Brussels Audience (Tarantura 1980-AUD-5, 6)
Voorst National, Brussels, Belgium – June 20th, 1980
Disc 1 (58:41): Train Kept A Rollin’, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In The Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (61:55): Achilles Last Stand, White Summer, Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Whole Lotta Love
Tarantura, in releasing shows from Led Zeppelin’s final tour, usually focus upon the many and various soundboard recordings that have surfaced for all but two of the shows. Brussels Audience is a bit of an anomaly because the label turns its attention to the very good audience recording that surfaced several years ago instead of the soundboard.
There is another audience recording that has not been pressed to disc, but the recording used by Tarantura was first pressed on Raid Over Brussels (Electric Magic EMC-010A/B/C). This is a very good and dynamic audience recording with a cut in “All My Love” and a big one in the middle of “Trampled Underfoot” eliminating the solo. Electric Magic runs a hair too slow, but Tarantura is speed corrected. Tarantura also raised the volume slightly making it more clear and powerful in contrast to both the Electric Magic and new TCOLZ editions.
Brussels was the third stop on the tour and is a tight and energetic performance that is a good paradigm for what Zeppelin were trying to achieve in performance in the new decade. The arrangements are tight and aggressive with little of the long improvisations inherent from the past.
Robert Plant’s voice is unfortunately very hoarse in this show limiting his capabilites and there are problems with the PA that are more audible in the soundboard recording. The tape picks up with Page’s train whistles before “Train Kept A Rollin'” explodes on stage and after “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” Page gives a very short introduction to “Black Dog,” calling it “Chein Noir.”
Plant addresses the rowdieness of the audience before “In The Evening” saying, “Good evening all you people from Belgium and a few people from England I think. We’re gonna have a really, our intention is to have a nice time, so all this pushing. Don’t push. Keep it cool.” The In Through The Outdoor track sounds very light and airy in this recording and is followed by the “light” section of the show.
Many criticize the trio of “The Rain Song,” “Hot Dog,” and “All My Love” being played consecutively because it really slows down the momentum built up in the beginning. This sequence is comparable to the old acoustic set, which would be a chance to slow down for a while before final fury. However the acoustic sets wouldn’t come until after the first hour when everybody needed a breather whereas the 1980 mellow section occurs soon in the show. Whatever one’s view, all three songs are played very well and “All My Love” sounds regal in this recording.
“Trampled Underfoot” is the vehicle for improvisation and Plant introduces the song saying, “many years ago there was several things that were written down about the use of the motor car. I said that before, but I’m running short of words cause it’s cause I haven’t said these sort of things for a long time. In fact, it’s quite peculiar being up here really. What’s it like down there? It’s weird man.” It is a shame the middle is cut because Brussels is very effective.
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” accomodates two guitar solos and Plant quotes “I’m Gonna Crawl” (“I’m gonna go by train / I’m gonna go by car.”)
“Achilles Last Stand” is the last great Led Zeppelin epic and Plant says, “Dinosaurs! This is a bottle of water, and as kind of semi-survivors from the 60’s I guess that we all had our dream along the way about music and ideals and stuff and in the middle of one of them we ended up in the Sahara desert, and we wrote, hello, we wrote this. It’s called Achilles Last Stand.”
Like “In The Evening,” Page takes a light approach to the solo and tries to make it airy. During “White Summer” he stops playing and asks the audience to quiet down so he can hear himself play, a common occurence during this tour.
“Stairway To Heaven” is very strange. It is obvious Plant does not want to sing it, yet Page tends to stretch the guitar solo to extended lengths, experimenting with different approaches and styles. After the “tango” section in the solo, he develops interesting ideas but gets lost. Thankfully Bonham saves him and keeps the song together.
“Rock And Roll” is the first encore and “Whole Lotta Love” is played for the second time on the tour as the finale. In Dortmund they played a strange version of the song with “Heartbreaker” in the middle, but in Brussels they play it as they did on the ninth US tour with theremin solo and “Boogie Chillun’.” Plant pokes more fun at his age by singing, “that boy’s reached the age of 31! I mean 24…sorry.”
Brussels Audience is packaged in a thick cardboard gatefold sleeve with several photos from the show. With the nice remastering in the beautiful packaging, this is another strong effort by Tarantura and worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)