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ListenToThis

Summer 1977 cont'd vs. Fall 1980 tour

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Basis this thread so far, I'm standing on an island with the thought that Zep reclaims their live glory in America in 1980, the West Coast in 1981, and UK in late Spring/early summer 1981. Jimmy with his Dave Lewis positive vibe working and approving the stage set up Sept 18, 1980 and knowing that America would have gotten Robert motivated again...Yes, I think Jimmy shines and Zep regains their live glory on that tour. Do they stick together after that? Hard to say...but, if they play well in the Fall 1980 Part 1 tour, the band would have played great in '81 on the West Coast Part 2, UK in the late Spring and a then that Rocky Riff album Jimmy and Bonzo were discussing once that tour ended in Fall 1981. Immediate horizon looked positive for all Zep fans!

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I'd be very interested in continuing discussion on this topic, particularly in regard to 1977. Let's hypothetically assume that Plant's son didn't tragically die and thus the band completed the third leg. How do you think it would have gone? What do you think their performances would have been like?

I can't remember where I read it, but I recall a couple of posts on this site that said Jimmy showed up to Seattle at the beginning of this leg utterly WASTED, so much so that Peter Grant had to slap him awake (or something to that effect). This seems to be in stark contrast to the first two legs where, barring an occasional night of over-indulgence (4/9, 5/28), Jimmy managed to moderate his drug use somewhat (at least from what I've heard). If this is indeed true, it explains the very shaky start of this third leg:

Seattle isn't quite as bad as some say (the audience recording is far superior to the video/soundboard in terms of capturing the live atmosphere, imo), although it is certainly a significant notch below the explosive LA and NY runs just a few weeks prior. Tempe pretty much goes without saying, and Oakland is a bit of an improvement, albeit still sluggish and tired. 

Jimmy was certainly erratic for much of this tour anyway, but these last few shows are downright embarrassing in some spots. It makes me wonder if Page would have continued with his debauchery, or if Grant (who was also experiencing his own drug issues by this point) or someone else in the band's management would have motivated him to reign it in a little as the tour wound down. 

Even putting aside the drug issues, this tour had a lot of problems which seemed to be coming to a head before Plant's tragedy. The start of the tour being delayed, erratic performances, two shows being cut short (one, 4/9, due to health/drug issues, the other, 6/3, due to inclement weather), late starts, riots in Cincinnati and Tampa, the Oakland incident...it makes me wonder what would have happened if the band managed to finish the tour.

Not to mention Robert's voice was also shot at the beginning of this leg as well (what happened there, btw? did he get the flu again? did he party too much beforehand?).

IMO, I think the band would have rallied a bit as the third leg wound down and played some decent shows, but would not have managed to reach the soaring heights of, say, the LA run. I think they would have peaked a few days before the final shows, as they probably would have partied a little too much before the last couple of shows (as they seemed to do after Seattle 1975). I also think they would have varied up the set list a little more, as they seemed to be doing at these last few shows (Black Dog on 7/23, Trampled Underfoot directly after the acoustic set instead of WS/BMS - Kashmir).

I'm not so sure, however, if they really were "cutting the waffle" for this leg. Honestly, it could go either way. Tempe was a disaster (not to mention they reportedly arrived there late) and the Oakland shows were in the afternoon (hence, no real light show, which may have forced them to tone down the noise solo, No Quarter, etc.)

I realize this is all going to be speculation, but I'd love to hear others' opinions on this.

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I would much rather have heard 1980 go on than 1977.  The 77 tour seemed to be winding down on its own even before tragedy struck, whereas by the end of the 1980 European Tour they were still easing back into the spirit of touring.

Beyond that, I just don't see what they might have done to finish 77 that would have been that interesting.  Yeah, maybe a professional recording, but my guess is that the result would have been as middling as TSRtS.  The peak of 77 was way back in Cleveland, with a second wind in LA.  I really doubt they were going to top either of those had the tour continued.  They were exhausted, the shows were getting dragged out to absurd lengths, and the drugs were getting worse and worse as the tour continued.

On the other hand, 1980 was headed to very new ground whether it was their last tour or not.  Jimmy was talking.  Carouselambra was 100% going to be played.    They were scaling down the size of their venues, the length of the shows, and focusing on new material.  Moby Dick and the guitar solo were gone.  This was a band who had learned from the mistakes of the past and were just starting a new approach, only to have the whole thing collapse overnight.

To me, that tour is clearly headed in a much more interesting direction than "Listen To This Eddie-lite."  The only thing that could ruin it is the only thing that did: drugs.  But that plagued them just as badly in 77.

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On 21-7-2013 at 6:43 AM, Sue Dounim said:

I'm sad that no ones said anything about my post ;____;

That song would have been an epic end indeed.

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On 3/3/2017 at 1:06 PM, ArmsofAtlas1977 said:

I would much rather have heard 1980 go on than 1977.  The 77 tour seemed to be winding down on its own even before tragedy struck, whereas by the end of the 1980 European Tour they were still easing back into the spirit of touring.

Beyond that, I just don't see what they might have done to finish 77 that would have been that interesting.  Yeah, maybe a professional recording, but my guess is that the result would have been as middling as TSRtS.  The peak of 77 was way back in Cleveland, with a second wind in LA.  I really doubt they were going to top either of those had the tour continued.  They were exhausted, the shows were getting dragged out to absurd lengths, and the drugs were getting worse and worse as the tour continued.

