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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 | , | Leave a comment

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

Comparing the different versions of Live On Blueberry Hill

Live_On_Blueberry_Hill_sl7_F

blueberry_hill_f1

blueberry_hill_d4_f (Custom)From bootledz.com

A total of five different sources have surfaced from this very amazing, legendary performance.

Almost all cd titles that have ever released this show with the tracks properly sequenced are represented in this text. The old European and American vinyl titles and cd titles normally/usually copied from vinyl (ceasing by 1994~), resequenced or not, have been excluded.

Two assumptions about vinyl releases are as follows… The TMQ/TMOQ label first released this show, in monotone. The Rubber Dubber label was the second release of the show, using a different tape, in stereo. The true chronological release of these two vinyl titles isn’t important for the following analysis. Importance is placed on the identification of unique bootleg tape sources for this concert.
All sources have been highly compared, studied, reviewed, and then compared again with each new release of this show. Properly identifying the separate sources, without error, has been extremely important. It is absolutely key in understanding these many sources. They have some very similar and identical background noises, such as whistling, talking/muttering, replies of “Good Evening,” laughing, etc.

Source 1 = Immigrant / (TMQ vinyl)
Source 2 = Tarantura2000 TCD-30 / (Rubber Dubber vinyl)
Source 3 = Mud Dogs
Source 4 = Tarantura2000 TCD-33
Source 5 = Tarantura’s 1997 blue sleeve release

Please refer to this TABLE to view sources used on cd titles.

Immigrant and the first two discs of the LSD four disc release use the first tape source, presumably the tape used for the famous TMQ vinyl. LSD has a faked introduction by moving a dozen seconds of tape from after Heartbreaker. Empress Valley’s cds 1&2 (“Blimp Records / TMOQ” of the 9cd and 4cd titles) are based on the TMQ tape. It’s introduction is source 5. Later parts of the title use sources 3 and 4 too. The title offers more of source one between songs and after the show than any other cd release of this show. The title also has at least two cut/repeats in the Tarantura2000 fashion. It’s sound is not near as clear as the others.

Tarantura2000’s TCD-30 introduces the second source to cd for the first time, also known as the Rubber Dubber tape. Empress Valley’s final cd also releases this tape, but hasn’t been cleaned up as anywhere near as well as Tarantura2000.

Mud Dogs and Tarantura2000’s TCD-32 are strictly source three. Mud Dogs’ is missing the opening one second, misses several seconds before Since I’ve Been Loving you and Moby Dick, misses 2:13 of Moby Dick, misses several seconds after Whole Lotta Love, and misses a few seconds after the show. It’s left channel is much weaker than it’s right. Tarantura2000’s isn’t missing the tape sections noted above and it’s channels are both as strong as Mud Dog’s right channel. Empress Valley’s cds 3&4 (“TMOQ Alternate Source”) is based on the Mud Dogs’ source. It has no fewer than 23 source changes. During the constant tape switching, a few seconds of the primary source are lost. It’s introduction is mostly source 5. Later parts of the title use sources 1 and 4 too. The title also has at least one cut/repeat in the Tarantura2000 fashion.

Source four was finally was released in it’s entirety for the first time on Tarantura2000’s TCD-33, although the title is not strictly from this source alone. Pieces of this source have been used regularly on many older titles. TCD-33 doesn’t have an introduction but does have the most tape available after the show. One or more of the other tapes of this show have been used for several seconds of Immigrant Song and then for one or two split second occasions after Moby Dick. Unfortunately, edits have been made at several places where dropouts would be found in the tape. The fashion of edit used creates a semi-microscopic cut/repeat at each dropout. The split second of blank tape (dropout) is removed, throwing off the timing of the song, then a split second of tape before the drop is repeated. It’s a highly annoying result.

Empress Valley’s cds 5&6 release source 4 too. They refer to it as the “Cobra” source, since that’s presumably the first title to use the tape, however little amount of it. It’s introduction is source 5. Later parts of the title use sources 1 and 3 too. The title also has at least two cut/repeats in the Tarantura2000 fashion.

