Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin One More For The Road (Madison Square Garden, September 1970)


Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – September 19th, 1970 (late show)

Disc 1 (70:35): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed & Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Y-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, organ solo, Thank You

Disc 2 (74:11): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Out On The Tiles, Communication Breakdown, rock medley, How Many More Times

Led Zeppelin ended a successful second year by beating the Beatles in the Melody Maker poll for best group and by making their debut at Madison Square Garden with two shows on September 19th. Holding a press conference the day before, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had to field many Beatle related questions and try to explain their popularity to an ignorant press (which can be seen on the official DVD).

An audience recording of the early show had been circulating for some time and was pressed by several different labels, but the evening show only surfaced several years ago by the taper who thought he attended the afternoon show. It was a surprise to hear the evening show in such good quality.

Labels were quick to press the tape on silver with the first being Final Daze (ZEP-MSG-01/2) followed by Shout That Loud (Electric Magic EMC-024 A/B), Requiem (Empress Valley EVSD – 288/289), and in a boxset with the afternoon show on Have You Ever Experienced? (Tarantura TCD-17-1~4). One More For The Roadis the most recent release of the tape several years after the excitement and is as good as the very best version of the tape available.

It runs at the correct speed (the first couple of releases ran a bit too fast) and the sound on Boogie Mama isn’t as harsh and distorted as on the others. The best of the four early releases was the Tarantura box which sold out very quickly and is impossible to find these days and Boogie Mama’s is just as good and can be considered definitive.

They are introduced as the most popular group when they hit the stage and the intensity of the opening songs “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” is a harbinger to a legendary performance and riles the audience up so much that Plant says, “we didn’t expect you to shout that loud really” before introducing “Dazed And Confused as something from the first time that we ever managed to get to the Fillmore East, and this is the second number we did that night. So we’d like to do it again.”

After “Bring It On Home” Zeppelin play a short two song acoustic set, reflecting the trend of their soon to be released third album.

While Page tunes is guitar Plant speaks about the big event from the previous day, saying, ”Right, it seems a rather apt time to start talking about things that I’m sure that the people we talk about wouldn’t want said, but yesterday a rather uncomfortable thing happened for everybody. A great loss came about for the whole of the music world. And we would like to think that you, as well as us, are very sorry that Jimi Hendrix went. I spoke to a close friend of his about half an hour ago, and he said that he would probably prefer that everybody get together and have a really good time, rather than talk about it. So we’d like to get on and try to make everybody happy, right?”

The New York audience grows rather impatient during the set while Plant explains what “Bron-Y-Aur,” Page’s solo number, means saying “It’s the name of a small cottage in the south hills of Snowdonia, in Wales. The Welsh mountains. And the name is a Welsh name, which translated into English American, means Golden Breast. Which leaves a lot to the imagination. This cottage is placed upon the side of a hill cause every morning when the sun comes up, from a distance, the slate stone looks like gold.”

Thankfully the song is very short and they return to the heavier music with the third unreleased song in a row ”Since I’ve Been Loving You.” John Paul Jones plays a strange organ solo as a prelude to “Thank You.”

After an eleven minute drum solo in “Moby Dick” they launch into a twenty-three minute medley in “Whole Lotta Love” that includes many rarities such as Arthur Crudup’s ”Look On Yonder’s Wall,” Robert Johnson with “Dust My Broom” and “Baby What You Want Me To Do.” This medley also contains their only reference to Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” and the only time “Train Kept A Rollin’” appears in a medley.

To cap off great tour they play a very long encore set beginning with ”Out On The Tiles” played for the second and last time which segues into ”Communication Breakdown” which contains a long bass solo by John Paul Jones and a reference to “Gallows Pole,” also from the forthcoming third album.

The night is extended with a medley based upon Little Richard’s “The Girl Can’t Help It” which includes their only reference to Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock.” The audience doesn’t stop shouting so they reward them with a fifteen minute version of the old set closer “How Many More Times” introduced by Plant as “one that we should have done.” The medley includes Chuck Berry’s “No Money Down” and a long version of Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill,” a standard that made several appearances on this tour.

Given the very good sound quality, the kinetic playing and rarities makes this one of the all time great Zeppelin concerts. Boogie Mama have done a very good job in presenting this show in an affordable edition. They employ a tri-fold digipack with many photos from the actual gig on the inside.

March 11, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin One More For The Road | , | Leave a comment