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Strider

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  1. Post #1: Led Zeppelin Tickets: Top Priority of the Winter Hello. It is 2012...which makes this year the 40th anniversary of my first Led Zeppelin concerts(1972) and the 35th anniversary of my last(1977). Only five short years. Yet at the time it seemed to encompass a lifetime. When I wrote last year about going to the 1973 shows, many asked for a similar take on the anniversaries of the 1972 and 1977 LA Forum gigs I attended. I foolishly said I would. That was so many months ago, I figured I had plenty of time to recharge my batteries. Don't know if you realize this, but I put so much into those posts, trying to personalize and contextualize them so that the reader can imagine him or herself there, that it is taxing mentally and physically. After each of those three posts I wrote last year I was wiped out, exhausted. Not that I'm complaining...nobody asked me to be so thorough, and it was fun reliving a fun part of my youth. So now 2012 is already upon me and I realize that if I am going to do the 1972 and 1977 shows justice, I better get cracking. So here we go again as we take a stroll down memory lane. I will do two separate threads...one for 1972 and one for 1977. They will encompass everything about those shows from getting the tickets to the concerts themselves and the aftermath. That is why I am starting this thread today...it will save me from having to write an unholy long post on June 21, haha. I will begin the 1972 thread at the appropriate time. I hope the mods are okay with this...if they feel this best belongs in the Live section or elsewhere, I'm fine with them moving it. At each appropriate signpost date, I will add a post. In between feel free to comment or not. All I ask is please no trolling or spamming. Any legitimate questions I will gladly answer to the best of my ability, whether asked here or via PM. As I said last year, my primary reasons for doing this, besides it allowing me to relive a fun part of my life, is to provide the younger readers here a window to the past, a small slice of what a Led Zeppelin concert was like to experience in the flesh. Everything from the anticipation to the post-show exhaustion/euphoria. Let's begin...it's Thursday, January 27, 1977. Exactly 35 years ago today. I am a freshman in High School now...and far from my relatively buccolic Southern California beach-bum life in 1973, I am now living in the comparative hick environs of Riverside. Which is even further away from the Forum of Inglewood and other choice concert venues. Which makes going to concerts a task that sometimes requires military-esque tactical planning. Another difference from 1973, other than being older and taller, is that my family situation has changed. I'm not gonna get specific...only that my new stepmom is even worse than the last one. My dad was smart in many ways; picking wives was NOT one of them. All that means is that sometimes I have to be coy and cagey when it comes to going to concerts, especially after what happened with Zeppelin's 1975 tour. Concerts during the summer or on weekends are relatively hassle-free, but if there's a show on a school night, I have to handle it with care...or outright lie. Anyway, the story of Led Zeppelin's 1977 U.S. Tour in a way begins all the way back in August 1975, with the news of that horrific crash in Greece involving Robert Plant, Maureen and their family. The Rose Bowl show was immediately postponed, and postponed again, before finally being cancelled outright. Then the months of silence and rumours about the band's future before finally in April 1976, "Presence" dropped and gave us Zepheads some relief and hope that the band would hit the stage again. Then, in May, a shock and welcome sight...at the May 23, 1976 Bad Company concert at the Forum, who should appear for the encore than Mssrs. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page themselves! On stage...in the flesh! The Forum roof nearly exploded. After that night, expectations and anticipation for a Zeppelin tour were rampant...every Sunday in the LA Times Calendar section, ticket agencies such as Good Time Tickets and Troy Tickets ran ads saying they were taking deposits for Led Zeppelin tickets. Week after week, month after month went by, with still no official word. October came and finally something happened..."The Song Remains the Same" had it's premiere at the Fox Theatre in L.A.(no, I did not go...I wasn't that connected). But I did see it shortly after upon its general release. At that time, at that age, I probably thought it was the greatest thing on earth. I must have, for I saw it 10 times by the end of 1976 alone. By then, I was starved for anything Zep...many of us Zepheads were...and we were willing to overlook the flaws of the film to cherish the bits that showed OUR BOYS on stage, or amongst their family! In fact, I think seeing TSRTS was the first time I really got an idea what Plant's, Bonzo's, and JPJ's families were really like...and the first time it registered with me that these guys had families. Jimmy, of course, remained mercurial and mysterious in the film. As I recall, as 1976 drew to a close, there were various hints and announcements on the radio and in the press that a tour was coming in early 1977, but that LA dates weren't yet specified. It seemed every report ended with the promise of "more details to come". Argh, the agony of waiting when you're 15! Finally, on January 23, 1977, there were two items in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar Pop Music section that sounded the alert that the time was near and that Led Zeppelin tickets would be going on sale soon. The first item(first photo below) was a blurb in a list of the biggest anticipated concerts written by Robert Hilburn, the head rock critic of the L.A. Times. The second was a cryptic ad(see second photo below) with a phone number. It turned out the number was to Good Time Tickets, one of many ticket brokers in LA who charged premium prices for tickets...legal scalpers basically. I had already used ticket brokers before, but only as a last resort, and even at that young age, I knew you couldn't always trust the info they gave you. But when I called the number I was told Zeppelin would be playing the Forum in March, as well as the San Diego Sports Arena, and tickets would be available in a week. Hmmmm, ok. I had my Christmas money saved, not to mention money I always saved for my concert fund in the bank; money earned from odd jobs here and there babysitting or washing cars or yardwork. At that point in time, most rock concert tickets ran from $8 to $10 depending on the popularity of the act and the venue. I had already purchased tickets in January to two upcoming concerts: Electric Light Orchestra(ELO) at the Forum January 27, and Queen/Thin Lizzy at the Forum in March. I had about $50 total on hand...which would just barely cover 5 tickets...and that's only if they weren't over $10. I set about that Sunday January 23 to trying to find any additional way to get some cash in the next few days...selling some of my records was one way, stealing some of my dad's pot to sell was another. I think it was Wednesday night, January 26, that I first heard concrete specifics about dates and time of sale for Led Zeppelin's 1977 tour stop at the LA Forum...it was at night and I had the radio on my favourite station: KMET 94.7 FM...The Mighty Met! I usually listened to it at night on my headphones when I went to bed...I would go to sleep listening to Jim Ladd, who had the 10pm-2am shift. Mary "The Burner" Turner had the slot prior to Ladd, 6pm-10pm. The Thursday morning of January 27, 1977 delivered confirmation that what I thought I heard the night before wasn't a dream. Every morning before classes started at school, I would go to the library and read the day's LA Times. So there, in that day's edition of the paper was the blurb you see in the third photo below...Led Zeppelin would be playing the Forum March 9, 12 & 13 and tickets went on sale Monday, January 31 at 10am!!! There it was, in black and white, the moment I had been waiting for since that 1975 Rose Bowl concert was cancelled...LED ZEPPELIN WAS BACK IN BUSINESS! I immediately checked the calendar and saw that while March 9 was on a school night, March 12 and 13 were on the weekend. Not