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Monday, 7 October 2019

Classic Led Zeppelin 04 Sept. 1970, LA Forum - [full boot] + reviews

Led Zeppelin: Live on Blueberry Hill [Bootleg]

The famed performance and bootleg from September 4, 1970
Led Zeppelin at the Los Angeles Forum:

Led Zeppelin – Live On Blueberry Hill Stereo Matrix Master (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1158/1159)

Live On Blueberry Hill Stereo Matrix Master (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-1158/1159)
The Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, USA – September 4, 1970
Disc 1 (72:35) 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 (61:34) What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill
In early September an audio torrent was released featuring a four source matrix of Led Zeppelin’s famous Blueberry Hill concert. A matrix is a merge of sources, more or less layered on top of each other like making a sandwich, a somewhat crude explanation but you get the idea. The entity that did this audio enhancement is known as Night Owl, who has also done similar merges to The Rolling Stones Liver tape, Neil Young’s Manchester 11/3/1976 and Berkeley 10/3/1980, Led Zeppelin’s Texas 8/31/1969 and Fillmore West 4/27/1969, and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fillmore West 7/4/1971 recordings, to great acclaim. What he is able to do with these matrix’ is to offer an alternate view, almost like taking the best of each sources attributes and making the best recording one could imagine.
His work on Led Zeppelin’s famous L.A. Forum gig from September 4, 1970 is nothing short of phenomenal, the sound has a depth that has not been heard on the singular sources. Most agree that this is the best sounding version of this famous concert and having had downloaded the original torrent, was most pleased to find out that Empress Valley has left the work alone and presented it as it should be. Much of the information that follows is from the original torrent and I felt that it certainly pertains to this title and is thus included in this review.
Source #1 = the classic TMOQ / Blimp Records bootleg recording (by “Dub” Taylor, Sennheiser 805 shotgun mic > Uher 4000 reel-to-reel?) via the Neutral Zone CDs [NZCD-89019/20, songs re-ordered, from vinyl cutting master?]. Small sections flown in from an Empress Valley bootleg CD box [EVSD-385/6] which is somewhat more complete, even after its composite-patches from other sources have been eliminated. Nevertheless, over 5 minutes of “Moby Dick” (and 16 seconds afterwards) and nearly 2 minutes following “Communication Breakdown” are still missing. The recording also has a small splice in “Dazed and Confused”, plus 13 and 10 second cuts after it and “WIAWSNB”, respectively.
Source #2 = the original Rubber Dubber Records bootleg recording (by Scott Johnson) via vinyl LP transfer [dadgad]; incomplete and in the wrong order on the LP, missing mainly the first three songs and the two encores, “Moby Dick”, nearly 6 minutes of the “Whole Lotta Love” medley (all marked with * above) and 2 minutes of the intro to “Bron-Yr-Aur”. The original tapes have never surfaced and were reportedly lost when the bootlegger was busted, but the available recording is of rather excellent quality for its time and has been used to good effect to augment the sound of the tracks for which it exists.
Source #3 = taken from a transfer of a 2nd gen. reel [Doinker; EVSD calls this recording “TMOQ Alternate Source”]. Retains fragments of the concert introduction but is missing some 1:45 of the intro & tuning before “Bron-Yr-Aur”, most of the “Organ Solo” (just after “SIBLY” ends; 2 seconds is also cut in the applause afterwards), about 12½ minutes of “Moby Dick”, and about 45 seconds after both “Whole Lotta Love” and “Communication Breakdown”. In addition, 3 seconds is cut in “Dazed” along with 5 and 12 seconds during the introductions to “That’s the Way” and “WIAWSNB”, respectively. Used in somewhat lesser degree than sources #1 & #5, which are arguably superior sounding.
Source #4 = used for the concert intro only, taken from Wendy bootleg CD box (discs 7-8) [WECD-285/6; EVSD calls this “Antrabata Source”]. This recording contains the complete introduction but has poorer sound than the other sources, except the last.
Source #5 = taken from a DAT transfer of a 2nd gen. cassette [javit/dadgad; EVSD calls this “Cobra Source”]. A relatively unscathed recording as it circulates, with just the bulk of “Bron-Yr-Aur” and 45 seconds prior to “Whole Lotta Love” (including the first bars) missing, presumably at tape changes; also has a small cut in “Dazed” and omits 2 seconds after “Whole Lotta Love”. Has more tape available after the show ends (along with the EVSD version of #1). Blends well with source #1 so that together they reduce the shortcomings of each other.
Source #6 = taken from a transfer of the master cassette (ext. mic in taper’s t-shirt to Craig Portable Cassette Recorder). The last source to surface, made available by the original taper. Like #4, captures the complete concert intro but the sound quality is a notch below even that tape.
All six recordings were necessary in making this matrix. Surprisingly, it turned out to be feasible to utilize in some fashion all the four major sources, as far as they are available; as mentioned, the two lesser fidelity sources have been used just for the introduction. (Note that the numbering of sources #4 & #5 is sometimes reversed compared to the preceding.)
