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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.
5/5
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on May 29, 2003
The alternate title for this review is "Got Zeppelin?". Cause if you don't, you really need to do so immediately. The release of this 3CD live set confirms what many of us have believed for some time. Many, if not most, of the bands that we grew up with taped their shows. We all have talked about where are the live releases of these concerts. Now we know, at least in the case of Led Zeppelin.
In 1972, these 4 lads were in total command of their composing and performing powers. They had 4 solid releases behind them and were touring in advance of "Houses of the Holy". The power of this band was always in their live performances.
This is irrevocably confirmed in the first listen of the first disc. Jimmy gets this whole secondary riff thing going in "Immigrant Song" that just leaps out at you. My reaction was one of "oh, yea, that works". HOTH is first experienced on track 5, "Over The Hills And Far Away", where the band lays it out ever so finely with Plant's vocals at center stage. Variations on a theme are heard as Page noodles an alternate riff throughout. To those of us, and there are many, who know Zep's music note for note, this is so refreshing. To hear these alternate riffs throughout this album makes it very engaging and absolutely essential. The blues base of the band is in your face throughout an 8 minute "Since I've Been Loving You". The alternate or secondary riff thing happens again as Jimmy and John Paul trade licks on "Going to California". John Paul's mandolin playing is sweet, yet forceful, a ying to Jimmy's guitar yang.
Disc 2 burns rubber as "Dazed and Confused" commands 25 minutes of attention. This is not your mother's D+C, or even the D+C we know so well from a certain Live Concert Film from Madison Square Garden. This is something else entirely. Blues with serious bashing is experienced again with "What Is And What Should Never Be". The vocals here are just superb. Plant is the man. He knows it. We know it. Then and now. Wow.
Disc 3 requires the donning of protective eyewear as the shredding of Page's guitar is potentially hazardous. "Whole Lotta Love" also reintroduces the world to the best rock drummer of the era, John Bonham. He crushes the skins throughout the 3CDs, but totally shines on WLL. Say what you will about the (many) other great drummers of the late 60s into the 70s. When you are done, listen to Bonham's playing on this 3CD set and see if you do not agree. If WLL does not convince you, check out "Rock And Roll", which follows. Bonham is awfully good there, too. It still does not make me aspire to be a Caddy owner, though.
In the end, I am left both satiated and hungry. Satiated that I have had a full meal deal listening to one of the absolute titans of rock at the apex of their performing. Hungry for more from them and the many other bands we all treasure/d and wondering where all those tapes went. Here's hoping for more, soon.
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on June 10, 2003
I was a little worried when I saw the times for Dazed and Confused(25:25) and Whole Lotta Love(23:08). I thought, 'uh oh, it's The Some Remains the Same soundtrack all over again.' I couldn't have been further from the truth. They have an energy that was definitly missing from the SRTS soundtrack. The accoustic set on disk 1 is amazing. Plus, the live version of the then unreleased Over the Hills and Far Away, is alone worth the price.
If you're looking for the "live Zeppelin" that the people that actually saw them live always talk about, it's this CD. Buy this and the BBC sessions Zep and let's pretend The Song Remains the Same Soundtrack never happened.
Now let's all pray that Page, Plant, and Jones can actually get along long enough for a reunion tour for all of us Zep fans who never got to see them. (and yes, an older Led Zeppelin IS better than nothing)
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I had my doubts about this set. The Song Remains The Same from '73 is so crummy that I wondered how good could this one really be? Turns out it is pretty spectacular, the band is on fire. Two things really stand out for me: Jimmy Page was a production innovator / master / perfectionist in the studio and those obsesively perfect renditions of these songs have been burned into our minds by classic rock radio. Turns out he was a passionate / no-net / seat of his pants improviser too and this take no prisoners ethos was equally matched by the rest of the band. Also, this is such a reminder that the blooze-jam approach was the fashion of the day in '72 and in many ways, there is really not that much separating the 1972 Led Zeppelin in their approach from Santana and The Grateful Dead in the same period (listen to Santan'a Lotus live album from '73 or the Dead's Europe '72 to see what I mean) even if the resulting music is miles apart.

