Jump to content

Ranking The 1977 Shows


Bonzo_fan
 Share

Recommended Posts

I know this has been discussed every which way, so I apologize for the potentially duplicitous nature of this post, but for uniformity's sake I figured I'd share my '77 rankings the same way I did my '75 and '72 rankings -- North America '73 is coming next week!  

As I mentioned in the '72 rankings thread, I started a podcast recently entitled Rock Talk with Dr. Cropper.  I've done three Zeppelin-themed episodes so far (and two Dead-themed ones).  My episode about the '77 tour, where I go into greater detail about the rationale behind my rankings, just went live this morning:

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/rock-talk-with-dr-cropper/id1518703647#episodeGuid=Buzzsprout-4725263

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/74LrPcZS8V6A3yO300Is3e?si=JUiZvIz8SVmeMXTDOUBY1w

Buzzsprout for those who can't access either of the above: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1119254/4725263

I decided to limit this one to a Top 20 due to sound and/or performance quality issues with the others. 

1.   June 22 - Los Angeles -- One of my all-time favourites.  It's starting to get the praise it's due, so I won't wax poetic for too long.  I think someone else said this on here a few weeks ago, but it strikes the perfect balance between the energy of the 21st and the relaxed confidence of the 23rd.  Extremely tight, incredibly powerful, and a unique setlist to boot (which I think is something all of the "best of their year, in the best ever conversation" shows have -- 9/19/70 Evening, 9/29/71, 6/19/72, 3/21/75, and this one -- 7/21/73 is the strange exception to my rule...best of its year with a completely standard setlist).  Not only is this the only '77 show to feature both "In My Time Of Dying" AND "Over The Hills And Far Away," it's also the only time OTHAFA appeared anywhere but the 3, 4 or 5 slot in the setlist after its debut on 6/19/72 in Seattle (right?).  In addition to a very strong opening 1-2-3, standout versions (at least for '77) of the following: "Since I've Been Loving You," "Going To California" (and the acoustic set as a whole), "White Summer/Black Mountain Side," "Over The Top" and "Rock And Roll."  The following songs from this show are in the best-ever conversation IMO:

- "In My Time Of Dying" -- thunderous, strong performance from Plant, and unique for the "The Lemon Song" tease

- "No Quarter" -- longest ever at 34 minutes, and it has a really great and unique piano solo from Jones which stays appropriately dark, a great boogie section and an awesome jam that keeps a bit more of a flow than the equally awesome 21st and 23rd versions do

- "Kashmir"

- "Over The Hills And Far Away" -- one of Page's best solos on it at the very least

- "Noise Solo"

- "Achilles Last Stand" -- I'm adamant about this one being THE best.  Super tight with amazing solos from Page in spite of the ridiculous tempo.  They recover from his broken string with him switching to the deluxe Les Paul quickly enough for it to not detract from the performance and I love the unique intro

- "Stairway To Heaven" -- great version by all of the usual measures, but also because Plant echoes the word "laughter" instead of singing some variation of "Does anybody remember laughter?" AND Page skips the extra bar on the 12-string, jumping straight into the solo after the fanfare

2.   June 21 - Los Angeles -- Legendary for a reason -- one of Bonham's best shows of their career and the others aren't far behind him.  Palpable excitement on their part and the crowd's at their being back in LA bubbles over with the explosive opening of a potential best ever "The Song Remains The Same" and it spills over into the rest of the show.  One of the most powerful versions of "No Quarter" with Bonham taking the reins in the mid-section, a crushing climax to the jam and a violent outro with one of Bonham's most impressive fills towards the end -- the one where he strings three fast ones together.  He does it again on the 22nd and a few other times, but you can obviously hear it most clearly with the sound quality of the 21st.  

