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gibsonfan159

Southampton 73- Why it's the best bootleg

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Southampton 73- Why it's the best Zep bootleg

So many people criticize this show because; 1- Plant wasn't in top shape. 2. Neither Page or Bonham matched the intensity of the European dates of 73.

Plant was barely above medium shape, which I think added a sense of vulnerability to his vocals. He sang the songs differently, with almost a melancholy approach. He doesn't squeak and strain much (like in other shows) because he knows his limits. By the time he warms up around Dazed And Confused, he sounds pretty decent.

Bonham and Page not matching the showoff performance of Vienna or Hamburg isn't necessarily a negative. Those performances, although impressive, were a bit on the extreme side. Any musician can go all out during a live performance, but it's the professional who knows how to stay in the pocket and not stray. Bonham's playing on the Hamburg show is almost overkill. Adding a fill every measure turns a song into a circus act. With that said, this performance isn't far off from the European shows. Page doesn't nail every lead 100%, but that adds to the realism of a band simply playing a show without realizing they're being recorded. And when he plays good, he's as good as he's ever been.

Now, with those critiques aside, you have to give credit to one thing- sound quality. Holy shit does this recording sound good. Not good, simply amazing for a bootleg soundboard recording from 1973. No soundboard or audience recording from any other Zep show sounds this good, I don't care how many people tout Royal Albert Hall 1970 or Listen To This Eddie. This was a small venue and it really comes through that way. It's exactly like you're sitting in the fourth or fifth row, fifteen feet away from the band. No cheesy effects like the 77 shows, no lethargic playing like the 75 shows, no overprocessed EQ like the How The West Was Won album, no crap editing like the The Song Remains The Same album. This is up close and personal with a full setlist. How many people would say "How awesome it would be to see Zeppelin in their prime in a small club"? Well, this is it. How could you complain? I think people refuse to appreciate the candidness of this show. I like to imagine this show was professionally recorded like the Madison Square Garden shows, showing the opposite side of their live performance- the biggest band in the world playing a small stage, which is what the band always wanted to do anyway. It's the perfect "Moment in time" performance for this band. Performance vs setlist vs sound quality, this is bar none the best in my opinion.

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A good attempt. But in the final analysis your arguments fail to sway me. I like Southampton '73...but it's not "the best bootleg".

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18 minutes ago, Strider said:

A good attempt. But in the final analysis your arguments fail to sway me. I like Southampton '73...but it's not "the best bootleg".

Out of curiosity, what is you're favorite?

And that signature is golden. Wasn't she the one that accused Zep of sexual misconduct?

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I think you make very good points. However, I have to agree with Strider: I like Southampton and think it's a great gift that we have access to it - and I love the How Many More Times/Communication Breakdown encore. But it's far from the best bootleg.


Also, FYI the main reason the sound is as good as it is, is that it's not a soundboard. It's a mixdown of a professional multitrack recording.

Edited by tmtomh

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1 hour ago, gibsonfan159 said:

Out of curiosity, what is you're favorite?

And that signature is golden. Wasn't she the one that accused Zep of sexual misconduct?

No, that was Ellen Sanders of LIFE magazine. I'll post my pick tomorrow. It's probably a controversial pick.

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Sound quality is great but it's not on my rotation. My most frequently played bootlegs are:

31/8/69

04/09/70

31/8/71

23/9/71

21/3/75

21/6/77

24/7/79

Just think Southampton lacks a bit of energy

 

 

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It has a great sound, obvious because the multi track. . drums are great. . Percy and the struggles. . The intimacy is there at the S.U. Building and I like that. . like right on stage. . I wonder how many shows JP really had multi tracked.  . But like the others its down the list. . Eddie is my favorite. . LA's anticipation for the greatest band in the world after the reschedule and the sheer force of the band with the crowd in a massive frenzy on Millard's recorded opus. . It doesnt get much better:) 

Listening now and JP on TSRTS is not all together is it? lol. . 

Edited by Bozoso73

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It's not a sounboard, it's a pro recorded multi track. Just because it is a multi track does not qualify it for "Best Bootleg". It's a fairly decent in parts but not great performance. I'll take performance over sound quality anyday for "Best Boot" qualification..

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Said it on another thread about this show, but the Stoke show a week earlier is much better and is also in really good sound quality.

Tend to agree with you on the sound of HTWWW. Was my favorite album for a long time but now I find it hard to listen to. Too compressed, hard to hear Jones, very little crowd noise for being a live show.

