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Led Zeppelin It’s Been A Long Time (Madison Square Garden, September 1971)

zep_been_a_long_timeFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – September 3rd, 1971

Disc 1 (78:17): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California

Disc 2 (77:17): MC, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, organ solo, Thank You, Rock And Roll

Disc 3 (78:14): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California

Disc 4 (77:16): MC, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, organ solo, Thank You, Rock And Roll

Close to a year after their Madison Square Garden debut, Led Zeppelin returned for the big New York show on September 3rd on their seventh North American tour. With a sell out in three hours, playing to a packed Garden insured a legendary performance and in addition to performance, this show is legendary in other ways as well. Two tape sources exist for this concert.

The first is the so-called “noisy Artie” tapes, named after the loquacious taper who recorded many of Zeppelin’s shows in New York between 1971 and 1975 and is the source of the three silver pressed editions. Despite the constant talking and comments made by the taper and his friends, this is clear and enjoyable recording which captures the insanity in the venue that night. Previous releases of the tape include Hard Company, Mad Screaming Gallery (Lemon Song LS-7203/4/5), and How’ve Ya Been?: Riot At The Garden 1971 (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ 0020/21/28).

The second tape source runs from the beginning and cuts out eight minutes into during “Moby Dick.” Graf Zeppelin present a four disc set utlizing both tapes for the show. The first two discs utilize the Artie stereo recording and use the mono tape to fill in the gaps. The edits include twenty-three seconds at the beginning of “Heartbreaker,” from 2:37 to 3:29 in “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” from 13:42 to 14:01 in “Dazed And Confused,” the first fifty-six seconds of “That’s The Way,” and the very end of “Going To California” through the first twelve seconds in “What Is And What Should Never Be.”

The second edit uses the newer mono tape source as its base and uses the stereo to patch the gaps. The first fifteen seconds on disc three is the stereo source before switching to the mono in the middle of the band’s introduction. The stereo tape is also used for a bit of cheering after “Black Dog” and from 18:54 to 19:54 in “Dazed And Confused,” and is used for the final four tracks on disc two.

The announcer begins the show by stating that Led Zeppelin won the Melody Maker poll in England for most popular group as the band comes on stage and before they even play a note Plant greets the audience with “how’ve ya been?” several times.

The torrent of notes of “The Immigrant Song” drives the sellout audience nuts and before “Since I’ve Been Loving You” Plant has to do some crowd control, saying, “Listen, the one thing we don’t want tonight is a lot of rapping when we’re trying to play. So if everybody, if you respect the people behind you then we’re gonna stop a lot of shouting. So try to move into the aisles, and sit down a bit, otherwise it’s gonna be us that are going to suffer.” The first new song of the evening is “Black Dog,” which the taper has trouble hearing the song title and needs help from his girlfriend.

“Dazed And Confused” is one from a long time ago and features the Bouree in the violin bow episode. Jimmy Page invents several unique riffs during the song’s twenty-two minute duration. The paradigm for all versions on this tour is from the BBC recording the previous spring, where the arrangement still has a solid foot in psychedelia (an aesthetic which would be dropped by the time they tour Japan).

Plant expresses surprise at the audience afterwards, saying “we didn’t even imagine it was gonna be like this.” He tells the audience to be quiet for “Stairway To Heaven,” saying “if you’re gonna talk, whisper.” Unlike the Los Angeles performances, Plant doesn’t make any mistakes in the words and the song comes off without a hitch. The audience (near the recorder at least) don’t seem to pay too much attention to the song until it speeds up with Bonzo’s entrance.

“Celebration Day” is a “tribute…to New York” and makes its New York debut. The acoustic set is only two songs long. “Last time we were here, when we sat down, we didn’t have much success doing what we were doing cause there was so much noise” Plant remembers, referring to the 1970 shows were there was much talking. Things haven’t changed much since. In “That’s The Way” Plant sings “and yesterday I saw you walking by the Hudson” to add some New York flavor.

“Whole Lotta Love” is tremendously exciting. During ”Boogie Chillun’” Page and Bonham spontaneously break out into CCR’s “Suzie Q.” An example of Led Zeppelin humor which leads into improvisation segueing to ”My Baby Left,” one of Page’s first sessions back in the early sixties and “Mess O’ Blues,” one of the constants in the medley in 1971. The medley ends with a Garden shattering, seven and a half minute version of “You Shook Me.”

When the come out for the encores Plant scolds the crowd, “Just one thing wrong. That person who did that. There’s been no police trouble. There’s been nothing at all, and everybody was grooving, right? One thing. We’re gonna do some more, so put the lights off. We’ll dedicate it to that guy who threw that thing.” “Communication Breakdown” contains a Jones bass solo with Plant shouting “Mr Bass Man!”

After they come back for the second, Page plays the opening riff to “Train Kept A Rollin’” as Plant again tells the audience to be quiet. But when Jones begins the organ solo people begin to climb onto the stage. Eyewitness say the band stood on the monitors to be seen by the audience. People by the taper keep shouting “get off the stage!!”

By the time “Thank You” starts so many had climbed onto the stage that it cracks. The noise is very loud. “YOU’VE GOTTA MOVE BACK!!! MOVE BACK OR WE CAN’T GO ON” Plant shouts when the band stop playing.

Order is restored after a short delay and the band pick up again where they left off in the song. Before the final encore Plant exasperatedly says, “I can’t hear. I gotta tell you, I can’t hear a thing I’m saying cause all the equipment’s falling off. This is a track off the fourth album. It’s called ‘It’s Been a Long Time.’”

Graf Zeppelin is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with a blurb about the show from The Concert File printed on the back and photos from the Montreux and Honolulu 1971 shows printed on the artwork. I would still love to see photos from the actual New York 1971 gig used for a release someday. (I’m not sure if many are in circulation, although about thirteen years ago someone posted contact prints selling the negatives of a bunch of photos from this show – it’s interesting because Jimmy Page wore a train engineer’s hat during most of the performance).

