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Best Stairway


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I'm sure Nutrocker can back me up on this one. I listened to 1977/06/11 (an old favorite) for the first time in awhile today and I forgot how kickass Jimmy's solo on Stairway was. Like, I always remembered it being good, but wow! Page was a man possessed this night! He's throwing in all sorts of licks and shreds just effortlessly. The audience video really helps the experience too. Hopefully EVSD will put out the rest of the sbd for this show someday.

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I've held off on throwing my thoughts out there since I could never decide between

Orlando 8/31/71

Southampton 1/22/73

Long Beach 3/11/75

L.A. Forum 6/23/77 (a great performance from each era, I'm not familiar enough with 1980 Stairways to comment)

But I came across two consecutive performances a while back (not for the first, but first well through multiple listens) of Vancouver 3/19/75-3/20/75 and was incredibly pleased by the both! I will say Vancouver 3/20/75 is the best IMHO. JPJ was phenomenal on 3/19/75, very creepy sound :) but I mean TSRTS, 6/23/77, and some others are very hard to beat, and the Studio version will always be perfect in its own ways, I love the long solos though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Agree IPman. Page is incredibly unique in his style and ability, aside from the purely technical aspects of guitar playing. Give him the ability to overdub and "do-over" and his orchestration capabilities are unsurpassed -IMO.

BTW, have appreciated your contribution to this forum.

Wish I could have been there for the 90's/'98 performance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sydney 72. No contest. JP reached for every note and didn't miss. It just builds and builds and doesn't stop. Even the intruding audience/taper comment can't take away enjoyment after listening many times. And the rest of the show ain't so bad.

Thanks.

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  • 1 year later...
On 2/28/2014 at 6:19 PM, kingzoso said:

This may or may not be the best version of "Stairway to Heaven" but I think that this is the longest version of this song. Played at the very last live Led Zeppelin show Ever. July 7, 1980 in Berlin, West Germany. A very Sad but fitting tribute to the Greatest Song of All-Time. Have a Listen.

 

 

First Vid link in this thread - I said to myself, I'll give it a crack...

Faaaarq. How beast is the guitar solo. Feels a bit sad that Bonzo doesn't seem to be along for the ride, but still, what a rendition. Bloody hell. That's amazing.

 

Edited by rm2551
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I like Orlando '71 and TSRTS. Both totally different takes on the song. One is fairly short and akin to the studio version....the other, well the solo speaks for itself. But the two versions show the evolution of the tune. If I had to pick one, it would be Orlando 

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Another tough one.  Hard to beat NY 7-27-73.  I'd also say (in no particular order):

Detroit 7-12-73

Seattle 7-17-73

Earl's Court 5-24-75

Long Beach 3-11-75

Long Island 2-13-75

Hamburg 3-21-73

Offenburg 3-24-73

Manchester 12-8-72

Glasgow 12-4-72.  

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1 minute ago, JohnOsbourne said:

Another tough one.  Hard to beat NY 7-27-73.  I'd also say (in no particular order):

Detroit 7-12-73

Seattle 7-17-73

Earl's Court 5-24-75

Long Beach 3-11-75

Long Island 2-13-75

Hamburg 3-21-73

Offenburg 3-24-73

Manchester 12-8-72

Glasgow 12-4-72.  

How could I forget Vienna 3-16-73?  Like I said, very tough question. 

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So many to pick from. I can agree with nearly everyone mentioned. However, I am leery of any official live release though. SRTS and HTWWW are great 'versions"  but are they true documents like Long Island 2/13/75 per say ? ....."studio magick". Just food for thought.

My next project is going to be a compilation of the growth and regression along with what I feel are the most important versions of SW. 4 Discs.

Right now I'm all 1980 Tour , all the time. Having fun too!

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18 hours ago, Jimmywalnutz said:

So many to pick from. I can agree with nearly everyone mentioned. However, I am leery of any official live release though. SRTS and HTWWW are great 'versions"  but are they true documents like Long Island 2/13/75 per say ? ....."studio magick". Just food for thought.

My next project is going to be a compilation of the growth and regression along with what I feel are the most important versions of SW. 4 Discs.

Right now I'm all 1980 Tour , all the time. Having fun too!

Fair points, but you should check out the "untouched" versions of the MSG show;  there's a soundboard fragment (Safecracker's Show) and reasonable audience fragment (Out of Song Remains).  The original performance really is not far off from the official version, all of the brilliance is there.

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Yes, I agree with you. " The Effect is Shattering" and "The Grand Finale" sound excellent and are unmolested save for whatever equalization was used in production they are  fairly new release insomuch that I have not listened it to it as much as some of the other versions. Winston has a remastered 7/27 that I have played only once so far and it's foggy

An example would be that I know the 75 & 77 Forums (Millards), 1972 Forum, RAH, Southhampton, Trentham Gardens and Earl's 5/24 and 5/25 as well as SRS . In fact, for over 20 years I thought that the SRS was a true live show recorded in 1973. When I found out the album was "chop suey" I was pretty darn upset. The grooves from my SRS album where burned in to my soul!! So many memories of a time that is lost . Sorry , time traveling.

It wasn't genuine. In fact, I recently learned that the album version of NQ is the only song to have been untouched right up to the Remastered SRS.

