Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
fwb

Live better than Studio

Recommended Posts

Like most of you, I find myself listening to bootlegs and live recordings a majority of the time.  I see listings to favorite live versions of songs and the various opinions on each.  My question was - is there a song or songs that you feel are better in their live versions (or one particular version) than they are on the original studio album?  For example, I find live versions of Celebration Day to be a lot better than the version on Zep III.  Maybe a little more energy or whatever.  But Celebration Day from TSRTS is amazing.  I also find the shorter versions of No Quarter from the 73 tour a bit better, mostly because of the extended solo.  However, I do love live versions of Stairway, but don't find it necessarily better.  Just different than hearing the same version on the radio over and over.  Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest a better question would be which songs you don't prefer live. For me, the vast majority of Zeppelin's songs are superior live. The improvisation, the energy, the unpredictability. I find myself rarely listening to the studio versions anymore. The live versions of The Song Remains the Same or Trampled Underfoot for example are on a whole other level compared to the original versions. Celebration Day, which you mentioned, is another great example. To be perfectly honest, I find the studio version to be a bit dull. But live...HOLY SHIT! Just insane energy from start to finish. And if you thought TSRTS was incredible, you should definitely check out the versions from 1971. The word explosive was invented for stuff like those.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, maybe I could have worded it a bit differently.  But other than the songs that are overplayed on the radio like Stairway, Rock 'n' Roll, Dancing Days (to name just a few), I really have no preference between the studio  and live versions.  Of course, when a song has improvisation like Trampled or Dazed and Confused, it brings it to another level, almost another song.  But for me, Celebration Day is one song that I find really only wanting to hear live.  Just seems like it has that extra energy live it didn't have in the studio.  Maybe just me, and its only a few songs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While many fans, and casual Zeppelin fans are a-okay with the studio version of "Kashmir", I'm not, and never have been.

In 1975, when playing the LP, Kashmir was not that impressive -- as recorded and mixed.

But, otoh, Kashmir ended up being one of the most powerful live LZ songs, imo.

I love the live versions of HOTH songs, but that album has got to be my least played LZ studio album.

I find much of IV to be perfectly recorded, and prefer those to live versions.

Four Sticks is incredible with a good pair of headphones on.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The really close call ones for me...

Ten Years Gone. - The studio version is an absolute masterpiece. near perfection. Live - when played really well, it can also be incredible. By 51 to 49 I'd probably give it to studio version.

The Ocean - studio version, but not by much.

The Rain Song - Studio version - again, not by much at all.

Kashmir - undecided. I love the studio one, the first melotron solo is one of JPJ's BEST. Live - at the end, when Page and Bonzo started to take it to the stratosphere in the better live versions, just unreal.

For Your Life - before the o2 gig, this was one of my favourite tracks for a LONG time. To hear it live at full volume with my headphones on - WOW. But probably studio version - but then again - fuck - Can't decide.

How Many More Times - even though the Royal Albert Hall version is to me the greatest thing ever captured on camera, the studio version to me is also one of Zep's best studio songs - and off their FIRST album FFS! I'd have to go with RAH live version, but not by much (such is how much I appreciate the studio version)

The rest, Live wins except for....

All of my Love

Black Country Woman

The Battle of Evermore

Thank You

 

I might have missed one or two, but that's generally it for mine.

Edited by rm2551

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As mentioned above, it's easier to pick the Zeppelin songs which aren't improved on live. Pretty much anything from HotH or Presence especially is vastly better in the live setting. 

My picks for the close call ones are :

1) Since I've Been Loving You - while there are some great versions from 1971, the original studio version actually managed to nail the song perfectly with just the right mix of emotion and playing. 

2) Ten Years Gone - agree that it's very close between the live and studio versions. 

3) Battle Of Evermore - studio version has a certain delicacy to it. 

4) Tangerine - ditto. 

5) When The Levee Breaks didn't totally work in the live setting the few times it was played, which is a shame as there was the potential for it to do so. Still, the studio version just has something about it though. 

6) Whole Lotta Love - I prefer the original studio version to most of the extended live versions with the medleys in the middle, however I prefer the Knebworth version most of all, with the awesome riff jam in the middle that keeps the momentum going. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tangerine - damn - forgot that. Studio for sure.

 

IMTOD - SO CLOSE. 50/50 really. But Studio wins just for the fact it seemed to surprise even them at the time.

"That's gotta be the one out there!"

"Come have a listen then. Hold this for me, thank you."

I know what Bonzo means with that as I feel so excited at what I just listened to. Even now after hundreds of listens. So exiting to hear something that good. It's one of the best studio examples of how the 4 individuals energy and creative skills created something that stunned even them.