3.   June 13 - New York -- This one has always been a personal favourite.  I recall a few years back someone on here posted about five '77 shows that each symbolized a different aspect of Zepp's greatness, and they chose this one as being emblematic of their bravado, which I think is quite accurate.  Very confident, energetic and powerful from start to finish.  The opening 1-2-3 are tight and explosive.  "Over The Hills And Far Away" sees Plant almost reaching the original melody in the choruses and Page playing an awesome and very spacey solo.  "Since I've Been Loving You" is one of the best of '77 at the very least.  "No Quarter" is a bit shorter than some of the other epics from June at 27 minutes and change, but is fantastic nonetheless.  Energetic mid-section with great chemistry and I love Jones' hinting at "Chim Chim Cher-ee" as he's winding down the jam.  One of the best and perhaps my personal favourite "Ten Years Gone."  Very strong acoustic set.  Nice "White Summer/Black Mountain Side" with some "Midnight Moonlight" thrown in once Page's guitar is re-tuned after the drop.  Epic "Kashmir" with Plant especially singing extremely powerfully -- reaches 10 minutes, but isn't plodding at all...just an awesome, extended outro.  Really good "Over The Top," too bad it's cut.  I think my favourite "Noise Solo" -- amazing theremin section.  Brutally heavy "Achilles Last Stand."  The biggest screw-up of the night, which you have to deduct points for, is Bonham entering a verse early during an otherwise great "Stairway To Heaven."  Unique for the "Whole Lotta Love" > "Black Dog" encore, and I think they play "Black Dog" pretty well.

4.   June 26 - Los Angeles -- Quite possibly the absolute tightest, most technically proficient of the year -- if I'm not mistaken, it's the only show from any year that has received straight-A's under @gibsonfan159's microscope, which I realize is focused primarily on Page, but still.  Love the way Jones wraps up the boogie section in "No Quarter" with a nice, hymnal vibe.  Long mid-section with a very nice, thoughtful build to a great climax.  Third-longest at 32:30ish.  Strong acoustic set.  One of the best "Noise Solo"'s, even at 22 minutes -- very smooth and focused.  Third-longest "Stairway To Heaven," and a great one at that.  I much prefer "It'll Be Me" to the bastardized "Whole Lotta Love" into "Rock And Roll" for the encore.

5.   June 23 - Los Angeles -- Some will say I'm being blasphemous, but hear me out.  I think you could most certainly argue that it has the highest peaks of any '77 show -- potential best-ever versions of "No Quarter" and "Ten Years Gone," a fantastic "Stairway To Heaven" with Plant in very strong voice leading into the pre-solo fanfare and Page playing a very emotional solo with brilliant phrasing, very strong versions of "Sick Again," "Since I've Been Loving You" and several others as well.  I also think it has lower valleys than the four above it (and potentially a few below it, but the peaks outweigh that) -- most notably the screw-up in "Kashmir," but it also has a so-so acoustic set IMO (I don't think the party vibe was as well suited to that part of the show) and the equipment issues in "The Song Remains The Same" and "Trampled Under Foot," while not their fault, detract from the listening experience a bit nonetheless.  Additionally, I think this show's "Achilles Last Stand" is a tad sloppy compared to some others that are equally energetic and powerful, and Keith Moon's presence, while historically significant and no doubt very cool person, doesn't really add anything musically.  I suspect they hardly ever had guests for the same reason that the best chefs use surprisingly few ingredients -- all you need are really high quality ingredients with plenty of space in the palette (or soundscape) to shine.

6.   April 30 - Pontiac -- The tempos sound a bit more deliberate this show, which I've always considered to be the most compelling "evidence" for it having been filmed/recorded -- knowing that they only had one show at the venue to get it right, they figured they'd take it just a hair slower to be sure everything was nice and clean.  Wishful thinking at least.  Anyway, combined with the echo of the venue which shines through on the recording, it sounds absolutely massive, like Page's riffs are being carved out of granite.  One of his best shows of the year.  I've always really liked this version of "Achilles Last Stand" -- it's the live version that sounds most like the studio version to me, in a good way.

