Mama” (which is essentially the same song). Bringing it to an end Plant afterwards sings “WOMAN… you stil asleep up there? Woman! You’re all asleep. Way down inside…” The only encore on the tape is a six minute version of “Communication Breakdown” where John Paul Jones plays a bass solo in the middle. Overall this is a great document from the tour which, although not essential is fun to have. TDOLZ have produced a handsome looking edition which is nice to have provided one isn’t a stickler for the complete drum solo.