that trying to go to the 9th would be impossible but I was already going to the Queen concert the week prior on a school night, and I didn't want to push my luck. First things first, though. One, I had an ELO concert to go to that night at the Forum. I was going with one of my stoner friends and his older brother. I had already set it up, thanks to the fact that my new stepmom was a racist bitch. You see, that very week of January 23-30 1977 was the premiere of the ABC miniseries adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots". It was a landmark television event and if you were around in the 70s, you remember all the hoopla about it. Hell, I think every social studies or history class in California made it mandatory viewing, with a group discussion and report to follow. Well, after watching the first few episodes, my stepmom was sick of having to watch Roots, and wanted to watch her shows(we only had one tv at the time). So, I'm saying it's my homework...it's kind of mandatory. Then a light flashed...I still was trying to figure out how I was going to sneak off and see ELO that Thursday night and this would provide perfect cover. I suggested I could watch the rest of Roots at my friend's house and his mom could drive me home after. That seemed to placate her...as long as it didn't involve her having to drive me anywhere or pick me up, she couldn't care care less. The second thing, after the ELO show, was that we had a decision to make...should we get tickets at one of our local Ticketron locations or go to the Forum box office? It was widely thought that it was only at the Forum box office that the good floor seats were sold...usually when you bought tix through an off-site Ticketron agency you got either Loge or Colonnade seats. Since we were going to the Forum that night, we could check out the situation and see if anyone was already camping out for tickets. Man, I'll tell ya'...school seemed to DRAG ON that day. I couldn't concentrate or think about anything but getting Led Zeppelin tickets...how and how many. My friend was also going to get tix, and so was his older brother, as well as a few others I knew...which would be of some help to us. In fact, all thru the school day, all the rockers and stoners were asking each other who was going and trying to get their buddies to buy tix for them. Because the shows were in LA, a surprising number said they were going to the San Diego show instead. Lots couldn't go either because of lack of money or parental restrictions. After school, I went to my friend's house as planned, and called my parents to let them know I was there and everything was fine...we even had my friend's mom talk to her to assure her everything was cool and that I wasn't being a bother. She hated my. stepmom so loved the fact that she was part of our plot. It was arranged that she would suggest to my stepmom that I would come over Friday after school and stay the weekend to watch the rest of Roots and keep me out of my stepmother's hair. Luckily, my stepmom thought that was a great idea. So now, not only did I have cover for going out to the ELO concert, but we'd be able to wait all weekend in line at the Forum until Zeppelin tix went on sale. So 35 years ago we are at the ELO concert at the Forum in Inglewood. ELO was good(they've always been a guilty pleasure of mine...I LOVE cellos), but what I most remember about that show was seeing Steve Hillage for the first time. He wasn't even on the bill originally...it was supposed to be Firefall. Christ, what was that horrible Firefall song they always played on the radio? Shoot, I can't remember...was it "Wildfire"? Anyways, for some unexplained reason, by showtime Firefall was off the bill and instead of their bland soft-rock, we got introduced to Steve Hillage doing spacey versions of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "It's All Too Much". After the concert, we could see that there was already a line of people started camping out for Zeppelin tickets. We had school on Friday and so my friend's brother had no choice but to drive us back before heading back to the Forum to stake out our place in line. Friday, after school, my friend and I would gather our sleeping bags, blankets, snacks, drinks, as much cash as we could lay our hands on, Zeppelin tapes...oh, and my paperback copy of Roots to read, since I was missing the miniseries. As I lay in my bed that night after we got back from the ELO show(the last time I would sleep in my bed for a few days), my mind kept buzzing with thoughts of Led Zeppelin. I still wasn't sure how many tickets for how many shows I would be able to get...or if we had a chance to get tix close to the stage...it was all whirling in my mind. The 1977 Led Zeppelin Ticket Buying Adventure was just getting underway.
  2. For what it's worth...the following was on the Led Zeppelin Newsfeed and Ramble On Radio podcast: http://ledzepnews.com/2017/03/18/jimmy-pages-active-discussions-may-led-zeppelins-50th-anniversary/ Jimmy Page’s ‘active discussions’ may be about Led Zeppelin's 50th anniversary The “active discussions” that Jimmy Page is currently involved in may be about activity surrounding Led Zeppelin’s fiftieth anniversary, Led Zeppelin podcast Ramble On Radio said in its latest episode. Last week we reported that Page has been in “active discussions” to perform as part of the Desert Trip festival in 2018. However, Ramble On Radio host Brian Gardiner said in his podcast that the “Oldchella” rumour is a euphemism, and instead the rumour is about possible future Led Zeppelin activity planned for 2018. The original rumour from last week came from a respected Led Zeppelin fan who does seem to have inside knowledge of the band’s activity. What’s not clear right now is what the rumoured discussions are about. They could be about a one-off show, a series of shows, or even the release of new material. The only thing we know for sure is that it’s still early days.
  3. Any "Young & the Restless" fans out there?
  4. Everything coalesced perfectly that night.
  5. Should I continue with the last three shows or have you had enough? There are only so many superlatives I can come up with...my vocabulary is running dry.
  6. Post #20: Welcome to 3 Hours of Loonacy! Date: June 23, 1977 I'm not going to take up as much space as I did with my June 21 memories. My computer is down and I don't feel like writing a Moby Dick-length post on my phone. First of all, although now I wish I had gone to the June 22nd show, at the time I was grateful to have that day to recuperate from the night before. Other bands pounded you for an hour or 90 minutes. Led Zeppelin pounded you for over three hours non-stop...no intermission like you got with Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. My ears were ringing most of the night after the show June 21, and when I woke up later that day (we didn't get to sleep until early Wednesday morning...too amped) there was still a faint ringing. Which is sort of how I planned it when I was figuring out which shows to go to after the band released the final tour reschedule. A show...a day to recuperate...another show...another day to recuperate. Then I had the three shows in a row Saturday-Monday to worry about...but I would cross that bridge when I came to it. For now, I mostly spent that Wednesday June 22 rehashing the night before with my friend and trying to recall as much as we could of the night. First a historical note...The June 21 show was the first Led Zeppelin concert I saw where they did not play "Black Dog" and "Dazed and Confused". My buddy was bummed they didn't play "Dazed and Confused". I didn't miss it as much. Neither of us cared about not hearing "Black Dog". Looking over my setlist, they didn't play "In My Time of Dying", instead "Over the Hills and Far Away" was played in the #4 slot. We thought maybe that was a rotating thing...maybe we would get IMTOD on the 23rd. The other thing they fooled us with was that whole "Over the Top" business. After that hilarious and long introduction by Plant of John Bonham, when the band kicked into the "Out on the Tiles" riff, I was thinking they were going to play the song for real. But when Plant didn't start singing, I was kind of unsure of what was happening...but that's Led Zeppelin for you. There's always moments where the band takes you into mysterious waters with no road map to guide you. All