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elKZacha

The Apparent Ignorance of Later Shows

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I can't be the only one who has pondered this, but here goes...

In my mind, the American tour of 1973 was Zeppelin at their best, especially Madison Square Garden.

But later tours such as NA in 1977 are very inconsistent in the way of individual prowess, such as Jimmy's 'off' nights.

I mean, I can appreciate that all the fame might've made them slightly indifferent to their capabilities, but I would've thought that a band that set the bar high would recognise when they are below said bar.

Some gigs such as Tempe, Arizona are just god awful and it's a mystery to me as to how the band didn't see that as a wake up call.

I know people have ragged on their later gigs like me, but I get extremely saddened when I watch TSRTS, only to give Knebworth another go soon after and then questioning whether or not it's the same band...

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As far as I see it, after the 1973 North American tour they relaxed a little bit, even though I like the entire LZ carreer I must admit that their best live years were 1969-1973.

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Addictions will do a lot to you, Tempe being a prime example (Still, STH from that gig was great). I think the source of the off nights was touring exhaustion as much as drugs and booze, cause they kept a busy schedule. And I think that Plant and JPJ were often well aware of the band's lower standard, but there was little they could do other than what they did. Plant was having vocal issues he couldn't control, but I think he did his best, and that he really cared, and JPJ never had a bad night. IMHO, though don't sound any less aggressive in Frankfurt '80, at the forum in '77, or on any of the later "on" nights than they did in the early days.

Edited by St Tristan's Sword

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No doubt the band was diminished for all the reasons mentioned above. But in 77 they where still capable of blowing most of their contemporaries off the stage if they wanted too.

The 77  Tour has some of the best shows in Zeps live canon. 6/21 6/23 4/28 5/18 6/7 6/11 just to name a few.

However, all kinds of excesses where at play. The shows where too long. They could have done without the 40 minute Dazed and Confused , the Noise Solo , White Summer and an abbreviated Over The Top. I know they where trying to give Robert a break with his bad foot. They could have done an expanded acoustic set. Or they could have done a instrumental that show cased each member at some point. Kind of like Sabbath was doing in 75 with Sweat Leaf. 

Earls Court in 75 was kind of a crowning ceremony. I believe the band sat on their laurels after that .Even  though 1975 is littered with sub par or dialed  in performances but you can't forget that March 75 run. Despite a couple of off nights they where just on fire. Start with Texas  3/3 & 3/5 are incredible shows . 3/5  may be the best show of the entire tour. Then 3/12 3/19 3/20 3/ 21 3/25. Just naming a handful of "must haves"  albeit as a whole 1977 is one of the weakest tours but they could still bring the house down if they wanted to.

i agree nothing can compare to the Fillmore run in 69 or IMO the best Zep documents come from the European Tour of 73.  1973 was a great year but nothing comes close to that tour not even the Garden Shows  or the Club Tour of 1/73.  Detroit 7/12  may be the best show of  the entire tour but Europe was Magick.

Japan, Montreux , Vancouver , Australia and some other gigs remind us how great Zep was during 69-73 they were hungry and 1973 in Germany was when Jimmy started his decade long dance with Mr. Brownstone and he was already chasing the dragon by 75.

It almost not fair to compare anything after 73 to 75 77 80. But the band was just that great. In 1980 they managed to give us the Frankfurt and Zurich shows when they were at the weakest.

Despite all of it if they were able to summon enough Magick they MAY have even been able to give Van Halen or the Scorpions a run for their money in terms of live prowess.

The greatness of  Led Zeppelin from 69 to 73 can never be repeated .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, elKZacha said:

Some gigs such as Tempe, Arizona are just god awful and it's a mystery to me as to how the band didn't see that as a wake up call.

I know people have ragged on their later gigs like me, but I get extremely saddened when I watch TSRTS, only to give Knebworth another go soon after and then questioning whether or not it's the same band...

I think they did get a bit of a wake up call after Tempe. Years later, when John Paul Jones played ASU in Tempe with Diamanda Galas, he actually apologized for Zeppelin's poor showing in '77. "Jimmy wasn't...well that night" was Jonesy's explanation. 

