Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin Live In Hampton 1970 (Hampton Roads Coliseum, August 1970)

hampton_fFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Hampton Roads Coliseum, Hampton, VA – August 17th, 1970

Disc 1 (60:59): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed & Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Y-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You

Disc 2 (61:21): Organ Solo/Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (incl. Feel So Good Tonight, Boogie Chillun’, I’m Moving On), Communication Breakdown (incl. Good Times Bad Times)

Led Zeppelin’s fifth tour of the US comes after their famous appearance at Bath 1970 and a short tour of Germany in July. The first week of shows was cancelled because of the death of John Paul Jones’ father and began in New Haven on August 15th. Hampton, Virginia was the second show on the tour. The tape TDOLZ use for this release contains the complete concert.

The sound quality is surprisingly listenable albeit still a bit of a challenge. The very beginning is very distorted and there is deterioration evident in the beginning of “Bring It On Home.” There is a cut after ”Bron-Y-Aur,” several little cuts in “Thank You” and 8:14 in ”Whole Lotta Love.”

The tape begins with a Page fanfare as they band come onto the stage. The taper asks his friend Mark for the time and by the voices it seems these are the same people who taped the 1972 Charlotte, North Carolina show too.

The opening onslaught of “Immigrant Song” beings and this version is interesting for Page’s solo, where instead of playing the flurry of notes he slows it down into a moody sustain sounding like a middle eastern funeral wail emanating from the minarettes. The solo in “Heartbreaker” contains a reference to Bouree, a favorite tune for British musians growing up in the sixties.

“Dazed And Confused” as played early in the set and is introduced as “a thing from a long long time ago, when we were born.” Reaching seventeen minutes, Page and the rhythm section hit upon a heavy, three-note melody after the second verse which Page augments with heavy metal sounding trills. Its weights is like a sonic sledgehammer slugging the skulls of the audience and Page likes it so much he repeats it again later using the violin bow and later again after the call and response section leading into the third verse.

Afterwards Plant makes a stage announcement saying, “Let me read this out. Mr. Robin Hogue. H-O-G-U-E, please go to the box office. Robin Hogue. Right, good evening.” “Bring It On Home” is nine minutes of fun and games as Plant, Page and Bonham engage in a duel. When Plant plays the harp the band play softly and then come crashing in for an effective, dramatic effect.

They sit down to play an acoustic set for the second time in the US, a risky move on their part. The audience are very quiet during “That’s The Way.” Plant goes into a long explanation about the next song, saying, “we’d like to feature Jimmy Page on guitar. This is a thing dedicated to a little cottage in Wales, and this cottage has a Welsh name, and the Welsh name means Golden Breast…. Anyway, this is called Bron-Yr-Aur.” There are many great recordings of this rare track but Hampton isn’t one of them. It sounds more like Page tuning his guitar for two minutes, struggling to find the melody of the tune and the deterioration on the tape doesn’t help matters.

“Since I’ve Been Loving You” starts out softly but builds into the intensity associated with the piece. The “Whole Lotta Love” medley reaches almost twenty minutes. There are interesting bird whistle sounds during Page’s theremin interlude. During “Boogie Chillun’” Plant sings “I feel so good today” and some snippets of Chuck Berry’s “Back In The U.S.A.”

They play a bit of “Movin’ On” and ”C C Rider” before the medley comes to a close. The encore is an eight minute version of “Communication Breakdown” which is in much worse sound quality than the rest. Page starts the song off with some psychedelic riffs and they include “Good Times Bad Times” in the middle.

Live In Hampton 1970 is packaged in a single cardboard sleeve with a photo from the Fillmore East in 1969. Like many TDOLZ releases, it is good to have this show on silver but given the sound quality will probably be the only version pressed unless a better tape source were to surface.

The quality is much better than expected and although this isn’t the best concert from the tour contains some interesting variations that make it worth seeking out.

