The Year of Led Zeppelin
April 17, 2009 11:56 AM   Subscribe

The Year of Led Zeppelin: A (completed) quest to listen to every Led Zeppelin concert in a year
posted by Joe Beese (54 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
He had a dream. Oh yeah. A crazy dream. Uh huh.
posted by dersins at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2009


Zeppelin ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuules!
posted by King Bee at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2009


I AM A GOLDEN BLOG!
posted by bondcliff at 12:04 PM on April 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Almost every Zep boot I've ever heard was almost impossibly muddy and unlistenable.

I'd love it for someone to prove me wrong on this.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:08 PM on April 17, 2009


Where's the confounded bridge?
posted by jquinby at 12:09 PM on April 17, 2009


I was THERE (and it blew my 15 year old mind).
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:11 PM on April 17, 2009


well, squeeze my lemon!
posted by the aloha at 12:17 PM on April 17, 2009


I haven't heard any audience bootlegs - I wouldn't be surprised if their sound quality mostly sucked. The official live releases, however, sound amazing. Way heavier and more intense than the records. Bonham's drums were HUGE live. Listening to the more played-out-I'm-sick-of-hearing-them songs on How The West Was Won can be like listening to them again for the first time, in my opinion (see Black Dog, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker). If you used to listen to Led Zeppelin when you were in 9th grade and long since filed the records away, go buy How The West Was Won or the recently remastered Song Remains the Same. Highly recommended.
posted by pziemba at 12:19 PM on April 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Haha, what a great blog! If I understand the tags correctly (I'm kinda drunk), they've played "Dazed & Confused" live 208 times and that makes it their number one live song. At number two, "Stairway To Heaven", 192 times. #3 is "Whole Lotta Love"; 167.

Now I wish somebody would do the same thing for, say, The Rolling Stones. How many times have they played "Satisfaction" live over the years, for instance? I'd actually love to know.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:22 PM on April 17, 2009


Afroblanco - I think this guy found some better tapes: The tape is clear and well-balanced, a great document of an excellent performance; The tape is excellent. Clear and well-balanced with a great sense of atmosphere; and more. Some are also muddy, distant or distorted, but it seems there are quite a few good tapes floating around.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:22 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


pziembo. Official live release from Zeppelin and most others are HEAVILY overdubbed in the studio. The Song Remain The Same is from at least two separate shows.
posted by punkfloyd at 12:23 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was Dazed & Confused their usual excuse to play extended 30 minute medleys with snippets of random classical music and bow-your-guitar wankery, ala Spinal Tap? That might explain why it was their #1 most played song. They were seriously the ultimate self-indulgent rock masters!

punkfloyd: Yeah, I've heard that actually. Interesting. Still doesn't change the fact that I prefer the heavier sound, 'live' or not. Much less sterile than the albums.
posted by pziemba at 12:27 PM on April 17, 2009


Amazing. Can't think of a much better way to spend a year. I'm at work now, but later I'm Gonna Bring this Blog On Home.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:33 PM on April 17, 2009


Valhalla, I am coming!
posted by not_on_display at 12:34 PM on April 17, 2009


pziembo: I used to think the Stones were the tightest live band in the world when I heard their live album "Still Life"...then I heard some boots/soundboard of same shows from the 1981 tour. Egads.
posted by punkfloyd at 12:36 PM on April 17, 2009


If you're rocking in a manner completely independent of hobbits/vikings/Satan are you really even rocking at all?
posted by ND¢ at 12:38 PM on April 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Almost every Zep boot I've ever heard was almost impossibly muddy and unlistenable.

The trouble with Zeppelin bootlegs was the volume that the band played at, and Bonham. I have listened to plenty of audience recordings of Kashmir and I have never heard a version where the mikes were not shredded by Bonzo's opening cymbal crash. Because Jones and Bonham were so damn heavy, most audience boots are way too boomy and all nuance is lost. Soundboards and matrix (soundboard/audience) are another story. Look for the Texas International Pop Festival '69, the BBC shows, MSG '75 (Heartbreakers Back in Town or Four Blocks in the Snow), Earls Court '75 (numerous boots on this week of shows) or Destroyer '77.

Pziemba is correct - How the West Was Won is transcendental and a revelation. Here's a rave review from Salon of all places. But the real place to experience the band is the DVD entitled DVD. This should be the acid test for all home theater systems. Two discs, almost the entire Hammersmith '70 show (which is so raw and immediate it would shame the Clash), the MSG in '73 (the version of the Ocean here is like facing a Panzer division), Earls Court in '75 (a great acoustic set), and several songs from the last concert ever in England, Knebworth '79 (a patchy affair but historic nontheless).
posted by Ber at 12:48 PM on April 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Official live release from Zeppelin and most others are HEAVILY overdubbed in the studio. The Song Remain The Same is from at least two separate shows.

Actually 3 shows, as described in detail here. The author also talks about overdubbing and thinks that there is less of it than most peole seem to believe.
posted by TedW at 12:50 PM on April 17, 2009


*plop*
i have fallen out of the bed.
posted by the aloha at 12:52 PM on April 17, 2009


I'd love it for someone to prove me wrong on this.