The Artie source sounds much fuller and heavier on this than on TDOLZ. The mono source is actually very enjoyable if for no other reason one can enjoy the music without the constant shouts of “THE BEST.”

Soon after release a competing version was released from Europe called Madison Square Garden 1971 Collectors Edition (Records NL-011-014). Much like Graf Zeppelin it is a four disc two source mix, but instead of duplicating the stereo tape on the latter half of disc four they insert the Toronto soundboard from the following night. Neverland is priced less, and utilizes the same picture of Jimmy Page on the front as Graf Zeppelin uses on the inside. It’s a viable alternative to what is one of the unique Zeppelin performances on tape.

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March 9, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin It's Been A Long Time | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin I’m With The Band (Fort Worth, May 1973)

im_with_the_band_outFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX – May 19th, 1973

Disc 1: Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven

I’m With the Band is a celebration of groupies and the rock stars who love them. The title itself comes from the memoirs of the most famous of them, Pamela Des Barres, who is famous for bedding Jimmy Page among many others. Tarantura gives the package a trashy feel with several candid amateur photos of the band with various members of this bottom-feeding cast of fame scavengers with a nice stick of butter on top to symbolize The Butterqueen on the cardboard gatefold sleeve.

The overall production design is not very attractive and is perhaps the worst job done by the label. Zeppelin’s Fort Worth concert is singled out for this treatment because of the story of rich oilmen’s daughters renting a jet to follow the Starship out of town.

Pop culture aside, I’m With The Band is the same incomplete soundboard recording that first surfaced on Worthwhile Experience (Flying Disc CD 6-815) and From Boleskine To the Alamo (Flying Disc CD 6-818). This was among the very first of the soundboards to surface from the cache of tapes lifted from Page’s residence in the late eighties. The Flying Disc edition ran at the wrong speed.

Tympani For the Butter Queen (62021/2) was released on Midas Touch in 1996 and was speed corrected and sounded much better than Flying Disc. Winston Remasters released the tape as Mr Soundman. This sounded even better than Midas Touch since the tape, a typical flat 1973 soundboard, was remastered to have a more depth and liveliness to it. The Tarantura sounds just as good and lively and much better than the Midas Touch release.

The opening trio of “Rock And Roll”, “Celebration Day” and “Black Dog” is delivered at a fast pace with the only snag being the non-participation of the audience during the third song, and Plant duly scolds them. The first hour of the show is heavy on the Houses Of The Holy tracks surrounding the “Misty Mountain Hop”/”Since I’ve Been Loving You” medley.

“The Rain Song” sounds especially beautiful in this recording and is still unfortunately cut. But the real highlight is one of the best versions of “Dazed & Confused”. Plant dedicates this song to The Butterqueen complete with fanfare from Page and the mastering really brings out the light and shade dynamics making this one of the best versions caught on tape.

It is a shame the entire tape has never surfaced since this is one of the most tight, slick, professional and devastating concerts from the first half of the tour. Not even an audience source is known to exist to complete the show so “Moby Dick” to the encores is a total mystery.

It makes collectors wonder if the rest will ever surface and if the band were able to maintain the energy from the first hour and a half. About five years ago fragments from Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and San Diego surfaced but it seems now the well has run dry again. I’m With The Band is a great version of the show to own which will only be bettered if the rest of the tape appears. (GS)

“This is quite an occasion – he said to himself,” an apropos Plantation to hear while enjoying Tarantura’s wonderful title I’m With the Band (TCD-35-1,2) before “Misty Mountain Hop” kicks off. What a great recording, show, and production by Tarantura.

The first thing that grabbed me about this title is the tremendous brown bag-type feel to the cover, which displays a number of shots of the boys enjoying themselves off-stage with ladies (or the same lady?). The front cover has an image of a stick of butter (undoubtedly in honor of the legendary Butter Queen), a heavily used butter knife, and Bonzo exclaiming something to the person taking a picture of him and a blonde who’s also in a picture on the inside cover grabbing Robert’s crotch! The question is – who was getting the sloppy seconds….we Zep fans, of course, are treated to an excellent recording and concert, and no sloppy seconds at all.

Led Zeppelin’s performance on May 19, 1973 at the Tarrant County Conventions Center in Fort Worth, Texas, has been preserved beautifully in a well-balanced soundboard recording. All instruments are clear, and Robert’s in vintage 1973 shape. For those who love to hear Jonesy’s bass a little more prominently in the mix, or Bonzo’s bass drum for that matter, Tarantura’s “I’m With the Band” is a great way to enjoy this show.

This, of course, will also enable you to hear the many (and uncharacteristic) flubs by JPJ in songs such as “Celebration Day,” but this is a minor quibble given the superb quality of this recording and Tarantura presentation. This recording is also expansive, allowing the echo in Robert’s voice in “Black Dog” to carry through in the listening experience. Mr. Soundman is beckoned before an excellent “No Quarter”, which once again features a wonderful dynamic in the recording’s depth and quality.

After the butter queen is referenced, “Dazed and Confused” gets the treatment before “Stairway to Heaven” (which gets NO introduction before Jimmy starts playing it!) ends disc 2. Unfortunately, once again, we all know that this couldn’t have been the end of the show, but Tarantura’s presentation of this show far outclassed Midas Touch’s title, Tympani For the Butter Queen, which suffers from a flatness and lifelessness totally absent in the Tarantura recording.

This is a keeper.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin I'm With The Band | , | Leave a comment

Robin Trower Twice Removed From Yesterday (1973)

MI0002915944From blogcritics.org

When Robin Trower left Procol Harum in 1972, his future was anything but certain. As the guitar player in a keyboard-dominated band, his name was virtually unknown outside of a very limited audience. That all changed dramatically in 1974, with the release of Bridge Of Sighs. But Bridge was Trower’s second album.

