Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Sign in to follow this  
Cosmic_Equilibrium

LA 26/06/77

Recommended Posts

Interested in canvassing people's opinions on this particular show.

This is generally the least mentioned of the Forum run, I think mainly because of the recording quality being rather ropey. What intrigues me is that I've seen a few opinions stating it to be a good show but with something intangible missing, or just nothing that stands out. Having listened to it recently I don't think I'd agree with that analysis - there's some really good playing and the band is very tight. (I have also seen some people claiming it to be one of the best shows of the Forum run).

I found the acoustic set a pleasant surprise - I think it may be the best acoustic set of the six shows after the 27th, there seems to be a lot of energy in it generally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you think of the Forum run in 1977 as two parts...June 21-23 part 1 and June 25-27 part 2...then June 26 is, to me, the best show of part 2.

The acoustic set and the "It'll Be Me" encore set it apart from the other shows. Other standouts from this show..."Over the Hills", "No Quarter", "Ten Years Gone", "Kashmir", "Achilles".

Some thoughts I had about the June 26 show a few years ago.

Date: June 26, 1977

To paraphrase Robert Plant's opening remarks at the June 23 concert, it was great to be back at the Forum Sunday night for a fourth Led Zeppelin concert... but how weak the mortal frame. I was exhausted.

After dropping off the girls at their homes after the show Saturday night (by now early Sunday morning), we went back to my friend's house and since it was a pleasant summerevening, grabbed some pillows and blankets and crashed in his treehouse in the backyard.

Upon waking around noon, I noticed I ached all over...especially around my neck and shoulders. Excessive headbanging had left its mark. My voice was shot from all the yelling and screaming. The ringing in my ears had not dissipated. On top of the concert volume, another cherry bomb (M80) had gone off near me and, quite frankly, startled me enough that I jumped.

I go to more than 60 concerts a year now and even the loudest concerts today don't feel half as loud as shows in the 1970s and '80s. Only Mötörhead, the Buzzcocks, Sunno)) and Swans are shows I have seen in the past 5 years that could compare to the shows I saw in the '70s.

Led Zeppelin was not only loud, but their concerts were marathon tests of endurance. It's one thing to see a band such as Sabbath, AC/DC, or Ramones play loud for an hour or 80-90 minutes. But three-plus hours takes a toll on you. A Led Zeppelin concert was like standing in the ring with Joe Frazier throwing body blows at you for three hours. Every thump of John Bonham's kick drum rattled your ribcage. You shook me, John Bonham...you shook me all night long.

After three concerts in five days, now I had to finish with back-to-back-to-back Zeppelin shows. Nine-plus cumulative hours of pounding. For that reason alone, I decided to wear earplugs at the Sunday(June 26) and Monday (27th) concerts. This would be my first time wearing earplugs at a show since I stopped wearing them in 1973.

Nobody would disturb us in the treehouse, and my buddy still had a little grass left that his older brother have him. So to ease our pain, we smoked some and saved the rest for later. 

My friend said if Led Zeppelin had played the same setlist Saturday night as they played on the first night, he might have decided to sell his ticket and skipped the show on the 26th. But they played three songs that they didn't on the 21st, so he was happy and hopeful for more additions to the setlist. As was i.

Like "The Rover"! What was up with teasing the audience every night with the intro and then not delivering the song? Ask most fans at that time and most would tell you "The Rover" was one of their favourite songs off "Physical Graffiti"...and certainly more popular and played on the radio more often than "Sick Again". 

I understand the link between "Sick Again" and Los Angeles and why the band would want to sing it at the Forum, especially. But with six shows, certainly the band could have found room in the setlist for "The Rover"? Perhaps do "The Rover" instead of "Sick Again" on alternate nights? 

Another mystery to long-time concert-goers was why "When the Levee Breaks" never got a shot at all the shows they played in L.A., despite the constant yelling for the song by people for years. Every Led Zeppelin concert I went to was accompanied by constant shouts for "When the Levee Breaks", "Gallows Pole", "Heartbreaker", "Whole Lotta Love", "Rock and Roll", and "Stairway to Heaven".

"Physical Graffiti" was still massively popular in 1977 (totally overshadowing "Presence") and songs from the album received heavy rotation on the local FM rock radio stations: KMET, KLOS, and KWST. "Physical Graffiti" songs I was hoping to hear at these 1977 Forum shows included "In the Light", "The Rover", "The Wanton Song", "Houses of the Holy", "Custard Pie", and "Down by the Seaside". Even "Boogie With Stu", haha. Since they had been played in 1975, I was pretty sure "Kashmir", "Trampled Under Foot", "In My Time of Dying" would be back in the setlist for 1977.