7.   May 22 - Fort Worth -- I expect I'll take some heat for having this above the three below it, but that's ok.  Similar to the '75 Fort Worth show, what it might lack a bit in tightness/Page being at his most fluid, it more than makes up for with energy and Bonham playing like a mad man as he always seemed to in Fort Worth and Texas in general -- having cattle of his own back home in England, I'm sure he loved the Stockyards and the daily cattle drive.  This one is just fresh and fun to listen to.  Yes, you have to detract points for how long it takes Page to get back on track after Bonham throws in a bit of "The Crunge" during an otherwise excellent "In My Time Of Dying," but I always find it more funny than anything.  Probably the best "Over The Top" of the tour -- 28 glorious minutes.  Thunderous "Achilles Last Stand," one of the best on Bonham's part at least.  Bonham's stuttering intro to "Rock And Roll" is unique, and this show gets a big boost for "It'll Be Me" with Mick Ralphs -- a guest appearance that does add a little something musically, like Ronnie Wood in Nassau in 1975.

8.   June 25 - Los Angeles -- Strong showing from Page with fantastic versions of "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Stairway To Heaven," a potential best-ever "Kashmir," a really good "Trampled Under Foot" and the only "Communication Breakdown" of '77 -- a good one at that -- BUT it's a bit of an off night for Bonham apart from "Kashmir" and the longest "Over The Top" of the LA shows, though not the best.  I admit this could be my bias as a drummer using his play as a tie-breaker more than Page's.  This show also has the weakest "No Quarter" of the LA shows IMO.  It's not bad by any stretch, it's just that the other five are ridiculously good.

9.   June 10 - New York -- I could be underrating this one.  I'll admit, there's just something about the recording that I find a bit distracting, which is weird because I'm sure there are "technically worse" ones that I find less so.  Performance-wise it's no doubt a very strong night, with '77 debuts of "Over The Hills And Far Away" and "Heartbreaker," both of which are played quite well.  "No Quarter" is interesting with Jones switching back to the electric piano partway through the jam as he does on 3/25/75, but there are several better versions from June '77 -- NQ in June '77 is one of the best months of their career for any song IMO.  Good "Noise Solo" with an explosive entrance to "Achilles Last Stand."

10.   April 28 - Cleveland -- I could also be underrating this one.  It's a shame there's such a sizeable cut in what is otherwise a fantastic and very interesting "No Quarter."  Really great "Since I've Been Loving You," love the "Surrender" tease between songs, and an awesome, dark "Achilles Last Stand."  This is another one where something about the recording, plus the frequent cuts between songs, makes for a slightly distracting listening experience.  What a joy it would be to have soundboards of every show someday to make a true "apples to apples" comparison.

11.   June 27 - Los Angeles -- Definitely has that "last night" vibe where Page is stretching every single song every which way, albeit less successfully than this show's most similar counterpart, 3/27/75.  I really like the little prologue he adds to the intro in "Over The Hills And Far Away."  "No Quarter" is fantastic and the second-longest ever at 33:30ish.  Best acoustic set of the year and one of the best of their career.  Pretty cool "Trampled Under Foot" for '77.  Bonham's erratic playing is very distracting on "Achilles Last Stand," bordering on derailing the song IMO, which Plant alludes to after: "Was that Keith Bonham on the drums there?"

12.   June 11 - New York -- The muffled recording that takes over from "Kashmir" to the end makes it hard to judge the latter third of the show, but I quite enjoy the part before that.  Great "In My Time Of Dying," cool to have "Heartbreaker" as the encore, but the highlight for me has always been "No Quarter."  Fourth-longest ever at 31:45ish and one of my favourites.  Jones plays one of his best and most elaborate piano solos and the interplay between the three of them in the jam is intricate and complex.

13.   May 30 - Landover -- I'll be honest, we had to put my dog down unexpectedly on May 30 this year, so I was pretty distracted listening to this one and my memory of it is fuzzy right now, but IIRC it's an overall tight and good show with a good "No Quarter," especially from Jones, and a very good "Achilles Last Stand."

14.   June 14 - New York -- Would no doubt be a bit higher if the recording didn't end two thirds of the way through.  What we do have is quite good, but clearly a notch below the previous night IMO.  Cool "No Quarter" and a nice acoustic set.

