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Posted (edited)

Although I posted a list recently, it was written haphazardly over one night as I couldn’t sleep. There were many mistakes and missing songs. This is a much more revised playlist that I have put a lot more thought and time into (several weeks) so I think it is more than deserving of its own discussion.  

 

This is partly aimed at people who haven’t looked into bootlegs and don’t know where to start like me a couple of years ago, so I try to stick to decent quality where I can; also, partly for bootleg experts just for conversations sake between fans :) If youre new to boots though, know that most of these aren't in perfect quality like the official releases (some are pretty flawless soundboards though), by “decent” I mean listenable to me as someone who doesn’t have the best “Bootleg ears”. 17th April 1970 I think is as rough as it goes on this list by far. I also acknowledge every time I say “best” or “worst” that it’s just my opinion.  

 

I wanted this to be as comprehensive and complete as possible, including as many songs as possible so I count Page and Plant, The Black Crowes and Robert Plant and his solo bands etc. They are fantastic performances (despite the “purity” issues some have. And I agree, the 1998 tour would’ve been a perfect time to get Jones and Junior on board). They also fill in gaps where Zeppelin didn’t perform some songs, or some just not very well. I try to give Zeppelin alternatives to those where I can. Several of these have quite a few dates listed as the song maybe changed a lot and wanted to give examples of the best ones from each era. 

 

- Led Zeppelin - 

 

Good Times Bad Times - 4th September 1970 - - For the rest of the list, I don’t count songs played under the context of another song (in a medley) unless there's no other option however this song was barely performed on its own and it was much better as part of a medley. This version is from the “Communication Breakdown” medley in 1970 on the “Blueberry Hill” bootleg. For the full song, “Celebration Day” from 2007 is also a worthy choice.  

 

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You - 28th June 2014 - - Robert Plant at Glastonbury 2014. This is one of those songs that I think Robert Plant and whomever he’s with (Sensational Space Shifters, Band of Joy, Alison Kraus etc) do a better rendition than any Led Zeppelin did together. I’ve never been much of a fan of the electric versions played on the Telecaster in 1969, the only one that comes to mind is Denmarks Radio. Plant’s vocals are amazing I’m just not a fan of the telecaster tone and if it had to be electric, would take a cleaner, mellower Les Paul over it, so I’m picking Glasto’ 2014 

-10th December 1998 - Page and Plants final ever gig exactly 9 years before the “Celebration Day” gig. One of Page’s best solos ever.  

 

You Shook Me - 26th January 1969 - - Boston Tea Party, great Organ solo. Again, I don’t have great “Bootleg Ears so this sounds kinda choppy to me but it’s not too bad and the performance I think is well worth it. The best “Train Kept a Rollin’” is performed on this set as well for me. For a much cleaner quality recording and still amazing performance: 

-27th June 1969. 

 

Dazed and Confused - 29th September 1971 - - This is a whole discussion in and of itself. The one I listen to the most is probably the “Song Remains the Same” version purely for the “San Fransisco” part, the quality and tone, but any European ‘73 version is a good time. For the best “Woodstock” section, I recommend May 24th at Earls Court. There are too many and they vary too much so I’m giving a few from a range of years: 

-25th March 1969 (Supershow) 

-9th January 1970, Royal Albert Hall 

-4th September 1970, LA (Blueberry Hill) 

-16th March 1973, Vienna  

-22nd March 1973, Essen 

-27th July 1973 – The version on The Song Remains the Same” comes entirely from that night but it’s been cut in over 10 places, listen to the full version.  

-12th March 1975, Long Beach 

-21st March 1975, Seattle 

-24th May 1975, Earls Court (Best “Woodstock” section) 

 

Your Time is Gonna Come - 18th October 1999 - - The only performance by Led Zeppelin was part of a medley of “Whole Lotta Love” on 24th September 1971 during the Japan 1971 tour. It’s quite obvious they are inexperienced in performing the track, as jones resorts to playing the “Ramble On” bass line instead. A fuller and better version is found on Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes “Live at The Greek”. Basically the only option but still great. 

 

White Summer/Black Mountain Side - 14th April 1970 - - Sounds slightly rough to begin with, trust me you get used to this one as the audience settles down and it sounds clearer. The 1970 versions are much better at having that trance effect which was the whole point of the song. I’d like to add as well that although the 9th of January 1970 at Royal Albert Hall is an extremely popular choice, I think it is vastly, vastly overrated. I just don’t like the distorted, fuzzy tone on it and the performance beyond that is leagues behind many others. My guess is that it's not one of their highly regarded tracks (although I love it) so people don’t listen to many versions compared to something like “Since I’ve Been Loving You so just default to saying RAH, but maybe that’s just me. From 1975 onwards he noodles aimlessly a lot more and by 1980 its sad to listen to him struggle through it. I don’t recommend any 1980 version – he even gets a firecracker thrown at him. 

- 27th June 1969 - - Although this is from the Playhouse Theatre 1969, this is NOT the one on BBC Sessions although it is in almost flawless quality. 

-8th April 1970, Raleigh 

-23rd April 1970, Jimmy Page on The Julie Felix Show 

-21st May 1977, Houston 

 

Communication Breakdown - 4th September 1970 - - The Blueberry Hill” performance for that Bass solo, the “For What It’s Worth” jam and the “Good Times Bad Times”. I would like to see the one recorded alongside the rest of “How the West Was Won” as well as the other missing numbers that should have been on the 2018 remaster; “Thank You”, “Tangerine”, some of the “Whole Lotta Love” medley and maybe even the “Louie Louiecover. 