Right about now, I can hear you saying "You should be thankful for what you got and stop complaining about setlist minutiae." In hindsight, you may be right. But that is what we did back then...bitch if a band didn't play our favourite song or change up the setlist if they were playing multiple shows in the same venue. 

Sunday traffic wasn't bad on the way to the Forum, until we hit the 91/405 interchange and got closer to the Manchester exit. People complain about Led Zeppelin, and rock concerts in general starting late in the 1970s, but in a city like Los Angeles with traffic jams every day, the bands did us a favour by being late. If Led Zeppelin had started at the announced ticket time of 7:30 p.m., half the audience would have missed the first part of the show. Even if the band started at 9 or later, there were always scores of people running late and trying to get to their seat 20 minutes later...usually in your row.

Listening to the radio on the way to the Forum, there was some scuttlebutt about Led Zeppelin attending Swan Song band Detective's concert in Hollywood on one of Zeppelin's day off...can't remember if they meant June 20 or June 24. I'd have to check Detective's concert schedule for 1977...or perhaps Steve A. Jones has it handy?

Once in the parking lot of the Forum, we blazed the last of the marijuana before going inside. We both had decided to wear our 1977 tour shirts, as had quite a few others in the Forum crowd. It was obvious after talking with some others we weren't the only ones seeing multiple Led Zeppelin shows on their six-night stand at the Forum. That's how addicting a Led Zeppelin concert was...your fix constantly needed feeding.

Something else we discovered...not all attendees were from the Southern California area. During the week, we bumped into Brits, Aussies, Europeans, Canadiens, Texans, and some from South of the Border. People had flown thousands of miles to come to the Forum gigs.

I had to remind myself that it was pure luck that I was even able to go to as many shows as I did. If Plant had not got laryngitis/tonsillitis, and the 1977 tour schedule had remained what it originally had been, then the June 26 show would have been on Wednesday March 16, a school night. The June 25 was originally Tuesday March 15.

Basically, I would have only been able to see two of the Forum shows, three if I was lucky, if the tour had not been postponed and the Forum gigs moved to June 21-27, well after the school year was over. Thank you Robert Plant. I am sorry you had to suffer through your tonsillitis, but that's what allowed me to see you five times that week.

Whether it was because we were a little high, the wait for the June 26 show to start seemed longer than usual. Plus, I was really getting sick of hearing the Eagles "Hotel California" during the pre-show music.

At least our seats were good. For once, we were dead center looking towards the stage, just slightly above the floor on the floor risers behind the rear floor seats. So no heads were in our way, and after being on Jimmy's side one night and Jonesey's side two nights, it was refreshing to have a straight ahead view of the stage. Bonham's steel kit and those giant tympani gleaming in the lights. But I wondered why he didn't have his rune symbol on the kick drum as in previous tours.

It must have been well after 9pm when the house lights at last dimmed and Led Zeppelin made their way to the stage. The crowd went bonkers, as usual. By now, Led Zeppelin felt like family...our band of brothers...and the Forum was their home away from home.

At that moment, all thoughts of fatigue and soreness vanished as adrenaline took over and I felt reenergized and ready for the next few hours. Again, that opening rush that overwhelmed us as "The Song Remains the Same" commenced the concert proceedings made your hair stand on end and shocks shoot up and down your spine. 

The only negative was that my earplugs gave me the sensation I was hearing the show from underwater or on a cassette using Dolby Noise Reduction. The brightness and harmonic overtones were lost. Plus, I just don't like having things in my ear. Even worse was that I could still detect a ringing in my ears left over from the previous night's show. Was I doing serous damage to my hearing?

But that was a small price to pay to be able to witness rock and roll glory. And not having to hear my stepmother again would be a blessing. After a while, I got used to the earplugs. One benefit to using earplugs is that it made it easier to discern Robert Plant's words.

Unlike the previous night, where I was trying to be on my best behaviour because of our dates, tonight I partook more often in the illicit contraband that was offered to us. Before I knew it, the opening salvo was over and I was really flying by the time "Over the Hills and Far Away" started. Comparing "In My Time of Dying" from the night before to the return of "Over the Hills and Far Away", as much as I liked IMTOD, I was happy to see OTHAFA again. One of the highlights of the 1977 shows for me was watching Jimmy play those OTHAFA solos.