Mind ya, as I've said before I think there are one or two 1980 shows that are worse than Tempe. Tempe is what it is; Plant ends up sounding worse than Page did that night because Robert had no voice to speak of.

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18 hours ago, elKZacha said:

I can't be the only one who has pondered this, but here goes...

In my mind, the American tour of 1973 was Zeppelin at their best, especially Madison Square Garden.

But later tours such as NA in 1977 are very inconsistent in the way of individual prowess, such as Jimmy's 'off' nights.

I mean, I can appreciate that all the fame might've made them slightly indifferent to their capabilities, but I would've thought that a band that set the bar high would recognise when they are below said bar.

Some gigs such as Tempe, Arizona are just god awful and it's a mystery to me as to how the band didn't see that as a wake up call.

I know people have ragged on their later gigs like me, but I get extremely saddened when I watch TSRTS, only to give Knebworth another go soon after and then questioning whether or not it's the same band...

Apparent ignorance, where does ignorance come into it ...Ignorance of what...

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23 hours ago, JTM said:

Apparent ignorance, where does ignorance come into it ...Ignorance of what...

As worded clearly in my first post, ignorance of their ability i.e. bad gigs and whatnot

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58 minutes ago, elKZacha said:

As worded clearly in my first post, ignorance of their ability i.e. bad gigs and whatnot

I don't hear any "ignorance", everybody has an "off" night/day....the show has to go on, regardless...

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5 hours ago, elKZacha said:

As worded clearly in my first post, ignorance of their ability i.e. bad gigs and whatnot

It's not that it wasn't worded clearly, it's that it makes no sense. I'm pretty sure the guys were perfectly well aware of the times they turned in a stinker of a performance. I'm pretty sure they didn't walk off the stage at Tempe patting each other on the back for a show well played. And given that most of the time these performances were likely the result of Page's heroin problems, I'm not sure what you'd expect them to do about that. Hey Jimmy, how about you get off the smack so we can play better. That's easier said than done. Considering the alarming number of musicians who died from drug and alcohol problems, the fact that Page's issues only led to him playing a few bad shows is pretty damn impressive, when you think about it. You talk like if only they'd realized they were playing some bad shows they could've just fixed things and gone back to being consistently brilliant. Which, as I said, is a bit nonsensical. I'm sure they were well aware that they were playing some bad shows, but were largely unable to do much of anything about that.

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I attended two LZ shows and it is interesting how my memory of what the shows felt like, what they smelled like, what the people around me smelled like ;) and all the ambiance- both shows were off the charts indescribable.

However, many years removed I hear/read comments from others that those shows were horrible, had awful mistakes, and much worse- wasn't as good as _____ on the tour in '70x.

No one in that time period criticized the play per se, it was about the setlist, the drums how loud they played and the hot chicks.  No one came close to LZ.  The heavy weight in the air prior to the start of the shows tops NASCAR, the SuperBowl and every other event I have attended.  The after the show experiences are some of my fondest memories.

As a side, a similar communion went on when Celebration Day hit theaters- those here in Dallas know what I mean.  The chatter after the show was incredible.

.

With consideration, if your experience  with enjoying LZ live music is limited to boots and soundboards it is just that- limited. 

As kindly as I can submit, much of what is labeled as "soundboards" is not an authentic soundboard recording. None of us at the concerts experienced the interaction and delivery thru a soundboard- it was so much more. The visual was more penetrating and memorable than words can paint.  Again, the ambiance was a living thing.  The audience had a tangible ebb and flow to the response- especially the ladies.  Not one comment then about Long Beach, Tempe, Oakland, LA....

Similary, I had the pleasure of being at all but one of the NA ARMS dates and over twenty FIRM dates in the '80s, never had a sense that Page was anything other than prepared and ready- and he was.  As a professional, he was without equal in ethic and contribution [from what I saw personally].  It was The Firm, not LZ lite or LZ 2.0 and I will leave that for what it was.  Personally, I did not see any aspect of life and living prevent him in any way.  Not going to knock on a guy for slopping it around some.  He had the spotlight, not the 12,000 dudes who wished they could be up there.

I would point to the ARMS dates- for intent and purpose the show began once Page was introduced.  The air changed.  The audience changed.  People were so warm and welcoming toward him, never seen anything like it.  Some nights he hit it, others was bare down, adapt and survive, others some of both.  A true pleasure to see.

