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Hello, I'm very new to these forums but have been browsing for a few weeks now as I've really gotten into Live Zep. 9-29-71, 1-22-73, and 6-21-77 are blowing me away

The thing is though my favorite Zep song of all time is "The Rain Song," and my favorite moment is the crescendo as it goes into the climax with the keys playing the melody and forming the emotional release of the entire song. The problem with literally every recording of the Rain Song live I've ever heard it is Jimmy's much less euphoric lick that overpowers the keys and ruins the best moment for me. TSRTS, Earls Court, and Knobsworth 79 all suffer from this problem.

 

Are there any shows that have a noticeable and clear keys through the end of the song? Bonus points if Robert doesn't chicken out on the vocals. The No Quarter performance of '94 would be my all time favorite if it wasn't for him being too old to really do it justice.

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I'm not very sure what part you mean, but as far as hearing Jonsey's keyboards during it all depends on the recording and luckily for the Rain Song we have dozens of the greatest sounding bootlegs during the '75 US tour as well as all the solid '73 recordings and '80 recordings. The Rain Song is one of my top 5 favorite songs, and I have listened to nearly every known recording of it from October 1972-July 1980 and overall 1975 is my favorite year of the song. They always nailed it perfectly on the tour. Vancouver 3/20/1975 is my favorite performance of Rain Song (and Kashmir and Stairway To Heaven!) Another amazing performance of the song is St. Louis 2/16/1975 and Seattle 7/17/1973 is awesome and Jonsey's orchestea is very loud in the mix... Check out our new soundboard recording Fort Worth 3/3/1975.. Jonsey's orchestra is quite loud in the mix.

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I always have preferred the live TSRTS & RS compared to the studio versions of both. I don't like Robert's vocals on either song as they come across weak in the studio versions. These songs really came alive in a live setting and Rain Song got the necessary "umpf" it was missing in the studio. The Crescendo section lives up to its potential live but sounds almost flat or lazy in the studio version and Robert's vocals live are 1000 x better vs. the almost laconic, mandrake induced rendering he does in the studio.

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I love The Rain Song, and I agree, the live versions (esp. from '73) had an extra kick and drama that made them superior to the recorded version.  True that it didn't vary much from night to night like other songs in the repertoire, but it didn't have to. 

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What I mean to say is at this specific moment through the "Winter" verse I much prefer to hear the high part of the strings/mellotron like here

https://youtu.be/BeDylD8dV7U?t=283

as opposed to the grungy guitar lick that is supposed to be supporting the melotron, not overpowring it, like here

https://youtu.be/UK0Nve5chB4?t=308

 

any recommendations on '73 recordings besides TSRTS?

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One show to check out is the 7-17-1973 Seattle show mentioned above. I don't know if the mix will satisfy what you're looking for, but this performance is unique because Jones had some issue with the mellotron early in the performance of the song, and switched to his Rhodes piano about 1/3 to 1/2 way through. So if any live rendition is going to give the feeling you're looking for, it might be that one.

The soundboard circulates pretty widely, but IMHO best version is Winston's soundboard-audience matrix - a more live, ambient sound than the soundboard.

 

Edited by tmtomh
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Well each to his own and there are very good examples given. I love 73' examples of STH where Page is

adding in all manner of trickery during the singing parts, yet still mainly playing in tempo. Later on

some chaos started creeping in. Everybody likely has their section of a fav Zep song live which is

downplayed or just not well shown by boots or boards.

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The unfortunate thing about TRS in 73 is sooo many are incomplete, have cuts in them, or in the case of 6/2/73 feedback at the end destroys a great version.  75 has some great moments but only after Percy gets over being ill. .3/19/75 Vancouver "Snow Jobs". .check it out!!

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Well almost positive that RS from the soundtrack was only chopped/edited/messed with slightly.

Stairway I think( not 100% sure) was intact until the solo, but the solo I could have sworn was 

heavily messed with, even Page possibly splicing in studio playing. I have all the 73' Garden tapes,

but I'm no expert. We are veering off a bit, but RS, Stairway from TSRTS, how extensive is the

"meddling" ?? Experts ??

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