you can do is wait it out. So when after two minutes of "Out on the Tiles" (sans lyrics) Bonham then went into his drum solo, I was back on familiar ground. Having witnessed 25-30 minute "Moby Dick"s in the past, I was grateful that Bonzo kept it to 15 minutes this time. Of course, the band threw another curve by finishing the solo with the end of "Moby Dick" instead of returning with "Out on the Tiles". My buddy and I agreed that the first 40 minutes were just full-on power and intensity...real Hammer of the Gods. The opening trio of "The Song Remains the Same"-"Rover"/"Sick Again"-"Nobody's Fault But Mine" especially made an impression on us. Compared to 1975, it was a significant boost in energy. "Rock and Roll" in 1975 was too sluggish and Robert's vocals too subpar to lift the song to its proper intensity, and "Sick Again" was at that time too new and unfamiliar to the audience. By 1977, the audience had had two years to devour "Physical Graffiti", so "Sick Again" was much more welcome in the second slot...although that "Rover" tease had me wishing they would do that song in its entirety. My friend and I agreed that "Over the Hills and Far Away" had reached its perfect form. That was one song I was salivating to hear again...and again. "Kashmir", of course, was one that made a huge impression on us. The linkage of "White Summer"/"Black Mountain Side" to "Kashmir" made total sense upon reflection, given the tuning and the similar Indian-trance-vibe the songs possess. Naturally, my thoughts turned to the upcoming shows and if there would be any changes in the setlist night to night. Or if like 1975, it would be pretty much stagnant. I went to bed early that night and slept a good night's sleep. When I awoke Thursday morning June 23, 1977, like Richard Nixon I was tanned, rested and ready. For the June 23 show, I was going alone. My dad drove me to the show and picked me up afterwards. Passing all those familiar signposts on the way to the Forum...the LAX Theme Building, Randy's Donuts, IHOP, Hollywood Park Race Track. Even though I did not live in L.A. yet, I was beginning to get a feel for the lay of the land. I was sowing the seeds for when I would finally escape the hick town I was in. So...what is there left to be said about the June 23, 1977 show that hasn't been said already? Especially when the "For Badgeholders Only" bootleg exists to let people hear the show and make up their own mind. Suffice to say that when Plant uttered the immortal words "Welcome to 3 hours of Loonacy", he wasn't kidding. When haters try to slam Led Zeppelin concerts as overrated and boring, I shove this show right down their throats. Everything...the sound, the brilliant lights, the pacing of the peaks and softer moments, the demonic laser pyramid and Jimmy Page throwing shapes to the north-south-east-west, was sensational and larger-than-life. "Kashmir" again was otherworldly (even with the early cock-up, which wasn't that noticeable anyway)...as was "Nobody's Fault But Mine", "OTHAFA" (Jimmy again hurtling through space-and-time), "Ten Years Bonham", "No Quarter" (featuring John Paul Looney Two Slacks Jones), "Achilles Last Stand", and a new addition to the set "Trampled Under Foot"! If "The Song Remains the Same" wasn't quite as manic as June 21, it was as close as dammit...only it was missing Jimmy doing many of his pterodactyl moves due to another mishap with his equipment. There he was, sitting down on the drum riser with Raymond trying to fix his broken strap to his double-neck. Meanwhile, while this is going on, I was getting annoyed with the constant arrival of late-comers to their seats. The first few songs of every concert were a parade of people coming to their seats or arguing about seats. Grrrrrr. I think "Sick Again" was a stand-alone for the only time on the 1977 tour, and the band had really found the song's groove on this tour. On the 23rd, Jimmy's guitar sounded really nasty and sleazy, like it should on "Sick Again". Maybe using the Les Paul made a difference from using the 6-string part of his SG double-neck? I still probably prefer Jones using the Fender bass in 1975, but the Alembic bass sounded heavy enough in concert, although some twang was evident. Bonzo's stainless steel kit with those ginormous tom toms generated plenty of thunder. My god...those precision rolls of his. Your bones felt as if they were going to shatter and your rib cage collapse from the force. Even though it was a Thursday, the crowd felt like a Saturday night crowd...pumped and primed to party. If the opening night at the Forum was an explosion of two years of pent-up desire and energy, then the third night was a bacchanal. Maybe a little too rowdy...I had a cherry bomb go off near me and effect my hearing for a couple songs. When I was able to calm down from the initial rush and euohoria of the first few songs, I tried to focus on the details. The band all seemed to be wearing the same clothes. I think Bonham had a different top but Jimmy (white dragon suit), Robert (blue jeans and kimono-blouse type top), and Jones (all white) all looked the same as they did on the 21st. In fact, Jones on the 1977 tour reminded me of Greg Lake, only without the round face. Plant looked just slightly a little heavier...mainly in the gut and face, but nothing you wouldn't expect with his recent injury and his lifestyle. Jimmy though was obviously thinner..even gaunt. When he was waving his guitar around and stretching his arms, you could really see his rib cage. His pants, usually worn near his belly-button on previous tours, sagged way down on his hips. Another first for Jimmy Page on this tour...smoking on stage! I had never seen him with a cigarette in his mouth so this was quite surprising to see. Meanwhile, there was a curious figure seen hovering around the drum kit...why hadn't Richard Cole or Mick Hinton removed him? Then during the drum solo he announced himself: it was KEITH MOON!!! Moon the Loon telling Bonzo to "whip Buddy Rich's ass and show those jazz mofos what they're missing." Then Bonzo lets Moon sit in on the drum solo...two of rock's greatest drummers are now playing together! The Dynamic Looneys! Amazing men of steel who know Badgeholders! We in the Forum are going nuts! This is too much...the lights and flashpots are going off and Bonzo and Moon are shaking the Forum to its foundations with the greatest unholy racket I have ever heard. Just listen to the tympani part of the drum solo and you will hear what I mean. After another furious Achilles and majestic Stairway, the crowd goes apeshit for five or more minutes. No cheap encores for Led Zeppelin...unlike today's bands who barely wait 30 seconds before coming back out. Led Zeppelin truly earns their encore. But first, Keith has something he wants to say...only he was so drunk it was hard to understand what he was saying. Meanwhile, Plant has gone behind the drum kit and started playing a little until he decides to rescue Moon from his incoherency, hehe. Moon takes up residence by Bonzo's tympani, and plays along as they begin the encore of a very punk-like "Whole Lotta Love"/"Rock and Roll". Sheer euphoria carried us home that night. Another gobsmacking Hammer of the Gods concert...perhaps the best concert I've ever seen. It is a night I will cherish forever. But because of events that happened later, it is also a night tinged with melancholy. For I remember Keith Moon telling us he would be back at the Forum later in the year "with his backing group". Sadly, he died before that could happen. So this show, this night of June 23, 1977, represents Keith Moon's final appearance on a concert stage in America. Just as these 1977 shows would represent Led Zeppelin's last appearance in America. It's after midnight now...exactly 40 years ago I was heading home from my second 1977 Led Zeppelin show and 11th LZ show overall. And contrary to what was coming from Rolling Stone and the punk-obsessed UK press, washed-up bloated dinosaurs was the last thing on my mind after the concert I had just witnessed. As far as I was concerned, Led Zeppelin still ruled...and I was looking forward to more.
  7. Yes and yes. 6.25.72 6.27.72 5.31.73 6.2.73 6.3.73 3.12.75 3.24.75 3.25.75 3.27.75 6.21.77 6.23.77 6.25.77 6.26.77 6.27.77 Plus over 20 Plant, Page, and Jones solo shows, both Page & Plant tours, Page & Black Crowes, Jones & Diamanda Galás, and the Ronnie Lane A.R.M.S. tour.
