Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Second Coming

Only four short months after the initial unveiling, today came the official announcement that Led Zeppelin will reissue the next two albums of their extensive reissue campaign on October 28, 2014. Newly remastered by Jimmy Page and including previously unreleased bonus material, this round will featured the band's 1971 untitled fourth album and 1973's Houses of the Holy. Each album will be available in a variety of formats, including a Super Deluxe Edition box set consisting of cd, 180-gram vinyl and hi-definition digital audio versions of the remastered albums and bonus material, as well as an 80-page hardbound book featuring rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia.

Read the official press release and start pre-ordering!

Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV) (Super Deluxe Edition Box)
Houses of the Holy (Super Deluxe Edition Box)
Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV) (Deluxe Edition Vinyl)
Houses of the Holy (Deluxe Edition Vinyl)
Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV) (Deluxe Edition CD)
Houses of the Holy (Deluxe Edition CD)
Remastered Original Vinyl:
Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV)
Houses of the Holy

Remastered Original CD:
Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV)
Houses of the Holy

Remastered Digital Audio (iTunes):
Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV)
Houses of the Holy

Remastered Digital Audio (Amazon):
Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV)
Houses of the Holy

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Then as it was... then again it will be

Today came the official announcement that Led Zeppelin will reissue their first three albums on June 3, 2014. The beginning of an "extensive reissue campaign", the three albums have been newly remastered by Jimmy Page and will include previously unreleased bonus material ranging from studio outtakes to live recordings. Each album will be available in a variety of formats, including a Super Deluxe Edition box set consisting of cd, 180-gram vinyl and hi-definition digital audio versions of the remastered albums and bonus material, as well as a 70+ page hardbound book featuring rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia.

Read the official press release and start pre-ordering!

Led Zeppelin (Super Deluxe Edition Box)
Led Zeppelin II (Super Deluxe Edition Box)
Led Zeppelin III (Super Deluxe Edition Box)
Led Zeppelin (Deluxe Edition Vinyl)
Led Zeppelin II (Deluxe Edition Vinyl)
Led Zeppelin III (Deluxe Edition Vinyl)
Led Zeppelin (Deluxe Edition CD)
Led Zeppelin II (Deluxe Edition CD)
Led Zeppelin III (Deluxe Edition CD)
Remastered Original Vinyl:
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin III

Remastered Original CD:
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin III

Remastered Digital Audio:
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin III

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Song Remains The Same

My earliest memory of Led Zeppelin, though surely not my first encounter, takes place in the summer of 1994. I had just turned twelve years old and wouldn't go to my first concert until a few months later. Having grown up listening to classic rock radio, I was already familiar with the band's music, but never had the opportunity to experience the albums as a whole. Being on vacation from school, I found myself with an abundance of free time while my parents were away at work. One day, I decided to go down to the basement and dig out the boxes that held all of my dad's old records. Inside I found a wealth of rock and roll treasures, from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. But it wasn't Black Sabbath or Talking Heads I was interested in, today all I wanted was Led Zeppelin.

I quickly grabbed an armful of records and ran up to my bedroom to begin what would become a life-long love affair with the greatest rock and roll band of all time. My arms were tense with anticipation as I put the first platter on my tiny plastic Fisher-Price turntable and pressed record on my boombox, its internal microphone placed as close as possible to the turntable's lone speaker. I sat silently next to my makeshift dubbing operation, experiencing these classic pieces of rock history in their intended form, growing more excited with each tape flip and needle drop. Over the next few days, I worked my way through the catalogue until I had my own crudely-made copy of every album, hiding the records under my bed each night so my dad wouldn't find out I'd been rifling through his prized collection.

Over time, those tapes have all been lost or recorded over, replaced by newer, better versions. But as the years went by and the band's music became more ingrained in my soul with each repeated listen, the one thing I could never get back was the experience of hearing those albums for the first time. Now, at the end of a year-long quest to listen to more Led Zeppelin that I ever had before, I find that the most satisfying result is not the catalogue of reviews I've written or the deeper understanding of the band's dynamic as performers I've gained, but something much greater.

Through the course of the year, I abstained from listening to any of the band's studio recordings until I reached the point of their release in the live chronology. In doing so, I unknowingly fulfilled a dream I've had since those eye-opening afternoons some fourteen years ago. As I listened to each studio album amidst a sea of live recordings, it was as if I was experiencing them for the first time all over again. I heard each song with a renewed freshness and vibrancy, reminding me of exactly why I fell in love with this band and their music so many years ago. This, by far, has been the greatest reward.

