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Nitpicking Page 10/2/1972 Budokan, Tokyo (Presentation-Patriot)


I've always had trouble getting into these 72 Japan shows, so let's examine them closely and see what level the band was on in the Autumn of 1972. A slightly distant but very good audience source. Robert's vocals are rough for this gig, so ratings will be adjusted with that in mind.

Rock And Roll- Plant is struggling off the bat as his high range is diminished and his voice is hoarse. Solo- fairly good, but loose.  2:22, bad voice crack. Jones and Bonham are killing it rhythmically. Probably a good thing Rob is low in the mix. "B".

OTHAFA- Page is really rushing the intro. 0:28, bad chord flub. Plant cracking badly on the chorus. Solo- good fluidity and good phrasing for this still early version. 4:22, slight chord flub. Very rushed with some mistakes,  "B".

Black Dog- Percy warming up a little now. 3:05, some strange noises on the recording. 3:41, not bad considering his vocals. Solo- starts off a little weak. Overall good playing, but it's a short, textbook solo with nothing great. "B+".

MMH- Tremendous energy. 1:57-2:05, excellent drum fills. Solo- 3:00, Page rushes this phrase a bit. 3:57, nice drum roll. Plant is almost back into his higher range by the end. "B+".

SIBLY- Intro is a little sloppy and rushed. 1:12, that's a pretty good opening note from Rob given the circumstances. 2:00, Robert misses the chorus verse. Solo- excellent set of pulloffs to get started. 3:54, some off notes. Some blazing runs in between the slightly erratic phrasing. Not bad. A nice ending from the rhythm section brings this loose version to a halt. "B" by 1972 standards. 

Dancing Days- Page retunes onstage and his tone is lacking the crunch the 1973 versions have. 2:42, nice vocal conviction from Plant. 3:43, Page does an ascending riff that borders on sounding off key but he nails it to create the transition to the ending. I think the lack of guitar overdrive works much better as it sounds truer to the studio version. "A+".

Bron Y Aur Stomp- 1:19, Plant states "Page no use Greco, Page use Gibson" to assure the audience he wasn't using Japanese brand guitars (many of which looked identical to other models). A solid guitar intro to get started. Good energy as the crowd claps along. Breakdown- Page keeps it short and sweet and Bonham throws in some extra percussion on the return. Excellent version. A few few vocal cracks keep this at a "B+".

Zep- Also known as TSRTS. Page's twelve string is slightly flat and the opening chords sound rough, but the energy is there. 2:21, off note somewhere. First solo- very unpolished sounding but played well. 3:45, terrible voice crack from Rob. Outro solo- Good start but Page seems to lose his way at 5:04 and just repeats the chord. The first live version and it sounds like it. "B".

The Rain Song- The Japanese audience is dead quiet in traditional fashion, which makes for excellent audience recordings. Plant sounds excellent. Some of the guitar chords are loose, but still flow well. The rock section absolutely blows the lid off the place. 5:51, some minor voice cracks. Just like TSRTS, this is an unpolished first live attempt, but the emotional impact is there. "B+".

Dazed- Plant opens with a voice crack. Good mood on the first verses. First workout- 3:34-3:50, significantly different from the usual routine with Page changing the riffs up, even playing a major pentatonic run that sounds a little out of place. The bow section drags on for six and a half minutes but is well performed as the crowd finally comes alive. Second workout- Page struggles some to get a good flow going and gets a little sticky at 11:02. 12:12- 12:43, where the cleaner guitar tone worked with Dancing Days, it severely dampens the impact of this solo. 12:54, a nice rendition of The Crunge. 17:10, confusion on the Mars transition. Ending is solid. Apart from an excellent Crunge jam this seemed a little subpar, mostly due to the lack of guitar crunch. "B".

Stairway To Heaven- Verses are played flawlessly. Solo- Page employs a heavy delay effect that makes his leads a little muddy. Excellent phrasing throughout. 7:45 a unique sounding trill with a behind the nut bend similar to the Heartbreaker solo. Very solid performance. "A".

WLL- Excellent start. Theremin section is short but good. There's a hint at the "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" riff before launching into the solo. Solo- played well. Boogie Chillen- 7:28, Bonham hits a cymbal and seemingly throws Page off for a second. Excellent playing from Jim throughout otherwise. My Baby Left Me- rhythmically identical to Mystery Train, played flawlessly. Plant starts Killing Floor with some voice cracks. Page nails down a superb solo. I Can't Quit You, Babe- a more laid back version with the usual dynamic blues leads from Page. 18:25, a soaring old school scream from Plant. The return sounds great for a strong finish. "B+".

