Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill (LA Forum, September 1970)

7241609544_96edd649a7_cFrom theyearofledzeppelin.com

Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, Bring it on Home, That’s the Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Thank You, What is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out on the Tiles, Blueberry Hill

This is the big one, the tape that started it all. The lives of Led Zeppelin fans would never be the same after this recording made its way into their collective hands. The tape begins with a brief band introduction and Plant telling the crowd “it’s been a long time… but tonight we’re gonna make up for it.” Immigrant Song is devastating, an attack on all fronts from the first note to the last. Page’s fingers get a bit sticky during the guitar solo in Heartbreaker, but it doesn’t detract from the high energy performance. The crowd goes wild during the bow solo in Dazed and Confused. The band are locked into each other, the relentless attack is mesmerizing.

Plant opines that “18,000 pairs of hands should sound pretty good” before Bring it on Home. That’s the Way is flawless, truly beautiful. Plant mentions the less than favorable reception the acoustic numbers have received in the midwest before introducing Bron-Yr-Aur. His voice is raw and powerful during Since I’ve Been Loving You, heightening the dramatic effect. Plant jokes that the bearded Led Zeppelin are “adverts for Gillette” before introducing Jones’s organ solo. Thank You is excellent, Page’s soloing soars above Bonzo’s thunderous pounding. An epic drama. Bonzo displays great power and finesse during an extended Moby Dick.

As usual, Whole Lotta Love is an explosion of atomic energy. The raucous medley includes Jimmy Rogers’s That’s Alright, I’m Movin’ On, Elmore James’s Shake Your Money Maker, a frenzied Some Other Guy, and an excellent rendition of Buddy Holly’s Think it Over. It ends with the best slow blues rendition of Honey Bee/The Lemon Song thus far, which includes the great Plant adlib “I don’t care how hard you squeeze it mama, just take your teeth out before you get into bed.” A firecracker blast punctuates the finale. As the band leaves the stage, the announcer enthusiastically asks the crowd “did you dig it?!”

One of, if not the best version of Communication Breakdown features an extended medley during the breakdown. Good Times Bad Times is followed by a funky bass solo. Another excellent rendition of For What it’s Worth is followed by Plant singing the first verse of I Saw Her Standing There over the For What it’s Worth theme before the band joins in for an explosive chorus. The most haunting, melancholic rendition of the early Beatles classic I’ve ever heard. As the band leaves the stage, the announcer tries to calm the frenzied crowd, telling then the band “can’t do it all night.” They’ll surely try though.

The band returns to the stage for the first rare appearance of Out on the Tiles. It’s amazing this song never became a regular part of the setlist. The show ends with another excellent rendition of Blueberry Hill, with Plant doing his best Fats Domino impression.

As the band leaves the stage for the last time, Plant bids the crowd “goodnight and thanks for everything!” So ends one of the most important concerts in Led Zeppelin history. Absolutely amazing.

One of Led Zeppelin’s most well-documented shows, the tape is an excellent audience recording, fit for official release. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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December 21, 2013 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill | ,

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