His often overlooked debut, Twice Removed From Yesterday, came in 1973 and served as something of a blueprint for what was to follow. After being out of print for years, a new reissue label calling themselves Iconoclassic Records are releasing a remastered version of Twice Removed From Yesterday, which adds a rare non-LP track as a bonus.

The power trio of Trower (guitar), James Dewar (vocals, bass) and Reg Isidore (drums) came together rather quickly, and proved to be the most commercially successful incarnation of the group. Before the massive sales of Bridge, Twice Removed From Yesterday was seen as something of a surprise hit. In the beginning, expectations were pretty low on the part of Chrysalis Records.

To boost their profile, the trio were given prime spots on tours with Jethro Tull and Ten Years After. But all the exposure in the world wouldn’t have helped if the music wasn‘t there. Fortunately, Robin Trower delivered the goods with Twice Removed From Yesterday.

The original nine-track album opened up with “I Can’t Wait Much Longer.” This slow blues contains the patented heavy chording that would later gain fame as the basis of “Bridge Of Sighs.” As with all of the songs, Trower also gets off a furious extended solo midway through. One of the criticisms leveled at the guitarist over the years is his overt reverence for Jimi Hendrix.

Frankly, I could think of worse crimes. Be that as it may, however, “Daydream” nods in the direction of one of Jimi’s most delicate tunes, “Little Wing.” “I Can’t Stand It” is a much more pronounced Hendrix acknowledgment, sort of the Trower band’s “Purple Haze.”

The funkiness the trio were to pursue later on songs such as “Day Of The Eagle” is also foreshadowed here with “Man Of The World.” This was the lone single from the album, with the non-LP B-Side “Take A Fast Train.” The single sank like a stone, but the rare “Take A Fast Train” is included on this reissue. The lone cover version is “Rock Me Baby,” from blues master B.B. King. The grit these Brits bring to the song is amazing. Dewar’s voice is as authentic as it comes, and Trower’s guitar smokes.

There was still a bit of hippie-hangover in 1973, as the title cut proves. It is an interesting track, and Dewar really tries to sell it, but this is not one of Trower’s finest moments. “Sinners Song” makes up for it though. This is my favorite on the record, and features what the band did best: heavy blues rock, with some truly lyrical soloing from their namesake. Another notable element of “Sinners Song” is how Dewar and Isidore get their moments in the sun as well.

Twice Removed closes with a ballad titled “Ballerina,” which is one of Trower’s finest songs. It has remained in his repertoire on and off ever since. In retrospect, the debut of the trio that called themselves Robin Trower is one of the stronger albums released in 1973.

It is highly recommended for fans of Bridge Of Sighs particularly, as well as for those who just enjoy the sound of some great electric blues guitar.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Robin Trower Twice Removed From Yesterday | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti (1975)

MI0002073148From sfloman.com

By now Zeppelin was larger than life, being the biggest band in the world with their own record label (Swan Song) to boot. The band reveled in rock n’ roll excess to a dangerous degree, led by Bonzo’s gonzo antics and goaded along by their brilliant but bully-ish manager, the oversized Peter Grant.

But even though a dark cloud always seemed to hover over the band (Jones came seriously close to leaving in ’73), they always got it together when it came down to producing the musical goods. Befitting the band’s big stature, Physical Graffiti was their most ambitious outing. A double album (now a single cd) covering a vast amount of musical territory, Physical Graffiti contained an almost equal measure of new songs along with excellent songs left over from previous sessions.

This was their White Album, their Electric Ladyland, so to speak, and as such no other Led Zeppelin album ranges as far or better showcases the depth of their talents. Only Led Zeppelin IV (or whatever you want to call it) can seriously rival Physical Graffiti for the title of “best Led Zeppelin album,” as the album features incredibly tight playing and offers up far more spontaneous, flat-out heavier music than Houses Of The Holy.

Featuring some of Zep’s best, most far out and expansive epics (“In My Time Of Dying,” “Kashmir,” “In The Light,” “Ten Years Gone”), this album offers something for everyone, really, the only minor negatives being that perhaps it is a couple of tracks too long (I could easily live without “Night Flight” and “Black Country Woman”) and there are times when Plant’s voice sounds ragged and weathered as a result of a throat operation.

The band immediately delivered the goods on the muscular “Custard Pie,” a funky stomper with sledghammer riffs that borrows lyrics from Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down” far more effectively than “Hats Off To Roy Harper,” that’s for sure. “The Rover,” a churning, melodic riff rocker, is one of the band’s most underrated great songs, with great high-pitched vocals from Plant (a dead giveaway that this song preceded his throat operation), who also helps out on harmonica, and a classy guitar solo from Page.

The band’s bruising, bluesy take on the traditional “In My Time Of Dying” (which had previously appeared on Bob Dylan’s first album) is an often-spectacular if perhaps slightly over-long 11-minute showcase for the band’s great group interplay and chemistry, as each member is in top form both collectively and individually. It’s cute how they left in Bonzo’s “that’s got to be the one, hasn’t it?” observation at the end of the song, too, and he must’ve known because this song is on the short list of his very best performances.

Continuing, “Houses Of The Holy” is a swinging, upbeat rocker that’s fittingly of a piece with the band’s previous album, whose recording sessions this song unsurprisingly orginated from. “Trampled Under Foot,” an explosively funky workout (led by Bonham) on which Plant’s vocals are noticeably ragged, is another undeniable classic, and is the most notable of several songs on which Jones plays an electric clavinet (that being a big instrument at the time courtesy of Stevie Wonder).

Page’s wah wah guitar outbursts don’t hurt either, nor does Plant’s horny sex and cars lyrics; what’s not to like? Still, even this powerhouse song, which crushes “The Crunge” in its attempt at funk, pales in comparison to the towering Eastern epic, “Kashmir.” Led by Jones’ brilliantly brooding orchestration, this atmospheric track slowly builds beautifully and majestically to an almost overwhelmingly powerful climax (on which Plant shines and Bonham is awe-inspiring), and no less an authority than Plant felt that the song captured the essence of everything that Led Zeppelin was all about. And that’s just the first cd!