I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words and encouragement throughout the year, I couldn't have done it without you all. It means a lot to know that there was such a great interest in a little project that started out as a joke between two friends.

I'd like to dedicate this site to the following people...

To my parents,
for raising me on classic rock radio and always encouraging my musical explorations.

And to Gabby,
for putting up with my obsession.

The End.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 267: 12/10/2007 London, England

12/10/2007 London, England Legendary Reunion 2007
Good Times Bad Times, Ramble On, Black Dog, In My Time of Dying, For Your Life, Trampled Underfoot, Nobody's Fault But Mine, No Quarter, Since I've Been Loving You, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, The Song Remains the Same, Misty Mountain Hop, Kashmir, Whole Lotta Love, Rock and Roll

After nearly a decade of rumors and anticipation, the day no one thought would ever come is finally here. Twenty-seven years after the group disbanded following John Bonham's untimely death, Led Zeppelin has reformed in honor of Ahmet Ertegün for their first official concert since 7/7/1980. The crowd's excitement builds to a frenzied peak as Jason Bonham, filling in for his father, cracks his sticks together four times before the thunderous opening notes of Good Times Bad Times announce the return of Led Zeppelin.

Page is a bit buried in the mix at first and Plant suffers a few spikes of feedback during the initial verses, but these issues are remedied in time for Page to shred through an excellent guitar solo. The end of the song leads directly into the opening chords of Ramble On. Jones's fingers dance across the fretboard as the band hammers through the explosive chorus. The crowd goes wild as Plant sings the first line of a bone-crushing Black Dog. There is another loud squeal of feedback following the second verse. Page blazes through the guitar solo. The intro to In My Time of Dying is met with an excited cheer from the crowd. The song is played closer in tempo to the studio version than the frenzied performances of the past. The walls of the arena quake under the power of Bonham's thunderous pounding as Page tears through an excellent guitar solo. Plant hints at Muddy Waters favorite Honey Bee during the "oh my Jesus!" section. He exclaims "it still feels pretty good up here!" during the outro.

As the song ends, Plant thanks the crowd "for thousands and thousands of emotions that we've been going through for the last six weeks together." He tells the crowd "this is a first adventure with this song in public" before the first live performance of For Your Life. The band is incredibly tight, perfectly recreating the studio version. Plant is in top form as he belts out each line with power and bravado. His mature voice is particularly well-suited for the Presence classic. Trampled Underfoot is introduced as "a kind of Led Zeppelin Terraplane Blues." Page shreds wildly through a spaced-out guitar solo toward the end of the song. The band hammers through a devastatingly heavy Nobody's Fault But Mine. Page seems to lose his place momentarily as Plant begins his harmonica solo, but still manages to deliver an excellent guitar solo shortly thereafter. The crowd erupts as Jones begins the ominous intro to No Quarter. The song is played in a scaled down arrangement with both Page and Jones delivering short dynamic solos.

Since I've Been Loving You is a mournful epic. Page is absolutely on fire as he blazes through a beautifully emotional guitar solo. Plant attempts some dramatic high notes throughout the song, with varying results. An outstanding performance. As the song ends, Plant tells the crowd about the creation of the setlist, saying "there are certain songs that have to be there... and this is one of them" before the first performance of Dazed and Confused since 5/25/1975. The initial verses are incredibly heavy. The crowd erupts as Page begins the bow solo. The band is on fire as they hammer through a frantic guitar solo/workout section. Unfortunately, Page and Bonham lose track of each other during the return to the main riff, causing some confused hesitation at the beginning of the final verse. The familiar opening notes of Stairway to Heaven are met with a thunderous roar from the crowd. Page blazes through a fantastic guitar solo, possibly the closest to the studio version he's ever played. As the song ends, Plant shouts "hey Ahmet!... we did it."

Bonham hammers at his drums with incredible intensity as the band races through a brutal The Song Remains the Same. Plant tells the crowd about the Bonham family's singing talents before giving Jason a crack at the opening line of I Can't Quit You Baby prior to Misty Mountain Hop, which features Bonham on backing vocals. As the song ends, Plant tells the crowd "out here, there are people from fifty countries" before introducing Kashmir as "the fifty-first country." The band pummels the crowd mercilessly as they hammer through the intimidating march. Plant's aggressive howls echo through the arena and into infinity as Bonham shakes the earth with his thunderous fills toward the end of the song. An utterly devastating performance, one of the best ever. The crowd erupts as the band returns to the stage for Whole Lotta Love. Plant briefly hints at Rosco Gordon's Just a Little Bit during the theremin freakout, as well as paying homage to his famous boogie rap following the final verse. As the song ends, he thanks everyone for coming along "for the memory of Ahmet Ertegün... in the days when Atlantic Records was the most magnificent record company on the planet."