15.   June 8 - New York -- The rough recording makes it tough to judge, but I suspect a better recording would reveal that I have it a bit too low.  Sounds like Bonham was feeling it.

16.   June 7 - New York -- @SteveZ98's North Bridge Remaster I heard recently really shone this show in a new light.  I've had Magical Sound Boogie for several years and it had be thinking this was a very mediocre show.  The remaster now has me thinking it's a good, not great show.  Bonham is very lively in the jam section of "No Quarter" and the acoustic set is nice, plus the humorous "Rawhide" tease.

17.   May 18 - Birmingham -- This would have been ahead of June 7 before I heard the remaster, and it's possible it still should be.  This is no doubt a good show, but I'm not so sure it's a great show.  I think the recording might actually do this one some favours.  It does have a really good "Since I've Been Loving You" and a very powerful "The Rover" intro.  Definitely a good choice for someone with decent bootleg ears who wants a more concise '77 show.

18.   July 17 - Seattle -- It's certainly a shame that this is the '77 show most uninitiated YouTube browsers stumble upon, but it also doesn't deserve all of the hate it gets IMO.  @Strider wrote a great, detailed reappraisal of it a few years ago based off of Godfather's Conquering Kingdome, which is the title I have.  It makes the video soundtrack sound about as good as it can, as does @SteveZ98's North Bridge Remaster of the video.  I find Plant's especially hoarse voice more distracting than Page's issues.  I always liked this version of "No Quarter" -- Jones does some cool stuff.  The "Stairway To Heaven" solo is deservedly praised, and the "Noise Solo" doesn't suffer at all from the axing of the "cat screeching" section!  Bonham is definitely the star of the show though and plays a great, retrospective "Over The Top" for what turned out to be his final solo -- even throws in some of "Bonzo's Montreux"!

19.   May 21 - Houston -- Another where Bonham is the star of the show.  Somewhat forgettable other than him though, other than a really good "Since I've Been Loving You."  I love how he yells "Pick it up!" after "The Song Remains The Same."  Too bad they didn't oblige his repeated requests for "Over The Hills And Far Away"...

20.   April 10 - Chicago -- Extremely rough recording obscures what sounds like a strong performance.  I really want it to be as good as we think it is, but I think the recording is too rough to assume and put it too high until the soundboard surfaces someday.

Edited by Bonzo_fan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good list, I agree with most of it.

I can't necessarily rate every show as there are still some I need to listen to, but here are my top picks in rough order:

1) Cleveland 04/28 = this is a monster of a show with an unreal vibe, enhanced by the audience tape. Best version ever of Achilles Last Stand with a sombre and mysterious intro and frantic playing, followed by one of the best post-75 Stairways around. Kashmir and the opening numbers are great too.

2) Los Angeles 06/21 = deservedly ranked highly. Fantastic audience recording (and the alternative source discovered a few years ago is also pretty cool for an alternative perspective listen), and the band are really revved up to be back in LA again, especially Bonham. The first three songs are probably the best renditions ever of each of them - I like that in Sick Again Page's guitar cuts out briefly then roars back into action as the song kicks in properly. Incredibly powerful concert topped with all-time great versions of Kashmir, Achilles Last Stand and Stairway (the performance of which is in my top 3 renditions list).

3) New York 06/13 = agree with you that this show is a seriously good one. Very powerful and intense all the way, the band are taking no prisoners here. I often judge 77 shows by the performances of Kashmir and Achilles Last Stand and both sound brutally uncompromising on this night. Again, like the Cleveland show, a dark and mysterious aura to the set.

