Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Playlist for July 30, 2008
Led Zeppelin, Sports Arena
March 14, 1975, San Diego, California
(Continued from last week)
"Conspiracy Theory" Empress Valley
Trampled Under Foot
Stairway to Heaven
Brought to you by
From Underground Uprising:
I still can't believe that as I write this review I am listening to not only a completely new and unknown concert (from 1975 for goodness sake), but in addition it is a near complete and excellent sounding mono soundboard recording. Empress Valley's releases this year have been lacklustre regurgitations of already over released shows, but they then buck that trend and pull this amazing concert out of the hat. As Robert Plant introduces Over The Hills And Far Away, he says "Good evening. San Diego, good evening!". At the end of this song he apologises for the band being a bit late, blaming snow in Austria! Then he says: "which has a lot to do with San Diego, right?". Finally at the end of Stairway To Heaven he thanks San Diego. Many thanks for that Mr. Plant, you have convinced an old sceptic! The liner notes by the redoubtable Aquarius 11 are now much improved in translation from Japanese to English, and they make rather more sense than previous efforts. We are obliged to him for comparing this soundboard recording with the (very poor sounding) audience recording from this venue on the 10th March. He concludes that there are no similarities, and therefore this is a genuine new recording that has surfaced.
Unfortunately Plant's voice is not in good shape, on Rock And Roll he sounds decidedly rough. After blaming the snow for the delay (same excuse as at Long Beach on 12th March), he clears his throat (which sounds rather claggy). The invariably solid and dependable John Paul Jones is also not at his best, and he has problems with the Mellotron this evening (especially during The Rain Song, particularily near the end when it has a mind of its own). Talking of The Rain Song, Mr. Page takes a few seconds to realise that he should start playing this song immediately after The Song Remains The Same ends! Plant introduces John Bonham's Moby Dick drum solo by saying that Bonham is one of the finest trombone players that America's ever heard! This soundboard recording is punctuated throughout by various remarks by Bonham, especially during Moby Dick.
There still remains a big question as to whether Whole Lotta Love/The Crunge was played at this concert. It would be very strange if it was not, as they played it at all the other 1975 USA concerts. There is an edit in the audience applause on disc 3, track 2 (the end of Stairway), at 12.21, and then shortly afterwards the band are back on stage and Plant very forcefully says "Good evening! I said good evening!". Listening to the recording from the Long Beach show on the 12th, he says exactly the same for the second encore. Jimmy Page then goes into Heartbreaker. I strongly suspect that this was the second encore. Therefore either Whole Lotta Love/The Crunge was not played (most unlikely), or that song is missing from the soundboard recording. Looking at the previous three concerts, we find that at San Diego on the 10th March, and again in Long Beach on 11th March, the encores consisted of Whole Lotta Love/The Crunge, followed by Black Dog. At the second Long Beach concert on 12th March (two nights prior to this show), they also played Heartbreaker as a second encore. Bearing in mind that apart from this song the soundboard recording is complete with no cuts, this is very odd. One hopes that Empress Valley have not been stitched up (as they were with Requiem, Preston 30 January 1973).
So we have here an incredible find, and, for a change, full marks must go to Empress Valley for making this concert available. (Jules McTrainspotter June 04)
I have three main thoughts to offer about this excellent new release from Empress Valley:
1) for those of us (like me) who love imaginative and involved packaging, this release is a bit of a bummer.
2) for those of us (like me) who love an excellent soundboard recording of Zep, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and powerful concert and
3) for those of us (like me) who get a thrill listening to a smoking Zep 1975 performance, this ranks among the other keepers from that tour.
The recording, to me, is maybe the highlight of this release. I did not expect such clarity, and power, when this newly surfaced show was first announced. It's a very pleasant surprise to hear just how perfectly balanced everything is on stage with the audience. This is, then, a live recording that is not outdone in quality by Flying Circus, When We Were Kings, or any other 1975 board release. It's that good.
