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Led Zeppelin Deutschland Über Alles (Vienna, June 1980)

deustchland_uber_alles_fFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Stadhalle, Vienna, Austria – June 26th, 1980

Disc 1 (67:00): Train Kept a Rollin’, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In The Evening, Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I’ve Been Loving You

Disc 2 (55:13): White Summer, Claude Knobs announcement, Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love

Even though Led Zeppelin’s 1980 Tour Over Europe is unfairly vilified, it certainly did hit a serious state of mediocrity in middle with the shows in Hannover, Vienna and Nuermberg. Hannover was plagued by a grumpy Robert Plant and a very quiet audience and Nuremberg was cut short after fifteen minutes because of John Bonham. But Vienna had both mediocre playing and an unfortunate incident with a firework in the middle of the concert.

Unlike most of the stops on this tour, no soundboard exists but only an excellent audience recording. The crowd is quiet, so the music can be heard without any interference. This tape first surfaced in the eighties and was pressed on All Good Things Go By Threes – Inedits Vol. 3(Wien). Other compact disc releases include Vienna (Tarantura 1980-13,14), which is part of the massive 1980 tour binder and came out before TDOLZ, and Goodnight Vienna (Electric Magic-016A/B) which came out after.

TDOLZ sounds similar to the Tarantura release except there are some digital scratches during the announcement and the label speed up the tape a bit. Electric Magic has the metallic sound spoiling the music, making it the worst of the three.

The show gets off to a promising start with nice versions of ”Train Kept A-Rollin’” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” Jimmy Page introduces “Black Dog” as “a nice little number about 36-23-36…what’s it called in German? Schwartzhund!”

Afterwards Robert Plant tells them he’s forgotten how beautiful the city is and hopes the concert can match the city’s beauty. “In The Evening” functions as their latter day stage stomper even though it’s drenched in new wave synthesizers. John Paul Jones plays the sad little melody in the bridge but messes up a few notes.

This part of the show is dominated by slower songs like the “The Rain Song” and newer material from the last album. People in the audience are impatient and keep requesting “Rock And Roll” (something common in all the stops on this tour). Page becomes impatient himself after “Hot Dog” and scolds the audience by saying: “Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. Hold it. We haven’t been here for seven years you know, sure we played Rock and Roll, but we haven’t been sitting around on our asses for seven years. We got a lot of new songs to play too. Would you like to hear those? We’re gonna do that and we’re gonna play Rock and Roll too, Ok?”

The audience grows even more impatient, and it really leads one to question their decisions with setlist. Zeppelin, on their first actual tour in three years, wanted to play shorter, more hard rocking sets. Yet there are so many slower, more demanding songs in the set that the audience’s reactions, not just in Vienna but at other points as well, grow tired of the set. It’s even more strange that “Achilles Last Stand,” one of their most exciting songs, is dropped from the show this night.

This is especially true with “White Summer / Black Mountain Side.” Very few of the performances of this piece inspire any kind of excitement in the audience. And in Vienna someone throws a firecracker at Jimmy Page.

He leaves the stage and the promoter comes out to yell at the audience. TDOLZ list him as Claude Knobs, but that’s not accurate. Knobs is a French speaking Swiss, not a German. There are several cuts in the announcement so it’s hard to determine how long it is, but it lasts over five minutes on the tape. The promoter says both in German and English that he cannot allow that person to remain in the audience and that the show won’t continue until he steps forward.

The band eventually do return and pick up with “Kashmir” and the show is actually better. “Stairway To Heaven” is particularly effective, the best song of the night and one of the best versions from the tour. After the song Plant thanks Vienna and tells them it’s been “quite an evening one way or another.”

When they come out for the encores Plant teaches Vienna the “Eye Thank Ewe” trick and Page tries to play “Vienna” by Franz Josef Hayden (although most know it as “Deutschland Uber Alles”), Austria’s national anthem. He struggles with it, and Plant tries to help. ”Rock And Roll” is the first encore and, in a supreme irony, Page badly botches the solo in the middle rendering the song a mess.

Before the final encore Plant tell them “it’s turned out alright. Sorry about your friend somewhere. Bang. Sorry” and after “Whole Lotta Love” tell them “don’t forget: preserve the dinosaur.”

Deutschland Über Alles is a good release by TDOLZ but could have been better. It’s packaged in a slim double with inserts printed on one side only. It is a good enough sounding tape and interesting enough to warrant a re-examination and for a more definitive version to be released.

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May 27, 2013 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin Deutschland Über Alles | ,

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