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  1. 1. Was Zep better live or in studio?

    • Live
      51
    • Studio
      27
    • Half and Half
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One off the top of my head is "Misty Mountain Hop". I've never ever liked the live versions of that. Others where I think IMO that there is NO comparison that the studio versions are better:

"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", "Dazed And Confused", "How Many More Times", "When The Levee Breaks", "Dancing Days", "Kashmir", "Ten Years Gone", "Sick Again", "Achilles Last Stand", "In The Evening", & "Hot Dog".

1) I know, I know, not liking live versions of "Dazed" is heresy with most here. I don't like half hour songs pretty much running on the same theme. I don't care how good the playing is because eventually I'm gonna get bored & as I don't smoke pot or indulge in other drugs that might somehow keep me interested, I can't be bothered even giving it a listen on bootlegs or the live albums anymore. It's the same with the Allman Bros for me, I love Duane Allman's playing but good luck getting me to sit through "Mountain Jam" when there's "Little Martha" as an option.

2) Some of those songs listed I do like live but they're just better in the studio like "Ten Years Gone" & "Achilles". They're hard to duplicate with all the guitar parts. I would have loved to SEE them play those live but I don't want to listen to some 20th generation live recording of them performing them when I have the original studio recording as an option. Even "Dancing Days" & "Sick Again" just have more punch in the studio. "When The Levee Breaks", "Kashmir", & "In The Evening" just don't have it live for me, they need the polish of the studio in the same way "Misty Mountain Hop" does.

3) "No Quarter" & "Whole Lotta Love" I enjoy live, even though they're long in the same way "Dazed" & "HMMT" are, but they don't bore me. They're constantly changing themes & they always sound different from show to show, tour to tour. I actually like those 2 songs better live usually to the studio versions, go figure.

Anyway, I voted studio.

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Live is where it's at.

I favor their live versions because of the fact they're performing it live, the fact that they can show us they can play a song without all that studio polishing, the fact that one song can sound so many different ways.

Isn't it a tad presumptuous to believe only dope-heads can listen to a 30 min. song and be interested throughout? :slapface:

The studio version is where the bore is at.

Studio Kashmir is seriously weak sauce compared to Knebworth Kashmir in my opinion.

Hot Dog on the other hand is just... Hot Dog... Hot...Dog... haha not much else to say about that one, it is what it is live and in the studio.

I must say though, some people are absolutely content with one version of a song, it's what makes the world turn I guess. "Different strokes..." right?

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Live is where it's at.

I favor their live versions because of the fact they're performing it live, the fact that they can show us they can play a song without all that studio polishing, the fact that one song can sound so many different ways.

Isn't it a tad presumptuous to believe only dope-heads can listen to a 30 min. song and be interested throughout? :slapface:

The studio version is where the bore is at.

Studio Kashmir is seriously weak sauce compared to Knebworth Kashmir in my opinion.

Hot Dog on the other hand is just... Hot Dog... Hot...Dog... haha not much else to say about that one, it is what it is live and in the studio.

I must say though, some people are absolutely content with one version of a song, it's what makes the world turn I guess. "Different strokes..." right?

I said "me" as far as dope & listening to 30 minutes of a song I feel is going nowhere. I can stare at floor tile & be amazed for hours on end on the right "medicine", I've done so in the past & enjoyed every second of it :D . I'd say great things about "Dazed" from Earls Court 75 with the proper medicine believe me, but "Dazed" live does nothing for me past 69 & since my medicine days are long gone it really isn't going to happen for me ever.

The studio versions are the foundation, without them there is nothing. Just as it takes great expertise to go off in a jam that leads somewhere it takes great skill to hold back & that's what the studio recordings are, an exercise in restraint.

"Kashmir" better at Knebworth? Not for me. I liked the Page & Plant live versions & the o2 version was great, everything else is tinny & weak. No oomph. The brass & string orchestration is a big part of the song & without it doesn't work as well for me.

Hey, I like "Hot Dog" :D Fun song, light hearted, & rockabilly which I love. On the live versions who knows what Page is doing during that solo, too much piano in the mixes, & that horrible vocal harmonizer. I still like it better than live "Misty Mountain Hop" though.