The fifth source was originally issued on Tarantura’s 1997 release. Tarantura2000’s TCD-34 releases a poorly edited version of it. (Edits were made in the same manner as TCD-33.) TCD-34 runs a tiny amount faster than the other title. Sound quality is similar between the two releases.

Empress Valley’s cds 7&8 release source 5 too. They refer to it as the “Antrabata” source, since that’s presumably the first title to use the tape, however little amount of it. Source 1 is mixed into the title. The last several seconds of the tape have a strange reverb affect added for no good reason. The title also has at least six cut/repeats in the Tarantura2000 fashion.

Mixes:
Tarantura’s 1993 release uses sources 1 & 3 but still doesn’t complete Moby Dick. The last two discs of the LSD title is a three source mix. It relies mainly on the third tape source and borrows from the first and fourth tapes to complete. Source four is used for Moby Dick, but it is missing 82 seconds. The Cobra and Cobra Premium Series releases contain the exact same mixture of sources 1, 3, and 4. However, the CPS is not simply a copy of the Cobra. There are trivial differences. Antrabata relies heavily on source three, but uses three other sources for songs too.

After using these four sources, Antrabata is the least complete mix available. The no label (possibly Scorpio) title in the blue gatefold sleeve is a copy of Antrabata. Sanctuary uses the fifth source’s introduction. It relies heavily on the first source but also uses three and four for songs too. They’ve made every effort to present full songs and talk between songs. Wendy’s two titles differ from each other and are just more of many mixes available. Their constant source changing becomes annoying. Tarantura2000’s TCD-31 relies mainly on source 3 and uses source 4 to avoid some of the source 3 problems.

The first 8 cds of Empress Valley are multiple source mixes. Those four versions are each founded on different sources, but the constant source changing leaves the listener with nothing less than 4 mixes of the same show, in the same box. The listener can only guess what tape they’re truly hearing during playback. The liner notes are deceiving. Tarantura2000 left plenty of room for improvement, but EV didn’t bother to take full advantage. They did include the TMQ source, but that was expected.

Empress Valley’s first reissue came two months after the box set, using the first four cds from the box. The 2cd reissue was offered two years after the box, using cds 3&4 from the box. Their second 4cd reissue arrived in 2010, reissuing the audio from the first four cds of the box.

Empress Valley never isolates separate sources in boxes in which they repeat the same show over and over. They’re entirely missing the point. It’s a bigger crime than their mixing two different shows together and passing it off as a single show.

Between all of these titles, speed and sound quality differ slightly. Some titles have louder music than others, but they also have louder background noise that comes along with amplifying.

May 4, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill | , | 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

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

led_zeppelin___live_on_blueberry_hillFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

The Forum, Inglewood, CA – September 4th, 1970

The Complete 1970 LA Forum Tapes

Version 1: Blimp Records/Trademark Quality Source

Disc 1: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 2: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Version II: Trademark Quality Alternate Source

Disc 3: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 4: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Version III: Cobra Source

Disc 5: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 6: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Version IV: Antrabata Source

Disc 7: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 8: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Rubber Dubber Source

Disc 9: 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

It’s not often that we get an excellent recording of an amazing performance such as this night at The LA Forum. But to have five different sources to choose from is incredible. Led Zeppelin gives one of their greatest performances and they are deserving of all the hype that has surrounded this show. Playing much from Led Zeppelin I and Led Zeppelin II, the audience was treated to some yet unreleased tracks from their next LP and a few extra encores, one of which would brand this performance forever. The band is really enjoying themselves and are obviously feeding off of the response they are getting. Version I presented here on discs 1 and 2 is the first source to surface from this night and has been released many times over the last 35 years on both vinyl and CD. Empress refers to this as the Blimp Records/Trademark Quality Source. It is a good source for listening to Page as he is very up front in the mix. EV has mixed in some of the alternate sources in a few places where the original tape is available, as well as between songs. They aim to achieve the most complete version of the show as they will do on most of the other versions in this box set. I have mixed feelings about their mastering of this source. At times it can sound better than the LSD version and other times LSD sounds superior. For some reason, this source was not included in Tarantura’s box set.