  8. June 22, 1977: 40 Years Gone. The one night I miss of the 1977 Forum run and Jimmy busts out the best "Over the Hills and Far Away" solo ever! I knew it the moment I first heard it about five years ago. What makes the June 22 solo so special? It has all the same elements from all the other great OTHAFA solos...6.21,6.23, 6.13, etc...but played with more drive, confidence, fluidity. There is not one moment of hesitation or unsteadiness by Jimmy. Plus a little something extra not played in any other performance of "Over the Hills and Far Away" The solo begins at 2:30 with those big deep bent notes...or as I call them: dinosaur groans. Then Jimmy sets off over the hills and far away, traversing the peaks and valleys, ascending the mountains...and beyond. At around 3:50 or so, he unleashes that fusillade of cascading notes that usually signified the solo was coming to an end. But he extends it a bit at 4:10 with a few tasty licks that hint that he is about to wrap it up...but then, at 4:25 he decides to push further and further until at 4:35 he enters a new dimension of the stratosphere. A whole new segment, almost a call-and-response type dialogue, that ups the swagger quotient of the solo...it's so damn sexy and saucy that it makes you raise your fist, smile and yell "Go Jimmy Go! I have listened to around 50 "Over the Hills and Far Away" performances. It is a 30 second bit that was only played on this night. Finally, at 5:10 the usual slashing chords bring the solo to an end. Don't sleep on June 22....it may not have the fame of "Listen To This, Eddie" or "For Badgeholders Only", but it rocks just as hard. The audience tape of June 22 isn't the quality of Mike Millard unfortunately, but it's good enough to tell Jimmy Page is en fuego! Plus, this was the only night of the entire 1977 tour where they played "In My Time of Dying", "Trampled Under Foot", and "Over the Hills and Far Away" in the same show. Another special quirk of June 22, 1977: Jimmy rips into the Stairway solo directly after the opening fanfare, just like on the studio version, instead of those extra bars of 12-string riffing before making the switch to the 6-string. Oh well...Lesson learned. Next time Led Zeppelin schedules multiple nights at a venue, go to all of them.
  9. Thanks for the 411. I'm in agreement with you about Neil being at the show. Of course, I wasn't sitting anywhere near the celebrity seating section.
  10. I was a month shy of my 10th birthday. My folks were kind enough to bend a little on their "no concerts before I was 10" rule.
  11. Just posted about the June 21 show.
  12. Post #19 Remastered: LED ZEPPELIN LANDS AT THE FORUM- THE FIRST NIGHT! DATE: Tuesday, June 21, 1977 The First Day of Summer. The Summer Solstice dawned and it was a great day to go to a concert...especially a Led Zeppelin concert. Especially when you just spent your freshman year at a shit high school in a shit town miles away from the beach and the coastal breezes and all of your old friends. I was miserable and these Led Zeppelin concerts were like an oasis appearing to a dying man in the desert. As any kid who has had to wait a long time for a concert knows, the actual day of the concert is "the longest day". Chances are you couldn't sleep the night before because of your excitement. Then there is the worry all thru the day that something awful will happen to cause you to miss the concert. Murphy's Law and all that jazz. Kind of like Christmas, where you start being on your best behaviour because you don't want to screw yourself out of any presents. With all the news reports of violence and riots on the 1977 tour, I did everything I could to keep my thoughts positive. Fortune, or karma, was with me, and Led Zeppelin arrived in Los Angeles as scheduled and the Fabulous Forum awaited the colourful hordes coming to the six sold out nights...the first rock band to accomplish that feat. Ok, most of you already know the particulars, but for anyone who doesn't: Tonight is the 40th anniversary of the first of six concerts Led Zeppelin played at the Forum of Inglewood(in Los Angeles) on their 1977 tour. This is the famous "Listen to this, Eddie" show, taped by Mike Millard. But I'm not reviewing the bootleg in this post, I am talking about the concert itself, which is a seperate thing entirely. Ok, here we go. We(my school buddy and his older brother and his friends) are in the Forum. Me and my friend are in the Loge section 27 or 28...at about the midway point between the stage and the rear of the floor and on the right side of the arena looking towards the stage: JIMMY'S SIDE!!! Heading into the Forum that Tuesday evening was truly like entering a House of the Holy. Already being a veteran of multiple concerts at the Forum, the venue attained an aura that few other venues could match. Led Zeppelin's own aura was off the charts by 1977. Not mere superstars of rock...oh no, by now they were Rock Gods. 7:30pm was the advertised start time, but everyone knows that that is never the case with Led Zeppelin...and rock concerts in general. We arrived early enough to give us time to score a t-shirt and 1977 tour book at the merchandise stand. So after the usual waiting, listening to the music being played over the 'house PA' (I could swear they played Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone" and Moody Blues "Tuesday Afternoon"), checking out the stage equipment, and various food fights and paper cup battles and frisbees and beach balls or whatever being tossed about through the thick cloud of marijuana (and who knows what else) smoke, the house lights finally go down sometime between 8:30 and 9pm and several things happen that confirm that you were at a Led Zeppelin concert. 1. An epic roar issued forth from the packed Forum in anticipation of the band taking the stage. One hundred and forty-one days...nay, SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SIX DAYS of pent-up waiting and anticipation and desire EXPLODED out of us and rained down upon the darkened stage, to hail our heroes return! 2. Something else exploded...cherry bombs and firecrackers were lit from various parts of the crowd. I was never a fan of this type of concert ritual, especially if one went off near your ear, affecting your ability to hear the concert. But it was a fact of life at concerts in the 70s, one you had to endure...particularly at Led Zeppelin shows. 3. As you begin to detect the band members making their way on stage, one figure announces his presence in an unmistakable way. With a rat-a-tat-tat of his snare and boom-boom-boom of his kick drum, John Bonham musically says "Hello L.A.!" It is at that moment you remember how LOUD a Led Zeppelin concert is and from just a few seconds of those loud whacks as Bonham tests his drums, you can tell Bonzo is going to pound us good tonight! Jimmy Page then enters the conversation, giving a few test strums on the 12-string of his iconic double-neck guitar. Before you know it, Jimmy strikes the opening chord and they are off!!! Even though I knew in advance what most of the setlist was going to be and that "The Song Remains the Same" was going to be the first song, the instant explosion of light and sound still took my breath away. With the lights(the lights for the 1977 tour were light years beyond when I first saw them in 1972, and even 1973) going off in a flash and the band attacking the song with such ferocity and power(oh my god Bonzo was slaying his drums!), the opening packed such a wallop that I literally was in a dazed trance for the first couple of songs. Just standing there with my mouth agape, trying to take it all in. The band, what they were wearing (Jimmy's white poppy suit in particular), and getting my ears and body adjusted to the LOUD SONIC ASSAULT Led Zeppelin was unleashing. The first two songs(TSRTS/Rover intro/Sick Again) whooshed by in a blur. Seriously. I just remember Bonham sounding insane and the thrill of seeing Jimmy with the double-neck. Thank god for Mike Millard or I would have very little recollection of them. I didn't even noticed Jimmy's guitar problems at the start of Sick Again, as Jones and Bonzo were loud enough on their own(something the bootlegs don't adequately capture) to mask a few seconds of lost guitar. Robert Plant