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gibsonfan159

Nitpicking Page 1980

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Nitpicking Page 6/21/1980 Rotterdam (Live Omega)

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A three source mix featuring mostly soundboard.

Train Kept A Rollin- A good kickoff but Plant's voice doesn't sound strong. First solo- I may be fooled by the audience recording, but Page tears through an aggressive, well phrased solo. The outro solo features a nice ascending/descending wah riff. "A".

NFBM- Takes off like a jet. Harmonica- starts rough and ends rough, middle was okay. Oh Jimmy- Excellent runs off the bat. A little straining at 4:07, but not bad at all. 4:53, Plant getting scratchy. A generous "B+" considering Plant's struggles.

Black Dog- No fancy talk from Page this time as he simply introduces "Black Dog". Plant again sounding a little rough, but the raw energy pushes him through. Solo- I've listened about ten times now, and I'm simply kind of blown away here. Not only is this some 71-73 level playing, he's throwing in unique licks (4:30) that sound fantastic. The bends are perfect and the phrasing is steady and solid. I'll certainly account for some disguise from the audience source, but it sounds great to me. A shame this wasn't soundboard. "A+" for 1980.

In The Evening- Good energy. First solo- Page puts down a fairly solid one. The Mid section is what it is. Plant still scratchy on the return. Outro solo- some good screaming wah licks. Not bad. "B+".

The Rain Song- Soundboard finally kicks in. Solid playing from Page. Plant is a little rough on the otherwise well played rock section. Fairly good run-through. "A".

Hot Dog- 0:16, "C'mon you shit kickers". I have a feeling he wouldn't have used that line if they had ever played it in Texas. Beautiful piano from Jones. Solo- Some repeating bends followed by a little slop, and more repeating bends. Fairly good. A pretty standard run-through. "B+".

All My Love- Plant and Jones sounding very good. Solo- Once again sounding like he's never practiced this and just wings it. Bonham gets some big fills in on the outro. Page brings this otherwise perfect version down quite a bit. "B".

Trampled Underfoot- Frantic tempo. 1:32, Page drops out for a sec. Jones- A funky routine, but fairly simplistic. Solo- Honestly one of the best Trampled solos I've heard, but it sits so low in the mix it almost goes unnoticed. 5:38, Bonzo picks up the tempo and Page goes crazy with the wah pedal. Overall fairly average, but that solo is definitely worth a listen. "B+".

SIBLY- Page sounding lively on the start with good emotion. Solo- Good until 4:50, where he goes off the tracks pretty badly. He does come back for a strong finish. Plant comes back and sounds worn out. A skippable version. "B".

Achilles- Solid start. Plant really pushing himself through. First solo- A steady flurry of notes, a little sloppy in places. A unique phrase at 4:40 which sounds nice. Second solo- Very rough around the edges. Third solo- Doesn't quite match Bono's intensity. Explosive ending from Plant and Bonzo. This is worth a listen simply for the drums. "B".

White Summer- Average start. When Page starts going he really takes off. Almost sounds sped up. 3:30, tries some experimental riffs that don't fit well. 5:26, sloppy. "B".

Black Mountainside- Short and sweet.

Kashmir- Energetic start. 2:09, Page jumps into the post verse rhythm but Robert steers them back. 4:20, Jones' two-dimensional, funhouse sounding synths makes one yearn for a mellotron, even if it's out of tune. 6:27, someone drops a note. The dry sound makes the ending unexciting, although Bonham gets some excellent fills in. "B".

Stairway- As usual, once Jones switches over to the piano the mood improves tremendously, though his synths do have a nice balance here. Solo- Page gets a good flow going. 6:55, some atonal notes. 7:09, a little sloppy. The slower part is somewhat lackluster. Bonham and Jones are feeling it much more than Page. The final bars are played superbly however. Plant sounds good on the well played climax. I'm not gonna knock Page too much here, overall it was a fairly solid version considering the shape he was in during this era. "B+".

Rock And Roll- 0:57, Page drops out for whatever reason. Solo- 1:55, very sticky. A powerful ending just doesn't save this one. "C+".

Heartbreaker- Page's gritty tone actually works quite well here and plant sounds great. Solo- Some parts sound fluid and can almost fool you to think of 1972, but most of it is a sticky mess. Not terrible, better than Dortmund. I'll give it a very generous "B+".

Final Assessment- An excellent first 1/3 with a surprisingly coherent Page, but drops to mediocre after Hot Dog. Plant on the other hand takes a while to warm up but sounds great on the last half. Bonham is quite lively and Jones' piano work on Stairway is very good. The highlight is undoubtedly Black Dog, 
 

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Totally disagree on Heartbreaker come on man that’s best post 73 version ! Listen to that solo when the band kicks in he nails everything !