The exact details are too complex to be written out but the workflow was to first manually yet accurately synchronize — and where necessary, patch and re-arrange — the recordings in digital realm with high quality varispeed re-sampling, resulting in a sort of quasi-multitrack/mic recording. Some audio restoration work was then done on each and the general mix for level and stereo balance was arrived at after trial, error, and experimentation, accounting for any gaps in the tapes. Further work was then required to fine-tune the transition points (at tape breaks), the relative levels and EQ until the end result seemed to be reasonably close to what can be achieved, without too obviously audible artifacts resulting from the mixing together a bunch of half a century old analogue recordings, which cannot be completely brought into exact phase and sync.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks are obviously due to all the tapers, whether anonymous or not, and to the good people who have contributed into preserving and making available their work as well as analyzing it. You know who you are.
A Nite Owl production (NO-2019-10).
Like the also acclaimed Winston Remasters, this is clearly a work of love and shared freely in the traders circles for those who wish to keep with the spirit of the original torrent. The sound is superb, the instruments have depth, separation and clarity not heard before in the singular recordings. It is also the most complete version I know of, all Robert’s chatter is present as well as before and after concert tape. There is just a touch of distortion on the top end of Robert’s vocals, certainly from the original Ken and Dub TMQ source. There are no glaring transitions into lesser sources and the sound is quite even throughout, this amalgamation is the closest this/you will get to an actual stereo soundboard recording of this concert and is a stunning listening experience.
Also included in the original torrent was professional looking artwork as well as two local newspaper reviews of the show itself. Since we all have read previous bootleg reviews of this concert and the “too numerous to list” amount of titles that have come since this concert was played 49 years later, I figure this space would be best served to provide a bit of historical data, so below are the aforementioned newspaper reactions to the concert.
Zeppelin Success
Los Angeles Times (Sept. 4, 1970).
The LED ZEPPELIN is taking off as well, not to mention flying high. Their concert at the Forum, near Hollywood, was a complete sell out. Robert Plant was especially fantastic on *Immigrant Song*, JIMMY PAGE was ear-shattering on guitar and JOHN PAUL JONES really got it on. The best number, actually, was the finale, *Whole Lotta Love*, because bits of other rock songs were interspersed, and the audience really flipped. Drummer JOHN BONHAM did his thing on this last one, and didn’t we love it! And them. You must loan them to us more often.
Led Zeppelin Plays for Forum Audience
By John Mendelsohn. Los Angeles Times (Sept. 7, 1970).
Musically reactionary, overbearing, plagiaristic and exploitative. Though these adjectives may remain occasionally applicable, they no longer suffice in summing up Led Zeppelin, as was quite lucid at the group’s Friday evening performance at the Forum. To rest one’s case after simply cataloging the group’s musical deficiencies is first to wither in the face of responsibility of explaining its awesome commercial success (which is indicated by the fact that the current one is the second consecutive American tour in the last five months during which the group has played to capacity audiences in Forum-proportioned venues). This success may be attributable at least in part to the accelerating popularity among the teen-age rock and roll audience of barbiturates and amphetamines, drugs that render their users most responsive to crushing volume and ferocious histrionics of the sort Zeppelin has heretofore dealt in exclusivity. Combine this condition of the audience with Jimmy Page’s veneration as a super-guitarist and Robert Plant’s ability to brilliantly caricaturize the archetypal sexy lead singer and shatter bottles at 40 paces with his shrieking and it’s not at all difficult to see how the group has achieved astonishing success. A contextual consideration is also in order. The advent of such practitioners in roughly the same as Mountain and Grand Funk, which picked up where Zeppelin left off in sacrificing everything possible to volume and histrionics, has had the effect of making Zeppelin look terrific in comparison. “Whole Lotta Love,” for instance, strikes ears that have survived Mark Farner and Black Sabbath as a masterpiece of subtlety. Which is not to imply that many of Zeppelin’s ridiculously overblown heavy workouts aren’t enormous absurd fun on their own, for they are. Finally, it must be mentioned that, apparently a trifle bored with being enormous fun, Zeppelin has taken to slipping quiet and definitely musical bits in between its dreaded screamers, bits like a pleasant (if far from dazzling) organ interlude by John Paul Jones.
The packaging is a simple sleeve that houses the two CD’s, the cover art is a painting similar to the original TMQ art. Sadly who ever produced this art made a glaring mistake, the date on the back cover is wrongly attributed to September 9, 1970. The packaging and price are certainly not extravagant and do keep the cost down, what is important is the music. When I reviewed the Golden Eggs A Sweeter Blueberry title I posed a question, do I need another Blueberry Hill title? After hearing this, the answer is yes, and therefore this title is recommended and worth seeking out.