Pin a label of ignorance to me, I will gladly wear it.  

 

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On 8/28/2016 at 2:00 PM, elKZacha said:

Some gigs such as Tempe, Arizona are just god awful ...

There might be ignorance in using Tempe to represent an entire tour or era.

There might be ignorance in expecting any band to spend 1973-1980 sounding like 1973.

There might be ignorance in not recognizing and enjoying any of the great moments in later shows.

There might be ignorance in not understanding the spirit in which this music was played.

There might be ignorance in expecting rock n roll to exist only in your narrow vision of perfection.

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5 hours ago, Balthazor said:

It's not that it wasn't worded clearly, it's that it makes no sense. I'm pretty sure the guys were perfectly well aware of the times they turned in a stinker of a performance. I'm pretty sure they didn't walk off the stage at Tempe patting each other on the back for a show well played. And given that most of the time these performances were likely the result of Page's heroin problems, I'm not sure what you'd expect them to do about that. Hey Jimmy, how about you get off the smack so we can play better. That's easier said than done. Considering the alarming number of musicians who died from drug and alcohol problems, the fact that Page's issues only led to him playing a few bad shows is pretty damn impressive, when you think about it. You talk like if only they'd realized they were playing some bad shows they could've just fixed things and gone back to being consistently brilliant. Which, as I said, is a bit nonsensical. I'm sure they were well aware that they were playing some bad shows, but were largely unable to do much of anything about that.

Robert: Hey Jimmy...nice clothes tonight...did ya see that bird in the second row with the massive fun-sacks? Oh and um, er, by the way...think you can dial it down a bit with the smack, you're playing is not exactly up to snuff these last few shows if you know what I mean mate..."

Jimmy: Agh...PANCAKES! ALESTER CROWLEY'S CAT JUST ATE MY...wow, did you see that little pink Christina Aguilera monster run up Bonzo's ass? Who is Christina Aguilera...?"

Robert: Um, never mind...great show Jimmy.

Jimmy: I am a spiraling vortex...far out...

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live I don't delve much past 72. their on nights were few and far between later on imo. as for the good later shows, the energy changed and I just prefer the early stuff. compare sibly from tsrts to pure blues or blueberry hill and they seem like completely different songs.

Edited by sk8rat

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2 hours ago, IpMan said:

Robert: Hey Jimmy...nice clothes tonight...did ya see that bird in the second row with the massive fun-sacks? Oh and um, er, by the way...think you can dial it down a bit with the smack, you're playing is not exactly up to snuff these last few shows if you know what I mean mate..."

Jimmy: Agh...PANCAKES! ALESTER CROWLEY'S CAT JUST ATE MY...wow, did you see that little pink Christina Aguilera monster run up Bonzo's ass? Who is Christina Aguilera...?"

Robert: Um, never mind...great show Jimmy.

Jimmy: I am a spiraling vortex...far out...

?

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8 hours ago, Dallas Knebs said:

I attended two LZ shows and it is interesting how my memory of what the shows felt like, what they smelled like, what the people around me smelled like ;) and all the ambiance- both shows were off the charts indescribable.

However, many years removed I hear/read comments from others that those shows were horrible, had awful mistakes, and much worse- wasn't as good as _____ on the tour in '70x.

No one in that time period criticized the play per se, it was about the setlist, the drums how loud they played and the hot chicks.  No one came close to LZ.  The heavy weight in the air prior to the start of the shows tops NASCAR, the SuperBowl and every other event I have attended.  The after the show experiences are some of my fondest memories.

As a side, a similar communion went on when Celebration Day hit theaters- those here in Dallas know what I mean.  The chatter after the show was incredible.

.

With consideration, if your experience  with enjoying LZ live music is limited to boots and soundboards it is just that- limited. 

As kindly as I can submit, much of what is labeled as "soundboards" is not an authentic soundboard recording. None of us at the concerts experienced the interaction and delivery thru a soundboard- it was so much more. The visual was more penetrating and memorable than words can paint.  Again, the ambiance was a living thing.  The audience had a tangible ebb and flow to the response- especially the ladies.  Not one comment then about Long Beach, Tempe, Oakland, LA....

