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I used to think '77 was overrated...


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...but I don't anymore.

I've been lavishing in the '77 shows (particularly Destroyer, Eddie, and Badgeholders) for the past several weeks, and I must say... wow!

The setlist was probably their most creative up to that point. Granted, I prefer the pre-'75 shows as a whole because the band seemed looser and jammed a bit more, but '77 was an artistic spectacle. And from the pictures I've seen of the '77 shows, I bet they looked great too with the inclusion of the lights, lasers, and fog machines. 

The band all looked great (yes, Jimmy was a bit thin), and this was the last time Plant actually looked like Plant. By '79 he had aged terribly and I've never cared for his In Through The Out Door voice that he had from '79 almost up until the Page and Plant tours of the '90s. In '77, Plant's high-pitched days were over, but his voice could still shatter walls.

Jimmy's playing wasn't always up to snuff, but it was still solid. I don't know if he modified his guitars in some way or if it was just his playing style, but you can really hear his strings vibrate a lot (on both SBs and ARs), and this was never the case before or after '77.

 

In terms of the songs and their arrangements, everything was just about perfect. My only gripes are:

-The exclusion of The Rain Song.

-The Rover intro before Sick Again. It's a slick transition and doesn't sound bad by any means, but The Rover in full rather than Sick Again would have been much better.

-In My Time of Dying is a great song, but the Danelectro wasn't the best choice to play it with; sounded much better in '07. Over The Hills and Far Away as the fourth song was a better choice; it added more variety to the setlist.

-Jones singing on The Battle of Evermore. It should have been Bonham, he has a much better singing voice. Supposedly he did sing in some shows in '77, but I don't know which ones.

-Black Country Woman should have been longer.

-Whole Lotta Love also should have been longer. At the very least, The Crunge interlude from '73 and '75 should have been included.

 

For the longest time, I stayed away from '77 because of the negative talk about Jimmy and various other things, but while the third leg shows were bad, not much else was. I certainly prefer '77 over '75 because Robert's voice was much better.

If you've been avoiding '77 for the same reason, and I know some of you have, you're missing out.

Edited by William Austin
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Right on William Austin! :)Once upon a time I too believed the '77 tour,  every gig was a big endless
Tempe A Z Achilles Last Stand nightmare -  Then one glorious day I just decided to sit through and
listen to some of the better quality shows as you've named i.e. L A, Cleveland etc and I immediately
got hooked.

I really enjoy a portion of the '77 tour a lot. Many of them have become some my favourite boots to
hear. Appearance wise Jimbo was slender but I still loved how he looked.  I do agree with you come
1979 at Knebworth the bands appearance had changed. In between Karack passing and Knebworth you
can see a transition happen.  The decade was changing and stage attire obviously was too, but from
1977 to 1979 was bit of a eye opener. Plant was now covered up and no longer a strutting peacock
onstage, and Jimmy too was covered and was dressed like he had some kind of 9-5 job. Blue collared
shirt buttoned up to his neck and those tan pants - Haha oh the 80's were indeed approaching. And yes
in 1979 Jimmy become freakishly thin.

But yeah back to 1977 as far as music wise. A lot of good shows definitely worth checking out. I certainly
changed my tune.  Glad I'm not alone.

 

Edited by KellyGirl
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Check out 5/18/77, Birmingham.

Under the radar to a degree, not a Gotham type City, recording quality is inferior to the shows listed in post #1.
But this show kicked off the  second leg of North America, 1977. A great night to experience Led Zeppelin.

Check Conneyfogle  "SIBLEY." " No Quarter," from various sources, and "Achilles Last Stand," somewhere on this site.

,

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6 hours ago, KellyGirl said:

Right on William Austin! :)Once upon a time I too believed the '77 tour,  every gig was a big endless
Tempe A Z Achilles Last Stand nightmare -  Then one glorious day I just decided to sit through and
listen to some of the better quality shows as you've named i.e. L A, Cleveland etc and I immediately
got hooked.

