Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin Is My Brother (Empress Valley EVSD 319/320)

Led Zeppelin Is My Brother (Empress Valley EVSD 319/320)

Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – October 2nd, 1972

Disc 1: Introduction by Goro Itoi, Rock and Roll, Over The Hills And Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2: Dazed & Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (incl. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Boogie Chillun’, My Baby Left Me, Killing Floor, I Can’t Quit You), Heartbreaker, Immigrant Song, Communication Breakdown, outroduction by Goro Itoi

Given the sheer number of unique tape sources, and the number of bootlegs documenting these sources, this show is one of the most popular Led Zeppelin shows. It certainly is one of the most important shows because this is the beginning of the middle period of their career. The band used this tour of Japan to introduce a new set list and paradigm that would last the band for the next couple of years.

Gone is the devastating set opener of “Immigrant Song/Heartbreaker”, that served them well since the Bath Festival, and in is “Rock And Roll” and any number of tunes segued right behind it. In this show “Over The Hills And Far Away” serves as the second number although “Black Dog” would also serve in that capacity.

The most interesting part of this concert is the stage debut of “The Song Remains The Same” and “The Rain Song” played back to back as on the official release Houses Of The Holy. It’s very apparent on this excellent audience recording the band’s apprehension in approaching and playing the songs, and this is perhaps the only time one can hear arrangements almost identical to the studio release. They would drop some of the melodic augmentation in future performances for a more solid attack. But it’s interesting to hear and the entire tour would reveal further experiments with the songs. Another introduction is the bizarre “Misty Mountain Hop/Since I’ve Been Loving You” medley which will be played until the summer tour in 1973.

The energy and confidence picks up in more well known numbers like “Dazed & Confused” and the “Whole Lotta Love” medley. It’s interesting to note that “My Baby Left Me” was one of Jimmy Page’s earliest sessions in the sixties and he duplicates the famous solo very well. And the band includes “Immigrant Song”, one of their most popular songs in Japan, in the encores. Overall this is a milestone performance by the band which is at times devastating but also is very nervous.

This release by Empress Valley uses the tape source that has been utilized for the most number of releases including No Use Greco (Tarantura); Live In Japan 1972 (Last Stand Disc), Eastern Front (Great Dane) and Dancing Days (Aphrodite Studios). The sound quality is very loud and clear. It is packaged in the cardboard gatefold sleeve which the label has been utilizing with greater success of late with some photos from the tour. In general this is definitely worth having, especially if you want only one version of the show in your collection.

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