Jamming With Simon Kirke! (Empress Valley EVSD 183/184)
Olympiahalle, Munich, West Germany – July 5th, 1980
Disc 1 (59.39): 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 (62.52): Achilles Last Stand, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Does Anybody Remember Bad Company?, Whole Lotta Love
The penultimate show on Led Zeppelin’s final tour was on July 5th in the Olympiahalle in Munich, a venue they last played in 1973. Unlike most shows from the tour it lacks a soundboard recording but has two audience tapes in existence. The tape used for all the releases is very good to excellent stereo. It is slightly distant from the stage and has trace amounts of hiss, but is very lively and punchy.
The encores were the first part to be pressed onto disc when they were included on Spare Parts(POT-003) along with tracks from Vienna and Berlin. Tarantura included the same as bonus tracks on Eye Thank You(T4CD-4) along with the two Mannheim shows complete. Tarantura released the entire show on Munich 1980 (1980-23, 24), part of their Over Europe tour binder.
Jamming With Simon Kirke! is a two source edit. Empress Valley utilize the same excellent audience recording used by Tarantura, but use a second tape for several cuts. The second tape source in “In The Evening” from 3:57 to 4:10, after “The Rain Song” for Robert Plant’s introduction and the first ninety seconds of “Hot Dog,” in “Achilles Last Stand” from 5:10 to 8:12 and in “Whole Lotta Love” from 10:09 to 10:16. The edits could have been smoother, but that’s a minor issue when compared to the overall enjoyment of the show.
Munich was one of the very few shows to receive any kind of publicity outside of continental Europe. Steve Gett wrote a long review of the tour and show titled Led Zeppelin Uber Alles. The author observes that “While Zeppelin fever has for the past few weeks enveloped the Continent, not a word has appeared in the English press on what marks the act’s first tour for three years. A number of diehard fans have crossed the Channel in the past fortnight to witness the gigs – but there has been no media coverage whatsoever on Zeppelin’s long-awaited return to work. Amazing, when one considers that the band are still by far the most popular outfit in the world.”
In reviewing the show, Gett focuses upon Jimmy Page, claiming that “it was Jimmy, most of all, who epitomised the new-found enthusiasm of the group. His guitar playing was excellent – rough at times but any errors were covered by moments of inspired genius” and concludes that “The whole concert reflected Zeppelin getting back to basics and I think perhaps it might be as well not to include the Page solo spot in order to sustain impetus throughout.”
Munich begins strongly but begins to peter out by the end. “Train Kept A-Rollin'” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” explode on stage, just like how Zeppelin love to start their concerts. Page introduces “Black Dog” as a number from the “annals of rock history.”
The first half has what are the better performances of the In Through The Outdoor material “In The Evening,” “Hot Dog” and “All My Love.” John Paul Jones manages to play in the proper temp in the middle fanfare of “All My Love,” a part which gives him problem in other shows.
“Achilles Last Stand” is quite tentative and sloppy. Page sounds unsure of himself during the epic perofrmance and the band have to wait for him to play the proper transitions. This might be why it was dropped in Berlin on July 7th. Munich is the final performance of the piece.
“Stairway To Heaven” closes the show and “Rock And Roll” is the first encore. When they come out for another, Plant gets into a long introduction as the roadies are setting up a second drum-kit for Simon Kirke.
“Right now, before the club shuts we’d like to do one more.” Addressing news reports about the disaster in Nurnberg, he says “We’d also like to say of what you read in the paper today is not true. The doctor isn’t in fact behind the stage, he’s playing the drums.”
He then introduces Simon Kirke calling it “a little bit of an experiment for the next show that you’ll have in town.” Page plays the riff to “Moby Dick” before starting “Whole Lotta Love.” After the extended boogie section the two drummers have trouble returning to the main theme, so Page emulates the drum fanfare. It’s ragged but in good spirits, a good thing to hear.
Jamming With Simon Kirke! is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with extensive liner notes by Aquarius 11 in both Japanese and in an English translation. It is a good title to have and is definitely the best version of Munich available.