LED ZEPPELIN – ” Live in Berlin 7th July 1980 The Last Concert “

Posted: July 8, 2015 in MUSIC
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On July 7th, 1980, the original members of Led Zeppelin performed together for the final time at Eissporthalle in Berlin, Germany. This is the latest in the Casino Records series of Led Zeppelin vinyl presentations. Previous releases have included This follows their excellent Berkeley Days Second Night package in a limited run of 400, “I Told You Baby Long Time Ago” Scandinavia March 1969 limited edition of 450 on clear splatter vinyl and “The Night Stalker” LA Forum 1975 issued last October in a run of 400 -1 to 200 on gold vinyl – 201 to 00 on clear vinyl. The first two had excellent content and packaging “the Night Stalker” was a little bit underwhelming in the presentation.

The concert was the last scheduled stop on a 14-date European tour in support of the group’s most recent (and ultimately final) studio album, 1979′s “In Through the Out Door”. Trouble had been circling the band in previous years, with John Bonham and Jimmy Page both struggling with alcohol and drug addictions.

Two weeks before the Berlin show, on June 27th in Nuremburg, Germany, Led Zeppelin were forced to stop their show after just three songs when John Bonham was rushed to the hospital after suffering what was reported as food poisoning but rumoured to be the result of a blackout.

On Monday July 7th 1980, Led Zeppelin took the stage for the final night of the tour and what would ultimately be the last ever Led Zeppelin performance with John Bonham.

The sound quality is excellent being the soundboard source used for the CD versions. Very pleasingly  and unlike the Night Stalker release, virtually all the in between chat is present and correct. I noticed a slight edit in the intro to “Trampled Underfoot”. To have lost the in between chat would have been a real shame as Plant’s very upbeat and humorous comments say a lot for the general atmosphere of this last night of the tour. He seems genuinely pleased at to how it has all gone – a fact Peter Grant noticed as on the flight back because he got the nod from Robert that a US tour was now viable. Sadly that was not to be. Aside from Jimmy’s usual intro to “Black Dog”, he also has a words to say as he tunes up for White Summer this spiel is also left intact. So it’s full marks for the actual presentation of the concert across these six sides.

Overall, it’s an upbeat and interesting swan song performance. Robert Plant is on excellent form and in a jovial mood. At times they do seem to rush proceedings and there are moments of sloppiness – there is also a bit too much reliance on the vocal harmoniser effect which sometimes clouds the clarity of Plant’s voice. However, there is much to enjoy about this final performance because when it’s good, it’s very good indeed.

Highlights here include the opening burst of Train Kept a Rollin and Nobody’s Fault But Mine, the stand alone Rain Song and All My Love with that gorgeous extended outro.

Despite Achilles Last Stand being strangely dropped from the set, this was still the longest performance of the tour notably due to some lengthy extended work outs – Trampled Underfoot is a prime example as Page, Jones and Bonham lock into an incessant groove.

Listening now to what would be there last moments together as a band is a moving experience, not least because of the striking content of the final performances of Stairway To Heaven and Whole Lotta Love -both of which are worth the price of admission alone –  because both are delivered in unique arrangements.

Stairway clocks in at over fourteen minutes, half of which is given over to a rambling and totally mesmerising Page solo. It was easily the longest on the tour. Similarly unusual is the version of Whole Lotta Love, somewhat appropriately the last ever song the original Led Zeppelin quartet performed live as a band.

 

A North American tour, which, like the European jaunt, was to see the band trimming some of the excess soloing and pageantry of previous expeditions, was scheduled to begin in October. But on Sept. 24th, after reportedly drinking 40 measures of vodka during a 12-hour period on a rehearsal day, Bonham went to bed at Page’s house and was found dead the following morning.

A few months later, on December. 4th, 1980, the group issued a statement declaring they would be breaking up as a result of Bonham’s passing. The surviving members have reunited only a few times since then, including short sets at Live Aid in 1985 and the 40th anniversary concert for Atlantic Records in 1988. Most recently, they performed a full-scale show on Dec. 10th, 2007, in London that was captured on the Celebration Day concert film that was released in 2012.

Although the photo above is taken from a show a few days prior, you can see photographs, the complete set list, ticket stubs and other memorabilia from Led Zeppein’s final show at their official website.

 

 

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