What used to be side 3 may very well be the albums best. “In The Light” is another criminally underrated Eastern epic, led by Jones’ eerie keyboard drones and its soaring “in the light” guitar/vocal climax. This track leads into the pretty acoustic instrumental “Bron-Yr-Aur” (which unsurprisingly originated from Led Zeppelin III), which segues perfectly into the beautifully relaxed melody, shimmering psychedelicized guitar textures, and catchy chorus of the poppy “Down By The Seaside.”

The monumental “Ten Years Gone” then takes over with another incredibly powerful Eastern-tinged epic that majestically showcases the band’s light-to-shade dynamics, led by Page, whose multi-tracked guitar is all over the place, and Plant, who delivers a wonderfully weary, deeply affecting vocal. On to side four, the funky power riffing of the sexually charged “The Wanton Song,” the relaxed ’50-styled piano rocker “Boogie With Stu” (featuring Rolling Stones crony/sideman Ian Stewart and a melody based on Richie Valens’ “Ooh! My Head”), and the pummeling, bluesy groupie “tribute” “Sick Again” are other highlights, though none scale as high as the previous major efforts and again I could live without a couple of tracks here.

Still, throughout Physical Graffiti even when the band (infrequently) missteps they do so with giant strides, causing Plant to proudly proclaim to Mojo magazine: “if I’m going to blow my trumpet about anything I’ve been connected with, then it would have to be that album.”

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same (1976)

51Ypeo2eqhL__SL500_SS500_From starling.rinet.ru

A soundtrack to a somewhat kinky movie featuring Led Zeppelin onstage and Led Zeppelin in their sick medieval fantasy sequences, this wasn’t released until in 1976, already after the release of both Physical Graffiti and Presence, but this is where it belongs chronologically, because all of the material was filmed and recorded on the Houses Of The Holy tour.

I hated the movie totally and uncompromisingly, but now I realize it was primarily because of the fantasy sequences (my God, these guys managed to combine utmost banality with childish horror games. Ehh.

If, according to Cameron Crowe’s liner notes, through these sequences we can really ‘view the images in Page’s mind during “Dazed And Confused”‘, I suppose I’d better set up my own images.) The live material is actually quite strong, although rumour has it that none of the band members ever liked their level of performing at the actually filmed shows. Whatever. The material is good.

What might put you off is that this is a double album with but nine tracks, most of them approaching or exceeding the ten-minute limit, and one going far beyond twenty minutes! Apparently, Led Zep were worthy disciples of Cream and worthy concurrents of Yes and Genesis. More the former, though, as the lengthy tunes are mostly filled to the brim with sparkling Page solos.

If you didn’t like these solos in the first place, you’ll dance on the album; if you did enjoy the studio versions, but hate lengthy solofests in general, you’ll listen to it once and shove it onto the racks. But if you, like me, respect Page the guitar man better than Page the dark songwriter, you’ll be thrilled by a large part of what you’ll hear.

The track selection draws heavily on Houses, certainly, plus evergreens like ‘Stairway To Heaven’, ‘Rock And Roll’, ‘Dazed And Confused’, ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’. However, again in the Cream tradition, the songs don’t sound at all similar to their studio originals. ‘Rock And Roll’ is raw, dripping with energy and distorted power chords a la Pete Townshend, and it could even surpass the original were it not for Plant’s muddy vocals: not only isn’t he in top form, he’s also mixed very badly.

But this is all rendered unimportant as long as you realize the great virtuosity of Page who is able to carry on the brontosauric riffage and add some pretty fine staccato solos on top of that. ‘The Song Remains The Same’ and ‘Celebration Day’ are unimpressive, although Page’s guitarwork is again superb. But from then on, everything goes just fine: ‘The Rain Song’ manages to recreate the gentle ‘orchestral’ feel of the original, with J. P. Jones playing some masterful and moody Mellotron instead of the strings.

And then there’s ‘Dazed And Confused’… what can I say about this twenty seven minute long version of ‘Dazed And Confused’? Well, the lengthy bowed guitar part makes me jump up in my chair as if it were a dentist’s one, but apart from that, the tune’s good, with Page ripping out all kinds of solos and even throwing in a line from ‘If You’re Going To San Francisco’ for no special reason. Of course, no song deserves to be twenty-seven minutes long, but once you get used to it, you’ll also get drawn in, sure as hell.

The introduction section alone is well worth it: Jones’ bassline is given the full potential of blossoming (and sending rows of uncontrolled shivers and small furry animals down your spine), while Page masterfully increases the tension by playing a chaotic, apocalyptic pattern. And then, after all, one mustn’t forget the finger-flashing technique: ‘Dazed And Confused’ was the most self-indulgent Jimmy ever got, and this is one case of self-indulgency I can easily tolerate. (Trivia bit: did you know that ‘Dazed And Confused’ got thrown out of the setlist each time Page jammed his fingers? Which happened at least twice, if my memory serves me well).

And well, the second disc is pretty much flawless. ‘No Quarter’ is as good as the studio counterpart and maybe better; it’s given a somewhat harder treatment, but that doesn’t spoil it none, and this is also the only track on the album where Plant’s vocals are really superb (the refrain was strangely muddled on the studio version). ‘Stairway To Heaven’ is okay, with a much lengthier and more climactic solo; ‘Moby Dick’ is horrible just like any twelve-minute drum solo would be, but there’s nothing particularly offensive about it; and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is breathtaking, with Page engaging in battle against the theramin and then suddenly turning the song into a frenetic boogie-woogie before returning back to the menacing riff for the closing part.

Truly, I don’t know why some fans lament here, claiming this live album to be a letdown. Go listen to Who’s Last for a letdown. Go listen to Live At Leeds for a ‘best-of’ live album. This one is just normal: flawed, but listenable. In fact, strange as it might seem, this is the Led Zep album I listen to most of all, just because it substitutes a greatest hits collection for me. The rare case of a Led Zep album with no bad songs at all (‘cept the title track, of course).