Heartbreaker- Very up tempo with solid verses. Solo- the rockabilly intro is simplistic but played well. 3:25, a little sticky here. Page solos fairly well afterwards but nothing too out of the norm. The return sounds good for the finish. 'B+".

Immigrant Song- Apparently this is the one the crowd was waiting for as they come alive, singing and clapping along. Good start from Robert but a slight crack at 0:55. Solo- Page gets some good runs in but the overall flow is lacking. "B+".

Communication Breakdown- Excellent energy as the crowd continues to clap. The breakdown has some nice funk work from the rhythm section and the finish is strong. "A".

 Final Assessment- The new songs in the setlist sound loose and unpolished, understandably. Plant sounds okay once he gets warmed up- a hint at his live performances for years to come. Page plays well overall but fails to really knock anything out of the park and his cleaner guitar tone here weakens the punch of several songs. Jones And Bonham are near flawless. This performance has a nervous, unconfident feel to it. Maybe the new material put them off a little. Or maybe it was the extremely quiet audience not giving them energy to feed off of. Highlights are an excellent Dancing Days and a very solid Stairway. Not a terrible show overall but lacking in places and Robert's vocal struggles are becoming very noticeable at this point.

Edited by gibsonfan159
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One of the more unsettling moments of the band's career was listening to Robert try to sing RnR and Over the Hills at the start of this tour. One wonders whether even he knew he could no longer sing close to the album versions until he stepped on stage that night. I've always dug Immigrant Song as an encore. Comes across as looser - stands to reason as the band's all warmed up by show's end - and the solo's extended.

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1 hour ago, chef free said:

I've always wondered why RP didn't get "warmed up' before the show.

The easy answer is to say it was the rock and roll lifestyle and they lived only for today and didn't care about the future. They weren't professional careerists.

Still, other rock stars such as Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, Elton John took care of their voices and warmed up before concerts. Mick Jagger practically trained like an athlete.

This is one of those questions that remains unanswered because it remains unasked. Has Dave Lewis or Brad Tolenski ever asked this question of Plant? I don't think so.

In fact, so much of Led Zeppelin's preparation for shows goes unknown because the writers with access to Robert, Jimmy, and Jonesy show not the slightest curiosity and instead ask the same old tired questions about "Stairway to Heaven".

No one asks about soundchecks. When and how often did the band soundcheck and how did it change from tour to tour as the band and the venues became bigger? How were the setlists decided? Who had input on certain songs? Did they have much time before a show to limber up and get ready physically? Or did they just tumble out of their limos onto the stage? Why didn't Page ever seem to have his costumes ready before a tour? His 1973 cosmic suit didn't make an appearance until the last gigs of the tour. His 1975 black dragon suit didn't fully appear until Earls Court...only the pants were worn at the last gig in L.A. In 1977, the white poppy suit was a work in progress all through the beginning of the tour. Why not sit down with a designer and have your concert wardrobe ready by the start of the tour. Why did Plant like those kimono-like blouses in 1975-77?  It seems like Plant used Shure microphones every time I saw Led Zeppelin in concert. Did he ever experiment with other microphones to see if they were better for live performance? Why didn't the band ever use front of stage monitors?

Questions...I've got a million of them.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Nitpicking Page 10/3/1972 Budokan (3 Source Merge**/ The Explosion-Flagge and Live At The Big Hall-TDOLZ***)


Audio for this is a combination of the two above mentioned sources with a separate source used for the introduction. A slightly distant but fairly clear audience recording for the first half, then a muddier source toward the end. 

Rock And Roll**- Tremendous energy out of the gate. Plant sounding a little hoarse again for this show. Solo- murky but sounds like solid playing. "B+" considering some squeaky vocals. 

Black Dog**- Hard hitting verses with a good tempo. 1:35- a painful sounding yell from Plant. Solo- 3:43, Page doesn't quite nail these bends correctly. 4:17-4:24, some hesitation and odd phrasing. Not bad overall. "B+".

OTHAFA**- 0:06, wrong note. Page ups the tempo before launching into the chorus riff. Decent verses. Solo- 3:08-3:20, more odd sounding phrasing. 3:37, again with some unique riffing. Feels very rushed. Plant smooths out some on the last half and throws in some extra lines on the outro, which is played well. Not a perfect version but an interesting one. "B".

MMH**- Plant almost sounding like his old self now, but Jim's guitar is sounding a little flat. 2:44, Jones might be hitting the wrong notes on his foot pedal here. Solo- feels overly simplistic with too much space between phrases. 2:40, some off notes. Bonham getting some excellent fills in toward the end. A very messy sounding version though Plant sounds great. "B".