Page announces "it's really been an amazing night for all of us, thank you very much" as the band returns to the stage to close the show with an explosive Rock and Roll. He shreds wildly through a blistering guitar solo. Plant leads the crowd through an endless string of "lonely"s before Bonham erupts into the song's thunderous finale. As the last notes fade into the deafening roar of the crowd, Led Zeppelin's legacy is solidified forever. The ultimate final statement. Must hear.

The tape is a phenomenal audience recording, fit for official release.

Click here for audio samples courtesy of Black Beauty.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 266: 1/12/1995 New York, NY

1/12/1995 New York, NY  (dadgad dvd)
Train Kept a Rollin'/For Your Love, Bring it on Home, Long Distance Call, Baby Please Don't Go, When the Levee Breaks

Nearly seven years after their well-received set at the Atlantic Records fortieth anniversary concert, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin have come together on the occasion of the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Following the awards presentation, the band, joined once again by Jason Bonham on drums, along with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, takes the stage for a loosely structured jam session. The set begins with Page tearing into the familiar opening chords of Train Kept a Rollin'. Plant and Tyler share vocal duties as the band haphazardly chugs along through the old favorite. Page and Perry trade licks during the guitar solo near the end of the song, which is followed by an abbreviated rendition of the Yardbirds classic For Your Love

As the song ends, Page launches directly into the rock section of Bring it on Home. He then gets the band into a laid-back blues improvisation featuring references to Muddy Waters favorite Long Distance Call, among others. Following an excellent guitar solo from Page, Plant leads the band into an impromptu rendition of Baby Please Don't Go, which includes hints of Boogie Chillen' before a blistering guitar solo from Perry. After an intermission, the band, now joined by Michael Lee on drums and Neil Young on second guitar, returns to the stage to end the night with an extended heavy jam based on When the Levee Breaks. Following the initial verses, Plant picks up Page's spare Les Paul as Young tears through an erratic guitar solo. Plant sings a verse of For What it's Worth toward the end of the song. The crowd full of music industry heavyweights erupts as the set comes to a close.

The tape is an excellent television broadcast with the exception of Train Kept a Rollin'/For You Love, which was recorded but not included in the final MTV presentation.

Day 266: 5/14/1988 New York, NY

5/14/1988 New York, NY  Reunion Collection
Kashmir, Heartbreaker/Whole Lotta Love, Misty Mountain Hop, Stairway to Heaven

Nearly three years after their haphazard appearance at Live Aid, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin have reunited once again in honor of Atlantic Records' fortieth anniversary. The crowd's excitement builds to a frenzied peak as the band, now with Jason Bonham filling in for his father, launches into a thunderous Kashmir. Unfortunately, equipment issues plague the performance from the beginning with Plant's microphone alternately dropping out and feeding back on separate occasions throughout the song. However, the band's performance is unaffected by these glitches. 

The crowd goes wild as Page plays the familiar opening riff of Heartbreaker. The band sounds confident and enthusiastic as they hammer through the initial verses. Unfortunately, Page's nerves get the best of him as he fumbles through a lackluster a cappella solo, which is immediately followed by Whole Lotta Love. The song is played in an arrangement similar to the band's performances at the Knebworth Festival nine years earlier. Plant's introduction of Bonham as the song ends is met with a loud cheer from the crowd. The band hammers through an excellent Misty Mountain Hop, with Bonham delivering a particularly inspired performance. The crowd erupts as Stairway to Heaven begins. Page blazes through a somewhat subdued guitar solo. As the song ends, Plant introduces the band one last time before telling the crowd "it's been a wonderful night... see you all again soon."

The tape is an excellent television broadcast.

Day 266: 7/13/1985 Philadelphia, PA

7/13/1985 Philadelphia, PA  (fm broadcast>cassette>cdr)
Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven

Five years after Led Zeppelin's final performance, the surviving members have reunited for a short set at the transatlantic concert event Live Aid. Following a brief soundcheck, the band, with the help of Phil Collins and Tony Thompson on drums, launches into Rock and Roll. Unfortunately, the last-minute nature of the event has left them painfully underrehearsed and it shows. Plant's voice is no longer accustomed to reaching for the high notes of his youthful efforts and Page's out of tune guitar gets lost in a sea of effects as he stumbles through a sloppy guitar solo. 