 

 

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7 minutes ago, bluecongo said:

Totally disagree on Heartbreaker come on man that’s best post 73 version ! Listen to that solo when the band kicks in he nails everything !

 

 

I thought I gave it a pretty positive review. It does sound pretty good once the others jump in.

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Finally! I've been waiting for your review of this tour to be continued. I'm revisiting some of these and expanding my collection to listen and see how much I agree with.

Cheers mate, a good read as usual. You are a hard critic mate, that's for sure. :)

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Gibsonfan, your review got me to go back to this show for the first time in many years - thank you for that.  This is such a cool version of Hot Dog.  The guitar intro is relatively strong, and the instrumental intro is extended because Plant fails to enter at the normal time.  During this extended intro, the piano plays some additional new melody lines, and you can really hear Jimmy's very gritty, very "chicken scratchy" backing riffs.  So cool.

I do agree with bluecongo that Heartbreaker is fantastic once the band joins Jimmy after the solo.  Plant recognizes this at  the end of the show:

"Nice little workout!"  Then he says   "See you again sometimes, who knows?"

I also like when Plant tells the audience member "No, no, that's not from the present".

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Listened to "Heartbreaker" from Rotterdam again. I used the word "mess" which was inaccurate. Though a little sticky in places, it is quite solid for post 73. "A".

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5 hours ago, Cosmic_Equilibrium said:

I can't agree with your assessment of Kashmir for this show; IMO it's an extremely powerful version and at least an A grade.

Might be powerful overall, but can't be an A grade with Jimmy missing chords. 

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Nitpicking Page 6/24/1980 Hannover (Gracias)

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A good sounding soundboard patched by an audience source in a few spots.

Train Kept A Rollin- Take away the Zep name and you'd swear it's an underground punk band. First solo is played well, good bends and phrasing. Plant sounds a little shaky. Outro solo is raunchy and aggressive, also played well. A nice kickoff, but Plant's subdued vocals hold it back a little. "B+".

NFBM- 1:38, everyone's out of sync for a couple seconds here. Harmonica- Not great, pretty half-arsed. 2:48, Bonzo drops out for a few seconds. Solo- Page rips out an excellent opening run, then proceeds to hit notes that sound out of key for the remainder. His guitar actually sounds a little sharp. A fairly strong finish and Page can be heard checking his tuning. "B".

Black Dog- The verses are decent, rough around the edges. Solo- Very sticky throughout. It's not terrible, but sounds like someone shot him with a tranquilizer dart. "B".

In The Evening- Solid first half. Solo- Surprisingly good, well phrased blues licks. Not playing some reverb drenched licks through the flute section was a missed opportunity for this song. The wah soaked outro is good. A solid version, but almost sounds like a certain amount of energy was missing. Still gotta go "A".

Rain Song- Page plays some unique chords before starting the song. Plant sounds better now and sings with passion. The synths get a little loud in the mix halfway through. Rock section- kicks in very hard with Bonham laying down some monstrous fills, but Plant strains a little. Some masterful playing by Page on the outro. The synths being overwhelming hurts the audio aspect, but it's a fairly solid rendition. I did hear some off notes by Jones. "B+".

Hot Dog- A sticky intro leads to a quick tempo. Solo- Fairly sloppy, but he manages to push through. Excellent energy balances out the rough playing by Page. "B+".

All My Love- No bass coming through on the intro and Page is up front in the mix. 1:33, enter bass. Synth solo- Not bad. Guitar solo- Finally, a coherent sounding set of phrases for this song. As always, the band sounds more alive on the outro. "B+".

Trampled Underfoot- Solid verses. Jones gets his usual, funky routine in. Solo- once again Page's phrasing sounds almost verbatim to the 1977 OTHAFA solos. A little sticky in places but good for the most part. 5:56, some strained bends. 6:15, Page goes acapella in the mix. The outro solo is aggressive but on the sloppy side. A decent showing if you can ignore the sticky fingers and audio problems. "B+".

SIBLY- Some good noodling on the intro. Verses are played with enthusiasm. Solo- Page comes alive for some good phrasing. 4:54-5:04, tremendous set of bends. 5:06, a botched run. 6:32, sticky. Despite Page's stickiness in places, this version is played with true conviction and Bonham/Plant sound like they're back in 1973. "B+" overall, but "A+" on the must listen list.

Achilles- Page plays the intro at break-neck speed and Bonzo comes in a little early, though it's quickly corrected. No bass again until 1:03. That sound crew from Dallas needed to be sent back to cow country. First solo- Page struggles with the first couple runs. Not a great flow, but he's keeping a steady stream of notes going. Second solo- a little better here with some aggressive licks. 7:38, flub. Third solo- No delay effect coming through makes this sound overly simplistic. 8:35, a good yell from Plant. Bonzo's tempo increases noticeably on the last few measures and Page has a hard time keeping up. "B".

