on 11 June 2003
Quite simple - one of the best rock albums ever released.
From the opening "LA Drone" through to Robert Plant's harmonica coda, this is the real deal.
All Zep fans will be astounded by the clarity of the sound.
Jimmy Page has obviously done a fantastic job of re-mastering the original tapes and I am sure he has done a little "tinkering" here and there!!
I have a bootleg of an LA Forum gig from 72 or 74 and his "flub" quota was always quite high but who cares??
The dynamics are astounding and demands to be played at high volume to fully appreciate the sonic variations.
2 minor criticisms though - without visuals, the 20 mins drum solo (Moby Dick) and 7 mins of bowing the guitar in Dazed are hard going.
They would have been better left to the DVD and edited down for the CD. This would have left room for another gem or two (Rain Song or No Quarter?).
People have tended to overlook the contribution of JP Jones and Bonzo over the years and concentrated on the Page/ Plant partnership.
However, this is as much about them as Pagey's magical guitar playing and Plant's exuberant vocals.
John Bonham proves what a truly great drummer he was, displaying an awesome array of styles and volume control that adds dynamics by the bucket load.
JP Jones shows what a solid (without being flashy) player he was and I particularly enjoyed his mandolin playing on the acoustic section.
If there was any doubt before, this album proves what Zep fans already know - they were the best rock band of all time.
I cannot think of a better way of spending 14 quid, that's for sure!!
on 26 May 2003
At last a fitting testament to the live phenomenon that was Led Zeppelin. Zep aficionados will have doubtless sought out and listened to the 'unofficial' live recordings that have always seemed plentiful, as well as, of course the half a show that is the soundtrack to 'The Song Remains the Same'. The advent of 'How The West Was Won' means all those disappointing recordings, with their poor sound and haphazard presentation, can be left to gather dust. This is how Led Zeppelin were supposed to sound live. The quality is excellent, conveying the true might of a band that dominated rock for a decade and beyond. More importantly, the performances are superb. Sure, there is the odd rough edge, but this is a LIVE performance, without a studio overdub in earshot. The renditions of 'Back Dog' and 'Since I've been Loving You' are far better than on 'The Song Remains The Same' while a whole new dimension has been added with the inclusion of the quieter, acoustic based numbers so glaringly absent from that album. In this complete 'show' (actually culled from two seperate gigs played a couple of days apart) the full spectrum of Zeppelin's musical prowess is presented. Plant's singing is magical on 'Going to California', 'That's The Way' and What Is and What Should Never Be'. But to say that it is any less so anywhere else on the album would be doing him a grave injustice. Only six of the eighteen tracks are repeated from 'The Song Remains The Same' CD (seven if you include 'Since I've Been Loving You', which is performed in the film). To hear live for the first time - properly recorded and mixed - songs such as 'Over The Hills and Far Away', 'Dancing Days' and 'The Ocean' is a joy. We do get the obligatory vast versions of 'Dazed and Confused' and 'Moby Dick' which, at times can teeter on the brink of self indulgence. But there is so much musical brilliance and finesse on these numbers that there is never any real danger of them falling into the precipice. Besides, this wouldn't be a Led Zeppelin show without them. Never has it been more evident than on this showing why filling Bonham's drum stool at a (more and more unlikely to happen) Zeppelin reunion would be an impossible task. 'Whole Lotta Love' is also a huge number; a rock'n'roll medley in which the band really turn up the LA heat, and Page dazzles with some truly outstanding guitar work. For those who have long sought evidence of Led Zeppelin's true live prowess then look no further. Long overdue, but welcomed like a prodigal son, this album encapsulates the magic and the power of band not yet even at the height if their powers. An essential acquisition.
on 29 May 2003
It's amazing how little material Led Zeppelin has actually released. Until now the only live Zeppelin available was the poorly thought of soundtrack to the movie "The Song Remains the Same." It's nice that Jimmy Page and company finally did something to change that. "How the West Was Won" is brilliant, showcasing just how great of a live act Zeppelin really was.
Plant sounds great, but what's really amazing is the instrumental firepower he had behind him. That Jimmy Page is a great guitarist is often taken for granted, these three discs illustrate just how much we've taken him for granted. Some of the throwaway chords and riffs that come out of his guitar during the many solos he has on this album are superior to what many of today's musicians labor over. You could write a great rock record with the things that Jimmy thinks aren't worth building a song around.
Perhaps more eyeopening than Page is the work of John Bonham and John Paul Jones. The music revolves around the drums of Bonham, he controls almost everything from his perch behind the drums. The drum sound is incredible too, heavy, thundering, powering, it's like he's issuing you a challenge to ignore him. John Paul Jones also shines. In the studio Page layered guitars upon guitars, you can't do that live, and providing the full rich Zeppelin sound people got used to on the albums fell upon the shoulders of Jones, and he does not dissapoint. Where a lesser band might have had a slight "gap" in their live sound, Jones fills the void. It's amazing, his bass sounds like a lead guitar on "Bring it on Home."
In a world mostly full of disposable pop music it's a real treat to be able to listen to the worlds greatest rock band once more, and to realize just how great they truly were.
on 27 June 2003
What is there bad to say about this album?
