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Starting Bootleg Recommendations


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Personally, I'd recommend the Texas International Pop Festival - August 31, 1969. The performance is short enough (only 1 hour) that casual fans can get into it. The sound quality is also good enough that people won't be turned off (since with quite a few bootlegs, you'll find you'll need "bootleg ears" to enjoy them). The band itself is also putting on a great show.


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10 hours ago, Sathington Willoughby said:

I also noticed you didn't mention DVD or BBC Sessions, op. Get those when you get the chance, obviously.

I fully agree about LTTE, DVD and BBC. I would also add Blueberry Hill September 4, 1970

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I'm somewhat new to bootlegs myself, but I'll give a mention to the best I've heard so far:

Tokyo, 23/09/1971 -----> first night of Japan 71 tour and whole band just on it and wild, dramatic show, reasonable sound, and one of the best versions of Stairway ever.

Southampton University, 22/01/1973 ------> Decent, but not the best show - still good, but band very loose and laidback. Interestingly low-key show for Zep at this point as I think it's in the student refectory. However the main selling point is that the recording quality is superb - easily the best sound of any Zep boot I've heard outside of radio broadcasts, and there are some surprises in the setlist such as HMMT and CB.

Madison Square Garden, New York, 12/02/1975 -----> Check the date as I may be wrong on this, but this is one of the best 75 shows. I think it's referred to as 'Four Blocks In The Snow' after a comment Plant makes between songs. Great performances of Sick Again and Kashmir. Good soundboard recording.

St Louis, 16/02/1975 -------> Really consistent and excellent show with a great Stairway and other stuff. Quality soundboard recording.

Baton Rouge, 28/02/1975 --------> Same as above, but notable because the band seems to be playing in a slightly faster tempo than from the other shows at around this time - gives it a certain extra something. Great version of Sick Again.

Earls Court, 24/05/1975 --------> Zeppelin at their most regal. This is available on DVD. Great versions of the PG material and Stairway.

LA Forum, 21/06/1977 --------> the 'Listen To This, Eddie' show. The 1977 tour is erratic but the LA shows are brilliant and of a notably more energetic quality than most. This show is awesome, the band just come out of the gate firing on all cylinders and the intensity just doesn't let up. Brilliant, balls-to-the-wall versions of Sick Again, Achilles Last Stand, TSRTS, etc. etc. etc. Brilliant audience tape that really gets the vibe of the whole event. Bonham in supreme form.

LA Forum, 22/06/1977 -------> Not as good an audience recording, but perhaps an even better show than the night before. The band are still manic but are a little more focused and it's magnificent.

LA Forum, 23/06/1977 ------------> Noticeably more loose and 'funky' than the previous two nights. A completely different vibe but just as fascinating - very much in the groove, raunchy and downright sleazy in places. Interesting fuck up in the middle of Kashmir but the band recover very well and finish powerfully. Very good audience recording [the guy who did it recorded the 21/23/25 and 27 shows - all of these sound great].

LA Forum, 25/06/1977 -----------> Somewhat more of a regal performance than the previous three nights, still a great show. Acoustic set is wonderful. Stately version of Kashmir. Quite an interesting No Quarter too, even though I'm not a huge fan of the half an hour jam this song had stretched out into, it works well here.

Knebworth, 04/08/1979 ----------> An iconic and very consistent show, with great versions of In The Evening, Nobody's Fault But Mine, Sick Again and Achilles Last Stand. My personal favourite version of Whole Lotta Love with a cool riff jam section.


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Also try the following shows on Youtube - some are in very good quality, others not so much. The bits I've heard from them are all great, though.

Boston 26/01/1969

Fillmore West 27/04/1969

Schaefer 21/07/1969

Copenhagen 05/03/1971

Berkeley 14/09/1971

Newcastle, sometime late 1971

Offenbach, spring 1973 thereabouts

LA, 27/06/1977

Zurich, about June 1980

Berlin, 1980 [last show, longest Stairway solo ever]


Also definitely get the DVD and BBC sessions - both are godlike [esp. the DVD].

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