SIBLY**- Page plays a near flawless, blazing intro but tones it down some afterwards. Plant changes up the opening scream and sounds a little off. Solo- Page goes full speed to start with a face melting set of runs. 4:55, some nice bends to end a well phrased solo. Plant nails the scream to bring it back down. A good ending for a solid version. "A".

Dancing Days**- Intro is a little rough. Bonzo is low in the mix but he's playing with energy. Page barely hangs on for any type of solo. Overall a thunderous version but not perfect. "B+". (Plant refers to Bonham as a transvestite as Page tunes up for the next number).

Bron Y Aur Stomp**- Page doesn't seem to get a good flow going for the intro but it's not terrible. An energetic performance sets forth. Breakdown- Page doesn't go crazy but it's a fitting interlude. Entertaining, but seemed a little shallow overall. "B+".

The Overture (TSRTS)**- A loose, still obviously undeveloped beginning. First solo- the usual phrases sound a little choppy, but not too bad. 3:04, Plant comes in late here. Second solo- same issue as the first solo as Page blazes through with an awkward flow. Tremendous energy for this still unrefined attempt. I'll give it a generous "B+".

The Rain Song**- Guitar audio is very distant but the playing sounds on point. Excellent verses. Rock section- Page strums so hard it sounds like he rips the strings off the guitar. Good ending for a stand out version. "A+".

Dazed**/***- Solid start. First workout- some unique riffing at 5:08 and the jam ends quickly. 5:43, a truly haunting intro to the bow section, almost sounding like a synth in a horror film. 8:19, ear splitting feedback. Second workout- phrasing and flow is all over the place. 13:55-14:05, Page hitting a dead end on these runs before jumping to another unique riff. 14:34-15:00, I think the recording disguises how truly sloppy Page plays here. It's pretty bad. 15:20, Crunge time and Page is missing the rhythm just a bit. 16:19, now he's got it. 17:00, Page keeps riffing as everyone else stops. 17:40, an improvised honky tonk sounding jam. 19:00, excellent run. 19:08, Bonham and Jones follow Page into a blues rhythm but Jim doesn't continue with it. The workout returns and Page has a much better flow going. 21:25, Mars comes in in dramatic fashion. They nail the climax and bring it back down for a good ending. Although this wasn't a completely solid run-through it has some impressive moments and the highs balance out the lows. "B+".

Stairway**- Solid intro and verses. Solo- opening run sounds a little off but he gets on track soon after. An unusually heavy delay effect being used. 6:48, a blazing run followed by an improvised riff that sounds fantastic. 7:27, the delay effect is interfering with the tonality of what Jimmy is playing. Final phrases sound good. Excellent version overall. "A".

WLL**/***- Off to a fast start. A heavy theremin section leads to a very short "Everybody Needs Somebody". Solo- Nailed it. Robert comes in a little late on the return. Boogie Chillen- sounding good. 8:11-8:20, it doesn't sound like Page was ready for this part as it's unusually inarticulate. Let's Have A Party- good verses and Page knocks down a raunchy solo. You Shook Me- solid verses followed by a series of knockout bluesy solos by Page as Bonham and Jones push the groove. 19:04, a slightly awkward ending to the medley. Rob can't quite nail the air-raid scream on the return but they nail the outro for a strong finish. Nothing off the track, I'll say "A". Had they extended the medley it could've been rated higher.

Immigrant Song***- Good start. 0:46, Plant sings this in an unusual phrase. Solo- Page is a little slow to get going but takes off on some speedy licks soon. A solid solo but nothing magical. 3:41, sounds like Jones hits the ending phrase a little early. Fairly good. "B+".

The Ocean***- Very amusing as the odd time signature alternates the crowds clapping between the up and down beats. 0:36, Plant struggling to sing in the high register. Recording gets extremely boomy toward the end but sounds like a decent performance overall. "B+".

Final Assessment- Apart from the Rain Song And SIBLY nothing really got knocked out of the park for this one. Plant was obviously rough in places and the others felt a little reserved, but there's good playing throughout.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm the same, I've always found the '72 Japan shows to be uninspiring...to me, the US 72 tour marked the last stage of my favorite Zeppelin period.

The US 72 tour was, for me, the last time the whole band was on fire; sure, after that you had some amazing individual performances but I can't think of a single show post US 72 that I'd take over their earlier live shows. Page and Bonham were great in Europe 73 but Plant's voice from late 72 onwards always let them down in my eyes. I'm not one to wax lyrical over Earls Court for example, as I find Robert's vocals to be too hit and miss (and Page too sloppy) for me to be able to really enjoy the shows. 