White Summer- Once the song takes off there's hardly a dull moment, with Page trodding along with energy and decent playing. I'd rate this highly for a 1980 version. "A".

BMS- 0:24-0:30, As always, Page struggles with certain phrases. 0:59, As always, Page stops in an awkward fashion and plays a different variation. "B".

Kashmir- 1:06, Bonzo misses the beat. Fairly good verses throughout. 7:20, Page's leads get choppy and hesitant. "B".

Stairway- Very solid verses, nice playing throughout. Solo- Page gets on track for some very nice phrasing and runs, showing patience and not forcing anything. Slightly sticky in places and the last phrase is almost flubbed, otherwise an excellent solo. An audience source would really do this version justice. One of the better Stairways I've heard in a while. Only downside is that Jones' beautiful piano licks are too low in the mix. "A+".

Rock And Roll- Again, no bass in the mix until 1:03. Page's tone is pure grit and grime and Plant sounds good. Solo- I don't think he could intentionally play sloppier, seriously. Bonham's final drum fills sound nice. "B".

Communication Breakdown- An intro comparable to 1969. Solo- Out of nowhere Page gets some nimble fingers. 2:30, a riff switch up. Excellent. "A+".

Final Assessment- Not the band's best show, but they put in the effort for an entertaining one anyway. Page was hit and miss as usual but did manage to wake up for a few numbers. The audio problems were undoubtedly affecting the band as Jones and Bonham were playing uncharacteristically. Highlights are a solid In The Evening, a very passionate SIBLY, a flawless Stairway reminiscent of LA 1977, and a superb finish with a punch-in-the-gut Communication Breakdown. I'm very interested in hearing any audience versions of this one.

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GibsonFan...

I'm loving your reviews.  Very engaging (and amusing!) observations and descriptions.

Dare I describe you as the successor to 'El Rey?' :godfather:

Edited by Paimonus Rex
correction

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On 7/14/2019 at 12:29 AM, gibsonfan159 said:

Nitpicking Page 6/24/1980 Hannover (Gracias)

Hey man, any chance of you picking this back up? Love reading all these and am very curious to hear what you have to say on the other shows of this tour.

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4 hours ago, June72 said:

Hey man, any chance of you picking this back up? Love reading all these and am very curious to hear what you have to say on the other shows of this tour.

Are you serious?

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7 hours ago, June72 said:

Hey man, any chance of you picking this back up? Love reading all these and am very curious to hear what you have to say on the other shows of this tour.

I intend to finish them but I've had an onset of laziness the past few weeks.

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5 hours ago, Xolo1974 said:

Are you serious?

Uhhh. Yes? Why would I not be? These were enjoyable reads, I'd like to hear what he has to say on other shows.

1 hour ago, gibsonfan159 said:

I intend to finish them but I've had an onset of laziness the past few weeks.

👍

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6 hours ago, Xolo1974 said:

Are you serious?

Why not? There are some great shown on the 80' tour. There were also shitty and mediocre shows but the tour as a whole was pretty good. Not exactly Japan 1971 but nowhere near as bad as many make it out to be. I find several shows (Rotterdam, Zurich, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Munich) quite enjoyable.

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Nitpicking Page 6/26/1980 Vienna (Goodnight Vienna- Electric Magic)

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A good audience recording. This version is considered the worst available release, but for the sake of convenience I'll use this one. It's likely running a little fast.

Train Kept A Rollin- The boys take off with confidence. Solo- not bad. 1:32, nice ascending riff by Page. Plant sounds pretty hoarse in places. Outro solo is nice and aggressive, played well. An excellent kick in the rear to get things started. "A".

NFBM- Strong start. Plant's harmonica routine sounds very unstructured and doesn't flow well at all. Solo- Page sounds quite nimble on the start but gets a little erratic later. A roller-coaster of a solo for sure. A strong finish. Plant's hoarseness and bad harmonica brings it down a little. "B". (Page jokingly introduces the next "number" as 36-23-36)

Black Dog- Plant clearing up some. 0:49, Page gets ahead of the beat for a second. 2:48. a superb added bend from Page. 3:17, a siren wail reminiscent of 1970, though it may have been "aided". Solo- Pagey kicks the door in and plays with full confidence, a little sticky in places but nothing major. 3:56, a unique phrase. A good, aggressive solo. "B+".

In The Evening- Strong start with good energy. Solo- A steady routine, nothing out of the ordinary. Plant sounds lost after the solo, pretty sure he's improvising random lyrics. Page comes in with some awesome wah licks for the outro. Excellent finish. "B+" considering the vocal flubs.

The Rain Song- The twelve string seems to have a lot more bite than usual. A solid run through. "A".