As for the performance, it's spotty, but not in a bad way. John Bonahm is providing a standard 1975 performance, with many fills mimicking those that he performed throughout the tour. Snare to tom types of bits that do not reflect the type of ingenuity that so incredibly set him apart on other nights. That said, he's still tearing it up in songs like Sick Again, OTHAFA, IMTOD, Trampled, and, in a very funky and entertaining section of Heartbreaker where he and JPJ are going it at unaccompanied, giving the audience a little extra. Robert's rough at the start, but really does improve as the show progresses, with a strong Stairway for a change. All in all, the songs are played as they were throughout the 1975 tour without any real surprises. Still, this is Zep, and the show's outstanding and entertaining from start to finish. I can only hope that concerts like this continue to make their way out of the clutches of whoever selfishly holds them for all of these years.
(Symmetry101, June 2004)
First up, when I heard of the new release being an unreleased 1975 show, I was a little disappointed. I wanted Bath soundboard or a 1972 soundboard. The date wasn't heard of and not confirmed yet! Then it was proven that it was indeed San Diego 3/14/75. So many times in the past Empress Valley has droped the ball with some of their shows. Not this time.
Well in anticipation I put disc one in and hit play...and it was(is) awesome. It has the feel of Flying Circus and Chasing The Dragon. The band is really tight, they nail Rock And Roll. Bonzo is on fire. He is really consistent night after night. Robert's voice was my main concern, how was it going to sound. Was it going to be really raspy...I think he sounds fine. Robert brings it. This is a great sounding show. I really love The Song Remains The Same and The Rain Song. The intro to The Rain Song is one of my favorite parts. Fans of No Quarter are going to love this one. No Quarter has some parts that are just unique to this show. What I mean by that is, there are some parts that I haven't heard used in any other No Quarter. It is an amazing No Quarter. Dazed And Confused is eerie and pulls you in. What is amazing about this band is that they know each other so well, they can improvise so well. Dazed And Confused is a highlight because of this fact alone. Will they pull off the improv? What songs or riffs with they throw in? and who is going to take the lead? This is one of those songs I wish I could see as well. Page's playing is solid. Now I know some people are going to say..."he was out of tune on this song or that song" the only thing I know is he sounds great. What I love about his playing is the emotion, he plays in the moment. And this show is no exception. Stairway To Heaven is great. This could be one of my favorite versions of it.
You just have to love soundboards. The whole band sounds great. All in all Empress Valley has given the Led Zeppelin community another great . Now they had better not go and re-release this show in 6 months with the rest of it (ie, the Whole Lotta Love encore). That is the only part that makes me wonder, where is the rest of the show? This is a great addition to anyone's collection. Thumbs up Empress Valley.
(Cleet68 June 04)
Arthur Brown - The Lord Doesn't Want You - Fire (Sanctuary)
Arthur Brown - Fanfare-Fire Poem - Fire (Sanctuary)
Arthur Brown - Fire (Die Krupps Remix) - Fire (Sanctuary)
Can - Outside My Door - Monster Movie (Spoon-Mute)
Gary Numan - Conversation - The Pleasure Principle (Beggar's Banquet)
Johnny Talbot - Pickin' Cotton - Bay Area Funk (Ubiquity)
Solis Lacus - Peace please - Solis Lacus (EMI)
Steely Dan - Chain Lightning - Citizen (also on Katy Lied) (MCA)
Dietrich Schoenmann - Autumn Ground - Hard Sessions (Shadow)
Human League - Tell Me When - Octopus (Warner Bros)
Richard Hell & The Dim Stars - Rip Off - Spurts (Rhino)
Jefferson Airplane - Spare Chaynge - After Bathing at Baxter's (BMG)
Faust - Krautrock - Faust IV (Caroline)
Funkadelic - I got a thing You Got A Thing - Funkadelic Live (Westbound)
Frank Zappa - Stairway To Heaven - Broome County Arena - 3-17-88
Little Joe Moseley & The Sequins - Lookin' For A Job - Honey For Sale (Del-Fi)
Doug Wimbish - Bedwood - Trippy Notes for Bass (On-U Sound)