In fact, the only major complaints I can skedaddle out of myself is the sound quality (the mix is often poor – particularly on the first several songs) and Plant’s vocals, which are getting super-obnoxious. The man feels a necessity to adlib anything, and anywhere, and sometimes he gets so carried away he starts adlibbing even in those spots where he’s actually supposed to, you know, like, sing. Otherwise, there’s no reason to detest the album.

That said, The BBC Sessions are still a better bet for your first live Led Zep experience in almost every respect – except that there’s no ‘No Quarter’ on ’em.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Coda (1982)

1982_ledzeppelin-codaFrom starling.rinet.ru

Either Jimmy was out of money or nostalgia was grabbing him by the throat, but truth is: it’s hard to imagine an album that could shatter Led Zeppelin’s reputation more than Coda. What’s interesting is that a large number of these outtakes date from a relatively early period in the band’s career, before their slump into the vulgarized power metal style. And yet, most of these songs are totally, unlimitedly, un-com-pro-mi-sing-ly unlistenable, at least for me. Lovers of generic heavy metal will dig it, but not me.

There are exactly three songs on here that I would rank as ‘trying to approach ‘decent”. The cover of B. B. King’s ‘We’re Gonna Groove’ ranks along with their more moderate Graffiti product like ‘Custard Pie’: fast but not melody-less, and bluesy which is a bonus. While one might get tired of the overall bluesy style of their first albums, on PG and Presence I simply can’t wait to hear a blues like ‘Tea For One’ or ‘In My Time Of Dying’ because it always elevates the playing. This one’s good, too, but an incredibly deceptive beginning for an album.

Then there’s a strange countryish ditty called ‘Poor Tom’ which, although credited to Page – Plant, is an obvious rip-off from some obscure ‘classic’ song; what it does painfully remind me of is the Stones’ cover of ‘Prodigal Son’, only augmented by a full-blown rhythm section. The mix is bad (BTW, the mix is mostly bad throughout the album), but if you’re diligent enough you just might like it. At least, in this context it’s OK.

It’s easily understandable, too, why it never could fit into any of the ‘regular’ albums: while there is indeed a ‘minor’ atmosphere on the song, it’s nowhere near as overblown as some of their acoustic balladeering (‘Thank You’, for instance), and it’s nowhere near as gloomy as some of their other acoustic balladeering (‘Gallows Pole’, anyone?). This is why I find it particularly delicious.

Finally, the third track that is somewhat interesting to me is the instrumental ‘Bonzo’s Montreux’, a mostly drum-driven boogie that could be called an extended drum solo, but in reality it isn’t: it’s just Bonzo banging away a complicated rhythm track on a battery of doomed drums. Or, well, maybe it is a drum solo, but in that case I always loved drum solos that are rhythmic and constitute a real solid groove (like Ron Bushy’s solo on ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’), and this one’s one of the best in the genre.

It sounds absolutely mind-blowing, what with all the force he puts into his blows (the coda is especially shattering), and it’s probably the best requiem they could put on record for him. One complaint, though: why couldn’t they record a track like this instead of the stupid drum solo on ‘Moby Dick’?

This is, however, where the scarce praisings end and the garbage dissection comes in. For me, it was hard to imagine anything worse than the songs they put on Presence; boy, was I ever mistaken. In fact, ‘Wearing And Tearing’ is a worthy candidate for Worst Song in my more than 500-CD catalogue. ‘Ya know, ya know, ya know, ya know…’ Ya know what? If I heard a song like this played by KISS or Poison or Cinderella or Twisted Sister, I’d probably just turn off the radio/TV and walk away without much afterthought.

But hearing this lifeless, gross, profanized piece of noise-making played by Led Zeppelin, a band which I like and generally respect in spite of all the critique on this site, it’s really a pain in my heart. Actually, it’s not even heavy metal, it sounds more like very poorly executed hardcore punk – and that’s not even music.

Of course, none of the other songs can hope to be as bad as that (I ditched the rating one special point for that horror), but that’s small consolation. ‘Ozone Baby’ is a ridiculous fast-tempo ballad with strong punk connotations (bad punk connotations) again, and ‘Darlene’ looks like a Houses Of The Holy outtake cuz it sounds as most everything on that album: in a different style from their usual one. They attempt to record something like ‘heavy dance music’ on that one, but they fail because these two things don’t fit in properly, not to mention that Plant sounds especially self-parodic.

Sometimes it seems to me (don’t laugh) he’s trying to pull a Captain Beefheart, with similar hoarse vocalization; but it takes a lot of brawn to match the vocal skills of Mr Van Vliet. The hookless rocker ‘Walter’s Walk’ is just as forgettable (it reminds me of all those weak cock-rock numbers on Physical Graffiti), and the live rendition of ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ (why that one?? why not ‘Stairway To Heaven’ at least?) has long since been superated by the better versions on the BBC Sessions.

In all, my reaction is a total yuck. I understand that in 1982, when the album was released, it was certainly acceptable when judged by any lesser bands standards. But in retrospect it almost looks like a dead dog’s droppings: if you played me ‘Wearing And Tearing’ without my knowing the author, I’d never even suggest Led Zeppelin; I like the band too much for even being able to suggest such an atrocious thing.

Why Jimmy allowed the band’s reputation to be flopped and flapped around in such a miserable way is beyond me, and I’m pretty sure they still have loads of better material in the vaults. Or maybe I’m wrong? Maybe speaking of ‘loads of better material’ is more like prattling about goblin gold? Well, anyway, like I said: better dream of goblin gold than sniff a dead dog’s droppings.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Coda | | Leave a comment

Robert Plant Pictures At Eleven (1982)

download (2)From starling.rinet.ru

Essentially one of the most boring things that happens to me in my average boring life is putting on records put out in the Eighties by Seventies’ hard rock bands. For some reason, no Seventies’ heavy band I’m aware of at the moment really survived the epoch change in a nice way. Nobody began to rock harder; nobody continued to rock just as hard.

