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Colonial

Unpopular opinions re live shows

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Apologies if such a thread already exists, but I did search.

I love Zep, I have pretty much every show as far as I can tell.  But here are a couple of things that make me a little crazy after all these years.  Maybe these are the rough parts of the diamond, I don't know. I'll just air them in the hopes of finding kindred spirits rather than judgement. :)

1. Whole Lotta Love, live, didn't always suck.  But it often sucked, at least compared to the rest of the show.  

Jimmy and JPJ found it hard to recreate the depth, power and tone of the opening riff live in a way which had the same punch as the studio version.  It was often played in a hurried or frantic way.  The six-bar solo break was usually a dog's breakfast marked by poor timing, including by Bonzo who used to mess around with the drum part to ill effect.  The best bits live ended up being the medley numbers like Boogie Chillen (which was usually awesome).  Maybe they were tired by the time they got there, but it's rarely a highlight.  Honourable exception(s) to one or two of the versions on BBC sessions.

2. The way Robert handled his voice post Sept 72 . Why not do a warm up?

After a few months, it becomes obvious that with some rare exceptions he couldn't hit even moderately high notes at the start of a show.  But in many gigs, by the middle of the show he's in great form and can hit, if not his old peaks, at least somewhere close to that.  So why not spend half an hour warming up his voice before the gig?

Ok, got those off my chest.  

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Valid points, they could never recreate the power of the opening studio riff to WLL live, although the rest of the improvisation was usually great.

What do you mean by Sep 72?  Do you mean June?  Or are you saying the Japanese shows in Oct72 showed a fundamental break?

I would add to your list the fact that they always seemed to botch the return to the main theme/riff in D&C in '75 (exception being 5-24-75), it never had the flair that some of the '73 versions did. 

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I always held WLL to be a highlight of the show - Berkeley 71, LA 72, a killer Seattle 73 and even Knebworth to name a few.

Dazed got so overblown and frankly dull post 73. Can't remember which Earls Court night it is but Plant says something like " 7 years we have been playing this and we still get lost" 

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10 hours ago, chillumpuffer said:

I always held WLL to be a highlight of the show - Berkeley 71, LA 72, a killer Seattle 73 and even Knebworth to name a few.

Dazed got so overblown and frankly dull post 73. Can't remember which Earls Court night it is but Plant says something like " 7 years we have been playing this and we still get lost" 

Ha, that's a funny Plantation.

 I'm ok with WLL live, mainly as a vehicle for attaching out on the old Rick and roll and blues numbers. '73 has some really nice funk grooves during the theramin solo with Jones and Bonzo at their finest. 

My main issues are the meandering overblown solo sections in Dazed '75 and No Quarter '77. Jimmy's playing was often too sloppy to be interesting for long stretches. 

And, Plants voice was pretty much fucked after '72. Not sure if warming up would help. He was kind of rock's best bad singer. Lot of straining going on in '73 and '75. 

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22 hours ago, chillumpuffer said:

I always held WLL to be a highlight of the show - Berkeley 71, LA 72, a killer Seattle 73 and even Knebworth to name a few.

Dazed got so overblown and frankly dull post 73. Can't remember which Earls Court night it is but Plant says something like " 7 years we have been playing this and we still get lost" 

Ha, that's a funny Plantation.

 I'm ok with WLL live, mainly as a vehicle for stretching out on the old Rock and Roll and Blues numbers. '73 has some really nice funk grooves during the theramin solo with Jones and Bonzo at their finest. 

My main issues are the meandering overblown solo sections in Dazed '75 and No Quarter '77. Jimmy's playing was often too sloppy to be interesting for long stretches. 

And, Plants voice was pretty much fucked after '72. Not sure if warming up would help. He was kind of rock's best bad singer. Lot of straining going on in '73 and '75. 

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54 minutes ago, chef free said:

I guess I'll be the one to post it: the overly long drum solos and that damn '77 "Noise solo"!

That is definitely not an unpopular opinion around here.

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On 12/22/2016 at 9:44 PM, JohnOsbourne said:

What do you mean by Sep 72?  Do you mean June?  Or are you saying the Japanese shows in Oct72 showed a fundamental break?

 

Yeah I mean that the loss of his high range begins noticeably on the second Japanese tour, so I suppose to say June is more accurate.