says hello to us after the end of "Sick Again", and as the band has stopped playing as Jimmy gets his Les Paul Sunburst ready for the next song, I can finally catch my breath and take stock of the situation. I am already starting to get a contact high from all the blazing going on inside the arena. People are even tossing joints on stage as well as other talismans for the lads. The stage for the 1977 tour looks much cleaner and roomier than previous tours. More room to move around and better sightlines for the audience without the speakers in the way. Bonham doesn't have the Vistalite drum kit this time around. Now he has a stainless steel Ludwig kit. It is during this lull that Plant mentions the Bad Company show at the Forum in May 1976 that he and Jimmy appeared at and those of us that were at that show scream our acknowledgment. You can sense Robert Plant is raring to go, itching to get going, but Jimmy and Raymond (from Scotland) seem to be having trouble with the guitar effect needed for the next song, "Nobody's Fault but Mine". So there's a brief moment of "dead air" so-to-speak until all systems are go. This will become a common theme during the week of shows at the Forum. Lots of broken strings, broken guitar straps, broken wires, broken drums...just a lot more technical issues than I remembered Led Zeppelin having in the past. Maybe their gear was getting too old, too road damaged, to be trustworthy day in and day out on the stage? Now, before the tour started I had already made a mental wish list of what I wanted the setlist to entail. Mainly, I wanted as many new songs as possible...whether that meant new songs from Presence and Physical Graffiti or songs from the older albums that they hadn't ever played or rarely: When the Levee Breaks, The Rover, Four Sticks. So while I obviously didn't get all of my wishes, I was very enthused to see two of my favourite Presence tracks on the setlist for Dallas in the LA Times review of the opening night of the tour. "Nobody's Fault but Mine" is a powerful, rhythmic song and it has the kind of starts and stops that only a well-oiled band can pull off convincingly...EVERYBODY in the band has to hit their mark at the same time or the song loses its attack. I would be very curious to know how Led Zeppelin sounded on this song on the early shows of the tour, considering the word is they didn't rehearse at all for those four months while the gear was here in the U.S. while they waited for Plant to get better. The earliest 77 show I have is the Cleveland "Destroyer" show. Has anyone heard any of the first few shows from Dallas and Oklahoma? Do they hit the marks in "Nobody's Fault but Mine"? Well, whatever...they sure NAIL the song at the Forum!!! Jimmy's playing the riff thru his wah-wah pedal and some other delay effect that seems to split the riff into a high and low register, making it seem like Jimmy's playing two guitars at once. But then, one of the cosmic things about a Led Zeppelin concert was the way it frequently seemed as if Jimmy was playing two guitars simultaneously...or more. The man had a way with sonic architecture that few of his peers could conceive, let alone execute. And along with the bloozy thrust and pull of "Nobody's Fault but Mine", you got not only Percy blowing a harmonica solo(something I hadn't seen him do since 1972) but also the humorous bit with Robert referencing Steve Martin when he exclaims before the guitar solo, "Oh Jimmy? Oh Jimmy? Well, excuuuuse me!" "Nobody's Fault But Mine" was the very embodiment of 'Sultans of Swagger', the term Neal Preston used for his book of Zeppelin photos. It was probably during this song that I first noticed how much stronger Plant's voice was from the 1975 tour...and even the 1973 tour. Perhaps the top range wasn't all the way back to his 1970-72 range, the sandpaper rasp he struggled with before was gone and the power was back. The return to form of his voice seemed to lend him a renewed confidence and it showed in his stage manner. Plant really appeared loose and in good spirits during the Forum shows. Not that he wasn't in the past, but I've always thought some of his stage banter on the 75 tour betrayed a certain nervousness and his demeanor could be curt at times. But you probably would be too if you had the flu and was touring through snowstorms. Now we get a surprise...a switch in the program. Instead of "In My Time of Dying" after NFBM, as Dallas and other early dates got, Jimmy straps on that tricked-up cherry red Les Paul and the Forum is treated to "Over the Hills and Far Away". If the band has been clicking on all cylinders from the beginning of the show, it is at this point they really start cooking. And while OTHAFA has been part of the setlist since 1972, it has never been played like THIS!!! For it is on the 1977 OTHAFAs that Jimmy at last has a clearly defined idea of how he wants the solo to progress and to sound. I always enjoyed hearing the song in concert, but on previous tours, sometimes the solo would be great and other times it would sound haphazard and the ending would be random and awkward. In 1977 there was no pussyfooting around. If the opening blast of "The Song Remains the Same" provided the night's first peel-your-face-back moment, the next occurred when Jimmy launched into the solo on OTHAFA. Holy fucking shit. Oh, I'm sorry...I mean HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!! Jimmy is on Mount Zeus hurling thunderbolts every which way while Bonzo is savagely firing off clusterbombs from his drumkit and Jones just coolly lopes along setting the groove. The tone and delay on Jimmy's guitar is outrageous...it's a perfect mindfuck of a solo. It's spacey and savage at the same time. Like someone married Steve Hillage or David Gilmore with Neil Young/Johnny Thunders. It's so good, I want it to go on forever. It's so good, in fact, that after the song is over I turn to my friend and say "no matter what happens the rest of the show, it was worth the days waiting in line and the $9.75 just to hear that!!!" Whether it was the lasting effect of that solo or the ever constant smell of marijuana and/or hash wafting by...or a combination of the two..."Since I've Been Loving You" was nearly half-over before I snapped out of this dazed trance I was in. Which happened often at Led Zeppelin concerts...you would find yourself dazed, as if you couldn't believe they were really on stage and this concert was really happening. I couldn't quite remember if they had played SIBLY in 1975, and with the film "The Song Remains the Same" and its awesome SIBLY fresh in everybody's mind, it was a welcome return to the setlist. The song is always dramatic in concert. Since I was spacing out for much of the song, it's only because of the bootleg that I was able to learn that Jimmy incorporated bits of "Tea for One" in the solo. Or the way Plant was "down on my knees...I'm begging you please". What I didn't need the bootleg to help me remember is what I always remember from all the SIBLYs I've seen: the way Jimmy caresses his guitar, particularly when it's one of his Les Pauls. A mother holding a baby couldn't be more loving. A man holding his lover couldn't be more sensual. SIBLY is notable for another reason. Starting with this song, Jones would put down his Alembic bass and not pick it up again for more than 90-minutes. For all the hand-wringing over the Alembics, he did not play them for much of the concert...the first four songs and a few songs at the end. SIBLY earned a rapturous response from the crowd, as it has always been a concert favourite with fans. Plant chats some more...yeah, he's cooking, or something. To tell you the truth, with the noise of everyone around you and the reverberation of the sound, not to mention Plant's accent, it could sometimes be difficult to understand what he was saying between songs. Did he just mention Jimmy? Not difficult to understand was the dry ice/smoke machine flooding the stage in a bank of fog: it was time for "No Quarter". Hell yeah! This was one of my favourite moments of the 1975 tour and I was looking forward to hearing it performed in 1977. I knew from the '75 tour that it would most likely be a long journey...those '75 NQs were around 20 minutes or more. But I was willing to