Hot Dog- Page nails the intro as the bar brawl kicks off. Excellent verses. Solo- well, the first half is great. On the second half JPJ obviously has a severe stroke. I wonder if he was joking around? Good finish. Minus the wonky piano part, this could've been the best version ever. "B+".

All My Love- 1:22, Bonham drops out for a second. Keyboards sound out of tune with the guitar. Solo- phrasing is lacking, but not bad. A very loose performance. "B".

Trampled Underfoot- Out of the gate with the usual thunder. 2:17, Page comes unplugged during Jonesy's solo and re-enters at 2:37. Solo- Some good, but awkward sounding bends to start, then Page puts his pick hand to the test with some machine gun attacks. A skip in the recording at 5:39 and Page lays it all on the line from here on, arguably playing the most aggressively played, expressive, "relieving frustration" phrased solo I've heard by him. It's a little sloppy throughout, but phrased quite well. And he's not done. 8:19- round two and much more on point. If Page ever gave EVH a run for his money on speed picking this second solo is it. After that showcase, one forgets there were three other musicians on stage. "B+" overall considering a couple mishaps, but a must listen regarding the solos. 

SIBLY- One of the more elegantly phrased intros I can remember, with flawless lead from Page. Plant's vocal work is just there almost as a rhythm instrument, lacking conviction as usual. Solo- Excellent start. 4:36, some unique phrasing between Jones and Page during the slower part. Then Jim comes alive at 5:10 with some absolutely stunning bends. 5:41, that right hand ain't joking around tonight. 6:14, more excellent bends and a flawless, machine gun finish. I'd put this solo against anything from 71-73, try me. Page does get a little loose toward the finish, but nothing significant. "A+".

WS/BMS (Firecracker Incident). Well, that's how it's titled on my version. Let's see what happens. The usual start, struggling a little. When he takes off for the upped tempo he tries out some unique riffs and BANG. 3:37, there it is. Nothing until 5:47 when Klink takes the mic and gives an uplifting speech (anyone care to translate?) Apparently the show can't go on until the perpetrator is apprehended. There's a joke in here about the Germans bombing the British again, but I won't make it.

Kashmir- Bonham counts in with an open hi-hat. 2:20, slight drum mishap. Page strains a little on the outro. Not bad, but not great. "B".

Stairway- Page's chording on the first half doesn't sound as confident as usual. 4:17, a bum note in there somewhere. Solo- A decent, but still unconfident sounding start. 7:12, some unorthodox runs that almost sound out of place. 8:22, slight flub. 8:44, he's forcing it a little. 9:51, some unique phrasing. 10:23-10:46 is back on track but off again shortly after. The final bars are played well and the climax hits hard. Page was obviously still nerve wracked from the explosion. "B".

Rock And Roll- The guitar tone is thin enough that I'm convinced he's using the Danelectro for this. Good energy and Plant is giving it his all. Page starts cutting out at 1:54, completely throwing his solo off. The technical difficulties keep this at a "B".

WLL- Thundering start and a nice transition into the funk routine. The freakout section is trippy and well done, with Robert's vocals sounding otherworldly. Solo- Page nails the first riff but struggles with the others. Medley- Plant sounds excellent on "Boogie Chillen". Page's solo has some straining, but is phrased well and isn't bad at all. 10:46, Bonzo picks up the tempo. They wind back down and Plant belts out a very "aided" scream and Page struggles badly with the chords. Minus the last part it's fairly good. "B".

Final Assessment- This show almost went from mediocre to legendary when Page came alive during Trampled Underfoot and SIBLY, a pure display of dinosaur defiance for two numbers. The fire would be short lived however as a firecracker exploded in Page's face, turning him into a shell-shocked wreck for the remainder of the show. What could have been.

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Nitpicking Page 6/27/1980 Nuremburg (Fly Over Nuremburg)

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I originally planned on skipping this one as it's only a three song set, but I think the circumstances surrounding the show make it worth a closer look. A very dry soundboard.

Train Kept A Rollin- Opens with the song already in progress. First solo- Not bad on the surface, but a close listen reveals very sticky fingers. Second solo- A little more on track. 1:57, Robert isn't sounding good at all. 2:07, Bonham is having some issues as he plays off time and barely knocks down the ending. "C".

NFBM- Robert is sounding very rough now. Harmonica- Fair, not his best. The guitar drops in the mix here. 2:44, Bonzo comes in late and is dragging badly. Guitar solo- An excellent set of runs off the bat, very fluid. Overall one of his better solos for this. Bonzo late with the final beats. "C+". (Page addresses the crowd and mentions some "Stomach trouble" among the members.)

Black Dog- Plant is sounding "early 75" bad. They're cruising along quite well on this, however, and Bonham seems to be in better shape. Solo- A good start with Page nailing the phrasing. 4:00, fingers stuck in strings until 4:23 where he straightens out some for a very good finish. Barring Plant's vocals this sits at a "B". 

