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tmtomh

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  1. I have a soft spot for the EC shows because of the acoustic sets and because for whatever reason I hold a higher opinion of them than what seems to be the consensus among the hardcore Zep community. Putting that aside, for the U.S. 1975 tour I of course agree with the consensus of all the comments above. I really, really like the 2-12 MSG Flying Circus show, and it would definitely be Top 3 of the tour for me if Plant's voice were in better shape. As it is, it's still Top 5 - something about it just gets me, and the sound is phenomenal. Objectively I guess I would have to put Seattle 3/21 at the top, although my admiration for its marathon length is not always matched by a desire to listen to it. Vancouver 3/19 is probably my personal favorite, as it balances performance quality, condition of Plant's voice, sound quality of sbd, and overall vibe quite nicely. I don't know what it is about 3/20 - maybe the horribly compressed and clipped sbd source - but I've always prefered 3/19 to it. For me the biggest problem with '75 is what others have noted - the lack of consistency in both performance quality and energy. I think a Best of 1975 compilation would be rip-roaring and just as good as a Top 10 or perhaps Top 5 1973 show. But you'd have to assemble such a composite from a good number of '75 dates, because the truly transcendent, exceptional performances are a bit scattered about.
  2. So many great comments here. I would agree with this one, though, because while all the albums (except maybe ITTOD) have tremendous sequencing, this is the best 1-2 punch that I feel really counts as having a song transition. Even though there's no crossfade like they did on the '73 tour, the two tracks clearly feel like a single suite. For me, that makes it special.
  3. There are so many potentially, but for me I'd have to say my first choice would be the Inglewood show on June 3, 1973. It's probably the best U.S. performance of 1973 - the energy they display is just relentless - and personally I would argue that it even equals the legendary late-March European shows. Page, Bonham, and Jones were perhaps at their all-time pinnacle as a collective instrumental unit during those March shows, but IMHO on June 3 they are within the margin of error of being just as good - and Plant's voice is in better shape at that June show than it was for most of the March run. Also, that June 3 show only circulates as an audience source with major, unrepairable tape problems that make several of the tracks unlistenable. And that's a factor for me - other amazing shows have better recordings so we can at least listen to those all the way through. So if a fantastic-quality soundboard or a major audience-tape upgrade surfaces for June 3, then that factor will become moot, and my answer to this question might change to something like March 24 '73 Offenburg, Sep 29 '71 Osaka, or Sep 19 '70 Madison Square Garden (evening show). But as long as June 3 '73 doesn't have a better quality, more complete source for us to listen to, that's the one for me.
  4. It's got The Wanton Song as part of the live set, and the song is cut... seems just like the Minneapolis SBD to me.I'll bet it's authentic.
  5. The current site owner recently got access/full control of the site - so it's not clear why it has disappeared.
  6. The easiest way to get it is to search for the Japan FM or Japan digital radio version. It's missing about a minute of the four minutes' worth of Honey Bee, but otherwise the Whole Lotta Love medley is complete. And the sound is very good.
  7. Physical Graffiti, without a doubt. It has everything - the light and shade, hard electric blues, funk, beautiful acoustics, long epics, fun goofs, the whole nine yards. Also, if you break it down between the 1974 tracks and the other tracks, the early tracks make up one of the best outtakes albums of all time (The Rover, Houses of the Holy, Down by the Seaside, Night Flight, Boogie with Stu, Black Country Woman). Meanwhile, the 1974 tracks - the tracks they came up with just for that album - are incredible: Custard Pie, In My Time of Dying, Trampled Under Foot, Kashmir, In the Light, Ten Years Gone, The Wanton Song, Sick Again. There's not a weak or even so-so track in the bunch. And it includes not one or two but three long epics, plus arguably the best ballad they ever did (Ten Years Gone). All that said, Led Zeppelin III is a close second for me. And How the West Was Won is one of the best live albums in all of rock history.