Led Zeppelin were probably the biggest of the 70's rock bands and were one of the best in my view.
Many might say that Physical Graffiti is their last album before they went downhill, and i must say that it may seem like that.
But with this album you don't need to worry. Recorded at the two live gigs at 25 June 1972 and 27 June 1972, at the La Forum and Long Beach Arena, these recordings were done just before Houses of the Holy was released in 1973.
This means that on the album you have songs from Led Zep I, II, III and IV as well as some songs from Houses of the Holy and they are pulled off amazingly.
On CD one you have the classics (Immigrant Song, Black Dog, Stairway to Heaven) as well as new songs from Houses of the Holy (Over the Hills and Far).
Then on CD Two you have a 25 minute long version of 'Dazed and Confused'. Though this may seem long and boring, Jimmy Page and his bands improvisation prove why they were regarded as such great musicians. This song is probably the slowest part of the album so don't expect the heavy Led Zep we have come to love.
Then on this CD is 'What it is and Should Never Be' and 'Dancing Days' and then the drum solos of 'Moby Dick'. I would says that out of the three CDs this is the worst, though as a bad CD, its still quite amazing.
On the final third CD, it starts off with a 'Whole Lotta Love' and this song is another 23 minute long improvisation where many songs are combined into it.
Then it contiues with the extreme twelve bar blues of 'Rock and Roll'. With amzing guitar playing this is one of my favourites.
The Ocean then comes on and this is another good song from Led Zep.
The final track, Bring it on Home, starts off as a slow blues number with Robert Plant on Harmonica. But after the slow intro, Jimmy Page's riff kicks in and knocks you over. The rhythm section of John Bonham and John Paul Jones always jumps in. Longer than the orginal, this song is another very good track.
This CD is of my favourites. It has heavy moments and quiet folk moments. With amazing solos Jimmy Page, great vocals from Robert Plant and the superb rhythm section of John Bonham and John Paul Jones, this album secures the fact that Led Zeppelin where one of the best 70's bands and their legacy will live on for a good long time.
on 24 May 2003
As a fan of Led Zeppeilin's music the news of this new release was treated with a sense of curiosity rather than open excitement. Since I have been fortunate enough to have access to a number of Led Zeppelin live shows, including the LA Forum shows reproduced on this CD, I wasn't expecting to hear anything new or even dare I say magical, and I've been proved wrong on both counts. "How The West Was Won" (HTWWW) is simply stunning. How a live concert recording from 1972 can sound so fresh is beyond explanation, and justifies Jimmy Page's reputation as a master in the studio (he can play the guitar a little too!). Disc one opens with a thumping rendition of the Immigrant Song, and the pace continues with Heartbreaker & Black Dog. We catch our breath during the intro to Over The Hills, only to be blown completely away by Since I've been Loving You. Things begin to relax (hey even these guys need to pace themselves) with Stairway (refreshing to hear Robert actually sing this like it means something to him), Going To California and That's The Way, and Bron-Yr Aur Stomp bringing disc one to an end.
After disc one you know what to expect and are mentally prepared for disc two, but how do you prepare for Dazed & Confused, it's just spectacular. What Is & What Should Never Be is next followed by Dancing Days and finally the monumental Moby Dick. Drum solos can often be the weak point in many a rock concert performance (time to get the beers in), but here it's the strongest track on disc two, Bonzo is just magic.
Disc three opens with Whole Lotta Love, complete with full medley (Let's Have a Party, Hello Marylou, Boogie Chillun, and more), this track is a perfect example Led Zeppelin live, a roller-coaster musical ride which you think will reel out of control at any moment, but amazingly they stay on track and leave you spell-bound. Just when you think you've heard it all Rock & Roll kicks in followed by The Ocean ("track of the new album" Robert tells His audience, and you know they are HIS now and probably will be evermore). Bring It On Home brings the show to a close, but this is also given the medley treatment and is wonderful. This release isn't just for the die hard fans, this is for everybody, absolutely fantastic from start to finish.
on 2 June 2003
This album is by no means perfect, but it is worthy of the band and their phenomenal reputation as a live act. It features many of the best versions of Zeppelin songs that I've heard; Stairway, Over the Hills... , Since I've Been Loving You are especially fantastic, and the band is on great form. Disc 1 is simply superb; it seems Zeppelin really did pummel there audiences into a state of dazed euphoria with three hard rocking tracks back-to-back (the guitar solo in Heartbreaker is the only respite.) The acoustic set is also great, and unfortunately the other two discs can't quite match the first (I think Stairway should have been left until closer to the end), having only four tracks each, but it doesn't really matter. The sound is crystal clear but perhaps lacking in atmosphere - the audience is rarely heard and there's very little of Plant talking to the crowd. Even so I'm sure those that own the bootlegs of the shows that the album is taken from won't have much use for them anymore. This is probably the best live album ever released and simply has to be bought by any rock fan.
on 25 July 2004
This album shows why they're great. From the droning feedback you're launched into the thunderous riffage of "Immigrant Song" which is embellished with a guitar solo, and that sets the tone for the whole recording. Taken from two live shows, the production is excellent as is the musicianship. On these 3 discs they cover so much musical ground, anyone who doubts Led Zeppelin was one of, if not the greatest bands needs their head checking.
