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The Rover

BEST SOLOING ON OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY

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What I want, is your opinion on the best soloing on Over The Hills And Far Away, *without* regard to Robert's vocal performance or range.

I haven't listened to all boots, but my favorite that includes the best soloing, is the 2007 Re-Mastered TSRTS CD version.

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I think the OTHAFA solo peaked in 1975. By that time, Jimmy had completed his vision for how he wanted the solo to sound, what styles to incorporate etc.

With that in mind, I think 3.21 might be his finest hour (ok, 3 or so minutes) on the solo

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June 22, 1977 -  It is completely over the top.  It winds up toward the ending then Page blasts off into outer space again, and adds some figures I have not heard in any other version.

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My favorites are from 1975. A lot of great versions, for exemple

January 31

February 13/14/16

March.. 04/05/12/21/

May..18/25

1977 :  22 and 23 june

 

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The TSRTS version doesn't even make my top 10...or even my top 20.

I said it years ago and I keep saying it on the various OTHAFA threads that multiply here: June 22, 1977 is Jimmy's best solo ever on OTHAFA. Best. Solo. Ever.

The other 1977 LA Forum dates, June 13, 1977 MSG, March 21 1975 Seattle, 1975 Earls Court, Offenbach 1973, and various other 1975 dates can fight it out for the rest of the top 10.

But 6.22.77 will always be #1.

Edited by Strider

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4 hours ago, John M said:

June 22, 1977 -  It is completely over the top.  It winds up toward the ending then Page blasts off into outer space again, and adds some figures I have not heard in any other version.

 

1 hour ago, Strider said:

The TSRTS version doesn't even make my top 10...or even my top 20.

I said it years ago and I keep saying it on the various OTHAFA threads that multiply here: June 22, 1977 is Jimmy's best solo ever on OTHAFA. Best. Solo. Ever.

The other 1977 LA Forum dates, June 13, 1977 MSG, March 21 1975 Seattle, 1975 Earls Court, Offenbach 1973, and various other 1975 dates can fight it out for the rest of the top 10.

But 6.22.77 will always be #1.

Came here to say this. 6/22/77 may not have the best recording but my God is Page on fire for the solo here! John, you're spot on when you describe it as Page blasting off into outer space. Absolutely unreal. One of the many reasons why that show is easily in the top 5 of my personal soundboard wishlist.

Apart from that, other versions where I really enjoyed the solos include:

10/10/72

3/16/73

3/24/73

2/12/75

3/12/75

3/21/75

5/18/75

5/25/75

6/13/77

6/21/77

6/23/77

6/26/77

7/24/79

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On 1/14/2018 at 8:20 AM, John M said:

June 22, 1977 -  It is completely over the top.  It winds up toward the ending then Page blasts off into outer space again, and adds some figures I have not heard in any other version.

 

On 1/14/2018 at 11:27 AM, Strider said:

The TSRTS version doesn't even make my top 10...or even my top 20.

I said it years ago and I keep saying it on the various OTHAFA threads that multiply here: June 22, 1977 is Jimmy's best solo ever on OTHAFA. Best. Solo. Ever.

The other 1977 LA Forum dates, June 13, 1977 MSG, March 21 1975 Seattle, 1975 Earls Court, Offenbach 1973, and various other 1975 dates can fight it out for the rest of the top 10.

But 6.22.77 will always be #1.

 

On 1/14/2018 at 12:37 PM, ZepHead315 said:

 

Came here to say this. 6/22/77 may not have the best recording but my God is Page on fire for the solo here! John, you're spot on when you describe it as Page blasting off into outer space. Absolutely unreal. One of the many reasons why that show is easily in the top 5 of my personal soundboard wishlist.

Apart from that, other versions where I really enjoyed the solos include:

10/10/72

3/16/73

3/24/73

2/12/75

3/12/75

3/21/75

5/18/75

5/25/75

6/13/77

6/21/77

6/23/77

6/26/77

7/24/79

Yeah I hate to just keep agreeing with people who are right but 6/22/77 really does blow away anything else I’ve heard (which is far from everything). But due to the relatively poor audio fidelity of even the best-sounding bootlegs of that show, unless you’re able and willing to focus in on the notes Jimmy’s playing, you’d never realize it.