I like live versions of the songs, but I prefer the studio mostly. "The Rain Song" I love equally live or the studio for example. The same goes for "Thank You" & "Stairway". What I love about the studio versions is that it shows what a great producer Jimmy Page is. It's not all about playing. He was making records & obviously they stand up. The solo on "You Shook Me" with the backwards echo, the backwards echo throughout all of "Levee" & that drum sound, the guitar ochestrations of "Ten Years Gone", the intro to "In The Light", etc. are far from boring. It's the sound of a room & how Page placed everything & manipulated the sound. That's an art in itself. So yes, I like live versions of "I Can't Quit You Babe" better than the studio because it's easy to pull off & expand on, "Ten Years Gone" on the other hand not so much because a good half of the song goes missing.

Edited by kaiser
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IMHO LZ was meant for LIVE events. They weren't just concerts, they were events! The power that you could feel, the awe that was captured live, uncomparable.

But, putting on any studio Album/CD with a great sound system and a set of head phones(I prefer BOSE) is also amazing!

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I wouldnt say DAC runs on the same theme Kaiser, a large part of its sucess live IMHO is that it shifts themes at least every few mins rather than running them into the ground. I like the studio cut but many of the best live sections such as San Franisco werent devolped until latter.

Genreally I tend to preffer the live versions(although it becomes closer latter into the bands career) but I'd say thats as much because the band/Page were very good at picking out the tracks that would work and be devolped in a live setting while avoiding those that couldnt/wouldnt. Why I considered Zep my favourite band is exactly because they performed so well in both enviroments and brought a very different approach to both.

Edited by greenman
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For me, a lot of their songs were better live. That's not to say the album versions suck or anything, just that the live versions have a different quality to them that I respond to more. Take SIBLY for example. The live versions of that song are just far and away better than what's on Zep III. There's no question in my mind about that. Same with That's The Way, as well. I think the band's essence was better captured through live performances rather than studio work.

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I wouldnt say DAC runs on the same theme Kaiser, a large part of its sucess live IMHO is that it shifts themes at least every few mins rather than running them into the ground. I like the studio cut but many of the best live sections such as San Franisco werent devolped until latter.

Genreally I tend to preffer the live versions(although it becomes closer latter into the bands career) but I'd say thats as much because the band/Page were very good at picking out the tracks that would work and be devolped in a live setting while avoiding those that couldnt/wouldnt. Why I considered Zep my favourite band is exactly because they performed so well in both enviroments and brought a very different approach to both.

I like the "San Francisco/Woodstock" part of "Dazed", unfortunately it's dead in the middle of the song when listening to a CD. Thankfully I have a bootleg where "Woodstock" is treated as a song itself, & quite honestly I wished they just played it as a single song. That's another thing with half hour versions of "Dazed", if I were at one of the shows I would have preferred to have the other 3-4 songs Zep could have played if they had trimmed 15+ minutes off of "Dazed", so in that sense it is a bit indulgent. I was actually happy & agreed with Plant for once when he made Page trim down "Dazed" at the 02. Perfect time length, no boredom on my part & I still go out of my way to listen to that version. They still got in everything that they had to in the song & they didn't turn a good time into the last guest who didn't know when to leave the party.

But I agree, they were equally brilliant in the studio & live, I just "prefer" the studio because overall because that's how I got into the songs in the first place & I always go back to them, & that's not always the case with the live recordings.

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For me, a lot of their songs were better live. That's not to say the album versions suck or anything, just that the live versions have a different quality to them that I respond to more. Take SIBLY for example. The live versions of that song are just far and away better than what's on Zep III. There's no question in my mind about that. Same with That's The Way, as well. I think the band's essence was better captured through live performances rather than studio work.

"SIBLY" is an exception. They were playing that live before they recorded it. They actually had to find a way to make a good studio version of the song by showing some restraint & not over doing it while giving it that same energy as a live performance, and I think they succeeded. I do prefer live versions of "SIBLY" myself, particularly the embryonic 1970 versions & the balls out 1973 versions. Yeah, even I agree "SIBLY" live edges out the studio version, as does any live version of "No Quarter" to the studio. I can't even think of a weak live version of "No Quarter". That to me was consistently their best live song throughout the years.