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March 29, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Live In Hampton 1970 | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Standing In The Shadow (Long Beach, March 1975)

lz_shadowFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA – March 12th, 1975

Disc 1 (74:28): Rock And Roll/Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same (intro only), The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir, No Quarter

Disc 2 (56:22): Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, Dazed And Confused

Disc 3 (36:36): Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, The Crunge, Black Dog, Heartbreaker

Standing In The Shadow is an early release on The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin featuring the complete audience recording for the March 12th Long Beach show. Diagrams use the alternate source only with no editing of the Millard fragment. Diagrams runs at the correct speed, unlike Silver Rarities’ Trampled Under Jimmy’s Foot which runs too fast. The sound quality of this ragged tape has since been improved, but this release is still listenable. It comes packaged in a single sleeve to house the discs with a strange picture of John Paul Jones on the back. For review of the actual gig, this is the assessment Eric Romano wrote a decade ago on the Trampled Underground website:

On the 1975 World Tour, the band gig in support of Physical Graffiti. Critics slag the ’75 tour for its long solos, longer songs, and Plant’s ragged voice. Page says “The album will get back to something some people think we’ve been drifting away from- straightforward rock and roll.” Tonight’s concert supports his claim: a straightforward rock and roll show. An emphasis on expression tempers the length and heaviness of this show. The rock is mixed with soul…

Leading a poignant rendition of “No Quarter,” Jonesy plays the Godfather of Soul. He holds his own with an extended piano break after the main theme. For once, he justifies the length of his solo excursion, avoiding the usual wandering, tinkling chords. Tonight he has a plan! And he develops his themes, incorporating well-placed dissonance and darkness, to hold your interest. A greater reliance on rythm keeps the song from stalling out. Page enters strumming, and waits to get into his opening solo line. Over Bonham’s hypnotic beat, he adds a restrained solo that graciously leaves some room for Jones.

Beyond his soulful singing, Plant spends much time talking to the audience. He fills his casual monologues with jokes and explanations of Zep’s artistic intentions. Priceless! Jimmy drops out at the beginning of “The Song Remains the Same,” and Plant stops the band and takes up his schtick again while the guitar is repaired. He won’t shut up and they can’t start the song- is that Bonzo screaming “What are you doing you #@$% !” When they do start, the aggressive rhythm and Page’s lilting 12-string solos bring elation. A dropout eliminates the transition into “The Rain Song,” but Plant delivers his vocals lovingly. He adds exclamations after each line, and emotive vocables to the instrumentals. The change of mood is just another musical color to enjoy in contrast to the straightforward rock of “Trampled Underfoot,” “In My Time of Dying,” and “Sick Again.”

In Jones’s words, he and Bonham were “James Brown freaks and used to play his records all the time… on stage, we’d get into funk grooves a lot.” His skills on bass drive the concert, and true to his word, they offer up some JB’s when Plant sings “Licking Stick- Licking Stick.” Other sources name this song differently, but “Star Time,” the Brown box set, calls it “Licking Stick- Licking Stick.” They don’t play the music from King James, they keep on “The Crunge” beat. Jonesy drops a low note as Bonzo hits the bass drum, and it jumps up and smacks you in the face. Jones and Bonham: the JB’s. Page lays down the ninth chords for Plant to give up the soul with some scat: “B-b-b-b-b-b-Bridge!”

Flying high off the funk, the lads come back for another encore. Page keeps pausing inside the “Heartbreaker” solo, and Bonzo jumps into the silence with a shuffle beat. The band answers back with an oldie from Southside Chicago, “I’m a man, spelled M (boom!), spelled A (boom!), spelled N (boom!).”

Bottom Line: The recording can’t compare to Seattle or LA, but they give an above-average show with many special moments. Zep’s careful delivery heightens the effect of each piece compared to other ’75 gigs. A very incomplete source with superior audio also exists.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Standing In The Shadow | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It (Earl’s Court, May 1975)

ledzep-motherFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Earl’s Court Arena, London, UK – May 24, 1975

Disc 1: Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir

Disc 2: No Quarter, Tangerine, That’s The Way, Bron-y-aur Stomp, Trampled Underfoot

Disc 3: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog

The second to last night from Zeppelin’s Earl’s Court run were the first soundboard fragments to surface from these five shows in the UK. Initially, from “Dazed And Confused” through “Trampled Underfoot” had been all that was available from the video soundtrack and this segment was also missing “Going To California” (although a few split seconds could be heard between “Tangerine” and “That’s The Way”).

After some time the virtually complete video soundtracks became available but was still missing “Going To California”, the very beginning of “That’s The Way”, and also “Moby Dick”. TDOLZ’s Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It is from this version as was the original Tarantura Graf-Zeppelin-Marsch.

