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Reappraising 1980/07/07 - Berlin


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How do you compare playing at the scale Zeppelin were in the 1970s to gigging at Chaunceys Pub last Saturday night? Entirely different pressures and temptations. If any of the major rock bands of that era subscibed to your "no partying" policy there wouldn't have been any concerts to attend.

As to the night Page collapsed in Chicago in 1977 the show actually started strong but I did notice it was the only gig where he wasn't smoking. He may have partaked in something during No Quarter. We'll never know unless someone pipes up.

The cancelled 1980 American tour was to end with 4 nights in Chicago.

I've heard many comment on Page's only sober Zeppelin show being the O2. Can anyone direct me to that quote? I've not read it.

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How do you compare playing at the scale Zeppelin were in the 1970s to gigging at Chaunceys Pub last Saturday night? Entirely different pressures and temptations. If any of the major rock bands of that era subscibed to your "no partying" policy there wouldn't have been any concerts to attend.

Who said anything about a no partying rule? The band can party as long and as hard as they like so long as when they get the knock on the dressing room door they are capable of putting on a show to a reasonable standard - not too much to ask is it?

While most bands partied after the gig i get the impression zep were a 24 hr party band while on tour including actually partying during the show! I remember a funny Robert Plant interview where he mentioned towards the end of a typical 45 minute Bonham drum solo a roadie would put his head round the door and shout "sticks" - that was the cue for them to get dressed and back on stage in time to finish the song! :)

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The cancelled 1980 American tour was to end with 4 nights in Chicago.

My mistake...why the hell did I think the tour was supposed to start in Chi? Senior moment #456...:lol:

As for the 9/4/77 show, yer eyewitness account jibes with my theory about when Page partook in something he shouldn't have. Inarresting tidbit about his not smoking at the show, though, normally Page smoked like a goddamn chimney in '77.

Page himself made the remark about the 02 show being the first one he played sober, Rolling Stone interview I think it was..."Oddly enough, I think it was the first gig we ever played sober" is what I believe he said.

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My mistake...why the hell did I think the tour was supposed to start in Chi? Senior moment #456... :lol:

I seem to think tickets for Chicago were the first to go on sale or at least the most attention was given to them...? Something like that. Didn't they go on sale the day Bonzo died?

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I seem to think tickets for Chicago were the first to go on sale or at least the most attention was given to them...? Something like that. Didn't they go on sale the day Bonzo died?

That's right, tix for the Chicago '80 shows went on sale and hours later Bonham's death was announced...ouch.

I have on occasion seen unused tickets for those shows for sale on EBay...for a pretty penny, as you can imagine.

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Told ya...

This exchange motivated me to find and listen to Hanover. It's not that bad. What songs are contributing to the thought this was a terrible gig? Yes, Plant early on in NFBM and BD mails it in on a couple of lines, but I don't see that as a pattern throughout the show. Yes, Pagey has typical 1980 tour sticky fingers, but nothing appalling to me like Ten Years Gone in Oakland 7/23/77. Even Bonzo seems to be having a good time: love how he started into Moby Dick!!! How funny if Jimmy would have picked up on it to play the guitar licks to follow and force Bonzo to play Moby Dick, that would have been great! But Bonzo may have responded with a one minute solo, and then back into the drum riff to finish the song, forcing Pagey and Jonesy to finish early! Could you imagine a live 3 minute, chaotic Moby Dick in Europe 1980!!! :hysterical:

Help me out on the bad numbers! I'll go re-listen again!

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This exchange motivated me to find and listen to Hanover. It's not that bad. What songs are contributing to the thought this was a terrible gig? Yes, Plant early on in NFBM and BD mails it in on a couple of lines, but I don't see that as a pattern throughout the show. Yes, Pagey has typical 1980 tour sticky fingers, but nothing appalling to me like Ten Years Gone in Oakland 7/23/77. Even Bonzo seems to be having a good time: love how he started into Moby Dick!!! How funny if Jimmy would have picked up on it to play the guitar licks to follow and force Bonzo to play Moby Dick, that would have been great! But Bonzo may have responded with a one minute solo, and then back into the drum riff to finish the song, forcing Pagey and Jonesy to finish early! Could you imagine a live 3 minute, chaotic Moby Dick in Europe 1980!!! :hysterical:

Help me out on the bad numbers! I'll go re-listen again!

