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Blaize86

The space before the live decline

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I listen. Been listening to the live stuff  since I got my Knebworth cassettes in 1982 after ordering from ad in back of Rolling Stone. 

I was a bit shocked my the low quality and performance. Since then it has been a quest to find that Holy Grail of a performance while going through mt tour stages ( right now it’s MSG 1977 ). I just purchased Dave Lewis live chrono of the band. Although Lewis does not offer his own opinion of each show ( ala Rey ), he does provide heavy detail in finding the actual press reviews of each show. What enlightened me a bit was noticing that a lot  of the reviewers were spot on and knew more about the performances and the band itself that I gave credit for. Some mentioned the decline in the performances after 1973 European Tour. The freshness was lost and they became lumbering while Jimmy lost alit  of his “clean” playing. Self indulgence was prominent (  I can’t agree more). 

When did it happen ? Especially with Jimmy. Comparing Celebration Day ( song ) live in Canada  1971 to 1973 is alarming. 

How did they not notice ? The shallow 1973 sound live I have a hard time listening to. I blame it on excess and ego. I feel that Grant was determined to really conquer America especially after hiring Danny Goldberg for press. That space , however, between 1972 America and 1973 America was key to the change in the sound and delivery of the  band live. After this it was hard to get a fabulous STH solo without a brief struggle from Pagey. After that period it was difficult to get Page and Plant firing on all cylinders on one stage. I know I’m gonna hear it about LA 1977 ...pure volume if you ask me. Jimmy was good but was he actually playing up to his ability of being one of the finest English rock blues player in the world ? 

between 1972 and 1973 American tour - was that the space that changed the band live ? I know all about the European 1973 tour which to me seemed like some American rehearsals and the Jimmy and Bonzo show. Both were extraordinarily maybe even over the top but Jimmy fret work was like lightening. 

Robert was done after the 1972 American tour. In 1977 he came back with a deeper Daltry like approach but was super strong and carried those 1977 thru 1980 shows, 

Jimmy after Europe 1973 was never the same live. Yes there were great shows but if you you average the amount of shows from America 1973;to the end , the playing to ability was probably 60 percent. 

Bonzo is always stellar. After 1972 he just became much louder. In 1973 yeas he was great and the world started to notice him . In 1977 he was over playing due to some chemicals. His foot work in 1977 was hard to hear and he was very very loud. Hated the snare tone. He compensated a lot for Jimmy weak soloing. He would add unnecessary fills during some difficult chord changes  and timings. I love Bonzo in 1975. His best MD if you ask me. 1979 was terrific with sparse compact playing to the song. 1980 he was tired. 

Jones completely ruined the 1977 shows with that self indulgence of a NQ solo that just brought the show to a halt. I personally think he did that on purpose since he wasn’t the happiest with all the bs and band direction. Plus the Ambelic bass kinda threw Jimmy off tone. 

What I noticed is that the press reviews noticed the same thing at times which was the decline. They got “heavy” live and the slickness was lost. The volume got louder as did the light gimmicks.

Having said all that , I am still listening to MSG 1977 from a an audience recording. It is devastating and loud and Robert is in control. 

However hearing the band in its primal form ( Japan 1971) ,this is only a fraction of potential of these twenty something year old lads.

As you can see , I have alot of time in my hands this morning. 

Cheers from NY 

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Yeah, you do. LOL. They were ALL self-indulgent in '77. Jimmy's guitar solo showpiece was a dumpster fire, Bonham was clearly phoning it in for Over The Top, and JPJ was playing well beyond the audience capacity to appreciate (incorporating everything from Rachmanioff compositions to the kitchen sink). I think the Knebworth shows suffer from having circulated on poor audience-sourced recordings. The official dvd does present them to some extent in their full glory, but of course there is no substitute for being there in the moment. That holds true for any performance, really. Armchair quarterbacking them four decades later ultimately doesn't matter. 

 

Edited by SteveAJones

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I can confirm that the first Knebworth show was fantastic. As SAJ says there is no substitute from being there.

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I've always felt that the band was at its performance peak during the years 1969 - 1972. Especially the early tours of America in 1969 and 1970. I never really cared for the live shows after 1972.  After 1972, that's where the slow decline and rot set in, IMO. I blame the decline in Page's guitar playing on his heavy drug use that allegedly began in 1973.