 

I Can’t Quit You Babe - 9th January 1970 at Royal Albert Hall - - The version on Coda” is in my opinion far superior to the one which appears on this album, and that’s basically a remix of the RAH recording. Listen to the full version though, not the cut one on Coda. 

 

How Many More Times - 17th April 1970 - - This performance I think is the best but to me the quality of the recording isn’t great. Peter Grant also had a gun pulled on him backstage at this show. Whilst maybe not their finest track, this and Dazed and Confused are the foundations for the longer jams that would follow on other songs like Whole Lotta Love, No Quarter, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" and Heartbreaker.  

-17th March 1969, Denmarks Radio  

-9th January 1970, Royal Albert Hall 

-7th March 1970, Montreux  

 

- Led Zeppelin II -  

 

Whole Lotta Love - 29th September 1971 - - Other than the Japan 1971 gigs, I honestly believe some of the mid-later versions are better than the earlier ones in both performance and recording quality. The versions done on the European 1973 tour are all great, and the 1975 ones where longer versions of “The Crunge” were incorporated I think are also worthy of a few top spots. If you want longer medleys, any from the five Japan 1971 dates (bar the 27th) are all over or near half an hour and are all probably at the top in terms of performance.  

-January 9th, 1970, Royal Albert Hall 

-7th March 1970, Montreux 

-17th April 1970, Memphis  

-14th September 1971 

-28th September 1971, Osaka 

-25th June 1972, L.A. 

-16th March 1973, Seattle 

-July 27th and 29th mix (The Song Remains the Same) 

-17th March 1975, Seattle 

-25th May 1975, Earls Court  

-4th August 1979, Knebworth 

-30th June 1980, Frankfurt  

-7th July 1980, Berlin - This is the last song from their last performance. The band is in nowhere near top form, but towards the end, Jones starts ripping it on bass.  

 

What is and What Should Never Be - 9th January 1970, Royal Albert Hall - - This is particularly impressive. June 25th, 1972 (How the West Was Won) is also good enough but I prefer RAH. Like many other songs here, it didn’t vary too much and was kinda played as is, making vocals, tone and sound quality important factors here.  

 

The Lemon Song/Killing Floor - 27th April 1969 - - “Killing Floor” at the Fillmore West. Great version, slightly dodgy quality however worth it for a look at an early version of the song done by an early Zeppelin. 

 

Thank You - 4th January 1971 - - One of Jimmy’s finest solos. This in my opinion is one of the best live songs the band performed. I’d go as far as saying I'm not even much of a fan of the studio release, but the live ones far outdo it and are always up there in my playlists. The organ solo which introduces it is also a factor in my choices. Here’s a few others I think anyone could easily prefer over my choice: 

-7th March 1970, Montreux 

-4th September 1970, L.A. 

- 31st August 1971, Orlando 

-29th September 1971, Osaka 

-19th June 1972, Seattle 

-22nd January 1973, Southampton 

-29th July 1973, MSG - The final night of the MSG run, curiously not included in “The Song Remains the Same” is also great, this was also the final performance of the song.    

-16th May 1995 

 

Heartbreaker - 7th March 1970, Montreux - - Their performance of this song at the Royal Albert Hall in January 1970 is phenomenal but unfortunately the tape cuts off very dramatically during the track, so I cannot give it my vote. The version captured on “How the West Was Won” is also brilliant as is 29th September at Osaka. I'm a fan of the simple intro played by Bonham on 1973 performances. There are so many options for this that I’m adding more:  

-9th September 1971 in Hampton 

-14th September 1971 at Berkeley  

-29th September 1971, Osaka  

-29th July 1973, Madison Square Garden 

-12th March 1975, Long Beach 

-25th May 1975 - The final song they played in Earls Court. 

-21st June 1977, LA 

-29th June 1980, Zurich 

 

Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman) - Page hated this song, so it was never performed sadly. It was one of the first songs I learned by ear when learning to play at first, so it has a special place for me and is almost synonymous with “Heartbreaker”. 

 

Ramble On - 9th February 2011 - - Robert Plant with Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller on "Artists Den". It has countless performances with Page and Plant, but I’ll take the “Celebration Day” version from 2007 over those. If you’re a Led Zeppelin purist and only want performances by the whole band where possible then 2007 is your only option as they only played bits of it here and there, but over that and the Page and Plant ones I’d take this one from Artists Den. Plants singing is phenomenal and his older, more controlled voice suits it. This is longer with an impressive Mandola solo by Darrell Scott. 

 

Moby Dick / Pats Delight / Over the Top - 9th January 1970, Royal Albert Hall - - 20 minutes shorter than the later versions and still as impressive. I personally feel the 30-minute-plus versions from ‘75 and ‘77 was too much, and I'm a fan of longer jams. 

 

Bring it on Home - 25th June 1972 - - (How the West Was Won) [The final performance]. This is a great final performance for this track. Both the Royal Albert Hall and Jimmy Page with The Black Crowes (Not performed on “Live at the Greek”) are very good, particularly the Crowes versions where 3 guitars make the song a much better live experience. 

 

- Led Zeppelin III - 

 

Immigrant Song - 9th September 1970 - - One of their best shows ever. 29th September 1971 at Osaka yet again also very good, it deserves a mention just for that phenomenal Wah-Wah solo. Of course, “How the West Was Won” is really good as well. 