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1 hour ago, swann said:

I'm the same, I've always found the '72 Japan shows to be uninspiring...to me, the US 72 tour marked the last stage of my favorite Zeppelin period.

The US 72 tour was, for me, the last time the whole band was on fire; sure, after that you had some amazing individual performances but I can't think of a single show post US 72 that I'd take over their earlier live shows. Page and Bonham were great in Europe 73 but Plant's voice from late 72 onwards always let them down in my eyes. I'm not one to wax lyrical over Earls Court for example, as I find Robert's vocals to be too hit and miss (and Page too sloppy) for me to be able to really enjoy the shows. 



Led Zeppelin: Over the Hills and Far Away/Black Dog [MSG 1977] - YouTube


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7 hours ago, wordev1977 said:

Robert's voice recovers extremely well in 77, his voice in 77 sounds the closest to his earlier years performances.

It recovered in the sense he learned how to adapt and use it to it's strengths....but the old voice was gone by fall of 72, never to return. His high range and ability to wail and air-raid was pretty much over after 72. He sounded good in 77 but it's a different sound. 

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Never enjoyed these shows. Just hated the sound of Jimmy tone and Robert voice. This , to me, was a critical time of a demise of live standards for LZ. This is where they started  to get too loose and on the verge of sloppiness. America 1973 was around the corner and they were “pushing it” on this leg of the tour. This was one leg they should have put aside and rested for quite a while...especially Robert. 
I realize Europe 1973 was also on the horizon and Jimmy  was a total a beast during that tour but Robert was pushed way too hard during late 1972 and winter 1973 shows. 

Edited by Blaize86
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  • 1 month later...

Nitpicking Page 10/4/1972 Osaka, Japan (Wild West Side)


Good audience tape. The version I'm using is a little brighter sounding and has the guitar more audible.

Rock And Roll- Robert's high range is still lingering, but he's squeaking every other verse. Tremendous energy. Solo- recording is a little murky but sounds well played and perfectly phrased. Some minor voice cracks aside I'd call this a solid performance with all the energy the song should have. "A".

Black Dog- Introduced as an old one but it's no older than the opener. Plant still squeaking but he's managing well. Keeping the energy for this one. 2:48, a flub by Bonzo as he thinks there's still another verse. Solo- 4:16, now that's some articulate speed picking. He slows the phrasing down a little toward the end for some perfect bends. Squeaks and drum flub considered, "B+", but Page kills on the solo. I'm liking this so far.

OTHAFA- Plant introducing the track over Jimmy's intro is sinful. Smooth intro. Plant struggling badly with the chorus but hangs on. Solo- the opening bends in the low register lead to some good flowing phrases. Nothing overly impressive but a solid solo. 3:53, Jones misses the ascending riff that goes back to the verses. Beautiful outro. The vocal struggles and a minor flub by Jonesy keeps this at a "B+".

MMH- Good verses and solo. Plant managed better with this one. "A".

SIBLY- Blazing, top notch intro. Plant's opening note is extremely subdued but tastefully done. Solid verses sang with compassion. Solo- Page blasts off with some lightning fast licks. 4:12, excellent phrasing. 4:44, final bends are perfect. Very nice. 4:48, again, Plant realizing his limits. 5:38, Jones playing arpeggios on the organ that sound mesmerizing. We don't have the air-raids from Plant this time around but an "A" nonetheless.

Dancing Days- Page retunes his guitar and practices some blues licks before starting. 3:20, Bonham doing some nice little snare rolls. Good all the way through. "A".

BYAS- Perfect intro and good energy on the verses. Breakdown- very nimble and well played. "A".

TSRTS- Good opening and verses. First solo- still a little undeveloped but played well. 2:57, some vocal cracks as Plant returns. Second solo- not bad but basic. Plant screechy again. "B+" for an early version but probably the best so far.

The Rain Song- 0:26, slight chord flub. The mellotron enters like a mosquito buzzing toward your ear and sounds a little too shaky. Rock section- well done. "B+".

Dazed- Good start. First workout- 5:43, out of key chord by Page that might have been intentional. 5:48, Page jumps into a unique riff similar to the previous night. 6:30, the first "San Francisco" melody leading to the bow solo. Second workout- the interplay between Bonzo and Page is excellent. 14:03, just a little sticky. 14:11, couple of small hangups on this ascending phrase. Apart from that Jimmy is in shred mode. 15:03, The Crunge, sounding good. 18:20, amazing flow and articulation. 19:40, Mars sounding good. The climax hits perfectly and they bring it back down. Page's outro noodling is well done. Nothing to really deduct points for, "A".