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Yes, I think a more appropriate view for this thread would be: "I love live versions of Moby Dick and skip right to them" lol.

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On 12/23/2016 at 10:38 PM, porgie66 said:

Not sure if warming up would help. 

I don't know... think about it, how many times have you listened to a cringeworthy opening number (Rock and Roll in particular), but then by the time he gets to e.g. the Rain Song or Kashmir he's nailing it.  It's rare that he misses that epic note at the end of the bridge in Kashmir, and I always find myself saying "where was that an hour ago?"

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Not sure if it's an unpopular opinion, but for me, neither 'Whole Lotta Love' nor 'Achilles Last Stand' translated well live... ever.  Both tracks relied on studio production techniques to really lift them to transcendent levels, but that was simply impossible/impractical to replicate live, and they just didn't work for me the same as their studio versions.

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I often think Kashmir sounds like hell live. It depends on how Jones' mellotron is sounding, but even when it's sounding good, I just find that the studio song has such a big, dense sound that never quite works for me in the live versions.

As far as the '77 noise solos, they are something I tend to skip when listening to a boot, but I suspect that if I was actually there at the show (especially if under the influence of some mind-altering treats) I would probably find the solo part jaw-droppingly awesome. It seems like one  of those "you just had to be there" kind of things.

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3 hours ago, Balthazor said:

I often think Kashmir sounds like hell live. It depends on how Jones' mellotron is sounding, but even when it's sounding good, I just find that the studio song has such a big, dense sound that never quite works for me in the live versions.

Really?  Behold this magnificence...

 

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It is true that after late 1972, Robert Plant was never quite as good live, but it seemed to be only on certain tracks. Over the Hills and Far Away, Rock and Roll and Black Dog seemed to be the ones he couldn't do anymore. However, he was fabulous most nights on Since I've Been Loving You, The Rain Song, No Quarter and Trampled Underfoot right up until 1980. Ironically, I personally find Robert Plant's vocals better in the studio from Houses of the Holy onwards. Kashmir would have been crap if Plant had sung it pre 1972.

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2 hours ago, The Old Hermit said:

Really?  Behold this magnificence...

 

Well I didn't say they ALL sounded like hell. But then this performance Jones is using a synthesizer instead of the untrusty old mellotron, which I think was an improvement. At least it could stay in tune.

Edited by Balthazor

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50 minutes ago, Balthazor said:

Well I didn't say they ALL sounded like hell. But then this performance Jones is using a synthesizer instead of the untrusty old mellotron, which I think was an improvement. At least it could stay in tune.

But where the hell was JPJ in the solo? It's the only draw back to that otherwise brilliant bit of film and audio. It almost seems the mixer dropped off Jones specifically for the solo.

Having said that - I welled up a bit by the end of that song (and I'm completely sober!) so it certainly is a great clip.

Edited by rm2551

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I just wish we could get a statement from Plant explaining his vocal issues... I agree maybe a warmup possibly could have saved him but like others not so sure... I still listen to warts and all live stuff though... Even with Plant not being in top form I still find Zep engaging 

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Here's mine:

1. '73 is overrated. Yes the Euro tour is fantastic and Jimmy's playing throughout the year is terrific. However, I don't care for them shortening and then eliminating the acoustic set. IMO, the concerts benefited from this as it allowed for a change in dynamics and made the shows "flow" better. The setlist for the US tour is a little bizarre too (Moby Dick directly after Stairway?). Not to mention Plant's vocal troubles.

2. I don't like how they "cut the waffle". I consider myself a fan of the 77 tour (even though it is erratic to say the least) and feel that if they had just eliminated or shortened the drum and noise solos (as well as not have them directly back to back) and added a couple more songs in there, it would have had the perfect setlist. 77 is pretty much the definition of epic and is a true representation of the Hammer of the Gods (warts and all). I think scaling back the setlist in '79 and '80 was a bit of a mistake. The shows feel incomplete, imo. There seems to be something missing, even in terrific performances like the Copenhagen gigs.

3. We're Gonna Groove should have been kept as a setlist opener for longer. That RAH performance knocked my socks off when I saw it on DVD for the first time.

