Led Zeppelin enjoyed a special relationship to Switzerland in their live career. Appearances in Montreux in 1970, 1971 and 1972 are among their most well known and the two audience recordings from those dates (March 7th, 1970 and August 7th, 1971) are two of their best performances. In their last tour of Europe of the 70s in 1973 the didn’t play any dates in the country, but made up for that with the June 29th, 1980 show at the Hallenstadion in Zürich.
This show is the source for the first vinyl boot to surface from this tour and the very first compact disc release in 1988. Collectors are also convinced this to be one of the top, if not the best, show from their most obscure tour. Except for the past seven years this show has been in almost constant circulation and is considered to be the essential show from the tour for the collection.
A Good Hot One (TDOLZ Vol. 69)
Hallenstadion, Zürich, Switzerland – June 29th, 1980
Disc 1, soundboard (63:15): Train Kept A-Rollin’, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In The Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (55:11): Achilles Last Stand, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Heartbreaker
An incomplete soundboard tape first surfaced in 1988. Capturing the show from “Train Kept A-Rollin’” to “Kashmir,” it was first released on Tour Over Europe 1980 (Twin Eagle). The reception with Zeppelin collectors was similar to Ultra Rare Trax on Swingin’ Pig had with Beatle collectors: it revealed the possibilities of the new medium in finding new sources and releasing them in excellent quality. The Twin Eagle release was quickly copied on Tour Over Europe 1980 (Seagull Records 004/2) and Tour Over Europe 1980 (Swan Song 806292). ”Stairway To Heaven,” “Rock And Roll” and ”Heartbreaker” were released in 1989 on Silver Coated Rails (Condor 1981). Another incomplete release about this time was The Final Tour (Paitrot Label 003) which is missing “White Summer/ Black Mountain Side” and “Kashmir” but with bonus tracks from Berlin.
Tracks from this show can be found on the Joker releases from Australia and “White Summer,” “Kashmir,” “Trampled Underfoot,” “Train Kept A Rollin’” and ”Nobody’s Fault But Mine” are on disc seven of the famous Cabala box set from Italy. Better sounding release began to emerge in the mid-nineties with Zurich (Tarantura 1980 17, 18), part of their big 1980 tour binder, and Gracias (Antrabata ARM 290680), a four disc set that also includes the June 24th show in Hannover. Antrabata re-released the Zürich show on Peerless Performance (Theremin) with discs “leftover” from the initial run. The latest release is on Conquer Europe (Empress Valley EVSD 70/71) which was released in 2001 and boasts “taken from Jimmy Page’s private master” but is more likely a very good mastering job. It has the advantage over other releases of the soundboard by having the cut in “Kashmir” filled by the audience recording. This is however sold out and commands a steep price when it does appear.
TDOLZ present the tape in similar sound quality to the Tarantura. There are two minor glitches during “White Summer,” a small cut after ”All My Love” and is missing the last couple minutes of “Kashmir.” That song is a disaster and the sound engineer probably turned the tape recorder off in embarrassment. There is very little tape hiss and the audience response is mixed in well preventing this from being a cold and sterile soundboard tape. Rather this is an enjoyable listening experience.
Swiss Made (TDOLZ Vol. 70)
Hallenstadion, Zürich, Switzerland – June 29th, 1980
Disc 1, audience (62:03): Train Kept A-Rollin’, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In The Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (59:47): Achilles Last Stand, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Heartbreaker
Three audience tapes exist for Zürich. The earliest release, and the first to gain wide circulation, is was used for the rare Japanese manufactured Swiss Made (S8006) and was copied on the European produced Eye Thank Yew (Happy Hippo ZZYZX 090A-D). TDOLZ use this tape for Swiss Made and it remains the only complete silver pressed issue of any of the audience tapes. It is a good to very good and atmospheric recording with much more life to it an the rather sterile soundboard tape. It is hindered by a very loud bottom end which detracts in the louder portions of the show. There are several cuts scattered throughout the show including after “Hot Dog,” “All My Love,” “Achilles Last Stand,” by the end of “Black Mountain Side,” a small cut and repeat after “Kashmir” and before the encores. None of them are serious and no music is lost. The second audience recording is missing “Stairway To Heaven” and the third is missing “White Summer,” “Kashmir” and “Stairway To Heaven.” Apparently the taper was caught and ejected from the venue but managed to sneak back in for the encores.
The previous evening’s show in Nuremberg was cut short after three songs when John Bonham collapsed onstage. Zürich is a return to form with Led Zeppelin delivering one of their gutsiest performances in the latter days. Page’s steam-train whistles build the excitement before the opening notes of “Train Kept A Rollin’” cut the tension and segues seamlessly into “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” Jimmy Page has the opening words on this tour and greets the crowd, saying, “Well if you’ve noticed, I just took me glasses off so I can see the guitar a bit better and see you a bit better too. Right, right. Ok, we got an old one. I hope you can remember is cause it’s quite an old one. It’s called ‘Black Dog.’”
Afterwards Plant greets the audience in German, saying, “Guten Tag! I mean good evening. Everybody Ok? Sorry about the ah, small delay, unforeseen things. Very nice to be back in Switzerland again. Been quite a long time, I think since Montreux. Anybody remember Montreux? You’re showing your age kids. Well since we hit the road last time we managed to make, create and put out an album complete with artwork called In Through the Out Door. This is a track from it. It’s called ‘In The Evening.’” The opening track from their last original studio album was used as the epic tour-de-force in Knebworth complete with long guitar and tympani solos, but moved up much earlier in the set for the final tour a year later.
“The Rain Song” sounds nice in all of the shows on the tour although the keyboards, replacing the mellotron from past live versions, give the song a fundamentally different sound. Plant thanks the audience in three languages (“gracias! danke! merci bien!”) before introducing a song which ”relates to the rigors of relationships in Texas.” “All My Love,” which is never introduced on stage, closes the “mellow” section of the program. The intensity of “Trampled Underfoot” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” cause the audience to move around the venue and get rowdy. “This is more like the European championships than a gig” Plant comments before “Achilles Last Stand.”
“White Summer” meanders like many versions on the tour and “Kashmir” suffers from a miscommunication in the middle. They get lost with Page and Jones playing different parts and it takes Bonham two attempts the get the band back together again. Plant acknowledges Bonham afterwards and says apologetically, “If anybody’s bootlegging that you’ll have to scratch that number cause it wasn’t completely correct. Never mind. We got through it. Heavens it’s warm. Alright? Ok? I thank you.” “Stairway To Heaven” closes the show and is one of the top five live versions on record. After the “tango” section in the solo Page develops delicate themes of great beauty, transporting the song into sublimity. “It’s been a good hot one. Good night. Claude Knobs, Buenos Dias. Alright? I thank you. Excellent. Excellent” Plant says afterwards.
Claude Knobs comes onstage to introduce the band for the encores and they play “Rock And Roll” and a version of “Heartbreaker” which quotes from the entire history of the piece. This would be the final time the Led Zeppelin II classic would be played by Led Zeppelin and is a fitting tribute. Diagrams issued these titles first in the boxset pictured above and then the two shows individually, which is more common. Given the sound quality of both, and that this is the only place to find the audience recording pressed on silver, makes this one of Diagram’s finest efforts and is worth seeking out.