In The Evening- Plant introduces the track and that's as far as it gets. 

Final Assessment- Eyewitness accounts said the band was staggering a bit coming onto the stage, especially Bonzo who kept knocking over his drums. It's rumored that the boys had been to a club prior to the show and Bonham over did it a little (which is really saying a lot). He was taken to a nearby clinic after the show was cancelled. It's a sad foreshadowing of the tragedy that would take place in just a few months. 

Edited by gibsonfan159

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Loved your review of Vienna. It's a shame, Hot Dog through SIBLY has some of Page's best solos almost ever, that fire cracker killed possibly his strongest night of the tour. On the other hand, Bonzo was having another less than ideal night. Whoever lit that fire cracker deserves to be jerked off by an elephant, in the words of Robert.

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Nitpicking Page 6/29/1980 Zurich (Blitzkrieg Over Zurich- EVSD)

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This version is apparently a matrix with good balance and sound.

Train Kept A Rollin- Solid kickoff with Plant sounding a little scratchy. Solo- good wah drenched solo. Outro solo is played fairly well except for the sloppy final licks. "B+".

NFBM- The usual thunderous start. Harmonica- 2:18, the lowest harmonica note I've ever heard. Not bad. Solo- 3:33, Page fails to launch properly but manages to get back on track. 3:39, a nice run. 3:56, a unique, country sounding lick that works great. 4:10, some sticky icky. 4:46, Bonham isn't sure when Page wants to end it. Despite the botched intro and ending, it's an intriguing solo. 5:24, Plant sounding rough. I've heard worse. "B". 

Black Dog- Page plays loosely, but stays on point. Solo- Gets going smoothly out of the gate. 4:02-4:15, a forced sounding set of licks. 4:30, slight chord flub. Very energetic, better than a lot of 75 versions. "B+".

In The Evening- The verses kick off with almost no bass in the mix. Plant sounding enthusiastic here. Solo- Page nails down some speedy and well played phrases. Maybe the best solo I've heard for this. The slow section sounds a little off key. The latter half features a good wah soaked solo and simplistic drum fills by Bonham. Finishes strong. Gotta go "A" despite the out of key synth.

The Rain Song- 1:46, synths off key. Rock section- the drums and keyboard drown everything else, but sounds good. Outro is played very nicely. Not a bad performance but something doesn't gel right with it. "B+".

Hot Dog- Intro played perfectly and Jones' honky-tonk sounds good. Solo- Sticky start. He tries a different set of phrases that don't sound great. Long gone are the impressive hybrid licks from 1979, now replaced with a series of repeated bends. A good finish for a decent version. "B+" despite the sticky solo.

All My Love- Starts off extremely slow and the guitar almost non-existent in the mix. I'd wager the tape is running slow as Plant sounds deeper than normal. Jones nails his synth solo. Page once again sounds completely unprepared for his solo and barely holds it together. 4:40, bad synth notes. A lethargic version. "B".

Trampled Underfoot- At least the tempo is right. 1:42, a mix up between Page and Jones. Plant seems to be forgetting the lyrics as well. Jones gets an excellent solo in. Guitar solo- Page comes in lightheartedly with a chickin pickin type of phrasing. 4:04, a very cool descending phrase. The wah comes alive for the last part with an awkward finish. A decent solo. Plant just doesn't sound like he wants to sing this. Page goes maximum wah for the outro as Jones and Bonham churn out a seriously funky freight train rhythm. The outro overshadows the first three quarters, but it's too little too late. A half hearted sounding version. "B".

SIBLY- 0:08, a blazing little run. The sound quality is simply amazing now. Page shows great patience on the intro, phrasing everything nicely and not overdoing it. 3:37, Plant belts one out with full confidence. He's singing with compassion. Solo- Again, showing patience and focus as he doesn't force anything, playing elegantly yet passionately. No timestamps are needed as the whole thing is superb. I bragged on the Vienna version as one of the better ones I've heard, but this is honestly right there with it. "A+".

Achilles- Intro lacks some confidence, but gets off okay. This one goes so smoothly it's almost over relaxed. First solo- 3:52, these little trills with the delay sound great. 4:51, slight flub, perfection other than that. Second solo- Slight stickiness but not bad. Third solo- Played well. One thing missing from this otherwise excellent version- Bonham. He's basically a drum machine on this and is lacking those big energetic fills throughout. But I can't detract much because of that. "A+".

WS/BMS- For the first time in a long time Page starts this routine off without almost no awkward or forced phrases and puts the pieces together very similair to a 1970 performance. 6:58, a flurry of articulate notes. 8:34-8:38, the only flawed playing in the whole thing. A stunning rendition of a track that's been a struggle for Page since the early days. "A+".