settle back and place myself in the band's hands and take the journey with them. In Jones, Bonham and Page I had pilots I could trust. The fun came with seeing who would be the leader. Blue. An absolutely beautiful shade of blue. That's the colour I will always associate with "No Quarter", thanks to the blue light bathing the stage during the opening to "No Quarter". Blue lights. Massive banks of dry ice covering the stage. Oh, and the laser light show. Which I almost missed because my focus was so intent on what was happening on stage, I didn't even bother to look up at the laser lights oscillating until my buddy tapped me and pointed upward. After which, he left to get a coke or something as Jones played his piano solo. Now, I know there is much debate about which No Quarters are the best: '73, '75, or '77. And from a position of hindsight, I now believe the '75 NQs to be the best versions. But hot damn if at the time I sat and watched this performance of NQ that evening of June 21, that I wasn't flabbergasted at what I witnessed and thought that I had just saw the greatest, weirdest No Quarter ever! Talk about your long and winding road! Bonham and Jimmy seemed to be engaged in a battle over who was leading the journey, while Jones did his best to keep them from going off the rails.. It was fascinating watching them prod and stalk each other...as if they were hunting. I think Bonham won the first night. The band had certainly eaten their Wheaties before the show; all of them were fired up and ready to go off on any tangent they desired. This was the kind of kinetic, unpredictable, raw jam that separated Led Zeppelin from the bloodless prog types like ELP and Pink Floyd, or the groovy boogie-jam groups such as the Doobies and Grateful Dead, or Zeppelin's fading metal contemporaries Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. There simply wasn't another rock band out there in 1977, in my opinion, that could pull off something like "No Quarter" in concert. Frank Zappa? Maybe. Can or King Crimson? Sure...but neither Can or Zappa or Crimson were multimillion-dollar-top-of-the-charts commercial giants. Led Zeppelin was different from all the other Billboard chart-toppers in that they had no fear of venturing into avant-garde territory. 30 minutes later and it was over. Between the light show and watching Bonham and Jimmy push each other, I was held in rapture the entire time. This was also another time where you could appreciate the power of Plant's vocals...especially at the end when he and Page get into a duel between his "dogs of doom" howling and Pagey's wicked wah-wah. Jimmy painted the canvas with every colour of the rainbow with his Les Paul....Lordy, the things he could do with that guitar. My buddy got back with drinks just in time for me to tell him he'd missed a hell of a jam. He said he heard it even if he didn't see it. "No Quarter" was another one of those moments of the concert that alone was worth the cost of the ticket. By now, Led Zeppelin had me smiling and buzzed...I didn't need drugs to enjoy a Led Zeppelin show. Their music was a natural high. My smile was about to get bigger with the next song...another fresh newbie to the set: "Ten Years Gone"! Whoa...a triple-neck! (As some weisenheimer in the crowd shouts on the bootleg).I cannot adequately describe in words how beautiful "Ten Years Gone" sounded in concert. The marriage of Jones' acoustic triple-neck with Jimmy's brown Telecaster created a textural masterpiece. I am blown away again by the immense sound coming from basically just three musicians...it sounds like six. The outro solos by Jimmy cascade magnificently upon each other. When I hear people say Led Zeppelin couldn't play their songs properly, the way they were on the album, I tell them to shut it and play them a live "Ten Years Gone". "Worth the price of admission" moment #5. We were now an hour-and-a-half into the set. Most bands would be ending their concert at this point, if not sooner. Led Zeppelin was just getting started and roadies busied themselves setting up chairs and mics along the front of the stage. At long last, Zeppelin was bringing back the "acoustic set"! The acoustic set was one of the highlights I remembered from my first Led Zeppelin show, June 25, 1972 at the Forum. As great as the 1973 and 1975 tours were, a part of me missed the warm embrace of the acoustic set. Judging by the roar of the crowd around me, so did everyone else at the Forum that night. "Battle of Evermore", "Going to California", "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp"...these are all great songs and it was a joy to hear them. Everywhere you looked, people were smiling and clapping and it was just like sitting around a campfire. And poor Jones...people like to pick on his vocals on "Battle of Evermore". I suppose it would have been better if they had just hired Sandy Denny or some suitable female singer to come along on the tour. But Led Zeppelin was always a 4-man self-contained unit on stage. They didn't seem to want outsiders to join in on the road. The tapes (especially the soundboards) make Jones sound worse than it actually did in the concert. On tape, Jonesey's voice is more exposed and isolated. At the concert, with the echo and reverb of the Forum acoustics, and the general wall of sound you get at a concert, his voice was better blended in amongst the instrumental background. And what a background, with Jimmy's shimmery mandolin ringing around the Forum. As you should be able to tell by my avatar name, "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" is one of my favourite Zeppelin tunes. So this song brought big smiles...my friend and I clapping and foot-stomping along. There were vocal mics in front of all four of the fellows, and sure enough, Jimmy Page was singing the backing vocals on "Stomp"! Not Bonzo, as he had in 1972, but the usually quiet Jimmy himself. That was a pleasant surprise to see. The little bit of "Black Country Woman" just before "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" was great, too, except that you wished Robert would have at least played some of the harmonica parts...I love the harmonica on "Black Country Woman". But it was nice to see Robert channeling his inner Elvis. In fact, Robert seemed to really relish the acoustic set, cracking wise throughout...references to Rhinestone Cowgirl and Neil Young among them. I bet Robert was a prime instigator in bringing it back. This was the fun, goofy side of Led Zeppelin that critics too often missed or ignored. And just like that, the acoustic set was over....it really went by in a flash. Before you knew it, Jimmy was seated on a chair or stool and holding that black and white Danelectro that I remembered from the 1975 tour. He used it to play "In My Time of Dying" in 1975, and IMTOD was listed as being played in Dallas on the opening night of the 1977 tour. Maybe now they were going to play it? But with Page sitting down...uh oh, was he feeling ill like he was in Chicago? Thoughts of the show being curtailed like that night in Chicago entered my brain and I voiced my concerns to my friend. The concert had been spectacular so far...don't let it end prematurely. Of course, my worries were silly...Jimmy was fine and he was sitting down so he could play "White Summer". I was stoked because I was hearing a song I had never heard them play before...I didn't even have a bootleg with that song. "White Summer" is another song that sounded better in the hall than what you hear on tape. Jimmy's strange tuning and the way the guitar echoed had a way of insinuating itself into your mind. It induced a trance-like state of mind. "White Summer" was also where you saw the benefit of Jimmy wearing the white suit. The deep purple, blue, and red lighting reflected off his suit giving him a mystical aura. At the first notes of "Black Mountain Side", the crowd acknowledged its recognition. I was just vibing on watching Jimmy and how the lights made him glow. I knew "Kashmir" was scheduled to be the next song from the setlist I had from the L.A. Times. But I had no idea how it would follow...a stand alone start or a segue? But at that moment, I wasn't thinking about that. I was just relaxing and nodding along to Jimmy and his