ALB

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3 hours ago, AchillesLastBand said:

Yeah I hate to just keep agreeing with people who are right but 6/22/77 really does blow away anything else I’ve heard (which is far from everything). But due to the relatively poor audio fidelity of even the best-sounding bootlegs of that show, unless you’re able and willing to focus in on the notes Jimmy’s playing, you’d never realize it.

When I listen to this version I sometimes think that the ambience of the recording adds to the overall effect.  To start with the audience goes over the top as soon as the song begins.  You can really get a sense of the crowd and their reaction.  And there is something indefinable about the sound of the recording during the guitar solo.  I am not sure it would be so transcendent sounding if it were a crystal clear recording. 

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just listened to 22nd June, ok, I see no one is exaggerating. What an intense ride. Can you imagine being there? How does one's face not melt?

But that aud source is rough.

So what is the best clean sounding source solo (immaculate aud or nice SB or Matrix) if I may be so bold?

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16 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

March '75, definitely.  Probably last night in LA is the best, just a tad better than Seattle.

This would be mine too. 3.27.75 is the one where Jimmy misses his cue to come back in to the riff section at the end, but makes a feature of it, like he meant it all along. Magic!

I don't think he really played a bad version in 1975-77 though. The OTHAFA solo is largely a revival of what he was doing pre 73 with Immigrant Song, so it was clearly something that suited him very well.

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7 hours ago, John M said:

When I listen to this version I sometimes think that the ambience of the recording adds to the overall effect.  To start with the audience goes over the top as soon as the song begins.  You can really get a sense of the crowd and their reaction.  And there is something indefinable about the sound of the recording during the guitar solo.  I am not sure it would be so transcendent sounding if it were a crystal clear recording. 

Good point- there is a sort of echo on the solo that may only help its case.

I will check out 3/27/75 as that seems to have a lot of credible support too.

ALB

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The 6-22 version is pretty phenomenal for 77. Very aggressive and inspired with no dead spots (which Page had a lot of for this solo). But it lacks the same thing Page's solos had lacked since 73- fluidity and phrasing. The 6-22 solo is a constant barrage of triplets and speedy runs up and down the minor scale, although those big, aggressive bends do sound really good. As powerful as that solo is, I personally prefer the short and sweet 73 solos where Page was on his A game when it came to phrasing and improvising. Offenburg 73, Mobile 73, and Providence 73 are all great. He taps into something on Mobile that goes into another world.

Edit: Just listened to 3-21-75 to make sure I hadn't missed something. That's a big nope. Very uninspired and sloppy. I can't be the only one to think Page is not great for this show.

Edited by gibsonfan159

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Thanks for making me aware of Mobile 73. You’re right. A very lyrical and just shred solo. And that’s a soundboard show too huh. Will have to get that one. Did notice it sounds a little bass-heavy but perhaps there are other versions of the boot that are a little better in this respect.

I do wish that Jimmy could have been bothered to keep his ax just a LITTLE more in tune on some nights. It’s especially noticeable during the closing arpeggio of the song here. I mean, it’s just wildly out of tune, not even close.

ALB

Edited by AchillesLastBand
Reconsidered word choice.

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On 1/17/2018 at 3:12 PM, gibsonfan159 said:

The 6-22 version is pretty phenomenal for 77. Very aggressive and inspired with no dead spots (which Page had a lot of for this solo). But it lacks the same thing Page's solos had lacked since 73- fluidity and phrasing. The 6-22 solo is a constant barrage of triplets and speedy runs up and down the minor scale, although those big, aggressive bends do sound really good. As powerful as that solo is, I personally prefer the short and sweet 73 solos where Page was on his A game when it came to phrasing and improvising. Offenburg 73, Mobile 73, and Providence 73 are all great. He taps into something on Mobile that goes into another world.

Edit: Just listened to 3-21-75 to make sure I hadn't missed something. That's a big nope. Very uninspired and sloppy. I can't be the only one to think Page is not great for this show.

I call your 1973 Mobile fluidity and phrasing and raise you 6.22.77 4:10-4:57.

