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It's the 40th anniversary of the 1972-73 UK Winter Tour, so I've been catching up.

Just finished listening to "One For the M6" from the "Ascension" Godfather Box.

January 14, 1973 Empire Theatre, Liverpool. Soundboard.

Tape starts with OTHAFA, missing Rock and Roll. It's got that typical underwater-sound that many of the 1973 Soundboards have...Jimmy's guitar sometimes gets buried in the mix, most disturbingly on Stairway to Heaven; the solo is practically non-existent. The audience is also often a mere rumour, which doesn't give the listener a fair impression of the actual crowd atmosphere at a Zeppelin gig...one of my pet peeves about soundboards, particularly 1973 boards. The one thing that does come thru clear on these soundboards is Bonzo's right foot...his bass drum cutting through the age and murk of the tape with hammer of the gods force.

The flaws of the soundboard quality aside, this Liverpool show is a smoker performance-wise. One tell-tale sign of a good '73 show is Since I've Been Loving You...the SIBLY from 1.14.73 is a ripper, right from the start of Jimmy's blitzkrieg of notes following the end of Misty Mountain Hop. Bonham is particularly active during this song, doing some unique fills during the solo. This SIBLY can rightly take its place along 3.24 Offenbach and '73 MSG as the best of the year.

Dancing Days, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, TSRTS, Rain Song all follow in great versions...which makes it a ahame that the tape cuts out towards the end of Rain Song and doesn't start up until the beginning of the jam part of Dazed and Confused, missing about the first 5 or 6 minutes.

But what we do hear is one of the great D & Cs of all time...if Jimmy had played it with this speed and ferocity in 1975, I wouldn't have had a problem with those 40-minute versions. Listen to the hair-raising licks Jimmy shreds around the 12-minute mark, before the funky break section. Bonham and Jimmy goad and push each other throughout the song, culminating in a delirious final jam during the wah-wah part, where Bonzo sounds like he is hammering his drums into submission.

And that's Disc 1. Disc 2 starts with Stairway...not bad, but flawed because of the hard to hear guitar solo. Whole Lotta Love makes up for it, with Jimmy's guitar coming in loud and clear finally. These UK and Euro '73 shows would be the last hurrah for the honest-to-goodness Whole Lotta Love medleys. They would be shortened considerably for the '73 US tour.

I always wished Led Zeppelin had done a Beatles song during the WLL medley in Liverpool, but no dice. I never tire of hearing Zep do Elvis, though, and always dig the (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care from this tour!

WLL closes the main set, followed by two crackling encores: Heartbreaker and The Ocean, a song that should have seen a longer setlist life than it did.

All in all, a great show, one of the best from 1973...if only the Soundboard was in better shape. Does there exist a good audience tape of this show?

I believe Joe (Liverpool) was at this concert, yes?

Now, I am putting on "GROOVIN' IN THE GARDEN"...January 15, 1973 Trentham Gardens, Stoke. Exactly 40 years ago tonight!

This is also from the Godfather Box and is a soundboard. For years I had this show in the "Stroke in Stoke" bootleg. This boot was infamous for absurdly placing WLL smack dab in the middle of TSRTS and Rain Song. There was also some tunes from Detroit '73 at the end of Disc 2.

Godfatherecords' "Groovin' in the Garden" restores the correct running order of the Soundboard tape.

On with the show...review to come later.

Edited by Strider
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I can't stop listening to No Quarter from the LA Forum shows from '75. I'm comaring 3/24 with 3/25. Both awesome. That jazzy JPJ/Bonzo bit kills me. Check out that double bass kick in the interlude. I can't tell if its JPJ's foot pedal or Bonzo doing light bass drum kicks.

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