Gracias! (Empress Valley EVSD 300/301/302)
Grugahalle, Essen, Germany – March 22nd, 1973
Disc 1: Rock and Roll, Over The Hills And Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2: Dancing Days, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Dazed & Confused (includes San Francisco)
Disc 3: Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (includes Somebody to Love, Turn On Your Love Light, Boogie Chillun’, Baby I Don’t Care, Let’s Have A Party, I Can’t Quit You, Lemon Song), Heartbreaker
Back in May a second audience tape surfaced and was released on the fan based Winston Remasters label called It’s Been Very Nice. It was quickly called the definitive release because the sound quality was excellent and contained parts of the show that were missing from the first audience tape source and the soundboard fragment (namely most of “Stairway To Heaven”, the “Whole Lotta Love” medley and the encore “Heartbreaker”). That release used the two audience tapes only and was nicely done.
Empress Valley should have followed that. Instead they introduce the well known soundboard fragments from “Dazed & Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love” and the edits are very jarring and uncomfortable. If the edits were more smooth I could recommend this title. As it is, I wish EV would have left it as a two source audience mix. The actual concert itself is spectacular. Zeppelin hit a great stride on this tour delivering classic performances consistently. “Whole Lotta Love” reaches an unbearable tension, and the entire show is played very well. The artwork on this release is also pretty nice too. But a proper edit of the audience sources such as Cold Sweat is much better.