As the song ends, Plant jokingly asks the crowd "any requests?" before Page tears into the familiar opening riff of Whole Lotta Love. The dual drummers are more trouble than they're worth, they mistakenly enter at the beginning of the first verse and make a complete mess of the guitar solo break. Page shreds wildly through the song's haphazard outro. The band is joined onstage by Plant's bassist Paul Martinez before Stairway to Heaven, which is introduced as "something that sort of takes the mood down a little bit and yet, lifts everything up." The crowd erupts as Page plays the song's opening notes. The guitar solo gets off to a strong start, but loses momentum in the middle. Unfortunately, Plant begins the final verse before Page has a chance to finish. The massive crowd can be heard singing along with the final line.

The tape is an excellent radio broadcast.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 265: 7/7/1980 Berlin, Germany

7/7/1980 Berlin, Germany Live Omega
Train Kept a Rollin', Nobody's Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In the Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I've Been Loving You, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love

The last show of the tour and Led Zeppelin's final performance in its original form begins with the familiar opening chords of Train Kept a Rollin', the same song that opened the band's first recorded concert in Spokane eleven and a half years earlier. Plant exclaims "now rock it, rock it, rock!" as Page tears into a blistering guitar solo. The band pounds through a thunderous Black Dog, which is once again introduced as "a number from the annals of rock history." Plant barks aggressively through In the Evening. Page's fingers are a bit sticky during a somewhat lackluster performance of The Rain Song. As the song ends, Plant tells the crowd "this is the last concert, so... we intend to have a better time now perhaps than we have done before." Hot Dog is introduced as "a song for Texas." Page stumbles through a sticky-fingered guitar solo as the band hammers through an extended Trampled Underfoot.

Achilles Last Stand has been inexplicably dropped from the setlist, leaving Page to stall the crowd while his guitar is being tuned before White Summer/Black Mountain Side. His fingers become hopelessly entangled in the strings throughout the song. Plant delivers a powerful performance during Kashmir. The crowd erupts as Stairway to Heaven begins. Page's fingers are a bit sticky as he wanders through an epic guitar solo, the longest ever. Plant asks the crowd "anything in particular?" before the band launches into an explosive Rock and Roll. The crowd goes wild as Page tears into the show-closing Whole Lotta Love. The theremin freakout has been transformed into an extended free-form jam. Bonzo and Jones hammer through a frantic rhythm as Page creates a symphony of dissonant howls. Plant pushes his voice to the limit during the song's thunderous finale. The crowd is left begging for more as the band leaves the stage for the last time ever. Two and a half months later, the tragic death of John Bonham on September 25, 1980 would effectively put an end to the greatest rock band of all time. The end of an era.

The tape is an excellent soundboard recording, briefly augmented by an audience source.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 264: 7/5/1980 Munich, Germany

7/5/1980 Munich, Germany (two source mix)
Train Kept a Rollin', Nobody's Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In the Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I've Been Loving You, Achilles Last Stand, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love

The crowd's excitement builds to a frenzied peak as the band takes the stage. Train Kept a Rollin' is followed by a thunderous Nobody's Fault But Mine. Black Dog is introduced as "a number from the annals of rock history." Someone near the taper can be heard very enthusiastically singing along during the initial verses. Page blazes through an excellent guitar solo. As the song ends, Plant asks the crowd "can you move back one meter, please?" They begin to clap rhythmically during the droning intro to In the Evening. The band seems a bit hurried during an otherwise beautiful performance of The Rain Song. Hot Dog is introduced as "a song that deals with a preoccupation for, uh... the southern states of United States of America."

Plant dedicates Trampled Underfoot to "all the wondrous times that we've all had in Munich... and especially to Vera, wherever you are Vera." Page shreds wildly through a blistering guitar solo in the middle of the song. Bonzo thrashes at his drums with incredible intensity during the band's final performance of Achilles Last Stand. Page begins to lose momentum during Kashmir, his playing becomes dull and uninspired toward the end of the song. The rhythmic clapping returns at the beginning of Stairway to Heaven. The crowd can be heard singing along during the initial verses. Page delivers an outstanding guitar solo, one of the best in recent memory.

