Firecrackers Explosions II (Empress Valley EVSD360/361)
The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – August 22nd, 1971
Disc 1: Walk Don’t Run, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed & Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, What Is And What Should Never Be
Disc 2: Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (Boogie Chillun’, Think I’m Crazy, Take It Easy, My Baby Left Me, Mess O’ Blues, You Shook Me), Communication Breakdown, organ solo, Thank You
Firecrackers Explosion II is Empress Valley’s sequel to their fabulous release of the first show at the LA Forum. It’s been about a year since Wendy’s release Walk Don’t Run (WECD – 33/34) came out and this is about the fifth title overall to feature this concert. Empress Valley employ the same fifth generation audience tape used for all of the other titles but gave the volume a boost and corrected the speed that was off particularly on the TDOLZ version Freak Out. I rate this a bit higher than the Wendy release in sound quality. It is still distant and somewhat distorted but the increased volume makes it easier to understand what is occurring onstage.
The previous show on August 21st is legendary. This show is good although suffers in comparison for several reasons. Plant strained his voice so much that he sounds very hoarse on this evening. Before “That’s The Way” he explains that his voice is “fucked” and it sounds like “Going To California” was dropped as a result. Page also struggles at times throughout the show too and delivers a weak version of “Dazed & Confused”. His usual schtick is to repeat bum notes and errors to make it seem intentional. Sometimes it works but here it doesn’t and the errors sound very poor. He plays a little doodle on the guitar right before “What Is And What Should Never Be” that sounds like the future “Candy Store Rock”.
“Whole Lotta Love” reaches a climax with a heavy version of “Mess O’ Blues”, a regular tune in the 1971 medleys, and a drawn out version of “You Shook Me”. The encores are standard for this tour as well with “Communication Breakdown” beginning out of tune but including a great bass solo from John Paul Jones in the middle. Empress Valley packages this in a tri-fold out cardboard slipcover that is similar in design to the first Firecrackers Explosions but in white and yellow. Inside are several nice but common photos. This is definitely a nice edition of this show and well worth having. (GS)