Yes, 1973 Mobile shreds and he does some nice hammer ons and pull offs. But there's no sense of drama or movement...it's mostly lateral movement. There is a nice bit at 3:29 but it's very short and then the solo ends.

The 1977 solos just had an epicness to them that the 1973's lacked. The giant fuzz echo gave it an immense monstrous vibe...it sounded as if the solo was coming from Mount Zeus. There were dips and dives and a forward thrust to the solo in 1977 that really took you on a journey...as if you really were going over the hills and far away.

6.22.77 has the extra bonus of the segment from 4:36 to 4:57. You want to talk about phrasing? That is some sweet phrasing right there...and never played before or after in any other OTHAFA solo. That's what gives 6.22.77 its one-of-a-kind status as king of the OTHAFA solos.

As for 3.21.75, I admit it's not the tightest of 1975, but it's fluid enough and again, he goes into a type of Jimi Hendrix-mode that makes that solo unique amongst the other ones from 1975.

 

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Yup. Just listened on cans to my Box Top Records vinyl of “Listen to This, Eddie” (which on 2LPs contains about 2/7ths of the show) and have never appreciated Jimmy’s 6/21 solo so much. With Bonham’s out-of-his-mind 6/21 drumming as comping, this one should be up there too. Incidentally, nice latter-day singing by Plant here too.

ALB

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3 hours ago, Strider said:

 

 

"I call your 1973 Mobile fluidity and phrasing and raise you 6.22.77 4:10-4:57.

Yes, 1973 Mobile shreds and he does some nice hammer ons and pull offs. But there's no sense of drama or movement...it's mostly lateral movement."

Ok, I really thought about just agreeing to disagree, subjective preference and what not, but I can't do it lol. I will not argue that 6/22 is the most vicious solo of this song he's ever done. Maybe the most expressive playing I've heard him do. He's playing like he's pissed at the world.  But to say Mobile 73 had no sense of drama or movement is very undermining (don't get me started on phrasing), especially compared to 6/22 and especially considering what all he's jamming in there in just over a minute.

Let's dissect Mobile a little; In a span of one minute and ten seconds he starts a slow build up that keeps moving and building at a steady pace, speeding up toward the end. 6/22 he starts off similar, but seems to get hung up on those low notes and wander a little. 2:54-3:00 are the pull-offs, which are blindingly fast and articulate (There's that word I was looking for to describe what separates 73 Jimmy from any Jimmy afterwards). He does something similar on 6/22 at 3:20 but it's impossible to compare which is more articulate with the sound quality, it sounds good though. 3:01-3:05 is the perfect example of the articulation Pagey had pre 75 that was never heard again. Or at least I've never heard it and I'd love for someone to find me some examples of it from something post 73. Post 73 Page no longer had the nimble fingers that could run a scale in blinding speed with perfect articulation. 3:13-3:22 has something I've never heard Page do before- tapping the strings with his pick. That's some Jeff Beck shit. 3:24-3:30 has something else slightly unique- octave slides, adding a menacing feel. 3:31 he starts improvising a riff that could easily be another Zep song. He's absolutely all over the place playing wise on this solo. So that's five different techniques used in a minute long solo. The very definition of phrasing. And drama and movement. Fluidity? I heard very little of it on 6/22. There's a couple of fast runs, but again, the sound quality makes me cautious to judge his articulation.

In the end, I don't think the 73 solos needed to be extended because he was playing them more professionally and doing more in the time frame he used. I kinda think he started these big long extended solos in 75 to make up for not being as impressive with only a short, well-performed solo like he was doing before.

 

" You want to talk about phrasing? That is some sweet phrasing right there"

Yeah, that's not really phrasing. I mean, kinda, but not really. That's guitar wankery. The whole solo is. He's playing basic minor pentatonic leads as aggressively as he can and bending the shit outta the strings. There's no way to say this without sounding like my head's up me arse, but I'm just an amateur bedroom guitarist and I promise you I can play something very, very similar to what Page does on the 6/22 solo by just fucking around. The Mobile solo? I'd have to practice that shit for a week. To quote EVH (and God it hurts me to say it), Page really does sound like a teenager playing in his bedroom here. Sure, he's playing like someone kicked his dog, but there's a lot of articulation and technique missing from the solo. Also a lot of innovation. But, he's playing like crazy and for a long time, so it really impresses the listener.

