3 November 2005, gsparaco @ 3:35 am
Blueberry Hill 35th Anniversary Edition (Tarantura TCD-30~34)
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.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)