Instead, the classic traditional guitar-heavy energetic sound was replaced by wuffly-muffly synth-happy diluted borefests that all sounded ‘profound’ and ‘mature’, but lacked entertainment value so severely it makes me wanna cry. Fans who were following these bands all their lives and grew up with them were probably happy. But those who weren’t in the game from the start… oh man, that’s really hard to swallow, you know.

Pictures At Eleven is a classic example. It’s Robbie Plant’s first powerful statement in his solo career, and it could be worse, but man oh man could it ever be better.

First, the goodies: without Page, Plant is still able to get on. He enlists talented guitarist Robbie Blunt (no, I didn’t make it up, but maybe Plant did? Mr Plant and Mr Blunt?) who’s no speed technician like Page but who sure can play a mean riff from time to time and… whatever, any Eighties hard rock guitarist who was able not to sound in that generic Eighties way (aka ‘bi-i-i-i-i-i-ig generator’ style, as every Yes fan would tell you) deserves some acclaim.

Second, Robbie (Plant, not Blunt) is in full vocal force and not only that, he actually sounds better than on many late period Zep records seeing as how he mostly manages to avoid the endless frustrating ad libs and baby-babying.

Third, everyone and his grandmother will tell you that Plant was ‘going for a Zeppelinish sound’ on here, but I frankly don’t hear it. Oh sure, I do hear a lot of individual Zeppelinisms in the songs and yeah, most of them would probably have easily fit in on any post-Houses Zep record given the proper Page treatment.

But… I really don’t feel that Pictures At Eleven had been consciously written to satisfy the crowd’s lust for more product that looked like Zeppelin. In other words, Plant was simply following his own vision rather than going for a commercial matter of attraction. Most probably he thought that the record would sell anyway, on the strength of his name alone – and he wasn’t actually mistaken, as the album reached #2 on the British charts.

But funnily enough, the album has very little commercial potential, which is why there were no hit singles. Perhaps the closest to a ‘catchy tune’ on here, and the only song that truly ‘rocks’ in the conformist sense of the word, is the closing funk-rocker ‘Mystery Title’, with a classy riff, a good drive, a high blast of energy, and an overlong running time. Think a variation on ‘Trampled Underfoot’ or something like that.

The rest of the album is hard to describe. Despite all the advantages listed above, the album DOES suffer from Eighties’ excesses. All of the seven tracks really blend into each other, all of them overproduced, instruments and overdubs bulging out from beyond each other. There’s an atmosphere here – atmosphere similar to that of ‘Kashmir’, with Eastern influences, an overall solemn and majestic mood, all based on unnnerving mid-tempo rhythm work. But there’s one disadvantage – Plant is a minimal composer, and his pals and colleagues like Robbie Blunt are no better.

Instead of penning really memorable melodies, Robert really goes for mood and atmosphere, and this results in painful unlistenable horrors like the eight-minute ‘Slow Dancer’ which goes absolutely nowhere and does absolutely nothing beyond overstating the “look at me I’m so serious look at me I’m so Mr-Been-There-Know-It-All now” notion. It’s funny to note, by the way, that the tune borrows a lot from Rainbow showcases like ‘Stargazer’, and coincidentally, Cozy Powell plays drums on that track (the rest of the drum parts are handled by Phil Collins, strange enough).

I actually can’t disprove that notion. The album boasts surprisingly good lyrics, for instance – devoted to personal relations, for the most part, but Plant has really gone a long way from ‘Battle Of Evermore’ and even ‘Stairway To Heaven’. The mood actually works if you want it. It’s the main melodies I can’t memorize even from my deathbed, be it the slower blooze of ‘Like I Never Been Before’, the straightforward rock of ‘Worse Than Detroit’ or the artsy philosophical pattern of ‘Burning Down One Side’.

And even when there is a nice riff to underpin the song (‘Pledge Pin’), it is very often drowned out in unnecessary overdubs (‘Pledge Pin’ even has a sax solo!) and almost always lacks vocal hooks of any character. Granted, Plant has never been the hookman – Page always took that honour. But Blunt is no Page, and a couple vocal hooks could have helped, instead, I’m just having to follow Robert’s ravings in a pretty ‘dazed and confused’ way.

Still, I betcha anything this one’s a particular favourite among Robert’s fans, so what do I know?

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Robert Plant Pictures At Eleven | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin The Witch Queen (New Orleans, May 1973)

witch_queen_page_frontFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, LA – May 14th, 1973

Disc 1, audience + soundboard filler (62:11): Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2 (62:20): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Moby Dick

Disc 3 (29:15): Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

Disc 4, soundboard + audience filler (62:22): Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 5 (61:42): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Moby Dick

Disc 6 (28:30): Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

Last year, when the audience tape for Led Zeppelin’s New Orleans show first circulated, Empress Valley were the first to issue a six cd set on Bourbon Street Renegades last September featuring both the new tape and the old soundboard source that has been circulating for about twenty years. The Witch Queen is the latest release on the Tarantura label and like the previous issue presents the audience and soundboard recordings spread over six discs. It isn’t, however, a simple copy and remaster of the Empress Valley. This presents another first generation transfer from the master tapes with Tarantura doing their own work and presents a completely different listening experience. The Empress Valley was clear enough, but did contain noticeable amounts of hiss and sounded dull.

The Witch Queen, by contrast, is a dramatic improvement. There is not a trace of hiss in the audience recording and is significantly more clear, powerful and punchy. Speaking personally, I didn’t realize how poor the audience tape Empress Valley used until I heard this and was able to compare the two. Further, Empress Valley treats the audience recording as an appendix to the soundboard recording by placing it on the second three discs and presenting it “as is”, without filling the cuts with the soundboard source. Tarantura emphasizes the audience by placing it on the first three discs and using the soundboard to fix two holes.

