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Why are the songs on LZ's live albums mixed?


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For some weird reason, the songs on HTWWW has certain songs mixed from both of their show covered on the album. Why? Why can't Jimmy just put a single song in its entirety rather than give us a mix of two night? I must note however that to an average listener this isn't apparent even the slightest. Lastly, why do live albums in general mix different shows together and give us a song which was never performed? We listen to live albums to get a feel of the band perform live, not to get a new version of their song. Don't get me wrong, I love the performances on the album and would listen to them again given the time but i feel weird listening to it now knowing that the song i am listening to it in fact a mash.

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I think that it's more of a best of both worlds deal, that's what Jimmy did in TSRTS, using the vocals from one night, guitar solo from another night. That's normally how it goes. When GN'R made their Live Era album it had songs from their performances all over the world. It's a live album it's supposed to capture live performances and not only one. It should also be noted that on the HTWWW album there are some bits and pieces from the Southampton show in 1973, for example, the mellotrone on Stairway is from that gig.

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Why? Cos Jimmy is a perfectionist. When you are a musician and you are listening to your live recording, you recognise so many errors and you also sometimes dont like the way it went. Somewhere, you dont like the solo, somewhere you dont like the break, how it sounded, how it went out. That is normal. Yes, this is what LIVE playing is all about, that there ARE those imperfections. Yet. If you can correct these and for example change the solo you did not feel was that great with some solo YOU FEEL was on spot, it is just great too. It gives the song the feeling you want it to have.

The songs on live albums are the way they are ment to be. With the live feeling they are ment to be. They capture the mood they are supposed to capture... I am not sure if I expressed myslef the way I wanted to, but I hope you get my point. Sometimes you play a concert and want something to sound somehow. But it turns out badly or oddly or just other way around when u are listening to it. And you fix it from another show where it was spot on.

I dont mind these edits. It delivers the definite version, and IT IS still live, cos IT WAS played and IT HAD the FEELING.

Just dont look into it that deep if u dont like it and enjoy the music... :).

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I beg to differ. I don't want a best hits collection but a pure live performance. To each to his own.

I agree with you on that. It's very stupid when you actally think about it, there are studio overdubs and it's all mixed up, that's why sometimes I'd rather listen to audience bootlegs were you get the whole thing. I'm currently very addicted to the 03.27.75 show. You should listen to that one.

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Sadly, it had very little to do with Jimmy and his perfectionism: Kevin Shirley was given access to the multi-track tapes from both shows, and tasked with mixing the best album release that he could. He made the editing and mixing choices, and Jimmy approved of them -- but, by all accounts, it was almost entirely Shirley's own work. Jimmy would show up to check on progress, but he wasn't intimately involved in the process.

To be fair to the album, most of the songs are complete: "Immigrant Song" is entirely from Long Beach; "Heartbreaker" switches to L.A. during the guitar solo; "Black Dog" is from L.A., "Over the Hills" switches back and forth; "Since" is Long Beach, as is "Stairway," aside from the Southampton mellotron; and so on. The full details can be assessed using Eddie Edwards' site. I think the worst part of HTWWW is what was left off: The mammoth L.A. encores...maybe they weren't recorded properly, maybe they didn't "gel" with the atmosphere being created, or maybe they couldn't get the rights to "Louie Louie" and "Everyday People" (or didn't bother trying).

Just so no one is confused: There are no studio overdubs on HTWWW, magerogue was referring to TSRTS -- and even there, the studio overdubs were minimal (and usually eliminated in the 2007 release).

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^Exactly. Shirley created, as he calls it, an "entertainment piece". He needed to smooth out harsh vocals, bizarre spontaneous lyrics, missed guitar notes, and so on. This makes it more attractive to the casual fan - a wider market.

The advantage of using two shows to create one is you get the best of both. If a cool jam or fill happened one night, but not the next, you'd probably want to include it. Plant's voice cracked on this line this night, but the next night it's fine. Things like that. One negative is that it could introduces timing errors. The band didn't preform the songs at exactly the same speed night to night.

I would rather have unedited shows, but in the end what we have is actually pretty good.

