Friday, August 11, 2017

Led Zeppelin - 1979-08-11 - Knebworth Festival (CDM / Final Cut)

Led Zeppelin
August 11, 1979
Knebworth Festival
Stevenage, UK

Final Cut (Celebration Definitive Masters CDM-002)

101. The Song Remains the Same
102. Celebration Day
103. Black Dog
104. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
105. Over the Hills and Far Away
106. Misty Mountain Hop
107. Since I’ve Been Loving You
108. No Quarter
109. Hot Dog
110. The Rain Song

201. White Summer
202. Black Mountain Side
203. Kashmir
204. Trampled Underfoot
205. Sick Again
206. Achilles Last Stand
207. guitar solo/ tympani solo
208. In the Evenin

301. Stairway to Heaven
302. Rock & Roll
303. Whole Lotta Love
304. Communication Breakdown

Such was the belief in Led Zeppelin’s undiminished popularity that, when they booked their big UK come back for the Knebworth Festival in 1979, promoter Freddie Bannister took the unprecedented step in booking two concerts on consecutive weekends.  Whereas the first Knebworth show drew an estimated 100,000 people, the second drew only 40,000 (some sources put the number as high as 80,000) and the idea backfired on the promoter. 

Robert Plant in particular resented the almost universal criticism of the first weekend and his complaining during this show really spoils the mood.  However, between the two Knebworth shows, this is arguable the more artisically satisfying. 

It was the last of the four in 1979 and there are signs that the band were gaining more confidence.  They were supported on this day by New Barbarians, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, The New Commander Cody Band, and Chas and Dave. 

Many audience recordings exist of the event, but in late 1999 the Celebration label premiered this almost complete, excellent quality stereo soundboard recording on Final Cut.  It was the label’s second release (after the Bonzo’s Birthday Presents soundboard fragment) and remains one of their best productions before they began to remasterd their tapes to death to produce utter garbage. 

Celebration use an excellent audience recording for “White Summer” and Plant’s closing comments at the end of the show.  There is such a dynamic timbre to the music and audience sounds that is unique to many soundboard recordings that, despite the re-releases, remains unsurpassed.  The discs are housed in a fatboy jewel case with many photos of the event in a cardboard slip cover.  The first edition is in gray and the second in brown, and both editions contain a four page insert and are limited edition. 

Since Celebration’s release there have been several other releases of this tape.  The earliest was Knebworth Festival (TCD-4-1,2) which tried to cut down on the lower frequencies.  Jelly Roll made a comeback five years after their last release with Knebworth Festival 1979 (JR-32/33/34) with increased volume and the PA problems removed. 

Empress Valley released Blind Date (EVSD-214-219) in 2002 and although the tape is complete, they “improve” the show by taking out the PA problems during “Over The Hills And Far Away.”  It is also lacking in the lower end. 

Watchtower issued Welcome To the 1979 Knebworth Festival, 11th  Of August (Watchtower WT 2002094/95/96) soon after Empress Valley in both a seven disc boxset with the first Knebworth show and a bonus disc from Earls Court and individually in jewel cases.  

After the opening songs Plant shows his bitterness at being slammed in the press after the first Knebworth show, saying, “Well, it didn’t rain, but it rained on us in the week from one or two sources, and we’re just gonna stick it right where it really belongs.”  It is immediately obvious that the emotion and intensity of the first week is lacking. 

“Over The Hills And Far Away” is ruined by a loud crackling in the PA system.  Page in particular sounds distracted during the solo and stumbles into the second half.  “What’s going on?” Plant asks.  “It must be the samosas” he jokes but the noises persist through “Misty Mountain Hop” which, “apart from a load of crackling featured Jonesy on narcissistic keyboards.”

“No Quarter” is fifteen minutes long and includes a masterful duet between Jones and Page in the middle section where there seems to be some telepathy between them proving this is one of the greatest live vehicles written by Led Zeppelin and it is a shame this would be the final live version. 

