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How the West Was Won

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(401 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • June 25, 1972 is one source of “How the West Won” and is known to bootleg collectors as “Burn Like a Candle.” It’s one of the group’s best shows and was, along with the June 27 show, an ideal choice for this set. With much more spark than “The Song Remains the Same,” and more atmosphere than “BBC Sessions,” “How the West Won” is destined to become Zeppelin’s definitive live set (until Page releases a set with one of the Earl’s Court shows from 1975!).The floodgates open with the hammer of the gods, “Immigrant Song”, and there’s no chance for the audience or listener to catch their breath with a jump right into “Heartbreaker”. The stage is set for a no-holds barred show. The tracks from “Houses of the Holy” that the band added to the set list just days earlier sound fresh out of the box, especially “Dancing Days.”"Dazed and Confused” live was never the same twice and this edition is proof of that. Page always knew how to stretch this workhorse and Jones and Bonham follow along for the ride.Really, it’s all here. You can tell that barely seven months after it’s release, “Stairway to Heaven” was already a fan favorite. The “Whole Lotta Love” medly allows the band to delve into their favorites. “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp” and “That’s the Way” show the band’s accoustic side, and ” “The Ocean” and “Bring it on Home” close out a show (two shows, really) that shouldn’t have been under wraps for 31 years.

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I had my doubts about this set. The Song Remains The Same from ‘73 is so crummy that I wondered how good could this one really be? Turns out it is pretty spectacular, the band is on fire. Two things really stand out for me: Jimmy Page was a production innovator / master / perfectionist in the studio and those obsesively perfect renditions of these songs have been burned into our minds by classic rock radio. Turns out he was a passionate / no-net / seat of his pants improviser too and this take no prisoners ethos was equally matched by the rest of the band. Also, this is such a reminder that the blooze-jam approach was the fashion of the day in ‘72 and in many ways, there is really not that much separating the 1972 Led Zeppelin in their approach from Santana and The Grateful Dead in the same period (listen to Santan’a Lotus live album from ‘73 or the Dead’s Europe ‘72 to see what I mean) even if the resulting music is miles apart.

    Incredible!

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The alternate title for this review is “Got Zeppelin?”. Cause if you don’t, you really need to do so immediately. The release of this 3CD live set confirms what many of us have believed for some time. Many, if not most, of the bands that we grew up with taped their shows. We all have talked about where are the live releases of these concerts. Now we know, at least in the case of Led Zeppelin.In 1972, these 4 lads were in total command of their composing and performing powers. They had 4 solid releases behind them and were touring in advance of “Houses of the Holy”. The power of this band was always in their live performances. This is irrevocably confirmed in the first listen of the first disc. Jimmy gets this whole secondary riff thing going in “Immigrant Song” that just leaps out at you. My reaction was one of “oh, yea, that works”. HOTH is first experienced on track 5, “Over The Hills And Far Away”, where the band lays it out ever so finely with Plant’s vocals at center stage. Variations on a theme are heard as Page noodles an alternate riff throughout. To those of us, and there are many, who know Zep’s music note for note, this is so refreshing. To hear these alternate riffs throughout this album makes it very engaging and absolutely essential. The blues base of the band is in your face throughout an 8 minute “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. The alternate or secondary riff thing happens again as Jimmy and John Paul trade licks on “Going to California”. John Paul’s mandolin playing is sweet, yet forceful, a ying to Jimmy’s guitar yang. Disc 2 burns rubber as “Dazed and Confused” commands 25 minutes of attention. This is not your mother’s D+C, or even the D+C we know so well from a certain Live Concert Film from Madison Square Garden. This is something else entirely. Blues with serious bashing is experienced again with “What Is And What Should Never Be”. The vocals here are just superb. Plant is the man. He knows it. We know it. Then and now. Wow.Disc 3 requires the donning of protective eyewear as the shredding of Page’s guitar is potentially hazardous. “Whole Lotta Love” also reintroduces the world to the best rock drummer of the era, John Bonham. He crushes the skins throughout the 3CDs, but totally shines on WLL. Say what you will about the (many) other great drummers of the late 60s into the 70s. When you are done, listen to Bonham’s playing on this 3CD set and see if you do not agree. If WLL does not convince you, check out “Rock And Roll”, which follows. Bonham is awfully good there, too. It still does not make me aspire to be a Caddy owner, though.In the end, I am left both satiated and hungry. Satiated that I have had a full meal deal listening to one of the absolute titans of rock at the apex of their performing. Hungry for more from them and the many other bands we all treasure/d and wondering where all those tapes went. Here’s hoping for more, soon.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I was a little worried when I saw the times for Dazed and Confused(25:25) and Whole Lotta Love(23:08). I thought, ‘uh oh, it’s The Some Remains the Same soundtrack all over again.’ I couldn’t have been further from the truth. They have an energy that was definitly missing from the SRTS soundtrack. The accoustic set on disk 1 is amazing. Plus, the live version of the then unreleased Over the Hills and Far Away, is alone worth the price. If you’re looking for the “live Zeppelin” that the people that actually saw them live always talk about, it’s this CD. Buy this and the BBC sessions Zep and let’s pretend The Song Remains the Same Soundtrack never happened. Now let’s all pray that Page, Plant, and Jones can actually get along long enough for a reunion tour for all of us Zep fans who never got to see them. (and yes, an older Led Zeppelin IS better than nothing)

