Two And A Half Finger Show (Tarantura TCD 216/217)
Two And A Half Finger Show is Tarantura’s box set version gathering together the audience and soundboard recordings of Led Zeppelin’s first show of their 1975 North American tour. There’s three different versions of this set to choose from, Promotional Holy Shroud Edition features artwork similar to Empress Valley’s Jesus title and is limited to 50 numbered sets. Double Neck Edition features a live shot of Jimmy with the double neck guitar and it’s a numbered edition of 100. Dazed Edition features a live shot of Jimmy taken during his bow solo and is a numbered edition of 75. All three sets share the same packaging format, a hinged box with magnet closer and also share the same interior content which consists of each source housed in its own gatefold sleeve plus a fold open insert that features press clippings from the concert. Like the majority of the recent Led Zeppelin releases from Tarantura, Enigma handled the mastering so one can be assured of quality sound production.
Met Center, Bloomington, Minneapolis, USA – January 18, 1975
Audience Source – Scotoma
Disc 1 (50:08) Introduction, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, When The Levee Breaks, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir
Disc 2 (54:12) The Wanton Song, No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, Stairway To Heaven
The audience sourced was released by The Dogs of Doom nearly a year ago, the recording has seen releases from the usual suspects on such titles as First Show From North American Tour 1975 (Wisteria Records WISCD 2021-007), Bloomington 1975 (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-118A/B), Jesus (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1280/81), and Bloomington 1975 (No Label). For this review I am using the Bloomington 1975 title from Graf Zeppelin for my comparison. The volume of the recording is close, Tarantura is just a little louder, Enigma has added gentle mastering by reducing the bass frequencies and boosting the upper frequencies. This adds clarity to the sound not found on the Graf Zeppelin and gives the recording more of a punch with the only negative, and it’s minor, is that the tape hiss increased a bit as well. The tape hiss, IMO, is easy to look past and this is a really great sounding version of the recording and to my ears, is the preferred one based upon its improvement in sound.
Soundboard Source – Blind Focus
Disc 1 (56:44) Introduction, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, When The Levee Breaks, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir, The Wanton Song
Disc 2 (75:41) No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, In My Time Of Dying, Stairway To Heaven, Encore Break, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Outroduction
The soundboard was teased to us for some time, short snippets made the rounds until Empress Valley released the incomplete soundboard recording last year on the deluxe set entitled Jesus (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1280/81). Of course Eelgrass followed quickly with their version Salvation Through Him (Eelgrass EGL20286/287) and EV also released a stripped down version of the SB as First Campaign (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-EVSD-1280/81). Budget label Moonchild gave us Hello Twin Cities (Moonchild HELLO TWIN-1/2) and the Tarantura off shoot label Bloomington In Raw (Boleskine House Records BHRCD-20-1,2) was supposedly from the master tape.
Now Tarantura gives us their version of the soundboard, like the Salvation Through Him (Eelgrass EGL20286/287) title, Tarantura uses the audience source for the large gaps in Wanton Song and No Quarter. I have the EV title First Campaign and Boleskine Bloomington In Raw for sound comparison. Enigma has boosted the sound levels very slightly as well as added a bit of bottom end while clearing up the swish of the cymbals. When comparing the Tarantura to the EV and Boleskine, it has warmer and more open sound to it and sounds amazing at loud volumes. The differences between the Tarantura and EV are a bit more noticeable than the Tarantura versus Boleskine house. This set is perhaps the best thing that Enigma has done so far, his mastering compliments the source tapes and does not overpower it or make drastic changes to it. Perhaps the best way to describe it would be the word natural.
I purchased the Dazed box set mainly as I liked the live shot of Jimmy during the bow solo. The back of the box features a side stage shot, when you open the box there is a long picture of Jimmy as well as an OBI that wraps around the cover. The Dazed box is a numbered edition of 75, my copy is 053. Both of the gatefold interior sleeves feature both live and off stage photos of the band as well as gig advertisements on the rear. The fold open insert features such headlines as “Zeppelin lands in Minneapolis” and “Despite adversities Zeppelin soaring High”. These gig reviews feature text clear enough to read which makes it nice. Overall an excellent presentation that features excellent sound and based upon sound only, this set features the best sound of this material. The packaging also pushes this set to the top, it is simply beautiful and very well done, and at an affordable price versus other box sets featuring the same content.