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Countdown To The Top 5 Moments Of The 1980 Tour


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There was a recent thread titled something like, "Picking On Page 1980." OK. If we're going to pick on Page for some of 1980's lesser moments then I think the band as a whole deserves a thumbs up for some of 1980's shining moments. The 1980 tour, overall, included most of Zep's best stuff from Led Zeppelin I to ITTOD. The 1980 tour brought back two of Zep's greatest numbers that were glaringly lacking on the 1977 tour - Black Dog and The Rain Song.

It is worth restating that I am an American that is 51 years old, as these words are typed, and I know someone who saw the Berlin show as a 20 year old GI in the US Army. You'll never convince this man that it wasn't the greatest show he ever saw.

Top Five Greatest Attributes of the 1980 Tour

5. Led Zeppelin in 1980 - This was Led Zeppelin's small contribution to the 1980's. In my book that in itself deserves respect.

4. John Paul Jones - Jonsey had it going on for the 1980 tour. I dig: that short combed back hair, that white dress shirt, that bass that looked like an axe, and his new sympathizer. It was the new decade and Jonsey was ready to rock. JPJ definately proved himself on this tour!

3. The Overall Set Lineup - I have already been through a good bit of this in the intro. Zep put together most of the best of the best of 12 years for the 1980 tour.

2. Train Kept A Rollin' - I dig this! The 1980 version of Train is a true head banger. Led Zeppelin never walks on stage gently and the 1980 tour was no exception. I have never really seen any comments on the board about this and to me that is a shame.

1. All My Love - I've never been that big of a fan of Led Zep III or ITTOD but on the 1980 tour All My Love steals the show. It steals every show from this tour that I have heard. It's like somebody snaps his fingers and calls you to attention.

 

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5. Agreed

4. His new "sympathizer" was not a highlight for me. It added some cheese to the songs.

3. Setlist was not great. Rain Song, Hot Dog and All of My Love are the weakest songs in the entire set and add nothing special to the Zeppelin live experience for the 1980 tour. White Summer was a disaster and did not showcase the James Patrick Page we know and love.

2. Love Train Kept a Rollin'. The Dortmund version always gets me fired up!

1  Strange number 1! Page is clearly not enjoying the song live evident by his half-arsed solos! No flair or excitement added to the live version. Very boring. Bonzo is phoning it in for this song as well.

Edited by Jimmy's Dragon Suit
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Led Head I want to thank you for your reply. I enjoyed reading your reply. This proves that even among the true hard-core Zep fans that people can have very different opinions.

I still stand by my list.

We agree on Hot Dog! Hot Dog is one of the very few Zep songs that I can say I don't like.

I do hope to get your thoughts on what I am about to say below.

I have always felt that the 1980 tour over all had a good bit to offer and was very enjoyable. I have come to feel like my views on this are the minority opinion. I am also going to push the envelope and say that over time I have come to feel like there is a faction among the hard-core Zep fans that feel that the '80 tour had nothing to offer and that it never should have happened.

 

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I have always been a fan of the 80' tour as most of the shows are good and a handful are downright excellent. Sure there are a few stinkers (mostly due to Page) but mostly they were good shows. The one exception I have is with Jones synths, the technology was not yet there to reproduce accurately the sound of a Mellotron so those songs (Kashmir, Rain Song) in particular sound thin and odd. Outside of the synths, the sound was good and Jimmy's tone on this tour was excellent as well.

Also, the sub-par shows were a combination of Page's poor playing, and Robert & Bonham's apathy as evident by their delivery. Bonham was also having stomach issues which impacted his playing as well.

What most do not realize is if you assemble a "best of" show from the tour you will have one amazing show with the best versions ever played of many of these songs. I will go to my grave knowing, IMO, the version of WLL from Berlin is hands down, one of my favorite versions and Heartbreaker from Rotterdam is also amazing.

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I have assembled and shared a Best Of 1980, and I know several other Zep fans have done so too. There's some good stuff in those 14 shows, but IMHO they were good but not great. If Bonham (and Page) could've held it together I'm confident they would've continued to improve as they rehearsed in August and September in advance of the planned U.S. tour - but the band captured on those soundboards from Europe is still in the process of trying to gel again, iMHO.

That said, if I were to choose a Top 5 moments from that tour, I'd choose, in no particular order:

  • The 18-minute, one-of-a-kind Whole Lotta Love from Berlin - a new kind of WLL freak-out that showed the band could still improvise and surprise like nobody's business.
  • Train Kept A-rollin' - here I agree with the OP; it was a great decision to add that back into the set after 11 years without it. Frankfurt is my favorite version.
  • The cover of "Money" with Phil Carson at the end of the Frankfurt show. It's slow and incredibly heavy - quintessential Zep.
  • Trampled Under Foot from Frankfurt (and also Zurich) - full of energy, very different from the Zep of '75 but just as good in its own way.
  • Black Dog from Dortmund - this 1st show of the tour is all over the place, but that's because they are full of energy and roaring out of the gate, and Black Dog is perhaps the best, relatively compact showcase of that energy, maybe the most energetic five minutes of the entire tour.
Edited by tmtomh
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1 hour ago, tmtomh said:

I have assembled and shared a Best Of 1980, and I know several other Zep fans have done so too. There's some good stuff in those 14 shows, but IMHO they were good but not great. If Bonham (and Page) could've held it together I'm confident they would've continued to improve as they rehearsed in August and September in advance of the planned U.S. tour - but the band captured on those soundboards from Europe is still in the process of trying to gel again, iMHO.

