When Led Zeppelin scheduled their comeback from the events of 1977 they planned it in three stages. The first was the recording of a new album, which they did in November 1978 in Stockholm. The second was a return to the stage in Europe, and the third and final was a US tour which, as events would dictate, would never occur.
Although they planned their first concert in two years with the huge Knebworth festival, they decided to play two warm up gigs in Copenhagen, Denmark a week before. These were the first shows in Denmark since they played the KB Hallen in 1973. These were poorly advertised and planned. The first show was delayed several hours because Zeppelin couldn’t fit their lighting rig in the venue. While trying to regain their live prowess and breaking in their new set list, these are essentially public rehearsals before an uncritical audience.
The setlist itself reveals Zeppelin trying to “cut the waffle” (as Plant said in an interview after Knebworth) by cutting out the long solos and playing more songs while maintaining a two and a half hour marathon set. Trying to have it both ways produced one of their most clunky and disjointed set which seems to lose any kind of momentum it builds. Nevertheless it is one of their most complete in terms of comprehensiveness with songs from every one of their albums including the not yet released In Through The Outdoor.
Falkoner Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark – July 23rd, 1979
Disc 1 (71:40): Introduction, The Song Remains The Same, Celebration Day, Out On The Tiles intro / Black Dog, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Hot Dog, The Rain Song
Disc 2 (57:36): White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Achilles Last Stand, guitar solo / drum solo, In The Evening, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll
The first Copenhagen show exists on a superlative sounding stereo audience recording which surfaced soon after the event on the famous Melancholy Danish Pageboys Get It On (Danskmusic M-197-3). The same tape is used for all compact disc releases including Melancholy Danish Pageboys Get It On Remake (Silver Rarities SIRA 80/81) misdated July 24th, Melancholy Danish Pageboys Get It On (Cobra 022), 79 (Antrabata) with all four 1979 shows, Copenhagen Warm-Ups (TDOLZ Vol. 94), Copenhagen Warm-Ups (Empress Valley EVSD 30/31/32/33/34), Copenhagen Warm-Ups (Tarantura), and Copenhagen Warm-Ups (Last Stand Disc LSD-1/2/3/4 and the reissue LSD- 86/87/88/89). All these have minor variations which are meticulously documented on the Bootledz site, but all generally sound great. This green cover no label version however is one of the very best versions available and remains so despite the other releases in the ensuing years. The only flaw is some digital interference beginning in the last half of “Hot Dog” and running through the first minute of “The Rain Song.”
The tape begins with the audience cheering and Robert Plant on stage making an announcement saying “Good evening. We have no lights….we must apologize but the lights keep going so we’re gonna play with like half a light show.” The audience start their rhythmic clapping and Bonzo joins them before the band start the opening song, a rusty version of “The Song Remains The Same” followed by “Celebration Day” for the first time since 1973.
“Thank you very much, and thank you for your patience and waiting for the disappearing lights. Well it’s been eight years since we were here last time. There’s not too much talking to do, quite a bit of playing” he says as an introduction to a good version of “Black Dog.” The following numbers are played with hesitation and Page messes up the short guitar break in “Misty Mountain Hop.” “Since I’ve Been Loving You” follows although not with the segue employed in 1972 and 1973. This is the debut of the new double solo arrangement where Page plays two guitar solos instead of one, a practice he will keep through the 1980 tour.
“After quite a while we seem to managed to create an LP. And LP’s, albums usually reflect…didn’t think I was gonna go through all this, but they usually reflect where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you think, and consequently this one’s some ethereal quality. It’s called ‘Hot Dog’” Plant says before the first of two new songs in the set. They play tentatively and it seems Page wants to duplicate the guitar solo from the set but changes his mind and the results are a mess. Afterwards Plant again apologises for the lights, saying, “That was because we were very heavily influenced by the P.A. and lighting company who charges so much money we had to write that song and they got the royalties. That’s why only half the lights are working.” When someone requests “D’yer M’ker” Plant replies, “never heard of it.” “The Rain Song” is played for the first time alone, not linked with “The Song Remains The Same.”
