It’ll Be Me (TDOLZ Vol. 054)
Forum, Los Angeles, CA – June 26th, 1977
Disc 1 (73:06): The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter
Disc 2 (65:21): Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, That’s Alright / Black Country Woman / Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Out On The Tiles / Moby Dick
Disc 3 (52:11): guitar solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, It’ll Be Me
Led Zeppelin’s fifth out of six nights in the Los Angeles Forum in 1977 is one of the more obscure shows. Overshadowed by the Eddie and Badgeholders concerts, it is even less well known than the forth and sixth nights since it lacks a brilliant Mike Millard recording. Only the second night has fewer silver releases and only one that is truly worth having.
The fifth night was first pressed on silver by Tarantura on That’s Alright (Tarantura T19CD-13~16) part of their massive boxset covering the entire series of Los Angeles concerts. It was followed a year later by Sundazed (Silver Rarities SIRA203/204/205), the first solo release. It was also included in Empress Valley Badgeholders boxset released several year ago.
It’ll Be Me on TDOLZ was also part of a boxset, Pride And Glory covering the LA shows. But TDOLZ also issued the title alone making it very accessible. Show starts off with an alternate source covering the first four minutes and forty seconds of “The Song Remains The Same” before the main tape is edited in for the rest of the show. The alternate tape, which may not even be from this show, is very thin and and tinny sounding.
The main source is louder and more clear and listenable but slightly distant with hints of distortion. It is enjoyable on some levels but isn’t up to the standard as the other shows in this week. There are cuts at 4:04 in “No Quarter,” a small cut during Plant’s introduction to “Ten Years Gone,” and an enormous one in “Moby Dick” omitting most of the actual drum solo but leaving the opening and closing instrumentals. There is also a strange digital flaw in the guitar solo between 18:54 and 19:19 and a cut at 21:03.
It is a shame the sound quality isn’t as good as the others because this is a very energetic show starting with quick versions of “The Song Remains The Same,” “Sick Again” and, after apologizing to the audience for being “so many months late,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”
Before “Over The Hills And Far Away” Plant continues the badgeholders references begun earlier in the week: “anybody been to any of the other concerts? So right now you’re familiar with the term to be a badgeholder, right? You’ve heard that before. Have you heard that before? Right. To be a badgeholder is to be someone’s loved one and to hold a badge and tonight we’d like to dedicate this next song to Mr. Richard Cole our tour manager who got us into all the trouble in the first place who hasn’t got a badgeholder.” The following song “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is “a blues for badgeholders.”
The long “No Quarter” improvisation lasts past a half hour and like the others in Los Angeles can be considered among the best. John Paul Jones plays nice, melodic themes during the grand piano section before Jimmy Page comes in with the guitar to lead it to the more traditional doom and gloom. Plant frequently would describe this piece as a journey which has its ups and downs and this rendition is good at emphasizing the two.
Plant becomes very chatty while they’re setting up Jones’s three necked guitar for “Ten Years Gone,” explaining how “when you play so many concerts in one town it gets a little bit laid back. You start joking amongst yourselves. You start talking to each other on stage. You know what I mean? John Paul has a little sleep in between songs, but then it becomes a little more human though, doesn’t it? You know what I mean don’t you?”
Introduction “The Battle Of Evermore” is another excuse to get into some of Led Zeppelin’s history with Plant explaining: “You may or may not realize when we formed in 1968, which is probably before some of you were born, we stared on the first album by applying acoustic material like ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ and ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come.’ And on the second album with things like ‘Ramble On.’ And when we started touring America we introduced an acoustic set into the program but as time went on we got so involved with other aspects of the music that we found that we couldn’t squeeze it in.”
The band are very loose this night and play close to a full version of “That’s Alright Mama” before “Black Country Woman.” The latter half of the show becomes extremely devastating with “Kashmir” sounding like a pile driver on stage. Page extends the guitar solo past twenty minutes with many and various riffs and themes thrown in before it segues into a wild version of “Achilles Last Stand.”
“Stairway To Heaven” closes the show and for the encore, instead of the “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock And Roll” medley, they cover Jerry Lee Lewis’ “It’ll Be Me” which Plant jokes is “something off the new album that’s coming out” which is “predominantly conceived with the question of badges which of course all of LA is fully aware of.”
Someone on the official forum claimed they played a primitive version of “Carouselambra.” But how one can confuse a cover of an old rock and roll tune with the new wave synth epic from In Through The Outdoor isn’t entirely clear. Overall It’ll Be Me is a great title to have. Despite it’s limitations it is enjoyable to listen to and a good alternative to the more well known shows from this week. TDOLZ package this in a single pocket cardboard sleeve instead of employing a gatefold sleeve or jewel case. It’s nice looking, but this label were maddeningly inconsistent when it came to packaging.