Kashmir- 2:18, it's hard to tell what happens here but it sounds like Jones' synths stop functioning. Page and Bonham hit the turnaround at 2:55, but are soon confused again at 3:08 as Jones is still working out his technical problems. 4:24, back to normal. This was very close to being a "Tempe" level disaster. Audio jumps to an audience source at 6:36. 7:23-7:25, some synth flubs. "C+". (Plant afterwards; "If anyone is bootlegging that you'll have to scratch that one..").

Stairway- 1:18-1:28, there's something very unique about this phrase in particular, you can hear the audience singing along and also Jones hitting the bass pedals which I don't think he usually does here.. 2:15, minor chord flub. Solo- pretty much perfection until 7:47 when the slow part kicks in. Oddly this is usually where Page hammers down some of his most fluid licks, but he struggles to get a good flow here. Back on track for the rest of it, an overall excellent solo. Not overdone and solid throughout. 10:34, a flub by Jones as he doesn't transition the bass notes properly after the four bars. Not a perfect version but has a certain intriguing quality about it, with a very solid solo. "B+".

Rock And Roll- Kicks off with an absurdly fast tempo. Solo- somehow Page hangs on for a solid run. No rock and roll here, this is almost punk rock. Excellent finish by Bonham. "A" for the most frenetic version I've heard.

Heartbreaker- Nice stomping groove and guitar crunch. Solo- The rockabilly routine is fluid though low in the mix. 5:30, some slight stickiness but par for the course. 6:24-6:33, the most sinister chords I've heard by Page. 6:38, Page is a little loose on the chords for this transition. 7:40, some strange sounding phrases that somehow fit. The second half of the solo is fairly solid and could easily match a 73 show. 9:28, Bonham absolutely nails a triplet here to send the track into the outro. Not perfect, but I'll go "A" for 1980.

Final assessment- Plant takes a while to warm up, the synths are either out of key or not functioning for several songs, Page was hit and miss as usual, Bonham was just there and not attempting to show off. That being said it's still a good show overall, you just have to look past the flaws. Highlights are an excellent three song run with SIBLY, Achilles, and White Summer. Unfortunately the flow gets thwarted as Kashmir falls apart early on. The encores are notable as well. Stairway was very close to being spectacular but has a few too many flaws.

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Nitpicking Page 6/30/1980 Frankfurt (Frankfurt Special- EVSD)

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Another dry soundboard from Empress Valley, but it's not as overbearing as others. Featuring Atlantic Records President Phil Carson playing bass on "Money".

Train Kept A Rollin- Some introductory licks and we're off. Plant sounds decent off the bat. Solo- A shearing tone and some pretty solid phrasing. Outro solo- Good. A nice start. "A".

NFBM- Excellent start. Harmonica- Plant gets a good routine in. 3:01, minor bass flub. Solo- Top notch phrasing and fairly articulate playing. One of the most solid solos I've heard for this in a long while. "A+".

Black Dog- Page's riffing is very choppy but he stays in the groove. Solo- Very good start. 4:08, some straining. Overall not bad but loose in places. "B+".

In The Evening- Synths up front in the mix. Solo- Another excellent routine by Page for this track. There's a little bit of delay coming through which really accents it. 5:34, Jones misses the transition, most likely because Bonham does a big fill on the second bar and he mistook it for the fourth bar. Can't get a job as choirmaster doing that stuff, Jonesy. A good finish but that flub really brings it down. "B".

The Rain Song- Sounds a little rushed and unnatural. Rock section- synths crowd the mix but not bad. Just not a good flow on this one. "B".

Hot Dog- Page knocks down the intro with an ear-splitting tone. Solo- Some hybrid picking at 1:57. 2:08, Jones' piano clashes with the phrases Page is playing here and steps on an otherwise good solo. Solid second half. "B+".

All My Love- Sounding good on the start. Jones knocks down his solo. Page's isn't terrible, but boy is it lacking. A pretty standard run-through. "B+".

Trampled Underfoot- Good, driving tempo. Clavinet solo- Jones nails it. Solo- Some steady licks to start, then Page explodes at 3:38. 4:00-4:14, yes sir. Outro solo- Page is in the zone. Good phrasing combined with pure energy. Plant has to calm the nearly rioting audience afterwards. "A+".

SIBLY- Page's intro is a tad sticky. Plant sounds excellent. Solo- Fairly sticky throughout and doesn't quite match up to some other ones from this tour. The harsh tone doesn't help. 6:18-6:30, a very good finish however. A strong second half with some nice interplay from Bonzo. "B+".

Achilles- 0:55, Jones drops out for a few. First solo- Page gets a steady stream of notes going, melancholy and a little sticky-fingered. Overall well played. Second solo- 7:07, a lightning fingered run. Third solo- Fairly good but nothing impressive. This version is solid as a rock with all four staying in their lanes and sounding good. Page lacks the "umph" he had from the last show, but he keeps it together nonetheless. A very solid "B+". 