In the second half of the show “White Summer” sounds very good as does “Kashmir.” After “Achilles Last Stand” Plant speak about “virgin soil that we now tread. It’s not only have we been quite quiet for two years, but in being quiet we only found this song about six months ago.” The long theremin solo of the 1977 tour is gone for the violin bow solo exclusively which leads into a tympani introduction for “In The Evening.” The studio recording begins with a short but effective violin bow exercise so utilizing this arrangement makes sense. It also builds up the tension for their latest epic barn burner, much like how they did on the previous tour with “Achilles Last Stand.” The show ends with “Stairway To Heaven” and only “Rock And Roll” as an encore. Overall it sounds like what it is: an open rehearsal fills with bum notes and weak performances.
Falkoner Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark – July 24th, 1979
Disc 3 (67:18): The Song Remains The Same, Celebration Day, Out On The Tiles intro / Black Dog, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Hot Dog
Disc 2 (74:07): The Rain Song, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again, Achilles Last Stand, guitar solo / drum solo, In The Evening, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love
The second Copenhagen show was also released on vinyl soon after the event on the vinyl Copenhagen Warm Ups: 2nd Night (Empire & Geiko Sukui 3ZC-07249 1-6), In The Evening (Dane Records SX 502), Raging Violent The Virtuoso (no label), and Zep Over Europe (Earthwords ZEL A-H). Compact disc releases have all been in a four disc set with the previous night and can be found on the titles listed above and which are documented meticulously on the Bootledz website. The recording is slightly more fuzzy than the first night but still excellent and very powerful with several tape flips after “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Kashmir” (which cuts off the final notes).
Getting their first live performance in two years out of the way, they deliver a much tighter and more confident show than the first which some collectors say is the best of the four 1979 appearances. “The Song Remains The Same” has much more energy as it burst on the stage with a dramatic segue into the fanfare that is “Celebration Day.” ”Well good evening to you. It’s very nice to be back in Copenhagen after many years, in fact, since last night. It’s very nice to have the lights back with us tonight and it’s very nice to have Susan Watson Taylor’s young nephews here too” are Plant’s opening words before “Black Dog.”
“Misty Mountain Hop” with Page hitting the solo correctly. Plant sings through a harmonizer which is probably meant to duplicate the doubled vocals of the studio recording but oftentimes sounds quite silly. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is introduced as a “blues…and that’s been virtually the background of ninety percent of the stuff we’ve ever put on record.”
Page plays some pretty sounding trills in “No Quarter” in the verses. There is almost no keyboard solo from Jones since Page comes in very early. He plays a fluent solo but seems to steal the spotlight. Afterwards they get ready to play “Ten Years Gone” for the first time in two years. “This next one’s really a bit of a departure from set formula” Plant says since they didn’t play it on the 23rd. There is a delay with Jones’ guitar and Plant quips, ”very shortly we shall be doing eleven years gone.” When the audience begins to chant and stomp in rhythm Plant jokes, “you should have been here last night.” The complicated Physical Graffiti track is played without a hitch retaining its pristine beauty.
“Sick Again,” which was not played on the 23rd, is added to the set list after “Trampled Underfoot.” The violin bow solo leading into “In The Evening” provides the greatest excitement of the evening, being an effective piece of theatrics with the audience clapping along. “Whole Lotta Love” is dedicated to Beowulf as they introduce a new seven minute arrangement of the song. In tracing the evolution of the piece over ten years, from its single form to medley to the vehicle for theremin battles, this is one of the greatest versions. The middle section contains a tight and hard riff pummeled over the head of the audience which caps a great evening by the band. Copenhagen Warm-Ups on Zoso was issued in the mid nineties in a basic, no-frills packaging and remains one of the best versions available for these interesting concerts.