It's like a woman who is beautiful and I find beauty in whatever flaw. Then she visits the local plastic surgeon and the flaw is gone. She is still beautiful but the lack of the flaw is not genuine and when I close my eyes, trace the lines of her face with my finger or caress her she is no longer  genuine . I'm not so shallow to dump her right away because her heart has not changed . She is the same but not genuine and before you know it. I lose interest.

Ok. Officially too tired . Two more points and Goodnight all. 

Sometimes, I pick up new (to me) Zep Boots in gluts that they invariably get lost in the shuffle and then eventually rediscovered and played, for a week a month, sometimes more.

I'm still listening to The 1980 shows pretty much exclusively for over a week. Brussels SW is killer, Serial Killer on Winstons tape! I've had these shows for over a year and am finally getting to know them and the nuances.

Boots are more often than not, genuine articles. True documents of a time and space .

 

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  • 1 year later...

I honestly don't think I can narrow it down to just one. There's several factors involved and it depends on my mood too. Regardless, some of my personal favorites are:

5/3/71

9/14/71

9/23/71

6/25/72

6/27/72

3/24/73

7/27/73

3/21/75

5/24/75

5/30/77

All of LA 77 (with maybe the exception of 6/27)

7/17/77

7/7/80 - even though this is far from technically perfect, there's something about Page reaching for the stars even though he's fucked up that's really inspiring IMO.

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I'm surprised no one mentioned Offenbach 73', a stop on the early Euro/German 73' trek. Maybe it's not considered much

because the first boots of that show ran too fast, although consistently fast and with kind of a metallic tinge to the sound.

It is plenty clear though, Plant is pretty intense and Jimmy and Bonzo seem to be engaged in the solo in some kind of

cosmic drama, playing as if they are fighting to the death to save some eternal cosmic principle. Of course there are

many others, but this one is technically dazzling AND Jimmy plays few wasted notes.

 

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 3/7/2014 at 10:46 AM, jsj said:

.

 

my wife came through the room when i was playing this version,. now she puts up with a lot of zeppelin from me and is used to page noodling away, and she rarely swears but she said "what the f*ck is that?" and told me to put it on headphones or turn it off. i had to agree, i shalln't be returning to it in a hurry

LMAO. My wife does fine until a version of Moby Dick comes on and she immediately requests to change it.

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Well, I can't remember the exact dates right now, but there are a few choice ones from the 1980 tour--I think Mannheim could've been one. I know Jimmy gets shredded--so to speak--for his playing during that time, especially the last Stairway, but there's some good stuff in there.

Even the "White Summers" are not as horrible to my ears....

 

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The one I have been rediscovering since the soundboard came out is the March 21, 1975 Seattle "Stairway". Towards the end of the solo Jimmy plays a series of cascading licks that Bonham answers with some emphatic pounding on the toms. It's a flourish that I have never heard Jimmy play before in "Stairway". Besides Jimmy's great solo Bonzo is very active as well during the song, playing some great fills and rolls.

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6 hours ago, Strider said:

The one I have been rediscovering since the soundboard came out is the March 21, 1975 Seattle "Stairway". Towards the end of the solo Jimmy plays a series of cascading licks that Bonham answers with some emphatic pounding on the toms. It's a flourish that I have never heard Jimmy play before in "Stairway". Besides Jimmy's great solo Bonzo is very active as well during the song, playing some great fills and rolls.

Yep! To me, this is they're most unique and adventurous performance of STH they ever did. It's the Page n Bonham show in full effect during the solo and it seems as if they were locked into a symbiotic mode that had no boundaries or fear. Maybe I'm getting a little carried away here :D, but it is fantastic!

Here's the matrix, solo starts at 6:00

http://starship.jpn.ph/zeppelin/mp3/m404-750321-NS-499-D01.mp3

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11 hours ago, blindwillie127 said:

Yep! To me, this is they're most unique and adventurous performance of STH they ever did. It's the Page n Bonham show in full effect during the solo and it seems as if they were locked into a symbiotic mode that had no boundaries or fear. Maybe I'm getting a little carried away here :D, but it is fantastic!

Here's the matrix, solo starts at 6:00

http://starship.jpn.ph/zeppelin/mp3/m404-750321-NS-499-D01.mp3

Yes indeed, fantastic version from a fantastic show.

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On 8/25/2014 at 11:00 AM, Stairway is NOT stolen said:

TSRTS is my favorite Version by far. Everything about it is perfect, from the Intro, to when the solo starts, to when the song ends. Out of all of Led Zeppelin's songs, 'Stairway To Heaven' Remains my favorite song. It helped me get through some tough times and everytime I listen to the Song, it feels like the first Time I have heard it.

 

TSRTS has the thing that makes it stand out among all the other versions of the Song - The Solo. It has my absolute favorite solo ever. It's Jimmy doing what he does best, and that's improvisation. No one comes even close to him in that aspect.

+1. That's also the best Stairway solo I've ever heard. It's brilliantly musical, and pretty much flawless.

So for me it's a tie btw. TSRTS and BBC Sessions. The latter is the best rendition in terms of audio fidelity where Plant nails the album vocal lines. Page's solo here is also great, as is Bonzo throughout.

ALB

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