Led Zeppelin – Super Session At Tivolis Koncertsal (Empress Valley EVSD-445)

 Super Session At Tivolis Koncertsal (Empress Valley EVSD-445)

Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen, Denmark – March 16th, 1969 (afternoon show)
Setlist:  The Train Kept A-Rollin’, I Gotta Move, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed And Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times (incl. Communication Breakdown, The Hunter

Super Session At Tivolis Koncertsal brings together two very different tape sources for the afternoon show on March 16.  The four song Led Zeppelin radio broadcast from Copenhagen, “I Gotta Move,” “I Can’t Quit You,” “Dazed And Confused,” and the beginning of “How Many More Times” has been in circulation since the seventies, having appears on Spare Parts (Toasted Records 2S913), Led Zeppelin (K&S 074) and its reissue 10th Anniversary (Help).  Compact disc releases have been plentiful and it is usually found as bonus tracks or paired with other material to fill out the rest of the space on the disc.  One of the earliest versions in this format is of the broadcast is 20 Years Train Kept A Rollin’ Vol. Two (Living Legend LLRCD 026). 

Other titles containing this material include Stockholm (Kaleidoscipic KM CD 1), The Best Live In Concert 1969 (Double Time Disc DTD 006), Many More Early Times (Insect IST 20), Shenandoah (Aulica A.125.100), Shenandoah (Missing In Action ACT*1), Radio Appearances (World Productions WPOCM 0789 D 030-2), Kicks (Tarantura K&S 974), as bonus tracks on Hampton Kicks (House Of Elrond LZCDJPN69), and Missing Links (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 81) where it appears with two songs from Bath 1970 and the Clearwell Castle rehearsals from 1978.  “I Gotta Move” appears on Riverside Blues (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-024). 

The sound quality of this fragment is crystal clear and has an immediacy suggesting it was recorded yesterday and superior to many of the sessions from the BBC.  It is a shame that the entire concert wasn’t broadcast and that the tape runs out during “How Many More Times.”  It has never been suggested that the rest of the show or the evening concert is sitting in some vault somewhere so it is realistic to assume this is all that will ever exist.  The only silver release of the complete audience recording is on the box set Rock Of Ages (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin).  Distant and distorted, it ranks with Denver 1970 as one of the absolute worst sounding audience recordings ever to be released.  The tape sounds as if it were recorded in the lobby of the venue with the echoes bouncing off of the venue walls having the most clarity. 

The idea of editing together one of the best sounding radio broadcasts and one of the worst sounding audience recordings seems like a strange idea.  However Empress Valley’s version of the audience tape, while still very distant, sounds noticeably better than the version used by TDOLZ.  It runs at the correct speed (Rock Of Ages runs horribly slow), and is not unbearable to listen to.  What is important is that the events transpiring on stage are audible.  The editing job between the two sources is very smooth and natural sounding.  There is still another band’s music faintly heard on the audience tape in the left channel though. 

So the disc begins with the audience source and a rather long introduction by a Danish promoter as he introduces the band before the opening song “The Train Kept A-Rollin’.”  The music distorts the tape and there is a significant drop out between 2:10-2:18 in the track.  The song ends with Page out of tune and there is a break in the set.  At this point the radio broadcast tape fades in for the second song, a cover of Otis Rush’s “I Gotta Move” played by Plant, Jones and Bonham as Page gets his guitar repaired.  A snippet of the audience recording is used for the applause before the broadcast is edited back in for “I Can’t Quit You” and continuing onto “Dazed And Confused.”  “Dazed” lasts eleven minutes and is very close to the studio version released on their first album.  Bonham provides a beat and Jones plays some notes while Page plays the guitar with the violin bow and Plant adds his moans to the tones being produced.  In the future the other musicians would leave Page alone and this segment of the song would be only Page with Plant adding accompanying moans. 

The audience recording comes back for a surreal version of “White Summer/Black Mountain Side.”  Perhaps it is the timbre of the recording, but there are strange sounding runs during this piece making it sound even more foreign that it normally is.  The radio broadcast comes back in for a minute and a half of “How Many More Times” before the audience recording is edited at 1:48 to the end of the tape.  Page plays a bit of “Smokestack Lightning” when he is introduced.  This concert is also early enough to where Page is still including the violin bow on guitar part of this song in live performance instead of the band playing a long medley.  A small reference to “Communication Breakdown” can be heard after the violin bow segment and the song concludes as it does on the first album with “The Hunter.” 

It can’t be concluded definitively if this is the complete set since it isn’t known if there were any encores played after this song.  Super Session overall is a good release worth having.  The audience recording is still pretty bad but is at least listenable and the editing job is excellent.  This is also the first time the tracks from the radio broadcast have been presented in their correct order.  Empress Valley use some of the Jørgen Angel photos from both the September 7th, 1968 and the March 15th, 1969 Gladsaxe Teen Clubs shows that have received heavy circulation since they surfaced several years ago.


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