 

Friends - 29th September 1971, Osaka - - The only one by the full band. I prefer this over subsequent Page and Plant or Plant + whatever band came after. 

 

Celebration Day - 4th September 1971, Toronto - - This is an amazing version. Before I heard bootlegs, I was only aware of the album cut and the “Song Remains the Same” version and was not a fan of either. However, this version in good quality far outdoes both of those. The version from a few weeks later, 29th September in Osaka I think is ever so slightly better for ever so slightly lower quality so do the trade if you want, but in both Robert’s full vocal range is heard and there is a great jam at the end. As a rule of thumb, the 1971 versions are far better and far more energetic than the 1973 versions for this one. 

 

Since I’ve Been Loving You - 23rd September 1971 - - People very often say for A LOT of their songs that the later versions do not compare to earlier ones and I mostly tend to disagree with that statement, however I really think it applies here. This song in my opinion is where Jimmy’s playing can really decline in later shows. I suppose because of how emotional and raw it is. He can get by on most other songs even on his bad nights, but this song is where I really think it takes his all to perform. For that reason, I don’t really like any of the later versions that I’ve heard, including ‘Badgeholders’ and ‘Eddie’ and especially the 1980 versions. I’m open to suggestions of course as I’ve not heard anywhere near all boots, but the later ones just don’t match the earlier ones. There is part of me that just wants to say the “Song Remains the Same” version as that was what got me hooked onto this band. Spotify said it was my most listened track in 2020 and that I had heard it nearly 1000 times that year, so like 3 times a day for a year. It made me quite reluctant to listen to boots of this song, however, having explored the world of bootlegs since then I’ll give a few which I think are among the best: 

-21st March 1970, Vancouver - One of the best-sounding bootlegs especially for the early era, this one isn’t mentioned enough. The vocal work is phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t do any crazy wailing or anything but the raw emotion he conveys never mind the fact that Jones’ organs almost outshine Page here plus the pristine quality.  

-4th September 1970 in LA (Blueberry Hill). Great Vocals and Playing 

-31st August 1971 in Orlando 

-23rd September 1971 in Tokyo (This is my favourite) 

-29th September 1971 in Osaka 

-27th June 1972 in Long Beach (How the West Was Won) 

-24th March 1973, Offenburg 

-27th July and 29th 1973 mix (The Song Remains the Same) 

-14th February 1975 in New York 

-If you like the 1977 ones, I’d have to say 23rd June with 21st June as a close second. 

-27th January 1996, Rio de Janeiro - Of the Page and Plant ones I know of this is the best 

 

Out On the Tiles - 19th September1970 - - “Bring It on Home” made a far better Black Dog introduction than this. 

 

Gallows Pole - 25th August 1994 (Page and Plant “No Quarter” Unledded Album) - -They did play it a few times in the very early 70s and it was also covered as part of a medley at the end of “Trampled Underfoot” in 1975, namely at Earls Court. Band of Joy had a great rendition of it on Artists Den but over all of them for both performance and quality would be the Unledded album. 

 

Tangerine - 28th September 1971 - - Again, I would have liked one from either the 25th or 27th June to have appeared on “How the West Was Won” along with the rest of the gigs. If this, “Thank You” and at least “Communication Breakdown” were included, it would have been one of the most complete live albums ever. 

-25th June 1972, L.A. 

-25th May 1975, Earls Court  

-Countless Page and Plant performances  

-9th February 2011, Artists Den 

 

That’s The Way - 25th May 1975 - - The acoustic sets from Earls Court are amazing and I much prefer them to the “How the West Was Won” versions. I don’t much care about the fact that it’s edited but the reasons I prefer the acoustics from here rather than on “HTWWW” apply more to “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” and “Going to California”. 

 

Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" - 27th June 1977 - - I have a few. I generally prefer the later ones here as I feel from ‘75 onwards it sounded like he had developed the song more, even before the jam sections in ‘77 he adds little variations here and there in ‘75 whereas in 1972 it was kinda performed more or less as was on the album. Here are a few: 

-25th May 1975 - The sound from Earl’s Court is amazing as it is from the 25th, although I think the 24th also has a very good and slightly different performance of it. The official video on YouTube seems to be using audio from the 25th and at least some video from the 24th. Both are great. Earls Court has a much more soulful solo in the middle. 

-27th June 1977 – Includes “Dancing Days” in the Medley, great quality for an acoustic set 

17th July 1977 (Filmed) - This whole concert from Seattle was actually filmed in its entirety and features some great versions of a few songs although overall the gig isn’t great, it’s ok. This version is pretty amazing though. . 

 

“Hats off To (Roy) Harper” - Was never performed by any of them. I don’t understand the hate for this song. I mean it's not great, but people actually hate it I don’t think it's that bad.  

 

- Led Zeppelin IV - 

 

Black Dog - 9th September 1971 - - The most aggressive version. Or one of them. The version of the ORIGINAL cut of “The Song Remains the Same” I also hold in extremely high regard. The remasters and the version that exists on Spotify have been butchered completely. I think in terms of the remasters cutting things out, this song is the worst for it as the newer one on Spotify is missing half of the song. For vocals alone, any March 1971 version will forever be at the top for Plant. I don't much rate later versions as I think the solo must be harder for him to nail so I prefer the earlier ones with the better playing and the better vocals. 