Edited by rm2551

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some that can mostly be discussed in terms of added live energy and smaller improvisations that are sometimes more amazing then other times and for some the studio atmosphere achived or the amount and sound of overdubbs is really important, but they are all still great live!

The rest are all really important and essential live, so much was added, energised, grooved up, improvised and there were so many spontaneous interactions, developments and new approaches and sounds!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, rm2551 said:

Tangerine - damn - forgot that. Studio for sure.

 

IMTOD - SO CLOSE. 50/50 really. But Studio wins just for the fact it seemed to surprise even them at the time.

"That's gotta be the one out there!"

"Come have a listen then. Hold this for me, thank you."

I know what Bonzo means with that as I feel so excited at what I just listened to. Even now after hundreds of listens. So exiting to hear something that good. It's one of the best studio examples of how the 4 individuals energy and creative skills created something that stunned even them.

Yes! Yes! YES!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love so many of the live performances too, but for me they're so different in feel from the studio versions that in most cases I don't necessarily prefer either one. For example, how could you choose between the live and studio versions of Whole Lotta Love and Dazed? They're too different, and both versions of each song are totally essential.

The live tracks often excel because (as others have noted above) they're more muscular, and sometimes because they're looser and more fun. But I also think the band did suffer at times from being a four-piece and in particular from having only one lead guitar on stage. Jones very capably stepped up with the triple-neck in some cases, but for the most part their live arrangements lacked the guitar overdubs that Page relied on so often in the studio.

So with that said, the only live versions I can think of at the moment that I personally find definitively better than the studio ones are:

  • Communication Breakdown (the best live versions are just ferocious; studio version is great proto-punk but sounds like a wild animal caged up - live the animal was set free; and the Jam Sandwich breakdown adds a whole other dimension)
  • Celebration Day (really opens up live, and also never loved Jones' bass sound on the studio version)
  • The Song Remains the Same (don't like the sped-up helium vocals on the studio version, and the studio version lacks a little rhythmic oomph compared to the live versions)
  • No Quarter (don't like the slowed-down quaalude vocals on the studio version, and the best live versions have fantastic solos)
Edited by tmtomh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Rain Song from TSRTS has been my fav since I was 13. . No Quarter from 1973 takes on a whole new experience as the journey time doubled from the studio and then doubled again in 75. . SIBLY as great as the III version is this is one they killed almost every night. . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO, the only Zeppelin song that was played live that did 'not' surpass the studio version 'in any way' was Misty Mountain Hop. I do not include WTLB because I consider it to be an 'attempt' at playing it as to actually playing it. But boy, what a mess those attempts were. With Bonzo overplaying the shit out of the drums, Plant's godawful vocals and all the bands miscues combined, I think would qualify it for "train wreck" status, at the very least. 

Edited by blindwillie127

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, blindwillie127 said:

IMHO, the only Zeppelin song that was played live that did 'not' surpass the studio version 'in any way' was Misty Mountain Hop. I do not include WTLB because I consider it to be an 'attempt' at playing it as to actually playing it. But boy, what a mess those attempts were. With Bonzo overplaying the shit out of the drums, Plant's godawful vocals and all the bands miscues combined, I think would qualify it for "train wreck" status, at the very least. 

I don' think I've listened to a live WTLB tbh. What's the best recording of it? Belgium?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Probably Chicago. Honestly, it's not as bad as I described, but it obviously needed to be dropped quickly. It just wasn't happening. Besides, they already had a song similar in its plodding/tempo/length in the set that they could actually play...Kashmir. They really should have given it a try in '72 though. But, the studio version so fucking amazing it really doesn't matter. 

Also, I gotta say that Trampled Underfoot live never surpassed the studio version. I fucking love live TUF, but, there is a certain 'meanness' to it on the record that can't be replicated live. Can't quite put my finger on it to tell you the truth. I also think its one of Zeppelins stupidest songs lyrically, but the way Plant delivers it, his phrasing and just the wicked raspy sound of his voice makes you forget how goddamn meaningless this song is. :D

Edited by blindwillie127

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Live or studio--it's hard to say, actually. Most times I go with live, but sometimes it's a draw (the Rain Song). Kashmir is definitely better live; same with No Quarter. Only thing that comes to my head right now as far as studio beating the stage might be How Many More Times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it's simple. While I love the studio albums I wasn't there when they recorded them.

All the live songs were better than the studio versions to me simply for the fact that they were on stage creating those songs in the flesh. I was witnessing magical alchemy in person.

