Raid Over Brussels (TCOLZ 011/012)
Voorst National, Brussels, Belgium – June 20th, 1980
Disc 1 (58:39): 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 (61:54): Achillies Last Stand, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Whole Lotta Love
The fourth release on this young label is the audience recording from the June 20th, 1980 show in Brussels. It is the same tape sourced used on the Electric Magic four disc release and the recently issued Brussels Audienceon Tarantura. It contains the same amount of cuts and sounds very good. It is slightly softer sounding than Tarantura because it hasn’t been remastered and is a fine release. The choice between the two is dependent upon budget and one’s love of packaging. Brussels Audience is nicely package while Raid Over Brussels on TCOLZ comes in a double slimline jewel case with simple artwork. The front insert does open up to reveal a photo from the show and concert recollections of an attendee downloaded from the Led Zeppelin official website:
“I feel so lucky to have gotten to see Led Zeppelin at this concert. The highlights for me included Kashmir, Nobody’s Fault but Mine, Achilles Last Stand, and Trampled Under Foot. Other memorable aspects of the show: a lot of pushing in the crowd, prompting Robert Plant to say something like, ‘Our intention this evening is to have a good time … so please, no pushing.’ John Paul Jones sported a close-cropped hairdo and looked studly. Page sat down and spoke a bit of French to introduce the Rain Song (‘il s’appelle… il s’appelle… Rain Song!’). The concert was supposed to be June 5, and I and my friends got our tickets, only to find the show was postponed. We were able to exchange tickets at the same vendor, but it made us all feel even more doubtful that the dream of seeing them would come true. But it did.”
Led Zeppelin collectors generally consider their final tour to be their worst and few of the shows enter the canon of noteworthy performances. While there is some truth to this assertion, there is much to admire. Overall it represented an act of courage for the band. Courage, as defined by theologian Paul Tillich, is the assertion of one’s self in the threat of non-being. With shifting musical tastes and expectations and personal misfortunes of individual band members, it would have been tempting to not exert effort and end the band. However these shows are a remarkable resurrection by a band who always looked forward and attempted to further develop and define their sound. There are some failures in their effort, such as the disjointed and meandering “White Summer” and their continuing infatuation with “Hot Dog” from In Through The Out Door.
But there were some successes as well, such as the elimination of the long virtuoso solos, varied interpretations of “Whole Lotta Love,” the move to make “Trampled Under Foot” into the centerpiece of the set, and the expanded solos in “Stairway To Heaven.” Following these recordings is like sitting in on a long rehearsal, eavesdropping in on the band attempting to find what is working and what is not. It is interesting also to hear what might be nascent germs of creativity that would have propelled them into the eighties. Although Led Zeppelin were not the same band they were a decade before, hearing them try to discover the limits of their abilities and creativity is just as exciting as hearing the initial burst of energy on their early tours. All of the documents from this tour are valuable for these reasons and are worth investigation.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)