Sunday, November 05, 2017

Led Zeppelin - 1971-11-16 - Ipswich (EVSD)

Led Zeppelin
November 16, 1971
St. Matthew's Baths Hall
Ipswich, UK

01. Immigrant Song
02. Heartbreaker
03. Black Dog
04. Since I've Been Loving You
05. Rock And Roll
06. Stairway To Heaven
07. Going To California
08. That's The Way
09. Tangerine
10. Introduction
11. Dazed And Confused
12. What Is And What Should Never Be
13. Celebration Day
14. Whole Lotta Love
15. Weekend
16. Gallows Pole


Feelin' Groovy Definitive Edition (Empress Valley)

This new release uses what is believed to be a fourth(!) source tape from the Ipswich, UK show of 17 November 1971. Previous versions of  this show on bootleg included "Two Penny Upright", "Over the 12 Foot End", "Ipswich 1971" (TDOLZ), and the original "Feelin'  Groovy"  (Empress Valley). One or both of two original good/very good source  tapes were used for the first 3 titles mentioned. "Feelin' Groovy"  used a near excellent third source tape. All sources were not complete, missing at least the last 5 minutes of the WLL medley and any encores.This new fourth source tape is very good in quality and is the 2nd best of the four. All instruments are very clear. Plant seems at bit low in the mix, but that may be the result of the PA system. The recording "crumbles" with the band's sheer volume at a couple of points, mainly the first crashing notes of songs such as R&R and BD. What makes this source special is that the WLL medley iscomplete for the first time and two encore tracks are presented, the
rarely played "Weekend" and The even rarer "Gallows Pole". "Gallow's Pole", like it's previous appearance on a bootleg recording at Copenhagen from the previous May, seems to be played by Page on his Gibson double-neck guitar. This version is similar to the Copenhagen one, with Bonzo underlining the end of each verse with drum crashes. The band seems rather confident with this version (which is amazing, considering how infrequently this song was played live) and Page's guitar noodling at the end of the song is shorter than that at Copenhagen. With the improved recording quality, compared to Copenhagen, this track is a real pleasure, IMO.As for the rest of  the CD, STH, TTW, and Tangerine appear to be missing on the new source tape. Empress Valley used the near excellent source from its previous version of this show for STH and TTW, but inexplicably Tangerine is from one of the original source tapes and is distant and muddy sounding. It they tried, Empress Valley could have released this new source on two discs, as Plant's dialogue and the opening notes of WLL are included at the end of disc two and 
repeated at the beginning of disc three. This is a shame, considering the high prices charged by this "premium" bootleg label. The packaging is similar to other Empress Valley releases, with the discs recessed in a heavy cardboard "block" with a slipcover wrapping up the package. Photos from November 1969(!) were used on the cover. There has been some speculation that a third encore of "Communication Breakdown" was played at this show, so stayed tuned 
for "Feelin' Groovy Definitive Definitive Edition". (Chris Gust, Nov 2000)

Feelin' Groovy Definitive Edition Empress Valley-EVSD 52/53/54-3CD
November 16, 1971 St. Mathew's Baths - Ipswich, England

This release comes packaged in Empress Valley's unique "long box" design case. The outer sleeve is open-ended on both sides and a heavy cardboard "tray" slides in/out. The tray has an opening carved out of the middle that the 3 discs rest in. There's a small, credit card-sized insert that contains photos of the venue. Each disc is housed in a cream-colored paper sleeve with the Empress Valley logo printed in gold in the lower right corner. The source tape is a very good, clear audience tape but it is biased towards the higher frequencies. The sound becomes distorted on the high-end of the spectrum because the recorder can't handle what's being thrown at it. It is still a highly enjoyable release. The audience is very restrained, polite perhaps. In any event, they are quiet and applaud when appropriate and talking around the recorder is minimal. 
Stairway To Heaven is spliced in from an alternate, but near excellent sounding source tape as is That's The Way. The only downside to the alternate source is the amount of tape hiss present.
Disc one fades out during the bass intro to Dazed And Confused. Disc two picks up repeating about 15 seconds of the end of disc one ensuring no tape is missed in the disc change. If you listen carefully to the Dazed And Confused medley, you can hear snippets of what will evolve into The Crunge. Dazed also features a tape swap lasting maybe 30 seconds or so before switching back. Disc two fades out just as Whole Lotta Love starts and disc three starts off repeating several seconds of disc two. The specialness of this show however, doesn't become apparent until the encores. Eddie Cochran's Weekend is played followed by the extremely rare live rendition of  Gallows Pole. The audience was relentless in requesting Gallows and the band finally succumbs to the pressure. The tail end of Gallows has the smallest of a snip of alternate tape spliced in. The set should have been released onto 2CDs and not 3, but what's done is done. Worth the asking price if you're really into Empress Valley, if you're a diehard Gallows Pole fan and/or to fans of early Zeppelin and the 1971 tour in particular. (Steve Prendergast 
February 03)  