Jimmy was in his white dragon suit again. Where was his black dragon suit? I was sure I would see him break it out at least once during the Forum run. Of course, I found out later he did...on the one night I missed, June 22. Robert was wearing something different than blue jeans for the first time in all the concerts I had seen...shiny pants. I preferred him in blue jeans.

Maybe it was because I was stoned, but I really enjoyed the June 26 show. Bonham didn't seem as wildly unpredictable as in the earlier shows, but the band sounded good and solid. I had less distractions tonight, so I could focus all my attention on the stage and just enjoying watching the band play.

Even the crowd seemed less unruly around me than on previous nights. For once, I didn't hear any beefing or near-fights. Even the cherry bombs were at a minimum. It was a pleasant Sunday evening at a Led Zeppelin concert.

The No Quarter-Ten Years Gone was pure bliss. Just being able to sit back and relax and let the mind wander as the music went through many moods. From where we were sitting you could see the dry ice overflow the stage...I felt sorry for those in the front row engulfed in the fog. The lights and laser show was epic. At times it appeared the lasers were going through Robert and Jimmy...or maybe that was an optical illusion?

The acoustic set pleased me because, in addition to the usual fun, they added an Elvis Presley song! I knew it was an Elvis song...but because of my increasingly buzzed state, particulars were hard to recall afterwards. Mystery Train? That's All Right?  It wasn't until years later I heard the bootleg and confirmed it was "That's All Right".

"Kashmir" slayed...as it slayed every night. Yes, the Led Zeppelin of 1969-1973 was a well-oiled machine in concert (especially 1970-72), before the drugs, injuries and excess started to impair their performances. But one thing 1977 Led Zeppelin has over early-era Zeppelin is "Kashmir". It truly was like being visited by gods of another time and space and "Kashmir" was their gift to us.

Like June 25, the drum and guitar-noise solos seemed to drag on much longer than the first couple of shows. Thankfully the visuals helped. But I couldn't help notice the exodus of people to the bathroom or concession stands...or maybe just on a walkabout ?

But I stayed put. I knew the reward was soon coming...the explosive "Achilles Last Stand"! "Kashmir" and "Achilles Last Stand" together crushed all opposition and doubts about the 1977 tour. Everything after was gravy.

"Stairway to Heaven" was sad in a way, because it meant the concert was almost over. As long as the shows were, you still found yourself wanting more...maybe an extra song in the encore. 

The encore we got June 26 was instantly memorable to this Jerry Lee Lewis fan: a pounding, rollicking version of "It'll Be Me"! I was definitely up and dancing to this song.

One of the things I loved about Led Zeppelin concerts from the start was their obvious affection for the old blues and rock classics. I particularly was fond of the medley of oldies played in "Whole Lotta Love". So to get an Elvis song and a Jerry Lee Lewis song in one night was an unexpected delight now that the band had ditched the Whole Lotta Love medleys.

Of course the crowd wanted more encores but no matter how long we stomped and screamed the band never returned for a second encore.

I can't remember the highlights being that much better than the other nights. But I don't remember any disasters, either. I missed "Trampled Under Foot" not being in the set...I found it gave extra juice to the show. But it was a nice solid show all-around. Ending well after midnight...or was it 1am? If it wasn't the longest show of the week in total minutes, it ended later than most previous nights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone asked me to rank the Forum shows I saw from top to bottom. I hadn't thought of doing that...it's kind of like ranking your children. You love them all and each has a particular trait that endears them to you in equal measure.

It's one thing to rank the bootlegs from the Forum shows...those are cold, hard documents with criteria such as recording quality that can be objectively determined. But to ask me which night at the Forum was "best" is really a subjective flip-of-the-coin...with one exception.

All things being equal, the appearance of Keith Moon juiced the show on June 23 just enough to make it a clear #1. But I am a man who loves a challenge. So I sat down and charted the five concerts (since I did not see the June 22 show, I am not including it in my rankings) I saw, ranking each song of the set and taking into account any special additions to the set. 

Two things to remember.

1. The difference between the rankings are infinitesimal. Even the lowest-ranked performance could still be considered "great". If I was going to take the easy way out, I would just proclaim everything in a five-way tie for first.

2. This list is highly subjective, relying more on my personal notes and feelings than what you might hear on the bootlegs, although they are helpful in breaking ties.

I will list each song of the set, starting with the normal setlist and then adding other songs performed during the week. Songs that were performed than once will have the Forum dates listed in order of performance ranking, from #1 to #5. Again, the entire week at the Forum was explosive...there is no shame in finishing #5. If the last-ranked show had been the only concert I saw that week, it would still be one of the greatest shows I ever saw.