"...and never played before or after in any other OTHAFA solo. That's what gives 6.22.77 its one-of-a-kind status as king of the OTHAFA solos."

He certainly does some unique stuff, but that's almost true of any Page solo. One reason I value him more than about any other guitarist. He never plays anything the same way twice. And why I love exploring and discussing these live performances.

With that possibly unnecessary rant over, I recommend listening to the show right after Mobile (5/14/73). Not as wild as Mobile, but listen to 3:11-3:22. That's the playing that I love about pre 75 Page, those blinding single note runs that are played perfectly. He could no longer do that after 73 (I personally believe he had a fucking stroke or something). Also check 7/21/73 (Providence)  3:18-3:25. Again with the fluidity. This whole solo is an articulation wet dream. There are parts that almost sound like Jason Becker or somebody. Almost legato sounding. (Also the No Quarter solo).

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11 minutes ago, gibsonfan159 said:

"I call your 1973 Mobile fluidity and phrasing and raise you 6.22.77 4:10-4:57.

Yes, 1973 Mobile shreds and he does some nice hammer ons and pull offs. But there's no sense of drama or movement...it's mostly lateral movement."

Ok, I really thought about just agreeing to disagree, subjective preference and what not, but I can't do it lol. I will not argue that 6/22 is the most vicious solo of this song he's ever done. Maybe the most expressive playing I've heard him do. He's playing like he's pissed at the world.  But to say Mobile 73 had no sense of drama or movement is very undermining (don't get me started on phrasing), especially compared to 6/22 and especially considering what all he's jamming in there in just over a minute.

Let's dissect Mobile a little; In a span of one minute and ten seconds he starts a slow build up that keeps moving and building at a steady pace, speeding up toward the end. 6/22 he starts off similar, but seems to get hung up on those low notes and wander a little. 2:54-3:00 are the pull-offs, which are blindingly fast and articulate (There's that word I was looking for to describe what separates 73 Jimmy from any Jimmy afterwards). He does something similar on 6/22 at 3:20 but it's impossible to compare which is more articulate with the sound quality, it sounds good though. 3:01-3:05 is the perfect example of the articulation Pagey had pre 75 that was never heard again. Or at least I've never heard it and I'd love for someone to find me some examples of it from something post 73. Post 73 Page no longer had the nimble fingers that could run a scale in blinding speed with perfect articulation. 3:13-3:22 has something I've never heard Page do before- tapping the strings with his pick. That's some Jeff Beck shit. 3:24-3:30 has something else slightly unique- octave slides, adding a menacing feel. 3:31 he starts improvising a riff that could easily be another Zep song. He's absolutely all over the place playing wise on this solo. So that's five different techniques used in a minute long solo. The very definition of phrasing. And drama and movement. Fluidity? I heard very little of it on 6/22. There's a couple of fast runs, but again, the sound quality makes me cautious to judge his articulation.

In the end, I don't think the 73 solos needed to be extended because he was playing them more professionally and doing more in the time frame he used. I kinda think he started these big long extended solos in 75 to make up for not being as impressive with only a short, well-performed solo like he was doing before.

 

" You want to talk about phrasing? That is some sweet phrasing right there"

Yeah, that's not really phrasing. I mean, kinda, but not really. That's guitar wankery. The whole solo is. He's playing basic minor pentatonic leads as aggressively as he can and bending the shit outta the strings. There's no way to say this without sounding like my head's up me arse, but I'm just an amateur bedroom guitarist and I promise you I can play something very, very similar to what Page does on the 6/22 solo by just fucking around. The Mobile solo? I'd have to practice that shit for a week. To quote EVH (and God it hurts me to say it), Page really does sound like a teenager playing in his bedroom here. Sure, he's playing like someone kicked his dog, but there's a lot of articulation and technique missing from the solo. Also a lot of innovation. But, he's playing like crazy and for a long time, so it really impresses the listener.

"...and never played before or after in any other OTHAFA solo. That's what gives 6.22.77 its one-of-a-kind status as king of the OTHAFA solos."

He certainly does some unique stuff, but that's almost true of any Page solo. One reason I value him more than about any other guitarist. He never plays anything the same way twice. And why I love exploring and discussing these live performances.