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I prefer their studio work. As kaiser has pointed out about their production, that's what appeals to me the most, their sculpted sound and embellishments. As bright as their live colors are, the studio adds more colors in the spectrum, IMHO.

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I like the "San Francisco/Woodstock" part of "Dazed", unfortunately it's dead in the middle of the song when listening to a CD. Thankfully I have a bootleg where "Woodstock" is treated as a song itself, & quite honestly I wished they just played it as a single song. That's another thing with half hour versions of "Dazed", if I were at one of the shows I would have preferred to have the other 3-4 songs Zep could have played if they had trimmed 15+ minutes off of "Dazed", so in that sense it is a bit indulgent. I was actually happy & agreed with Plant for once when he made Page trim down "Dazed" at the 02. Perfect time length, no boredom on my part & I still go out of my way to listen to that version. They still got in everything that they had to in the song & they didn't turn a good time into the last guest who didn't know when to leave the party.

But I agree, they were equally brilliant in the studio & live, I just "prefer" the studio because overall because that's how I got into the songs in the first place & I always go back to them, & that's not always the case with the live recordings.

I agree that by 07 they were certainly better off going for shorter versions of Dazed and No Quarter but at there best I think the lenght of both those tracks was justifed. Both of them really show the problem with the debate though, alot of Zep's live material was so heavly altered from the studio versions that your not really compairing like for like.

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I think IMO that there is NO comparison that the studio versions are better:

"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", "Dazed And Confused", "How Many More Times", "When The Levee Breaks", "Dancing Days", "Kashmir", "Ten Years Gone", "Sick Again", "Achilles Last Stand", "In The Evening", & "Hot Dog".

"No Quarter" and "Whole Lotta Love" I enjoy live, even though they're long in the same way "Dazed" & "HMMT" are, but they don't bore me. They're constantly changing themes & they always sound different from show to show, tour to tour. I actually like those 2 songs better live usually to the studio versions, go figure.

One man's bore is another man's whore, and vice-versa, I guess.

I love the extended live versions of D&C and No Quarter, but, I am not one to go for the extended versions of WLL. The official extended versions of WLL are not on my playlists.

Kashmir live, as I experienced it, was FAR superior to the studio version. Same with TSRTS and SIBLY.

I can happily listen to MANY studio versions of Zep songs, except for Houses of the Holy tracks -- I mostly prefer the live versions ONLY from that LP.

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IMHO LZ was meant for LIVE events. They weren't just concerts, they were events! The power that you could feel, the awe that was captured live, uncomparable.

But, putting on any studio Album/CD with a great sound system and a set of head phones(I prefer BOSE) is also amazing!

How true ! !

My fav album side to listen to with the headphones on is PG Disc 2, Side 1. :)

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HMMT never became dull for me, that track changed a heck of alot considering it was only in the setlist for a couple of years. You had the funky band intros, the psychedelic jams of 69, becks Bolero being replaced by Ravels in 70 and generally the early medleys changed more than the latter ones.

DAC and NQ did occasionally become dull but not nesseraly as they became longer, DAC from 70 and NQ from 73 arent as interesting as what came latter to me simpley because they didnt have alot of the structure and varied improv that the longer versions did. DAC was definately a bit long in the tooth by 75 though(besides a few versions from the end of the tour and EC) and the 77 guitar solo even moreso.

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HMMT never became dull for me, that track changed a heck of alot considering it was only in the setlist for a couple of years. You had the funky band intros, the psychedelic jams of 69, becks Bolero being replaced by Ravels in 70 and generally the early medleys changed more than the latter ones.

have you heard the Texas Pop Festivle version? perfect absolutely perfect

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I definitely prefer the studio version of "In The Evening"....I can play that main lick better than Jimmy was playing it at Knebworth on DVD.

Ahhhh - but could you play it on the amount of drugs he was at that period in the band's career?

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