Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin Destroyer (Cleveland, April 1977)


Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland, OH – April 27th, 1977

Disc 1: 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 2: Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir

Disc 3: Moby Dick, guitar solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Rock And Roll, Trampled Underfoot

Led Zeppelin’s Destroyer concert received another release recently. This is a no-label release which follows an edition by the SODD label earlier this year. Compared to that one, the no label use a different source. The gain has been reduced making it softer in volume. Some may say this sounds more natural, but that is a subjective judgment according to one’s taste and it can at least be claimed this isn’t any worse than any other version. It does sound brighter with stable high frequencies and is considerably cleaner than other versions.

The opening of “The Song Remains The Same” and several minutes in the middle of “No Quarter” are still missing (the cut in the latter occurs at 5:10 and eliminates the first half of the improvisation where they must often played an up beat boogie before the proper and more somber solo.) There are also small tape flips in “White Summer” and during Jimmy Page’s guitar solo on disc three. It otherwise contains all of the music present. Ever since this tape first surfaced on vinyl it has been a rare perennial. According to the label, this release is sourced from first generation reels which were posted online in September. The notes that came with this version state:

“D.F. and I would coach the Seattle Kingdome video director (N.W.) on songs to be played at upcoming major shows. Basically he was “studying up” on song placement and solos to be expected. Having worked at both the Superdome and in Cleveland, N.W. had friends at other venues. He simply asked a friend working the show in Cleveland to get him a copy of the show and fire it off to us in Seattle. The guy brought in his home deck, walked up to the board, and being on the crew they plugged him in.

Just that simple. These reels are a direct copy of the master cassettes done in the early 80′s on a brand new Akai GX-77 reel deck using Maxell XLII tape at 7.5 ips and the rare EE equalization that the tape required. I personally have a better trust in this source than I do in the actual masters now. The masters still exist, but they aren’t going in the mail, and after so many years, I just think that 7.5 ips quarter inch reels are the best way to go. They may never have been played before Woodworker’s efforts. I kept a second “play” copy on Maxell UD reels for listening. This source is pristine, not one of the bootleg versions, not off crude cassette copies from me in the 80′s.”

Many Zeppelin collectors argue that this show is weak and not one of the better performances. Zeppelin partly relied upon the acoustics of the venue in which they were playing. Through clever use of echo in the background, that technique gives a mysterious ambiance giving the impression their music was coming out of the depth of chaos.

A dry mixing desk tape eliminates that part of the sound and its unforgiving nature can’t cover up the sloppy notes like a good audience recording can do. Listening through this tape, it is apparent there are no major disasters on stage and it reveals that the final weekend of the first third of their eleventh tour the band tightened up considerably when compared to the opening shows in Chicago.

“It’s great to be back…in more ways than one” Plant cryptically states before an version of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” augmented by additional shouts and chants. Destroyer is packaged in a standard fatboy jewel case. The inserts are printed on shiny glossy paper. The design is very simple with several photos from the tour and a set list printed on the back. It certainly is one of the prettiest versions of the show in a while. It is limited to two hundred unnumbered copies and this is an excellent way to own a great version of the show on an authoritative silver edition.


April 14, 2013 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin Destroyer | ,

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