Similary, I had the pleasure of being at all but one of the NA ARMS dates and over twenty FIRM dates in the '80s, never had a sense that Page was anything other than prepared and ready- and he was.  As a professional, he was without equal in ethic and contribution [from what I saw personally].  It was The Firm, not LZ lite or LZ 2.0 and I will leave that for what it was.  Personally, I did not see any aspect of life and living prevent him in any way.  Not going to knock on a guy for slopping it around some.  He had the spotlight, not the 12,000 dudes who wished they could be up there.

I would point to the ARMS dates- for intent and purpose the show began once Page was introduced.  The air changed.  The audience changed.  People were so warm and welcoming toward him, never seen anything like it.  Some nights he hit it, others was bare down, adapt and survive, others some of both.  A true pleasure to see.

Pin a label of ignorance to me, I will gladly wear it.  

 

Well said. 

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Nothing wrong with Jimmy's playing in 1975. It's changed a bit from before, and it's fair that people might not like that, but he's doing pretty much what he wants. Soundboards thin his tone out too, compared with what the audience would have heard. I actually think he's sloppier in 73, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

1977, he starts off badly under-rehearsed and not 'match-fit'. Quite how he allowed himself to start an extremely complex tour with such low preparation must surely be a combination of 70s rock star hubris and substance problems. He's also playing to the gallery on stage a lot more; when he sits down he plays better, and I don't think we can ascribe that to drugs. The acoustic set and White Summer (the latter from April at any rate, when they are short) are both generally very well-played.

Worth pointing out that the other three band members are generally very well rehearsed and fully on their game in April 77, thank heaven. The substance problems get worse as 77 goes on, although I've always thought the LA shows seem remarkably 'clean' and well-played. Tempe sounds awful, but how much of that is the tape?

After 1977 he's a very uncertain stage prospect, until, well, 1995-98 probably. Why? with Zeppelin off the road, he just didn't play. That didn't matter up to 1973, in 1975 he did his homework, but after 75 he just got more and more rusty. Unlike a Clapton or a Hendrix, he never really mixed with his peers musically on or off stage. Still doesn't. If drugs played a part, it's that he failed to realise that he needed to keep playing even if he wasn't playing live. Same with Clapton in 71-73, it took him a year or so of live playing in 74-75 to get back where he'd been before his heroin layoff.

And yet the mists clear on occasion; Seattle 77 is a horrible gig but has one of his best Stairways, 24th July 1979 is bogglingly good, and even 1980 has moments like Frankfurt. Quite why and how these fleeting moments occur is I think is the bigger mystery.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Crimson Avenger said:

Nothing wrong with Jimmy's playing in 1975. It's changed a bit from before, and it's fair that people might not like that, but he's doing pretty much what he wants. Soundboards thin his tone out too, compared with what the audience would have heard. I actually think he's sloppier in 73, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

1977, he starts off badly under-rehearsed and not 'match-fit'. Quite how he allowed himself to start an extremely complex tour with such low preparation must surely be a combination of 70s rock star hubris and substance problems. He's also playing to the gallery on stage a lot more; when he sits down he plays better, and I don't think we can ascribe that to drugs. The acoustic set and White Summer (the latter from April at any rate, when they are short) are both generally very well-played.

Worth pointing out that the other three band members are generally very well rehearsed and fully on their game in April 77, thank heaven. The substance problems get worse as 77 goes on, although I've always thought the LA shows seem remarkably 'clean' and well-played. Tempe sounds awful, but how much of that is the tape?

After 1977 he's a very uncertain stage prospect, until, well, 1995-98 probably. Why? with Zeppelin off the road, he just didn't play. That didn't matter up to 1973, in 1975 he did his homework, but after 75 he just got more and more rusty. Unlike a Clapton or a Hendrix, he never really mixed with his peers musically on or off stage. Still doesn't. If drugs played a part, it's that he failed to realise that he needed to keep playing even if he wasn't playing live. Same with Clapton in 71-73, it took him a year or so of live playing in 74-75 to get back where he'd been before his heroin layoff.