July, 2013

  • 12 July

    New Jimmy Page on Tarantura

      Jimmy Page “Gigin’ Man II-Live At Heartbreak Hotel 1986” is the newest Led Zepp based release on the Tarantura label. Recorded on Saturday 4th August 1986 at the Heartbreak Hotel club, Ibiza, San Antonio, Spain, Jimmy played with a band under the name “SAFE SEX” with Jimmy Page on Guitar, Jason Bonham on Drums, Mike ...

August, 2012

  • 12 August

    Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – Live 95 (KTS of Australia)

     Live 95 (KTS of Australia) (77:52):  The Rockline Interview, John Paul Jones interview, Induction Speech, Bring It On Home, No Matter How You Treat Me / Baby Please Don’t Go, When The Levee Breaks / For What It’s Worth Led Zeppelin reunion rumors seemed to circulate since the day after ...

July, 2012

April, 2012

  • 9 April

    Roy Harper with Jimmy Page – Cambridge Folk Festival 1984 (Black Swan 001)

    Cambridge Folk Festival 1984 (Black Swan 001) Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, UK – July 28th, 1984 Disc 1 (67:53) “Afternoon Set”:  Intro, Short And Sweet, Referendum (Legend), Elizabeth, Advertisement, Highway Blues, The Flycatcher, True Story, The Game Disc 2 (44:07) “Evening Set”:  One Of Those Days In England, Hangman, Same ...

March, 2011

  • 6 March

    Jimmy Page – Chicago Prelude (Image Quality IQ-JP001/002)

    Chicago Prelude (Image Quality IQ-JP001/002) UIC Pavilion, Chicago, IL – October 17th, 1988 Disc 1 (71:30):  Who’s To Blame, Prelude, Over The Hills And Far Away, Wanna Make Love, Writes of Winter, Tear Down The Walls, Emerald Eyes, Midnight Moonlight, In My Time Of Dying, City Sirens > Drum Solo, ...

January, 2011

  • 18 January

    Jimmy Page – Emerald Atlanta (Image Quality IQ 073/74)

    Emerald Atlanta (Image Quality IQ 073/74) Omni Theatre, Atlanta, GA – September 6th, 1988 Disc 1 (67:23):  Who’s To Blame, Prelude, Over The Hills And Far Away, Liquid Mercury / Wanna Make Love, Writes Of Winter, Tear Down The Walls, Emerald Eyes, Midnight Moonlight (incl. White Summer & Black Mountain Side), In My ...
  • 14 January

    Roy Harper with Jimmy Page – Hat Off To Jimmy Page (Fire Power FP-005)

    Hat Off To Jimmy Page (Fire Power FP-005) (75:46) Battersea Park, London,  England – July 29th, 1984:  Short & Sweet, Referendum, Highway Blues, True Story, The Game.  Bonus track – January 21st, 1984:  studio jam Perhaps it was the reaction to his participation in the ARMS tour in 1983, because that ...

August, 2008

  • 10 August

    Jimmy Page – Prison Blues (no label)

    Prison Blues (no label) Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – November 25th, 1988 Disc: 1 (66:15) Who’s To Blame, Prelude, Over The Hills And Far Away, Liquid Mercury/Wanna Make Love, Writes Of Winter, Tear Down The Walls, Emerald Eyes, Midnight Moonlight incl. White Summer/Black Mountain Side & Kashmir, Member Introduction, In My Time ...
  • 3 August

    Yardbirds – Live Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page (Flower FL-001/002)

    Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page (Flower FL-001/002) DISC ONE] “LIVE YARDBIRDS! featuring JIMMY PAGE” Digital Transfer from the COLUMBIA new master press 01. The Train Kept A Rolling 02. You’re Better Man Than I 03. Heart Full Of Soul 04. Dazed And Confused 05. My Baby 06. Over Under Sideways ...