  8. Great info from Steve! On a more basic level, mono and stereo audience and soundboard sources have been "remastered" for a long time. The most common technique is probably EQ, changing the frequency energy with an equalizer plugin or a similar tool. Graphic EQ can boost or cut specific frequency ranges to alter the overall balance of the source, adding high-end sparkle, cutting excessively boomy low end, or boosting or cutting the midrange to change the loudness of much of Plant's vocals and Page's guitar relative to Bonham and Jones. Parametric EQ allows more fine control over the frequency range that's boosted or cut, and is often used to, for example, add some snap to the snare drum without altering the overall sound of the midrange, or to tame an overpowering bass frequency without cutting the overall level of bass on the recording. When the source is a stereo one, especially a soundboard where the stereo separation is clearly audible, some folks will also EQ each channel separately, to further contrast or clarify the instruments that are more dominant in each channel. That's sort of a "poor man's remixing." Conversely, if a stereo soundboard has excessive or bizarre separation, as a few of the older Zep soundboards do, folks will sometimes narrow the apparent stereo channel difference by doing a version of what Steve notes above, either narrowing the L-R spread in an audio editor, or else making a duplicate of the stereo source, flipping the channels, lowering the volume of the flipped version, and mixing it back in with the original. The result is added L-R channel crosstalk, which can "knit together" a source in the right situation. Beyond that, reverb is often added to soundboard sources, since most of them are "dry" and lack both the hall ambience and some of the reverb effects that might have been applied to the voice and instruments in the sound setup. Compression is also an oft-used technique. Somewhat similarly to parametric EQ, some of the most skilled fan remasterers will apply compression to multiple, relatively narrow frequency ranges (multi band compression) to liven up or sharpen up the sound without adding excess compression to the entire thing. Noise reduction is sometimes used to reduce tape hiss, although it's very easy to overdo this and many purists are against any noise reduction ever being used at all. Finally, there are a couple of less-often used techniques. One, which I believe Steve uses or has used in the past, is an exciter plugin. An exciter adds distortion to the signal, but it adds only even-order (or maybe just 2nd order, I can't recall) harmonic distortion, so what it's designed to do is increase the high end sparkle of a source by synthesizing sounds at double the original frequency of the sound. So if a soundboard tape has very little energy above, say, 7kHz (as is sometimes the case, especially with pre-1972 soundboards for Zep), an exciter can create 8kHz harmonics from 4kHz sounds, 11kHz harmonics from 5.5kHz sounds, 14kHz harmonics from 7kHz sounds, and so on. The restored harmonics extend the treble, brighten and liven up the sound, increase the body and volume (since new sounds are being added all over in the form of those new harmonics), and potentially increase the feeling of air and ambience (since 2nd order harmonics are known to increase the perception of ambience - which is why some folks like tubes in their stereos even though tubes are not as accurate as well-designed solid-state gear). The problem with exciters when used on something like a 1960s/70s soundboard tape is that the tape doesn't just have pure fundamental musical notes on it - it also has a ton of distortion, from Page's and Jones' guitar effects boxes, from the amplifiers (in that era the signal chain was often stage amp to stage mic to soundboard, so you had the amp and mic distorting the signal on the way), and from the original tape recorder and tape plus any tape copying steps over the years. All those distorted sounds get new harmonics generated by an exciter too, and sometimes the result can be a bunch of treble distortion that makes the entire thing sound like a hash. In some situations, though, and used judiciously, an exciter can produce an interesting effect. Another, even less-frequently used technique is highly effective but incredibly labor-intensive, and I know of only one guy who uses it: he samples the very brief transients when Bonham hits the snare drum and cymbals on an official live Zep release, and he goes through the entire bootleg soundboard source and inserts the transients whenever appropriate, literally restoring the missing treble transients that were either not recorded on the original tape, or have been lost as the tape was copied over the years. I can't even imagine how long it takes him to do that, but it works and it never sounds fake. And a third is adding audience noise to a soundboard source to better simulate the feeling of a live show or official-release live album. Typically the audience noise is either copied from elsewhere on the soundboard source (like at the very beginning or ending of the show), or else "flown in" from the between-song applause from The Song Remains the Same. It's usually faded up as a song ends, left up throughout the break and the beginning of the next song, and then faded out as the next song really gets going.
  9. No full multitracks circulate (at least not openly). In addition to the Bonham tracks, there's a single multi of Plant's vocal on Since I've Been Loving You - but I've only seen the vocal track, never the other multis that make up that track.
  10. Of course the June LA shows - all of them, but especially the first three nights. And yes to the NYC shows, although the latter ones are better than the earlier ones IMHO. Agree with Strider about late April - 4/27 Cleveland is a decent show with great sound, while 4/28 is a mediocre/okay AUD source but a stupendous performance. And then of course there's Pontiac 4/30, which sounds terrible but appears to have been an excellent performance. I'm also really partial to the final night in Landover, 5/30 - a great performance. And while I admit I'm influenced some by the stellar sound quality - arguably best sounding show of '77 - Fort Worth 5/22 is a really solid show too.
  11. Night Owl's Blueberry Hill is something special. It's rather more than a simple matrix - Night Owl took all the good quality AUD sources and basically treated them like individual multitrack, mixing them into a stereo image and in some cases mixing only certain frequency ranges of each source (based on whether the source had better bass, or better midrange/treble clarity or extension, etc.) The result is a stereo effect that outdoes any other source with greater dimensionality. Highly recommended.
  12. Actually, it was Dancing Days that the band felt sounded too similar stylistically to Houses of the Holy. They've also said they liked the idea of having the title track to the album... on a different album. So it's reasonable to presume that they preferred Dancing Days (either as a song, or in the running order of the rest of the album), and given that, thought it would also be cheeky to separate the song from its album namesake.
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