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gibsonfan159

Nitpicking Page 1972

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

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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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The trill in the STH solo is awesome, he would use it in a few UK shows in December (Manchester and Glasgow).  I think the first time he played it was the Nassau show on 6-14-72.  A pity he didn't retain it.

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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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9 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

Changed the rating for Bron Y Aur Stomp to a B+.

Who handed your ass to you via private message over that, Jimmy or Robert? 😆

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

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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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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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