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Guns N' Roses - 2017-07-20 - Apollo Theatre, New York City, NY

Guns N' Roses 
Apollo Theatre
New York City, NY 

Moonchild Records - MC037
Live At The Apollo

101. Opening
102. It's So Easy
103. Mr. Brownstone
104. Chinese Democracy
105. Welcome to the Jungle
106. Double Talkin 'Jive
107. Better
108. Estranged
109. Live and Let Die
110. Rocket Queen
111. You Could Be Mine
112. New Rose
113. This I Love
114. Civil War

201. Yesterdays
202. Coma
203. Band Introduction
204. Slash Guitar Solo
205. Speak Softly Love
206. Sweet Child O 'Mine
207. My Michelle
208. Whole Lotta Rosie
209. Wish You Were Here
210. November Rain
211. Black Hole Sun

301. Knockin' on Heaven's Door
302. Nightrain
303. Sorry
304. Patience
305. The Seeker
306. Paradise City

Recorded live at Apollo Theater, New York, NY, USA. 20th July 2017

Axl Rose (vocals, piano)
Slash (lead guitar)
Duff McKagan (bass, backing vocals)
Richard Fortus (guitar, backing vocals)
Dizzy Reed (keyboards, piano, backing vocals)
Melissa Reese (keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals, percussion)
Frank Ferrer (drums, percussion)

The performance – which originally aired on SiriusXM's Guns N' Roses Radio and on Howard Stern's Howard 101 channel – will be rebroadcast on the band's channel on Friday, July 21 at 7:00 am ET, 11:00 am ET, 6:00 pm ET, 10:00 pm ET and Saturday, July 22 at 12:00 pm ET, 4:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. The band's SiriusXM channel will be available until August 16th.

The Not in This Lifetime Tour will return to arenas with the latest North American leg, which kicks off July 27th in St. Louis, Missouri and concludes September 8th in San Antonio. The following month, Guns N' Roses will embark on a fall trek of North American stadiums, which features several newly announced dates, including a pair of shows (October 11th and 15th) at New York City's Madison Square Garden. 

Guns N’ Roses is a majestic band whose merit grows when you get close enough to actually watch the gears turn. You’ve likely heard Axl’s multi-octave wail all over radios and stereos before, but to watch him sail up out of his natural baritone, to be physically confronted by the controlled calamity of the thing, is a wonder. The Apollo set — a tireless, three-hour barrage of hits, deep cuts, and covers — opens deceptively with the cuts that lean on the lower end of Rose’s register. Like Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, he’s giving you time to count him out. When the trademark shriek comes out, it’s shockingly sharp. Rose is a 55-year-old rock lifer celebrating 30-year-old songs, but unlike aging singers in similar situations, who take the keys of the songs down a notch to account for shrinking upper registers pinched by the passage of time, Axl hustles and nails every note.

Not in This Lifetime is a slight return of the classic ’80s Guns N’ Roses lineup. It reunites Rose, Appetite-era guitarist Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan in a band rounded out by longtime keyboard player Dizzy Reed, 2000s-era rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer, and the newest acquisition, keyboardist–tech whiz Melissa Reese. The set list trained these skills on every era of the band’s existence, from Appetite through the GNR Lies and Spaghetti Incident projects, both Use Your Illusion albums and even the latter day Guns-in-name-only LP Chinese Democracy. Guns is a band ultimately defined by the talents of the three lifers up front, but the machine only runs because every piece works in perfect concert. The spotlight’s always on OGs, but Richard Fortus backs Slash dutifully and takes mean solos whenever there’s room to shine, and Reed, Ferrer, and Reese form the powerful backbone for all the shrieking and shredding.

About said shredding: Slash is a guitar god of intimidating versatility. He nails the memorable solos in Guns classics with aplomb. He blows a coda out by triple on the pure joy of speedy fretwork. He pours everything into a killer talkbox solo. He crushes the entire Godfather theme. He duets emotively with Fortus on Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” He plucks out the Allman Brothers’ “Melissa” on the way to GNR Lies’ “Patience.” He picks out noodly Jerry Garcia style leads on electric 12-string. He effects Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil’s wigged-out psychedelia on a cover of “Black Hole Sun.” (The night before the Appetite anniversary happened to be the late Chris Cornell’s birthday).

I spent a respectable chunk of the night purely gobsmacked by the virtuosity. I sent out two Snaps of Slash shredding alone in the spotlight. The set snaked out past the three-hour mark, and I felt more tired than the 50-year-olds onstage looked. Guns N’ Roses is — has always been — a project about excess and extremes. I only understood this conceptually, being about five years too young to get caught up in their maelstrom at the height of it. Throughout the third hour of the Apollo gig, the revolution of the band became clear to me. Guns was never just a bunch of crazy motherfuckers playing grimy California rock and roll. They blew hard rock wide open, melding it with the uncompromising bluntness of metal, the manic jitteriness of punk, and the broken directness of big, loud pop balladry. The three-hour, career-spanning Apollo set was a reminder of how rare and special that mixture is.