Home / Eelgrass label / Led Zeppelin – Long Beach Californication (Eelgrass 20232/33/34)

Led Zeppelin – Long Beach Californication (Eelgrass 20232/33/34)

Long Beach Californication (Eelgrass 20232/33/34)

Civic Arena, Long Beach, CA – March 11th, 1975

Disc 1 (55:53):  Introduction, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir

Disc 2 (52:12):  No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick

Disc 3 (54:43):  Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog

Long Beach Californication is the Eelgrass production of the recently surfaced Led Zeppelin soundboard from the March 11th, 1975 Long Beach show.  The introduction is taken from the excellent audience recording, but the soundboard starts right before “Rock And Roll.”  The recording is extremely clear and powerful and one of the best sounding of the 75 soundboards. 

It is certainly more enjoyable than the Nassau tape that surfaced last year.  The tape does run 2% too fast, just enough to be noticeable and raises the question why Empress Valley didn’t correct it.  Nevertheless Eelgrass is a great production and is much more affordable than the expensive editions.  

Regarding the actual concert, a review of this show written by Robert Hilburn in the Los Angeles Times really slammed the performance when he writes:  “Besides setting box office records on this tour, the English group also may be setting some type of record for the most cliches in a single concert:  a manlight show, steam from dry ice covering the stage (three different times), the band’s name spelled out in lights, a laser beam (something an opening act at the Troubadour did last year), an explosion at the rear of the stage and, of course, the obligatory 20-minute drum solo.

“But Zeppelin’s material is so lacking in both commentary and emotional challenge that the music ends up as an empty exercise in sound.  While there are some soft moments (indeed the gentle ‘Stairway To Heaven’ has become the band’s anthem), the thrust of the evening is on heavy, pulsating assaults.  The lyrics are often woeful, the themes unaffecting.”  (“Led Zeppelin, Cliches And All” March 13th, 1975).

Normally when Zeppelin were loose they produced legendary performances.  This show has its highlights but is plagued by equipment problems and issues with the PA which seem to distract them onstage.  The first hint of problems occurs in the second song where the transition, normally several crashing chords on guitar, is rendered very weak and ineffective.  “We must apologize for the slight delay but we couldn’t get into the building.  We hadn’t got any tickets.  It’s a fact” Plant brags before and excellent version of “Over The Hills And Far Away.”

“If you intend to sit still, well forget it” Plant promises before a monstrous version of “In My Time Of Dying.”  Things fall apart in the following song when Page’s twelve string goes out of tune basically ruining the song.  “The Rain Song” is played on the six string neck and comes off much better, but afterwards Plant get defensive when he says, “for the benefit of anybody who was making a bootleg then, the twelve-string was out of tune on ‘Song Remains The Same.'” 

After “Kashmir” Plant mentions Jones’ mellotron, calling it a “Pakistani orchestra, all in one pool player.”  John Paul Jones’ showcase “No Quarter” follows.  This is about two weeks into the new instrumentation, trading in the organ for the grand piano for the solo.  The dark and somber intonations of the 1973 and early 1975 versions were gone as these tapes reveal Jones trying very hard to try all sort of different styles and motifs to find a new direction of the song.  Some shows like the Seattle show five days later show that he was lost, but this version hold together well before Page comes in with the “No Quarter” solo.  

Before “Trampled Underfoot” Plant is speaking about Robert Johnson but is interrupted by the road crew fixing the equipment.  “The drumming and the hammering is by courtesy of Acme Quaalude company, Ltd.  This is a guy building a chicken pen.  Can you hear it?”  “Moby Dick” is only twenty minutes long.  Page and Bonham try to outdo one another in the opening fanfare and by the end Bonzo lets out a mighty shout.  

“Dazed And Confused” clocks in at just under a half hour.  Plant includes Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” before the violin bow solo and Page tries some new improvisations during the piece.  After the song Plant leads the obligitory ovations for Jimmy Page.  “That was a combination of key signatures that just will never occur again.  Amidst the rushing and screaming of cowboys.  ‘Hello cowboy in the sand’ (singing Neil Young’s song but changing cowgirl to cowboy) and now there comes again a song we really dig.”

After “Stairway To Heaven” the band play the normal encores for this tour.  “Whole Lotta Love” is played for a minute before segueing into the theremin histrionics of Page followed by “The Crunge.”  The song is Zeppelin’s uncomfortable take on James Brown funk, but is fun in a live context.  The theremin cacophony mutates effortlessly into the riff to “Out On The Tiles” which leads into a heavy version of “Black Dog.” 

Maybe it’s a problem with the PA but Jones’ bass sounds very loud throughout.  “Ladies and gentlemen of Long Beach, goodnight.  Sleep well.  And half a Quaalude with water” are Plant’s parting words.  Many collectors criticize this show and although it isn’t legendary there is a lot to enjoy on these discs.  Eelgrass utilize a standard jewel case with thick glossy inserts.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. The EV CD sounds great – the pricing is simply supply and demand. Also, get ready to pay and listen to their newest from Baton Rouge in 75′. EV we love you even if we are getting poor!