Stairway- Excellent first half. Solo- some speedy licks but the phrasing is a bit boring. 8:00, he finally gets a more creative flow here. Final phrases nailed. Not the most awe-inspiring solo but not bad. Considering Jim wasn't as on point with the solo as the previous two shows, I think "B+" is fair.

WLL- Energetic start. Theremin section is short and lacking but Bonzo is lively. Everybody Needs Somebody, also short but good. Solo- played well. Boogie Mama- booming energy and phenomenal solo by Page. Got A Lot Of Living To Do- very good. Let's Have A Party- passionate vocals from Plant though his diminished range has less impact. You Shook Me-Page flexing throughout with some aggressive blues phrases. 16:50, kinda sloppy here. The return is good to end a very solid version with an excellent medley. "A".

Heartbreaker- Decent start. 2:09, slight drum flub. Solo- 3:25, a little sloppy for 72 Page. The rockabilly part is played well. 4:33, Bouree sounds nice. Page gets a smooth flow of phrasing going for the up tempo section. A decent performance but not one of the more exciting ones I've heard. "B+".

Immigrant Song- Plant really pushing himself on the opening notes. 1:50, voice cracks. Solo- good phrasing to start. 3:02, some bad notes in this speedy lick. 3:12, Page throwing in these power chords sounds excellent, adding a heavier vibe. Maybe impressive for this stage of their career, but overall I'd call it a "B+".

Final Assessment- Although Plant is noticeably subdued the band overall are playing with a little more confidence compared to the first two, and Plant adapts fairly well with some squeaks here and there. Page is more focused and gets better phrasing down for most of the solos and is transforming into 1973 Page, although the Stairway solo felt subpar this time around. SIBLY, Dazed, and WLL are the standouts. A good show overall.

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Posted (edited)

Nitpicking Page 10/5/1972 Nagoya, Japan (Overture-EVSD)


A distant but fairly clear audience source.

Rock And Roll- Sounds like Plant croaks a bit on the opening verse but fine after that. Solo- sounds good with tons of energy. "A".

Black Dog- A little squeaky on the first few verses. 3:38, Plant finally gets a reaction from the crowd. Solo- 3:45, not sure if Page is hitting this dissonant chord on purpose but it sounds off key. 4:35, straining on these bends a little. 4:45, a nice fast paced lick. 5:00, sounding slightly off key again. I think he might've had some technical issues on this one. This along with some tired and screechy vocals keep this at a "B".

MMH- Good start. 1:21, source change to fill in a gap. Plant sounding more stable. Solo- good. Bonham getting in some monstrous fills at the end. "A".

SIBLY- Blinding fast intro but not the most articulate. Nice phrasing afterwards. Plant's opening scream is now a short moan. He manages okay throughout but still sounds tired. 3:34, minor chord flub by Page. Solo- opens with a lightning fast series of runs, played perfectly. Excellent phrasing throughout. 4:51, overly repeated phrases are usually a bad idea but this one works great. 5:04, nice bends and string slide to end it. Top notch solo. The latter half sounds good with a nice finish. A "B+" overall, but the solo is honestly a top 5 in my opinion.

Dancing Days- Good verses. Solo- 3:08-3:15, Page's playing gets very choppy here for some reason. "B+".

BYAS- Excellent energy and Rob has smoothed out some. Breakdown- good playing from Page. Solid run through. "A".

TSRTS- Still being introduced as The Overture. Good start. 1:46, I think Page plays a wrong transition here. 2:23, a complete lack of energy from Robert. First solo- very murky audio but sounds like decent playing. 3:11, Plant goes for the higher register and it's pretty disastrous. Outro solo- sounds good. Plant again sounding rough on the final verses. Plant's voice can't be overlooked on this one, "B" and that's being generous.

The Rain Song- Wonderful playing by Page and Jones has the mello dialed in just right this time. Rock section- some vocal squeaks but not bad. Good outro. "B+" considering the subdued vocals.

Dazed- 1:12- 1:24, Page getting very experimental on the intro. First workout- Page struggles to get a flow going and it ends in awkward fashion. Straight to the bow section this time which lasts almost six minutes. Second workout- much better as Page let's his fingers fly. 15:08, some flubs on this phrase. The Crunge sounds excellent. A good routine throughout with some experimental jams. Mars section- played well. Climax sounds good. Outro- 24:42, Page goes off the map a little with some more experimentation. This one is a wild ride, with a disappointing first workout and a nice extended second one. "B+".

