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The July 6, 1973 Soundcheck. I know the exact date is uncertain but that's what my record sleeve says so I go with that. It was so unique I keep an eye out for boots at the record shops now.

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Belfast 1971. It made everything so different, because when I heard it I didn't know that Robert could hit those high notes live xD To used to the 1973 and 75 performances, I guess. As gateway was just really everything Zeppelin put out. It didn't realy hit me until I heard Presence.

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What got me into bootlegs was the legitimate release of How the West Was Won. I was obsessed with it because it was recorded in my home town and it was my first exposure to live Zeppelin. We had the original TSRTS and I never really liked it. I still don't, but I do like the remastered/expanded version.

The first show I downloaded was the 1972 Long Beach soundboard fragment (HTWWW). After that I downloaded St. Valentines Day Massacre andKeeper Of The Seasons (1975 Soundboards) and I was hooked. I now have around 200 shows (including dvd's), and a list of the shows I still need to complete my archive. Those two boots are still at the top of my list of favorite shows.

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My first boot was Mobile '73, and I was quite impressed with it. Next was St. Louis '75, and I thought, "WoW, these sound fantastic! I should get them all!" LOL my next one was Gonzaga '68 which quickly brought me back to earth. I have them all now, but those first two are still in my favorites.

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What Led Zeppelin bootleg made a lasting impression on you? One that served as a gateway to you realizing that you need to go check out some more boots.

I guess that still hasn't happened yet. The first ones I heard were Blueberry Hill and Live Over Europe (or something like that) back in the 80's. I taped what later turned out to be most of the BBC Sessions off the radio during a Westwood One special during the same time period. Years and years later someone sent me a copy of their show at Dorton Arena in Raleigh (which one of my older brothers attended) but that's pretty much the extent of my live Zeppelin collection, at least as far as the unauthorized stuff goes. Overall, I don't have a lot of unauthorized live recordings by any one band, probably because most of them sound like shit. I know there's some very notable exceptions to that but I'm guessing that's why I've never made much of an effort to seek out the unauthorized live stuff. That said, I wouldn't be at all opposed to digging into what's out there.

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July 1972.

I was still buzzing from having seen the Led Zeppelin concerts at the LA Forum and Long Beach Arena on June 25 and 27, 1972, and wanted to get some Led Zeppelin posters for my bedroom walls.

I was at a local shop in Huntington Beach that sold concert tickets/records/posters and was raving about the Led Zeppelin concerts to the guy in the shop. He asked if I was really a fan and I said heck yeah! Then he said that he knew some guys that had live Led Zeppelin records recorded at the Forum and that if I came back next weekend he would have some to sell me for $10 each.

TEN DOLLARS!!! That was a lot of money back then...it was more than the cost of my Led Zeppelin ticket. It was more than double the cost of an album in stores. The guy said it was worth it...that they were double-albums, for one thing, and that you would hear stuff you wouldn't hear on their studio albums. Having just seen Led Zeppelin in concert for the first time, I knew that to be true...especially in regards to songs like "Dazed and Confused" and "Whole Lotta Love".

Now, I don't know if he meant that he knew the Rubber Dubber or Smoking Pig guys personally or if he just had connections to guys who could get their product. At that point, it wasn't even a question I knew to ask, for my knowledge of what bootlegs were and how they came into being was nil. I had yet to hear a bootleg in my life...not the Bob Dylan or Rolling Stones bootlegs that Rolling Stone magazine had written about, nor the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix boots that I'm sure were floating around by the early Seventies.

And certainly not any Led Zeppelin.

But after seeing those Led Zeppelin concerts, I had the fever, and now this guy was saying he had the cure. So money be damned, I wanted it. I told him my birthday was in a couple of weeks and that I was sure to get plenty of birthday money to cover the cost, and I would then come and buy them.

He said ok and also told me not to tell anyone else about this...keep it hush-hush.