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First of all, there is no "best bootleg". If you asked people on this forum what the best bootleg is, you'd likely get 100 different answers. There's subjective things like which songs they play and in what order that will push it over the edge for some. Some will only want the best-sounding bootlegs, while others will prefer a great performance, regardless of how shitty the recording is. Then there's factors like Plant and Page. Some prefer Plant's limited but nonetheless powerful vocals from 77, while others prefer the banshee vocals of 68-71. Some only want to hear the masterful Page playing from 73 and before. Others don't mind the inconsistency of the latter years as long as he's not dreadful.

Personally, my favorite bootleg is probably LTTE, for the same reasons Bozoso73 said. The Millard recording allows me to feel like I'm in the crowd in row six with him. I can close my eyes and picture and feel the people around me: "Heartbreaker!", "We've had the guitar lesson!", the sneezing guy, and the drunk asshole threatening to beat the shit out of his friend. I feel like I've traveled back in time to June 21st, 1977 and like I'm having the time of my life at a Zeppelin concert. Add to that the fact that the performance is fantastic, and you've got yourself one hell of a bootleg. Sure, you can point to other shows where each member was arguably better on a technical level (with the possible exception of Bonzo), but you can't deny the sheer energy and aggression that they have on display here. It's a perfect example of what Zeppelin sounded like when they were on top of the world and were laying down the hammer of the gods each and every night.

With regard to Southampton, I've never been a huge fan of it. I'm happy it exists, and the sound quality is of course astounding (although I disagree with you that it's better than RAH in particular), but aside from the How Many More Times/Communication Breakdown encore, it's always left me cold. First of all, even if you take Plant's voice out of the equation, Page is fairly sloppy. And that's not compared to just the March Euro tour. As blooze said, check out Stoke from the week before. Simply put, he's having a bit of an off night to my ears. And while the sound is amazing, it also sounds fairly subdued. You can barely tell there's a crowd there. I have a feeling that if this show were only available in a fair audience recording, it would be largely forgotten save for the novelty of them playing How Many More Times.

Regarding your analysis, there are other performances out there that I would argue capture Zeppelin in a candid, low-key environment better. For example, the 4/27/69 Fillmore West show, or the 1/5/69 Whisky a Go-Go show, or the 3/7/70 Montreux Casino show. Hell, I'd even put the 1971 BBC Sessions performance in there. I would argue the performances on all of these is superior to Southampton. The Montreux show in particular also has an excellent sense of atmosphere. Sure the sound quality is not as good as Southampton, but you really get a sense of space and the crowd, something that Southampton lacks imo.

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11 hours ago, Xolo1974 said:

Sound quality is great but it's not on my rotation. My most frequently played bootlegs are:

31/8/69

04/09/70

31/8/71

23/9/71

21/3/75

21/6/77

24/7/79

Just think Southampton lacks a bit of energy

 

 

Pretty much my list as well except I would include 6-13-77 & both Rotterdam & Frankfurt from the 80' tour.

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Two more shows that I forgot to mention that also capture Zeppelin in a low-key environment with better playing (imo) are the 79 Copenhagen warm-ups.

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6 hours ago, IpMan said:

Pretty much my list as well except I would include 6-13-77 & both Rotterdam & Frankfurt from the 80' tour.

Fuck! I forgot Frankfurt! So there you have it! Same same except your +1 (Rotterdam). 

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1 hour ago, Xolo1974 said:

Fuck! I forgot Frankfurt! So there you have it! Same same except your +1 (Rotterdam). 

It's worth it for what is perhaps the greatest Heartbreaker ever.

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Amazing sound quality, but performance too sloppy.  Still quite enjoyable to listen to (this is '73 Zep after all).  And I can't agree with your characterization of (some of) the European shows as being "a bit on the extreme side".  The Euro '73 shows were unparalleled musicianship, pure and simple.

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Not the biggest fan on the drum sounds on this recording nor is it anyhere near their best performance. Zeppelin's Germany 73 or Copenhagen 1979 shows are their pinnacle. (IMHO)

Edited by sixpense

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I agree with Zep head315's assessment above. I never care for "best ever" statements. Nothing is absolute.  Maybe a better title for this post would have been Best Unreleased Multi- Track Recorded Show??  To me , a bootleg is an audience or SBD recording that was never meant for official release.  There are so many other performances that as a whole have much more atmosphere , vibe, synchrony between the band, etc, that have been stated in comments above . To me Southampton is a fairly good show, recorded in excellent , although fluctuating quality. There are numerous level shifts, and Bonzos drums sound flatter than usual. There's no real audience feedback vibe. I understand and agree with some of your comments about the over processed EQ of HTWWW and the butchering of TSRTS , and the intimacy of the small stage, small venue .  In many respects it is similar to BBC 71,  but that's a superior performance all around. Blueberry Hill is possibly my all time fav bootleg, but there are so many great moments , so many killer shows. To me , this not best ever...nothing is. 