4) Los Angeles 06/27 = An epic closing show, not as good a performance as some of the other LA nights and with the band sounding sloppy on a couple of songs, notably Stairway where Page gets rather lost on the solo, and on Achilles Last Stand and Sick Again which skirt the edge of falling to bits in places. Page pushes it too far on the noise solo as well. But the vibe of this show is incredible, notably the acoustic set. The performances feel much more relaxed and free form than previous nights, which gives an interesting aura to the songs. No Quarter here is one of my favourite versions, just something about it that flows effortlessly. A really good show to just put on and soak in, helped by the superb audience recording which may well be the best one of the band ever captured on tape. Even the drum solo is good here, and I normally skip it on other shows.

5) Los Angeles 06/22 = I haven't listened to this in ages, but I agree with the consensus that it's a really strong show, and had Millard captured it it might well be regarded as the best show of the tour. Very tight and intense all the way through, a barnstormer.

 

Other shows I rank: all the other LA performances, Pontiac 04/30 (I agree with the theory that the band are playing at normal tempos because they're being filmed, btw) Birmingham 05/18, Landover 05/30 (another fantastic Achilles Last Stand and Stairway), also soft spot for Houston 05/21 which starts off well and is nowhere near as bad as some say - unusual version of No Quarter too. Despite the fact that some criticise it bluecongo also mentioned the 05/26 Landover show as a good one and I agree, although it's very, v e r y, v e e e e e r r r r r r y laid back - the entire band seem stoned - but that makes for an intriguing listen.

Edited by Cosmic_Equilibrium
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it best to approach the '77 shows as performances by a band of equals, not "The Jimmy Page Experience" like it was in the early days. You had three world class instrumentalists on stage, but in most of the recordings from that year it's difficult, if not impossible, to hear much of what Jonsey and Bonzo were playing, so the shows get judged on what kind of night Jimmy was having (Robert being pretty consistent night to night on this tour.) Once you approach it like that, it's much easier to appreciate what a great band they were. And it helps a lot when the recording is fixed up so that you can really hear what JPJ and JHB were playing. It lets you understand how tremendous they were, both individually and as a rhythm section, and how well they supported and interacted with Jimmy. Unfortunately, that's only easy to do when the recording lets you hear the low end because that's where so much of the rhythm action takes place, but when you can it's kind of magical. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think either Atlanta or Cincinnati would be in my top 20. Definitely would have them and July 24 Oakland ahead of any Landover show. I don't know what it is but those Landover soundboards irk me...I can never enjoy listening to those shows.

You are spot on about Pontiac Silverdome. It gives the listener an idea how massive the sound was and the vibe of the shows. One caveat...technically, they weren't being filmed. There aren't canisters of Led Zeppelin at Pontiac '77 film laying around some dusty storage room. The cameras were video cameras that were feeding the jumbotron screen above the stage. Whether Showco had a video recorder recording the video feed is up for debate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personal preferences, of course, but here's my top five best and worst of '77:

BEST: 

Cleveland, April 28

New York, June 10

L.A. June 22

Birmingham May 18

Chicago April 10

 

WORST:

Tempe, July 20

Landover, May 28

Louisville, April 25

Chicago, April 9

Oklahoma City, April 3

"Best" meaning the least amount of fuckups, pointlessly self indulgent playing, sloppiness etc. The best shows tended to be the ones where they simply kept their heads down and focused on giving a good, understated performance without a lot of additional wankery. "Worst" coming down to either the condition of the band, technical issues or rowdy audiences affecting the performance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Nutrocker said:

Personal preferences, of course, but here's my top five best and worst of '77:

BEST: 

Cleveland, April 28

New York, June 10

L.A. June 22

Birmingham May 18

Chicago April 10

 

WORST:

Tempe, July 20

Landover, May 28

Louisville, April 25

Chicago, April 9

Oklahoma City, April 3

"Best" meaning the least amount of fuckups, pointlessly self indulgent playing, sloppiness etc. The best shows tended to be the ones where they simply kept their heads down and focused on giving a good, understated performance without a lot of additional wankery. "Worst" coming down to either the condition of the band, technical issues or rowdy audiences affecting the performance.

