Freak Out (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 039)
The Forum, Inglewood, CA – August 22nd, 1971
Disc 1: 1.Rumba (Walk Don’t Run) (2:21), 2. Immigrant Song (4:04), 3. Heartbreaker (6:38), 4. Since I’ve Been Loving You (8:13), 5. Black Dog (6:02), 6. Dazed & Confused (21:10), 7. Stairway To Heaven (9:29), 8. Celebration Day (3:41), 9. That’s The Way (7:16), 10. What Is & What Should Never Be (4:36)
Disc 2: 1. Moby Dick (18:34), 2. Whole Lotta Love Medley (Inc. Boogie Chillen – My Baby Left Me – Mess Of Blues – You Shook Me) (25:34), 3. Communication Breakdown (11:04), 4. Organ Solo – Thank You (12:37)
“Freak Out” represents another reissue of the second night at the Forum in a muddy sounding mono audience recording. Zeppelin jams on “Immigrant Song”. The vocals sound shrilled and way up front in the mix. The guitar was piercing on “Heartbreaker” forcing me to turn down the volume. The treble, unfortunately, was disproportionate to the bass. “Black Dog” was played fast and with energized delivery. Page exhibited fine guitar work on “Dazed & Confused” with Bonzo’s driving rhythm to complement him. Plant introduced “Stairway To Heaven” as a number off of their new album due out in about 3 weeks that begins quietly. He implored the crowd to be quiet. The distortion was quite evident on this track with John Paul Jones on keyboards overpowering all of the instrumentation. The guitar sounded distant as well. The definitive reflective mood setter, “That’s The Way”, hit the mark and was the clearest sounding track up to this point.
Plant corralled the crowd into a thunderous applause leading into “Whole Lotta Love”. His voice sounded incredibly screechy making me yearn to even hear Yoko’s wailing shrills over this. The music, generally speaking, was more tolerable positioning myself away from the speakers. This track ended at 23:37 with rousing continuous crowd applause. Plant stated: “I think I’m gonna do just one more then…” before breaking into “Communication Breakdown”. The second encore began with a 5:20 minute organ solo and ending with a fantastic 7:00 minute “Thank You” featuring John Paul Jones.
The above audience source is almost pleasant to listen to intermittently but is also a hard listen for extended stretches at a time. The bass, surprisingly, is pronounced throughout but the accentuated treble is simply irritating. Zeppelin’s performance is strong with most of these tracks. I would recommend severely toning down Plant’s vocals which would at least lend itself for appreciation of this overall strong performance. Otherwise, I would steer away from this release as there are numerous other titles in far better quality.