-28th September 1971, Osaka  

-25th November 1971, Leicester  

-19th February 1972, Adelaide 

-24th July 1979, Copenhagen  

-4th August 1979, Knebworth 

 

Rock and Roll - 23rd June 1977 - - This kinda has to take the cake as you got Bonham on drums and Keith Moon alongside him. There are quite a few others though that are great listed below: 

-3rd May 1971, Copenhagen 

-27th February 1972, Sydney 

-27th June 1972, Long Beach (How the West Was Won) 

-27th July 1973, (The Song Remains the Same) 

-23rd May 1975, Earls Court (This and Seattle are the only ones from ‘75 that are good) 

-21st June 1980, Rotterdam 

-7th July 1980, Berlin 

 

The Battle of Evermore - 25th August 1994 - - (Page and Plant “No Quarter” Unledded Album). As much as I love John Paul Jones, his vocals on the 1977 versions render them far inferior to basically any Page and Plant version. I saw a video of him singing on Instagram in recent years and he’s actually really good at singing, but he really wasn’t in 1977 apparently. The backing vocalist taking the place of Sandy Denny on this version, Najma Akhtar, is absolutely phenomenal. 

 

Stairway to Heaven - 14th September 1971- - The 1971 versions have way more passion in them. A lot of people seem to dismiss later ones based on technical ability which in my opinion wasn’t the problem, this song specifically had Plant fully believing the lyrics in 1971 and it shows, whilst Jimmy just happened to be at his peak. There are more grand-sounding ones from 1973 onwards, here are my top contenders: 

-1st April 1971, Paris Theatre 

-4th September 1971, Toronto - One of the earlier performances. The song actually hadn’t even been released yet, so you can hear the audience go into the song without all the fanfare -23rd September 1971, Tokyo 

-29th September 1971, Osaka – Of course. 

-July 27th/28th/29th 1973 mix (The Song Remains the Same) 

-May 1975, Earls Court (Official YouTube Channel) [Edited] 

-23rd July 1977, LA - Best later performance 

-8th December 1983, New York (Arms Concert). Jimmy Page performed it as an instrumental and whilst he is clearly not of the cleanest mind and struggling, you even see him drool all over the double neck, I think the emotions he was experiencing playing the song again without Bonham or Zeppelin - basically on his own comes through and makes for a pretty decent performance and worth a listen. 

-29th October 1988 - (Outrider Tour) 

-10th December 2007, London (Celebration Day) [The Final Performance] 

-2nd December 2012, Washington. Heart, Jason Bonham, an orchestra and two choirs plus more at the Kennedy Centre Honours right in front of Led Zeppelin. 

 

Misty Mountain Hop - 3rd May 1971 - - The first ever performance of the song, they get completely lost more than once and it is very, very obvious when it happens, however, it is literally the only version I know of where Plant sings it at all close to the album. I also quite like hearing them get a bit lost and come back, it makes them a bit more relatable, and it isn’t too bad. They don’t play any completely wrong notes they just end up with Jones and Page playing different parts and you can imagine Bonham staring at them. This gig also features the first ever “Gallows Pole”.  

-July 27th/28th 1973, “Song Remains the Same. 

-30th June 1990, Knebworth. 

 

Four Sticks - 3rd May 1971 - - This show in Copenhagen I think is the only performance by Bonham, it’s at least the first one if there were more. There are amazing ones by Michael Lee with Page and Plant, however, this is Bonham's song. 

 

Going to California - 25th May 1975 - - I am extremely biased here as I listened to this at the perfect time and almost no version can top it, the version from Earls Court on the official YouTube channel. Like “Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp”, it seems to definitely be audio from the 25th but the edited video appears to at least use some of the 24th, although it’s sometimes difficult to tell as they are only a day apart and have the same stage lighting. However, if you’re going to ask me what version, nostalgia and emotions aside, I think is musically the best, I’m 100% voting for: 

 -29th September 1971 which is phenomenal and much longer. It isn’t in as pristine condition as the Earls Court recording (although still pretty good), but the length and musical passages that are captured in that recording make it probably the top spot for most people and again, personal bias aside, is probably the best version at least on listenable tape. From my knowledge, I cannot think of any gig that comes close to those two dates for this song to me, including “How the West Was Won. 

 

When The Levee Breaks - Neither of the live versions in 1975 (there are two or three) are very good. If I had to choose between them, 20th January 1975 is the better one. And whilst Page and Plant did perform it (on a quarry), I have yet to find any performance of the song, live or not, by anyone, that even comes close to that which was cut on the album. So just stick to that would be my advice. For half-decent ones at least, John Paul Jones has played it on a Lap Steel Guitar during the House of Blues webcast in 2000, and on bass for “Playing for Change” in 2021 featuring many others, including Derek Trucks 

 

- Houses of The Holy - 

 

The Song Remains the Same - 21st June 1977 - - The whole of the “Listen to This Eddie” bootleg Bonham is on fire, as are the others, however, this is commonly dubbed "The Bonham Concert". His earth-shattering intro on this is almost reason enough to call it the best. 

 

The Rain Song - 28th July 1973 - - “The Song Remains the Same”. Sound quality is imperative on this due to the electric yet acoustic feel of the song. After May 1975, the seamless segue from “The Song Remains the Same” into this song with Robert’s cry in between was never performed again as they got separated. They both made the set lists most of the time but were separated and never performed together again unfortunately. 

