Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Led (Badgeholders BH-007-01-02-03-04)

Whole Lotta Led (Badgeholders BH-007-01-02-03-04) 

Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – June 14th, & 15th, 1972
Disc 1, Nassau Coliseum, NY – June 15th, 1972:  Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
Disc 2:  Dazed & Confused, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love  (includes Boogie Chillun’, Slow Down, Hello Mary Lou, Money Honey, Heartbreak Hotel, Cumberland Gap, Going Down Slow).  Nassau Coliseum, NY – June 14th, 1972:  Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog

Disc 3:  Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Dazed & Confused
Disc 4:  What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (includes Boogie Chillun’, Cumberland Gap, Hello Mary Lou, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Going Down Slow), Rock And Roll, Communication Breakdown, Weekend, Bring It On Home

Whole Lotta Led, despite the trite title, presents two very hot shows from the middle of Zeppelin’s eight US tour in 1972.  The common assumption concerning this time is that the band were playing very good concerts and yet received very little recognition for their efforts because the Rolling Stones were touring the US at the same time.  Because of that they played in the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Long Island instead of Madison Square Garden in the city.  This really doesn’t make too much sense since the Stones played New York five weeks later and it seems Zeppelin received some big write ups, especially for these two shows. 

The most important was by Roy Hollingworth who reviewed the first Nassau Coliseum show for Melody Maker.  Zeppelin’s main beef has more to do with the cultural significance of the STP.  It was the Stones’ first US tour since the Altamont tragedy and there were two movies filmed and a book published following their exploits.  This is the kind of attention Zeppelin avoided anyway.  Whatever the case may be this tour is one of their very best with all of the tapes documenting inspired performances and amazing creativity.

The Badgeholders label chose to place the second show on June 15th first in this set since it is the better recorded of the two.  The sound quality is very loud and clear.  The biggest distraction are the tapers themselves, a group of Long Island Zep fans who taped many shows in the metropolitan area and their insane comments have been pressed onto silver discs for all to enjoy.  There are constant discussions about how great Jimmy Page is and how everything is “THE BEST”.  Tensions are also raised during the quiet beginning of “Stairway To Heaven” about seating arrangements.  There are cuts in “Tangerine”, “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”, the drum solo to “Moby Dick”, the very ending of “Whole Lotta Love” and the encores.  What is clear is the ungodly playing by the band.  

The show begins with the “LA drone” (this was the first show on the tour where they employed that beginning) and the show never lets up.  “Dazed & Confused” must rank among the very top in their entire career.  The playing is so intense that even the tapers shut up for a minute!  This is an essential tape to have.  Pervious releases include Tangerine on Mud Dogs, Welcome Back on Tarantura and Long Island Line on IQ.  Badgeholders increased the volume over the Tarantura and also cut out, for some inexplicable reason, half of “Tangerine”.  It cuts out after a minute, whereas it is complete on Welcome Back.

Whole Lotta Led pairs this tape with the June 14th show from the previous evening.  It is a mediocre sounding tape but is very listenable and not as bad as some say.  The content is actually better than the June 15th and makes me wish it were better recorded.  This is the first time Plant drops the famous “Does anybody remember laughter?” ad lib in “Stairway To Heaven” and the band play four encores.  The only other complete release is on Sometime In New York City on the old Image Quality label and sounds comparable. 

Badgeholders boosts the volume (as usual), but does make it sound a bit more enjoyable.  This comes packaged in a fatboy jewel case with some 72 tour photos on the front and back and an insert with two common pictures of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.  If the June 15th show didn’t have the inexcusable cut in “Tangerine” I’d say this would be worth seeking out.  I’m dumbfounded why a label would make such a mistake as this since there are so many versions of the tape floating around.

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