  2. Well Pharaoh, nobody is complaing about the soundboards themselves. But the complaints about the wrong speed and the cuts and mastering job are valid. Also added into the discussion is the use of cheap packaging for expensive products and the bad business practices of Eric Sachs, the international face for Empress Valley.

    Regarding pricing, while it is true Tarantura charge a lot of money for their releases, they are also consistent. EV’s pricing is wildly inconsistent and I think collectors are responding to that.

  3. No doubt Walter EV has put out some stinkers…I just think they should be given some credit for putting out unreleased Led Zep, like the 75 SB’s, 69 Whisky show etc…

  4. Not a EV apologist Walter as they have released their share of stinkers…I am just responding to the all negative comments and pointing out that EV is one of the few labels actually releasing new uncirculated Led Zep tapes and that, I am willing to bet, they paid big $$$ for the privledge which probably is reflected in what they charge. They should be applauded for that at least don’t you agree? I find it interesting that nobody is bitching about the ridiculous prices Tarantura charges for their recycled releases and fancy packaging. Why is that?? or complains about the other labels recycled releases?

    Just find it strange that EV is getting beat up over the release of these non ciculated SB’s…Poor EV they just get no love :))

  5. I’m selective about buying ’em too, Classicrawker. It’s hard to decide sometimes– would you rather have a soundboard of a so-so show, or a slightly muddy audience tape of a great show? Or do you wait for the inevitable upgrade, and hope that it *is* an upgrade? (Because some aren’t.)

    You’re right, EV discs are expensive, but usually no more so than any other bootleg producer. However, it’s not like they’re saints or anything: they’re known to pirate the new shows of other lables, such as Tarantura, with little or no modification as reviewers here and elsewhere have shown.

  6. It sounds 98% correct to me. I didn’t notice this release ran fast until it was mentioned. I’m looking forward to more soundboard releases in the future…. especially the Seattle, March 21, 1975 soundboard, if it exists. This title makes one realize just how good the Millard audience tape is.

  7. I am selective buying EV titles because of the cost at times but lets give them some credit for spending the $$$ to buy and release these uncirculated SB’s,..should they take the time to speed correct? sure but at least they are releasing some new stuff while all the other labels do is constantly recycle the same old shows as “Definitive”..if not for EV these tapes would never see the light of day..and they may be expensive but if want these new shows they have to recoup their expenses and make a little $$$..You get what you pay for…..Thank you EV!!!…..

  8. Lately, my connection has been carrying some older EV releases such as “Ultimate Destroyer” and “BBC Sessions” at under $10 a disc… I don’t know if they’re his old stock, or if EV is reprinting old releases, but I’m certainly happy to purchase factory-made discs at those prices… that aspect of EV’s quality control has always been, without question, tip-top: I’ve never gotten a bad EV CD.

    I agree though, that they aren’t doing us any favors selling product that is inferior due to wrong tape speeds, over-or-under equalizing, etc. When amateur fans can correct these imperfections using their home computer and Sound Forge (or whatever program) there’s just no excuse they can use for not doing these things right themselves the first time. No excuse for Eel Grass either.

  9. And don’t buy into the hubris of Empress Valley either, expressed on this website by Wilbur. He seems to think that we should be thankful for to EV for charging such a high price for inferior product.

  10. I’ll wait, thanks. Supposedly the EV release was a one-time limited edition with 3 different covers, each cover/edition succesively fewer in number (and higher in price) than the one preceeding it. Glad I waited on buying this one, you’re right, there will likely be 2 or 3 subsequent releases; one speed corrected, one speed corrected and patched, one speed corrected, patched and on DVD-Audio in 5/1 surround sound and spam…

  11. Hey ZEP77. At the moment the answer is no, there are no plans to review the Wendy DVD.

  12. gsparaco – hello, not sure where to ask this but do you plan a review for the new Led Zeppelin Wendy DVD “Your Kingdome Come” ?? – very curious as to the video quality of this.

  13. of course there will be speed corrected, patched, equalized, complete, special new edition before the next one…

  14. And speed-corrected versions have been around on various d/l & p2p sites for weeks… there’s no excuse for this. I’m not familiar with the Grok you’re speaking of…

  15. It is incredible EV didn’t correct the speed. It shows how they’re in it to make a quick buck that thief. There will be a definitive silver edition coming out soon. I wouldn’t waste your time on Beelebub’s crap.

  16. Apparently the EV and the Eel Grass both run fast. I’m guessing that West Of Sunset also does.
    Do we dare say the Beelz word?? According to the new listing on Grok the Beelz edition has been speed-corrected.
    Has anybody heard it?
    I have found that the best Beelz releases are when he works with good sbd tapes. Maybe this one too??
    Seems incredible that EV didn’t correct the speed!!!

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