I'm surprised. I thought your Top 5 would be all shows with "Nutrocker" in the "No Quarter" jam? I keeeed. 😛

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing this thread has done is make me feel guilty and stupid for not going to the June 22 Forum gig. What a wimp I was for not sucking it up for all six nights. Or I should have swapped my June 25 tix for June 22.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree about the 22nd-I've got it as 'One Day After Eddie' though which means Ten Years Gone is from another night. Any advice as to a better title?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, WD52 said:

I agree about the 22nd-I've got it as 'One Day After Eddie' though which means Ten Years Gone is from another night. Any advice as to a better title?

I have Second Night At The Forum, which I think is a Scorpio release.  I just downloaded it from Black Beauty...all of the tracks are available: http://starship.jpn.ph/zeppelin/beauty/file/index.jsp?R_date=1977/06/22

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Bonzo_fan said:

I have Second Night At The Forum, which I think is a Scorpio release.  I just downloaded it from Black Beauty...all of the tracks are available: http://starship.jpn.ph/zeppelin/beauty/file/index.jsp?R_date=1977/06/22

Thanks. I will consult the Tyrant Queen (aka my other half) as to how best to play the file as my IT skills are basically nil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, WD52 said:

Thanks. I will consult the Tyrant Queen (aka my other half) as to how best to play the file as my IT skills are basically nil.

Lmao!  Click on the blue speaker icon for each song and then once it opens, right-click in the grey bar and one of the options should be "Download Video," or at least it is on my Mac.  Not sure if it's the same for PC...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Cosmic_Equilibrium said:

Good list, I agree with most of it.

I can't necessarily rate every show as there are still some I need to listen to, but here are my top picks in rough order:

1) Cleveland 04/28 = this is a monster of a show with an unreal vibe, enhanced by the audience tape. Best version ever of Achilles Last Stand with a sombre and mysterious intro and frantic playing, followed by one of the best post-75 Stairways around. Kashmir and the opening numbers are great too.

2) Los Angeles 06/21 = deservedly ranked highly. Fantastic audience recording (and the alternative source discovered a few years ago is also pretty cool for an alternative perspective listen), and the band are really revved up to be back in LA again, especially Bonham. The first three songs are probably the best renditions ever of each of them - I like that in Sick Again Page's guitar cuts out briefly then roars back into action as the song kicks in properly. Incredibly powerful concert topped with all-time great versions of Kashmir, Achilles Last Stand and Stairway (the performance of which is in my top 3 renditions list).

3) New York 06/13 = agree with you that this show is a seriously good one. Very powerful and intense all the way, the band are taking no prisoners here. I often judge 77 shows by the performances of Kashmir and Achilles Last Stand and both sound brutally uncompromising on this night. Again, like the Cleveland show, a dark and mysterious aura to the set.

4) Los Angeles 06/27 = An epic closing show, not as good a performance as some of the other LA nights and with the band sounding sloppy on a couple of songs, notably Stairway where Page gets rather lost on the solo, and on Achilles Last Stand and Sick Again which skirt the edge of falling to bits in places. Page pushes it too far on the noise solo as well. But the vibe of this show is incredible, notably the acoustic set. The performances feel much more relaxed and free form than previous nights, which gives an interesting aura to the songs. No Quarter here is one of my favourite versions, just something about it that flows effortlessly. A really good show to just put on and soak in, helped by the superb audience recording which may well be the best one of the band ever captured on tape. Even the drum solo is good here, and I normally skip it on other shows.

5) Los Angeles 06/22 = I haven't listened to this in ages, but I agree with the consensus that it's a really strong show, and had Millard captured it it might well be regarded as the best show of the tour. Very tight and intense all the way through, a barnstormer.

 

Other shows I rank: all the other LA performances, Pontiac 04/30 (I agree with the theory that the band are playing at normal tempos because they're being filmed, btw) Birmingham 05/18, Landover 05/30 (another fantastic Achilles Last Stand and Stairway), also soft spot for Houston 05/21 which starts off well and is nowhere near as bad as some say - unusual version of No Quarter too. Despite the fact that some criticise it bluecongo also mentioned the 05/26 Landover show as a good one and I agree, although it's very, v e r y, v e e e e e r r r r r r y laid back - the entire band seem stoned - but that makes for an intriguing listen.