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Sadly, it had very little to do with Jimmy and his perfectionism: Kevin Shirley was given access to the multi-track tapes from both shows, and tasked with mixing the best album release that he could. He made the editing and mixing choices, and Jimmy approved of them -- but, by all accounts, it was almost entirely Shirley's own work. Jimmy would show up to check on progress, but he wasn't intimately involved in the process.

To be fair to the album, most of the songs are complete: "Immigrant Song" is entirely from Long Beach; "Heartbreaker" switches to L.A. during the guitar solo; "Black Dog" is from L.A., "Over the Hills" switches back and forth; "Since" is Long Beach, as is "Stairway," aside from the Southampton mellotron; and so on. The full details can be assessed using Eddie Edwards' site. I think the worst part of HTWWW is what was left off: The mammoth L.A. encores...maybe they weren't recorded properly, maybe they didn't "gel" with the atmosphere being created, or maybe they couldn't get the rights to "Louie Louie" and "Everyday People" (or didn't bother trying).

Just so no one is confused: There are no studio overdubs on HTWWW, magerogue was referring to TSRTS -- and even there, the studio overdubs were minimal (and usually eliminated in the 2007 release).

But wouldn't the surviving band members and John Bonham's estate have signed off on Shirley's work before they released HTWWW?

Edited by Disco Duck
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^Exactly. Shirley created, as he calls it, an "entertainment piece". He needed to smooth out harsh vocals, bizarre spontaneous lyrics, missed guitar notes, and so on. This makes it more attractive to the casual fan - a wider market.

The advantage of using two shows to create one is you get the best of both. If a cool jam or fill happened one night, but not the next, you'd probably want to include it. Plant's voice cracked on this line this night, but the next night it's fine. Things like that. One negative is that it could introduces timing errors. The band didn't preform the songs at exactly the same speed night to night.

I would rather have unedited shows, but in the end what we have is actually pretty good.

Exactly, we have a very good, possibly one of the best live albums on our hands, but all we do is complaint... Anyways, I'm speaking for myself, I have a HUGE problem with the mix on HTWWW, I don't know how Shirley mixed it, if it was on pro tools or some software, but whatever plugin he used on the drums, especially the snare, completely ruined the drums for me, and I also think that the guitar is way to over the top and all over the place. I still love the album anyway. I wonder what it would've been like if HTWWW was released instead of TSRTS back in 1976. One would think that with Robert hitting puberty on most of the songs in 1973 you'd rather have a 1972 performance, or the LA ones, to be more specific. It's really weird when you think about it, the way these shows magically appeared out of nowhere, nobody even had a glimpse that they were recorded by the band for future release, and with the RAH performance from 1970, Jimmy would have delivered the chronological live album if a 1971 and a 1977 multitrack was to come out out of the vaults.

Edited by magerogue
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Page told Shirley that he wanted to really be able to hear the cymbals. Shirley put a shitload of compression on the drums to get them to come out - that's probably what screwed the snare. Here's an interview where Shirley describes the mixing of DVD/HTWWW http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov03/articles/kevinshirley.htm

I like HTWWW more than TSRTS. It's definitely a better performance and Led Zeppelin were at their live peak. We are very lucky to have two full shows professionally recorded in the band's prime. Too bad the mixing/mastering isn't that good.

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Hmm. You know, I don't really mind the mastering on HTWWW -- it's loud as hell, and the drums aren't the thunder they should be, but it's still the best live album I've ever heard. Might be a lot of nostalgia in that conviction, though. :P

I do agree that the mixing could be better -- I don't think Shirley followed through nearly enough in his intentions. The DVD-A 5.1 tracks can be manipulated a bit to provide a more balanced effect, but I have to admit that the mastering issues inherent there (clipping, for one) hold it back a bit.

But wouldn't the surviving band members and John Bonham's estate have signed off on Shirley's work before they released HTWWW?

In interviews, I've never heard anyone other than Jimmy being mentioned -- I'm unsure, but it seems like the other members (and Bonham's family) were only nominally involved in the CD and DVD projects.

That being said: Yes, the band would have had to okay the work that was going into the creation of the 2003 releases...but they weren't necessarily making the critical decisions -- most of that work was reputedly done by Shirley himself, as he decided which performances to keep, which to ditch, etc.

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