“Ten Years Gone” is dropped so Plant goes into the long introduction to the first new song of the set, saying, “In the neolithic caves in Peru they’ve been finding a lot of colored drawings on the walls, and along with the colored drawings they also found a new album cover. We’re managing to get the album out in about two weeks. As you’ve no doubt read the reviews, it’s tremendous. You can imagine. It’s called In Through the Out Door, which is one of the methods of entry that proves to be harder that one would originally expect.  And this is one of the tracks from it. It’s called…and we dedicate this to the Texas road crew, and all the people to be found in the sleazy hangouts around there…it’s called Hot Dog.”

“The Rain Song” is very strong and the tape picks up Jones playing some pretty and unique bass-lines in the middle of the piece.  The next portion of the set is occupied with some of their most adventurous songs of tours and journeys beginning with “White Summer.” 

Whether the thematic link was intentional or not, but “Kashmir,” “Trampled Underfoot,” “Sick Again” and “Achilles Last Stand” all deal with motion and adventures in foreign lands in one way or another.  They are performed well although “Sick Again” seems to puzzle the audience and “Achilles Last Stand” stumbles out of the gate and is generally sloppy.   

Everyone seems tires after “In The Evening” as Plant introduces the final song of the main set, saying, “it comes to the time now when we really got to thank you for hanging about for four years you English folk.  And you French people, for hanging about since ooh, I don’t know how long. I would like to thank everybody who’s come from everywhere to create part of the atmosphere that we’ve had. The other bands that we’ve had with us, Commander Cody. Good, good, good, good. Todd, Keith, and Ronny [Keith Richards and Ron Wood who opened for Zeppelin as the New Barbarians]. Peter Grant. Thanks everybody.” 

A tired version of “Stairway To Heaven” is played before they come back for the encores.  “Can you do the dinosaur rock?” Plant asks before “Rock And Roll.”  The new arrangement of “Whole Lotta Love” is much more tight and vicious this evening and the final encore is a quick version of “Communication Breakdown.” 

“It’s been great….We’ll see you very soon.  Don’t know about the Marquee, but somewhere soon.  See you later, bye” are Plant’s parting words.  For an historical piece this is a great document to have of this show, warts and all. 

Led Zeppelin - 1979-08-11 - Knebworth Festival (Blind Date - EVSD)

Led Zeppelin
August 11, 1979
Knebworth Festival
Stevenage, UK

Blind Date / Empress Valley (#EVSD 214~219)

101. Introduction (1:06)
102. The Song Remains The Same (5:09)
103. Celebration Day (3:32)
104. Out On The Tiles / Black Dog (5:29)
105. Nobody's Fault But Mine (6:04)
106. Over The Hills And Far Away (6:13)
107. Misty Mountain Hop (5:21)
108. Since I've Been Loving You (8:49)
109. No Quarter (15:16)

201. Hot Dog (4:44)
202. The Rain Song (7:51)
203. White Summer / Black Mountain Side (5:58)
204. Kashmir (9:15)
205. Trampled Underfoot (6:47)
206. Sick Again (5:11)
207. Achilles Last Stand (10:07)

301. Guitar Solo (6:39)
302. In The Evening (7:16)
303. Stairway To Heaven (14:27)
304. Rock And Roll (10:02)
305. Whole Lotta Love (10:47)
306. Communication Breakdown (5:35)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Led Zeppelin - 1975-03-21 - Seattle, WA (Soundboard / dadgad)

Led Zeppelin
March 21, 1975
Seattle Center Coliseum
Seattle, WA

01. Rock and Roll
02. Sick Again
03. Over the Hills and Far Away
04. In My Time of Dying
05. The Song Remains the Same
06. The Rain Song
07. Kashmir
08. No Quarter
09. Since I've Been Loving You
10. Trampled Underfoot
11. Moby Dick
12. Dazed and Confused
 - For What its Worth
 - Woodstock
 - I Shot the Sheriff
13. Stairway to Heaven
14. Whole Lotta Love
 - The Crunge
 - Lickin' Stick
 - Ain't It Funky Now
15. Out on the Tiles (intro)/Black Dog
16. Communication Breakdown
17. Heartbreaker

"Deus Ex Machina" (EVSD) SBD source, remastered and retracked

dadgad prod.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Led Zeppelin - 1975-03-21 - Seattle, WA (Deus Ex Machina / EVSD)

