Roll Over Beethoven (Empress Valley EVSD-406/407)
Thee Image Club, Miami, FL – February 14th, 1969
Disc 1: Train Kept A Rollin’, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Dazed & Confused, Killing Floor (includes Lemon Song, Needle Blues, You’ll Be Mine), Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (includes Reflections On My Mind), How Many More Times (includes Roll Over Beethoven)
Disc 2: White Summer/Black Mountain Side, As Long As I Have You (includes Fresh Garbage, Hush Little Baby, Shake), You Shook Me, Pat’s Delight
When this tape first surfaced it caused a considerable amount of discussion about its date. It was first thought to be from the January 17th, 1969 show in Detroit and all of the silver releases have reflected that. Snowblind on Archive Productions (LZ-SC-80-04) was the first commercial release and has most of the tape except for “How Many More Times” and “Pat’s Delight”.
The Image Club (RDM-942002A/B) Rag Doll Music is the first to feature a more complete edition with the omitted tracks from the Archive release included. Tarantura released Yellow Zeppelin (T2CD-011-1/2); a lavish production with the band and their manager transported into the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine movie and comes with a T-shirt of the cover design. (What the connection is between the two is still a mystery). Finally one of the first Image Quality releases was Reflections On My Mind (IQ-005/6) which was basically a copy of the Tarantura release.
Roll Over Beethoven is the first release of this tape in more than a decade and the first to have the corrected date, February 14th, and the correct venue, Thee Image Club (and not The Image Club as the others). Recently another piece of date appeared which challenges the date.
An article titled “Going To California” in the magazine Q Special Edition Led Zeppelin, Dave DiMartino writes: “As fate would have it, this writer was in attendance during the group’s final shows of the first tour on 15 February, 1969 at a small club in Miami called Thee Image. A revamped, hippyfied bowling alley, the club featured a surprising number of A-list acts…As fate would further have it, somebody had a tape recorder running” and goes on to describe this tape exactly. Since the tapers themselves say this is the first of the two Miami shows that is most likely correct. DiMartino’s claim would be more convincing if he had a ticket stub or something else to corroborate his story.
There are no strong indications on the tape itself that would place this on the first or second show. Plant mentions, “we’ve been here four days”. The show previous to this was in Memphis on February 10th, so the comment seems to back up the February 14th attribution. Regardless it is a good to very good audience recording taped close to the stage and is very clear. Like many other gigs on the first tour the small venue works to the taper’s advantage.
“How Many More Times” is cut after eleven minutes during the violin bow solo missing most of the medley and the second set ends with “Pat’s Delight”. It is possible their show ended with the drum solo (the December 31st, 1968 Spokane tape does), but it is hard to believe they didn’t end with “Communication Breakdown”.
They weren’t opening for anyone, so perhaps they went over a curfew? The two discs cover each set and they list is pretty standard with no big surprises. There are some missed cues like Plant missing his entrance in the opening song and Page stumbling out of the violin bow solo in “Dazed & Confused”.
This is the third recorded reference for “Killing Floor” and the longest with Plant throwing in many blues references almost turning this into a medley. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” contains the mysterious “reflections on my mind” lyrics. The highlight of the second set is one of the best versions of “As Long As I Have You” with the earliest recorded glimpses of “Heartbreaker”. The tape ends with an energetic drum solo in “Pat’s Delight”, one of the better versions from the first tour.
The tape cuts out abruptly after that. This comes packaged in Empress Valley’s unique long box cardboard case. The cover picture is one of the Chateau Marmont shots from Los Angeles in May 1969. The back picture is from a summer festival with heavy police security. Sometimes this packaging is annoying but here it works well giving a lot to look at. EV seems to have boosted the volume more than the others making this more listenable and is well worth having.