-29th July 1973 – Day after the one that was used on the album 

-24th May 1975, Earls Court 

-23rd July 1979, Copenhagen 

-4th August 1979, Knebworth 

-29th June 1980, Zurich 

-25th August 1994 In a similar fashion to “Thank You” at MSG, performed seemingly at the same gig as the Page and Plant “No Quarter” Album, however, it is not included.  

-17th February 1996, Nagoya 

 

Over The Hills and Far Away - Depends on if youre after Plant’s best singing or Page’s solo. Plant hits the higher notes with no problem on basically any 1972 version, “How the West Was Won” will do (I’ve read “The Garden Tapes” so I know of the edits - it doesn’t matter to me) - however I quite like the 1977 versions as Page has figured out what to do with the solo. Anything after Osaka 1972 is when the vocal change starts to happen. As with most other songs, the vocals are at their worst in 1975 by far, however as the vocals go bad the solos get better. The main issue to me is the melody. It's not just that his voice goes and he can't sing higher pitches, it’s the fact he didn’t just sing it in a lower octave (which I would’ve been fine with) – he changes the whole melody for some unknown reason, and it’s shit if I'm being honest 

-19TH June 1972, San Bernardino  

-25th June 1972, LA (How the West Was Won) 

-16th March 1973, Vienna (From here onwards, Robert doesn’t sing the high parts of the song) 

-21st March 1973, Hamburg – Great solos from Jimmy in the German 1973 shows. 

-12th February 1975, Madison Square Garden (Worst vocals out of these choices by far, great solo) 

-24th March 1975, L.A. 

-21st June 1977, L.A. 

-23rd June 1977, L.A. 

-27th June 1977, L.A. 

-4th August 1979, Knebworth 

 

The Crunge - 19th March 1975 - - Not played on its own but quite often during medleys. It’s included in the medleys in 1972, where it was performed as an instrumental in “Dazed and Confused” and can be heard on “How the West Was Won”, and in longer 1975 versions during “Whole Lotta Love” but usually have Robert sounding strained by the end of the show, and Page sounds unsure of the time changes and often misses cues. The instrumental ‘72 versions are usually better but shorter. From 1975, I’d say March 19th in Vancouver as its one of the only ones I’ve heard that isn't completely screwed. For 1972, either June 22nd in San Bernardino or “How the West Was Won” 3 days later. 

 

D’yer Mak’er - Was never performed; there are rumours of a 1973 performance, but it isn't in circulation if it did happen. Some mistake a reggae-ish jam from 25th May 1975 to be D’yer Mak’er, however, it is not this song specifically. 

 

Dancing Days - 19th June 1972 - - They played it twice during this concert. They just decided to give it another crack at the end. The second one I prefer. The version on “How the West Was Won” has a good mix and due to lack of improvisation and this performance being good anyway, this version might be better for some just for quality. Due to lack of variations, I prefer to hear it in the “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” medley I mentioned earlier. 

 

No Quarter - 21st March 1975 - - My favourite track personally. Like “Dazed and Confused”, this is a whole separate discussion and is highly subjective. Personally, the best version for Jones is 21st March 1975 in Seattle (near perfect soundboard). This date is also one of Jimmy’s highlights from 1975 although his solo is a bit choppy to begin with, but he gets there eventually. As this is one of those songs that changed every time, here’s others from different stages: 

-15th July 1973, Buffalo  

-17th July 1973, Seattle 

-28th February 1975, Baton Rouge  

-18th May 1975, Earls Court   

-11th June 1977, New York 

-21st June 1977, L.A. 

-24th July 1979, Copenhagen 

-4th August 1979, Knebworth 

-25th June 1995, Glastonbury - (Exactly 23 years after “How the West Was Won”). Acoustic and middle eastern. This is amazing and not spoken about enough. 

-13th July 2000, John Paul Jones “House of Blues” webcast.  

-10th December 2007, London 

 

The Ocean - 25th June 1972 - - You can’t go wrong with any as they don’t vary much or even at all, except of course for whether Robert remembers the lyrics. I see no reason to hunt out a lower quality bootleg over one of the official ones for this. The audience at the first of two shows used to make “How the West Was Won” were treated to one of the best if not very best and longest set of encores they ever played which, again, SHOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED as bonus tracks in the 2018 remaster, even if it had to be lower quality. Unfortunately, the second show two days later didn’t have the same encores. 

 

- Physical Graffiti - 

 

Custard Pie - 18th October 1999 - - Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes “Live at The Greek”. Again, not much choice. This is better in my opinion than the Page and Plant versions. Jimmy had really picked up momentum by this point. His playing by 1995 had improved greatly over the 80s, but by the later Page and Plant tours, he really reached his early days’ levels in my eyes. He kept it going in his shows with the Crowes, even beyond "Live at the Greek". Some of the very best live solos he’s ever played, he played in that late Page and Plant/Black Crowes era. It doesn’t necessarily apply to this song; I'm just saying checkout the 1998 tour as well as some of the Crowes’ gigs. 

 

The Rover - There is a sound check for an unknown 1973 show where they played this song. Although not fully developed, it is the only complete version the band played. They played the opening in 1977 only as an intro for “Sick Again”. The video for the sound check has been uploaded by “Led Zeppelin Rarities”. 