On the other hand, 1980 was headed to very new ground whether it was their last tour or not.  Jimmy was talking.  Carouselambra was 100% going to be played.    They were scaling down the size of their venues, the length of the shows, and focusing on new material.  Moby Dick and the guitar solo were gone.  This was a band who had learned from the mistakes of the past and were just starting a new approach, only to have the whole thing collapse overnight.

To me, that tour is clearly headed in a much more interesting direction than "Listen To This Eddie-lite."  The only thing that could ruin it is the only thing that did: drugs.  But that plagued them just as badly in 77.

I am a fan of the 77 tour,  however there are definite hits and misses,  but I have to agree with
a lot of your post.  By the end of the 77 run,  Page's noise solo and Bonzo's drum solo and even
the lonnng extended Dazed and Confused  come 1980 needed to be rested.  Cutting all of that
out freed up a lot of time in the set-list.  It's funny to think how much things shifted in the music
scene and how the band approached performing live in only 3 years.  The mistake for me in '80
was still using White Summer.  Ack!  I980 was just not the time for that song.   

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I doubt US 1980 would have been very good.  Based on the recordings from Europe, they actually started out ok on that tour.  But at the midway point it seems they began to tire.  Well, more to the point, Jimmy and Bonzo began to tire.  

Jimmy's travails have been well discussed, but what is less talked about is that Bonzo wasn't in the best shape in Europe 1980 either.  imo that's far and away his worst tour, his playing is much more pedestrian in many moments than it had ever been before.  I don't find as many dazzling moments in his playing.

Peter Grant was also said to be in a very poor state by this point as well.  Probably one of the more overlooked aspects of the Zep saga.  Perhaps if Grant had his wits about him, he might have been able to intervene and help Page and Bonham.  Just speculation of course.

 

 

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On 7/20/2013 at 4:40 AM, Sue Dounim said:

Whenever I ponder what the last show of the '77 tour would've been like, I admittedly like to imagine that after Rock and Roll, when Robert and the others have begun to leave, that Jimmy would stay behind, and he would begin to do some excellent soloing, the others would come back out, and when every one's taken their places, Jimmy would lead them into the first performance of Thank You since 1973/07/29. Towards the end, Robert would then begin to call out Peter Grant and the techs and roadies, and when the song ends, everyone bows to thunderous applause and then they all make their way home for some well-deserved rest.

Nicely said!

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As others have said; a great and very interesting topic...

My own two cents' are that had little Karac Plant not passed away in England, the '77 tour would, in all likelihood, have concluded with no major noteworthy events (save for a record-setting attendance at the climactic RFK Stadium gig in Philadelphia) - although considering the utter madness of that infamous jaunt, who can tell for sure!? - or any further world-shaking performances on a par with the L.A. Forum shows that June.  The band would have returned home for a nice rest thereafter, then started working on the next album later that year.  The tour would have been declared a success, plus we would have had official multi-tracks of '77; the band tended to record multiple nights in the same venues (or State in the case of the Forum/Long Beach Arena shows in June '72 that made up HTWWW), so either the Chicago dates or the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia dates would have been recorded... alas, what could have been ended on July 26th with Plant receiving a long-distance phone call from England.

The band that embarked on the 1980 European tour was, for all intents and purposes, almost a different band... uncertain, wary, cautious, no longer strutting the stage with bare-chested bravado, the set-list pared back, the stage show and PA more modest, the increasing excesses (onstage at least) were cut, and even their stage attire suggested a new mindset and attitude for the new decade.

How the planned North American tour in Oct/Nov '80 would have went, we'll obviously never know, but I'm fairly confident in thinking it would have been another uneven tour that, like the Over Europe jaunt, would have had good (maybe even great), bad, and just plain meh moments throughout; Jimmy being back on the road in the U.S. would have been like a red rag to a bull in furthering his excesses, dalliances, and general proclivities (further hampering his playing as a result), Bonzo might have shaped up compared to June/July in his playing - he had quit smack and lost weight in the interim - but homesickness would inevitably have led him in continuing his descent into alcoholism and general touring debauchery (and I've always had the sneaking feeling that had he went on that tour, he wouldn't have returned home alive!), Plant was still wary about touring America again and pretty disillusioned with the overall drug intake by some in the Zeppelin organization but would have given the tour his all (even if his broken heart just wasn't into it as much anymore), and Jonesy... well, he would have been as reliable and professional as always.

In all honesty, I think the Oct/Nov '80 tour would have been their last... Bonzo would simply not have survived another year for two legs of a North American tour, a U.K. tour (as tentatively mooted), and a return to the studio for their ninth studio album in late '81... not without drastically cutting back his spiraling alcoholism and unrestrained debauchery whilst on the road... he didn't even survive for a second day of rehearsal to the planned tour, much less anything further, and despite what Jonesy has subsequently said, what happened to Bonzo wasn't a freak occurrence of random chance, it was an inevitable certainty, alas... whether at rehearsal or on the road, it was going to happen at some point.

And with that cataclysmic event looming on the ever-present horizon, Zeppelin's days were always numbered... if was a matter of when not if.

Edited by The Old Hermit

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