I really enjoy a portion of the '77 tour a lot. Many of them have become some my favourite boots to
hear. Appearance wise Jimbo was slender but I still loved how he looked.  I do agree with you come
1979 at Knebworth the bands appearance had changed. In between Karack passing and Knebworth you
can see a transition happen.  The decade was changing and stage attire obviously was too, but from
1977 to 1979 was bit of a eye opener. Plant was now covered up and no longer a strutting peacock
onstage, and Jimmy too was covered and was dressed like he had some kind of 9-5 job. Blue collared
shirt buttoned up to his neck and those tan pants - Haha oh the 80's were indeed approaching. And yes
in 1979 Jimmy become freakishly thin.

But yeah back to 1977 as far as music wise. A lot of good shows definitely worth checking out. I certainly
changed my tune.  Glad I'm not alone.

 

He didn't look slender, he looked like he'd been in a concentration camp.  Of course, he was a junkie, and looked the part in every way, I'll never get the supposed visual appeal of this tour.  At any rate, the main problem with '77 (and I agree the set list was very strong) was simply that Page's playing was very bad.  (Listen to STH from Ft Worth, supposedly a good '77 show, he sounds like he doesn't know how to play guitar during the solo.)  Whether it was the drugs, the rock god knowledge that the crowd could care less if they stood there and read from a phone book, or some physical malady (like tendonitis), these performances paled to '75, which were themselves subpar (for the most part) compared to the glory years of '71-73.  I'm sure you can find nice moments in NY or LA, but the lack of fluidity that became noticeable in '75 was amplified in '77. 

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1 hour ago, JohnOsbourne said:

He didn't look slender, he looked like he'd been in a concentration camp.  Of course, he was a junkie, and looked the part in every way, I'll never get the supposed visual appeal of this tour.  At any rate, the main problem with '77 (and I agree the set list was very strong) was simply that Page's playing was very bad.  (Listen to STH from Ft Worth, supposedly a good '77 show, he sounds like he doesn't know how to play guitar during the solo.)  Whether it was the drugs, the rock god knowledge that the crowd could care less if they stood there and read from a phone book, or some physical malady (like tendonitis), these performances paled to '75, which were themselves subpar (for the most part) compared to the glory years of '71-73.  I'm sure you can find nice moments in NY or LA, but the lack of fluidity that became noticeable in '75 was amplified in '77. 

I agree. The fluency is the main thing that Page never really got back after '73, as well as his phrasing and timing. But I do have a soft spot for Sick Again '77 and the whole OTT decadence. The tour was like a Boeing 747 in a huge tail spin, hurtling towards the ground. They didn't rename Bonzo's drum solo over the top for nothing!

Edited by Flares
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15 hours ago, Flares said:

I agreearrow-10x10.png. The fluency is the main thing that Page never really got back after '73

I think this is highly accurate.  As time went on, it seems to me that Page became more and more interesting creatively with his improvisations, but he also stopped playing with fluency.  It was a weird problem, because there were moments when this was completely untrue (the 24th of Copenhagen 1979 was perhaps the most fluid performance of his life).

Perhaps, as his library of improvisational ideas expanded, it led to more and more hesitation during actual performances?

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21 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

He didn't look slender, he looked like he'd been in a concentration camp.  Of course, he was a junkie, and looked the part in every way, I'll never get the supposed visual appeal of this tour.  At any rate, the main problem with '77 (and I agree the set list was very strong) was simply that Page's playing was very bad.  (Listen to STH from Ft Worth, supposedly a good '77 show, he sounds like he doesn't know how to play guitar during the solo.)  Whether it was the drugs, the rock god knowledge that the crowd could care less if they stood there and read from a phone book, or some physical malady (like tendonitis), these performances paled to '75, which were themselves subpar (for the most part) compared to the glory years of '71-73.  I'm sure you can find nice moments in NY or LA, but the lack of fluidity that became noticeable in '75 was amplified in '77. 

^What he said! ;)

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This is the "Mighty" Led Zeppelin we are all on this forum for.  In that sense, how could any Led Zeppelin tour be considered "overrated"? 

In My opinion, all tours that Led Zeppelin undertook, are all masterpieces in and of themselves.  There were standard, above-standard, good, great and phenomenal gigs from the very beginning to the very end. 

1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980. 

