Led Zeppelin – Bringing The House Down (Eelgrass EGL20111/12/13)

Bringing The House Down (Eelgrass EGL20111/12/13)

Capitol Center, Landover, MD – May 26th, 1977

Disc 1 (67.21): The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, In My Time Of Dying, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter

Disc 2 (49.59): Ten Years Gone, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Dancing Days, Black Country Woman, Bron-yr-Aur Stomp, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir

Disc 3 (78.30): Out On The Tiles / Moby Dick, Page Solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll

Such was the nature of Led Zeppelin’s 1977 tour that they had to book series of shows in various cities instead of having an endless stream of one-night stands.  For the Maryland – Washington DC region, Zeppelin booked four nights in the Capital Center in Landover.  All four shows were taped from the audience with the fourth and final night on May 30th being the best sounding.

The second Maryland show on May 26th had been released several times from the audience tape.  But in 2003 a really nice soundboard tape surfaced, the first professional recording from those dates.  Like many of the 1977 soundboards it lacks a bit of dynamics but is generally well balanced and enjoyable.  There are cuts on the tape from 3:35 to 4:20 in “No Quarter,” from 0:42 to 2:45 in “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp,” and from 25:40 to 35:17 in “Moby Dick” filled in from the audience tape.  Audience noise after the final encore “Rock And Roll,” lasting about two minutes, is spliced from the audience tape to provide some atmosphere.  One can hear the silly comments from the tapers and Genesis’ “I Know What I Like” played over the venue’s PA system.

In essence, this is an affordable and nicely packaged duplicate of Bringing The House Down (Empress Valley EVSD 240-242).  About three years after this was released Refreshing Mistakes on Beelzebub Records in Italy surfaced claiming to have the missing bits from the soundboard recording, but that was proven to be a dishonest hoax on the part of the label.  Eelgrass has great sound and is packaged in a jewel case with thick, classy inserts making this the most affordable and viable way to obtain this show.

Maryland were treated to four impressive marathons which, together with the New York and Los Angeles shows which follow, form technical highpoint of the tour.  It starts off with intnese versions of “The Song Remains The Same” and “Sick Again.”  

Robert Plant explains the short delay for the show was due to the traffic in New York (since they were camped there during this part and flew down for each of the shows).  During “In My Time Of Dying” Plant incorporates a mention of Maryland in the lyrics, singing:  “I want you people of Maryland to realize…”  It is followed by the third blues number in a row “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” which Plant describes as “something that comes from our backyard.”

“No Quarter” is the first big piece of the show.  John Paul Jones favors jazz and pop sounding melodies in the first half of the show and at times plays like Elton John.  The second half of the solo reverts back to the doom and gloom of the original recording. 

“Ten Years Gone” is for anyone who “had an affair with a member of the opposite sex, or even a member of the same sex. If this affair seemed very casual to you at one time, and then you walked away and as the years go by you realized that it was a lot more that it seemed, then you felt, you felt the feeling of lost love.”

The acoustic set is another highlight of the performance which Zeppelin resurrected for this tour because, according to Plant, “ we thought that we’d had quite a few acoustic pieces that people might tend to forget.”  It also gives them a chance to bring “Lou Reed’s dad on stage, John Bonham, who comes and sits along the front with us, so you’ll know that we really are a four piece group.”  They are loose enough during this part of the show to include a rare perfomance of “Dancing Days” before “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.”

The show’s climax is “Achilles Last Stand” which almost falls apart in the middle with the band losing their place.  Even so, afterwards Plant quotes the words, humming “well the mighty arms of Atlas” as he introduces the final song of the set “Stairway To Heaven.” 

A bit of “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock And Roll” is the only encore.  Plant thanks MARY-land several times as they leave the stage.

Robert Godwin commented in one of his guides that it’s astounding how poor many of the recordings from Zeppelin’s eleventh US tour really are, especially considering how big they were at the time.  The mediocre recordings also contribute to the lukewarm reception this tour receives.  The soundboard recordings found on titles such as Bringing The House Down lends to opportunity to reassess these shows in particular and the tour in general.  Eelgrass makes it affordable to collect this show and is worth having.   

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  1. Another nice soundbord. By 1977 things were going downhill as far as pagey’s guitar playing (live anyway).But it’s all about having these moments in time that matters.I never saw ZEP in concert, so I’ll take any well recorded concert anytime.

  2. I just re-listened to this baby carefully and taking my time and I have found that THIS IS A GREAT RECORDIND OF A GOOD SHOW. The sound quality is amazing and ,if you are a Bonzo fan as I am , he comes across loud and clear . Jimmy is not so “lost” as some other nights and Plant and Jones are having a good night. If you are looking for a 77 soundboard I would sure consider this one.

  3. I bet either OAKLAND show as a SBD would be dreadful, those are sloppy shows. I’d sooner have a Tempe SBD…

    Ironically of the four Landover shows, we have SBDS of the two worst ones (IMO), this show and May 28. Compared to May 25 and May 30, the 26th and 28th are mediocre, even on the audience tapes. Page is out of it and even Bonham seems a little bit off- so naturally he does his longest solos ever on these nights??!!

    I’m sure EVSD or whoever has the other two Landover SBDS…let’s have ’em already! Be nice to actually get a GOOD ’77 show on SBD…that June 7 one that just came out wasn’t too impressive either.

  4. I would love to hear soundboard sources for the Oakland shows. I’ve met MANY people throughout the years that saw either one or both of these historic concerts along with other 77 shows from the tour and thought these were not that bad. Some actually DO remember the performances. LOL!!!

    I’m expecting a title “Confusion” tomorrow and plan to make a point to listen to it upon arrival.

  5. IMHO the Oakland shows were trainwrecks. Jimmy kept getting lost in the middle of songs and there were bad vibes as a result of the beating incident and threat of arrest. Not sure I would want those two shows on video……

  6. WAS THE USA 77 TOUR REALLY THAT BAD? Listening just to the now available sbds and the excellent Millard tapes one would be inclined to think it was actually a good tour. There were some great nights and of course some sorry nights but that holds true for just about any band on any tour. Too bad the only complete concert we have on video for 77 is the Seattle show, imagine one of the NY or LA or even one of the Oakland gigs complete on video!!!Think about it.


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