Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 246: 7/20/1977 Tempe, AZ

7/20/1977 Tempe, AZ  (master>cassette>dat)
The Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Trampled Underfoot, Kashmir, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven

The tape begins with a barrage of firecracker blasts as the band prepares for the acoustic set. Plant is still having trouble with his voice, completely losing control toward the end of The Battle of Evermore. The taper can be heard fiddling with his microphone throughout Going to California. Plant's weak voice forces him to alter the song's melody to compensate. Page wanders aimlessly through an uninspired guitar breakdown during Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. The band plods through a lackluster Trampled Underfoot. Someone near the taper can be heard shouting "The Lemon Song!" as the piece comes to a close.

Page abandons White Summer tonight, playing only a few bars of Black Mountain Side before jumping directly into Kashmir without the rest of the band. Unfortunately, a cut in the tape near the end of the song leaves us at the beginning of the bow section during the experimental guitar solo. Achilles Last Stand is a disaster. Page constantly gets lost in the arrangement, resulting in a chaotic cacophony of mistakes as the band struggles to get back on track. The studio recording of All Right Now can be heard bleeding through the tape as the song ends. The distracting effect continues through the initial verses of Stairway to Heaven. As the band leaves the stage, Plant announces "thank you very much, you've been too kind... really."

The tape is quite muffled and distant.

11 comments:

Ned said...

So you're actually telling us that Seattle was worse than tempe?

FRX said...

What brought you to that conclusion?

Elric Kalinich said...

His review does rather understate the. . .badness. However, Tempe is definitely one of those things that you have to hear yourself to believe.

dragonspirit said...

To me, this show isn't good, but the only song which is really embarrassing is Achilles' Last Stand. As a whole, this concert shows that even at its worst, Led Zeppelin was not bad.

nutrocker said...

IMO Tempe isn't quite as bad as its detractors make it out to be. Sure, Page was apparently out of it but Robert Plant's completely shot voice is the main culprit here. I think it was another '77 show like Louisville where the crowd was so rowdy it was distracting the band and they just wanted to get the performance over with and get out of there.

Anonymous said...

After 1973's tour,they pretty much sucked live....Sad but true after hearing the boards from 75 through 80.Pagey's tone and technique was awful,Percy's voice a horse cracking yelp,Bonzo still great but a shadow of himself and Jonesey wih that AWFUL synth in 80 and that HORRENDOUS Alembic Bass 75onward.Too much money,too many drugs

Anonymous said...

If you were actually at the Tempe show in 1977, You would not bitch and moan about it. At least you were able to see the original band before Bonham died. STOP YOUR FUCKING BITCHING!!! I was there..

FRX said...

I considered deleting the last comment because I'm not really into the confrontational tone, but it's too funny to get rid of.

My advice to the angry young man above would be to get your hands on a copy of this tape (hint: try the Black Beauty link in the left rail) and take an objective listen. The fact is, this just isn't one of Zeppelin's better nights. Doesn't mean it wasn't a good time for those in attendance, it just doesn't stand up to the band at their best.

It's also just not a good recording.

Allan said...

In its own way, this is a "must hear" LOL

endcentralbs said...

Agree. It was a classic. Pure n simple.

Ed Ortiz said...

I attended Tempe July 20th. 1977. Visually you had Led Zeppelin live in their glory. Musically... the first part of the set which apparently was not recorded was really pretty decent, it was from the acoustic set on as presented on the tape where the performance goes south. In my opinion 'Achilles' suffers from Jimmy being shaken up, by the wrong flashpots being set off at the beginning. The reason I believe was 'Moby Dick' was not performed that evening, so those flash pots were not used normally Bonzo's riser moves to the front of the stage and that was when they were used. After the opening notes of 'Achilles' Jimmy is standing directly behind one of those flashpots and this gets set off by mistake sending him staggering backwards and then walking over to the side of the stage raising his fist. This is where he loses his way in the song as he struggles to get back on track. Years later in an interview with John Paul Jones he reflects on Tempe remembering it as not one of their better performances, "Pretty awful" is how he put it. Nevertheless seeing Zeppelin live for me was amazing.