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Led Zeppelin For Badgeholders Only (LA Forum, June 1977)

ledzep-for-soddfor-badgeholders-only-11-300x279for-badgeholders-only-21-300x279From collectorsmusicreviews.com

The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – June 23rd, 1977

Disc 1 (68:02): The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter

Disc 2 (62:05): Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, White Summer, Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot

Disc 3 (64:14): Moby Dick, guitar solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll

When SODD announced the release of For Badge Holders Only it struck me as a redundant rehash. This is one of the all time great Led Zeppelin show with several excellent audience recordings and it begged the question of why we need another one. SODD took a different tactic in handling this show which turns out to be a blessing for collectors.

Instead of utilizing the Mike Millard recording, they instead use the excellent audience recording that surfaced back in the late seventies on the Dragonfly vinyl label. This was done several times in the past but they are either out of print and hard to find or extremely expensive.

SODD utilize the Dragonfly source and fill the cuts with the rare fair to good audience recording for the most part. The the alternate tape is most noticeable for “The Song Remains The Same,” 6:37 to 7:06 after “Over The Hills And Far Away,” 8:56 to 9:01 after “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” 19:03 to 19:30 in “No Quarter,” 5:05 to 6:08 in “The Battle Of Evermore” and the Millard source is used and fifteen seconds after the song, 5:58 to 6:30 in “White Summer,” and several seconds after “Kashmir.” The edits are not poorly handled between the sources.

The concert is one of the most laid back, loose and exciting of the entire eleventh tour. There were many problems beginning with Jimmy breaking his guitar strap during “The Song Remains The Same”. He had to finish playing the song sitting on the drum riser and is the cause for the break before “Sick Again”. John Paul Jones misses a cue two minutes into “Kashmir” causing a breakdown in the song until they get it together again, and Page loses his guitar in “Trampled Underfoot”. But none of that detracts from the great performances contained in this set.

Many consider this version of “No Quarter” to be the greatest ever version of the piece. The arrangements of this song was unique to this tour where the improvisational middle was divided into the “boogie” first half and the “heavy” second half. A perfect expression of the “light and shade” ethos and the contrast in this version work perfectly. “Ten Years Gone” and the acoustic set are carried along by Plant’s running joke about the badge holders referring the band’s entourage and their groupies.

The show is also famous for Keith Moon crashing the stage during “Moby Dick” and playing along with John Bonham. This is the only time they ever played together onstage and is one of those spontaneous moments that make us thank God for bootlegs. Page includes both the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save The Queen” in his guitar solo leading into a ferocious version of “Achillies Last Stand”. “Stairway To Heaven” is also very good with an interesting guitar solo played over the grand piano.

Moon joins the band onstage again for the encores accompanied by Plant banging on the drums and brings to end a unique concert that is an essential part of any collection. SODD offer an excellent alternative to what is normally done with this show. They also didn’t not remaster the tape either as they sometimes do with their Rolling Stones releases. This is one of the better titles released on this label.

April 11, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin For Badge Holders Only | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin For Badgeholders Only (LA Forum, 21st – 27th June 1977)

fbo1From collectorsmusicreviews.com

Empress Valley’s massive box set For Badge Holders Only caught collectors by surprise. Nowhere was it ever mentioned this was in production. This is an eighteen disc plus one DVD box set. It has two designs on the front cover and each is limited to only one hundred fifty copies. This is the third time a box set with Led Zeppelin’s eleventh tour Los Angeles shows has been released. The first was A Week For Badge Holders (Tarantura T19CD-BOX (T19CD-1~19)). At the time this was a startling achievement and is an extremely rare piece. However Tarantura used the first hour of the June 14th New York show for the June 22nd tape for some reason. After this Power & Glory (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 50-55). This was a solid set but for the June 22nd show they edited in ”Ten Years Gone” from an alternate source for the June 21st show. Also they used some high generation tapes which is noticeable especially on the June 25th concert.

In the intervening decade since the release of the Diagrams set there have been a multitude of releases of the four Millard taped concerts. In the past two years both Wendy and Scorpio issued these shows and both released the Eddie show twice. This set finds partial redemption in issuing the first complete version of the June 22nd show on silver for the first time. Empress Valley are also trying hard to associate this with their excellent Deep Throat boxset, which covers the three Los Angeles shows from 1975 and now commands high prices. What follows are brief comments regarding each of the shows in this set.

Listen To This, Eddie!!! (EVSD-465 ~ 467)

The Forum Inglewood California USA June 21th 1977

Disc 1 : The Song Remains The Same / Sick Again / Nobody’s Fault But Mine / Over The Hills And Far Away / Since I’ve Been Loving You / No Quarter
Disc 2 : Ten Years Gone / The Battle Of Ever More / Going To California / Black Country Woman / Bron-Yr -Aur Stomp / White Summer – Black Mountain Side / Kashmir
Disc 3 : Out On The Tiles – Moby Dick / Guitar Solo – Achilles Last Stand / Stairway To Heaven / Whole Lotta Love / Rock And Roll

No tape is so revered as Millard’s from the first show of the Los Angeles stint. Empress Valley themselves have issued this three times before this set. In the box set they utilize again their definitive 2003 Christmas remaster but with a significant boost in volume. With the increase in volume comes also an increase in hiss and it leaves the tape very sterile and cold feeling.