I know that drugs of all kinds played a good part of Led Zeppelins on stage and definitely off stage antics, since the beginning, but to say that any one tour was either "overrated or underrated" is, in my opinion, a miscarriage of Justice. 

 

 

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On 06/02/2016 at 9:16 PM, ArmsofAtlas1977 said:

I think this is highly accurate.  As time went on, it seems to me that Page became more and more interesting creatively with his improvisations, but he also stopped playing with fluency.  It was a weird problem, because there were moments when this was completely untrue (the 24th of Copenhagen 1979 was perhaps the most fluid performance of his life).

Perhaps, as his library of improvisational ideas expanded, it led to more and more hesitation during actual performances?

I think there's a lot in this.  In 1975 his playing is a lot more jazzy and complex than before. By 1980, Jimmy seems almost paralysed with indecision in songs like SIBLY, yet he can still rattle off the early simple stuff like CB with no problem.

1977 is a mixed bag. The low points are some of the worst of their whole career, but there are plenty of very high points. The problem is finding a consistently well-played gig in great sound quality. It's hard to look beyond the Millard LA stuff.  Despite being horrible recordings, the early gigs in Chicago are pretty well-played and sung, if you discount the one where Jimmy collapses.

Jimmy seems to have a lot more tuning trouble in 1977 than any other year. Some have put that down to him using very light gauge strings, which are easier to bend but harder to keep control of.

Don't forget John Bonham in 77... whatever his offstage problems he drums like a demon at almost every show.

 

 

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On 05/02/2016 at 1:15 PM, KellyGirl said:

Right on William Austin! :)Once upon a time I too believed the '77 tour,  every gig was a big endless
Tempe A Z Achilles Last Stand nightmare -  Then one glorious day I just decided to sit through and
listen to some of the better quality shows as you've named i.e. L A, Cleveland etc and I immediately
got hooked.

I really enjoy a portion of the '77 tour a lot. Many of them have become some my favourite boots to
hear. Appearance wise Jimbo was slender but I still loved how he looked.  I do agree with you come
1979 at Knebworth the bands appearance had changed. In between Karack passing and Knebworth you
can see a transition happen.  The decade was changing and stage attire obviously was too, but from
1977 to 1979 was bit of a eye opener. Plant was now covered up and no longer a strutting peacock
onstage, and Jimmy too was covered and was dressed like he had some kind of 9-5 job. Blue collared
shirt buttoned up to his neck and those tan pants
- Haha oh the 80's were indeed approaching. And yes
in 1979 Jimmy become freakishly thin.

But yeah back to 1977 as far as music wise. A lot of good shows definitely worth checking out. I certainly
changed my tune.  Glad I'm not alone.

 

 

Surely Jimmy's biggest wardrobe malfunction in his entire Zeppelin career, and in front of 200,000 people too!  I know clothes are just clothes, but the shirt and pants did blow his mystique somewhat.

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21 hours ago, kingzoso said:

This is the "Mighty" Led Zeppelin we are all on this forum for.  In that sense, how could any Led Zeppelin tour be considered "overrated"? 

In My opinion, all tours that Led Zeppelin undertook, are all masterpieces in and of themselves.  There were standard, above-standard, good, great and phenomenal gigs from the very beginning to the very end. 

1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980. 

I know that drugs of all kinds played a good part of Led Zeppelins on stage and definitely off stage antics, since the beginning, but to say that any one tour was either "overrated or underrated" is, in my opinion, a miscarriage of Justice. 

 

 

Agreed  all the way, apart from  the 1980 tour. I dusted off the Bluecongo matrix of 29.6.80 yesterday (after listening to a lot of prime early Zeppelin shows) and was left just feeling sad at how far they'd fallen. Sure there were a few inspired moments in TUF, SIBLY and STH, but generally the show left me cold, which is a strange experience when listening to the greatest rock band ever.

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1 hour ago, renounce said:

Agreed  all the way, apart from  the 1980 tour. I dusted off the Bluecongo matrix of 29.6.80 yesterday (after listening to a lot of prime early Zeppelin shows) and was left just feeling sad at how far they'd fallen. Sure there were a few inspired moments in TUF, SIBLY and STH, but generally the show left me cold, which is a strange experience when listening to the greatest rock band ever.