 

In My Time of Dying - 22nd June 1977 - - This show, jammed in-between two of the best bootlegs (the day after “Listen to This Eddie” and the day before “For Badgeholders Only”) is overlooked far too often due to its lower quality. This version is almost 15 minutes and includes a lengthy improvisation section which covers “The Lemon Song”. Here are a few others if you need better quality that are also amazing: 

-28th February 1975, Baton Rouge  

-19th March 1975, Vancouver 

-27th April 1977, Cleveland 

-21st May 1977, Texas 

-7th June 1977, Madison Square Garden 

-25th June 1977 – 3 days after the above-mentioned gig, this is the final performance until 2007 

-10th December 2007, London 

 

Houses of the Holy - 9th February 2011 - - Robert Plant and Band of Joy live on Artists Den. The band never performed the song and barely after they broke up. Regardless, this is an amazing version. Check out this band. 

 

Trampled Under Foot - June 30th, 1980 - - Probably the most consistent song of the 1980 “Tour over Europe”, if that says anything. This and many ‘75 versions, particularly 16th February 1975 from St Louis and 25th May at Earl’s Court. 

-16th February 1975, St Louis  

-21st March 1975, Seattle 

-24th May 1975, Earls Court  

-25th May 1975, Earls Court 

-28th April 1977, Cleveland  

-25th June 1977, LA 

-20th July 1977, Tempe  

-29th June 1980, Zurich 

-7th July 1980, Berlin 

-10th December 2007, London 

 

Kashmir - 10th December 2007 - - “Celebration Day” honestly gets my vote. The ageing of Plants’ voice really lends itself to this song. And such a grand ending. I feel this is much better than most versions they performed pre-1980.  

- 21st June 1977, L.A. 

-4th August 1979, Knebworth 

-25th August 1994 

 

In The Light - Sometime in 2000 - - Literally the only option is a bonus track on the Japanese release of “Live at The Greek”. The album was recorded on 18th-19th October 1999, however “In the Light” and “Misty Mountain Hop” were recorded sometime in 2000 and released as bonus tracks in Japan. A very underrated song. As a side note, Mike Kerr, singer of Royal Blood, lists Zeppelin as a heavy influence. I can hear his singing style most clearly and directly in this song. 

 

Bron-Yr-Aur" - 9th September 1970 - - This is one of the first songs that got me into Zeppelin. The studio release is far more atmospheric due to quality and effects; however, this live version is from what I’ve heard the best sounding caught on tape. It wasn’t performed much, pretty much only in 1970 and not too often even at that. He does add an interesting harmonic section very briefly and some chord changes here and there. As stated before, I’m not a fan of acoustics in bootlegs but this sounds ok to me. 

 

Down By the Seaside - 19th May 1995 - - It was often performed as part of a medley within “Calling to You” by Page and Plant, however in its entirety it was never performed, neither by the band nor any of its members to my knowledge. Here they play like 3 or 4 bars of it before a crescendo into “Break on Through” by The Doors, followed by a snippet of “Dazed and Confused”. On 28th September 1971 at Osaka, they cover a classic “Down by the Riverside” however it is unrelated. 

 

Ten Years Gone - 23rd June 1977 - - Some people really don’t like the 1977 versions, and I do agree that 4th August 1979 at Knebworth is better for the overall song, however I find Jimmy's solo slightly off-putting. Although the 4th is the better of the two Knebworth shows, Jimmy’s playing still wasn’t great and leagues behind the Copenhagen shows only 2-3 weeks prior. It is fully filmed, however, so you do get to see John Paul Jones on his triple neck guitar playing rhythm which looks sick. I find it badass they were so big they had a triple neck guitar playing rhythm.  

-21st June 1977, LA – Or any LA 1977 version 

-24th July 1979, Copenhagen  

4th August 1979, Knebworth 

-10th July 2000, Jones Beach Theatre  

 

Night Flight - 6th November 1998 - - Page and Plant played it a few times during their UK 1998 Tour. This version from the Wembley Arena and the one from the University of London are both great and are among the only options for this song. 

 

The Wanton Song - 12th January 1975, Brussels - - I personally prefer the Page and Plant versions where they blast the “Immigrant Song” intro then 10 seconds in just switch into The Wanton Song. I think both Jimmy and Robert were in far better form by the mid-90s than they were in 1975, but if you want Bonham and Jones, this is the best. 

 

Boogie With Stu - Wasn’t performed by any of them. “Stu” is Ian Stewart of The Rolling Stones for anyone who doesn’t know. They were using the Stones’ recording equipment at Headley Grange. 

 

Black Country Woman - 19th June 1972 - - This is the only full live performance. Robert Plant also performed it on his “Now and Zen” promotional tour in 1988. The best of these versions in my opinion would be the pro-shot version from April 1988. This is obviously better quality than the June 1972 boot and was also filmed professionally. It is on the “Mark Zep” YouTube channel. He has also done it a few times post- “Celebration Day” with Band of Joy. 

 

Sick Again - 21st June 1977 - - An underrated song, but the lyrics just don't sit with me. It's really kinda weird, even for Plant's zep standards. 

 

- Presence - 

 

Achilles Last Stand - 22nd June 1977 - - Insane drumming. 4th August 1979 is also pretty good, in way better quality and is filmed so some will prefer that. I would’ve much preferred this over “For Your Life” in 2007. Although it is really nice to throw in a rarity, doing it on your last ever gig and in place of a far superior song I think was sort of dumb. There aren’t many insane singing heights as the song itself was recorded in one of Plant’s worst periods and although Jimmy’s playing had dropped slightly over the ‘98-2000 era, he pulled off far more difficult songs that night. Jones is as usual set in stone and Jason was more than capable. 