Incredible!
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on May 27, 2003
June 25, 1972 is one source of "How the West Won" and is known to bootleg collectors as "Burn Like a Candle." It's one of the group's best shows and was, along with the June 27 show, an ideal choice for this set. With much more spark than "The Song Remains the Same," and more atmosphere than "BBC Sessions," "How the West Won" is destined to become Zeppelin's definitive live set (until Page releases a set with one of the Earl's Court shows from 1975!).
The floodgates open with the hammer of the gods, "Immigrant Song", and there's no chance for the audience or listener to catch their breath with a jump right into "Heartbreaker". The stage is set for a no-holds barred show. The tracks from "Houses of the Holy" that the band added to the set list just days earlier sound fresh out of the box, especially "Dancing Days."
"Dazed and Confused" live was never the same twice and this edition is proof of that. Page always knew how to stretch this workhorse and Jones and Bonham follow along for the ride.
Really, it's all here. You can tell that barely seven months after it's release, "Stairway to Heaven" was already a fan favorite. The "Whole Lotta Love" medly allows the band to delve into their favorites. "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" and "That's the Way" show the band's accoustic side, and " "The Ocean" and "Bring it on Home" close out a show (two shows, really) that shouldn't have been under wraps for 31 years.
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It's official...you can now throw out your copy of THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME. After more than 25 years, Atlantic records has released the definitive concert album from the premier heavy metal band. Culled from two 1972 California concerts, this is two-and-a-half hours of primo Zeppelin.
And while it would not be until spring of the following year that HOUSES OF THE HOLY, their fifth studio album, would be released, four songs from that album were debuted during their 1972 concert tour: "Over the Hills and Far Away," "Dancing Days," "The Ocean" and "The Crunge," the latter as part of the 25-minute "Dazed and Confused" medley.
In addition to highlights from their first five albums, the band shows us that their musical roots weren't exclusively the blues. In the 23-minute "Whole Lotta Love" medley they cover early rock 'n' roll songs "Let's Have a Party" and "Hello Mary Lou," as well as "Goin' Down Slow."
As enjoyable--and indispensable--as this album is, I do have a few quibbles. [Get ready to hit the "Not Helpful" button, folks!] Some of Page's noodling on the first half of "Dazed and Confused" is a bit bombastic. Also, was it really necessary to expand the studio version of "Moby Dick" from under five minutes to nineteen minutes? [I played in a band in high school and we never gave our drummer more than five minutes--long enough to have a smoke.] And what was the point of listing the 14-second "LA Drone" as one of the tracks? In addition, there are virtually no liner notes, and there is no booklet or concert photos. If they were trying to cut costs, this would have easily fit onto two CDs instead of spreading it out over three.
With that said, this documents Led Zeppelin at the top of their game and the peak of their creativity. This is a must-have purchase for any Zeppelin fan. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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on June 4, 2003
As a member of the third generation to experience Zeppelin, this couldn't have come at a better time. The BBC Sessions came out six years ago, and all LZ fans have been waiting for a compilation that contains the best of the muddied bootlegs we've been listening to for nigh on thirty years. The reviews are all true: this is the band at the top of their game, with all four men at their musical peaks. Standouts include the "Whole Lotta Love" medley, "Rock And Roll" and one of the earliest performances of "Over The Hills And Far Away". Buy the DVD, for that and this album eclipses "The Song Remains The Same" and finally puts to rest the notion that Zeppelin was a mediocre live act. Rock!
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on July 12, 2003
Well, the long-missing Led Zeppelin live album is here and it is good. How The West Was Won shows Zeppelin at their peak, in between the untitled fourth album and Houses of the Holy. It's pretty much what you what you would expect and reveals all that makes Led Zeppelin great. Every band member is at the top of their game here.
The first CD (the best of the three) kicks off with a very loud trio of Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker and Black Dog. The latter portion of the CD gives us Zeppelin unplugged with Going To California, That's The Way, and Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. Also worth mentioning is the version of Stairway To Heaven contained here. Although you've heard the song a million times over the years, this version is great and breathes some new life into the overly familiar song. CDs two and three present long medleys/jams (Dazed and Confused, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love) along with shorter, tightly structured performances (Dancing Days, What Is And What Should Never Be, Rock And Roll). The long medleys are great, but you probably won't listen to them as often as the shorter songs. Plant and Page incorporate everything from blues songs to 50's rockers into Dazed and Confused and Whole Lotta Love. John Bonham gets his shot in the spotlight on Moby Dick, a very long drum solo bookended by a nice guitar riff, (similar to Ginger Baker's Toad). The album ends with a great take on Bring It On Home (from Led Zeppelin II), which takes a Sonny Boy Williamson song and builds on it to create another top-notch blues rocker.
The performances are hot. The band is definitely captured on good nights. The song selection is pretty predictable (Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, Whole Lotta Love) but there are a few pleasant surprises such as Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Over The Hills And Far Away and Bring It On Home.
If I have one complaint, though, it's that this collection is a bit too similar to the 1997 release BBC Sessions. The song selection is much the same and it's from around the same era. However, How The West Was Won does have the advantage of capturing the band live on stage in front of an audience rather than simply live in a studio.
To sum up, this is great stuff! Buy it! If you like Led Zeppelin, buy this. If you don't like Led Zeppelin, buy this and start liking them. Here's hoping that Jimmy Page will go back to the vaults and release more live Zeppelin performances on CD.
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on April 2, 2006
Led Zeppelin, from humble beginnings as the struggling last members of the yardbirds, to triumphs as one of the greatest rock sensations in history have come so far, and this album really shows them in their prime.