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11 hours ago, Blaize86 said:

I listen. Been listening to the live stuff  since I got my Knebworth cassettes in 1982 after ordering from ad in back of Rolling Stone. 

I was a bit shocked my the low quality and performance. Since then it has been a quest to find that Holy Grail of a performance while going through mt tour stages ( right now it’s MSG 1977 ). I just purchased Dave Lewis live chrono of the band. Although Lewis does not offer his own opinion of each show ( ala Rey ), he does provide heavy detail in finding the actual press reviews of each show. What enlightened me a bit was noticing that a lot  of the reviewers were spot on and knew more about the performances and the band itself that I gave credit for. Some mentioned the decline in the performances after 1973 European Tour. The freshness was lost and they became lumbering while Jimmy lost alit  of his “clean” playing. Self indulgence was prominent (  I can’t agree more). 

When did it happen ? Especially with Jimmy. Comparing Celebration Day ( song ) live in Canada  1971 to 1973 is alarming. 

How did they not notice ? The shallow 1973 sound live I have a hard time listening to. I blame it on excess and ego. I feel that Grant was determined to really conquer America especially after hiring Danny Goldberg for press. That space , however, between 1972 America and 1973 America was key to the change in the sound and delivery of the  band live. After this it was hard to get a fabulous STH solo without a brief struggle from Pagey. After that period it was difficult to get Page and Plant firing on all cylinders on one stage. I know I’m gonna hear it about LA 1977 ...pure volume if you ask me. Jimmy was good but was he actually playing up to his ability of being one of the finest English rock blues player in the world ? 

between 1972 and 1973 American tour - was that the space that changed the band live ? I know all about the European 1973 tour which to me seemed like some American rehearsals and the Jimmy and Bonzo show. Both were extraordinarily maybe even over the top but Jimmy fret work was like lightening. 

Robert was done after the 1972 American tour. In 1977 he came back with a deeper Daltry like approach but was super strong and carried those 1977 thru 1980 shows, 

Jimmy after Europe 1973 was never the same live. Yes there were great shows but if you you average the amount of shows from America 1973;to the end , the playing to ability was probably 60 percent. 

Bonzo is always stellar. After 1972 he just became much louder. In 1973 yeas he was great and the world started to notice him . In 1977 he was over playing due to some chemicals. His foot work in 1977 was hard to hear and he was very very loud. Hated the snare tone. He compensated a lot for Jimmy weak soloing. He would add unnecessary fills during some difficult chord changes  and timings. I love Bonzo in 1975. His best MD if you ask me. 1979 was terrific with sparse compact playing to the song. 1980 he was tired. 

Jones completely ruined the 1977 shows with that self indulgence of a NQ solo that just brought the show to a halt. I personally think he did that on purpose since he wasn’t the happiest with all the bs and band direction. Plus the Ambelic bass kinda threw Jimmy off tone. 

What I noticed is that the press reviews noticed the same thing at times which was the decline. They got “heavy” live and the slickness was lost. The volume got louder as did the light gimmicks.

Having said all that , I am still listening to MSG 1977 from a an audience recording. It is devastating and loud and Robert is in control. 

However hearing the band in its primal form ( Japan 1971) ,this is only a fraction of potential of these twenty something year old lads.

As you can see , I have alot of time in my hands this morning. 

Cheers from NY 

I agree with pretty much all of this actually. I think there are a lot of serious fans who know the music well, who feel the same....and a lot who will give you grief over these statements. But I'm with you, the overall decline started in US '73, mainly Plant, somewhat Page , then it snowballed into more and more clams from Page and Plant, self indulgently long and meandering solos on OTHAFA, Dazed, NoQ, OOTT/MD, and uninspired rote performances, with flashes of brilliance here and there. 

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I definitely agree with your general premise.

The decline definitely started in the US in 73 but they were still playing fantastically, especially when compared to the later tours. That magical aura and energy was still there, along with great performances by all of the members. In 75 that magic was there as well but started withering away a bit.

Although Plant lost his voice in 73, it's never actually bothered me. When I think of the bands performance I consider the three musicians. Jimmy's playing certainly suffered from ( I assume) lack of practice, over indulgence and obviously his heroin problem. Robert might not have been the same as he was in 1970 but I think he still sounded good.