The first occurs during “The Rain Song” where the soundboard recording fades in at 6:59 and runs until about 7:36 with a small cut at 7:21. The second is in “Moby Dick” between 17:59 and 18:59. The fades are very smooth and gentle. The second three cd set contains the soundboard recording and like the Empress Valley release uses the audience recording to fill some of the holes. Both begin with the tuning and approximately the first two minutes of “Rock And Roll” before the soundboard recording fades in. On Bourbon Street Renegades the right channel of the soundboard tape becomes unstable for several seconds, but Tarantura use more of the audience recording to eliminate that flaw. On The Witch Queen, the soundboard is cut at 7:18 in “The Rain Song” and at 18:00 in “Moby Dick” with no filler.

The audience recording is used again between for twenty seconds in “Moby Dick” between 19:38 and 19:58 and in “Whole Lotta Love” between 7:28 to 8:03. Empress Valley make the same splices in their version of the soundboard recording but are much more abrupt whereas Tarantura use very smooth fades between the two tape sources. There are more detailed comments about the concert in the review of the Empress Valley release, but generally speaking the upgrade in sound quality with the audience recording vastly improves one’s appreciation for the actual performance. For all the years with only the soundboard recording, which makes the mistakes painfully obvious, this was considered a good but not great show in the early part of Zeppelin’s biggest tour to date.

The first release of the audience recording raised the appreciation higher, but hearing the tape on this release raises it even higher. New Orleans is one of the highlights in the first leg of the ninth tour and this tape is one of only a handful that is truly able to capture Zeppelin’s “power, mystery, and the hammer of the gods” aesthetic. The Witch Queen, so named for a comment Plant makes before “Moby Dick”, is beautifully packaged. Each of the two three-cd sets come in their unique four fold glossy cardboard gatefold sleeves. Each is adorned with a collage of photographs of the band and medieval woodcuts of witches and covens to fit the theme of the title.

The two fit into the box and the cover art is different depending upon the number. LTD#001~050 is the St. Michael cover which is a variation of the famous painting by Raphael. St. Michael’s shield, which in the original has the Cross Of St. George, is replaced by the four symbols. LTD#051~100 is the Pan & Nymph cover and finally LTD#101~120 is the Jimmy Page for promo sampler. One the back is an old painting of a baphomet celebrating the black mass to a coven of witches. The people behind Tarantura have an excellent artistic sense and this box set is simply beautiful. Overall, in comparing the Empress Valley with the Tarantura, the latter is a worthy upgrade on all counts: editing, sound quality, and presentation and is worth picking up even if one already owns the earlier release.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin The Witch Queen | , | Leave a comment

The Doobie Brothers 1st Album (1971) & Toulouse Street (1972)

MI0001786007MI0001907850From seaoftranquility.org

If ever there was a band that has proven virtually impossible to place in a specific genre then it has to be The Doobie Brothers who have been termed country, pop, soul, funk and rock over the course of their forty year history. These latest reissues courtesy of Edsel pair two albums apiece across four double CD sets taking in the bands first eight studio releases from the period 1971 – 1978.

The addition of a good selection of bonus cuts and detailed liner notes ensures that this is a project that has been given due care and attention, serving as both a comprehensive introduction for newcomers and offering value for money for long-term admirers.

The bands eponymous debut album (1971) featured the line up of drummer John Hartman, guitarists and vocalists Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston and the soon to be departed bassist Dave Shogren. Having spent some time touring around California the Doobies had developed a following amongst the Hells Angels chapters and the cover image shows them posing in leather-jacketed attire and looking suitably moody. Like so many debuts the music itself evidences a group that was still developing its sound and style and the overall feel is very loose and laid back with Johnston and Simmons trading acoustic licks on the ballads “Travelin’ Man” and “Closer Every Day” .

The album also marked the start of a long and successful partnership with producer Ted Templeman who has been at the helm throughout their career. Creedence-esque chugging rhythms are in abundance with lead track “Nobody”, “Greenwood Creek” and Randy Newman’s “Beehive State” amongst the other highpoints. Unreleased demos and an early version of later hit single “Long Train Running” (entitled “Osborn”) increase the total number of songs to a weighty twenty-one.

Commercial success came the way of the Doobies with Toulouse Street (1972) aided by the Billboard #11 chart single, Johnston’s “Listen to the Music”, that would arguably go on to become their signature song. Expanding to a five-piece Tiran Porter had assumed bass duties and the addition of Michael Hossack began the bands trademark “dual drummers” sound.

Toulouse Street is an altogether much heavier record than its predecessor as they shift through the gears on epic blues rock workout “Disciple” and the urgent “Rockin’ down the Highway”. Marking the differences in approach between himself and Johnston, Simmons two contributions are the reggae flavoured “Mamaloi” and stretched out harmonies of the title track. Elsewhere they diversify even further by adding horns to Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Don’t Start Me To Talkin” and flirting with gospel on second single “Jesus Is Just Alright”.

Whilst the debut is certainly appealing in parts Toulouse Street proves to be the more consistent effort ensuring that the band were regarded as one of the most original new artists of the period. This review is just the start of our Doobies reissue coverage and the remaining Edsel releases will be featured here very soon.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | The Doobie Brothers The Doobie Brothers, The Doobie Brothers Toulouse Street | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Blueberry Hill 35th Anniversary Edition (LA Forum, September 1970)

zep_blueberryhill_taranturaFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – September 4th, 1970

Disc 1 First source/ stereo audience recording (vinyl source only in circulation): Live At The Los Angeles Forum 9-4-70, Rubber Dubber 70-007-01A/02B/03C /04D (TCD-30) Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