I think the main problem with the Hannover show isn't down to any one particular song, but rather the general vibe of the performance: apathy personified in a rock show. The band is clearly just going through the motions on the night. Yes, the venue itself was a factor -a giant echo chamber- but IMO it's mainly Plant's blatantly negative attitude that really taints the performance, his fuck-it-all demeanour and especially the "Fuckin' horrible place" remark borders on unprofessional in my view. Indeed, they try to lighten things up with the "Moby Dick" teases but it's still a lost cause. Indeed, there are no big time whoopsies in the playing -though the "Trampled Under Foot" solo where Page just goes off on an unaccompanied tangent comes close- but I think Hannover is a "bad" show in the same way that Louisville 25/4/77 is bad- the band was distracted by the audience and venue, affecting the performance and generally giving the show a "let's get it over with" feel. Mainly I think Zeppelin set such a high standard for their live performances that the Hannover gig is a good illustration of how hard the mighty could fall. But that's just my take on it, of course...

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  • 2 weeks later...

i find white summer/black mountain side to be excruciating. the song is played very poorly and the crowd clearly don't dig it. a sensible chap might consider cutting it short not extending it and prolonging the misery.

i don't know which is worse, his poor attempt at performing it, that the choice is unpopular with the crowd, or his unwillingness and/or inability to recognise the facts

of course, concerts aren't played with the purpose of being closely scrutinised 30 years later, but in this example it's hard to see how being there would have been an improvement given that the crowd is so restless and presumably wanting to hear something else instead. maybe bands shouldn't have to pander to the taste of an audience, but if you can't play a tune well and the crowd doesn't enjoy it, who's benefit is it for? ditch it and play something else. the "cut the waffle" approach seems to turn a blind eye to jimmy's self indulgence at including such a lengthy version of this track in the set

some good versions of songs on this tour, but on the whole it surely has to be the most lacklustre of their career?

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i find white summer/black mountain side to be excruciating. the song is played very poorly and the crowd clearly don't dig it. a sensible chap might consider cutting it short not extending it and prolonging the misery.

i don't know which is worse, his poor attempt at performing it, that the choice is unpopular with the crowd, or his unwillingness and/or inability to recognise the facts

of course, concerts aren't played with the purpose of being closely scrutinised 30 years later, but in this example it's hard to see how being there would have been an improvement given that the crowd is so restless and presumably wanting to hear something else instead. maybe bands shouldn't have to pander to the taste of an audience, but if you can't play a tune well and the crowd doesn't enjoy it, who's benefit is it for? ditch it and play something else. the "cut the waffle" approach seems to turn a blind eye to jimmy's self indulgence at including such a lengthy version of this track in the set

In response to the bolded part, six of one half a dozen of the other...not only did Jimmy generally not have the chops to pull off "White Summer" with any real competency in 1980, his insistence on draaaaaaaging the fucking piece out night after night during the tour (five minutes is plenty; ten or more is simply taking the piss) belies the whole "cut the waffle" philosophy. On some of the Europe '80 audience tapes you can clearly hear how pissed off the audience was getting- an incident like the one in Vienna was inevitable IMO. The gawdawful "White Summer" renditions and the overall pacing of the show setlist-wise are the biggest problems with the 1980 performances. Yer right, you'd think Jimmy would have taken the hint and dropped "White Summer" after the decidedly unenthusiastic response it got from the audiences (similar reactions occurred in 1977) and his insistence on playing it regardless seems pretty arrogant in retrospect. It'd be interesting to play some of those '80 "White Summer"'s to Page now just to gauge his reaction to how badly he was playing...

some good versions of songs on this tour, but on the whole it surely has to be the most lacklustre of their career?

Smacked out guitarist + apathetic singer & drummer + forcing the remaining bandmember to pick up the slack = lacklustre performances.

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White summer doesn't make any sense at all after 1970, in 68 n 69 it was a good way to kill some time and show off Page skills. By 1971 they had plenty of material and it just wasn't needed anymore, bringing it back just to merge it with kashmir does show the bands desire to still keep the indulgence in the set. I mean, black mountain could have been just played at only 3 minutes and no one would have complained before kashmir launches. I don't even think page rehearsed the damn piece by 1980.