There are certain things about the shows I didn't like after 73 as well. For instance I don't really like that they got rid of their acoustic segment of their set. I also didn't like where they took No Quarter after that tour either. I think the direction they went during the jam sections in 73' was perfect for the atmosphere and style of that song. Just my opinion of course.

They were a different band after 75. Robert said something similar in an interview once . They were still great because of their sound and chemistry together, but just not quite what they were. A lot has to do with that such as constant touring and other lifestyle changes. From the outside looking it seems that it has a lot to do with how Jimmy changed. Once he let himself get carried away in excess because he thought that it would make him more creative and expand consciousness, the whole band suffered as a result. As much as they were equals, the band followed Jimmy during live shows.

I feel like the band has two different eras, 68-75; then 77-80. But in terms of live performance they were definitely at their best from 68-73. Their peak was probably the European tour in 73.

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I partly agree in the sense that the band definitely started to become more inconsistent starting in the 1973 US tour. Prior to that tour, the band (minus Plant) almost always delivered. Sure, there were occasionally shows that were uninspired or sloppy, but they were few and far between, and even the weakest shows had something to offer. But on that tour, you start to hear Jimmy struggle a bit here and there. There are some shows where both him and Plant are struggling (ex. Chicago 7/6). This inconsistency crops up more in 75, with Jimmy's playing being a noticeable step down and Robert dealing with his flu. 1977 is where Jimmy's playing is even further declined, although Plant is better. 

One thing I disagree with you on is that Jimmy was never the same live after 1973. The Copenhagen warm ups, the Outrider tour, and the 1998 Page/Plant tour all showed that Jimmy still had some fire in him. The problem was that the drugs were hampering his ability to focus. Copenhagen 7/24/79 is one of my all time favorite shows precisely because it opens a window into what the band could have sounded like in the 80s had Bonzo and Jimmy gotten themselves clean. LA 77 may not have Jimmy on quite that level, but he's still damn good, and there's a noticeable fire and energy in the band that's missing from many of the other 77 gigs.

I also don't agree entirely with Jonesy being the one who ruined the 77 setlist with NQ. Yes, the jams were long, but I can listen to the band jamming on that song with no trouble at all. The interplay between the three instrumentalists is always fascinating to me. Sure, Jimmy could sometimes be sloppy, but Bonzo and Jones almost always delivered. Imho, what truly disrupted that setlist was the back to back drum and noise solos. What the hell they were thinking putting those two slots side by side?! Must have been the drugs. Regardless, all the momentum of the setlist is lost by putting them together. If they were gonna have both slots, they should have spaced them out more.

All in all, I'd agree that the band was better overall in 68-72 because they were much more consistent and all four of them were at or near the peak of their powers. They were determined to blow the crowd away and weren't concerned with "smoke and mirrors" so to speak. That being said, there IS a charm to the latter era shows for me. Take the 77 tour. I will never argue that it's one of their best tours technically, but it was their biggest and most visually stunning tour, and there's a certain charm to that for sure.

Every era of Zeppelin has its charms and, while we can definitely agree that Plant should have taken care of his voice or Page should have laid off the drugs or whatever, I adore all eras for different reasons. At the end of the day, Zeppelin on their worst night were better than many bands on their best night.

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5 hours ago, ZepHead315 said:

I partly agree in the sense that the band definitely started to become more inconsistent starting in the 1973 US tour. Prior to that tour, the band (minus Plant) almost always delivered. Sure, there were occasionally shows that were uninspired or sloppy, but they were few and far between, and even the weakest shows had something to offer. But on that tour, you start to hear Jimmy struggle a bit here and there. There are some shows where both him and Plant are struggling (ex. Chicago 7/6). This inconsistency crops up more in 75, with Jimmy's playing being a noticeable step down and Robert dealing with his flu. 1977 is where Jimmy's playing is even further declined, although Plant is better. 

One thing I disagree with you on is that Jimmy was never the same live after 1973. The Copenhagen warm ups, the Outrider tour, and the 1998 Page/Plant tour all showed that Jimmy still had some fire in him. The problem was that the drugs were hampering his ability to focus. Copenhagen 7/24/79 is one of my all time favorite shows precisely because it opens a window into what the band could have sounded like in the 80s had Bonzo and Jimmy gotten themselves clean. LA 77 may not have Jimmy on quite that level, but he's still damn good, and there's a noticeable fire and energy in the band that's missing from many of the other 77 gigs.