Thirty Years Gone (EVSD-468 ~ 470)

The Forum Inglewood California USA June 22th 1977

Disc 1 : The Song Remains The Same / Sick Again / Nobody’s Fault But Mine / In My Time Of Dying / Since I’ve Been Loving You / No Quarter
Disc 2 : Ten Years Gone / The Battle Of Ever More / Going To California / Black Country Woman / Bron-Yr -Aur Stomp / White Summer – Black Mountain Side / Kashmir
Disc 3 : Out On The Tiles – Moby Dick / Over The Hills And Far Away / Guitar Solo – Achilles Last Stand / Stairway To Heaven / Whole Lotta Love / Rock And Roll

This is the selling point for the box. Previous releases of this show used an alternate tape source from the June 21st show for “Ten Years Gone.” But Empress Valley finally get it right by using an alternate tape source for the correct show. The sound quality is fair to good and the volume is boosted significantly again producing a harsh effect. To make matters worse there are digital ticks during “Rock And Roll” sounding like there is a malfunction with the cd player. Maybe EV will correct this flaw but hopefully another label will master and edit these tapes properly in the future because this is a fascinating concert.

For Badge Holders Only (EVSD-471 ~ 473)

The Forum Inglewood California USA June 23th 1977

Disc 1 : The Song Remains The Same / Sick Again / Nobody’s Fault But Mine / Over The Hills And Far Away / Since I’ve Been Loving You / No Quarter
Disc 2 : Ten Years Gone / The Battle Of Ever More / Going To California / Black Country Woman / Bron-Yr -Aur Stomp / White Summer – Black Mountain Side / Kashmir / Trampled Underfoot
Disc 3 : Out On The Tiles – Moby Dick / Guitar Solo – Achilles Last Stand / Stairway To Heaven / Whole Lotta Love / Rock And Roll

This is a mix of sources using the Millard tape as the base and an alternate source for the opening four songs. The volume again is boosted very high on this making the highs sound crispy. Hiss is also present and the right channel drops out in “Kashmir” and about half of “Trampled Under Foot.” This defect isn’t found on any other release. The recent Scorpio release of this show remains the definitive version.

Badge Holders Annual Meeting (EVSD-474 ~ 476)

The Forum Inglewood California USA June 25th 1977

Disc 1 : The Song Remains The Same / Sick Again / Nobody’s Fault But Mine / In My Time Of Dying / Since I’ve Been Loving You / No Quarter
Disc 2 : Ten Years Gone / The Battle Of Ever More / Going To California / Black Country Woman / Bron-Yr -Aur Stomp / White Summer – Black Mountain Side / Kashmir / Trampled Underfoot
Disc 3 : Out On The Tiles – Moby Dick / Guitar Solo – Achilles Last Stand / Stairway To Heaven / Whole Lotta Love / Communication Breakdown

Some consider this to be the best concert of the week. There is a relaxed feel to the show probably due to a night off for the band. Both Scorpio and Wendy released this tape in the past couple of years and the best sounding version of all is Saturday Night’s Alright. Empress Valley’s Badge Holders Annual Meeting provides the biggest difference compared to previous issues. EV sounds very hissy and distorted and is painful to listen to. It sounds like they used the horrible version of the tape from the TDOLZ set and cranked the volume up extremely high.

That’s All Right Mama (EVSD-477 ~ 479)

The Forum Inglewood California USA June 26th 1977

Disc 1 : The Song Remains The Same / Sick Again / Nobody’s Fault But Mine / Over The Hills And Far Away/ Since I’ve Been Loving You / No Quarter
Disc 2 : Ten Years Gone / The Battle Of Ever More / Going To California / That’s All Right Mama / Black Country Woman / Bron-Yr -Aur Stomp / White Summer – Black Mountain Side / Kashmir
Disc 3 : Out On The Tiles – Moby Dick / Guitar Solo – Achilles Last Stand / Stairway To Heaven / It’ll Be Me

This show hasn’t been released since TDOLZ issued It’ll Be Me from the Power & Glory boxset and is due for an overhaul. Of the six nights this is the worst sounding. Compared to the TDOLZ, EV have increased the volume making it sound much more distorted and harsh. This is a hard tape to get through as it is though and EV did a good job in making it somewhat presentable.