Edited by Psychedelic
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http://youtu.be/uetW6uS9Y5Y

White summer doesn't make any sense at all after 1970, in 68 n 69 it was a good way to kill some time and show off Page skills. By 1971 they had plenty of material and it just wasn't needed anymore, bringing it back just to merge it with kashmir does show the bands desire to still keep the indulgence in the set. I mean, black mountain could have been just played at only 3 minutes and no one would have complained before kashmir launches. I don't even think page rehearsed the damn piece by 1980.

Edited by Sue Dounim
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Whole lotta bitchin' in this thread about White Summer. If that's all people can remember from the entire Berlin show why even comment?

True, it's easier just to skip over "White Summer" than to bitch about it...

What do I like about the Berlin show? "Trampled Under Foot". Quite possibly my favourite live version of the song, Page's abstract solo is awesome as far as I'm concerned. I'm also partial to the epic "Stairway"- matter of fact, I'm so sick of "Stairway To Heaven" after all these years the Berlin version is the only one I still listen to...what some people deride as a sloppy Page solo I say it screams emotion.

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Well done Sue.

Whole lotta bitchin' in this thread about White Summer. If that's all people can remember from the entire Berlin show why even comment?

Just because the focus is on a bad rendition of white summer, doesn't mean it is all one remember's. Sorry if it came off like bitching. Listening to Trampled right now. Love love love more everyday.

Edited by Psychedelic
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matter of fact, I'm so sick of "Stairway To Heaven" after all these years the Berlin version is the only one I still listen to...what some people deride as a sloppy Page solo I say it screams emotion.

I used to hate Stairway for a while, after learning about all the trouble Robert's caused with it since '88. However, in the last few months, I've gone back to certain live versions and I find myself remembering why I liked this song in the first place. I no longer care about whatever bad blood has come about from this song, and I don't even care about it's reputation. I just enjoy it for what it is, a well-meaning song that was written in a quaint little cottage in 1970.

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I used to hate Stairway for a while, after learning about all the trouble Robert's caused with it since '88. However, in the last few months, I've gone back to certain live versions and I find myself remembering why I liked this song in the first place. I no longer care about whatever bad blood has come about from this song, and I don't even care about it's reputation. I just enjoy it for what it is, a well-meaning song that was written in a quaint little cottage in 1970.

Don't get me wrong, Sue- "Stairway" is a great song, but it seems like it overshadows the rest of Zeppelin's material so much that IMO equally great compositions like "Achilles Last Stand" or "Ten Years Gone" get completely overlooked. And yer right, these days one almost has to ignore all the fucking baggage that has become attached to "Stairway To Heaven" to be able to appreciate it. I like how they did "Stairway" at the 2007 show- just thrown out there in the middle of the set, no fanfare, a nice understated performance, which I think is how the song should be treated- without all the hype. On the '77 and '80 tours, its placement as the Final Song Of The Set Before The Obligatory Encores almost seems like a cliche. And quite frankly I can see why Robert Plant got so fed up with the song by 1980 that he could hardly perform it with any conviction- it had become a song they knew they had to play, instead of wanted to play, and I'm sure at some of those shows before Page hit the intro there must have been some sighs and/or deep breaths onstage as if to say, "Oh, man, we gotta play this motherfucker again?!" :lol: I reckon performing "Stairway" became more like a chore than anything else by that point (at least where Robert was concerned)

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This what bothers me about Plant's dislike of the song is that he doesn't recognize it's Jimmy's showcase. I understand Robert may think STH trite and laughable now, but in reality as where Plant would put his soul into SIBLY, Jimmy did that with Stairway.

It's just something that's always bothered me in regards to Plant's 'tude about this song.

