Celebrating Fifth And Sixth Days (The Symbols)
Celebrating Fifth And Sixth Days collects together excellent audience tapes for Page & Plant’s final two shows in Tokyo on the Unledded tour. And since the Walking Into Everywhere tour in 1998 never made it to Japan, the final two in Tokyo.
The Symbols are among the labels who rushed out excellent quality audience recordings soon after the tour ended in an attempt to capitalize on the tour’s publicity along with 10 Days (Hoochie Coochie). Indeed the early releases like The Symbols have a rushed look to them. The artwork is very simple and the discs are very plain and not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as later releases.
Simplicity in the artwork doesn’t detract from the sound quality, however. And since all of the shows in this series originate from the same taper there is uniform excellent quality. They are all very detailed and capture the warmth of the performances very well.
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – February 12th, 1996
Disc 1 (61:09): Eastern, The Wanton Song (intro Immigrant Song), Bring It On Home, Heartbreaker, Ramble On, No Quarter, hurdy gurdy solo, Gallows Pole, Tea For One, The Song Remains The Same, Going To California, That’s The Way
Disc 2 (61:20): Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Yallah, Four Sticks, Kashmir, Custard Pie, Rock And Roll
The February 12th show can be found also on Evening Custard (Pore The Sole) and Fifth Show At The Famous Old Building (Real Dragon) in very similar sound quality and all released at about the same time. While not as adventurous as other shows in Japan, there are a few rarities and is overall an excellent and moving performance for the band.
The opening number is “The Immigrant Song” riff segueing right into “The Wanton Song” from Physical Graffiti, the most common opener for Page & Plant, followed by the fast “Bring It On Home” riff segueing into “Heartbreaker” into “Ramble On” forming a short Led Zeppelin II medley.
“Well good evening Tokyo. Happy holiday” Plant greets the audience, probably referring to National Foundation Day (which actually falls on February 11th).
Their rearrangement of “No Quarter” followed. It is signatory not only for its tenacious message but for the expression of their music ideas of a synthesis between classic Led Zeppelin pomp, British folk and middle eastern Tajwid. It is a compelling piece which leaves the audience spellbound.
“Tea For One” is given its second ever performance. Unlike the previous night when it fell apart by the start, this performance is tight and flawless. And after “The Song Remains The Same” they perform a two song acoustic set with “Going To California” and “That’s The Way.” After the second Plant confesses “that was a song we don’t normally do, but as we seem to be here for the entire season…”
After “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” Plant resurrects the old badgeholder routine from 1977 when he sees a staff member walking in front of the stage: “There’s a lady down here who’s lost. Are you lost? No? You have a pass on! You’re a badgeholder! Fancy that. We’ve been wondering where you were. We haven’t seen you since 1972…It’s happening again, Bill, it’s all gonna be like it used to be.”
During the “Whole Lotta Love” medley they play the original Sonny Boy Williamson version of “Bring It On Home” (with Plant on harmonica), The Doors’ “Break On Through” and “Dazed And Confused.”
After introducing the orchestra, Plant calls for the loop for the excellent “Yallah.” The show ends with “Four Sticks” and the long “Kashmir” including the “Black Dog” reference at the end. “Custard Pie” (with Page starting in the wrong key) returns as the encore followed by “Rock And Roll.”
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – February 13th, 1996
Disc 3 (60:38): Thank You, Custard Pie, Black Dog (incl. In My Time Of Dying), Tangerine, Hurdy Gurdy Solo, Gallows Pole, Tea For One, The Song Remains The Same, Going To California, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – Stairway To Heaven
Disc 4 (58:37): Whole Lotta Love, Friends, Yallah, Four Sticks, Kashmir, What Is And What Should Never Be, Rock And Roll
The final night in Tokyo was released also on Sixth Show At The Famous Old Building (Real Dragon), 10 Days (Hoochie Coochie) and Back Into The Forest Vol. 1 Empress Valley. Several years after this in 2003 a soundboard surfaced and was released by Tarantura in Made in Occupied Japan 1996 (TCDPP-1-3) along with a DVD with audience filmed footage of this show.
Like other tapes in this series, it is a very good to excellent stereo DAT recording. It’s slightly more distant than the February 12th tape with slight distortion in the louder parts and, at the very beginning, there is disturbing audience noise over the music. But that quickly ends and you’re able to enjoy the show.
No middle eastern tape is used, but instead the Page and Plant start onstage with “Thank You” which segues into an extremely heavy rendition of “Custard Pie” and “Black Dog” without the “Out On The Tiles” introduction.
After an acoustic version of “Tangerine” Plant tells Tokyo, “tonight is a very sad night. It is the very last concert in your city for this tour. We’ve had a wonderful time in Tokyo and tonight we intend to play and play so you never forget the moment.” He then introduces Nigel Eaton as the “loudest hurdy gurdy player in the world.” His solo tonight is very lyrical and melodic.
“Tea For One” is played again and is sounding much more tight and rehearsed. This performance leands a heavy air of melancholy and depression, keeping with Plant’s assertion earlier in the night. The mood extends with “Going To California” and a sad “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.”
“Whole Lotta Love” contains a reference to “I’m A King Bee” in addition to “Break On Through” and “Dazed And Confused.” One of the “core” tunes of the Unledded project returns to the set in “Friends,” a song rarely played during Led Zeppelin’s career.
“Yallah” is introduced as “a song that was born very recently. Maybe it was the first song that we put together in our new career in the new days. Inspired by the city of Marrakesh, the home of sinners and good men and us” and is followed by several more “core” tunes “Four Sticks” and “Kashmir.”
Although both of the Tokyo shows have other releases and, in the case of the February 13th with a complete soundboard, have been surpassed, Celebrating Fifth And Sixth Days does have excellent recordings of both shows and is worth having as a document for these two concerts.