Heavy Machinery (Empress Valley EVSD 221/222)
Exposition Park, Nancy, France – March 27, 1973
Disc 1: Rock and Roll, Over The Hills And Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop/Since I’ve Been Loving You, The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song, Dazed And Confused
Disc 2: Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Boogie Chillun’, (You’re So Square) I Don’t Care, Let’s Have A Party, I Can’t Quit You)
The latest release from Empress Valley contains two shows about two months apart. The first two discs document the March 27th, 1973 at Exposition Park in Nancy, France in a recently discovered audience recording that is good to very good and almost complete. The Rain Song contains some small cuts. This tour has rightly been singled out as one of the greatest by Zeppelin, and this show doesn’t betray that reputation. It is energetic, dynamic, and imaginative, especially Bonzo. The liner notes were written by Hamish Rock (not Aquarius 11), and is very informative, giving us Plant’s observation of the French tour, the previews and a review in L’Est Republican newspaper of the show (calling the show a “real low”). The only negatives are that Dancing Days and Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp were dropped that night, and the encores are missing.
The Dirty Trick (Empress Valley EVSD 223/224)
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, UT – May 26, 1973
Disc 3: Introduction, Rock and Roll/Celebration Day/Black Dog, Over The Hills and Far Away, Georgia On My Mind, Misty Mountain Hop/Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same/ The Rain Song
Disc 4: Dazed And Confused (severely cut), Stairway To Heaven, Heartbreaker/Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
The May 26th, 1973 show at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah has been previously released on an excellent soundboard recording. The Dirty Trick uses a previously unreleased audience recording. The quality of the tape is a notch below the Nancy tape, and can be considered good. It contains high end distortion. The taper was also concerned about getting the whole show on two tapes, making numerous minor cuts between songs. Much of the between song commentary from Plant is still present. The biggest cuts, unfortunately, eliminate the bulk of Dazed And Confused. The San Francisco part is missing, as is the solo after the violin bow portion of the song. The show itself is very good and enjoyable until Stairway To Heaven, where the band seem to loose some steam and enthusiasm. The real value in the tape, as pointed out by the Empress Valley commentator Aquarius 11 (whose notes this time around are more understandable) is to hear the parts of the show that are missing from the soundboard tape released last year; namely, the beginning of Rock and Roll, the later half of Whole Lotta Love, and the encore. Whole Lotta Love contains no surprises like the San Diego show would. The band even dropped Boogie Chillun’ from the medley, playing Whole Lotta Love in early 1970 fashion.
To the best of my knowledge this release is now quite rare and I put off listening to this for several years. I pulled it out today and it was much better than I had expected although would probably be enjoyed mostly by the hard core Zep collectors.