Edited by porgie66

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On 9/7/2017 at 9:15 PM, Strider said:

No, that was Ellen Sanders of LIFE magazine. I'll post my pick tomorrow. It's probably a controversial pick.

So, what's your pick? You attended some of the most legendary shows , many of which are contenders for best bootleg for sure , in this forum. 🤔🤗

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Okay, you want to know my pick?

First, 'best bootleg' doesn't necessarily mean what I think is their best concert or the one gig I would most want to have attended. Also, by 'bootleg', I automatically disqualify soundboards and multitracks from consideration. A bootleg connotes some type of risk involved, some daring-do on the part of a fan. Only an audience tape has that...and only an audience tape has the give-and-take between band and audience that was a key part of every Led Zeppelin gig.

The problem with coming up with a clear best bootleg for a band like Led Zeppelin is because they had several eras and what most people perceive as their performance peak doesn't coincide with their compositional peak. The common view is that Led Zeppelin was best in their young and hungry years, before fame and drugs and bad luck affected the band...roughly 1969-1973, although some are even pickier and narrow it down to 1969-72 before Plant's voice broke.

The problem with this is that any boot from this period precludes hearing many of the band's best songs: Kashmir, Achilles, Ten Years Gone, Rain Song, No Quarter, and more.

While Montreux, Blueberry Hill, Japan 1971, even the "Burn That Candle" audience boot of the entire unedited June 25, 1972 LA Forum show are all worthy candidates and would be on any collector's Desert Island Dozen list, the set lists are too limited to the early years of the band.

Also, since most people readily accept that Led Zeppelin were in their performance peak in their early years, picking a boot from that era serves the status quo...and where's the fun in that?

That is why my pick is the July 24, 1979 Copenhagen bootleg known as "Copenhagen Warm-Up Second Night".

It's a great audience tape of the band in a reasonably small venue. There is no long drum solo or other excesses to slog thru so it is a perfect boot to introduce a newcomer to Led Zeppelin. Best of all is the setlist, which has highlights from every album in the band's career.

As a bonus, it shuts up those who put forth the lazy narrative of Led Zeppelin's performance waning after 1973. The performances on this boot crackle and surge with an infectious energy not found on the Southampton boot. So many people have bought into the CW that Led Zeppelin couldn't deliver the goods post-73 that often their first response when hearing July 24, 1979 is of shock and surprise. It challenges their preconceived notions...which is always a good thing.

Some of the songs are near-definitive performances. Ten Years Gone...Kashmir...Achilles...NFBM...SIBLY...Sick Again...maybe some of the 6/21/77 or 6/23/77 ones are a touch better but it's a very close call. As a matter of fact, it came down between "Listen to this, Eddie" and "Copenhagen Warmup Second Night" for my top pick.

Let the arguing begin.

Edited by Strider

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23 minutes ago, Strider said:

Okay, you want to know my pick?

First, 'best bootleg' doesn't necessarily mean what I think is their best concert or the one gig I would most want to have attended. Also, by 'bootleg', I automatically disqualify soundboards and multitracks from consideration. A bootleg connotes some type of risk involved, some daring-do on the part of a fan. Only an audience tape has that...and only an audience tape has the give-and-take between band and audience that was a key part of every Led Zeppelin gig.

The problem with coming up with a clear best bootleg for a band like Led Zeppelin is because they had several eras and what most people perceive as their performance peak doesn't coincide with their compositional peak. The common view is that Led Zeppelin was best in their young and hungry years, before fame and drugs and bad luck affected the band...roughly 1969-1973, although some are even pickier and narrow it down to 1969-72 before Plant's voice broke.

The problem with this is that any boot from this period precludes hearing many of the band's best songs: Kashmir, Achilles, Ten Years Gone, Rain Song, No Quarter, and more.

While Montreux, Blueberry Hill, Japan 1971, even the "Burn That Candle" audience boot of the entire unedited June 25, 1972 LA Forum show are all worthy candidates and would be on any collector's Desert Island Dozen list, the set lists are too limited to the early years of the band.

Also, since most people readily accept that Led Zeppelin were in their performance peak in their early years, picking a boot from that era serves the status quo...and where's the fun in that?

That is why my pick is the July 24, 1979 Copenhagen bootleg known as "Copenhagen Warm-Up Second Night".

It's a great audience tape of the band in a reasonably small venue. There is no long drum solo or other excesses to slog thru so it is a perfect boot to introduce a newcomer to Led Zeppelin. Best of all is the setlist, which has highlights from every album in the band's career.