Fillmore West 4/24/69
LA Forum 9/4/70
Southampton 1/22/73
MSG, NYC 2/12/75
LA Forum 6/21/77
posted by anazgnos at 12:52 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Where's the confounded bridge?

Right where Jimmy Page found it -- on a James Brown record.
posted by Herodios at 12:53 PM on April 17, 2009


I'll give you an example. A couple of kids came into my office not too long ago and said they had an album that I had to hear and that it was going to take the world by storm. I gave it a spin and I've got to tell you, it was good. It had a good beat and you could dance to it. So they said "Will you sign us?" And I told them to go to hell. I told them they were bums and that they would never make it in this business. I told them to give it up. Sell their instruments and move back to Palookaville and open a hardware store. And they begged me to give them another chance and said music was their life and that they would do anything I said. I held up their album and said "Here is what I want you to do. Take all of these songs and throw out the lyrics. I don't want to hear songs about girls or your family or your feelings or any of this shit. I want you to rewrite all these songs about Hermóðr" They looked at me like I just spit in their faces. "Who the fuck is Hermóðr?" they said. "Hermóðr" I said "War-spirit. Section 49 of the Gylfaginning. You know, after the death of Baldr when Frigg asks who wants to gain her love and favor by riding to Hel to get him back? And then he rides Sleipnir for nine nights through deep and dark valleys to the Gjöll bridge covered with shining gold, the bridge being guarded by the maiden Móðguðr 'Battle-frenzy' or 'Battle-tired'?" And they just stared at me like I was talking crazy. "Look" I said "you can keep writing this pussy music about love and friendship and emotion, or you can come and play with the big boys and write a goddamn album about Hermóðr!" And do you know what those boys did? They rewrote that fucking album and actually made some music people want to listen to and they hit the big time just like I knew they would. Do you know what those boys names were? Maybe you've heard of them. A little band called The Jonas Brothers. That's right.
posted by ND¢ at 1:00 PM on April 17, 2009 [15 favorites]


> I used to think the Stones were the tightest live band in the world when I heard their live album "Still Life"...

Still Life gave you that impression? Really? Not, say, "Get Your Ya-Ya's Out"? I mean, I love the Stones and all, but "Still Life" is generally regarded as one of their all-time worst albums.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:09 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


In 1970, the band was scheduled to perform in Copenhagen, Denmark when airship heiress Eva von Zeppelin (a descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin) called the band a bunch of "screaming monkeys" and threatened to sue if they used her name. Their solution? They played under an assumed name: The Nobs, a playful pun on the name of their European promoter, Claude Nobs.
posted by netbros at 1:10 PM on April 17, 2009


You guys make me wanna dig up my Zep once again. Grand rockin' tunes.
posted by grubi at 1:12 PM on April 17, 2009


Right where Jimmy Page found it -- on a James Brown record.

I always thought he found it buried under a stack of Robert Johnson and Son House recordings.
posted by katillathehun at 1:24 PM on April 17, 2009


Hey, I was at this show! I had no idea there was recording of it.

My main memory is that my ears rang for three days.
posted by jokeefe at 1:25 PM on April 17, 2009


Is this something I would have to remember laughter to understand?
posted by The World Famous at 1:25 PM on April 17, 2009 [18 favorites]


There are a lot of good bootlegs recorded at the L.A. Forum. Apparently there was a handicapped guy who hid recording equipment inside his wheelchair, and was able to record from his front-row seat.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:25 PM on April 17, 2009


Right where Jimmy Page found it -- on a James Brown record.

I always thought he found it buried under a stack of Robert Johnson and Son House recordings.


OMG musicians have influences!!!1!1one

You really caught him red-handed, especially since the line in question is an explicit homage to James Brown.

There is one song in the Led Zep catalog which can realistically be said to be stolen, and that is "Dazed and Confused" which was written by Jake "I'm a pepper" Holmes.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:27 PM on April 17, 2009


Also that Robert Plant was a sex god of the highest degree. In retrospect, as a 14 year old virgin, I would probably have been more than welcome backstage.
posted by jokeefe at 1:28 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also went to one of these shows. I wonder if I could figure out which by listening to the boots. My main memory of this night was my boyfriend giving me a haunted look and saying "Just don't say Robert when we're in bed." Heh.
posted by jokeefe at 1:32 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


acid test

heh. *GLEEP* heh.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:33 PM on April 17, 2009


I was at this one, where Jimi had [cough] "gastroenteritis" and the band bailed after he fucked up five or six songs. Good times.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:34 PM on April 17, 2009


The Nobs, a playful pun on the name of their European promoter, Claude Nobs.

A double pun if they were tweaking the countess
posted by IndigoJones at 1:35 PM on April 17, 2009


There is one song in the Led Zep catalog which can realistically be said to be stolen, and that is "Dazed and Confused" which was written by Jake "I'm a pepper" Holmes.

There are several songs in the Led Zep catalog which are totally stolen, including Whole Lotta Love and You Shook Me.