Check out the following night in Frankfurt Germany!! 

I have that same problem with 1979-1980 Zeppelin, but Frankfurt is just different. The magic was certainly gone even as early as 1977, but that night in Frankfurt feels rather special. Perhaps all 4 members were completely there and nobody was wishing they were anywhere else.. They were just having fun and trying to make it last and every song is killer!! Unlike the band getting lost in Kashmir, they pull out perhaps the greatest Kashmir of their career!! I give this show a honest 10/10 rating, and not just compared to 1980 Zeppelin.. I'm comparing that to LA 6/25/1972 and the only show in 1980 I would consider giving a 10/10.

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On 2/6/2016 at 8:44 PM, jabe said:

Check out 5/18/77, Birmingham.

,

Somehow I knew you were gonna say that! :lol:

On 2/7/2016 at 5:53 PM, in_the_evening said:

I always liked the 77 shows.  The band had matured like an aging wine...different flavor but same basic ingredients.

Some of the excess was tiresome, and i do believe like JohnOsbourne said, perhaps they knew they could suck and no one would notice or care.

Indeed, as I've said many times: even at the crappier '77 shows you don't hear any booing on the audience tapes, the crowds were having a helluva good time!

21 hours ago, Crimson Avenger said:

The problem is finding a consistently well-played gig in great sound quality.

Cleveland, April 28 1977- decent audience tape (certainly one of the better non-Millard '77 recordings), one of the best '77 performances, if not the best, at least as far as 'consistency' goes.

Anyway, welcome to the 1977 Dark Side, William.

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i'm always surprised the Destroyer show gets a bad rap
sure the 77 shows are a bit bloated, but all those long solos are just a great time to take a leak, or fire one up
page wise it probably is a bit of a mess (most often) but still...on a good night the band was awesome within the time frame of their existance

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16 hours ago, nick2632 said:

Check out the following night in Frankfurt Germany!! 

I have that same problem with 1979-1980 Zeppelin, but Frankfurt is just different. The magic was certainly gone even as early as 1977, but that night in Frankfurt feels rather special. Perhaps all 4 members were completely there and nobody was wishing they were anywhere else.. They were just having fun and trying to make it last and every song is killer!! Unlike the band getting lost in Kashmir, they pull out perhaps the greatest Kashmir of their career!! I give this show a honest 10/10 rating, and not just compared to 1980 Zeppelin.. I'm comparing that to LA 6/25/1972 and the only show in 1980 I would consider giving a 10/10.

Thanks for the reccomendation. High praise indeed to compare it to LA '72! Will certainly give Franfurt a go.  It  would be great to have one, just one killer '80 show to pull out when in the mood, especially as it is a great set-list.

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Yeah Page's guitar tone in 77', particularly on SA and even SIBLY(!!!) had a certain fuzzy edge to it that does actually

resemble grunge tone. Page invented everything, is it any surprise ?? I think what Steve said that there is a killer 90

minute set in the vast majority of shows in 77', is quite accurate. Still, there is the "consistently good show" problem.

Being a musician, even most of the very good or great shows have portions where I want to stick my fingers in my

ears during some Page solos. However, from speaking to fans who actually saw some shows, the visual spectacle

and overall onslaught left few unsatisfied in 77'.

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16 hours ago, Nutrocker said:

Somehow I knew you were gonna say that!

You knew my reply before I even knew my reply, Nutrocker!
I'll always plug this concert.
Hoping you and the missus are doing exceptionally well.

Quote

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Mithril46 said:

I think what Steve said that there is a killer 90 minute set in the vast majority of shows in 77', is quite accurate.

I've listened a lot of 77 and this is what the setlist should have been:

  1. Sick Again
  2. Nobody's Fault But Mine
  3. In My Time of Dying
  4. Since I've Been Loving You
  5. No Quarter
  6. Ten Years Gone
  7. White Summer/Black Mountain Side
  8. Kashmir
  9. Achille's Last Stand

Listen to the shows like that and there's your 90 minutes!

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