So, a few days after my birthday, that's when I got my first Led Zeppelin bootlegs. Hell, first bootlegs period. For $20 total, $10 each, I got:

1. Live on Blueberry Hill Sept. 4, 1970 LA Forum. Double-vinyl.

2. Going to California Sept. 14, 1971 LA Forum. Double-vinyl.

It wasn't until years later that I discovered that the Going to California boot was mislabeled...that it was recorded at Berkeley not the LA Forum.

I listened to both bootlegs back-to-back when I got home...all 8 sides...and what can I say? I was hooked from that point on! It certainly helped that both "Live on Blueberry Hill" and "Going to California" are great shows with pretty good sound...particularly in regards to "Going to California".

After those two, I picked up "PB" later in the year, and "Bonzo's Birthday Party" and "Three Days After" shortly after Christmas in 1974. By then I had moved and couldn't get to Huntington Beach as often as before.

My next Led Zeppelin bootleg wouldn't be until fall of 1977, during my sophomore year in high school, when a friend got me a cassette copy of "For Badgeholders Only". It was only part of the show: Sick Again to Kashmir. I added "Listen to this, Eddie" the next summer in 1978.

And that was the extent of my Led Zeppelin bootleg collection in the '70s. In the 80s, after I graduated and joined the Army, I got stationed in Ft. Hood, where there was a fantastic record store in nearby Killeen, TX...as well as Austin being only an hour or so drive away. From 1981-82 I loaded up on bootlegs every week. By the time I left Ft. Hood for Germany, my Led Zeppelin bootleg albums numbered close to 75.

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My first boot was January 15, 1973...Trentham Gardens, Stoke, UK. I was in high school and was really discovering Zeppelin at that point. I bought all their tapes one summer and ravenously sought out anything by them I could find. This was pre-internet, so information was hard to come by. There was a used CD store that had some Zeppelin boots. I was interested, but they were too expensive for a high schooler. The owner of the shop offered to dub one of the CD's onto a tape for me for $10. It wasn't the whole show, only as much as could fit on a 60 minute tape. But it was enough to get me hooked. It just so happened that Stoke is a great show, and a soundboard, so it was a great intro.

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Thanks for the responses! I enjoyed reading your stories.

One of my early encounters was when I was browsing youtube for different versions of little Richard's Long Tall Sally. One of my favorite renditions being the Beatles take on it (not just saying that because they are one of my favorite bands). Suddenly I noticed on the related videos that apparently there was a Led Zeppelin version of the song. I immediately clicked on it!! and for the next 7 minutes I was blown away!!! I knew that I had to have that song along with the whole concert, and after much research I was finally able to track down Led Zeppelin's concert at the Royal Albert Hall January 9 1970! Soon after I began to seek out more shows and was also on a quest to acquire all known recorded versions of Long Tall Sally that Led Zeppelin performed. Till this day Led Zeppelin continues to surprise me (especially during medleys).

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if the question is "what was your first zep boot" the n mine is this one

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it's the seattle 73 show before it became more commonly known as V 1/2.....most boots back then were just traded as tapes....wasn't all that much actually on vinyl

first cd boot i ever had was this one

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i just about shit a brick cuz bootled cds were brand new......plus it was the soundtrack of the 80 zurich show......and the 80 tour shows were the least available at the time (along with.....ironically.....the 75 tour) .....and the couple of shows that were in common circulation at the time were audience recordings.and nothing near the quality of this, or what was yet to come

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Ooh that very first bootleg cassette copy of Dallas 4th 1975. Bought in Dublin 1992, in the basement record store that's long gone. 2 x 45mins of the first part of the concert, up to a cut Moby Dick. It was a revelation to hear. The sound quality, the playing, the groove. I thought, and still do, that some of the songs played at that gig were among the best of the tour, esp OTHAFA.

The problem with hearing such a high fidelity recording as one's first proper exposure to LZ boots, is that nearly everything else - bar the 1975 SBDs and few other exceptions - all sound inferior!