WS/BMS- Good start. 5:25, just like the Belgium show Page breaks and scolds the crowd for being too loud. The usual strained chords and some uninspired speedy runs on BMS. "B".

Kashmir- 0:58, someone lets the air out of Jonesy's synths. 6:21, Jones with the sticky fingers. All in all not bad, but those synths being loud in the mix don't leave a good impression. "B+".

Stairway- The tail end of Kashmir has Page saying to the audience "Think you might be able to keep quiet for this one?" Everything sounding good for the first half, with Plant singing inspired. Solo- Some rough articulation on the start. 6:53, not sounding good. 7:16, a decent run. 8:25, struggling a little. 8:41 is a nice run but sticky again soon afterwards. 8:54, the staccato chords are played well. 9:44, off the tracks. A little sticky on the last flurry of notes. Plant nails the climax. "B", though it's really only the solo that brings it down.

Rock And Roll- Good energy and Plant's vocals are powerful. 1:50, Bonham ups the tempo. Solo- Very unique phrasing on the start and played quite well. A unique ending phrase as well. A solid "A".

Money (Featuring Phil Carson on bass)- Good stomping tempo. Solo- Page goes full wah and puts down some aggressive licks, then makes room for an excellent piano solo by Jones. An excellent one-off here with a very rare guest spot. "A".

WLL- Strong start. The funk/freakout routine is done well. Solo- Not bad, just a little sticky. Medley- Plant sounds really good tonight. Boogie Chillen is played well with some decent noodling from Page. 10:52, Plant sings the "Frankfurt Special" but the others hesitate to get on board. They return to the main riff and Page nails the outro for a superb finish. "A".

Final Assessment- I was prepared for the best show of the year judging by the first three tracks but the performance dipped a bit afterwards. It's extremely rare to get a chance to place blame on Jones instead of Page, but I think this night grants the opportunity. The synth playing was quite messy and he seemed to be distracted for some of the material. The All My Love and Stairway solos were really the only lowlights for Page. Plant sounded spectacular from start to finish. NFBM was the highlight along with another impressive Trampled.

Edited by gibsonfan159

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On 12/26/2019 at 3:58 AM, gibsonfan159 said:

Nitpicking Page 6/29/1980 Zurich (Blitzkrieg Over Zurich- EVSD)

zurich80-al1.jpg.0d57ae6b805de7ac741819837d2c8083.jpgzurich80-al02.jpg.cee29dec7bc562167a1b8981ebb6d7bf.jpgzurich80-1_0.jpg.6475b82bb580b0463280c7cabadf5d05.jpg

This version is apparently a matrix with good balance and sound.

Train Kept A Rollin- Solid kickoff with Plant sounding a little scratchy. Solo- good wah drenched solo. Outro solo is played fairly well except for the sloppy final licks. "B+".

NFBM- The usual thunderous start. Harmonica- 2:18, the lowest harmonica note I've ever heard. Not bad. Solo- 3:33, Page fails to launch properly but manages to get back on track. 3:39, a nice run. 3:56, a unique, country sounding lick that works great. 4:10, some sticky icky. 4:46, Bonham isn't sure when Page wants to end it. Despite the botched intro and ending, it's an intriguing solo. 5:24, Plant sounding rough. I've heard worse. "B". 

Black Dog- Page plays loosely, but stays on point. Solo- Gets going smoothly out of the gate. 4:02-4:15, a forced sounding set of licks. 4:30, slight chord flub. Very energetic, better than a lot of 75 versions. "B+".

In The Evening- The verses kick off with almost no bass in the mix. Plant sounding enthusiastic here. Solo- Page nails down some speedy and well played phrases. Maybe the best solo I've heard for this. The slow section sounds a little off key. The latter half features a good wah soaked solo and simplistic drum fills by Bonham. Finishes strong. Gotta go "A" despite the out of key synth.

The Rain Song- 1:46, synths off key. Rock section- the drums and keyboard drown everything else, but sounds good. Outro is played very nicely. Not a bad performance but something doesn't gel right with it. "B+".

Hot Dog- Intro played perfectly and Jones' honky-tonk sounds good. Solo- Sticky start. He tries a different set of phrases that don't sound great. Long gone are the impressive hybrid licks from 1979, now replaced with a series of repeated bends. A good finish for a decent version. "B+" despite the sticky solo.

All My Love- Starts off extremely slow and the guitar almost non-existent in the mix. I'd wager the tape is running slow as Plant sounds deeper than normal. Jones nails his synth solo. Page once again sounds completely unprepared for his solo and barely holds it together. 4:40, bad synth notes. A lethargic version. "B".