Danelectro, comparing in my mind the sound of "Black Mountain Side" being played on an electric guitar to the acoustic version I knew from the first album. I had no clue, no idea, what was about to happen. I, and about 18,000 other people were totally unprepared. All of a sudden, I noticed Jimmy Page rise up..."oh, the song is ending and Jimmy wants to end it with a flourish" I thought to myself. In short order, Jimmy kicks the chair backwards with his foot, the band crashes hard and loud into the opening riff of "Kashmir" and the light of a thousand suns blasts the stage. The Forum erupted into sheer delirium. Frankly, I can't remember if I joined in the screaming or if I just stood dumbly with my jaw on the floor. I think I might have uttered a "whoaaaa" as I high-fived my friend and the people around us. Everyone around me was definitely going bananas...the cheering and whistling was practically non-stop. I remembered "Kashmir" in 1975 being awesome. I was definitely excited about hearing the song again on the 1977 tour. But this was something beyond awesome. Jimmy was lurching around cranking out that riff, his body jerking to Bonham's drums. Jones was creating swirling colours and orchestral swells with his magic mellotron. Bonham was driving the engine, his right foot hammering that beat into your chest. And there stood Plant, majestically shepherding the song through its moods, singing his heart out about the distant, wasted lands of Kashmir. Which sounded like a better place to be than Riverside, California. With the energy palpable in the Forum at that moment, we could have flown the Fabulous Forum to Kashmir right then and there. I have always said to see "Kashmir" in concert was a transformative experience. The power and precision and otherworldly aura the band projected on this song was unreal. Transfixed, I started feeling like I was having an out-of-body experience. This was a feeling I never felt at a punk rock show, no matter how good. The effect was shattering. I don't understand how any Led Zeppelin fan could say they didn't like "Kashmir" in concert. Even after the song ended, I was still mesmerized by what I had just witnessed. Bonham's drum solo started but I was still thinking about "Kashmir". "Worth the price of admission alone" moment #6. So, now we are at the part of the show where many "anti-'77 tour" people complain...the drum solo/guitar noise solo segment. As I've noted before, the drum and guitar solos gave Robert a chance to rest his voice and his surgically-repaired foot and gather strength for the final stretch run of the concert. And it gave fans a chance to go to the bathroom, relieve themselves, and hit the snack bar or beer line on the way back....maybe even visit the merch table and get a tour shirt or book. By the end of "Kashmir", the band had been playing just over two hours and I'm sure a lot of bladders needed relief. I know I took a piss break during the drum solo. But even though I was tired of drum solos at concerts, my memory of Bonham's solos at the 1977 shows are that they were livelier and shorter than the 1975 solos, which seem to drag on forever. The moving stage and flashpots and lights all helped make the 1977 drum solo more appealing, no doubt. Next up after the drum solo on my L.A. Times article setlist was "Dazed and Confused". Well...what we got was "Heartbreaker". I didn't know it at the time, of course, but the band threw a left curve at that point in the show. In fact, I think it is the only "Heartbreaker" played on the 1977 tour...or was there one played in New York City? I guess "Heartbreaker" sounded okay...to be honest, I was still sort of under the spell of "Kashmir". Plus, the length and loudness of the show was starting to test my stamina and endurance. After "Heartbreaker", which features Jimmy noodling solo for a few minutes, we got more solo noodling from Jimmy. Everything from the "Star-Spangled Banner" to Star Wars sound effects on the theremin to the violin bow (ok...technically a cello bow) freakout section from "Dazed and Confused". Aha...this is what the L.A. Times meant by "Dazed and Confused". We weren't getting the song, just the bowed guitar segment. Ahhhh, but what a segment. You cannot capture on tape how truly freakish and insane Jimmy's bowed guitar sounded in concert. It chilled your bones. On top of the aural splendor, there was the visual delight of the greatest lazer show I've ever seen. The green pyramid rotating with each stroke of the bow and smoke billowing around Jimmy as more lazers strafed the Forum. You can call it noise but the Forum crowd ate it up. "Worth the price of admission" moment #7. Followed immediately by moment #8: "Achilles Last Stand". After the orgy of lazers and bowed guitar dies down, Jimmy plucks the opening arpeggio in the soft light before a blinding barrage of flashpots explodes and the band hurls helter-skelter into "Achilles Last Stand". The band takes the song at a breathless pace, which I find thrilling. Where "Kashmir" was powerfully precise with machine-like timing, "Achilles" is more chaotic and raw, it's power coming from the sheer energy and full-speed-ahead playing by the band. The album version on Presence clocks in at 10:43. The Achilles of June 21 comes in at a torrid 9:00...a whole minute and 23 seconds faster. Speed Prog? Prog Metal? Whatever you want to call it, it was blisteringly in your face. "Worth the price of adadmission" moment #8. The song receives well-deserved applause...it's a song that requires everyone to work their ass off. This after already playing nearly three hours. When Jimmy next straps on the red double-neck and Jones sits himself at his mellotron, it's obvious "Stairway to Heaven" is next. The roar in response is predictable and deserved. Whether you are tired of the song or not, in concert the song still possesses magic. Plant doesn't go thru the emotions and Jimmy, as always, comes up with a unique and different guitar solo. No two "Stairway" solos are ever the same. In this show, especially, Jimmy and the band find a nice groove towards the end of the solo...reminiscent of Duane Allman in "Memory of Elizabeth Reed". With the final rocking verses and the lights reflecting off the mirror ball like a million diamonds, the main set comes to a close. It's been three hours since the band took the stage and you would think both the band and audience would be sapped. Not even close. We in the Forum are stomping our feet and screaming ourselves hoarse for more Zeppelin. After many minutes of crowd pandemonium, Led Zeppelin returns to the stage for the encore. They start with "Whole Lotta Love", which has me anticipating a great theremin section a la 1975, but alas, it is just a tease. After a couple minutes, Bonham goes into drum intro to "Rock and Roll" and we are treated to a punk-like performance of "Rock and Roll" Speed and attitude to burn. Not since 1972 has the song sounded this fast and furious. Plant is really wailing along great, too. High-energy all the way! No sooner than it starts, then it is over in a flash and rousing crescendo. The Forum is still going bonkers as the band says their goodbyes and leaves the stage...this time for good. There will be no second encore tonight. As the house lights come up and the crowd still roaring, me and my pals gather ourselves and our stuff. I can already feel my ears ringing, and I feel that strange mixture of euphoria and fatigue. Led Zeppelin had come back from two years gone with a vengeance. They showed why so many revere them and why they sell out their concerts at the drop of a hat, with minimal advertising. Walking through the beer-stench of the Forum on the way to the car, in my mind I was already looking ahead to Thursday night June 23, when I would be able to relive the experience again! I'll be back on June 23 with a post about that show...and some more ruminations and thoughts about the 1977 tour. Hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane.
  13. Those are the songs in the Whole Lotta Love medley. "I Want You Bonny Airport" is a dead giveaway. This was a mislabel particular to the "Going to California" bootleg. Also the order of songs on side C fits exactly...Stairway, That's the Way, Going to California. It's 9.14.71 Berkeley. I guarantee it.
