Average: 4.7 (12 votes)

April 25, 1969

San Francisco, CA US

Winterland

Setlist:

includes: Train Kept a Rollin', You Shook Me, Communication Breakdown, As Long As I Have You (incl. Fresh Garbage).

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Comments

Submit your personal review of a particular show you attended, updates, corrections, etc., which will be considered for addition to the official online archive.You may also contact the webmaster at: webmaster@ledzeppelin.com

Concert description

Sounding very similar to the tape from January 9th at Fillmore West, this tape from the band's second gig of their second visit to the city (and their first performance at the Winterland Ballroom), is much longer in length, being just under 25 minutes. The taper was close to the stage, likely on the floor of the venue, and the resulting recording is a nice listen of an excellent performance. Unfortunately, the last song on the tape, As Long As I Have You, ends after only six minutes. Cuts are present between all four songs, which masks the fact that there are almost certainly songs missing in-between these cuts. This is a given for the simple reason that the entire tape is less than half an hour long, yet it starts with Bill Graham introducing the band, and ends with Plant giving the audience a sincere farewell for the evening. Whether or not the Graham introduction is from the beginning of the 1st set or the beginning of the 2nd set isn't known. But given Plant's farewell, we can assume that the taper was present from the start of at least one of the sets through to the end of the night, save for any additional encores the band may have done. Again, just like that January 9th Fillmore West tape, there is also confusion as to what the actual date of this recording is. And, again, the confusion here is caused by the words that Plant says to the audience. Just before that incomplete version of As Long As I Have You, he says the following: "Last time when we came here was the first ... it was the second gig we ever did in America ... and ... we'd been together about three months, and we were really pleased with the way we went down. If we hadn't have done well here I think we would've shitted ourselves and ran home. And you've done the same for us this time as you did last time. We'd like to say thank you very much, and good night." A simple fact-checking of his statement about the town being the second gig the band ever did in America would effectively rule out San Francisco. The first US gig was on December 26th, 1968 in Denver, with the second in Seattle on December 27th. After those first two, the band played Vancouver and Spokane, with Portland said to have been played as well during that week. From there, in the first week of the new year, the band headed south to California for four nights at the Whisky in Hollywood, before heading up to the Fillmore West in San Francisco the following week. So, unless this tape is from Seattle, Plant's words don't make sense. Thankfully, the mystery here is helped by the fact that this tape starts with that aforementioned introduction by Bill Graham: "...welcome them back from England, this is Led Zeppelin." Graham's introduction on the tape weighs in heavy on this debate. In fact, so heavy, that even though we can never be entirely sure about these types of things, it pretty much settles the date. During this era, Graham had yet to begin promoting concerts outside of his own venues in the Bay Area and New York. So, for his voice to appear on this tape immediately identifies San Francisco or New York as the location. However, the sound of Page's guitar on this tape matches with the echo-heavy and fuzzed-out sound he used in San Francisco in April. By the time the band reached New York in May, Page will have gotten rid of that constant echo and fuzz sound, and will have switched over exclusively to his Les Paul. So, that's two points for this tape being from San Francisco. Not definitive proof, but pretty close. As for which day in San Francisco, April 26th and 27th are automatically out due to the fact that we already have complete recordings from both nights. As well, the first night back in town, April 24th, is also out, as that show starts with As Long As I Have You, which the band can be heard playing on this tape from April 25th. Unlike shows at other venues on the tour, where the band played to separate audiences at separate early and late shows, at Fillmore West and Winterland, the band played to the same audience the entire night. And during this period, we have no record of them repeating any songs within the same night at any of the other dates they played in town. Which ultimately asks the question as to why Plant would make such statement. The easiest answer probably being that he was merely being sentimental and appreciative to the audience. San Francisco was an important town for the band during this period. The gigs that the band gave there, especially during that week of April, are among the finest that they ever gave. So, given that connection, what's wrong with a little white lie amongst friends? So, I think this recording is indeed from San Francisco, at Winterland, April 25th, 1969. Even though the recording is so short and fragmentary, it is still a wonderful slice, highlighting a caliber of playing that is right up there with the other nights of the run. Plant's voice is fantastic, in glorius high range, and Page's playing actually sounds even better than it would the next night.

 

Hopefully, one day more of this tape will circulate (if there indeed is any more).