Interesting that you have 6/27 in your Top 5.  I agree that it has a very enjoyable and unique vibe and is one of Millard's best, cleanest recordings.  It's a good, concise drum solo for sure.  It's funny how the noise solo the night before is 22 minutes but really good and doesn't feel that long at all, yet this one is 25 minutes and feels every bit that long, if not longer lol.  Houston does have an unusual NQ, true.  The 5/26 "Over The Top" is the only part of the Landover run I've listened to other than the 5/30 show, and that was a one-time listen for the historical significance 😂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, SteveZ98 said:

I find it best to approach the '77 shows as performances by a band of equals, not "The Jimmy Page Experience" like it was in the early days. You had three world class instrumentalists on stage, but in most of the recordings from that year it's difficult, if not impossible, to hear much of what Jonsey and Bonzo were playing, so the shows get judged on what kind of night Jimmy was having (Robert being pretty consistent night to night on this tour.) Once you approach it like that, it's much easier to appreciate what a great band they were. And it helps a lot when the recording is fixed up so that you can really hear what JPJ and JHB were playing. It lets you understand how tremendous they were, both individually and as a rhythm section, and how well they supported and interacted with Jimmy. Unfortunately, that's only easy to do when the recording lets you hear the low end because that's where so much of the rhythm action takes place, but when you can it's kind of magical. 

A very good point, and probably part of why 6/21 is so highly regarded (not that all four of them aren't playing fantastically), because the recording has an appropriately thunderous and clear bottom end to divert attention from whatever mistakes Page makes.  Certainly nobody in the arena was sitting there thinking "Ugh, listen to those five flubs in a 30-minute 'No Quarter'!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Strider said:

I think either Atlanta or Cincinnati would be in my top 20. Definitely would have them and July 24 Oakland ahead of any Landover show. I don't know what it is but those Landover soundboards irk me...I can never enjoy listening to those shows.

You are spot on about Pontiac Silverdome. It gives the listener an idea how massive the sound was and the vibe of the shows. One caveat...technically, they weren't being filmed. There aren't canisters of Led Zeppelin at Pontiac '77 film laying around some dusty storage room. The cameras were video cameras that were feeding the jumbotron screen above the stage. Whether Showco had a video recorder recording the video feed is up for debate.

Admittedly I've never listened to Atlanta or Cincinnati, but I've been meaning to.  I've also only listened to "Achilles Last Stand" from the second Oakland show.  That's interesting -- I've only ever listened to the 30th, but I enjoy it well enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Nutrocker said:

Personal preferences, of course, but here's my top five best and worst of '77:

BEST: 

Cleveland, April 28

New York, June 10

L.A. June 22

Birmingham May 18

Chicago April 10

 

WORST:

Tempe, July 20

Landover, May 28

Louisville, April 25

Chicago, April 9

Oklahoma City, April 3

"Best" meaning the least amount of fuckups, pointlessly self indulgent playing, sloppiness etc. The best shows tended to be the ones where they simply kept their heads down and focused on giving a good, understated performance without a lot of additional wankery. "Worst" coming down to either the condition of the band, technical issues or rowdy audiences affecting the performance.

That's a good way to look at it.  Any particular reason why you prefer the 10th to the 13th for the New York shows?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Strider said:

One thing this thread has done is make me feel guilty and stupid for not going to the June 22 Forum gig. What a wimp I was for not sucking it up for all six nights. Or I should have swapped my June 25 tix for June 22.

I always wonder when I'm listening each June if you have regrets about that.  Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and you still saw 14 more shows than me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, PeaceFrogYum said:

The July 24th Oakland gig is seriously underrated. The band gives a nice, tight performance and no Moby Dick which is fine by me. I dig a good drum solo but anything longer than 10 min is just silly overindulgence.

