Led Zeppelin – Live At Trentham Gardens (Empress Valley EVSD-394/395)

Live At Trentham Gardens (Empress Valley EVSD-394/395)

Trentham Gardens, Stoke-On-Trent, England – January 15th, 1973
Disc 1: 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 (includes The Crunge instrumental and San Francisco), Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (includes Voodoo Chile, Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Boogie Chillun’, Baby I Don’t Care, Let’s Have A Party)

Right on the heels of Tarantura’s excellent release Soul Brothers comes Empress Valley’s first release of the Stoke soundboard Live At Trentham Gardens. This adds to the ever growing list of releases for this show that also includes Live In Stoke, England Vol. 1 (LZ-007), Live In Stoke, England Vol. 2 (LZ-008), Trentham Gardens (Music With Love MWL 009-010), Tarantura’s original release of this show Stoker, Image Quality’s Broken Fingers, Equinox’s Dedicated To Rizzlers and the no label Stroke In Stoke. EV utilizes the same third generation soundboard recording that captures a majority of the show. A supposed first generation tape was traded through the FBO trading list, but I have my doubts. There is still the gap cutting out the latter part of “The Song Remains The Same” and the first two verses of “The Rain Song”, the very end of “Stairway To Heaven”.

The edits at the cuts might have been handled better since they are very abrupt. In “The Song Remains The Same” we go straight from Plant “sliding” right into the middle of the guitar solo of “The Rain Song”. Fades might have worked better. There is also some noticeable hiss present on this edition. Nevertheless this is superior to the older editions. The stereo separation is much more fleshed out and lively whereas the older versions sound very compressed and tinny. The packaging is also very nice too. EV’s unique packaging is inconvenient to store, but the pictures on the front and back are beautifully reproduced.

And again this is a beautifully laid back, very loose performance. The only negatives are the out of tune “Dancing Days” and the lack of “I Can’t Quit You Babe” in the “Whole Lotta Love” medley. “Dazed & Confused” is a pretty good way to spend twenty minutes, as Plant says at the end. This is one concert where I really wish a complete tape will surface since one of the all time greatest versions of “The Song Remains The Same” is cut. I’d also love to hear if they did indeed play “Four Sticks” in the encores. This is one of the best sounding soundboard recordings and one of the best concerts and is one of the essential-to-own Zeppelin recordings in circulation. EV did a very good job with the tape and a good version to own.

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