Celebration released Odysseus Earl’s Court 75, a four disc set which included for the first time an improved section of tape which included “Moby Dick” from the soundboard but Celebration failed to use the audience source in the acoustic set to complete the show. Watch Tower’s To Be A Rock And Not To Roll and Empress Valley’s He Must Be Dazed And Confused were released after and were more complete versions including “Moby Dick” from the soundboard and “Going To California” patched in from the audience source and more than likely comes from the upgraded video source that now circulates.

The set list is identical to the previous three nights and the encore section wouldn’t be expanded upon until the final night. Some collectors absolutely love these shows while others prefer Zeppelin’s earlier years before Robert’s voice became so road damaged. However, the band is really starting to sound comfortable in their Earl’s Court residency and is very enjoyable musically. An extended 75 set list to include the acoustic songs and the fact that “Tangerine” was played by the whole band makes these shows all the more collectable.

This may not be the best sounding or the most complete version of this show but is still a good sounding line recording that stands up to repeated listening. Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It is probably better suited for the collector that collects everything Zeppelin or at least the entire TDOLZ catalog. The packaging is a nice glossy gate fold sleeve that was popular among some of the early TDOLZ titles and has a very cool picture of Robert and Jimmy on the front cover.

The title for this TDOLZ release comes from Nicky Horne’s introduction where he states “for the next three hours, your mother wouldn’t like it”.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Your Mother Wouldn't Like It | , | Leave a comment

Joe Walsh So What (1975)

61IxVq5cEmLFrom Phonograph Record

What a distressingly large percentage of the perfect strangers with whom I happen to chat while waiting in line for ball games, premieres of motion pictures, rock music concerts, and food stamps refuse to recognize is that being as venerable a rock giant as Joe Walsh is not necessarily any picnic.

Much as his sister Raquel must remain ever vigilant about new acquaintances relating to her strictly in terms of the mass misconception of her as an empty-headed sexpot, so must Joe always suffer being compared unfavorably to the Joe he used to be.

Were it possible to listen to this album in a vacuum, it might well come to be regarded as “a very promising debut by an obviously gifted newcomer.” But, because nature abhors a vacuum, it should surprize no one when the same heartless ingrates and snivelling wimps who thought it witty to write, “…yeah, and some people will record anything,” about Christopher Milk’s epochal Some People Will Drink Anything say about So What, “So what?” Indeed, many will doubtless characterize this latest waxing of the Welch wit and whimsey as vacuous, boring, egregious, or even execrable, even though it is only a few, if any, of those things.

To get the obvious out of the way at the outset, no single track here quite measures up to the memory of ‘Rocky Mountain High’, although all of the faster selections sound almost exactly like it. Probably even Welch’s least placcable admirers will have to concede under only negligible duress that, insofar as the guitar work is concerned, So What’s solos, licks, riffs, vamps, comps, fills and so on have little hope of making anyone forget those that illuminated such earlier Jeff boogies as Truth or Over Under Sideways Down. Which is to imply, rather than that the current crop is either inept, lugubrious or banal, that they are merely lacking their usual incandescence.

Pop buffs – in which category I would include all those who aren’t dismayed to the very verge of mayhem at the prospect of ever again hearing ‘Laughter in the Rain’ – will be at least partially filled with remorse on discovering that there is naught on So What even half as cute and catchy as the James Gang’s ‘Midnight Man’, or ‘Midnight Rider’, from Gregg’s first solo album. Nor is anything quite so virulently vocalized as Wilson’s 1965 hit, ‘In the Midnight Hour’.

Nor – to lump all of the potentially traumatic news into just a couple of paragraphs – do either of the ballads hereon so much as approach such classics of John’s as ‘Sunshine On My Shoulder’, this despite the euphonious presence of several of his pals from the Eagles.

Fans of classical-rock will doubtless argue that Jim’s synthesized caress of Ravel’s ‘Pavane (whatever the hell that is) of the Sleeping Beauty’ effortlessly eclipses his earlier cover of ‘Pictures of an Exhibitionist’, and thus alone justifies immediate acquisition of this wonderfully eclectic album. Sadly, though, they will be in the minority.

All in all, then, So What will probably immodestly enrich the lives only of those who aren’t intimate with the monumental towers of funk that are Jimi’s previous albums. All the rest of us can do is hope that he’ll somehow regain his mid-’70’s form.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Joe Walsh So What | | Leave a comment