Average: 4.9 (603 votes)

April 28, 1977

Richfield, OH US

Richfield Coliseum

Setlist:

The Song Remains The Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody's Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer ~ Black Mountainside, Kashmir, (Out On the Tiles intro) Moby Dick, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Trampled Underfoot.

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Submit your personal review of a particular show you attended, updates, corrections, etc., which will be considered for addition to the official online archive.You may also contact the webmaster at: webmaster@ledzeppelin.com

the Audience tape of Cleveland 4.28.77

My first bootleg purchase was the original Smilin' Ears 4-lp box set of Rocco's audience recording, "The Destroyer". Upon the first listen, I have to say I didn't know what to make of the recording, and the band sounded nothing like I expected, having only heard the studio albums and the TSRTS soundtrack album. Despite the lack of clarity, it sounds exactly like you're at the concert.
Thirty years later it's still in my regular listening rotation, a magical concert with the kind of power, warmth, and mood that only Zeppelin can conjure. Collecting other shows from the band's 10 years as performers (no shows in '74 or '78), it has become obvious that this was the best show of the 1977 tour, and what a concert it is!!
It's only fair to mention that at this time, Robert Plant had lost a lot of his upper vocal range, and Jimmy Page's technique had suffered quite a bit since the band took it's break after the 1973 tour, at least in the live shows if not in the Presence album. However, all four members turn in a vital, creative, and emotive performance worthy of their best efforts. Plant brings a warm, humorous side as a front man that goes a long way to balancing the band's heavy reputation and image.
After the usual opening numbers, the concert really gets going with an impassioned "Since I've Been Loving You", wherein Jimmy and Robert interact constantly. This is really the ultimate arrangement, with the band sounding like thunder one moment only to drop to a whisper the next, even in Jimmy's solo, which at that point sounds a bit like "Tea For One" on Presence.
"No Quarter" is a wonderfully improvised set of different moods seamlessly woven into one stream of conciousness. John Paul Jone's piano solo is an especially strong composition for something completely improvised, and John Bonham knows just where to emphasize with the ocasional accent at just the right placement. This brings the first big surprise of the night when the band jumps into "the Nutcracker Suite", full of joy and energy. This segues into a rare Gospel blues jam that really shows how versitile this band can be. Jimmy provides some pretty sloppy but great blues licks that really make the jam. This winds up finally and JPJ brings us finally into the traditional NQ solo section, only played more beautifully than ever, punctuated by Bonham tapping on the center of his cymbals, creating a bell-like effect. Jimmy eventually comes in with a searing solo, always accented by the other two, who are obviously listening very intently. The tape runs out not long after the return of the vocal verse, but regardless, it is a magical version of this great track.
The acoustic set is pure joy as well. The expansive echo of the hall in this recording does wonders for "The Battle of Evermore", which sounds incredible considering poor JPJ got stuck with the job of doing the vocal lines originally sung by Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny (r.i.p.). Bonham's booming bass drum brings an urgent, driving feel to this version, as does Plant's echo-drenched ad-libs.
It must be noted at this time that this recording captures perhaps John Bonham's most powerful drum sound of all time, as powerful as his "Levee" recording. Big and boomy, but full of subtlety and tremendous feel for every groove the band brings. He listens to everything going on around him and responds with the best any drummer could possibly bring to the table. He was simply the best ever, and the world of Rock will never see his like again.
Page's "White Summer/ Black Mountain Side" is also incredibly cohesive considering it's all improvised from countless bits put together over the years, land leads directly into a crushing "Kashmir", one of the best I've ever heard.
Jimmy's wank-o-rama using theramin, harmonizer, violin bow, and God-knows-what-else is oft-criticized by bootleg collectors of this tour, but once again, this one flows from one idea to the next as if it were meant to go that way. And it breaks into the most incredible "Achilles Last Stand" I've ever heard. The Rhythm section is a juggernaut barely able to control itself, and Jimmy and Robert are inspired throughout. Even when Plant's vocals break in his last big ad-lib it sounds great.
What can be said about "Stairway to Heaven"? It's never been one of my favorite live songs, and it wasn't on the original bootleg box, but the longer audience source available now reveals a version full of wonder, drama, and emotion.
And isn't that what Zeppelin does best?
On April 28th, 1977, fans gathered to see one of the last truly great performances by the greatest of the great. I am forever grateful that Rocco recorded this show so that I and others can remember a time when magic could still be found in rock music.
Jonathan Hathaway