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goldenretreiver157

Ranking the 1971 shows

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  • Berkeley 9/14 ; I haven't heard the first night, but in the early 70's  'Going To California' was a perfect live album; Heartbreaker is one of the best renditions.
  • Boston, really cooking and aggressive performance: Killing Floor and Communication Breakdown, stand out.
  • Ft.Worth; another incomplete tape, but this another great performance, especially for Percy.
  • Orlando; probably the best of the N.American soundboards. Only 110 minutes were captured from the mixing desk and there are some annoying gaps, but this is a perfect introduction.
  • Copenhagen, May...Fantastic performance incl. rare live versions of Four Sticks and Gallows Pole.
  • Ipswitch. One of the landmark British shows during the fall.

 

OK That's only six shows, but I'm sure some Zep heads with better bootleg ears, will throw in some more for good measure. 

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Apart from the 1971 Japanese shows, the ten I would recommend:

1. August 31, 1971 Orlando. A killer performance and Jimmy is really feeling frisky, spontaneously improvising licks and intros in between songs. The lead-up to "Celebration Day" is pure swagger. It's also the best sounding soundboard apart from Japan. Yes, it has gaps but combined with the listenable audience tape, you get the complete show in it's glory. Which gives it a leg up on September 14. I wonder if that guy came back for his wallet?

2. September 14, 1971 Berkeley. Unlike the previous year where Led Zeppelin played the cavernous Oakland Coliseum, in 1971 they played the much more intimate and acoustically superior Berkeley Community Theatre. And it shows on the fantastic audience tape. The tape starts off in good mono but once the taper realizes his mistake and switches the recorder to stereo in "Heartbreaker", the sound suddenly explodes in wide-screen splendour. Thanks to the paranoia of the taper we don't have the complete show. But we have enough of it to tell it was an amazing night. The tape was used for the legendary "Going to California" vinyl bootleg. This release, along with "Live on Blueberry Hill", fueled the Led Zeppelin bootleg market and boosted Led Zeppelin's live reputation. Some great Plantations, too.

3. May 3, 1971 Copenhagen. Not a great audience tape...you'll need "bootleg ears". But the rarities in the setlist (the only "FOUR STICKS" in existence!) make it an essential show to have in the same way 9.19.70 is essential.

4. April 1, 1971 Paris Theatre, BBC. Because it was professionally recorded and broadcast over FM radio, this is the best sounding 1971 show we have so far. Yes it has been officially released as part of the BBC Sessions but it has been edited and chopped. A bootleg is the way to go for the complete concert.

5. September 13, 1971 Berkeley. Not as good an audience tape as 9.14.71 but it is more complete and the performance is a dandy.

6. September 4, 1971 Toronto. One of the first 1971 soundboards to appear. Incomplete, of course. But there's a nice soundboard/audience tape merge that is almost the complete show. "Celebration Day" is a standout, as it usually was in 1971.

7. August 21-22, 1971 L.A. Forum. Yes, I am treating the two Forum shows as one entry. L.A. was the opening stand of the 1971 American tour. No soundboards have surfaced as of yet, unfortunately. Night two in L.A. features a surprise opening of The Venture's "Walk Don't Run" leading into "Immigrant Song". Another great night at the Forum for Led Zeppelin, who obviously enjoyed playing in L.A.

8. September 3, 1971 Madison Square Garden, NYC. Yes, you have to put up with Artie and his chit chat. But the band is cooking and the crowd is being driven crazy. In fact, the atmosphere gets so crazed and electric that the audience storms the stage during "Thank You", causing it  to collapse. You can hear the chaos on the tape. 

9. September 9, 1971 Boston Garden. September 1971 was one of those months where Led Zeppelin could do no wrong. That's why I have so many September gigs on my list. They simply were a juggernaut and taking no prisoners this month.

10. March 5, 1971 Belfast. Simply for the historical reason that this is the first public performance of "Stairway to Heaven", "Going to California", "Rock and Roll", and "Black Dog".

Edited by Strider

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Good topic, love the September NA shows in particular.  The Japanese shows of course lives up to their reputation, and the UK shows at the end of the year tend to get overlooked.  Orlando and Toronto are justifiably well-known because of the sound quality, and despite the lesser sound quality, Boston and NY are killer.  But how can we forget Hampton?  That is a powerful show.

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6 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

Good topic, love the September NA shows in particular.  The Japanese shows of course lives up to their reputation, and the UK shows at the end of the year tend to get overlooked.  Orlando and Toronto are justifiably well-known because of the sound quality, and despite the lesser sound quality, Boston and NY are killer.  But how can we forget Hampton?  That is a powerful show.

Powerful, yes, but woefully incomplete. Missing "Whole Lotta Love" and the encores sinks it below the top 10 in my opinion. Plus, the soundboard is overloaded on bass and sounds muddy and dull compared to the other 1971 soundboards.

Edited by Strider

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Honestly I’ve yet to hear a substandard 1971 show, they were peaking hard, I don’t know how you’ll manage to rank these.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bluecongo said:

Honestly I’ve yet to hear a substandard 1971 show, they were peaking hard, I don’t know how you’ll manage to rank these.

 

 

Agree. Same with 1970, every show is a killer

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Discovered I don't have that many 1971 shows but a couple I would add is 1971-11-25, Leicester, 'Best For Hard 'n' Heavy' [EVSD] and 1971-09-09 - Hampton, 'High Heeled Sneakers [Godfather]. These are a couple of the releases I have and both are pretty good to say the least.

Edited by Jukkin

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I could come up 10 easily, but they are all mentioned many times already above. I would only add that the '71 LA Forum shows are exceptional, outstanding, and in my opinion the best of the 1971 tour, minus a few from Japan, . . . oh how I wish another better sounding source would pop out of the ground soon. The singing, Page's playing, the medleys are first rate, and Bonham's drums sound absolutley thunderous in the sources we already have. That's all I have to say about that . . .

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