I also don't agree entirely with Jonesy being the one who ruined the 77 setlist with NQ. Yes, the jams were long, but I can listen to the band jamming on that song with no trouble at all. The interplay between the three instrumentalists is always fascinating to me. Sure, Jimmy could sometimes be sloppy, but Bonzo and Jones almost always delivered. Imho, what truly disrupted that setlist was the back to back drum and noise solos. What the hell they were thinking putting those two slots side by side?! Must have been the drugs. Regardless, all the momentum of the setlist is lost by putting them together. If they were gonna have both slots, they should have spaced them out more.

All in all, I'd agree that the band was better overall in 68-72 because they were much more consistent and all four of them were at or near the peak of their powers. They were determined to blow the crowd away and weren't concerned with "smoke and mirrors" so to speak. That being said, there IS a charm to the latter era shows for me. Take the 77 tour. I will never argue that it's one of their best tours technically, but it was their biggest and most visually stunning tour, and there's a certain charm to that for sure.

Every era of Zeppelin has its charms and, while we can definitely agree that Plant should have taken care of his voice or Page should have laid off the drugs or whatever, I adore all eras for different reasons. At the end of the day, Zeppelin on their worst night were better than many bands on their best night.

Well said! 

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Love the replies and I am open minded to the live stuff and yes opinions can be swayed.

I love the Copenhagen shows and think Pagey  did deliver  the goods. Love that show and wish they took that format into the Europe 1980 tour. 

Also, Montreal 1975 Jimmy seems possessed. His fluency rivaled 1973 Europe. 

Having said all that , it’s short lived. Trust me , I’m a live connoisseur as you guys and different live sources can sway an opinion. 

That’s the beauty of this band. Even though they have disbanded when I was 13 yrs old, they still seem to be in motion even now when I’m 52. That’s all due to the live concert recordings and the music itself. 

A lot of valid points made. 

 

DC 

 

 

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19 hours ago, ZepHead315 said:

At the end of the day, Zeppelin on their worst night were better than many bands on their best night.

I've heard this line said many times and find it a ridiculous statement. At their worst ( '77 - 80) Zeppelin were terribly self indulgent with Page at times inept for large parts of some shows. To say other bands at their peak couldn't match them is silly talk I'd expect a teenage Justin Beiber fan to say. Their peers at that time included the stones, the who, Bowie, Steve wonder, wings, floyd, the ramones, the clash etc, all capable of a great gig without an hour of their set spent with just one member on the stage addled and showboating 

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I think the rot set in after the 73 tour. For the first time they had a year off, in 74, and then later a early two years off in  Kate 75/ 76 and then again in 78 and most of 79.  1968 through to 73 they were pretty much always touring and were on top of their game. 1973 in Europe was in many ways a pinnacle in musicianship  even if they had lost an element of spontaneity and by the time they got to the US they'd introduced the showbiz element of presenting shows.

after the end of the 73 tour and the start of the 75 tour, they'd changed. They still had some great shows and even in poorer shows still some great moments but they had become a different beast

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3 hours ago, jsj said:

I've heard this line said many times and find it a ridiculous statement. At their worst ( '77 - 80) Zeppelin were terribly self indulgent with Page at times inept for large parts of some shows. To say other bands at their peak couldn't match them is silly talk I'd expect a teenage Justin Beiber fan to say. Their peers at that time included the stones, the who, Bowie, Steve wonder, wings, floyd, the ramones, the clash etc, all capable of a great gig without an hour of their set spent with just one member on the stage addled and showboating 

Except I never said that other bands couldn't match them. I said that many bands on their best night couldn't match Zeppelin on their worst night. And the truth is that quite a few bands, especially in rock, suck live. The examples that you cited are rarities, and some of them aren't even fair comparisons to make. The Ramones? Stevie Wonder? The Clash? Really? According to what criteria do they "match" Zeppelin? Technical skill? Speed? Volume? Emotion? Songwriting? Those artists have a completely different approach to live music than Zeppelin did. And in any case, it's all subjective so I'm not quite sure why you have such a problem with this. It's not like I said "from an objective standpoint, Led Zeppelin live at Tempe 1977 were the best live band ever and anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot who doesn't know the slightest thing about music". All I'm doing is stating an opinion. Let me further delve into my opinion: 