With that possibly unnecessary rant over, I recommend listening to the show right after Mobile (5/14/73). Not as wild as Mobile, but listen to 3:11-3:22. That's the playing that I love about pre 75 Page, those blinding single note runs that are played perfectly. He could no longer do that after 73 (I personally believe he had a fucking stroke or something). Also check 7/21/73 (Providence)  3:18-3:25. Again with the fluidity. This whole solo is an articulation wet dream. There are parts that almost sound like Jason Becker or somebody. Almost legato sounding. (Also the No Quarter solo).

I admire your advocacy for 1973 Mobile and I didn't mean to disparage 1973 Mobile. It's a fine solo and definitely one of my favourites from that year...Offenbach and Providence are in the mix, too.

But I can't put them above my favourite solos from 1977. Maybe we just hear differently or want different things from our solos. So I think this is a case where we will just have to agree to disagree.

I mean, a good OTHAFA solo is something to cherish, no matter the year...I even love the one from Copenhagen 1979.

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On 1/17/2018 at 9:50 PM, AchillesLastBand said:

Thanks for making me aware of Mobile 73. You’re right. A very lyrical and just shred solo. And that’s a soundboard show too huh. Will have to get that one. Did notice it sounds a little bass-heavy but perhaps there are other versions of the boot that are a little better in this respect.

I do wish that Jimmy could have been bothered to keep his ax just a LITTLE more in tune on some nights. It’s especially noticeable during the closing arpeggio of the song here. I mean, it’s just wildly out of tune, not even close.

ALB

If you listened to the version I remixed I actually brightened it up a bit. The original was very "thumpy". And avoid that shitty Bertha Remix. This version kills me because the solo is amazing, guitar tone is perfectly crunchy, Plant does some incredible singing on the outro, and the recording is phenomenal. But Page flubs the intro twice and Plant does his pre-puberty vocals for the first half. I thought the guitar tuning was alright compared to other versions.

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7 minutes ago, Strider said:

. Maybe we just hear differently or want different things from our solos.

 

I think that's it exactly. You seem to like the more expressive, epic journey solos. I'm more impressed by Page when he's on point with technique (I.E. SIBLY MSG 73). Page just got a little too loose for me after 73.

If you don't  mind my asking, what are some other solos from 77 that you could recommend that would hammer home your taste for his playing (I promise I won't critique the shit out of them lol)?

Edited by gibsonfan159
Messed up quote

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1 minute ago, gibsonfan159 said:

I think that's it exactly. You seem to like the more expressive, epic journey solos. I'm more impressed by Page when he's on point with technique (I.E. SIBLY MSG 73). Page just got a little too loose for me after 73.

If you don't  mind my asking, what are some other solos from 77 that you could recommend that would hammer home your taste for his playing (I promise I won't critique the shit out of them lol)?

If you mean other OTHAFA solos, all of the LA Forum run of 1977 I love. There are a couple from the MSG run that I like, too...and one of the New York nights even features Plant singing the original vocal melody, June 13 '77. Unfortunately, the recording quality of the MSG shows aren't close to Mike Millard quality, so if you don't have "bootleg ears", it's kind of rough listening.

The sad thing about 1977 is that OTHAFA didn't enter the setlist until halfway thru the tour in June. MSG and LA Forum are really the only ones we have. The Oakland shows are very rough quality. Seattle Kingdome is a soundboard but Jimmy gets a little too lost and wayward for me to count it as a "good" solo.

Wish they would have played it earlier in the tour in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and the Pontiac Silverdome.

July 24 1979 Copenhagen is worth a listen. As is the February 12, 13, 14 1975 run.

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3 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

If you listened to the version I remixed I actually brightened it up a bit. The original was very "thumpy". And avoid that shitty Bertha Remix. This version kills me because the solo is amazing, guitar tone is perfectly crunchy, Plant does some incredible singing on the outro, and the recording is phenomenal. But Page flubs the intro twice and Plant does his pre-puberty vocals for the first half. I thought the guitar tuning was alright compared to other versions.

The one I downloaded was labeled "dadgad remaster." And it did sound much better than the first source I heard, brighter as you describe.

ALB

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