  14. All of these takes are generally in line with my interpretation of Plant's lyrics. And I'll go even further. Many are referencing Karac's death and Jimmy's no-show at the funeral as the beginning of Plant's disillusionment. But I think it goes back even further, to the summer of 1975 and his accident in Greece. It was a near-tragedy for his entire family, and yet because of financial concerns and their tax exile status, he was separated from his family during those anxious days. Everybody scattered. I wonder if subconsciously Plant didn't start to have doubts about Page and Grant? They had allowed money to come before family and that must have been cause for Plant to question their priorities. If you can read the lyrics to "Carouselambra" and not think Plant is addressing issues with the band, either directly or indirectly, more power to you. But he clearly has something on his mind in this song a little deeper than his usual "whole lotta love" palaver.
  15. So maybe it is the 3.21.75 soundboard that is being released 7.17.17?
  16. Aha, thanks for clarifying that point. I have never really paid attention to the Tempe show, only giving Achilles a cursory listen. Yes, the Oakland shows come in at a zippy 2 and a half hours. Not quite the gargantuan epics of before but still way longer than just about every other band trodding the boards in 1977. It was still worthy of the promise implied on the ticket: "An Evening With Led Zeppelin". I do have a pet theory about one reason the drum solo was dropped. As Plant was coming off his foot surgery at the onset of the tour and recovering from tonsillitis, one can see how the setlist was sequenced to give Plant's voice and legs periodic rests...the long instrumental jam in No Quarter, the sit-down Acoustic Set, the back to back drum solo/guitar solo after the vocal demands of Kashmir and before Achilles. I think by the end of the second leg of the tour in L.A., it was obvious that Plant's voice and health was holding up and he didn't need to be coddled. I bet he kind of hinted to the guys that the drum solo wasn't needed anymore to give him a rest, and it was time to ditch it. One final note of clarification. On my list in my post, I cited EVSD as the source for my Oakland show cd. Sorry...it is actually Magic Bus and their "Fighting Finish" release.
  17. Sounds like you've got one of the myriad pressings of the Sept. 14, 1971 Berkeley, CA tape. Often mislabeled as being from the Forum in '72 and commonly titled "Going to California". There are two ways to be sure. First, play side A. At first the sound will be in mono. Then after the first verse of Heartbreaker the sound should switch to spacious stereo. Another way to tell is if the beginning guitar intro to Since I've Been Loving You is cut. Next, look at the run off grooves and copy down the matrix numbers on each side of the record. Google the numbers and you will be able to determine the label and year of your bootleg pressing.
  18. Hi IpMan. My apologies if you thought I was ignoring your question. Somehow I missed seeing your post until now. I can state without reservation that July 24 Oakland is one of the more pleasurable gigs of 1977 to listen to. It is a far better show to represent Led Zeppelin's last ever American gig than the Seattle Kingdome, for sure. The only allowance, if you want to be technical, one must make when listening to the bootleg recording is the sound has the same problem all outdoor shows had at that time...a bit of harshness from the PA sound, with Plant sometimes sounding as if he is singing through a squawkbox or a megaphone. At least the tapers aren't as annoying in their comments as the Montreal and New York clowns. Yes, it was a "strange" show as you allude, as it was performed under the dark cloud of the aftermath (legal and otherwise) of Bonzo, Bindon, and Grant's beating of a Bill Graham employee the day before. But whether subconsciously or not, that incident may be why July 24 is such a focused and streamlined show. Maybe they just wanted to play and get the hell out of there, but while there are fewer lulls during and in between songs than the average 1977 show, one doesn't get the sense the band is cutting corners or giving the audience short shrift. If anything, the band seems in high spirits and high energy throughout, giving some of the better performances in 1977 of "Since I've Been Loving You", "No Quarter", "Ten Years Gone", "Trampled Under Foot", "Kashmir", "Achilles Last Stand", "Rock and Roll". Because of some surprise placements of certain songs and the removal of some time-wasters, the July 24 show flows better than any other 1977 show, with nary a lag in energy or a moment where you look at your watch. Of course, Jimmy starts out with some sticky fingers. It never appeared Jimmy warmed up before a show, instead using the opening two songs as a warmup. So the solos of "The Song Remains the Same" are a mess. By "Nobody's Fault but Mine", Page's fingers are getting loose, and so is Plant. You can still hear some strain on his vocals early on but he is in far better voice than he was in Seattle a week prior. Bonham is very surprising. You would think he of all the band would be distracted, but he is great throughout. He really lets it rip on "Trampled" and "SIBLY". "Trampled" gets a unique placement in-between "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" and "White Summer", giving a jolt to the acoustic set. The acoustic set is very lively, with the addition of "Mystery Train" just before "Black Country Woman" very welcome. As usual, Jimmy breaks a string during "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp", allowing Jones to vamp on the bass. In fact, Jimmy's breaking strings all over...definitely breaks a string during "Over the Hills and Far Away", leading to a truncated version. "No Quarter" benefits from one of Jonesy's best piano solos...perhaps inspired by the mystery woman dancer that suddenly appeared on stage during this song. You can find photos of her online. I also like that they dump the blues/Nutrocker segment and go straight into the main solo section after Jones piano solo...more like the 1975 versions, which are my favourite. Another momentum killer that they finally got rid of was the drum solo. After "Kashmir", they go straight to Jimmy's noise solo and "Achilles". Both "Kashmir" and "Achilles" keep the energy flow going towards the end of the show. A good "Stairway" and a savage "Rock and Roll" end the day (it was still light out when Led Zeppelin finished) on a fine note. Given the pattern set by the band in 1977 on the previous legs...a few shows to find its footing before ending the leg on a high...one could assume by how Led Zeppelin got its act together July 24 after the clumsy start of Seattle and Tempe, that the following shows in New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and beyond would have been boffo. It's a shame we never found out. Anyway, I count July 24 Oakland in with April 28 Cleveland and April 30 Pontiac and June 22 Forum as the best 1977 shows of the ones I did not attend.
  19. Baked ham with fruit and yams. Sangria and a rosé from New Zealand whose name I forgot.
  20. Since the last thread was purged, I am resurrecting it for all of us 'foodies'. Post a description and/or photo of what you are eating now or what was your most recent meal. Since breakfast kicks off the day, I'll begin this thread with my breakfast that I'm about to tuck into: eggs sunny side up, bacon, French toast, orange juice.
  21. It was a bad week for justice.
  22. I can't tell exactly what you are saying here. It looks like you swabbed out the 6.23.77 vid of "Achilles Last Stand" I posted for the 7.17.77 Seattle "Achilles". There is no way in hell I sanction 7.17.77 being ranked higher than 6.23.77.
  23. It's Rolling Stone and that list is at least five years old. Been hashed over to death already. Move along...nothing to see.
  24. Haha...ya think?
  25. "Since I've Been Loving You" was always a song I enjoyed. I loved the album version and I loved it in concert. So all 11 versions I saw would make the list. Others are 3.7.70 3.21.70 9.19.70 8.31.71 9.23.71 9.29.71 3.16.73 3.24.73 7.24.79 And since it is the 40th anniversary of the 1977 tour, here are two of my favourite SIBLYs from that tour.