Led Zeppelin
March 21, 1975
Seattle Center Coliseum
Seattle, WA

Deus Ex Machina / EVSD

Soundboard just released end July

01. Rock And Roll
02. Sick Again
03. Over The Hills And Far Away
04. In My Time Of Dying
05. The Song Remains The Same
06. The Rain Song
07. Kashmir
08. No Quarter
09. Since I've Been Loving You
10. Trampled Underfoot
11. Moby Dick
12. Dazed And Confused
13. Stairway To Heaven
14. Whole Lotta Love
15. Black Dog
16. Communication Breakdown
17. Heartbreaker

This show is one of the best from the 1975 tour. The entire show and length are impressive, but what makes this so memorable are the two epics. No Quarter is 30 minutes long and one of the best ever. But here, we have the second to last longest ever Dazed And Confused, clocking in at 45 minutes and it is the best one ever (the other one, clocks at 46, can be found on the last LA date, on March 27th). It moves through several sections and has many dynamic contrasts to keep it interesting throughout ... it doesn't seem like 45 minutes.

The tape begins with a stage announcement asking the crowd not to light any matches during the show or the house lights will be brought up, ruining the light show. The crowd erupts as Rock and Roll crashes into motion. Following Sick Again, Plant announces "well, we went across the border, it was alright, but it's much better back here." Page blazes through an excellent guitar solo during Over the Hills and Far Away. As the song ends, Plant tells the crowd "there's one demand that I'd like to make apart from that you enjoy what we're doin', and that is that you don't sway around too much at the front because somebody might get hurt." In My Time of Dying is an intense sonic assault. Jones's fingers dance across the fretboard as Page tears through the frantic guitar solos during The Song Remains the Same. The Rain Song is excellent.

Page plays a bit of White Summer as Plant dedicates a powerful Kashmir to "everybody who we met in Seattle this time who's been a groove and a gas." No Quarter is introduced as "a journey with more somber intonations." Jones delivers a highly dramatic piano solo which includes hints of Georgia on My Mind. The instrumental section features an epic guitar solo from Page. Jones's playing becomes a bit erratic toward the end. Page solos wildly during the outro. An outstanding performance, one of the best thus far. As the song ends, Plant announces "there's one song that we've done twice in... I suppose since we got ripped off for all that bread in New York ages ago, and because we really dig playin' here, for no other reason we're gonna do it again now" before the second rare appearance of Since I've Been Loving You in 1975. Page blazes through a blistering guitar solo. A fantastic performance. Trampled Underfoot features an aggressive guitar solo from Page. Plant repeatedly exclaims "see saw, knock on my door, gonna swing!" As the song ends, he says "with just a little bit of Gallows Pole thrown in."

Following a marathon Moby Dick, Plant tells the crowd "there's a little bit of a discrepancy about a guitar and a man who's being held by the police and all sorts of things, quite a story going on behind the scenes" before dedicating Dazed and Confused to "the innocent party" and "the difference and the balances between law and order." Page shreds wildly during the lead-in to the bow solo. The Woodstock interlude has been transformed into an amazingly haunting rendition of For What it's Worth. The instrumental machinery is in full swing during the frenzied guitar solo/workout section. Page is absolutely on fire, soloing furiously as Bonzo and Jones hammer along at a frantic pace. The epic journey reaches its peak during the wildly cacophonous outro jam. An utterly devastating performance, one of the best thus far. And at forty minutes in length, one of the longest as well.

Page hints at Louie Louie as Plant offers the crowd a history lesson on famous Seattle musicians before dedicating Stairway to Heaven to "the amount of work that Jimi Hendrix gave... and the amount of inspiration that he gave everybody in the business." Page slowly builds tension before erupting in a furious cascade of notes during the dynamic guitar solo. The final verse is explosive. Whole Lotta Love includes another excellent rendition of The Crunge prior to the funky theramin freakout, which is punctuated by a devastatingly heavy finale. Plant's banshee wails threaten to destroy the taper's equipment during a blistering Black Dog.  A quick and dirty Communication Breakdown is linked nonstop with Heartbreaker. Page blazes through the guitar solos. As the band leaves the stage, Plant announces "thank you very much, we've had a great time... you've been fantastic... Seattle, goodnight!" A truly amazing marathon performance. Must hear.