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Agreed on MD and D&C becoming more and more stretched out. As someone here pointed out, it would be a lot different hearing them at a live show than at home. Once I'd heard No Quarter live a number of times from different live shows it pretty much seemed to be the band backing Jones for a few minutes, then Jonesy noodling for a few more minutes and then the band is back and Jimmy soloing with Jones. I learned that no matter how good or not so good Jones is on a given night, when the band comes back and Jimmy solos, it's always a big 'high' for me. Never noticed a bad night for that part of NQ; perhaps it's the storm after the quiet that gets me. When Jimmy solos on Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Over The Hills & Far Away, Stairway, NQ, Trampled Underfoot and Achilles Last Stand I am totally non-judgemental. It's all great.

Edited by Jukkin

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Achilles last stand seems to be on the verge of falling apart on most performances. Perhaps because they couldn't recreate what they were able to do in the studio.

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On 12/22/2016 at 11:28 PM, Colonial said:

Apologies if such a thread already exists, but I did search.

I love Zep, I have pretty much every show as far as I can tell.  But here are a couple of things that make me a little crazy after all these years.  Maybe these are the rough parts of the diamond, I don't know. I'll just air them in the hopes of finding kindred spirits rather than judgement. :)

1. Whole Lotta Love, live, didn't always suck.  But it often sucked, at least compared to the rest of the show.  

Jimmy and JPJ found it hard to recreate the depth, power and tone of the opening riff live in a way which had the same punch as the studio version.  It was often played in a hurried or frantic way.  The six-bar solo break was usually a dog's breakfast marked by poor timing, including by Bonzo who used to mess around with the drum part to ill effect.  The best bits live ended up being the medley numbers like Boogie Chillen (which was usually awesome).  Maybe they were tired by the time they got there, but it's rarely a highlight.  Honourable exception(s) to one or two of the versions on BBC sessions.

2. The way Robert handled his voice post Sept 72 . Why not do a warm up?

After a few months, it becomes obvious that with some rare exceptions he couldn't hit even moderately high notes at the start of a show.  But in many gigs, by the middle of the show he's in great form and can hit, if not his old peaks, at least somewhere close to that.  So why not spend half an hour warming up his voice before the gig?

Ok, got those off my chest.  

Vocal health and maintenance ....warm ups etc.. wasn't as prevelant and well known as it is today. Plant strained the shit out of his voice constantly with tour after tour with little rest and the extra curriculars didn't help his voice either lol. In my opinion there is nobody that could match early Plant vocally ...and i speak of tone, power, delivery and sheer emotion of his voice. Plant at 75 percent is still far better then most vocalists. He is the Golden God lol.

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Unpopular live opinion: As someone who likes experimental, free form music, I enjoy the noise solos quite a bit (just the 77 ones though), and overall I love White Summer though even I'll concede it was more miss than hit in 1980. I also prefer 77 and 75 over any other year due to the setlists and tapes circulating. 1980 and 1970 tie for third.

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1 hour ago, Sue Dounim said:

Unpopular live opinion: As someone who likes experimental, free form music, I enjoy the noise solos quite a bit (just the 77 ones though), and overall I love White Summer though even I'll concede it was more miss than hit in 1980. I also prefer 77 and 75 over any other year due to the setlists and tapes circulating. 1980 and 1970 tie for third.

And I thought I was the only one Sue...at least as far as 80' tour is concerned. I love the majority of this tour and think the band played well for most of the shows. Of course there are a few lackluster shows but even they have some high points. The real shame however is the drubbing the 79' shows get. Just because Jimmy kinda stunk for most of the Aug 11th gig, everyone ignores the other three shows. The two Copenhagen warm ups are on my constant rotation as these are truly fantastic shows played extremely well, and the Aug 4th show is mighty fine as well, though not as good as the warm ups.

I love Zeppelin in 79' & 80' and appreciate the whole "cut the waffle" approach. Anyone who thinks a 77' style setlist would have worked in the 80's is delusional. Few would have put up with 40 minute songs regardless of how well they played them, it was just out of style by then. Hell even Yes & Rush scaled back on the prog rock & extended jams in the 80's.

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Agree with most of the stuff on this thread.  Achille's never quite makes it live...too fast, too intricate for live, I think.

WLL could be awesome sometimes.

Love most of Tour Over Europe.

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No quarter in 77 was bloated best thing in 79 was paring it back. The  sections of dazed and confused in 75 fitted together better than the sections of no quarter in 77.

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