Plant pushes his voice to the limit during an explosive Rock and Roll. As the song ends, he announces "we'd like to say that what you read in the papers today is not true, the doctor isn't in fact behind the stage, he's playin' the drums!" The biggest surprise of the night is the introduction of Simon Kirke of Bad Company, who joins the band on a second drum kit to close the show with a riotous Whole Lotta Love. Page jokingly plays a few bars of Moby Dick before launching into the familiar riff. The theremin freakout features a frantic funky jam. Page blazes through a fantastic guitar solo during the extended Boogie Chillen' section. Plant exclaims "take it to the bridge!" during the song's thunderous finale.

The tape is a combination of two sources. The first, used for the majority of the show, is very clear and well-balanced. The second, used to fill gaps in the first, is fairly clear, if a bit muffled and noisy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 263: 7/3/1980 Mannheim, Germany

7/3/1980 Mannheim, Germany  Mannheim 1980
Train Kept a Rollin', Nobody's Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In the Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I've Been Loving You, Achilles Last Stand, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Communication Breakdown, Rock and Roll

The second night in Mannheim begins with a brief soundcheck before the band launches into Train Kept a Rollin'. Page tears through a sticky-fingered guitar solo during Nobody's Fault But Mine. Black Dog is once again introduced as "Strangers in the Night" by Page. As the song ends, Plant announces "may we say, we had a really, uh... wunderbar time last night" before asking the crowd to "move back just a touch." In the Evening is outstanding. Page blazes through the guitar solos with incredible fluency. During a long pause following his introduction of The Rain Song, Plant tells the crowd "we just seem to have a little kind of, um... Monty Python sketch on the one side of the stage," to which Page responds "it's called amplifier brainstorms." The song itself is fantastic, one of the best in recent memory. 

Plant tells the crowd "dinosaurs are gonna motivate and go really quickly" while introducing Trampled Underfoot. Page shreds erratically through the wah-wah heavy guitar solos. The band begins to lose momentum during Achilles Last Stand. Page's fingers get stuck in the strings at times during a lackluster White Summer/Black Mountain Side. The crowd goes mad as Stairway to Heaven begins. Page delivers a somewhat uneven guitar solo. Plant pushes his voice to the limit during what will prove to be the band's final performance of Communication Breakdown. Page shreds wildly through a blistering guitar solo. The band closes the show with a fast and loose Rock and Roll.

The tape is yet another excellent soundboard recording.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 262: 7/2/1980 Mannheim, Germany

7/2/1980 Mannheim, Germany Mannheim 1980
Train Kept a Rollin', Nobody's Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In the Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I've Been Loving You, Achilles Last Stand, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love

The frenzy of the show in Frankfurt three days earlier hasn't completely worn off as Train Kept a Rollin' gets underway. Bonzo and Jones chug along at high speed as Page tears through a blistering guitar solo near the end of the song. Plant continues to have trouble reaching some of the higher notes during Nobody's Fault But Mine. Page's fingers get a bit stuck in the strings during the guitar solo. He tells the crowd "I've seen some of these faces before down the front, my god" before introducing Black Dog as "Strangers in the Night." As the song ends, Plant announces "before we carry on, we'd like to ask you if you would very kindly not... move like the ocean."

Plant introduces Hot Dog as "a token of our respect for the American country and western market," joking "either that or watchin' too many Burt Reynolds movies, I don't know which." Page shreds erratically through the guitar solos in Trampled Underfoot. Since I've Been Loving You is a disappointment, Page stumbles through a lackluster guitar solo. Bonzo sounds tired during the latter half of Achilles Last Stand, forgoing any complex fills for simple snare and bass drum patterns. Page wanders aimlessly through an uninspired White Summer/Black Mountain Side. There is a cut in the tape two-thirds of the way through Kashmir. Bonzo pummels the crowd with a series of thunderous fills toward the end of the song, hammering at his drums with incredible intensity.

The crowd cheers enthusiastically as Plant asks "does anybody remember laughter?" during Stairway to Heaven. Page delivers an excellent laid-back guitar solo. As Rock and Roll comes to a close, Plant tells the crowd "at this point we usually do a moody and walk off and pretend that we've gone, but we really haven't... but as we're a little bit tired to do that, we'll stay here just the same." The band closes the show with another outstanding Whole Lotta Love. Bonzo and Jones hammer through an excellent funky jam during the theremin freakout, which ends with an abbreviated Everybody Needs Somebody to Love section, its first appearance since 4/2/1973. Page blazes through a sticky-fingered guitar solo during the Boogie Chillen' section, which includes a brief reference to (Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame. A fantastic finale to a somewhat uneven performance.