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The first boot I heard (after hearing/taping the BBC show from FM radio) was "Destroyer" while on Spring Break and partying with some people from Cleveland. The boot that made me have a long lasting impression of them live and to get more shows was "Listen To This Eddie". The vibe of the show and within the band was what made me want to hear more of the unofficial stuff out there.....

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I got "Live on Blueberry Hill" on colored vinyl at The Music Faucet in Hayward, Ca back in 1977 and I was hooked! I had all the studio albums by then but hearing them live just sealed the deal. Very soon after I began searching for other Led Zeppelin bootleg records and found "For Badgeholders Only" parts one and two at Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley. Rather Ripped was later raided by the Feds for selling bootlegs and was put out of business. Next thing you know I was on every xeroxed trader's list trading cassette copies of bootleg albums with people all over the world through the mail. Then came bootleg CDs at record conventions and finally free downloading of super high quality soundboards of any band you can think of. I have a storage tub with a couple thousand CDs in it and a three terabyte hard drive almost full of SHNs. The modern world RULES!

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I got "Live on Blueberry Hill" on colored vinyl at The Music Faucet in Hayward, Ca back in 1977 and I was hooked! I had all the studio albums by then but hearing them live just sealed the deal. Very soon after I began searching for other Led Zeppelin bootleg records and found "For Badgeholders Only" parts one and two at Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley. Rather Ripped was later raided by the Feds for selling bootlegs and was put out of business. Next thing you know I was on every xeroxed trader's list trading cassette copies of bootleg albums with people all over the world through the mail. Then came bootleg CDs at record conventions and finally free downloading of super high quality soundboards of any band you can think of. I have a storage tub with a couple thousand CDs in it and a three terabyte hard drive almost full of SHNs. The modern world RULES!

I have had a very similar experience "in the beginning",with collecting bootlegs (but my first and second were Fillmore West 1969 and Destroyer/Cleveland 1977, both on cassette tape) I also remember those wonderful bootleg "conventions" that came to my area once every 6 months or year. They were great while they lasted. Also a handful of shops in the French Quarter were shut down by the Fed's or another group for the same exact reason, about 10 years ago. With the internet, I've almost gotten myself back up to everything I lost years ago. Although half are CD-R copies and not the nice "originals" with booklets, etc. like I once cherished.

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Although half are CD-R copies and not the nice "originals" with booklets, etc. like I once cherished.

There are two kinds of collectors, the ones, like me, who just want to hear the music and the ones who like to get the whole package: booklet, pictures of the show, stories from the people there, etc. What an awesome quest it would be to seek a copy of each of the 292 shows known to have been recorded!

Edited by chef free
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I never really thought this thread would really get going, but anyhow I'm the same as most of you. I started out with a little bit then I found myself seeking out all these shows after I got a taste of live Zepp :}

One thing I want to add is were you guys a little put off by some of the poorer sounding boots and how long did it take your ears to get adjusted to the sound? That is if they ever got use to it......

I find myself gong back to some shows that at the time I thought sounded pretty bad and found myself really enjoying them. June 28 Bath 1970 would be an example. I believe its not at all bad, I really like this show (perhaps its due to the dadgad remaster I got).

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I guess that still hasn't happened yet. The first ones I heard were Blueberry Hill and Live Over Europe (or something like that) back in the 80's. I taped what later turned out to be most of the BBC Sessions off the radio during a Westwood One special during the same time period. Years and years later someone sent me a copy of their show at Dorton Arena in Raleigh (which one of my older brothers attended) but that's pretty much the extent of my live Zeppelin collection, at least as far as the unauthorized stuff goes. Overall, I don't have a lot of unauthorized live recordings by any one band, probably because most of them sound like shit. I know there's some very notable exceptions to that but I'm guessing that's why I've never made much of an effort to seek out the unauthorized live stuff. That said, I wouldn't be at all opposed to digging into what's out there.

I find this a startling comment coming from you, Jahfin. Considering the breadth of your musical knowledge and taste, I find it inconceivable that you would purposely limit yourself to only the "official" live output of Led Zeppelin. Or any band that you like, for that matter...are you telling me that you don't have any of the amazing Wilco or REM live shows that are available?