Version II from discs 3 and 4 is the source most commonly referred to as the Mud Dogs source and has also been released by Tarantura in 1993, Antrabata, two versions from Cobra and is featured on discs 3 and 4 from Last Stand Disc. Empress Valley refers to this as the Trademark Quality Alternate Source. This may be the most impressive sounding source from this night and is an excellent stereo recording. Empress Valley’s sound is a little fuzzier when compared with the discs from the Tarantura box set but both sound excellent and are much louder than the LSD version. Tarantura included this source twice in their box. One of them mixed with another source to address some problems found in the original recording. It seems strange, especially where they didn’t bother to include the original TMQ source. However, their version of this incredible stereo source seems a little bit better in comparison with Empress.

Version III from discs 5 and 6 is titled the Cobra Source, since they were the first to include fragments from this tape edited with the Mud Dogs source. The Tarantura and Empress box sets are the only titles so far to present the full source. EV’s sound is amplified over Tarantura’s and has a heavier low end. Empress also runs a tad slower but both are a pleasure to listen to.

Version IV on discs 7 and 8 is the most distant sounding recording from this night and is the only tape to include the full introduction. EV borrowed this intro for all their versions except the Rubber Dubber tape. During “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” they splice in part of the Blimp/TMQ source, which has got to be the most unlikely source to use. In my opinion, the sound change is more dramatic than it would have been if they chose one of the other recordings. Empress Valley has dubbed this the Antrabata source because they were the first to include the introduction, and only the introduction, from this source on their title. Tarantura released the full source tape in 1997 as well as part of their recent box set. When compared with Tarantura’s box set version, it sounds like Empress boosted the frequencies, giving it a fuller sound which also brought out more of the tape noise.

The Rubber Dubber vinyl source is featured on disc 9 and is another excellent sounding source. This source is incomplete, missing the first three songs, “Moby Dick”, a large section of “Whole Lotta Love”, and the final two encores. Tarantura also included this in their box set and their version is much better sounding. Either their vinyl source was in much better condition than Empress Valley’s or they just cleaned it up nicer. These are the only two CD releases of this source, so far, and unfortunately is the only isolated source in EV’s box set.

The set comes in a hinged box which houses nine individual hard sleeves. Discs 1, 2, and 9 feature the covers from the old vinyl releases and the remainder contain various black and white photos. All of Empress Valley’s versions, with the exception of the Rubber Dubber source, have alternate sources mixed in giving us four virtually complete versions of the show. This might be applauded if they were to only release a 2CD version. But considering the fact that they are trying to present all the different recordings from this night it seems rather unnecessary and goes against their claim of featuring “masters of all five sources”, not to mention it can be difficult at times to determine which source you are actually listening to. Both box sets have their issues, so it’s hard to recommend one over the other. I guess it depends on how tolerable you are. Maybe someday somebody will get it right and feature five separate isolated sources. That being said, this is still a beautiful set to own. (WGPSEC)

February 23, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin – The Forum 4th September 1970 (Live On Blueberry Hill 35th Anniversary Edition: 9CD Box Set (Empress Valley)

From Collectorsmusicreviews.com

The Forum, Inglewood, CA – September 4th, 1970

The Complete 1970 LA Forum Tapes

Version 1: Blimp Records/Trademark Quality Source

Disc 1: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 2: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Version II: Trademark Quality Alternate Source

Disc 3: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 4: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Version III: Cobra Source

Disc 5: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 6: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Version IV: Antrabata Source

Disc 7: Introduction By J.J. Jackson, 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 8: What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Rubber Dubber Source