That said, if I were to choose a Top 5 moments from that tour, I'd choose, in no particular order:

  • The 18-minute, one-of-a-kind Whole Lotta Love from Berlin - a new kind of WLL freak-out that showed the band could still improvise and surprise like nobody's business.
  • Train Kept A-rollin' - here I agree with the OP; it was a great decision to add that back into the set after 11 years without it. Frankfurt is my favorite version.
  • The cover of "Money" with Phil Carson at the end of the Frankfurt show. It's slow and incredibly heavy - quintessential Zep.
  • Trampled Under Foot from Frankfurt (and also Zurich) - full of energy, very different from the Zep of '75 but just as good in its own way.
  • Black Dog from Dortmund - this 1st show of the tour is all over the place, but that's because they are full of energy and roaring out of the gate, and Black Dog is perhaps the best, relatively compact showcase of that energy, maybe the most energetic five minutes of the entire tour.

Would love to hear your best of ‘80 compilation mate

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5 hours ago, tmtomh said:

I have assembled and shared a Best Of 1980, and I know several other Zep fans have done so too. There's some good stuff in those 14 shows, but IMHO they were good but not great. If Bonham (and Page) could've held it together I'm confident they would've continued to improve as they rehearsed in August and September in advance of the planned U.S. tour - but the band captured on those soundboards from Europe is still in the process of trying to gel again, iMHO.

That said, if I were to choose a Top 5 moments from that tour, I'd choose, in no particular order:

  • The 18-minute, one-of-a-kind Whole Lotta Love from Berlin - a new kind of WLL freak-out that showed the band could still improvise and surprise like nobody's business.
  • Train Kept A-rollin' - here I agree with the OP; it was a great decision to add that back into the set after 11 years without it. Frankfurt is my favorite version.
  • The cover of "Money" with Phil Carson at the end of the Frankfurt show. It's slow and incredibly heavy - quintessential Zep.
  • Trampled Under Foot from Frankfurt (and also Zurich) - full of energy, very different from the Zep of '75 but just as good in its own way.
  • Black Dog from Dortmund - this 1st show of the tour is all over the place, but that's because they are full of energy and roaring out of the gate, and Black Dog is perhaps the best, relatively compact showcase of that energy, maybe the most energetic five minutes of the entire tour.

You forgot "Trampled Under Foot" from Berlin.

And any number of "Achilles Last Stand" would make my Top 5 1980 moments over "Black Dog". I was tired of "Black Dog" by 1980 and it sometimes sounds like the band was, too. "Black Dog", "White Summer", and "Rain Song" should have been nixed from the set in favour of "The Rover", "Wanton Song", "Ten Years Gone", and "Fool in the Rain".

Edited by Strider
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5 hours ago, Strider said:

You forgot "Trampled Under Foot" from Berlin.

And any number of "Achilles Last Stand" would make my Top 5 1980 moments over "Black Dog". I was tired of "Black Dog" by 1980 and it sometimes sounds like the band was, too. "Black Dog", "White Summer", and "Rain Song" should have been nixed from the set in favour of "The Rover", "Wanton Song", "Ten Years Gone", and "Fool in the Rain".

Thanks! I'll have to take another listen to Trampled from Berlin. I really like the version from Frankfurt but it's been a long time since I listened to the full Berlin show, so I'll check it out.


RE Black Dog, I totally hear you on that - overplayed without a doubt, and I agree with you that it would've been no loss had they ditched it from the set. But I do really like the version from Dortmund, so given what they did play, it is a highlight for me.

I can't agree with the nixing of The Rain Song, but I very much agree with you that White Summer should've been dumped from the '80 set, not only because it was a dissonant note of self-indulgence the band were supposed to be removing from the new streamlined set, but also because Page simply couldn't play it properly at that point. Ditto for Hot Dog - if memory serves, Rotterdam is the only show where he nails the solo in that track.

I also agree that The Rover and/or Wanton Song, plus Fool in the Rain would've been great in the set (particularly as replacements for Black Dog and Hot Dog). But I don't know that Page could've pulled off Ten Years Gone in his 1980 condition.

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The Black Dog's I've listened to so far sound better than they did in 1975. Fool In The Rain wasn't even an option live in 1980 unless you wanted a real blunder. Hot Dog and All My Love were played because they were touring to promote their latest album, and you play songs from the album when you do that. The songs sounded great live when Page was coherent and Hot Dog still beat the hell out of those ear wrecking boogie jams during No Quarter. JPJ was possibly the weakest link in 1980 imo. Page was trying to steer the set back to pure rock and roll and that clashed heavily with Jones' wonky synths. I do love his piano work on the Stairways though. The Rain Song surely sounded dated by 1980, but I think it could've worked well as the lead in for Kashmir. I still think Trampled Underfoot is the highlight of 1980.

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5: Train Kept A Rollin: Love the 1980 versions of this track, so raw and aggressive, I rock tf out every time
4: All My Love: say what you will about it live but its unique to this tour and I dig the outros a lot so I wouldnt trade it
3: Kashmir: I know Im in the minority but I like the synthesizers on this song, but Im sucker for anything that sounds distinctly 80s so Im biased. The song sounded heavy as hell even on the soundboards.
2: Whole Lotta Love: Whether its Brussels, Vienna, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Munich, or Berlin you cant go wrong.
1: Achilles' Last Stand: My favorite Zep track, and when they were on for this song man they were ON. There's lots of unique little flourishes and changes Jimmy played on this tour for ALS that sound nothing like from 77 or 79 and I dig em a lot.

Edited by NegativeCrepe
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