Even at their most self-indulgent, Zeppelin were one of those bands that was always experimenting and giving the audience something new and different each time. The jams in songs like No Quarter, Dazed and Confused, How Many More Times, and Whole Lotta Love among other songs were always different. No two versions of those songs are the exact same. That's one of the reasons I love listening to them live. I'll take three hours of Led Zeppelin taking turns soloing and showing off over two hours of the Stones playing the same tired old setlist the same way night after night.

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Each era had something to offer. But the further on they went, the more people had to become miners to dig out the gems. (specifically post '75). They were giving the shows they wanted to give though. They wanted heavier, louder. Bigger and badder. They achieved that. They moved on from delivering '72, '73 type performances. It was their choice to change. A choice probably influenced by the pleasures of indulgence/excess, but hey, they were the biggest rock stars in the world at the time and live were unmatched in terms of reputation (as I understand it).

And yet studio wise, they were still killing it IMHO. Even when Jimmy and Bonzo were MIA they came up with another great album. Great riffs, hooks, bass lines, drumming, structures, changes.

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35 minutes ago, ZepHead315 said:

I'll take three hours of Led Zeppelin taking turns soloing and showing off over two hours of the Stones playing the same tired old setlist the same way night after night.

I find that unfair to the Stones. They definitely did not play the same tired old set list the same way night after night. For one thing, they continued to release new albums throughout the '70s. For another, replacing Mick Taylor with Ronnie Wood noticeably changed the band's live dynamics. In fact, I continue to listen to far more Rolling Stones gigs from the 1970s than I do Led Zeppelin's. Anyway, just an alternative point of view.

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35 minutes ago, SteveAJones said:

I find that unfair to the Stones. They definitely did not play the same tired old set list the same way night after night. For one thing, they continued to release new albums throughout the '70s. For another, replacing Mick Taylor with Ronnie Wood noticeably changed the band's live dynamics. In fact, I continue to listen to far more Rolling Stones gigs from the 1970s than I do Led Zeppelin's. Anyway, just an alternative point of view.

Fair enough. I guess I was being overly harsh on the Stones. I'll readily admit I haven't listened to as many Stones concerts as I have Zeppelin concerts, but I've always found the Stones live to be a bit dull. Some nice moments here and there, but I've never been all that impressed. With Zeppelin, even on something like the 77 tour where the setlist changed very little, I always find nuggets in each and every show I've listened to, no matter how sloppy or self-indulgent they are. 

Ultimately though, it's all a matter of taste.

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Just a note regarding spontaneity and live performance dynamics.... it's a special skill / talent to be able to jam and not all bands can pull it off. I read something once where Pete Townshend sat in with the Grateful Dead and noted how difficult it was to play with them because they kept going off on side jams. There has to be a good synergy between the members for successful jamming without it descending into chaos. I haven't heard much live Stones (or seen them live) but I did see Metallica in 2017 and aside from one drum / bass solo, they play their songs pretty much note for note from the album. My brother saw them on the same tour in a different city and the band had to take a break due to a lightning storm. "Ride the Lightning" wasn't on their set list but when they came back on, they started to play it... but after a few bars, they went back to their previously planned set list. It's not a knock on skill or talent, but some bands can be spontaneous and some can't. Different strokes

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Love the responses. I know there is way more insight than mine alone. This is why we love this band so much. 

Again I'm in my NYC 1977 MSG show faze  and the first 5 songs  stellar. Then the show it’s a huge wall. Then a break , then another wall. Between piano solos, drum , an acoustic interlude with Jimmy soloing, White Summer and then a hellish guitar solo pre ALS, I couls only imagine these kids in the audience being somewhat  bored. 

Plus,  if I could just be honest , I can’t get myself around Jimmy decline in his picking. His fretwork has always been great but his picking and the way he holds his pick is a mystery. At times he can’t put a simple. passage together. Plant must have been beside himself many a times. 

STH solo most of the time is an embarrassment with the stop and go dynamics he throws in, I could barely listen. 