January, 2008

  • 28 January

    Jimmy Page visits boot shops in Tokyo…again!

    Jimmy Page is in Tokyo this week for business, and as usual he spent time visiting the record shops in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo. After selecting CDs, he started to watch the Led Zeppelin show at the O2 Arena on DVD.  In the photo below he is watching “In ...

November, 2016

  • 22 November

    New titles from the Stones, Zep, Page/Crowes, EC, & Bowie

    The Rolling Stones – Fort Worth 1972 2nd Show (no label) is a single disc stereo soundboard from the Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX on June 24th, 1972 2nd Show. This is listed as an upgrade. Led Zeppelin – Berlin 1980: The Last Concert (no label) is a ...

November, 2012

  • 10 November

    Page & Plant – Bootleg Daze (Tarantura TCDPP-5-1, 2)

    Bootleg Daze (Tarantura TCDPP-5-1, 2) Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – Thursday, February 8th, 1996 Disc 0 (74:38):  Subway Tozai Line, Kudan-Shita Station, Ticket Dealer, Camera Check, Announcement, Opening Announcement / Attention, Blackout Disc 1 (76:02):  Announcement / SE, Monitor Check, Egyptian Tape Intro., Celebration Day, Bring It On Home, Heartbreaker, What ...

August, 2012

  • 14 August

    Page & Plant – Crossroads (JR001/002)

    Crossroads (JR001/002) Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, England – March 25th, 1998 Disc 1 (45:18):  Wanton Song, Bring It On Home, Heartbreaker, Ramble On (incl. What Is And What Should Never Be), Walking Into Clarksdale, No Quarter, When I Was A Child, Going To California, Tangerine, Gallows Pole Disc 2 (63:21):  Burning ...
  • 13 August

    Coverdale / Page – Two Days In The West (Cannonball CA-2003003/4/5/6)

    Two Days In The West (Cannonball CA-2003003/4/5/6) With the music press concentrating on the grunge bands in the early nineties, the Coverdale / Page project came as a surprise.  The album seemed to come out of nowhere (there was little interest leading up to its release).  With no massive tour ...

March, 2011

  • 6 March

    Page & Plant – Ooh La La (Wild Street WS 004A/B)

     Ooh La La (Wild Street WS 004A/B) La Cigalle, Paris, France – March 30th, 1998  Disc 1 (58:23):  Intro., Wanton Song, Bring It On Home, Heartbreaker, Ramble On, Walking Into Clarksdale, No Quarter, When I Was A Child, Going To California, Tangerine, Gallows Pole, Burning Up Disc 2 (48:07):  Babe ...

January, 2011

  • 8 January

    Page & Plant – The Celebrating First And Second Days (The Symbols)

    The Celebrating First And Second Days (The Symbols) Page & Plant spent the better part of 1995 bringing the “Unledded” show to the road.  After the final concert in October, they took a break just over three months before bringing the show to the far east after a few warm ...
  • 6 January

    Page & Plant – Celebrating Third And Fourth Days (The Symbols)

    Celebrating Third And Fourth Days (The Symbols) Much like Led Zeppelin’s first visit to Japan in 1971, their visit in 1996 meant they were able to relax and pull out many unique performances.  It also meant allowed them the fiddle around with the setlist and rearrange the number and sequence ...
  • 4 January

    Page & Plant – The Fourth Show At The Famous Old Building (Real Dragon RD-021/022)

    The Fourth Show At The Famous Old Building (Real Dragon RD-021/22) Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – February 9th, 1996 Disc 1 (70:48):  The Rain Song, No Quarter, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You / Stairway To Heaven tease, Immigrant Song intro / The Wanton Song, Heartbreaker, Ramble On / What Is And ...
  • 3 January

    Page & Plant – Celebrating Seventh And Ninth Days (The Symbols)

    Celebrating Seventh And Ninth Days (The Symbols) Celebrating Seventh And Ninth Days on The Symbols is a four disc set with Page & Plant’s two Osaka shows in February 1996.  Following seven nights in Tokyo and with Nagoya between them, these are the first and only Page & Plant shows ...