I love Zeppelin, and that is an understatement. But go out and buy Jeff Beck's album "Truth," which came out not long before Led Zeppelin I and on which John Paul Jones plays organ and then come back and tell me that Jimmy Page didn't steal the Led Zeppelin sound wholesale from the Jeff Beck Group. I think Zeppelin's execution of the Jeff Beck Group's initial idea was way better. But Beck invented it. Half of How Many More Times is directly lifted from Beck's Bolero, for crying out loud.
posted by The World Famous at 1:38 PM on April 17, 2009


Afroblanco: "Almost every Zep boot I've ever heard was almost impossibly muddy and unlistenable.

I'd love it for someone to prove me wrong on this.
"

April 27, 1969 - San Francisco (Fillmore West)

This is what inspired the post.

The performance of "You Shook Me" can be found in the dictionary next to "indescribably fucking heavy".
posted by Joe Beese at 1:53 PM on April 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Jeff beck, he plays on a song on Morrissey's new album. No kidding. And right as he starts a blistering solo, the song abruptly ends.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:55 PM on April 17, 2009


Oh, we all know that LedZep were just a Terry Reid knockoff band.

(runs and hides)
posted by Afroblanco at 1:56 PM on April 17, 2009


And in mind of the Pirate Bay verdict, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that if the recording industry had its druthers, the people who helped preserve this music for us would all have been sent to prison.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:02 PM on April 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


OMG musicians have influences!!!1!1one

Hey, I *love* Led Zeppelin, but I'm not gonna pretend they didn't straight up lift some of their stuff from old blues musicians. For one of many examples: "Squeeze my lemon 'til the juice runs down my leg" That's Robert Johnson. 1937.
posted by katillathehun at 2:07 PM on April 17, 2009


He should respond to every comment with "What?" and the Google ads should all be for natural tinnitus cures.
posted by srboisvert at 2:38 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Much more Zep boots discussion at Royal Orleans.
posted by swift at 2:55 PM on April 17, 2009


Also:

8/31/69 Dallas
3/17/70 Montreaux
9/29/71 Osaka
4/27/77 Cleveland
6/21/77 L.A. Forum
posted by swift at 3:17 PM on April 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I went through a Led Zeppelin bootleg phase & it's true that most of them are pretty muddy & disappointing. It's also true that the stuff Page releases (HTWWW, the double DVD) is astounding in its heaviness, and clarity. The louder you play it, the better it sounds.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:58 PM on April 17, 2009


1977.07.23 Oakland, California
1977.07.24 Oakland, California


I was across the bay, in SF. Aged 15. I was an utter dumbshit who didn't even try to go. A friend went, and said Page played so horribly that at points he just stopped and laughed. Still. I was such a dumbshit.

I did see Page & Plant at some point in the early 90's, and while mystified at their decision to tour W/O John Paul Jones, still enjoyed the show. There were moments when Page's hand would just fall off the neck, and I'd be thinking "wow, he really is erratic," and then there were moments of absolute astounding beauty when I was just standing there slackjawed thinking "HOLY SHIT, THAT'S JIMMY FUCKING PAGE!"

The recent DVD box set and the three-CD "How the West Was Won" were both Christmas presents two years ago, and I love them both. page really shnes on Since I've Been Loving You on disc 1 of HTWWW.

JPJ is the only childhood hero of mine I still take seriously as a bass player.

I wish I had the patience for Rapidshare -- I'm probably going to forget to download parts 2 & 3 of that '69 gig. Thanks for the link though, Mr. Beese.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:17 PM on April 17, 2009


Where are the kittens? Zeppelin always toured with kittens.
posted by homunculus at 5:34 PM on April 17, 2009


homunculus: "Where are the kittens? "

I've just learned that I never understood a single word Rober Plant was singing in that song.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:05 PM on April 17, 2009


I've just learned that I never understood a single word Rober Plant was singing in that song.


Hey, woopie cat!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:08 PM on April 17, 2009


A (completed) quest to listen to every Led Zeppelin concert in a year

This would have been much easier if he would have picked, say, 1953. Or even ’51 or ’52.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:56 PM on April 17, 2009


This is pretty amazing. When I saw the post, my first thought was of those bootleg tapes they used to sell down on St. Marks, that usually sounded like they were recorded from miles outside whatever arena Zep was rocking. The tapes always cut-off in the middle of songs and all of the solos inevitably seemed to have airplane noise. It never occurred to me there would now be better versions available.
posted by puckupdate at 5:21 AM on April 18, 2009


In retrospect, as a 14 year old virgin, I would probably have been more than welcome backstage.

Do the Mudshark, baby.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:45 PM on April 18, 2009


Not even all the members of Led Zeppelin go to all the Led Zeppelin concerts in a year.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:38 PM on April 19, 2009


For sale on Loch Ness: Aleister Crowley's centre of dark sorcery. "The estate, once the home of millionaire rock star Jimmy Page, has been linked to a number of incidents over the years, including at least two violent deaths."
posted by homunculus at 12:36 PM on April 20, 2009


« Older Father Luis Barrios,...  |  Noodling, catfisting, grabblin... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments