Listen To The Difference (Empress Valley Supreme Disc 2005 EVSD 357)
Fillmore West, San Francisco , CA – April 24, 1969
Introduction, As Long As I Have You (includes Fresh Garbage, Shake, Hush Little Baby, Suzie Q, etc.), Killing Floor (includes Lemon Song, etc.), White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Pat’s Delight
The latest installment of The Legendary Fillmore Series (West Vol. 3) and a crystal clear audience recording often attributed to a soundboard. Empress Valley claim to have taken this from the master reel to reel and not simply downloading this upgrade from the internet hence the title of this release. The rhythm section sounds very heavy and is very well recorded while Plant’s vocals are a bit buried in the mix, still audible, just in the background. They are easier to hear in quieter moments like the verses of “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” due to the dynamics of the song.
A problem with the bass amp during “As Long As I Have You” has the rest of the band continuing without John Paul Jones as he troubleshoots the problem. Bonham and Page improvise while Plant sings of the predicament until Jones is back up and running. The band then proceeds into “Killing Floor” which contains a new intro for the piece. Empress chose to include the tape speed up in “White Summer” this time around, rather than replace the section of tape with another show or editing it out like on some of the older releases. Personally, I like when the labels leave the tape unedited. “Pat’s Delight” is a highlight as the drums sound stunning in this recording and John Bonham is unstoppable.
Compared with Cracker Jack Blues on Jelly Roll, Empress seems to have boosted the levels, giving it a more “In your face” type sound. This tends to highlight the guitar and vocal more, helping in the more dynamic passages. Jelly Roll’s release is a little softer on the ears, emphasizing a warmer low end. Whichever version you choose, this show is a must have. (WGPSEC)