 

For Your Life - 10th December 2007 - - London (Celebration Day). The only option for this is “Celebration Day”. Like I’ve said, an interesting choice for their final show. I’ve always wondered why. I wouldve been fine with nothing from presence at the 2007 gig if I’m honest, however I suppose it was meant to sum their career up and feature every era. Even then though, I would take even “Tea for One and especially “Achilles Last Stand” over this even if they had to drop the keys. It would’ve fitted much more as a “White Summer” replacement in 1977 or at least in the 1980 tour than it did in their send-off show. 

 

Royal Orleans - Was never performed by any of them, thank God. This, "Candy Store Rock", “Hots on For Nowhere” and "South Bound Suarez" are in my opinion the worst songs released by the band and don't understand how people can rank "The Crunge" and "Sick Again" as the worst instead of these. 

 

Nobody’s Fault but Mine - 27th April 1977 - - The famous “Destroyer” bootleg. This song again doesn’t vary as much so you have a lot of similar options. This is great quality, from a pretty well-regarded bootleg and is better than the Knebworth versions. 

-10th December 2007, London is also noteworthy 

 

Candy Store Rock - 7th July 2001 - - Page and Plant performed it at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2001 and I believe this is the only time it was performed. 

 

Hots on For Nowhere - 10th July 2000 - - Page and The Black Crowes played it during their Summer 2000 tour. There is a pro-shot of them at the Jones Beach Theatre uploaded by Mark Zep on YouTube. 

 

Tea For One - 13th February 1996 - - Whilst never performed live by the band, Page and Plant performed it in the 90s and this version from Tokyo in 1996 is another example of how much Jimmy had improved and recovered since the 80s and even late Zeppelin. Joe Bonamassa has also done great covers of it. 

 

- In Through the out Door - 

 

In The Evening - 4th August 1979, Knebworth - - Love the introduction to it. They kept the pattern of amazing album openers even until the very end, this song is the best on this album. Had “Fire (Say You’re Gonna Leave Me)” been released, that wouldn’t be the case in my opinion, that song absolutely slaps; alas it wasn’t. I say Knebworth out of the Zeppelin versions, but I prefer the Page and Plant ones. Here are a few others: 

-24th July 1979, Copenhagen  

-24th June 1980, Hannover  

-29th June 1980, Zurich 

-1st April 1995, Detroit 

-19th May 1995, Oakland 

-17th February 1996, Nagoya 

 

South Bound Suarez - Was never performed by any of them that I know of. There’s an unreleased track recorded during sessions for “In Through the out Door” called “Fire (Say You’re Gonna Leave Me)”. It has some progressive rock elements and sounds kinda like Yes, but I think it’s infinitely better than this and “Hot Dog. You could replace “Hot Dog” with “Fire (Say You’re Gonna Leave Me)”and use “Ozone Baby” or “Wearing and Tearing” instead of “South Bound Suarez” and I think I would've liked this album much more. I’m hoping one day for an official release of “Fire” cos its actually good - a pipe dream maybe. 

 

Fool in The Rain - 5th October 2005 - - Robert Plant with Pearl Jam is your only option. They played it during a Hurricane Katrina benefit. A great performance and worth the wait. If I'm being honest though, I like this track purely for the drums; I don’t much care for the riff or the singing if I'm honest. There are no alternatives for this. 

 

Hot Dog - 24th July 1979 - - I actually can’t believe they did this live but there you go - Copenhagen 1979. 

 

Carouselambra - 17th February 1996 - - It was performed briefly within “In the Evening” by Page and Plant on occasion, but never in its entirety or with synths although it did sound good. I think this song is vastly underrated and I’m not even a fan of “In Through the out Door”. I understand they were trying to embrace newer music like they always do, and I think this is where it works, far better than most of the album. I sometimes prefer “The Epic (Rough Mix)” from the album’s deluxe edition as the vocals and guitars are more pronounced. It was probably going to be on the set lists for the 1980 American Tour apparently which I would’ve really liked to see, but we all know what happened there… 

 

All My Love - June 30th, 1980 - - Cheesy synths and the 80s pop style have prevented me from properly liking this song, but I find it hard to criticise it too much considering its meaning and the reason it was written. I do align more with Page and Bonham’s position though, feeling it was out of character as he “could imagine people doing the wave and all of that… that is not us”. I would’ve been more on board if Jones had a more atmospheric keys solo, but his “Dream Machine” brassy trumpet solo is definitely not his finest hour. I do like Plant’s singing on this performance though. I don’t hate the song, it’s a good song, just not my kinda thing and I understand it did quite well at the time. 

 

I’m Gonna Crawl - This was never performed live. Another underrated song. Page’s best solo on the album; Plant gives an emotional performance, a highlight since Houses of the Holy. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Tea for One” are both in C Minor Aeolian and so were performed together in 1977; it’s possible this would have replaced that lengthy jam in future tours as I think it’s a decent enough song, though not quite as good, and they were veering away from longer jams. The 1980 tour didn’t feature long “Dazed and Confused” and “No Quarter” renditions and they may have wanted to include more tracks from the new album.  

 

- Coda - 

 

We’re Gonna Groove - 9th January 1970 at Royal Albert Hall - - Legendary. 

 

Poor Tom - A rehearsal from 1970 shows an incomplete version of the song being hummed essentially, I don’t think it was performed beyond that. 

 

Walters Walk - The song is based on improvisation during “Dazed and Confused”, this is the closest to a live version of this you’ll get. You can hear it on “How the West Was Won” and many other performances. 

