Led Zeppelin

C'mon Everybody

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Listening to Led Zeppelin's live recordings can be a lot like listening to John Coltrane's--not because the two sound anything alike, but because both of them could be too long-winded on stage. Even some of Coltrane's most ardent admirers will be the first to admit that his solos could be too long for their own good, and the same complaint has been made about Zep's live shows. In the 1970s, it wasn't uncommon for a metalhead to wonder if a performance of "Dazed and Confused" or "Whole Lotta Love" really needed to be stretched out to 30 minutes. But like Coltrane, Zeppelin was such a wealth of creativity that its excesses could easily be forgiven -- and C'mon Everybody, a two-CD bootleg that surfaced in 1998, bears that out. There are times when the band is too long-winded on these live performances, which were recorded at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on November 6, 1969, and in a Danish television studio on March 13 of that same year. But because the influential heavy metal/hard rock band brings so many great ideas to the table, one is quite willing to forgive its excesses. Jamming and stretching out is the rule on a 22-minute "How Many More Times," a 14-minute "Moby Dick," and a 17-minute "Dazed and Confused," although the band is more succinct on "Heartbreaker," "Communication Breakdown," "What Is and What Should Never Be," Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody," and the blues favorite "Train Kept A Rollin'" (which was also embraced by everyone from the Johnny Burnett Trio to the Yardbirds and Aerosmith). Overall, Zep's performances are excellent (excesses and all), and the sound quality is decent but not great. House of Elrond, the bootlegger that put this two-CD set together in 1998, will not be accused of perfect packaging -- the label states that there are 11 tracks on disc two when, in fact, there are only nine. But while this bootleg is imperfect and less than essential, it is generally quite pleasing if you're a serious Led Zeppelin addict.

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