The 20+ minute tracks, I'll admit, can be kind of mindboggling just looking at them. But when you play them you'll never want them to end. Suddenly, twenty minutes isn't all that much.

But I believe that a real highlight here is 'Stairway to Heaven'. While this is, by far, not my favorite Led Zeppelin song, it is one of them. And this version is the one that, when it comes down to raw talent, has the most to offer. I've listened to it again and again, and I don't plan to stop anytime soon.

The song features an extended guitar solo, which is amazing in itself, and some excellent vocals from Robert Plant. From 'Remember laughter?' to 'Wait a minute!' I just can't pull myself away from his voice.

Other highlights include: 'Immigrant Song, The Ocean, and Over The Hills And Far Away'.

By this album. You won't put it down.
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on November 15, 2004
This is worth the money. You're getting 18 Led Zeppelin songs on 3 discs all recorded live at California in '72. Some of them are over 20 minutes long and are overtaken by solos by Jimmy Page. Especially on Whole Lotta Love which is a 23-minute song. He also plays very well in the 25 minute Dazed and Confused song. You get to hear an extended version of Moby Dick, one of the best drum solos from John Bonham with no stops for 19 minutes (way better then the 4 minute album version). You hear Robert Plant at some of his best moments in almost every song except solo parts.

If your unsure about buying this because you never bought any Led Zeppelin albums before you will not be disappointed at all. I do recommend buying the Complete Studio Recordings before this if you're new to them like I am but I bought this and the Complete Studio Recordings in a week's time. If you like rock/blues/acoustic/metal music with guitar/drum solos played throughout almost every song then I recommend this.

CD-1

1. LA Drone- (: 14)-N/A

2. Immigrant Song- (3:42)-10/10

3. Heartbreaker- (7:25)-10/10

4. Black Dog- (5:41)-10/10

5. Over the Hills and Far Away- (5:08)-9/10

6. Since I've been Loving You- (8:02)-9/10

7. Stairway to Heaven- (9:38)-10/10

8. Going to California- (5:37)-9/10

9. That's the Way- (5:54)-10/10

10. Bron-Yr-Aur-Stomp- (4:55)-10/10

CD-2

1. Dazed and Confused- (25:25)-10/10

2. What is and What Should Never Be- (4:41)-10/10

3. Dancing Days- (3:42)-10/10

4. Moby Dick (drum solo)- (19:20)-10/10

CD-3

1. Whole Lotta Love- (23:08)-10/10

2. Rock and Roll- (3:56)-10/10

3. The Ocean- (4:21)-9/10

4. Bring it on Home- (9:30)-9/10
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