Stairway- Solid first half. Solo- 7:55, Jones drops out for a few seconds. Good fluidity by Page with better phrasing than the previous night. Climax- 9:20, slight voice crack. 10:12, a screaming fan interrupts Plant's last verse (Plant probably wishing he could still hit that register). Solid enough with a great solo. "A".

WLL- Experimental intro riffing. 1:45, Page singing loudly on the accompaniment. Theremin section is extra creepy. Everybody Needs Somebody- good. Solo- 4:59, a different phrase as Page holds on to this bend. Boogie Chillen- 7:18, almost transforms into something else but Page brings it back. Solo- sounding good. 9:32, excellent articulation on these speedy phrases. Feels So Good- sounds good. Let's Have A Party- Plant really pushing his vocals as Page shreds in the background. You Shook Me- Page launches into some devastatingly heavy blues leads. 17:48, some of the fastest playing I've heard by Jim. 19:15, some powerful bends. The return is good for a nice ending. Knocked this one out of the park. "A+".

Mellotron solo- Don't bother unless you're excited by merry go round music.

Thank You- A little loose through the verses but not bad. Solo- Page sounding nimble fingered again with some nice phrasing. 3:21, really lets loose here. 4:08, some wild phrasing. Excellent solo. The ending is good for this exciting version. "A".

Final Assessment- Plant's vocals have declined for each show so far in Japan and this is the first one where they've truly affected the overall feel of the performances. Not only is he more restricted with range, he also sounds very drained. Apart from a botched Black Dog solo and offbeat first workout in Dazed, Page is on fire throughout. Perhaps trying to make up for the low energy vocals. The highlights are a superb SIBLY solo and a nasty, near flawless WLL. I'm interested to hear if the break will give Plant time to recover. 


Edited by gibsonfan159
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17 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

Nitpicking Page 10/5/1972 Nagoya, Japan (Overture-EVSD)

Mellotron solo- Don't bother unless you're excited by merry go round music.



JPJ channeling Ray Manzarek?

BTW, good review. Maybe a review of the 71' European gigs? I really dig the Copenhagen show in 71'.

Edited by BobDobbs
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  • 1 month later...

Nitpicking Page 10/9/1972 Osaka (The Overture- EVSD)


An audience source that starts murky but clears up nicely after a few numbers.

Rock And Roll- The three day break didn't seem to help Plant much as he still sounds weak. 1:04, squeaky vocals. 1:53, a scream/squeak mix. Solo- just the right amount of looseness and played with pure adrenaline. "B+" considering the squeaks.

Black Dog- Plant barely managing the opening verse. 3:04, chord flub by Page. Plant survives the verses but I wouldn't call that impressive. Solo- 4:02-4:11, nice speedy run. 4:29-4:40. some choppy riffing that doesn't flow well. 4:48-4:51, sloppy. "B".

OTHAFA- Page has a string out of tune on the intro, obviously the risk of playing this song after doing the Black Dog solo. 1:34, scratchy vocals. 1:48, Page is playing slightly ahead of the beat. Solo- Page not holding back from the start. 3:13, superb articulation on this run. 3:20, Page enters shred mode on this EVH level run. 3:25, maybe using his pick on the neck here, akin to the Mobile 73 solo. Top notch solo, one of the best if not THE best I've heard. Plant sounding better on the return. A night and day version that changes completely once the solo starts, which makes this difficult to rate. Taking the pre solo section into account I'll go "B+", but the solo and ending brought this up from a "C+".

MMH- Page kicks off with a wrong note. Plant sounding more confident. 2:00, getting too loose. 2:46, chord flub that almost sounds intentional. Solo- sounds good. Plant sounding close to the studio version on the outro. This one is too rough on the edges, especially by Page. "B".

SIBLY- Slightly altered phrasing on the opening run. 0:13, plays a unique double stop bend here. 1:19, excellent released bend also sounding unique. Plant nails the opening scream again at last. 1:50, some nice jazzy guitar runs. 2:10, Plant replaces the chorus verse with a vocal ad lib. Solo- shooting for the moon from the start with some blazing runs played with passion. Excellent phrasing throughout. Solid ending. This one honestly drags a bit but no reason not to go "A".

Dancing Days- Good start. 1:52, an awkward pause. Not bad, but just like MMH it's a little loose in places. "B+".

TSRTS- Intro played perfectly. 2:05, chord flub by Page. First solo- 3:00, excellent lightning fast run. 3:48-3:54, gets loose here. Outro solo- 4:30, unique phrasing. Nice playing on the outro but again just a little loose. "B+".