Just Can’t Be Satisfied (EVSD-480 ~ 482)

The Forum Inglewood California USA June 27th 1977

Disc 1 : The Song Remains The Same / Sick Again / Nobody’s Fault But Mine / Over The Hills And Far Away/ Since I’ve Been Loving You / No Quarter
Disc 2 : Ten Years Gone / The Battle Of Ever More / Going To California / Just Can’t Be Satisfied / Black Country Woman / Bron-Yr -Aur Stomp / Dancing Days / White Summer – Black Mountain Side / Kashmir / Trampled Underfoot
Disc 3 : Out On The Tiles – Moby Dick / Guitar Solo – Achilles Last Stand / Stairway To Heaven / Whole Lotta Love / Rock And Roll

Of the six nights in this box, this is the one that can be considered an improvement. Compared to Full Imperial Collapse on Wendy, Just Can’t Be Satisfied is brighter with less hiss and very clear. If all the tapes in this set were like this, For Badge Holders Only would be an instant classic. Empress Valley should really release this show alone since this a dramatic improvement.

Given the expense of this boxset, two shows out of six is a poor average. Collectors use the terms “mess” and “disaster” when referring to this and it is a shame because the packaging is gorgeous. It looks like this boxset was rushed for some reason and one wonders why? Although the hope is that this will sell out instantly and be a huge ticket item in the future like Deep Throat, this will actually follow the path of the Destroyers boxset which was also flawed and is found in the bargain bins.

March 11, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin For Badge Holders Only | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin For Badge Holders Only (LA Forum, June 23rd 1977)

ledzep-forbadgeFrom collectorsmusicreview.com

Disc 1: The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter

Disc 2: Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir

Disc 3: Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, guitar solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll

Led Zeppelin’s third night at the Forum has been in constant circulation since the day following the show it seems and is one of the most well known concerts in their twelve year career. Most of the show first surfaced on the vinyl releases For Badge Holders Only Part One (LZ1234) and For Badge Holders Only Part 2 (LZ7) on the Dragonfly label. (Volume one was re-released as Badgeholders on Amazing Stork).

The Italian label Continental Sounds was the first compact disc release with For Badgeholders Only Part 1 (SIAE CS.CD5-506), part two (SIAE CS.CD5-507), and part three (SIAE CS.CD-508) covering the entire show except for ”The Song Remains The Same”.

Rock Work copied Continental, including the cover art, with their three-disc set (RW 3301-3303) with the exception of the inclusion of the first song. Tarantura followed with Good Night Moon Light (T19CD-7-9), part of the Week For Badgeholders box set 1994. ARMS followed with For Badge Holders Only (ARMS28/29/30PR).

Balboa issued the excellent but incomplete tape on For Badgeholders Only (BP-95007/8/9) along with the three-song soundboard fragment from New York on June 11th, 1977 and Cobra released For Badge Holders Only (Cobla 017) on mini LP cardboard sleeves duplicating the Dragonfly release. (The insert says “Budgeholders” but that might just be a typo.) The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin label released For Badgeholders Only (TDOLZ Vol.057) as part of the Power & Glory box set featuring the entire week of shows.

In 2003 Tarantura released this show three times, first as Sgt. Page’s Badgeholder’s Club Band (TCD-YUZUKI-3), For Badgeholders Only and lastly as Brothers In Pinball. They were the first to use the vinyl source in excellent quality and received rave reviews from collectors worldwide. Wendy didn’t follow Tarantura but instead their version is very similar to the TDOLZ release. They use the inferior source for “The Song Remains The Same” through the beginning of “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. They also utilize the inferior source to fix the many small but annoying cuts scattered throughout the concert making this much more complete.

The concert is one of the most laid back, loose and exciting of the entire eleventh tour. There were many problems beginning with Jimmy breaking his guitar strap during “The Song Remains The Same”. He had to finish playing the song sitting on the drum riser and is the cause for the break before “Sick Again”.

John Paul Jones misses a cue two minutes into “Kashmir” causing a breakdown in the song until they get it together again, and Page loses his guitar in “Trampled Underfoot”. But none of that detracts from the great performances contained in this set. Many consider this version of “No Quarter” to be the greatest ever version of the piece.

The arrangements of this song was unique to this tour where the improvisational middle was divided into the “boogie” first half and the “heavy” second half. A perfect expression of the “light and shade” ethos and the contrast in this version work perfectly. “Ten Years Gone” and the acoustic set are carried along by Plant’s running joke about the badge holders referring the band’s entourage and their groupies.

The show is also famous for Keith Moon crashing the stage during “Moby Dick” and playing along with John Bonham. This is the only time they ever played together onstage and is one of those spontaneous moments that make us thank God for bootlegs.

Page includes both the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save The Queen” in his guitar solo leading into a ferocious version of “Achillies Last Stand”. “Stairway To Heaven” is also very good with an interesting guitar solo played over the grand piano. Moon joins the band onstage again for the encores accompanied by Plant banging on the drums and brings to end a unique concert that is an essential part of any collection.

Wendy utilize again the medieval castle on the artwork as they have with their twoother titles from the Los Angeles shows, Listen To This Eddie and Saturday Night’s Alright. Hopefully they will work on the other three shows since the June 22nd concert especially really needs a definitive release. As for Badge Holders on Wendy, it isn’t much of an improvement over past releases but is still pretty good and more readily available than the Tarantura and is worth investigating.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin For Badge Holders Only | , | Leave a comment