Firecrackers Explosions (Empress Valley EVSD-305/306)
The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – August 21, 1971
Disc 1: Introduction, Immigrant Song/Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed & Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California
Disc 2: What Is And What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love (includes Boogie Chillun’, Moving On, That’s Alright, Mess O’ Blues, Lotta Living To Do, Honeybee, You Shook Me), Weekend, Rock And Roll, Communication Breakdown, organ solo/Thank You
1971 was a definite peak year for Led Zeppelin. They recorded their masterpiece untitled LP, did two tours of the UK, their first trip to Japan, a mysterious tour of Europe, and a month long trek in the summer of the United States. The tape used for this release is the second show of the tour and the first in Los Angeles. Whenever Jimmy Page speaks about how the immediate reception to “Stairway To Heaven” was he mentions this specific concert as proof. The song makes its LA debut here and Page is correct in pointing out how loud ovation that follows the song was. This is a hot and energetic show with Page especially pulling out perfect solos in every available space. “Black Dog” sounds very close to the studio version. “Dazed & Confused” is a long, heavy trip. And the “Whole Lotta Love” medley has a devastating version of “You Shook Me”. The audience is rewarded with four encores including the Eddie Cochran tune “Weekend” and “Rock And Roll”, which Plant announces as not even having a title yet.
This tape has been released previously as Walk, Don’t Run on Tarantura and Wild Weekend on TDOLZ (to name the two most well known titles). Firecrackers Explosion is more complete than the others with the inclusion of “Celebration Day”. It sounds like it’s either from another tape source, a higher generation of the same tape, or perhaps from another show altogether (something which this label has done in the past). This new release on Empress Valley is a noticeable improvement on past releases, being more complete, louder and a bit clearer. However it is taped far from the stage, so it is best labeled as “good” and “listenable”. But it does pick up the atmosphere in the Forum that night very well and it sounds like a big, fun, loud party! I would recommend every show from this year, but this concert is a standout even among all the others. The historical value along makes this worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)