The Song Remains the Same

1. 6.21

2. 6.23

3. 6.27

4. 6.26

5. 6.25

The Rover/Sick Again

1. 6.23

2. 6.27

3. 6.26

4. 6.21

5. 6.25

Nobody's Fault But Mine

1. 6.23

2. 6.21 

3. 6.27

4. 6.26

5. 6.25

Over the Hills and Far Away

1. 6.26

2. 6.27

3. 6.23

4. 6.21

Since I've Been Loving You

1. 6.25

2. 6.23

3. 6.26

4. 6.27

5. 6.21

No Quarter

1. 6.23

2. 6.26

3. 6.27

4. 6.21

5. 6.25

Ten Years Gone

1. 6.21

2. 6.26

3. 6.27

4. 6.23

5. 6.25

Battle of Evermore

1. 6.26

2. 6.21

3. 6.23

4. 6.27

5. 6.25

Going to California

1. 6.26

2. 6.23

3. 6.21

4. 6.27

5. 6.25

Black Country Woman

1. 6.23

2. 6.21

3. 6.26

4. 6.27

5. 6.25

Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

1. 6.23

2. 6.26

3. 6.27

4. 6.21

5. 6.25

White Summer/Black Mountain Side

1. 6.23

2. 6.21

3. 6.26

4. 6.25

5. 6.27

Kashmir

1. 6.21

2. 6.25

3. 6.26

4. 6.27

5. 6.23

Drum solo

1. 6.23

2. 6.21

3. 6.27

4. 6.26

5. 6.25

Guitar noise/bow solo

1. 6.23

2. 6.25

3. 6.26

4. 6.21

5. 6.27

Achilles Last Stand

1. 6.23

2. 6.27

3. 6.21

4. 6.25

5. 6.26

Stairway to Heaven

1. 6.21

2. 6.23

3. 6.26

4. 6.27

5. 6.25

Encore: Whole Lotta Love/Rock and Roll

1. 6.23

2. 6.21

3. 6.27

Trampled Under Foot

1. 6.27

2. 6.23

3. 6.25

Concerts with setlist changes:

6.21: Heartbreaker

6.25: In My Time of Dying; Communication Breakdown

6.26: That's Alright, Mama; It'll Be Me

6.27: Just Can't Be Satisfied; Dancing Days

6.21: 4 #1s, 7 #2s, 2 #3s

6.23: 10 #1s, 5 #2s, 2 #3s

6.25: 1 #1, 2 #2s, 1 #3

6.26: 3 #1s, 3 #2s, 7 #3s

6.27: 1 #1, 3 #2s, 7 #3s

And so...the five 1977 Forum shows I saw ranked from top to bottom:

1. 6.23

2. 6.21

3. 6.26

4. 6.27

5. 6.25

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Cosmic_Equilibrium said:

Interested in canvassing people's opinions on this particular show.

This is generally the least mentioned of the Forum run, I think mainly because of the recording quality being rather ropey. What intrigues me is that I've seen a few opinions stating it to be a good show but with something intangible missing, or just nothing that stands out. Having listened to it recently I don't think I'd agree with that analysis - there's some really good playing and the band is very tight. (I have also seen some people claiming it to be one of the best shows of the Forum run).

I found the acoustic set a pleasant surprise - I think it may be the best acoustic set of the six shows after the 27th, there seems to be a lot of energy in it generally.

Pretty much spot on. This recording lives in the shadow of the rest of the LA run.

A great show for anyone who can dial in the bootleg ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Badgeholder Still said:

Pretty much spot on. This recording lives in the shadow of the rest of the LA run.

A great show for anyone who can dial in the bootleg ears.

Mike the Mic had to take a break sometimes. Whether by design or chance, Millard only taped the odd-number dates of the Forum run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6/26 is really great, and the recording is easy to get used to, once you commit to the fact that it’s not a Millard recording. Outstanding playing throughout.

Out of the LA 77 run, I listen to 6/23 the most, by far. That show I will listen to start-to-finish.  I’ll listen to TSRTS/SA, TYG, Kashmir and Achilles from 6/21, IMTOD from 6/22, and SIBLY and NQ from 6/25. 

I pretty much never listen to 6/27. That show is a fantastic recording, and the performance is a marathon effort. I just never get that itch to listen to it. Not enough “did you hear that?!!” moments in that show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...