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I was fortunate enough to get this from a local independent record store 3 days before its release. Immediately after hearing it, I knew that the planet was in for a treat. This, and the accompanying DVD, were hyped up among Zeppelin fans. After listening to this CD, I can safely say it is getting all the hype it deserves, maybe even not enough.Though I enjoyed The Song Remains the Same album and film, this blows that out of the water. The sound quality is excellent, this has more to offer, and is just better in every way.This collection of performances from 2 shows in 1972 (June 25th at LA Forum, June 27th at Long Beach Arena) represent Led Zeppelin at their live best. Listening to it makes me wish I had been born early enough to witness Led Zeppelin in concert, and I envy those who were there at those shows, witnessing a night of history. The versions of “Whole Lotta Love,” “Dazed & Confused,” and “Bring It On Home” are all at least 10 minutes and are sure to please every Zeppelin fan out there. “Whole Lotta Love” is here in all its live glory, containing the medley of covers that extended it to 23+ minutes, pure Zeppelin bliss. As expected, “Dazed & Confused” features Jimmy Page playing his guitar with the violin bow, and is yet another stellar version of this song to add to our CD collections. The acoustic set here is also present, featuring excellent versions of “Going to California,” “That’s The Way,” and “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.” The latter was a personal highlight for me, as the song is a tribute to Robert Plant’s dog, he calls out the dog’s name, Strider, at the end. I also have a dog named Strider, so it’s cool that my dog has the same name as the dog of one of my favorite singers (for the same reason too, Plant loved JRR Tolkien, and my dog’s name was thought of after seeing Lord of the Rings). The medley of “La Drone”/”Immigrant Song” kicks the set off with a bang, and an excellent version of “Heartbreaker” follows, with Page totally kicking but during his solo, incorporating Bach’s “Bouree in E Minor” into it. There are stellar versions of “Stairway to Heaven,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” and “What Is and What Should Never Be” on here as well. As expected, the 23-minute “Whole Lotta Love” medley is a definite highlight, as is “Dazed and Confused.” Drummers are bound to be impressed by the late, great John Bonham’s extended drum solo on “Moby Dick.”Although the Houses of the Holy album had yet to be released, those in attendence were treated to previews of some of the songs, and the versions of “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Dancing Days,” and “The Ocean” all kick massive behind. A just-under-10-minute version of “Bring It On Home” closes off this CD with a bang, and leaving the listener in awe.Also when listening to it, one cannot help but notice how good the sound quality is. Any Zeppelin fan knows that Jimmy Page, producer for all the albums and a key songwriter, settles for nothing but the best, and only that. When Led Zeppelin’s catalogue was first released on CD, the sound quality was inferior, so Jimmy Page himself remastered the CDs, showing that he not only cares about the old fans, but the young fans growing in the 90s discovering the group (like this one). With BBC Sessions, Jimmy was in charge of that, and gave us a great sounding album of BBC material. And once again, he has proven his loyalty to the fans (and to himself and his band) and given us an amazing-sounding live record with great material on it. THANKS, JIMMY!!!!!All that said, How the West Was Won is an absolute must-own for any Led Zeppelin fan, no questions asked. If you like Led Zeppelin, you are GUARANTEED to enjoy this. Don’t worry about price, because when you hear it, you will know for yourself that this CD is worth its weight in gold. Buy it and enjoy it for a long time to come.5/5

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now