As a bonus, it shuts up those who put forth the lazy narrative of Led Zeppelin's performance waning after 1973. The performances on this boot crackle and surge with an infectious energy not found on the Southampton boot. So many people have bought into the CW that Led Zeppelin couldn't deliver the goods post-73 that often their first response when hearing July 24, 1979 is of shock and surprise. It challenges their preconceived notions...which is always a good thing.

Some of the songs are near-definitive performances. Ten Years Gone...Kashmir...Achilles...NFBM...SIBLY...Sick Again...maybe some of the 6/21/77 or 6/23/77 ones are a touch better but it's a very close call. As a matter of fact, it came down between "Listen to this, Eddie" and "Copenhagen Warmup Second Night" for my top pick.

Let the arguing begin.

I had a feeling you would say Copenhagen 7/24!!! I knew it. All in all , an excellent choice IMO for all the stated reasons. 

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13 hours ago, Strider said:

Okay, you want to know my pick?

First, 'best bootleg' doesn't necessarily mean what I think is their best concert or the one gig I would most want to have attended. Also, by 'bootleg', I automatically disqualify soundboards and multitracks from consideration. A bootleg connotes some type of risk involved, some daring-do on the part of a fan. Only an audience tape has that...and only an audience tape has the give-and-take between band and audience that was a key part of every Led Zeppelin gig.

The problem with coming up with a clear best bootleg for a band like Led Zeppelin is because they had several eras and what most people perceive as their performance peak doesn't coincide with their compositional peak. The common view is that Led Zeppelin was best in their young and hungry years, before fame and drugs and bad luck affected the band...roughly 1969-1973, although some are even pickier and narrow it down to 1969-72 before Plant's voice broke.

The problem with this is that any boot from this period precludes hearing many of the band's best songs: Kashmir, Achilles, Ten Years Gone, Rain Song, No Quarter, and more.

While Montreux, Blueberry Hill, Japan 1971, even the "Burn That Candle" audience boot of the entire unedited June 25, 1972 LA Forum show are all worthy candidates and would be on any collector's Desert Island Dozen list, the set lists are too limited to the early years of the band.

Also, since most people readily accept that Led Zeppelin were in their performance peak in their early years, picking a boot from that era serves the status quo...and where's the fun in that?

That is why my pick is the July 24, 1979 Copenhagen bootleg known as "Copenhagen Warm-Up Second Night".

It's a great audience tape of the band in a reasonably small venue. There is no long drum solo or other excesses to slog thru so it is a perfect boot to introduce a newcomer to Led Zeppelin. Best of all is the setlist, which has highlights from every album in the band's career.

As a bonus, it shuts up those who put forth the lazy narrative of Led Zeppelin's performance waning after 1973. The performances on this boot crackle and surge with an infectious energy not found on the Southampton boot. So many people have bought into the CW that Led Zeppelin couldn't deliver the goods post-73 that often their first response when hearing July 24, 1979 is of shock and surprise. It challenges their preconceived notions...which is always a good thing.

Some of the songs are near-definitive performances. Ten Years Gone...Kashmir...Achilles...NFBM...SIBLY...Sick Again...maybe some of the 6/21/77 or 6/23/77 ones are a touch better but it's a very close call. As a matter of fact, it came down between "Listen to this, Eddie" and "Copenhagen Warmup Second Night" for my top pick.

Let the arguing begin.

Brilliant post Strider. Well composed and solid argument 

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I'm surprised that you would call Southampton '73 the "Best Bootleg", it's not even in my top ten...

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I agree with most of the other posts in this thread. I like Southampton but it's nowhere near their best performance. It isn't poor either, but it's kind of more laidback if anything. As others have noted, the Stoke show from the week before is notably more energetic - that is a rather underrated performance actually.

I will agree that Southampton may well be the best sounding Zeppelin boot out there, since it's taken from a multi-track recording. However, I think lots of shows manage to capture the atmosphere of a Zeppelin concert better, LTTE being the standout example.

One thing that I do find Southampton interesting for is that it shows the band in a small, intimate venue, while at the height of their success. To make a comparison, it's like if U2 put out a live album of them playing the student union at Trinity College Dublin. The juxtaposition of hearing a world beating, super-heavyweight band in such a small environment at their commercial peak is completely fascinating. The laidback vibe helps in this regard, it's a very different sort of show to the US arenas.

There are some good performances to Southampton - HMMT/CB especially - but I do value it more for its unusualness than anything else.

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2 hours ago, Cosmic_Equilibrium said:

There are some good performances to Southampton - HMMT/CB especially - but I do value it more for its unusualness than anything else.

This is a good way of putting it (and I'd add TY to the stand-outs).

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