And yet the mists clear on occasion; Seattle 77 is a horrible gig but has one of his best Stairways, 24th July 1979 is bogglingly good, and even 1980 has moments like Frankfurt. Quite why and how these fleeting moments occur is I think is the bigger mystery.

 

 

Well said, part deux.

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4 hours ago, Crimson Avenger said:

And yet the mists clear on occasion; Seattle 77 is a horrible gig but has one of his best Stairways, 24th July 1979 is bogglingly good, and even 1980 has moments like Frankfurt. Quite why and how these fleeting moments occur is I think is the bigger mystery.

 

 

Very good point, actually!

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5 hours ago, Crimson Avenger said:

And yet the mists clear on occasion; Seattle 77 is a horrible gig but has one of his best Stairways, 24th July 1979 is bogglingly good, and even 1980 has moments like Frankfurt. Quite why and how these fleeting moments occur is I think is the bigger mystery.

 

 

1 hour ago, Brigante said:

Very good point, actually!

Maybe not such a mystery after all. Some days you get good heroin. Some days you don't.

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17 hours ago, Crimson Avenger said:

Nothing wrong with Jimmy's playing in 1975. It's changed a bit from before, and it's fair that people might not like that, but he's doing pretty much what he wants. Soundboards thin his tone out too, compared with what the audience would have heard. I actually think he's sloppier in 73, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

1977, he starts off badly under-rehearsed and not 'match-fit'. Quite how he allowed himself to start an extremely complex tour with such low preparation must surely be a combination of 70s rock star hubris and substance problems. He's also playing to the gallery on stage a lot more; when he sits down he plays better, and I don't think we can ascribe that to drugs. The acoustic set and White Summer (the latter from April at any rate, when they are short) are both generally very well-played.

Worth pointing out that the other three band members are generally very well rehearsed and fully on their game in April 77, thank heaven. The substance problems get worse as 77 goes on, although I've always thought the LA shows seem remarkably 'clean' and well-played. Tempe sounds awful, but how much of that is the tape?

After 1977 he's a very uncertain stage prospect, until, well, 1995-98 probably. Why? with Zeppelin off the road, he just didn't play. That didn't matter up to 1973, in 1975 he did his homework, but after 75 he just got more and more rusty. Unlike a Clapton or a Hendrix, he never really mixed with his peers musically on or off stage. Still doesn't. If drugs played a part, it's that he failed to realise that he needed to keep playing even if he wasn't playing live. Same with Clapton in 71-73, it took him a year or so of live playing in 74-75 to get back where he'd been before his heroin layoff.

And yet the mists clear on occasion; Seattle 77 is a horrible gig but has one of his best Stairways, 24th July 1979 is bogglingly good, and even 1980 has moments like Frankfurt. Quite why and how these fleeting moments occur is I think is the bigger mystery.

For the band as a whole but especially Page the key to great performances seems to be activity. This was less of an issue in the earlier days of the band as they were so active although I think think you can start to detect a bit more up and down in 72 where the band had longer layoffs either side of the US tour and definitely improved as that tour progressed plus as the euro 72/73 tour progressed. In 75 and 77 though it really does seem to become obvious, not a great start to the first leg of the tour, improvement towards the end of the first leg, bit of a dropoff in the 2nd leg but faster recovery to an even higher peak, another dropoff for the 3rd leg in 77 that we didn't get to see a potential recovery from.

One thing I always disagree with strongly is the idea that the latter tours were damaged by "excessive" epics, ok Bonham's and Page's solo's might often have been a bit excessive although the latter was a response to the removal of the much longer Dazed. The band might have been very good at nailing short tracks earlier in their career but really I think they were always at their best stretching things out but even moreso latter on.  Page's main failing tends to be not nailing riffs and generally playing in tight arrangements like SA, BD, TRS or TYG where as I think his best playing is in extended soloing in the likes of OTHAFA, IMTOD, NQ, TU, DAC and STH.

The 77 set list especially for me doesn't seem well chosen to maximise the bands live potential and I wonder if Plant had a lot more say in it than previously in order to get him back on stage?

Edited by greenman

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On 8/28/2016 at 11:29 PM, Jimmywalnutz said:

No doubt the band was diminished for all the reasons mentioned above. But in 77 they where still capable of blowing most of their contemporaries off the stage if they wanted too.