Trampled Underfoot- At least the tempo is right. 1:42, a mix up between Page and Jones. Plant seems to be forgetting the lyrics as well. Jones gets an excellent solo in. Guitar solo- Page comes in lightheartedly with a chickin pickin type of phrasing. 4:04, a very cool descending phrase. The wah comes alive for the last part with an awkward finish. A decent solo. Plant just doesn't sound like he wants to sing this. Page goes maximum wah for the outro as Jones and Bonham churn out a seriously funky freight train rhythm. The outro overshadows the first three quarters, but it's too little too late. A half hearted sounding version. "B".

SIBLY- 0:08, a blazing little run. The sound quality is simply amazing now. Page shows great patience on the intro, phrasing everything nicely and not overdoing it. 3:37, Plant belts one out with full confidence. He's singing with compassion. Solo- Again, showing patience and focus as he doesn't force anything, playing elegantly yet passionately. No timestamps are needed as the whole thing is superb. I bragged on the Vienna version as one of the better ones I've heard, but this is honestly right there with it. "A+".

Achilles- Intro lacks some confidence, but gets off okay. This one goes so smoothly it's almost over relaxed. First solo- 3:52, these little trills with the delay sound great. 4:51, slight flub, perfection other than that. Second solo- Slight stickiness but not bad. Third solo- Played well. One thing missing from this otherwise excellent version- Bonham. He's basically a drum machine on this and is lacking those big energetic fills throughout. But I can't detract much because of that. "A+".

WS/BMS- For the first time in a long time Page starts this routine off without almost no awkward or forced phrases and puts the pieces together very similair to a 1970 performance. 6:58, a flurry of articulate notes. 8:34-8:38, the only flawed playing in the whole thing. A stunning rendition of a track that's been a struggle for Page since the early days. "A+".

Kashmir- 2:18, it's hard to tell what happens here but it sounds like Jones' synths stop functioning. Page and Bonham hit the turnaround at 2:55, but are soon confused again at 3:08 as Jones is still working out his technical problems. 4:24, back to normal. This was very close to being a "Tempe" level disaster. Audio jumps to an audience source at 6:36. 7:23-7:25, some synth flubs. "C+". (Plant afterwards; "If anyone is bootlegging that you'll have to scratch that one..").

Stairway- 1:18-1:28, there's something very unique about this phrase in particular, you can hear the audience singing along and also Jones hitting the bass pedals which I don't think he usually does here.. 2:15, minor chord flub. Solo- pretty much perfection until 7:47 when the slow part kicks in. Oddly this is usually where Page hammers down some of his most fluid licks, but he struggles to get a good flow here. Back on track for the rest of it, an overall excellent solo. Not overdone and solid throughout. 10:34, a flub by Jones as he doesn't transition the bass notes properly after the four bars. Not a perfect version but has a certain intriguing quality about it, with a very solid solo. "B+".

Rock And Roll- Kicks off with an absurdly fast tempo. Solo- somehow Page hangs on for a solid run. No rock and roll here, this is almost punk rock. Excellent finish by Bonham. "A" for the most frenetic version I've heard.

Heartbreaker- Nice stomping groove and guitar crunch. Solo- The rockabilly routine is fluid though low in the mix. 5:30, some slight stickiness but par for the course. 6:24-6:33, the most sinister chords I've heard by Page. 6:38, Page is a little loose on the chords for this transition. 7:40, some strange sounding phrases that somehow fit. The second half of the solo is fairly solid and could easily match a 73 show. 9:28, Bonham absolutely nails a triplet here to send the track into the outro. Not perfect, but I'll go "A" for 1980.

Final assessment- Plant takes a while to warm up, the synths are either out of key or not functioning for several songs, Page was hit and miss as usual, Bonham was just there and not attempting to show off. That being said it's still a good show overall, you just have to look past the flaws. Highlights are an excellent three song run with SIBLY, Achilles, and White Summer. Unfortunately the flow gets thwarted as Kashmir falls apart early on. The encores are notable as well. Stairway was very close to being spectacular but has a few too many flaws.

Rock and Roll is insane from this show. Wow. Bonzo really kicks it into high gear and drives the song into a completely new dimension. Plant is singing the song completely different as well. He's almost shouting with anger. Sounds great. I was pleasantly surprised by this concert apart from Kashmir.

Edited by dynamicbambino7

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The Trampled outtro - and most of the song for that matter (especially the second half) is as good as any song from any era. Page in the zone as you say - along with Jonesy and it builds up to such intensity it results in the crowd almost losing their shit. Considering the 1980 tour and how far below they were from what they could previously deliver, this stands out as the powerhouse delivery that just screams Led Zeppelin perfection. The only thing letting this down a smidgeon IMHO is a fairly reserved Bonzo. He offers only the most modest fills and accents. But there is no denying this powerhouse delivery right near the end of their reign.

I thought the 29th was almost on par with this one too, I was surprised at your rather mundane take on it.

Edited by rm2551

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