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Led Zeppelin – Dancing Again (Empress Valley EVSD-396/397/398)

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Dancing Again (Empress Valley EVSD-396/397/398)

Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA – June 19th, 1972
Disc 1: Immigrant Song/Heartbreaker, Black Dog, The Ocean, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, Black Country Woman, That’s The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
Disc 2: Dazed and Confused (includes The Crunge), What Is And What Should Never Be, Dancing Days, Moby Dick
Disc 3: Whole Lotta Love (includes Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have A Party, Hello Mary Lou, Only The Lonely, Heartbreak Hotel, Going Down Slow), Rock And Roll, Organ Solo (includes Everyday People, Louie Louie)/Thank You, Money, Over The Hills And Far Away, Dancing Days

That there has been four previous releases of this tape including two, Let’s Do It Again on Badgeholders and Lightbringer on Cashmere in the past year is a testament to how legendary this show is.  This is one of the poorest sounding essential Led Zeppelin show to own.  Empress Valley has done a good job with this on Dancing Again.  It is much better sounding and more complete than all previous issues.  They did this by not tinkering much with the tape that was posted on the old STG website several years ago.  After the initial high-end distortion in “Immigrant Song”, it settles down into a very listenable and enjoyable tape.  Since this is the master cassette being used it can’t get any better.

What makes this show legendary isn’t necessarily all of the previews (“The Ocean”, “Over The Hills And Far Away”, “Black Country Woman” and “Dancing Days” played two times), but is the loose attitude of the band that enables them to do so.  They play as if they are all alone in a room with no distractions and no pressure.  There isn’t a hint of self-consciousness in the entire performance and the light and shade ethos really shines.  “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is one of the most ferocious versions committed to tape, yet is followed by a very gentle “Going To California” and one of the longest acoustic sets played by the band.  “Dazed & Confused” is as intense as the second Nassau Coliseum version and even “Moby Dick”, despite the protest of the bystander by the recorder, is fascinating.  What is especially enjoyable is Plant’s Roy Orbison impersonation for “Only The Lonely”.

The encores of any given concert are an indication of how well the show is going and Zeppelin don’t disappoint with five of them (six if you count the organ solo separately).  It’s a shame the beginning of “Over The Hills” is cut, as it would be interesting to hear how Plant introduces the song.  Empress Valley employs their thick cardboard sleeve for this release and it is beautiful.  The cover photo is very dramatic and brings you back to the days of vinyl where you can stare at the cover while listening to the music giving a total experience.  This is a definitive version of this tape and well worth seeking out and owning.  The only way this can be improved upon is if another and better sounding source were to surface (and there is always hope!)

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If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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