Everybody Feel Alright? (Empress Valley EVSD-463/464)
The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – March 27th, 1970
Disc 1: Introduction, We’re Gonna Groove, Dazed & Confused, Heartbreaker, Bring It On Home, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Since I’ve Been Loving You, organ solo, Thank You
Disc 2: What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times (incl. Bolero, The Hunter, I’m A Man, Boogie Chillun’, Keep Moving, Cumberland Gap, The Lemon Song), Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown (incl. Down By The River), closing announcement
Everybody Feel Alright? is a new release by Empress Valley documenting Led Zeppelin’s first of many stellar concerts at the Forum in Los Angeles. Tapes from later in their career that come from this venue are among the very best in sound quality and performance but this concert has not been booted too much in the past. Two tape sources exist. The first one to surface was used on the silver title D’ya Feel Alright? (Mad Dogs-029/30). This recording is distant and dull but listenable. A second incomplete tape surfaced afterwards and was the basis for the second major release of this show on LA Jive & Rambling Mind (Holy Grail HGCD 106/107).
The second source is much closer to the action and is more clear and enjoyable. The first tape was edited in for three songs, “Bring It On Home”, “White Summer/Black Mountain Side”, and “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. Everybody Feel Alright?, this new release on Empress Valley, is the first release of this show in a very long time and is similar to the Holy Grail by editing together the two sources for a complete show. The basis is again the better sounding of the two. It begins with the short introduction and Plant saying he will get everybody looser than they’ve ever been loose before including with cod liver oil. The first tape source picks up right on the final note of “Heartbreaker” and runs through “Bring It On Home”, “White Summer/Black Mountain Side”, and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” just like the Holy Grail. In “Thank You”, the first source is used two times, between 6:18 to 6:23 and 7:01 to 7:18.
In “How Many More Times” the lesser source is used between 3:18 to 3:28 and that source comes in again at the very end with the audiences’ comments about the show. The Bootledz website makes the observation that “there are very many micro cut/repeats in this title, most notably a string of them together after ‘White Summer'”. It sounds as if the webmaster received a defective copy since mine, and other collectors’, does not have this problem and plays fine. Perhaps if your copy has this issue you might want to contact your vendor and get an exchange for a fixed copy. The tape begins right at the end of the band’s introduction and Plant asking everybody if they feel alright (a comment he makes throughout the show and gives the title for this release).
He says they will get everybody more loose than than with cod liver oil before the band begin “We’re Gonna Groove”. “Heartbreaker”, the third song of the set, lacks the theremin introduction that Page used for this tour but does have a moment of Hendrix-like feedback and distortion. “Bring It On Home” is good enough to make one wish it were on the better sounding tape. This is such an effective vehicle for improvisation and fun on-stage antics between Page, Plant and Bonham that it makes me wonder why it was dropped from the set list the following year and played only on rare occasions. John Paul Jones’ organ solo before “Thank You” is the first attempt to introduce an improvisational keyboard solo in the Zeppelin live repertoire. Many times on this and the following American tour the solo sounds disjointed with the experiments sounding more stupid than interesting. But on this night it lasts only three minutes and is melodic and enjoyable.
“What Is And What Should Never Be” is usually one of the more “standard” numbers inthe set, being performed the same every night with very little difference. But Plant adds many interjections between the verses making this version stand out. Before “Moby Dick” Plant thanks everybody who saw them in Anaheim the previous year. “How Many More Times” lasts for twenty-five minutes with Plant promising to get the audience “looser and looser”. He introduces the band as “four survivors of the Graf Zeppelin” and the band get very intense. Page plays Ravel’s Bolero in increasing intensity and Plant tries to calm the police presence down throughout the entire medley. “Whole Lotta Love”, their newest single at this time is the first encore and includes Page’s theremin solo in the middle.
The show closes with a version of “Communication Breakdown” that includes a reference to Neil Young’s “Down By The River” which was his latest hit that spring. Everybody Feel Alright? is another budget release by Empress Valley. They use photos from the actual concert on the front and back with several photos of Page from the Bath festival on the inside. His look for that summer concert, with the beard, short hair and farmer hat was not the same look he had in the spring which was long hair, clean-shaven and psychedelic pop-star garb. Regardless it is an effective and clean layout design. This is an overall improvement over the older releases and is worth having especially because it has not been booted very often. The rumor mill in Japan is saying that Wendy is working on their own competing version of this show and we will see how it compares. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)