When A Glass Was Thrown (Tarantura TCD-75-1, 2)
Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY – October 30th, 1969
Disc 1: Introduction, Good Times Bad Times, Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, tuning, White Summer
Disc 2: What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, band introduction, How Many More Times
Tapes from Led Zeppelin’s fall tour in 1969 of the US are hard to find and those that are in circulation rarely considered for silver release. The October 30th show at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo has seen several releases many years ago, but all of them have been problematic in one way or another. One of the earliest is Pat’s Delight (Tecumseh TRC-001), the early incarnation of the Tarantura label.
This is a two disc set with the May 19th Boston Tea Party tape and the Buffalo tape incomplete with only “Communication Breakdown,” “I Can’t Quit You,” “Heartbreaker,” “Dazed And Confused,” and “White Summer/Black Mountain Side.” Tarantura released the same incomplete tape on Long Tall Sally (Tarantura T2CD-3-5,6) with the August 18th Toronto tape.
Buffalo Sixtynine (New Plastic Records NP 55002) was released in 1993 and included “How Many More Times” but was missing “What Is And What Should Never Be,” “Moby Dick” and ran at the wrong speed. Headliner (Magnificent Disc MD-6901) is a more recent release of the show but like the New Plastic is missing two song and suffers from too much mastering in an attempt to improve the fidelity of the tape.
When A Glass Was Thrown is the first silver release to offer the complete tape including the two songs omitted from all previous releases. It runs at the correct speed and the label didn’t apply heavy handed remastering letting the sound to stand on its own merits. There are cuts at 5:17 in “Dazed And Confused,” at 9:33 in “White Summer,” and “How Many More Times” cuts out after 10:37. There is also a short spurt of static at 10:33 in “Dazed And Confused.”
Buffalo occurs right after their first really big show at the Boston Garden on October 25th. Compared to shows from earlier in the year, they play with tremendous confidence and are extremely tight. The sound is clear, capturing the atmosphere of the performance perfectly. The tape picks up when the band take the stage and a girl by the recorder says, “we’re sitting in front of Jimmy Page.”
The first thirty seconds of “Good Times, Bad Times” serves as an introduction to “Communication Breakdown.” Played close to the album version, there is very little elaboration during the song’s course which in later years would be the place for extended wah-wah laden riffs, bass solos and short medleys. During “I Can’t Quit You” someone throws a glass at Plant and he challenges him in the second verse: “If you think you’re so smart, come up here and do it again!”
“It’s a great pleasure to be here tonight. And we’d like to welcome our friend who is so used to throwing coconuts in the fairground. Thanks for the glass. We’d like to carry one with…a track from the new Led Zeppelin II album. This is a thing called ‘Heartbreaker.'” The song is close to an exact duplicate of the studio version but would begin to evolve in different directions. “Dazed And Confused” lasts for seventeen minutes with an interesting solo in the middle.
There is a long period of tuning for “White Summer.” Plant explains that the song is in a “drone tuning” while everybody is waiting. When Page is finally ready he plays an eleven minute masterpiece which has Plant saying “too much” at the end. “We’d like to ah, you’re gonna have to turn it down a bit George…this is a thing called ‘But What Is And What Should Never Be.'”
Plant introduces John Bonham for his solo piece “Moby Dick” and this tape is the earliest recorded live version of the drum solo. Plant introduces Jimmy Page as “king of the Caribbean” and he gives himself a “Smokestack Lightening” fanfare. Page plays the melody in a higher key for thirty seconds between 3:30 and 4:00. There are no medleys in the improvisation but several minutes of intense riffs before they reach “The Hunter.” Tarantura apply a fade at the end and the tape cuts out when Plant reaches “ain’t no place to hide…”
The rest of the song and the encores are missing. What the encores were is hard to say since “Communication Breakdown,” the encore from previous tours, is played first. The only tape from this tour with the encores is the November 7th San Francisco which has the Eddie Cochran tunes “C’Mon Everybody” and “Something Else.” But what was played in Buffalo will never be known unless another tape source were to surface. When A Glass Was Thrown is an excellent release and stands as the definitive version of the show. It is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve and is limited to one hundred copies.