Led Zeppelin – Fort Worth Express (Empress Valley EVSD-451/452)

Fort Worth Express (Empress Valley EVSD-451/452)

Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX – May 19th, 1973

Disc 1:  Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2:  Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven

Last spring Tarantura released their version of the well-traveled Fort Worth soundboard tape on I’m With The Band.  Empress Valley now have their edition on Fort Worth Express and it follows along the same lines as their previous treatments of the ninth U.S. tour soundboards.  I’m With The Band emphasizes a narrow range with the upper frequencies cut off, but Empress Valley is much more broad in sound. 

With the work done on the lower frequencies as well this edition sounds much more natural and easy to listen to although there is some residue of their remastering present.  The tape is still incomplete with “Moby Dick”, “Whole Lotta Love” and the encore missing and there is a cut a 6:33 in “The Rain Song”.  This is also ninety seconds longer than the Tarantura, but that seems entirely due to the long fade out and fade in on the two discs.  There isn’t any additional music or action on stage that isn’t present on the many other releases of this tape.

This comes packaged in their long cardboard sleeve design which works very well on this release.  This is a bulky package but Empress Valley of late have been utilizing the space very well for the artwork and this is a beautiful piece to look at.  Collectors speculate why all these soundboards are incomplete and when the rest will ever surface. 

There was some hope several years ago when fragments from the May 31st Los Angeles show surfaced a couple years apart but the gates seem to have been shut and this is probably all that we’ll ever have for Fort Worth.  Whether or not this is the definitive edition is due entirely to one’s tastes in the label’s work with this tape.  It is however a very good addition to the list of titles documenting this show and a good opportunity to pick it up if you haven’t done so already. 

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