Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Led Zeppelin bootleg – Bringing The House Down – Landover 26th May 1977


DISC ONE: The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, In My Time Of Dying, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter
DISC TWO: Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Dancing Days, Black Country Woman, Bron-yr-Aur Stomp, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir
DISC THREE: Out On The Tiles/Moby Dick, Page Solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll

Just as Empress Valley seemed to be (and I’m quoting the Underground Uprising webmaster here) “losing the plot”, they pull a rabbit out of a hat and shove it in your face. With very little advance notice, Empress Valley again does the impossible and released an almost complete (we’ll get more into this later on) and previously unknown soundboard tape.

The tape is from one of a string of Maryland ’77 shows that have been overlooked by many over the years because of the rather poor sound quality of the available audience tapes. The exception to this has been the tape from May 30th where the audio quality is quite good. The remaining tapes from Landover are distant and hard to listen to. This is about to change – at least for one of the shows in question. The package Empress Valley used on this set is the same gatefold style book that was employed for their Orlando ’71 release Florida Sunshine. The inside of the sleeve has a black and white picture of Jimmy in his white dragon suit with the Les Paul on one side and Plant on the other side with microphone in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The disc sleeves are bound to the center of the gatefold. It’s a welcome addition over a jewel case any day in my book.

The Aquarius 11 liner notes dated 04.22.03 are in Japanese only this time around with no attempt at an English translation offered. The tape feed fades in with the audience cheering just prior to the start of the show. There’s a hint of hiss on the tape and it’s lacking the dynamics and depth of the Flying Circus release. The overall tone of the sound reminds me of the Seattle ’77 video soundtrack tape. I expect to see some debate about this subject in the coming days. Hopefully someone with a professional set of ears will be able to say for certain. A last minute sound check plows straight into The Song Remains The Same. The first thing that you notice is how prominent in the mix Jones’ bass is.

There are some faint cracking/static on the tape in spots, but I think it’s probably from something on the stage or possibly on the master tape. The first example of this is at the 52 second mark of Sick Again. “Maryland! Good Evening!” Exclaims Plant just prior to apologizing for the delay in starting the show. The opening salvo of songs are pretty standard ’77 fare. In My Time Of Dying contains the You Shook Me lyrics just prior to end of the song. During the quite time between songs, Bonzo can be heard shouting. Plant is in good voice tonight as evidenced by the opening line of Since I’ve Been Loving You.

No Quarter is a half of a tick over 24 minutes long tonight. At the 3 minute 45 second mark in the track the audio changes tone slightly signifying a possible source tape switch or even the splicing of a completely different show in to complete missing sections of tape. Thinking the worst, I pulled out my TDOLZ Maryland Deluxe box set and put in the audience tape from the 26th and made several comparisons between the two shows during the section of tape in question and it sounds to me that EV kept on course and we are indeed still listening to Landover.

Ten Years Gone is as majestic as ever and is a treat to hear in such clarity. Jonsey’s three necked mandolin/guitar is absent at the onset of the track until the sound guys raise the audio levels and the track balances out nicely. After Going To California you can hear someone (Jimmy?) say “Dancing Days” just prior to the start of the guitar intro. It’s only lasts a minute before breaking into Black Country Woman though. The soundboard source tape is not complete. During Bron-yr-Aur Stomp, the tape seamlessly flows into the audience tape plugging any gaps.

The audience tape lasts near two full minutes before being switched back to the soundboard tape. Kashmir finds the boys losing their place (it seems to be rare that they don’t get lost in Kashmir!). They make a nice recovery but it’s a preview of what lies ahead. Bonzo’s solo lasts 36 minutes on this tape. At 25:57 the audience tape is again employed to plug the gap in the soundboard tape. The soundboard tape comes back at 35:17 making for one large hole that was plugged! Plant describes it as “45 minutes of John Bonham!”. The guitar solo contains the Star Spangled Banner. Achilles Last Stand starts out a mess. Bonzo starts in on drums long before Jimmy’s into is supposed to be over. After a few seconds, they meet up and proceed on the normal course. A very respectable run through of Stairway follows. Whole Lotta Love is used as an intro to Rock And Roll. Empress spliced on about 2 minutes of the audience cheer to the end of the tape closing out the show.

The crowd BOOs loudly when the house lights come on and the tapers can be heard talking and discussing buying T-Shirts (as well as The Eagles on the house PA). This is an excellent release and well worth seeking out for the Tour Over America ’77 junkies as well as the casual collector. New source tapes are rare and special indeed but a soundboard tape from ’77 is a very rare occurrence. The clear audio on this tape fills in much speculation about this show as the audience tape is a difficult listen and it’s hard to hear what’s actually happening on stage at times. There will probably be those that roast EV for filling the tape gaps with audience tape but had they not, they would have been roasted for that, so it’s a no win situation for them these days. No one ever seems happy with anything, so I suppose you simply try and do what seems right at the time.

I would have to really look hard and close to find something to complain about on this set. Grab it while you can get it if your budget allows.

May 16, 2010 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin Bringing The House Down | ,

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