Disc 2 Second source / TMOQ mono audience recording: Live On Blueberry Hill, Blimp Records EV-666A/B &664 C/D (TCD-31): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 3 (TCD-31-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Disc 4 Third source / stereo audience recording: Live On Blueberry Hill, Cobla Standard And Mud Dog (TCD-32): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 5 (TCD-32-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Disc 6 Fourth source / stereo audience recording: From The Midnight Sun, 2005 First time release source (TCD-33): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 7 (TCD-33-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Disc 8 Fifth source / mono audience recording: Live On Blueberry Hill, 1997 Tarantura Blue Card Cover Release (TCD-34): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 9 (TCD-34-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Live On Blueberry Hill wasn’t the very first Zeppelin bootleg, but it certainly became the most famous from the very early days of the industry. It was recorded and released about a year after Great White Wonder and was one of the first concerts taped intentionally (after The Rolling Stones’ November 9th, 1969 Oakland tape). It has been suggested this is the very first concert where there was competition involved. The TMQ people (makers of Great White Wonder and Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be) were up against the Rubber Dubber people and their version Live At The Lost Angeles Forum 9-4-70. Thirty five years and many different reissues in various degrees of completeness and collectability leads to this insane box set by Tarantura.

Disc one documents the Rubber Dubber source for the first time on pressed cd. Some claim this is the best sounding of the five but that is debatable. The main advantage is has over the TMQ is being in stereo, but it only captures part of the performance. “Immigrant Song”, “Heartbreaker”, “Dazed & Confused”, and “Moby Dick” are missing from the main set. More significantly “Out On The Tiles” (the first of only two known performances of the song) and “Blueberry Hill” are missing from the encores. Also there is a big cut in “Whole Lotta Love” eliminating a significant section of the medley.

Disc two and three cover the famous TMQ source and is the tape that was originally dubbed “Blueberry Hill” and is the basis of a majority of cd releases. The vinyl release is Live On Blueberry Hill (Blimp EV 664-666A-D) with the acoustic set surfacing on Caution Explosive (WRMB 329) and Three Days After(TMOQ 72016). The very first cd version of this show comes from this tape and was released as Live on Blueberry Hill Part 1 & 2 Neutral Zone (2CD, NZCD-89019/20) complete with the wrong, vinyl track sequence.

This was copied as Live At Los Angeles Forum 1970 Vol. 1 (BPCD 059) and Live At Lost Angeles Forum 1970 Vol. 2 (BPCD 060) on Black Panther, Blueberry Hill Part I (PYCD 035) and Blueberry Hill Part II (PYCD 036) on Triangle released in 1990, I Saw Him Standing There on World Productions (WPOCM 0990 D 056-2) released about 1991, Blueberry Hill (LLRCD 085/086) on Living Legend from Italy in 1990 and Live On Blueberry Hill on Seagull (CD 014/1-2) and Blueberry Hill(LZCD522/2) on Roundpin Productions out of Luxembourg (missing “Moby Dick” but includes “How Many More Times” from Dusseldorf , March 12th, 1970).

Two tracks, “Moby Dick” and “Out On The Tiles” were included on the Going To California compilation on Alegra (CD 9022) released in 1995. Of the more recent releases Return to Blueberry Hill on Immigrant (IM-033~34), the first two discs of the four disc set Live On Blueberry Hillon Last Stand Disc (LSD-25/26/27/28), Tarantura’s 1993 release Blueberry Hill (T2CD-4) and a majority of the two mixed releases Blueberry Hill on Sanctuary (TMOS-87001A/B) and Live On Blueberry Hill on Wendy (WECD-21/22). This is a very crisp and detailed mono audience recording that picks up every detail from the stage. It favors the upper frequencies at the expense of the lower which is the only criticism collectors have levied against it.

Discs four and five document the source used on Live On Blueberry Hill on Mud Dogs (MUD DOGS-004/005), Live On Blueberry Hillon Cobla (005), the first two discs of Final Statement(ARM040970) on the Antrabata label, Return To Blueberry Hill on Scorpio and discs thee and four of Live On Blueberry Hillon Last Stand Disc (LSD-25/26/27/28). This is a very good audience source that is fairly fuzzy and distorted. The introduction is cut (picking up right with J.J. Jackson saying “Led Zeppelin”) and there is a small cut in the second verse of “Dazed & Confused”, a tape pause during “That’s The Way”, a tape crinkle at the end of “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (segueing right into the organ solo) and a cut in “Moby Dick”. This tape runs a bit slower than the TMQ tape and contains more audience noise around the recorder, people giggling at Plant’s jokes.

Discs six and seven is a brand new source Tarantura titles From The Midnight Sun and makes is debut here. It begins with the opening notes of “Immigrant Song” and is a very good stereo audience recording. It sounds somewhat muffled especially at the very beginning and there is slight hiss present in the quieter passages. The tape speed is also a bit slower than the others but not to distraction and in general is very rich, detailed and enjoyable. “Bron-Yr-Aur” is cut after thirty seconds picking up again when Plant introduces “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (“They did this last time, didn’t they?” someone by the taper says).

The final two discs cover the mono audience source that surfaced on Tarantura’s 1997 release Live On Blueberry Hill (EVCD666/664). Except for the introduction appearing on the Sanctuary release this hasn’t been released since. It is the worst sounding of the five, being distant, fuzzy and somewhat distorted and having some painful cuts, like in “Immigrant Song” right after the second verse (eliminating the middle section running into the guitar solo), and a cut in the first verse of “Heartbreaker”. This source would rate a seven out of ten.

Zeppelin’s show in Los Angeles that night is certainly one of their all time legendary performances. Its status isn’t just because there were so many tapers there that night and all of the releases, but because this is an exciting show as many were on this tour. The audience was very respectful and attentive to material with even Plant thanking them after “That’s The Way”. They were loose enough to play songs like “Out On The Tiles” and “I Saw Her Standing There” which were almost never attempted. But also the band come across as very warm and are very into the show.

For collectors who want the most complete mixture of the sources the Sanctuary release is still worth seeking out, but this box set with the brand new tape source is a stunning and important release by Tarantura and is worth having. Empress Valley has just released their nine-disc box set and it will be interesting to compare the two.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill | , | Leave a comment