Monday, November 29, 2010
Bonzo Goes Bananas
In a newly surfaced soundboard recording, one that is being called the "first soundboard of the 1977 tour," as well as being rumoured to have been "leaked" and supplied by Jimmy Page to the very popular, Japanese Led Zeppelin bootleg specialists Empress Valley, please enjoy the opening song from opening night in N.Y.C.. on June 7th, 1977. (at the bottom)
I obsess, as I am wont to do over so many things, over live Led Zeppelin recordings. Like the Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen, every Zeppelin performance offered something different than the night before. While the Dead and Bruce would often change set lists, Zeppelin's set lists usually remained the same. It was what happened during each of those songs that offered surprise.
The E-Street was and is a well-oiled machine, while both the Dead and Led Zeppelin, would more often than not, experiment and improvise to the point of self-implosion. It's one of the main reasons it took years for me to appreciate the Grateful Dead. I had always been subjected by friends, to horrible sounding live performances, from 3rd generation cassette tapes, annoyingly referred to by date, and then was expected to sit through 15 minutes of noodling to get to the 5 minutes of magic.
Because I was a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, doing that very same thing with countless tapes, and years later, CDs, bothered me less, and then I realized, it was no different than the Dead. I think it was my Zeppelin vigilence, along with the help a book called "Led Zeppelin Live" by Luis Rey, which broke down every single live performance, right down to minute details of guitar solos and drum fills, that made me appreciate what the Dead had been doing for so long.
Zep's tour of 1977 is my least favorite, and this is mostly due to Jimmy Page. I'm pretty sure this was a big drug year for Jimmy and his playing shows it. Almost everything I've heard has been one sloppy mess. But as I said, anything can happen at anytime, and it's on this version of "The Song Remains The Same" where John Bonham goes absolutely berserk and blows my mind. Jimmy Page hits more clams than the Lundy Brothers, but this is more about the rhythm section. That's why it's here.
I don't suggest wasting your precious time trawling through hours and hours of poor sounding Zeppelin tapes to find that magic, though if you are more than a casual fan and have never done so before, you have no idea of the treasures that await you.
THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME