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Amazing live Led Zeppelin extravaganza.
on May 27, 2003
I was fortunate enough to get this from a local independent record store 3 days before its release. Immediately after hearing it, I knew that the planet was in for a treat. This, and the accompanying DVD, were hyped up among Zeppelin fans. After listening to this CD, I can safely say it is getting all the hype it deserves, maybe even not enough.
Though I enjoyed The Song Remains the Same album and film, this blows that out of the water. The sound quality is excellent, this has more to offer, and is just better in every way.
This collection of performances from 2 shows in 1972 (June 25th at LA Forum, June 27th at Long Beach Arena) represent Led Zeppelin at their live best. Listening to it makes me wish I had been born early enough to witness Led Zeppelin in concert, and I envy those who were there at those shows, witnessing a night of history. The versions of "Whole Lotta Love," "Dazed & Confused," and "Bring It On Home" are all at least 10 minutes and are sure to please every Zeppelin fan out there. "Whole Lotta Love" is here in all its live glory, containing the medley of covers that extended it to 23+ minutes, pure Zeppelin bliss. As expected, "Dazed & Confused" features Jimmy Page playing his guitar with the violin bow, and is yet another stellar version of this song to add to our CD collections. The acoustic set here is also present, featuring excellent versions of "Going to California," "That's The Way," and "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp." The latter was a personal highlight for me, as the song is a tribute to Robert Plant's dog, he calls out the dog's name, Strider, at the end. I also have a dog named Strider, so it's cool that my dog has the same name as the dog of one of my favorite singers (for the same reason too, Plant loved JRR Tolkien, and my dog's name was thought of after seeing Lord of the Rings). The medley of "La Drone"/"Immigrant Song" kicks the set off with a bang, and an excellent version of "Heartbreaker" follows, with Page totally kicking but during his solo, incorporating Bach's "Bouree in E Minor" into it. There are stellar versions of "Stairway to Heaven," "Since I've Been Loving You," and "What Is and What Should Never Be" on here as well. As expected, the 23-minute "Whole Lotta Love" medley is a definite highlight, as is "Dazed and Confused." Drummers are bound to be impressed by the late, great John Bonham's extended drum solo on "Moby Dick."
Although the Houses of the Holy album had yet to be released, those in attendence were treated to previews of some of the songs, and the versions of "Over the Hills and Far Away," "Dancing Days," and "The Ocean" all kick massive behind. A just-under-10-minute version of "Bring It On Home" closes off this CD with a bang, and leaving the listener in awe.
Also when listening to it, one cannot help but notice how good the sound quality is. Any Zeppelin fan knows that Jimmy Page, producer for all the albums and a key songwriter, settles for nothing but the best, and only that. When Led Zeppelin's catalogue was first released on CD, the sound quality was inferior, so Jimmy Page himself remastered the CDs, showing that he not only cares about the old fans, but the young fans growing in the 90s discovering the group (like this one). With BBC Sessions, Jimmy was in charge of that, and gave us a great sounding album of BBC material. And once again, he has proven his loyalty to the fans (and to himself and his band) and given us an amazing-sounding live record with great material on it. THANKS, JIMMY!!!!!
All that said, How the West Was Won is an absolute must-own for any Led Zeppelin fan, no questions asked. If you like Led Zeppelin, you are GUARANTEED to enjoy this. Don't worry about price, because when you hear it, you will know for yourself that this CD is worth its weight in gold. Buy it and enjoy it for a long time to come.