June 21, 1977
Listen To This Erik
GaryB Master Cassettes via JEMS
Note: This is the version uploaded at The Traders Den, and is complete, including The Song Remains The Same. The version uploaded at DIME excludes TSRTS, to comply with DIME rules.
Download from FileFactory:
LZ 1977-06-21 Inglewood (GaryB Master via JEMS).rar
Recording Gear: portable cassette recorder with built-in mono microphone (model unknown)
JEMS 2017 Transfer: GaryB’s Memorex 120-minute master cassettes > Nakamichi CR-7A azimuth-adjusted playback > Sound Devices USBPre2 > Audacity 2.0 (24/96 capture to .wav > pitch adjustment > iZotope RX6 and Ozone 6 restoration and mastering > iZotope MBIT+ resample and dither to 16/44.1 > Peak Pro 6 (post production) > xACT 2.37 > FLAC
01 anticipatory audience ecstacy
02 The Song Remains The Same
03 The Rover > Sick Again
04 Nobody’s Fault But Mine
05 Over The Hills And Far Away
06 Since I’ve Been Loving You
07 No Quarter
08 Ten Years Gone
09 The Battle Of Evermore
10 Going To California
11 Black Country Woman
12 Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
13 White Summer/Black Mountain Side
15 Out On The Tiles > Moby Dick
17 Achilles Last Stand
18 Stairway to Heaven
19 Whole Lotta Love > Rock and Roll
-No Quarter: splice due to tape flip
-Heartbreaker: cut, with small bit of guitar solo preserved
-Achilles Last Stand: joined in progress, cut near end
-Stairway To Heaven: splice
Forty years after the band’s legendary performance, one of the most iconic Led Zeppelin bootlegs of all time, Listen To This Eddie, gets a companion with the first-ever release of GaryB’s mono master tapes from The Forum, June 21, 1977. This newly uncovered second recording of the show complements the work of legendary taper Mike Millard (whose tape is the source of the LTTE bootleg) to provide an alternative perspective and a fresh, compelling way to listen anew to this fantastic and familiar show.
For decades, Millard’s recording stood as the only document of the show to surface, though GaryB and friends have been listening to his recording since the day after, especially his buddy Erik who, having taken some “mood enhancers” prior to the show, woke up the next day with almost no memory of what took place. Because Erik couldn’t remember much, GaryB titled his tape Listen To This Erik.
GaryB’s title implies that he was familiar with the famous Eddie bootleg, and indeed he was. In fact, it was because of Millard’s tape/the Eddie bootleg that GaryB never felt there would be any desire for his recording, since he deemed the quality of Eddie to be superior to Erik. For that reason, his tape of the show went unheard by Zeppelin collectors at large until a couple months ago when, to recognize the show’s 40th anniversary, GaryB posted an incomplete and cobbled together MP3 of his tape to YouTube. The response from Zeppelin fans was immediate: WHERE DID THIS COME FROM and HOW CAN WE GET THIS?
What Zep fans were responding to both in YouTube comments and on message boards was atmosphere. As great as Millard’s Led Zeppelin recordings are, one thing they don’t unmistakably capture is the electric atmosphere of the crowd, something those who were there remember so clearly. “From 8:15 to 9:45 pm,” GaryB recalls, “every time a song on the pre-show tape began to fade, the crowd started cheering. By the time they came on, insanity.”
He continues: “The electricity of the crowd always stood out to me. Springsteen once said that the very word ‘concert’ means BOTH the audience and artist are engaged. On this night, both Zeppelin and the crowd brought their A game and the result was an epic show. I thought the band just fed off the crowd and kicked it up to a rarely seen level. Listen to the audience when Page is introduced: the ovation was crazy. I tell my wife and kids that when I’m old and I can’t remember anything, just put on my concert recording of 6/21/77 and I’ll have a huge smile on my face.”
GaryB’s tape captures that atmosphere brilliantly from the get-go, as we get over 90 seconds of ecstatic audience build up before Jimmy hits that preamble chord then launches into “The Song Remains the Same.” There’s plenty of appealing audience response throughout, and while the quality of GaryB’s recording is not quite at Millard’s level, it is still better than many ’77 audies, sounding especially clear in quieter songs and holding up respectfully when the band is at full power. It was made on a borrowed recorder that we haven’t been able to fully identify, but GaryB says was a substantial piece of gear, with solid metal parts and a brown leather case. He knew he was in for a long show, so he snuck in two Memorex 120-minute tapes, which he says he copied off many years ago and avoided playing to help preserve them.
During the show, GaryB and his brother Dave took turns holding the recorder, which had to be held up relatively high all night because the microphone was built in. Gary adds, “Like me, Dave also had to keep quiet the whole show because we were taping. Very hard not to react on a night like that!”
The YouTube and message board posts prompted Gary to seek someone who could properly transfer the masters and JEMS was lucky enough to be recommended for the gig by our dear friend BW with whom I had the following email exchange:
(September 25, 2017 at 5:48 PM) Fwd: Led Zeppelin 1977 Forum recording
Just got this email request. Is it something you would be interested in doing?
(September 25, 2017 at 5:52 PM) Re: Led Zeppelin 1977 Forum recording
Absolutely! I am the man for the job.
(September 25, 2017 at 5:54 PM) Re: Led Zeppelin 1977 Forum recording
Wow, what took you so long to respond?
Gary shipped the tapes to JEMS South and the work began. Those who have experience with 40-year-old, 120-minute cassette tapes know they are temperamental to say the least. GaryB had re-shelled one of the tapes (i.e. moved the actual interior tape and reels from the original cassette shell into a newer one) at some point in the past and that needed to be done again, as the pressure pad was gone on tape two and it wasn’t running smoothly. The new shell helped, but it still took multiple passes and a lot of hand-winding to capture the entirety of both sides. Tape one, while fussy in its own ways, played through relatively well given its age, the condition of its original shell and pad still viable. With great relief, I informed GaryB that the transfer was successful.
But there was still plenty to do. We have taken the rare step of noting this recording as “restored.” This is due to the work undertaken to repair several dozen short audio dropouts (likely due to movement of the tape deck during the show) inherent in the master. Using the latest iZotope RX software, we were able to fix the dropouts in a manner that should be relatively transparent to many listeners in most instances and substantially lessens the auditory defect. The manner of recording also required re-sequencing of parts and multiple pitch adjustments have been made to fix speed issues throughout, though most pronounced in the show’s final 30 minutes (“Achilles” to the end) when batteries were beginning to fail, slowing the recording, which then sounds sped up on normal playback. The fixes aren’t perfect by any means, as the speed change grows highly variable, but they are a marked improvement to the original.
We are presenting the final product in two forms. For the 16/44.1 edition, we have mastered GaryB’s restored recording to offer what in our opinion is a high-quality listening experience. For the purists out there (and surely to the delight of many Japanese bootleg labels: Maido arigatou gozaimasu!), we present a high-resolution, 24/96 restored but unmastered edition.
Speaking of Japanese bootlegs, there is a title which patches the missing portion of “Ten Years Gone” on Millard’s recording with a second source, but no other audio of the second source was released. We don’t believe GaryB’s tape was the mystery source, but we hope a knowledgeable collector will let everyone know.
This project was a labor of love for me and everyone involved. First and foremost, GaryB has been an absolute pleasure to work with and get to know. It is through his generosity that we get to hear a different version of one of our favorite Zeppelin shows of all time. Thanks for trusting JEMS, Gary. We hope you like the result. Thanks as well to BW, who made the introduction to GaryB and whom I love dearly. The stalwart mjk5110 stepped up as he always does, this time contributing critical feedback and countless hours to fix the pitch and speed issues in addition to his vital, on-going, post-production support. I would also like to recognize the work of the late Mike Millard, whose recording of this show and so many others have been critical listening to Zeppelin fans since the ‘70s. Over the years, we have met folks who knew Mike personally (including our own Stan, the S in JEMS), and they tell us that the Mike Millard described on the internet is not man they knew. He had many good friends and wasn’t at all the dour loner those descriptions would have us believe.
Here’s to another amazing example of finding “lost tapes.” Let’s hope there are still many more to come.
BK for JEMS