Disc 9: 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

It’s not often that we get an excellent recording of an amazing performance such as this night at The LA Forum. But to have five different sources to choose from is incredible. Led Zeppelin gives one of their greatest performances and they are deserving of all the hype that has surrounded this show. Playing much from Led Zeppelin I and Led Zeppelin II, the audience was treated to some yet unreleased tracks from their next LP and a few extra encores, one of which would brand this performance forever. The band is really enjoying themselves and are obviously feeding off of the response they are getting. Version I presented here on discs 1 and 2 is the first source to surface from this night and has been released many times over the last 35 years on both vinyl and CD. Empress refers to this as the Blimp Records/Trademark Quality Source. It is a good source for listening to Page as he is very up front in the mix. EV has mixed in some of the alternate sources in a few places where the original tape is available, as well as between songs. They aim to achieve the most complete version of the show as they will do on most of the other versions in this box set. I have mixed feelings about their mastering of this source. At times it can sound better than the LSD version and other times LSD sounds superior. For some reason, this source was not included in Tarantura’s box set.

Version II from discs 3 and 4 is the source most commonly referred to as the Mud Dogs source and has also been released by Tarantura in 1993, Antrabata, two versions from Cobra and is featured on discs 3 and 4 from Last Stand Disc. Empress Valley refers to this as the Trademark Quality Alternate Source. This may be the most impressive sounding source from this night and is an excellent stereo recording. Empress Valley’s sound is a little fuzzier when compared with the discs from the Tarantura box set but both sound excellent and are much louder than the LSD version. Tarantura included this source twice in their box. One of them mixed with another source to address some problems found in the original recording. It seems strange, especially where they didn’t bother to include the original TMQ source. However, their version of this incredible stereo source seems a little bit better in comparison with Empress.

Version III from discs 5 and 6 is titled the Cobra Source, since they were the first to include fragments from this tape edited with the Mud Dogs source. The Tarantura and Empress box sets are the only titles so far to present the full source. EV’s sound is amplified over Tarantura’s and has a heavier low end. Empress also runs a tad slower but both are a pleasure to listen to.

Version IV on discs 7 and 8 is the most distant sounding recording from this night and is the only tape to include the full introduction. EV borrowed this intro for all their versions except the Rubber Dubber tape. During “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” they splice in part of the Blimp/TMQ source, which has got to be the most unlikely source to use. In my opinion, the sound change is more dramatic than it would have been if they chose one of the other recordings. Empress Valley has dubbed this the Antrabata source because they were the first to include the introduction, and only the introduction, from this source on their title. Tarantura released the full source tape in 1997 as well as part of their recent box set. When compared with Tarantura’s box set version, it sounds like Empress boosted the frequencies, giving it a fuller sound which also brought out more of the tape noise.

The Rubber Dubber vinyl source is featured on disc 9 and is another excellent sounding source. This source is incomplete, missing the first three songs, “Moby Dick”, a large section of “Whole Lotta Love”, and the final two encores. Tarantura also included this in their box set and their version is much better sounding. Either their vinyl source was in much better condition than Empress Valley’s or they just cleaned it up nicer. These are the only two CD releases of this source, so far, and unfortunately is the only isolated source in EV’s box set.

The set comes in a hinged box which houses nine individual hard sleeves. Discs 1, 2, and 9 feature the covers from the old vinyl releases and the remainder contain various black and white photos. All of Empress Valley’s versions, with the exception of the Rubber Dubber source, have alternate sources mixed in giving us four virtually complete versions of the show. This might be applauded if they were to only release a 2CD version. But considering the fact that they are trying to present all the different recordings from this night it seems rather unnecessary and goes against their claim of featuring “masters of all five sources”, not to mention it can be difficult at times to determine which source you are actually listening to. Both box sets have their issues, so it’s hard to recommend one over the other. I guess it depends on how tolerable you are. Maybe someday somebody will get it right and feature five separate isolated sources. That being said, this is still a beautiful set to own.

May 15, 2010 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill | , | Leave a comment