For Badge Holders Only (Wendy wecd-74/75/76)
The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – June 23rd, 1977
Disc 1: The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter
Disc 2: Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir
Disc 3: Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, guitar solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll
Led Zeppelin’s third night at the Forum has been in constant circulation since the day following the show it seems and is one of the most well known concerts in their twelve year career. Most of the show first surfaced on the vinyl releases For Badge Holders Only Part One (LZ1234) and For Badge Holders Only Part 2 (LZ7) on the Dragonfly label. (Volume one was re-released as Badgeholders on Amazing Stork).
The Italian label Continental Sounds was the first compact disc release with For Badgeholders Only Part 1 (SIAE CS.CD5-506), part two (SIAE CS.CD5-507), and part three (SIAE CS.CD-508) covering the entire show except for “The Song Remains The Same”.
Rock Work copied Continental, including the cover art, with their three-disc set (RW 3301-3303) with the exception of the inclusion of the first song. Tarantura followed with Good Night Moon Light (T19CD-7-9), part of the Week For Badgeholders box set 1994. ARMS followed with For Badge Holders Only (ARMS28/29/30PR).
Balboa issued the excellent but incomplete tape on For Badgeholders Only (BP-95007/8/9) along with the three-song soundboard fragment from New York on June 11th, 1977 and Cobra released For Badge Holders Only (Cobla 017) on mini LP cardboard sleeves duplicating the Dragonfly release. (The insert says “Budgeholders” but that might just be a typo.) The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin label released For Badgeholders Only (TDOLZ Vol.057) as part of the Power & Glory box set featuring the entire week of shows.
In 2003 Tarantura released this show three times, first as Sgt. Page’s Badgeholder’s Club Band (TCD-YUZUKI-3), For Badgeholders Only and lastly as Brothers In Pinball. They were the first to use the vinyl source in excellent quality and received rave reviews from collectors worldwide. Wendy didn’t follow Tarantura but instead their version is very similar to the TDOLZ release. They use the inferior source for “The Song Remains The Same” through the beginning of “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. They also utilize the inferior source to fix the many small but annoying cuts scattered throughout the concert making this much more complete.
The concert is one of the most laid back, loose and exciting of the entire eleventh tour. There were many problems beginning with Jimmy breaking his guitar strap during “The Song Remains The Same”. He had to finish playing the song sitting on the drum riser and is the cause for the break before “Sick Again”.
John Paul Jones misses a cue two minutes into “Kashmir” causing a breakdown in the song until they get it together again, and Page loses his guitar in “Trampled Underfoot”. But none of that detracts from the great performances contained in this set. Many consider this version of “No Quarter” to be the greatest ever version of the piece.
The arrangements of this song was unique to this tour where the improvisational middle was divided into the “boogie” first half and the “heavy” second half. A perfect expression of the “light and shade” ethos and the contrast in this version work perfectly. “Ten Years Gone” and the acoustic set are carried along by Plant’s running joke about the badge holders referring the band’s entourage and their groupies.
The show is also famous for Keith Moon crashing the stage during “Moby Dick” and playing along with John Bonham. This is the only time they ever played together onstage and is one of those spontaneous moments that make us thank God for bootlegs.
Page includes both the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save The Queen” in his guitar solo leading into a ferocious version of “Achillies Last Stand”. “Stairway To Heaven” is also very good with an interesting guitar solo played over the grand piano. Moon joins the band onstage again for the encores accompanied by Plant banging on the drums and brings to end a unique concert that is an essential part of any collection.
Wendy utilize again the medieval castle on the artwork as they have with their twoother titles from the Los Angeles shows, Listen To This Eddie and Saturday Night’s Alright. Hopefully they will work on the other three shows since the June 22nd concert especially really needs a definitive release. As for Badge Holders on Wendy, it isn’t much of an improvement over past releases but is still pretty good and more readily available than the Tarantura and is worth investigating.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)