I can understand being put off by the Raleigh show, but there are plenty of Zeppelin boots that have great sound: 6-21-77/6-23-77/2-12-75/2-14-75/3-4-75/4-26-69/9-14-71/9-29-71/7-24-79/5-24-75/5-25-75...they may not be multitracks but some rival "The Song Remains the Same" in sound quality. And performance-wise, there are many shows that are so immense, they worth the slight deficiency in pristine sound.

I find it hard to believe you don't have "Listen to this, Eddie", "For Badgeholders Only", "Going to California", "Copenhagen Warmups-The Second Night", "Dallas 1975", "St. Valentine's Day Massacre", "That's Alright, New York", "Earls Court", or any of the 1969 San Francisco shows and 1971 Japanese tour.

Till this day Led Zeppelin continues to surprise me (especially during medleys).

It was the medleys that first did it for me, too.

One of the major shocks for me seeing Led Zeppelin was the ease and panache with which they covered old classic after classic. Particularly in the Whole Lotta Love medley. I often had a hard time keeping up in identifying all the songs they played in the medleys.

So when I got my first Led Zeppelin bootlegs, that was one of the benefits; finally being able to identify all the songs they played in the medleys and track down the original sources. It gave me a new appreciation for the original 50s rockers like Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and Fats Domino. In fact, I might not have gone to see Elvis in 1972 if it wasn't for hearing Led Zeppelin cover him so prominently in concert.

if the question is "what was your first zep boot" the n mine is this one

It's quite simple...what was the first boot you heard that made you want to hear more? That made you want to collect live Led Zeppelin? Obviously if the first Zeppelin boot you heard was Raleigh, NC or Tempe, AZ, then you probably weren't inspired to seek out more.

I never really thought this thread would really get going, but anyhow I'm the same as most of you. I started out with a little bit then I found myself seeking out all these shows after I got a taste of live Zepp :}

One thing I want to add is were you guys a little put off by some of the poorer sounding boots and how long did it take your ears to get adjusted to the sound? That is if they ever got use to it......

I find myself gong back to some shows that at the time I thought sounded pretty bad and found myself really enjoying them. June 28 Bath 1970 would be an example. I believe its not at all bad, I really like this show (perhaps its due to the dadgad remaster I got).

Well, there was a certain amount of adjustment I had to make, but I was lucky that my first boots were fairly good quality ones(Blueberry Hill and Going to California), so the adjustment wasn't too difficult. The 1973 tour boots I picked up were much worse sounding, though, and that kind of put me off collecting more. It wasn't until my friend raved about the quality of the Badgeholders boot that I gave him a blank 90 minute cassette to make me a copy. It did sound great, although it wasn't the complete show.

Years and years of collecting boots and taping my own shows have trained my ears to adapt to listening to average or below average sound quality if the performance is worth it.

For instance, the discovery of the September 19, 1970 evening show at Madison Square Garden was a historic revelation, and even though the sound isn't up to Mike Millard standards, the performance and the setlist make it a must-have in any Led Zeppelin fan's collection.

It is a rare document of the frenzied audience response and atmosphere the band was causing on their 1970 tour as they were supplanting the Beatles, and an excellent example of their "live without a net" daring and experimentation.

I'm sorry Jahfin, but if you are allowing some prissy audiophile standards to prevent you from hearing classic concerts like this, then you are only hearing part of the Led Zeppelin story. For the official studio and live albums only tell a slice of the tale. To get the whole lemon, you must seek out the unofficial live recordings...at least the top 50 or so over the course of their concert career.

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I find this a startling comment coming from you, Jahfin. Considering the breadth of your musical knowledge and taste, I find it inconceivable that you would purposely limit yourself to only the "official" live output of Led Zeppelin. Or any band that you like, for that matter...are you telling me that you don't have any of the amazing Wilco or REM live shows that are available?