Rain song- Everything blends nicely as Page plays flawlessly. The mellotron sounds ethereal and grandiose. Rock section- Page struggles slightly to keep with the tempo but manages well. 6:40, good emotion from Plant. Solid outro. "A".

Dazed- Strong start. First workout- Page loosens up and gets some innovative licks in. 5:39, jumps into the San Fran motif which is still loose and experimental. Plant sings some Neil Young. The crowd is very responsive to the bow section, which is captured nicely on this recording. Second workout- 14:49, a speedy run that's just a tad sloppy. 15:46-15:50, Page doing some strange speed picking riffs. 16:00-16:10, a little inarticulate, quite sloppy for 72 to be honest. The Crunge- doesn't flow quite as well as previous attempts as Page struggles to get the timing down. 18:39, sloppy run. Page's fingers sounded fatigued through most of this. 21:36, sounding rough playing these phrases. Mars- good until 22:35 where Page struggles to keep up. 23:28, Page botches these chords badly. Page does get focused for the ending wah solo though, which is played nicely to bring this rough performance to a decent end. Not a great one. "C+" for 1972 standards.

Stairway- Verses are good but have a looseness about them. Solo- 8:26, nails this speedy phrase. 8:40, played with good articulation. 9:06, another fast articulate run. Final phrases are played well for this short but sweet solo. Climax is good though Plant sounds weak. The rough edges of the verses keep this at a "B+", but the solo is notable.

Moby Dick- The only recording for the run that I know of. An entertaining version.

WLL- Good start. Theremin section features Page hitting a few chords in between the screeches. Everybody Needs Somebody sounds awkward as Page's timing is off and the solo is very basic. Return solo- good. Somethings Got A Hold On Me- loose but not bad. Milk Cow Blues- takes a second for Page to get on track but he takes off with some nice hybrid picking and knocks down an excellent chicken pickin solo. Lawdy Miss Clawdy- a little loose on the chords but puts down a solid solo. Heartbreak Hotel- a better groove here and a good solo. Wear My Ring- good energy. 18:00, Page comes alive again with some excellent country picking. Going Down Slow- solid and another fiery solo. 21:51, a little inarticulate. 24:00, very nice aggressive playing through here. 25:40, phrasing supreme. The return is good for a nice ending. Page's looseness on the first parts has to be taken into account, and that brings this to an overall "B+". With that said, the medley section features some incredible, must hear playing. 

Stand By Me- Good start as they nail the mood of this. 3:25-3:46, would it be unfair to call this one of Page's best live solos? 4:22, the energy gets amplified. 5:58, some aggressive leads. A lightning in a bottle performance. "A++".

Immigrant Song- Plant does quite well on the opening wails. Breakneck tempo. Solo- quite erratic to start. 2:23, some awkward phrasing. 2:41, nice speedy run. 3:18, Page throwing in lots of extra riffs. Not perfect but very exciting. "B+".

Final Assessment- Oddly, Page seemed to play more loosely than normal for this era. He had noticeable trouble keeping with the tempo in a few places and was unusually inarticulate in areas. Black Dog and Dazed have very subpar playing for 1972. He still has plenty of high points though, most notably the OTHAFA solo and the WLL medley. Plant takes a few numbers to warm up but sounds amazing once he does. Definitely one of his better nights on this run. Would be crazy not to call Stand By Me the highlight.

Edited by gibsonfan159
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A pivotal time , live playing wise, in their career. I believe this is where the cracks started to show. On the 1972 American tour Robert went to using a very high pitched almost constant falsetto. I believe that was the point where he just blew it out. As you can hear in HTWWW , to me, it lacks any depth and quite annoying. I prefer , believe it or not, TSRTS voice technique as in The Rain Song. It was powerful yet teetering from night to night. 
He was not going high anymore because he really consistently could not. There are moments like in LA in 1973 where Plant is devastating but he’s moving his voice around finding it’s strongest point because at this point there wasn’t much high register left. 1972 is where the inconsistency started especially in Japan. 

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On 2/11/2021 at 2:25 AM, gibsonfan159 said:

OTHAFA- Page has a string out of tune on the intro, obviously the risk of playing this song after doing the Black Dog solo. 1:34, scratchy vocals. 1:48, Page is playing slightly ahead of the beat. Solo- Page not holding back from the start. 3:13, superb articulation on this run. 3:20, Page enters shred mode on this EVH level run. 3:25, maybe using his pick on the neck here, akin to the Mobile 73 solo. Top notch solo, one of the best if not THE best I've heard. Plant sounding better on the return. A night and day version that changes completely once the solo starts, which makes this difficult to rate.