Another reason I like July 24 is that they cut the waffle out of "No Quarter". No distracting boogie jam...it's more like the 1975 "No Quarter". It's a more streamlined show with that San Francisco-Bay Area vibe. And a terrifically crazed "Trampled Under Foot"...reminiscent of the one on April 28 in Cleveland.

Then there is the historical importance...the last true Led Zeppelin performance in the U.S.A.

Edited by Strider
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Strider said:

I'm surprised. I thought your Top 5 would be all shows with "Nutrocker" in the "No Quarter" jam? I keeeed. 😛

Well, April 28 takes the #1 spot, so...if pressed Fort Worth would probably by #6 on the top list.

12 hours ago, Bonzo_fan said:

That's a good way to look at it.  Any particular reason why you prefer the 10th to the 13th for the New York shows?

First performances of "Over The Hills" and "Heartbreaker" for the tour. Really, it's a tossup for me between the June 10, 11 and 13th as my favourite MSG '77 show.

11 hours ago, PeaceFrogYum said:

The July 24th Oakland gig is seriously underrated. The band gives a nice, tight performance and no Moby Dick which is fine by me. I dig a good drum solo but anything longer than 10 min is just silly overindulgence.

11 hours ago, Strider said:

Another reason I like July 24 is that they cut the waffle out of "No Quarter". No distracting boogie jam...it's more like the 1975 "No Quarter". It's a more streamlined show with that San Francisco-Bay Area vibe. And a terrifically crazed "Trampled Under Foot"...reminiscent of the one on April 28 in Cleveland.

Then there is the historical importance...the last true Led Zeppelin performance in the U.S.A.

Gave July 24 Oakland a listen this weekend- and no, it's not a bad show for a performance more or less given under duress. The band rose to the occasion, certainly a better performance the day before. Also helps that the main audience source sounds damned good as well.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So many '77 shows I haven't listened to completely or don't know off the top of my head; I guess there's only so much time in the day. Going with what I know....

 

6/23/77

5/21/77

4/28/77 (I give the edge to the 2nd night for the "Nutrocker" part, I suppose)...

6/25/77

5/28/77 (I can feel tomatoes hitting my face)...  :whistling:

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, paul carruthers said:

So many '77 shows I haven't listened to completely or don't know off the top of my head; I guess there's only so much time in the day. Going with what I know....

 

6/23/77

5/21/77

4/28/77 (I give the edge to the 2nd night for the "Nutrocker" part, I suppose)...

6/25/77

5/28/77 (I can feel tomatoes hitting my face)...  :whistling:

 

Lmao!  I admit I've never listened to that one.  Doesn't it have the longest version of "Kashmir"?  Albeit, not one of the better ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Nutrocker said:

Well, April 28 takes the #1 spot, so...if pressed Fort Worth would probably by #6 on the top list.

First performances of "Over The Hills" and "Heartbreaker" for the tour. Really, it's a tossup for me between the June 10, 11 and 13th as my favourite MSG '77 show.

Gave July 24 Oakland a listen this weekend- and no, it's not a bad show for a performance more or less given under duress. The band rose to the occasion, certainly a better performance the day before. Also helps that the main audience source sounds damned good as well.

 

Fair enough. It's a shame the recording gets so muffled and noisy after WS/BMS on the 11th.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Bonzo_fan said:

Fair enough. It's a shame the recording gets so muffled and noisy after WS/BMS on the 11th.

The recording up to "Kashmir" for June 11 is awesome, though, probably the best MSG '77 recording. I want to say it's the same guy who taped June 14th, which is equally incomplete.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Nutrocker said:

The recording up to "Kashmir" for June 11 is awesome, though, probably the best MSG '77 recording. I want to say it's the same guy who taped June 14th, which is equally incomplete.

True. Ah, interesting theory. Could very well be true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Bonzo_fan said:

True. Ah, interesting theory. Could very well be true.

Pretty sure it is, both recordings sound pretty similar- probably the same taper, gear, seating etc. But one C90 ain't gonna cut it for taping Zeppelin, hence why both tapes share the same level of incompleteness...

Link to comment
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...