I can understand being put off by the Raleigh show, but there are plenty of Zeppelin boots that have great sound: 6-21-77/6-23-77/2-12-75/2-14-75/3-4-75/4-26-69/9-14-71/9-29-71/7-24-79/5-24-75/5-25-75...they may not be multitracks but some rival "The Song Remains the Same" in sound quality. And performance-wise, there are many shows that are so immense, they worth the slight deficiency in pristine sound.

I find it hard to believe you don't have "Listen to this, Eddie", "For Badgeholders Only", "Going to California", "Copenhagen Warmups-The Second Night", "Dallas 1975", "St. Valentine's Day Massacre", "That's Alright, New York", "Earls Court", or any of the 1969 San Francisco shows and 1971 Japanese tour.

I've never heard a single one of those but I appreciate the primer for when I decide to dive in. As for the recording of the Raleigh concert, I wasn't actually "put off" by it, I was just not particularly enamored of the sound quality of bootlegs in general. Back in the 70's you really had to go out of your way to seek out bootlegs. It wasn't like we had the internet at our disposal or that they were readily available in stores. I just wasn't into seeking them out in general. As for R.E.M., I was recently gifted with a massive collection of CD's and DVD's from a friend that was cleaning house due to an anticipated move and so she gave them to me. As for Wilco, I probably have one of their shows and that's because they made it available for any fan to download. The bulk of my unauthorized live collection is now comprised almost solely of R.E.M. with the Drive-By Truckers and Ryan Adams running a close second though I have a shitload more from a variety of other artists. However, the truth of the matter is, unless there's something special about the performance, I rarely, if ever listen to any of them.

I'm sorry Jahfin, but if you are allowing some prissy audiophile standards to prevent you from hearing classic concerts like this, then you are only hearing part of the Led Zeppelin story. For the official studio and live albums only tell a slice of the tale. To get the whole lemon, you must seek out the unofficial live recordings...at least the top 50 or so over the course of their concert career.

There's really no need to apologize or to be condescending. I'm about the farthest person you can find from an audiophile. It doesn't make me any less of a fan of Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, Wilco, R.E.M., the Drive-By Truckers or any other artist just because I may not seek out every last bit of material they might have recorded. For years, there were lots of R.E.M. rarities I'd never heard but now, like with most bands, they're within my reach by just clicking a button. Over the years, I've amassed a collection of CD's that probably numbers somewhere over 2000. I've never gone to the trouble of counting them but I'm guessing a fairly sizable chunk of those are live recordings that friends have gifted me with. I've probably only listened to roughly half of them. Once I went online in the late 90's I met lots of fellow music fans who were only too glad to send me concerts and rare recordings and I gladly reciprocated. The truth of the matter is, it has a whole less to do with sound quality than it does to do with time. Several years ago a friend sent me nearly his entire Ryan Adams live collection just because he didn't want it anymore. He knew I was a fan so he sent them to me. I'm not sure about you or anyone else but I simply don't have the time, nor the inclination to weed my way through all of those CD's in an effort to listen to every single one of them. It doesn't mean I'm not a devoted fan or I'm ungrateful, it's more like it's an overwhelming amount of music to listen to. Since I acquired an iPod several years ago I find myself listening to records from my collection that I'd long forgotten about. As much as I'd love to add all of those unauthorized live recordings to my digital music collection, the chances are slim to none that I'm ever going to sit down and individually tag each and every song. What I have done is to take some select concerts to add to my digital library but in all likelihood I'm never going to take the time to do that with every CD in my possession. So, my lack of desire to have every concert Zeppelin ever played in my collection really has very little to do with sound quality concerns or a lack of devotion but everything to do with time. Hell, there are even a few CD's in my collection I've picked up from the used bin or at record shows that I've never gotten around to listening to. There was a time when I listened to every single record I purchased just as soon as I could but that isn't true of me anymore. That's one reason I've backed off of buying and trading music over the years and why I'm hesitant to download everything at my disposal. At this point I'm already overwhelmed by the amount of music I have in my collection that I've never heard and most likely never will. I don't want to keep adding to that.