The 77  Tour has some of the best shows in Zeps live canon. 6/21 6/23 4/28 5/18 6/7 6/11 just to name a few.

However, all kinds of excesses where at play. The shows where too long. They could have done without the 40 minute Dazed and Confused , the Noise Solo , White Summer and an abbreviated Over The Top. I know they where trying to give Robert a break with his bad foot. They could have done an expanded acoustic set. Or they could have done a instrumental that show cased each member at some point. Kind of like Sabbath was doing in 75 with Sweat Leaf. 

Earls Court in 75 was kind of a crowning ceremony. I believe the band sat on their laurels after that .Even  though 1975 is littered with sub par or dialed  in performances but you can't forget that March 75 run. Despite a couple of off nights they where just on fire. Start with Texas  3/3 & 3/5 are incredible shows . 3/5  may be the best show of the entire tour. Then 3/12 3/19 3/20 3/ 21 3/25. Just naming a handful of "must haves"  albeit as a whole 1977 is one of the weakest tours but they could still bring the house down if they wanted to.

 

elKZacha, is "indifference" the word you want, rather than ignorance? 

I am partial to the '75 tour because of the superior quality of the soundboards, probably, and I just dig the setlist. Earls Court, Dallas, Long Beach, Forum, the New York gigs....spectacular. 

Especially with '77, the size of the gigs/venues and the length of the set got in the way. Sure, they gave the punters their moneys worth...but there's only so much the human ear can take, right? 

Clearly the Tour Over Europe shows were designed to get back to basics, as it were, and reestablish the band on a firm footing. One could look at Zurich, Frankfurt, and some scattered gems at other shows with hope for a better future. Pointless to speculate what the band would have sounded like on a U.S. tour in '80 and beyond. 

There's a quote from Robert circa '77, I think, where in reference to Stairway, he says "there's only so many times you can sing it and mean it" (if I remember right). It can't be easy doing the same thing all the time...or as Plant said at that last EC show, "And sometimes if you play city after city after city, night after night after night, you don't feel as loose and as easy as we feel."

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6 hours ago, pujols05 said:

 

elKZacha, is "indifference" the word you want, rather than ignorance? 

Indfiference is probably closer to the truth for most listeners of latter day recordings as really even though the 75 and 77 tours were patchy there are still more than enough good performances from both for most people. Not sure I would get around to listening to more than a dozen shows for either of those tours and for 77 the 4 Millard LA recordings probably make up 90% of my listening.

Edited by greenman

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Funny I used to think (when I was a youngster and Bootlegs were very hard to come by) 1977 was by far their greatest tour... and 1975 was their worst..  This was way before Youtube. All I had to go by was For Badgeholders Only 1977 LA Forum, The Cleveland Destroyer 4 album set... and Montreal Forum Feb 1975, which is one of the worst sounding recordings of all time, with the bootleggers talking and clowning around through the whole show, shitty fake stereo effects.. (panning the entire band back and forth)..

I actually love the Montreal show now, heard it recently with fresh ears and enjoyed it.. But limited exposure will get different results.

So I guess it was forced ignorance.. 

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Funny I used to think (when I was a youngster and Bootlegs were very hard to come by) 1977 was by far their greatest tour... and 1975 was their worst..  This was way before Youtube. All I had to go by was For Badgeholders Only 1977 LA Forum, The Cleveland Destroyer 4 album set... and Montreal Forum Feb 1975, which is one of the worst sounding recordings of all time, with the bootleggers talking and clowning around through the whole show, shitty fake stereo effects.. (panning the entire band back and forth)..

I actually love the Montreal show now, heard it recently with fresh ears and enjoyed it.. But limited exposure will get different results.

So I guess it was forced ignorance.. 

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On 31/08/2016 at 9:31 PM, Strider said:

 

Maybe not such a mystery after all. Some days you get good heroin. Some days you don't.

Hmm, maybe it is that simple! I always get the feeling from watching and listening that he's pretty clean on stage in 79-80, but just wasn't putting in the rehearsal/practice beforehand.

In 1980 he always give a short speech to he audience at the start, before Black Dog. I've long harboured a little theory that he was given this to do in order to ensure he was reasonably well-functioning on the night.

 

 

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