Orlando Magic (EVSDVD-a 006/1-2)
Orlando Sports Stadium, Orlando, FL – August 31st, 1971
DVDA 1: Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dazed And Confused, Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day
DVDA 2: That’s The Way, Going To California – Livin’ Alone – You Really Got Me, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (Boogie Chillun’, My Baby Left Me, Mess O’ Blues), organ solo, Thank You, ending announcement
Last September Empress Valley distributed free DVD-A sampler containing tracks from all of their future releases. The Whisky A Go-Go track caused the most excitement, but among them is a track from the August 31st, 1971 Orlando show. Orlando Magic arrives two years after the Genuine Masters release Orlando You Really Got Me (GM-LZ-31.08.71-DVD-A-13). It presents the same redaction between the audience and soundboard recordings as are present on Empress Valley’s first release of this show on Florida Sunshine. For the audio, there is a choice between 98khz/24bit DVD-Audio 5.1 surround sound and Dolby digital 48khz/24bit.
Both tape sources sound very good on the surround sound and for a 1971 soundboard it is tremendous with a lot of depth and presence. Each song has its own live shot of the band and the label try match the photo to the song being played.
Thus during “Dazed & Confused” you see a picture of Page playing guitar with the violin bow, “Since I’ve Been Loving You” has Jones at the keyboard and “Celebration Day” has Page with the double neck and Jones on bass. Most of the photos are taken from the “Back To The Clubs” tour of England in the spring of 1971 so the look is off. Plant shaved his beard by the time Zeppelin toured North America that summer. The packaging is the big DVDA plastic jewel case as with the other Zeppelin releases.
Concerning the show and tape sources I wrote in a previous review: The audience source is used for the introduction where the announcer is telling people to relax, sit down, turns down the house lights and brings out the band to wild applause. The soundboard picks up with Page’s brief tuning and Bonzo’s count in to “Immigrant Song”.
The audience source is used for forty-five seconds in “Dazed & Confused”, for “Celebration Day”, acoustic set and for the first ninety seconds of “What Is And What Should Never Be” where the soundboard comes back in and runs to the end with a major cut in “Whole Lotta Love”. The quality of the soundboard tape is much better than the September 9th Virginia tape which is the only other soundboard to surface from this tour. It is in stereo, not mono, and has a wider degree of frequencies being very detailed and lively. The audience sounds far away but the band’s comments are picked up off mic putting you right on stage with them.
The concert itself is great and contains some unique moments. At 20:46 in “Dazed & Confused” Page gets into an almost complete “White Summer” with a wah-wah arrangement. The next album is announced as coming out in three weeks before “Black Dog” where Plant hits the first high note and then avoids it for the rest of the song. “Stairway To Heaven” is played very close to the studio arrangement. “Celebration Day” is introduced as “one for New York” as Page slowly builds up to the introductory fanfare.
“Whole Lotta Love” begins with Page playing a very chunky riff with Plant yelling for “everybody” before launching into the song. John Paul Jones plays a very delicate cocktail piano underneath Page’s theremin solo. The audience begins to move forward (who wouldn’t?!) and Plant warns, “Oh, that’s far enough. Clive. Clive. Clive!…So I’m gonna sit down…boogie chillun” calling for the roadie Clive Colson to restore order at the front of the stage.
After “Mess O’ Blues” Page gets into an amazingly catchy and heavy riff with Plant singing improvised lyrics before the tape frustratingly cuts out. They usually played a long blues like “You Shook Me” at this point but is absent on this recording. It picks up again at the beginning of the organ solo and runs to the end of “Thank You” with the rest of the encores (normally “Communication Breakdown” and “Rock And Roll”) being absent.
The tape ends with the house announcer asking for William Combis, because “your wallet is up here”. The great thing about Zeppelin in the early years are the surprises and unique moments and riffs they pull out of their head and this concert is an excellent example of this. It was hoped more tape was found for this release but unfortunately that isn’t the case.