The tape is another excellent soundboard recording.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 261: 6/30/1980 Frankfurt, Germany

6/30/1980 Frankfurt, Germany  
Frankfurt Special (thir13en remaster)
Train Kept a Rollin', Nobody's Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In the Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I've Been Loving You, Achilles Last Stand, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Money, Whole Lotta Love

The tape begins with a brief soundcheck before Train Kept a Rollin' explodes out of the gate. The band plays with renewed fervor as they hammer through the ferocious attack. Page blazes through an abrasive guitar solo during Nobody's Fault But Mine. Plant drowns his gravelly voice in a sea of echo during a devastatingly heavy Black Dog. As the song ends, he tells the crowd "it's quite nice to be back in these parts of the woods again, been a long time," adding "we were the first rock n' roll band ever to play in this place... when most of you were in your cradles and prams and stuff." The band missteps slightly in the middle of In the Evening, quickly getting themselves back on track. Hot Dog is introduced as "a song credited to some... extra-group happenings."

The band pulverizes the crowd with a brutal Trampled Underfoot. Plant barks aggressively as Page shreds frantically through the blistering guitar solos. As the song ends, Plant attempts to calm the rowdy crowd, warning "somebody's gonna get a little bit hurt, so stand... still." The band is on fire during an outstanding Since I've Been Loving You. Page's fingers are like razor blades as he tears through an emotionally charged guitar solo. Plant belts out each line as if it were his last as the song reaches its dramatic climax. An incredibly powerful performance, one of the best in recent memory. Achilles Last Stand is a thunderous epic, despite some sticky-fingered maneuvering from Page in the middle of the song. Plant introduces White Summer/Black Mountain Side as "a little virtuoso piece." Unfortunately, the impatient crowd forces Page to stop playing just before Black Mountain Side, saying "I can't hear me'self play for the noise down here... give us a chance, lads."

Plant delivers a powerful performance during an excellent Kashmir. As the song ends, he tells the crowd "sometimes we surprise each other." Page can be heard saying "think you might be able to keep quiet for this one?" before Stairway to Heaven. His fingers become entangled in the strings during a rather dull, uninspired guitar solo. Rock and Roll is a devastating explosion of energy. The biggest surprise of the night is Plant's introduction of Atlantic Records executive Phil Carson, who joins the band on bass for a brutally heavy rendition of Money, its first appearance since 6/19/1972. Plant pushes his voice to the limit as they chug through the bone-crushing rhythm. Whole Lotta Love is outstanding. Page is absolutely on fire during the riotous Boogie Chillen' section, which is followed by an impromptu rendition of Elvis Presley's Frankfurt Special. An explosive finale to an unbelievable performance. The band has finally managed to recapture some of their former glory, if only for one night. Must hear.

The tape is a fantastic soundboard recording.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 260: 6/29/1980 Zurich, Switzerland

6/29/1980 Zurich, Switzerland  Conquer Europe
Train Kept a Rollin', Nobody's Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In the Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I've Been Loving You, Achilles Last Stand, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Heartbreaker

After the disaster in Nuremberg two days prior, the band is back with a vengeance, pummeling the crowd with the thunderous one-two punch of Train Kept a Rollin' and Nobody's Fault But Mine. Unfortunately, the momentum is interrupted when Bonzo and Jones forget the entrance of the guitar solo during the latter, causing Page's playing to suffer slightly from the confusion. Plant asks the crowd "anybody remember Montreux?" following Black Dog, joking "showin' your age, kids." The Rain Song is introduced as "a slow one that's got nothin' to do with being silly." Page shreds wildly through a blistering guitar solo near the end of Trampled Underfoot. Since I've Been Loving You is a bit subdued, with a few short bursts of inspiration during the guitar solo.

The band hammers through an urgent Achilles Last Stand. Kashmir is a disaster. The band completely loses track of one another early in the song, resulting in several bars of absolute confusion before they finally manage to get back on track. As the song ends, Plant announces "if anybody's bootleggin' that, you'll have to scratch that number cause it wasn't completely correct." The crowd erupts as Rock and Roll crashes into motion. The band closes the show with what will prove to be the final performance of Heartbreaker. Page delivers an instrumental history lesson during the a cappella solo, blazing through brief vignettes of nearly every theme and variation that has appeared in the piece over the years. An outstanding performance. As the band leaves the stage, Plant announces "thank you for being great... see you again one day."

The tape is yet another excellent soundboard recording, briefly augmented by a distant audience source.

Click here for audio samples courtesy of Black Beauty.