Thursday, September 25, 2014

Led Zeppelin - 1977-05-22 - Fort Worth

Led Zeppelin
May 22, 1977
Tarrant County Convention Center
Fort Worth, TX

 01 The Song Remains The Same
02 Sick Again
03 Nobody's Fault But Mine
04 In My Time Of Dying
05 Since I've Been Loving You
06 No Quarter
07 Ten Years Gone
08 Going To California
09 Black Country Woman
10 Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
11 White Summer-Black Mountain Side
12 Kashmir
13 Out On The Tiles-Moby Dick
14 Guitar Solo
15 Achilles Last Stand
16 Stairway To Heaven
17 Whole Lotta Love
18 Rock And Roll
19 It'll Be Me (with Mick Ralphs of Bad Company)

The crowd is riotous in this show and it adds a certain amount of chaos and tension to the concert. The band has to restart In My Time Of Dying as they messed up the tempo and Bonham completely ruins the end by playing so far out of time that I couldn't even find the beat by listening to the guitars (Plant: "I'll tell you what we'll do ... we'll start it again"). The concert is basically average, but still pretty good. Achilles is the real blowout; one of the most aggressive versions I have ever heard and very powerful. Stairway sounds really tired and worn out. Robert doesn't do any of his usual ad-libs and he sounds lazy and uninterested on all the vocals. The only part of the piece that sounds lively is the guitar solo and that jam section. The encores are good and It'll Be Me features Mick Ralphs of Bad Company on second guitar ... he shouldn't have bothered getting on stage. Not only does Jimmy make him look foolish with his playing but he gets completely drowned out as well!

The performance is very good. Better than the night before. Page and Plant are giving much more this night, and the loud and rioting crowd helps keep the intensity of the show at a nice level. Bonham starts off the show much like he did the night before in Houston, with some fantastic playing during "The Song Remains The Same". And he keeps it up for the whole show. Not quite as unstoppable as the night before, but definitely still very much "on". He throws in a snatch of "The Crunge" at the end of the return following Plant's "Oh my Jesus" lines at the end of "In My Time Of Dying". And just like his drumming in this spot the night before, he once again throws Page off. But on this night Page has a much harder time recovering and finding his way again. On the positive side of Page's performance, the version of "Since I've Been Loving You" is a great performance by him, as well as the entire band. Definitely a good night for Page, all things considered.

No Quarter once again features "The Nutrocker" in the instrumental section. Perhaps this was a tell-tale sign of when Jones was in a good mood during this part of the tour? The instrumental section during the song features a good performance from him, but nothing extraordinary. And once Page and Bonham enter, Jones seems to drop back and let them do their business. Like the night before, again, Bonham is the star here. Fantastic drumming. Worth repeated listens just for his drumming alone. After a point during the middle, even Page seems to drop out, leaving Bonham seemingly all alone to keep the section moving along.

"Ten Years Gone" fades out after about 2 minutes, and the tape doesn't restart until "Going To California", thereby definitely missing all of "The Battle of Evermore". The "Black Country Woman/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" combination is a great one-two punch as both songs are played with great energy and delivery. As well, "White Summer" is much better than the night before, again a testament to Page's performance this night. He's not exactly on fire, he's just playing very well.

The source tape that starts during Bonham's drum solo is easily one of the best tapes of the year, just a notch below Millard's California tapes. A shame that it only features the last quarter of the show. Thankfully, it does capture a great "Achilles Last Stand" which Bonham again completely dominates with some amazing drumming. His drumming here might actually be better than the crazed playing the night before, and even better than his best-of LA renditions. And the nice thing is, for the most part Page keeps up with him during the song. Plant does fine, but he can't quite hit the last notes of the song. In any case, it's still probably the best group song of the night. Although, the version of Stairway is definitely also up there, although perhaps more for Page's solo, which is very well done this night.

As they retake the stage for the encores, Plant introduces the band's first performance of "Whole Lotta Love" of the tour with "We're gonna try something we haven't done for about 4 years, so you gotta bear with us". So much for Plant's memory, huh? They do the abridged version they had been doing in 1975, but instead of leading into "Black Dog" they lead it into "Rock and Roll", which Bonham either has trouble with or is deliberately having fun with as he plays the intro several times in a stop-start beat before finally kicking in the song.

The highlight of the night is the extra encore featuring Mick Ralphs from Bad Company:

"A man who actually comes from the same part of the world as me and Bonzo. So, home from home. We come from what you might call the sticks. This is an old...uh... we're gonna try something that uh.... God knows how it's going to sound...but I hope you'll understand that's what they call a jam. It's's a Jerry Lee Lewis number, it's called, uh... well it's very appropriate, Mick. It'll Be Me."

And it's a great version to wrap up a very good show. With the addition of "Whole Lotta Love" and the rare extra encore of "It'll Be Me", it's easily one of the best shows of the tour up to this point. Still hard to beat the LA shows that would come later, but for the May leg this show is about as good as it gets.

Bonzo comes out swinging as the show gets underway, pummeling his drums in a frantic stampede during The Song Remains the Same. The frenzy continues as the band hammers through a devastatingly heavy Sick Again. Page shreds wildly as Bonzo and Jones decimate the crowd with their bone-crushing rhythm. The combined sonic assault threatens to destroy the taper's equipment. As the song ends, Plant apologizes for the delay amidst shouts of "sit down!" from the crowd. Page blazes through a nasty guitar solo during Nobody's Fault But Mine. In My Time of Dying is an aggressive cacophony. Page begins the intro only to stop moments later and start over, with Plant joking "there's a few clowns onstage too." Bonzo hints at The Crunge briefly toward the end of the song, throwing Page's timing off in the process.

Page is on fire during an incredibly powerful Since I've Been Loving You. His fingers tear across the fretboard in a furious cascade of notes during the blistering guitar solo. Jones's piano solo during No Quarter features another frenzied rendition of Nut Rocker. Bonzo drives the band forward, experimenting with a variety of rhythmic textures as Page delivers a long, wandering guitar solo. Ten Years Gone is introduced as a song "about the love that you always cherish in your heart and never forget." Unfortunately, the song is cut during the first guitar solo. The beginning of Going to California is met with a loud cheer from the crowd. The arena quakes under the power of Bonzo's thunderous pounding during Kashmir.

Plant introduces Bonzo as "the man who only last night was standing in the wardrobe when a fist went straight through the door and hit him on the nose" before an epic Over the Top. Page's inclusion of Dixie and The Star-Spangled Banner during his experimental guitar solo draws cheers and applause from the crowd. Bonzo thrashes wildly at anything within reach during an aggressive Achilles Last Stand. Plant dedicates Stairway to Heaven to "all the people who've made our stay really pleasant." The encore begins with the first appearance of Whole Lotta Love since 5/25/1975, although only as a minute-long prelude to Rock and Roll. The latter features an odd stuttering intro from Bonzo. The biggest surprise of the night comes as Plant introduces Mick Ralphs of Bad Company on second guitar before an excellent impromptu rendition of Jerry Lee Lewis's It'll Be Me. As the band leaves the stage, Plant announces "Led Zeppelin are now gonna get it off, goodnight."

1 comment:

Zen Archer said...