Having said that, there are moments. There are moments. 

 

 

 

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On 1/19/2019 at 3:45 AM, Blaize86 said:

What enlightened me a bit was noticing that a lot  of the reviewers were spot on and knew more about the performances and the band itself that I gave credit for. Some mentioned the decline in the performances after 1973 European Tour. The freshness was lost and they became lumbering while Jimmy lost alit  of his “clean” playing. Self indulgence was prominent (  I can’t agree more). 

The band got bad press right from the beginning. Look at the Los Angeles area reviews from 1969-1977. And these were some of the band's best ever shows..

  • 8/9/69: "Plant’s singing detracted from any musical effect the group had."
  • 3/27/70: "If Led Zeppelin were an unknown, up-and-coming rock group, one could overlook its musical repetitiousness and lack of originality..."
  • 9/4/70: "Musically reactionary, overbearing, plagiaristic, and exploitative."
  • 8/21/71: "The main problem, it seems, is the woefully inadequate material that Jimmy Page and other members of the group provide for themselves." 
  • 6/25/72: "Robert Plant is certainly no great shakes as a singer...Jimmy Page...on many occasions his derivative noodling, and self-indulgent displays of technique simply for technique's sake prove somewhat infuriating."
  • 5/31/73: "The band simply isn't significant - either in a creative or sociological sense. When the final history of rock 'n' roll is written, there will be entire chapters devoted to the truly important figures in rock, the artists whose skills, either as writers or interpreters, shaped the music by bringing it a personal vision that provided new strengths and directions. Presley, the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Hendrix will certainly have chapters. Others who will be treated at length for their creative contributions: the Who, the Kinks, Cream, the Band, the Beach Boys, Joplin, among many. But Led Zeppelin....will belong in a separate, less-important category of successful bands who reflected some of the vigor of rock, but ultimately borrowed more from rock's heritage than it ended up contributing." "....the music is ultimately empty and unsatisfying..." "Led Zeppelin will probably be forgotten. It's hard to stick by something that doesn't given you any reason to believe."
  • 3/12/75: "The gimmicks were stale"
  • 6/21/77: "The tunes, mostly, are exercises in style rather than substance."

 

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Well chronicled. I disagree with many of the long term impact references. Zep is like a fine wine. These other bands have a 1/4 of radio play and I bet some of those reviewers ,that deviated from the bands performance, have matured their opinions a bit. 

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To me the only decline in 1973 was Plant's voice, but he adjusted and it was still effective for the most part.   I think 1973 has some of Page's best work ever.  No decline for Jones or Bonham to my ears.

I would not trade away the 1975 shows for anything.  Yes they were a different band.  The new material was fantastic live:  Kashmir, Dying Time, Trampled, even Sick Again was a powerhouse.  The new funky section of WLL was fresh.  No Quarter became an experimental jazz/avant garde jam where they created new music on the spot each night - well worth it.  What really amazes me is how good Plant sounded after he got warmed up in those shows after a few songs.  His voice was different but still great, and it really fit the newer material.

 

Edited by John M

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On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 1:35 PM, SteveAJones said:

Jimmy's guitar solo showpiece was a dumpster fire

:D

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On 1/21/2019 at 12:47 AM, ZepHead315 said:

Except I never said that other bands couldn't match them. I said that many bands on their best night couldn't match Zeppelin on their worst night. And the truth is that quite a few bands, especially in rock, suck live. The examples that you cited are rarities, and some of them aren't even fair comparisons to make. The Ramones? Stevie Wonder? The Clash? Really? According to what criteria do they "match" Zeppelin? Technical skill? Speed? Volume? Emotion? Songwriting? Those artists have a completely different approach to live music than Zeppelin did. And in any case, it's all subjective so I'm not quite sure why you have such a problem with this. It's not like I said "from an objective standpoint, Led Zeppelin live at Tempe 1977 were the best live band ever and anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot who doesn't know the slightest thing about music". All I'm doing is stating an opinion. Let me further delve into my opinion: 

Even at their most self-indulgent, Zeppelin were one of those bands that was always experimenting and giving the audience something new and different each time. The jams in songs like No Quarter, Dazed and Confused, How Many More Times, and Whole Lotta Love among other songs were always different. No two versions of those songs are the exact same. That's one of the reasons I love listening to them live. I'll take three hours of Led Zeppelin taking turns soloing and showing off over two hours of the Stones playing the same tired old setlist the same way night after night.

