There may be 50 Reasons To Listen To Led Zeppelin, but I could probably think of 50 reasons not to listen to Led Zeppelin play live. Some bands just outstay their welcome on stage, and for me a twenty seven minute rendition of Dazed And Confused is the very definition of taking the piss.
For me, a band’s live work should be representative of their studio work. If I was at a Pink Floyd gig, and they played all twenty three minutes of Echoes (the song that takes up all of the second side of Meddle), then fair enough. What I don’t want a band to do is an extended jam on a song that only takes up four or five minutes of running time on an album.
I wonder how much of the lengthy set-list was invented to soundtrack those long self-indulgent mini-film pieces in the concert movie, or conversely if those mini-films were designed to just keep viewing audiences interested. Watching four middle-aged men stand on a stage for an hour and a half isn’t exactly the most engrossing thing to watch when you’re at the cinema.
As much as I dislike Dazed And Confused’s lengthy running time though, I do love that breakdown half way through where Plant riffs on the lyrics to San Fransisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) by Scott McKenzie.
The playing on this album is superb – nicely catching Zeppelin at their prime – but spreading nine songs over an hour and a half of music just makes the experience a chore to listen to. In comparison, How The West Was Won, released in 2003, is a far punchier affair, and much more enjoyable to listen to.
Hit: Stairway To Heaven
Hidden Gem: Celebration Day