 

Ozone Baby - Was never performed 

 

Darlene - Was never performed. 

 

Bonzo’s Montreux - 17th July 1977 - - I believe he played it in Moby Dick in 1977, although this is the only one Im aware of and as much as I love Bonham and his solos, I do not think listening to half an hour of Moby Dick is worth it so I honestly couldn’t tell you which one is better if there’s more. 

 

Wearing and Tearing - 30th June 1990 - - Page and Plant performed it at their reunion at Knebworth in 1990. It is to my knowledge the only option. 

 

- Extra Tracks from the Led Zeppelin Box Sets 1/2 and CODA (Deluxe Edition) - 

 

Hey, Hey What Can I Do - 1st April 1995 - - There are multiple Page and Plant versions of this (any of them will probably do, they’re very similar) but I much prefer the Album cut over any performance I’ve heard. This one however is the best of the live ones I know of. 

 

Baby Come on Home - Was never performed. 

 

Sugar Mama - Was never performed. 

 

St Tristan’s Sword - 29th September,1971 - - Was played during the medley of “Dazed and Confused” along with “Pennies from Heaven”. This was also listed as one of the best if not absolute best “Dazed and Confused” performances. 

 

- Non-Album/Covers - 

 

Train Kept a Rollin - January 26th, 1969. Some 1980 versions aren’t bad too. 

 

As Long as I Have You - 27th April 1969 

 

C’mon Everybody - January 9th, 1970, Royal Albert Hall 

 

Long Tall Sally - 28th June 1970 

 

Louie Louie - 25th June 1972 (The same concert as “How the West Was Won” however this was cut). “Burn Like a Candle” Bootleg. The 2018 remaster of the album should’ve included this and the versions of “Thank You” and “Communication Breakdown” from those nights that are still in the vaults somewhere.  

 

Weekend - 21st August 1971 

 

Money (That’s What I Want) - 30th June 1980 

 

Blueberry Hill - At Blueberry Hill (4th September 1970) 

 

It’ll Be Me - 22nd May 1977 - - They only did it twice. This is much better quality than the other one and even features Mick Ralphs himself. 

 

I Gotta Move - 16th March 1969 - - Soundboard in Excellent Quality. 

 

Mystery Train - 19th June 1977 - - An Elvis Cover. 

 

Please Please Me - 28th September 1971 

 

From Me to You - 28th September 1971 

 

Georgia (On My Mind) - 26th May 1973 - - It was improvised once in 1973 when Jimmy had his guitar restrung after a string snapped. It’s caught in pristine quality as well. Robert Plant does a good cover of it on 18TH January 1985. 

 

Happy Birthday - 31st May 1973 

 

High-Heeled Sneakers -28th September 1971 

 

I Can’t Be Satisfied - Sometime in ‘77. 

 

Sittin' and Thinkin' - 27th April 1969 at the Fillmore. 

 

Stand By Me - 9th October 1972 

 

The Girl Can’t Help It - 19th September 1970 

 

Twenty Flight Rock - 19th September 1970 (Second Show) 

 

Walk Don’t Run - 22nd August 1971 

 

We Shall Overcome - 28th September 1971 

 

When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You) - 19th June 1972 

 

I think it’s quite surprising as someone who had to stick to official releases for a while how many songs they actually played when you count bootlegs and solo careers. There are only a handful of tracks from the catalogue that weren’t covered in some way; and of the ones left, only “Living Loving Maid”, a full version of Carouselambrawith Jones and “I’m Gonna Crawl” I think I’d like to see; the others from “Presence”, the remainder of “In Through the out Door” and the few left from “Coda” I can live without. 

 

What began as a fun post made on a late night when I couldn’t sleep has now become a sort of passion project spanning over a month. It’s been quite fun going through bootlegs again and even discovering a few top spots I wasn’t aware of. Feel free to let me know of any alternatives to these you think are the best live performances :) 

 

Edited by Dog-of-Doom
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Thank you for all of your hard work.  This was a great read, and took about two hours to go through, comparing with a similar playlist I have... lots of insight and great recs.    Mike

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14 hours ago, hhorse said:

Thank you for all of your hard work.  This was a great read, and took about two hours to go through, comparing with a similar playlist I have... lots of insight and great recs.    Mike

Glad you enjoyed it :) How did it fare against yours?

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1 hour ago, tonik2000 said:

THX allot.

not in list "Four you love" - 1969-01-10

As Long as I Have You” - have you tried 1969-02-14 Miami? Pure magic

Ah thanks I forgot about that. They also played it at Whiskey a Go Go right? Think that's where I know if from. I'll add it.

Yes the Miami "As Long as I Have You" was definitely a second pick, just ahead of the Winterland Ballroom performance, I forget what date that was. The 24th at Fillmore I really like as I can hear how different it was only days apart. Might add those dates as its been a while since I heard this track and forgot how different they each are, they're all worth listening to :)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
5 hours ago, Inthelateafternoon said:

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought Plant did Livin Loving Maid at some point early in his solo career?

Oh I'll need to look that up - I'm much more familiar with his newer stuff, his 80s music isn't really my cup of tea so I haven't given it much attention. Cheers :)

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Yes you’re right, Plant did in fact play “Living Loving Maid” on his “Manic Nirvana” tour. The best quality recording I have found thus far is 19th September 1990 at the Seattle Center Coliseum. His solo career roughly from here onwards is miles better than his 80s stuff 😂

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