I named those bands just because they were bands around the 77 - 80 period, which is mostly the period named as being zeppelins weaker era. I can see I have mistaken your use of  *many* bands for *most* bands.

but, so I’m clued in, what bands are you including in the term - many bands who even on a good night can’t match a band night zeppelin? 

 

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2 hours ago, jsj said:

I named those bands just because they were bands around the 77 - 80 period, which is mostly the period named as being zeppelins weaker era. I can see I have mistaken your use of  *many* bands for *most* bands.

but, so I’m clued in, what bands are you including in the term - many bands who even on a good night can’t match a band night zeppelin? 

 

Even on Zeppelin's worst ever nights, there was a moment, if just for one song, where a bit of the magic came back. Stairway on 7/20/77, Communication Breakdown on 8/11/79, Whole Lotta Love on 7/7/80. For these songs, the band pulled through and delivered exceptional versions. There's moments like that throughout every Led Zeppelin show, no matter how much of a sloppy self-indulgent mess it was, at least in my opinion.

Then of course, there's the bedrock of the band: JPJ and Bonzo. The greatest rhythm section in rock and roll. If Plant's voice was trashed or if Page was smacked out of his mind, those two could always be counted on to remain musically tight, always anchoring the band whenever the others went off on a tangent. Yes, Bonzo had one or two off nights, and his playing for the Tour Over Europe is more laid back and reserved, but even then there are still great moments.

For the record, I love most of the groups that you mentioned, but a group like the Ramones never had that kind of rhythm section, nor were they able to go off on tangents like the WLL jams or the NQ blues/jazz sections like Zeppelin could. Neither could other popular groups of the time period like KISS, The Eagles, or Wings. Some could, no doubt, but not many

Like I said, it's all subjective and which group is "better" or "worse" is ultimately a futile exercise. Groups like The Ramones, The Clash, Pink Floyd, or The Stones were good at what they did. And Led Zeppelin (even at their worst) were good at what they did. It's just that I prefer Led Zeppelin live over most other groups. Perhaps that's what more what I meant, especially since this is all purely a matter of taste anyway. 

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On 1/19/2019 at 6:45 AM, Blaize86 said:

Jimmy after Europe 1973 was never the same live. Yes there were great shows but if you you average the amount of shows from America 1973;to the end , the playing to ability was probably 60 percent. 

I don't see this at all.  I think that in some ways Page is better in the 73 US tour.  Many times in the Europe shows you can hear him working out ideas that would eventually gel more completely and flow better in the US.  Particularly in Dazed.  When I first got the European tour tapes I went to the first jam in Dazed to compare it to  MSG.  What I found every time was a kernal of the ideas that the band fully realized by the end of the tour.  Same with the rest of Dazed.

And Europe did not have No Quarter which was just superb in the States,  some of Jimmy's most creative and fluid playing ever.  As for Stairway I think MSG 73 was the peak solo ever. 

The WLL Boogie Mama jams - no decline in Page's playing there either.

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On 1/22/2019 at 6:14 AM, pluribus said:

The band got bad press right from the beginning. Look at the Los Angeles area reviews from 1969-1977. And these were some of the band's best ever shows..

  • 5/31/73: "The band simply isn't significant - either in a creative or sociological sense. When the final history of rock 'n' roll is written, there will be entire chapters devoted to the truly important figures in rock, the artists whose skills, either as writers or interpreters, shaped the music by bringing it a personal vision that provided new strengths and directions. Presley, the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Hendrix will certainly have chapters. Others who will be treated at length for their creative contributions: the Who, the Kinks, Cream, the Band, the Beach Boys, Joplin, among many. But Led Zeppelin....will belong in a separate, less-important category of successful bands who reflected some of the vigor of rock, but ultimately borrowed more from rock's heritage than it ended up contributing." "....the music is ultimately empty and unsatisfying..." "Led Zeppelin will probably be forgotten. It's hard to stick by something that doesn't given you any reason to believe."

 

"Led Zeppelin will probably be forgotten"???!! What a great prediction. No wonder no one listens to critics.

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