Edited by Jahfin
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^^^

I wasn't being condescending. I was just startled, that's all. You give off the vibe of being a collector, so I just assumed you would collect bootlegs as well.

Your post does explain a crucial difference, however. The fact that you download and receive music at such a constant and large rate would make it hard for anyone to have the time to enjoy said music.

I don't have that problem because I don't download anything. I buy my music in a physical format...be it cd, vinyl, dvd or cassette. What I use the internet for is to preview a song or album thru YouTube clips or sample clips on a band's website or other music sites.

When I go out and buy new records, I generally limit my purchases to a manageable amount...I'll rarely buy more than 10 at a time. The same goes for my bootleg collection...I hit the record swap meet every month, usually getting 5-10 boots on average each month.

That way I keep my music influx at a reasonable flow...I'm never overwhelmed by the amount of music coming in, and am able to listen and familiarize myself with every record I buy at my own pace.

Speaking of which, the monthly swap meet is coming up. So back on topic:

MM, I've never heard the Dundee '71 show, but if it's as bad as those New York clowns who ruined every show they taped, I sympathize. As decent as the Montreal 75 show is, I never need to hear it again, thanks to those asswipes who thought they were the show, not Led Zeppelin. It's bad enough they talk, but it's in those annoying accents, too. I always wanted to meet them in person so I could jam their microphone down their throats. Alas, they're probably in their 70s or 80s by now...if not dead. They will not be joining Mike Millard and Freezer in the Tapers Hall of Fame.

The tape spleching is another thing I hate, too, MM. For chrissakes, blank tapes weren't expensive back then...bring an extra C-60 or C-90 instead of being a cheapskate and trying to squeeze a show on one tape.

So yes, for every great bootleg I would pick up, there would be another that sucked. And that went for other bands, not just Led Zeppelin.

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As far as condescending, that is how I took your "prissy audiophile standards" comment, which is something I don't adhere to. Believe me, I've listened to my fair share of shittily recorded audience tapes over the years (and I'm sure I'll listen to some more) but I don't really use that as a measuring stick because that comes with the territory with unauthorized live recordings. With the advances in technology and some artists even encouraging the taping of live shows, I've also heard my fair share of well recorded concerts.

In regards to downloads I must have given you the wrong impression as I have very few of those. I was just referring to the fact that in 2012, nearly any recording you want by any artist is just a mere mouse click away. Someone recently referred to that as "Lester Bang's basement", meaning the rare stuff we all used to look in every nook and cranny for is pretty much readily available thanks to the innerwebs. You can also listen (or watch) via YouTube without downloading anything. The downloads I do have are of out of print albums I already own on vinyl that were never released on CD or authorized official releases through Wilco and Todd Snider (that amounts to two concerts). In the case of Todd Snider he makes all of his concerts available online for purchase, much like the Black Crowes (as well as others) have done. A friend also found an old cassette of the first R.E.M. concert I ever attended which he was kind enough to digitize and make available for download. That pretty much accounts for everything I've ever downloaded, illegal or otherwise. Like yourself, I prefer the physical product. However, I find it next to impossible to turn down trades from friends (which happens a lot less often than it used to because of the innernut) or finds from the used/budget bin. I've also accumulated a fair amount of new and used vinyl over the past several years despite the fact that I don't have a working turntable. The new stuff is mainly limited edition vinyl that I had to snatch up immediately or else I was going to end up paying through the nose for it down the line. As for the amount of unauthorized live recordings by Zeppelin out there, I'm going to be more apt to go the download route when it comes to seeking those out. I detest mp3's and their popularity as much as the next person but it's a convenience (just like cassettes and CD's) that I've grown accustomed to. Plus, I'm not exactly willing to give my hard earned money over to bootleggers just so I can own something on vinyl or CD. When it's all said and done, I still find myself listening to official releases way more than unauthorized live recordings, no matter how good they may sound. That's not to say I don't ever listen to any of them at all or that I never will, I'm just saying that's how my listening habits seem to break down for me.

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