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Led Zeppelin – In The Field (Reel Masters-018)

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In The Field (Reel Masters-018)

Knebworth Park, Stevenage, England – August 11th, 1979

Disc 1:  Intro., The Song Remains The Same, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You

Disc 2:  No Quarter, Hot Dog, The Rain Song, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again, Achillies Last Stand, guitar solo, In The Evening

Regarding Zeppelin’s two Knebworth concerts, the first show on August 4th has at least five separate audience audio recordings (one of which is used for early bootlegs) and the second on August 11th has at least six.  On top of that there are almost complete soundboard recordings for both concerts, both audience and professional films, plus generous selections on the DVD released four years ago which makes Led Zeppelin’s final two concerts in England among their best documented. 

In The Field on Reel Masters offers a seventh, previously uncirculated audience recording for the second night.  Made by a Japanese record company executive, this source is distant, muffled and thin sounding. 

The beginning and end of the tape are worse than the majority and it becomes boomy at various points like during “Over The Hills And Far Away”.  There are cuts in the tape between “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “No Quarter” and before “Trampled Underfoot”.  After the latter cut the sound quality drops and teeters dangerously close to being an inaudible sludge of sound until the tape ends at the conclusion of “In The Evening”.  Audience comments by the recorder can be heard between songs including the taper speaking in Japanese.

While it is true that the Knebworth concerts have aged very well in twenty five years, the August 11th show is still not as good as the second Copenhagen and first Knebworth concerts.  Robert Plant says “It rained on us from a few sources during the week.  We’re gonna stick it right where the sun don’t shine” before “Black Dog” and their resentment is apparent and the emotional response to their first performance is not present on this night. 

Technical problems during “Over The Hills And Far Away” also do not help and it is easy to see why Jimmy Page used more footage from the first Knebworth show for the official Led Zeppelin DVD.  Despite that the concert does hit a reasonable groove with a very good version of “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, a song which is obvious is a band favorite and there are so few bad versions.  “No Quarter” has a different introduction and is a scaled down and fun version. 

The Physical Graffiti section of the show is quite strong and the band delivers an effective version of “In The Evening”.  Since there is already an excellent sounding audience source plus the complete soundboard in many editions it is hard to see how In The Field really fits except for those who want to hear the show from every conceivable angle and quality. 

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