One of the things I enjoy about these reviews is that they encourage me to go back to shows I have not listened to in a while and check out the details you point out.  This solo in Over the Hills is a monster.  Thanks for all the detailed notes.

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I enjoy reading these critiques of the Zeppelin concerts, and I know it's a small point, but I would give lower marks overall to some of the songs with Page being out of tune or rushing the beat here and there. A lot of mistakes could be attributed to the hectic touring schedule and too, they were young and living in the moment” so to speak. The out of tune-ness can be due to those thin strings Page used and hot stage lighting, humidity, etc. where it's quite difficult to keep his guitar perfectly in tune.  Fast forward to the mid 90's foursome with Lee, and Jones, and you don't hear much of that. Plant used his voice in a range that would ensure preserving it. Page was less frantic, more sure of himself and in control of his playing. My wish is for more “sound check” recordings to show up such as the YT one of Zeppelin working up a version of “The Wonton Song”. I sort of wish I could have witnessed them doing these recording rehearsals, because as guitar player myself, it would allow me to really judge for myself; their methods and musicianship. Then, wouldn't we all?

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  • 1 month later...

Nitpicking Page 10/10/1972 Kyoto (EVSD-The Overture)


Last show of the run. A decent audience source.

Rock And Roll- Plant sounding a little raspy attempting the higher register. Not too bad though. Solo- not perfectly executed but still very good. Abundant energy to start things off. "B+".

Black Dog- Nice, crunchy guitar tone. Solid verses with emotion from Plant. Solo- all is good and well until... 4:05, Page gets his fingers stuck in the strings for the remainder. It doesn't completely kill the performance, but it's a major flaw on an otherwise solid run through. "A" verses, "C+" solo.

MMH- Some slight tape warbling. Plant sounding a bit stronger. Solo- good. Energetic performance with no real flaws. "A".

SIBLY- The initial take off is shorter for this flawless intro. Plant a little reserved on the opening note, but done tastefully. Solid verses. Solo- blazing start. Good phrasing throughout with passionate bends. 4:15, sounds just a tad sticky. Perfectly phrased finish. A very strong version. "A".

TSRTS- Intro sounds good. 2:10, a slight flub as Bonzo was unsure of the next measure. First solo- still sounding loose, but not bad. Plant cracking a little on the return verses. 3:21, some bad chords by Page. Outro solo- a little more together now. "The Campaign" is still a far cry from the technical precision it will later develop into. "B".

The Rain Song- Decent verses and solid playing from Jimmy. 4:35, Page using the wah. Rock section- not bad. Good outro. "B+".

Dazed- Solid start although a little underwhelming. First workout- Very short with almost no jamming. Second workout- finally some energy. 10:40, some very impressive notes from Rob. 11:38, sticky. 12:00, Page chokes some notes on the ascending pull-off run. Mars- comes in sounding rushed. Not Jimmy's most precise playing. The outro jam flows a little smoother. This one honestly sounded like a warm up run. "B".

Stairway- Mellotron sounding a little flat. 3:42, Page drops out for a second. Verses a little lackluster. Solo- decent start. 8:00, losing the flow a bit. Final notes are good but the phrasing seemed to forced throughout. Plant sounding more inspired on the climax. This one just didn't hit home. "B".

OTHAFA- Decent intro with some slight tape warble. Page chokes the opening chorus chords as Plant nails the original key. Solo- 2:36, some dive bombs from a Les Paul. Some speedy licks lead to a unique descending phrase at 3:16. Final verses are strong and Plant sounds impressive for this era. "B+" for some looseness, but a good version.

WLL- Sounding good to start. Theremin section is short. Everybody- raucous and lively. Solo- 3:59, Page gets sticky on one phrase. Boogie- wastes no time taking off. Solo- 7:13, about as fast as I've heard Page go. That's Alright- solid. Jump The Broomstick- a little looser, but good energy. Going Down Slow- nice start. Solo- not as "leaving the Earth" as some others but very good. Robert a little raspy on the return "Love" shout. Overall, "B+" for sounding rushed in places. Otherwise a good performance.

Immigrant Song- Plant not sounding too awful bad on the opening wails. 0:27, Plant forgets what he's driving. 1:35, Plant struggling a bit here. Solo- surprisingly good and way too short. "B".

Final Assessment- Just like the previous shows it's a mixed bag of good and bad, superb and mediocre. The sole highlight would probably be SIBLY, although OTHAFA was dangerously close to being rated much higher. WLL was a strong performance but the last couple numbers sounded like they were just trying to finish up and go home. Dazed and Stairway sounded very tired. Not bad overall and an excellent compilation could be made from these shows.

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