And it was loud and powerful as fuck...there wasn't a stereo system in the world that could equal that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can think of one song that I much prefer in the studio version - Babe I'm Gonna Leave You - because the acoustic guitars and atmospheric production are such a key part of the track for me.  It certainly was powerful live, but I really like the studio version better.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the song "what is What should never be" Live is amazing, The power that comes through on that song is incredible. 

When the levee breaks live was a complete joke. Never should have been done. Studio version is untouchable.

No Quarter live in 1977 is a joke, to long and boring. Studio is still better.

Black dog live. Power all out thunder. Studio is nice, but the Live versions kick some butt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Black_dog_boogie said:

 

When the levee breaks live was a complete joke. Never should have been done. Studio version is untouchable.

No Quarter live in 1977 is a joke, to long and boring. Studio is still better.

 

The problem with Levee live is they tried too hard to duplicate what they did in the studio version and could not pull it off due to all the treatments on the song. Now if they would have performed the song along the lines of the studio outtake version it would have worked brilliantly. In fact I really love that new version of the song, what a gem.

Have to disagree with NQ as that song in the studio was flaccid as hell IMO yet truly came into its own live. Of course by 77' it had become overblown but the 73' & 75' versions, especially 5-23-75 EC is on a whole different level. But yes 77' and Nutrocker??? WTF??? First they slam ELP then they try and be ELP?  Completely destroyed the vibe of the song. Plus the addition of the Boogie section in 77' was dumb as hell as well. It would be like Alice in Chains doing Sickman live and in the middle throwing in Fox on the Run for shits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question about No Quarter. Why did they cut the middle section of the song in the remastered version of Song Remains the Same. I know it's in some other comments here. Just bought it in Hong Kong. Was sad....very sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Black_dog_boogie said:

Question about No Quarter. Why did they cut the middle section of the song in the remastered version of Song Remains the Same. I know it's in some other comments here. Just bought it in Hong Kong. Was sad....very sad.

Page wanted it to really be a soundtrack, which I guess means exactly like in the movie, although movies many times don't have full songs but soundtracks do, so I guess that was his decision, but there wasn't that much more work to do, I got a feeling that at least for No quarter he probably made a full version for himself, but fans would still like at least Celebration day solo from the 1976 release, but other things are not that problematic, full Black dog maybe. Some parts of Dazed are also a bit differently edited and so on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/15/2017 at 1:43 AM, rm2551 said:

The really close call ones for me...

For Your Life - before the o2 gig, this was one of my favourite tracks for a LONG time. To hear it live at full volume with my headphones on - WOW. But probably studio version - but then again - fuck - Can't decide.

 

One of my favorites as well. I think there are two deciding factors that may nudge your preference to the studio version:

 Page's guitar solo (studio version) is ranked very highly in my book and that is the main reason why I take the Presence cut any day.

And don't forget... Bonzo's magic and touch on "For Your Life" cannot be replicated by his son.

Don't get me wrong, I love the O2 version and got chills hearing it live.

 

On 11/15/2017 at 1:43 AM, rm2551 said:

 

The rest, Live wins except for....

Thank You

 

You have to explain yourself here. So many live versions that destroy the studio cut.

Edited by Jimmy's Dragon Suit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, IpMan said:

The problem with Levee live is they tried too hard to duplicate what they did in the studio version and could not pull it off due to all the treatments on the song. Now if they would have performed the song along the lines of the studio outtake version it would have worked brilliantly. In fact I really love that new version of the song, what a gem.

I totally agree. If Page had backed off on trying to replicate all the solo slide parts a bit and stuck to the rhythm instead, it would have been fine. And, they probably would have been a hell of a lot more comfortable playing it at the original tempo as opposed to the artificially slowed down one from IV. To me, it feels like they were not able to pull off the slow/almost half time tempo of the original at all live. It felt very forced, as opposed to how well they replicated the slowed down album version of No Quarter live with ease. All you gotta do is listen to 'If It Keeps On Raining' to come to this conclusion (thanks IpMan) B).

Speaking of 'If It Keeps On Raining', I would love to hear just the bass n drum tracks isolated together. That first few seconds of just Jones n Bonham is just so damn cool. Its like hearing how the secret ingredient is made. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Live versions allow for deeper exploration.  The Zeppelin stands apart from the rest of the so-called "hard rock" bands because their live approach is more jazz oriented.  Entire sections of songs were reserved for improvisation.

Plus, I've been listening to the studio albums since 1972, the live jamming keeps me interested.

That being said, the studio versions of Ten Years Gone, Tangerine, and Babe I'm Gonna Leave You are about perfect!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×