Don't get me wrong, Sue- "Stairway" is a great song, but it seems like it overshadows the rest of Zeppelin's material so much that IMO equally great compositions like "Achilles Last Stand" or "Ten Years Gone" get completely overlooked. And yer right, these days one almost has to ignore all the fucking baggage that has become attached to "Stairway To Heaven" to be able to appreciate it. I like how they did "Stairway" at the 2007 show- just thrown out there in the middle of the set, no fanfare, a nice understated performance, which I think is how the song should be treated- without all the hype. On the '77 and '80 tours, its placement as the Final Song Of The Set Before The Obligatory Encores almost seems like a cliche. And quite frankly I can see why Robert Plant got so fed up with the song by 1980 that he could hardly perform it with any conviction- it had become a song they knew they had to play, instead of wanted to play, and I'm sure at some of those shows before Page hit the intro there must have been some sighs and/or deep breaths onstage as if to say, "Oh, man, we gotta play this motherfucker again?!" :lol: I reckon performing "Stairway" became more like a chore than anything else by that point (at least where Robert was concerned)

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Zurich is good but Berlin...nope.... Trampled Underfoot has to be one of the worst, most un-listenable Page noise fests ever, and the solo to Stairway to Heaven is just terrible, by his lofty standards. I'm sorry, but I've heard this show more than enough. An audience tape isnt going to change my mind.... sorry. To each his own, you know.

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Zurich is good but Berlin...nope.... Trampled Underfoot has to be one of the worst, most un-listenable Page noise fests ever, and the solo to Stairway to Heaven is just terrible, by his lofty standards. I'm sorry, but I've heard this show more than enough. An audience tape isnt going to change my mind.... sorry. To each his own, you know.

Ah, Rod, if only everybody on this site had this sort of mindset...all too often around here lately people have been posting as though only their opinions counted, they were the Final Authority on the matter and everyone who thinks otherwise is a fucking idiot...:lol:

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This what bothers me about Plant's dislike of the song is that he doesn't recognize it's Jimmy's showcase. I understand Robert may think STH trite and laughable now, but in reality as where Plant would put his soul into SIBLY, Jimmy did that with Stairway.

It's just something that's always bothered me in regards to Plant's 'tude about this song.

I'd be inclined to say Page poured his soul into SIBLY as much as Plant did, but that's another discussion...

When it comes to Plant's attitude towards "Stairway" I think it's more of the lyricist in him that has issues with the song. And of course Robert Plant wouldn't be the only artist unable to relate to a song he wrote years before...

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This what bothers me about Plant's dislike of the song is that he doesn't recognize it's Jimmy's showcase. I understand Robert may think STH trite and laughable now, but in reality as where Plant would put his soul into SIBLY, Jimmy did that with Stairway.

It's just something that's always bothered me in regards to Plant's 'tude about this song.

I understand what you're saying, and somewhat agree...but then again, aren't most of the songs a showcase for Jimmy? On this tour, you had Achilles, then White Summer/Black Mountain Side going straight into Kashmir...That's a lot of guitar time. Sure, the solo in Stairway is probably a "signature moment," but Pagey had lots of those.

Stairway had become so much of a cliche by this point that I understand Plant's (if not the band's) lack of enthusiasm for it.

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I hear ya.

In my view, STH is special in that there is a huge emotional factor to Jimmy's soloing. Sure, ALS smokes with its frentic urgency and as you say SIBLY is probably the only other number the band did live that had that had Jimmy reaching for a emotion shattering solo.

Guitar time is one thing, yes, but that emotion is my focus. JImmy could play to so many moods, for years I've felt STH was unique that instead of playing to the mood of the piece, Jimmy played to his feeling. SIBLY is a mood piece and that restricts the solo as does many in Zep's canon. STH though, once the solo starts, it's pure raw unrestrained emotional Jimmy. It's Jimmy's Moby Dick if you will...

The cliche of STH doesn't escape me by '80. What you write at 21 isn't reflective of life at 31. Being defined by one number surely must have been annoying as well. All that aside, Robert handled his malaigning of the piece poorly. STH always was the cresendo of the show for good reasons - that raw unrestrained solo.

In recent years, Robert seems to be reassessing that view. The fact that STH was the centerpiece at Kennedy Center Awards said something about how the piece has endured, unrelatable lyrics or not.

I understand what you're saying, and somewhat agree...but then again, aren't most of the songs a showcase for Jimmy? On this tour, you had Achilles, then White Summer/Black Mountain Side going straight into Kashmir...That's a lot of guitar time. Sure, the solo in Stairway is probably a "signature moment," but Pagey had lots of those.

Stairway had become so much of a cliche by this point that I understand Plant's (if not the band's) lack of enthusiasm for it.

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I went back and re-listened to this show again today. I'm not the biggest fan of Trampled Under Foot, but this has got to be one of my favourite versions ever. Jimmy's soloing is actually really good here.

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