I thought the first disc was the best, some of the classics songs, Disc two got a little lost in the Dazed & Confused medly that's over 25 minutes long, but if you don't mind hallucinogenic psychedelia it's great. Disc three has a few blues numbers thrown into the middle of "Whole Lotta Love", and all three discs are very good. In fact, my only gripe with this album is that "Communication Breakdown" isn't on there.
on 19 June 2003
For years, Led Zeppelin fans complained that there was one missing item in the group's catalog: a good live album. It's not that there weren't live albums to be had. The Song Remains the Same, of course, was a soundtrack of a live performance, but it was a choppy, uneven performance, lacking the majesty of the group at its peak. BBC Sessions was an excellent, comprehensive double-disc set of their live radio sessions, necessary for any Zeppelin collection (particularly because it contained three songs, all covers, never recorded anywhere else), but some carped that the music suffered from not being taped in front of a large audience, which is how they built their legacy - or, in the parlance of this triple-disc collection of previously unreleased live recordings compiled by Jimmy Page, How the West Was Won. The West in this case is the West Coast of California, since this contains selections from two 1972 concerts in Los Angeles: a show at the LA Forum on June 25, and one two days later at Long Beach Arena. This is the first archival release of live recordings of Zeppelin at their peak and while the wait has been nigh on interminable, the end result is certainly worth the wait. Both of these shows have been heavily bootlegged for years and while those same bootleggers may be frustrated by the sequencing that swaps the two shows interchangeably (they always prefer full shows wherever possible), by picking the best of the two nights, Page has assembled a killer live album that captures the full, majestic sweep of Zeppelin at their glorious peak. And, make no mistake, he tries to shove everything into these three discs - tight, furious blasts of energy; gonzo freak-outs; blues; and rock, a sparkling acoustic set. Like always, the very long numbers - the 25-minute "Dazed and Confused," the 23-minute "Whole Lotta Love," the 19-minute "Moby Dick" - are alternately fascinating and indulgent, yet even when they meander, there is a real sense of grandeur, achieving a cinematic scale attempted by few of their peers (certainly no other hard rock or metal band could be this grand; only Queen or David Bowie truly attempted this). But the real power of the band comes through on the shorter songs, where their sound is distilled to its essence. In the studio, Zeppelin was all about subtle colors, textures, and shifts in the arrangement. On-stage, they were similarly epic, but they were looser, wilder, and hit harder; witness how "Black Dog" goes straight for the gut here, while the studio version escalates into a veritable guitar army - it's the same song, but the song has not remained the same. That's the case throughout How the West Was Won, where songs that have grown overly familiar through years of play seem fresh and new because of these vigorous, muscular performances.
on 15 November 2003
This is a furious album, listeners can virtually hear nails being ripped off and drumsticks breaking as teh album is forged over three CDs. The first is quite possible the best rock and roll live album in history. Reviled for a time as being bloated pomp-rockers whose cartoon excesses catalysed the advent of Punk, this first CD throws all those thoughts away. It is a furious onslaught of well played , organic rock and roll. Page has never sounded more skilled or more enthused, Plant has never sounded more like a young god, Bonzo and Jones have never interlocked more tightly nor more powerfully.
Its a breathtaking CD without a bad moment on it.
Then...it starts to slide a little on CD2. Sitting as we do THIS side of punk, the extended jams around Dazed and Confused (and worst of all the energetic but rambling and unmusical tubthumping of Moby Dick) serve to remind us why Punk was so desperately needed by 1976. Anyone new to zep would be tured off ny these in my opinion. I'm an old fan but even I skip'em now.
WIAWSNB and dancing Days are sterling efforts , but can't quite rescue CD2 from the 'worst of the three' award.
The final CD restore the world order with a crunching , exhuberant Whole Lotta Love and rock n roll where Zep prove that despite their occasional muso dullness, they could rock without peers, and that they could make dark and disturbing music without goth face paint and drop D tuning.
While not perfect this record makes me wish I had been a 19 year old californian in the early 70's just to have witnessed events such as these gigs.
We shall not see their like again.
on 12 March 2004
If you want to be blown away by outstanding artistry and some killer riffs, this is the album for you.
The album starts off with a building "drone" and immediatly you feel as though your stood in the crowd, about to see the concert of your life.
On that Zeppelin explode into life and tear through the classics; Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, and more.
The first disc winds down into some acoustic tracks leaving you feeling nice and mellow.
However, within moments the epic of disc two's Dazed And Confused rips into action and your back up there again, it's hits from now on out.
Led Zeppelin are the best band known to man (and woman) and this album is no disapointment, if you like Zep you'll love this, if you like classic rock
(I'd assume you'd adore Zep anyway, but if not...) this record is the one which may just convert you in to a true Zepaholic!
I love Led Zeppelin and I hope this album leaves you feeling the same way.
Keep Zep Alive,