Conquering Kingdome (Godfather GR508/509/510)
Kingdome, Seattle, WA – July 17th, 1977
Disc 1 (68:19): Introduction, The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills and Far Away, No Quarter
Disc 2 (64:32): Ten Years Gone, The Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer, Kashmir
Disc 3 (76:53): Over The Top / Moby Dick, Guitar Solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll
Conquering Kingdome is the latest release of the popular July 17th, 1977 Seattle show. Previous releases of this show can be found on very good audience recordings like In A Delirious Daze (Equinox EX-00-013/014/015), a legitimate soundboard like on Jupiter And Saturn (Tarantura TCD-45-1~3) and the video soundtrack like on Fallen Angel (Tarantura TCD-104-1~3).
Godfather utilize the video soundtrack which is found on such releases as Year Of The Dragonon Empress Valley. It’s been remastered to give it a bit more liveliness and punchiness making it very enoyable to listen to. The first pressings had two-second gaps between each of the tracks. But this defect has been corrected by the label.
Seattle is the the first show of what was supposed to be the third leg of their massive summer tour in 1977. They would play a few more shows, but this remains one of their final shows in the US. A review of this concert states that “the Led Zeppelin concert at the Kingdome came off without too much trouble. There were several arrests, lots of dope and booze smuggled in – either under coats or inside bodies – and some very sick kids from drinking too much.
“Led Zeppelin has earned a reputation for attracting surly crowds which generally fight and riot. But the most damage was to the ears and there is a possibility 62,000 people will spend today saying, ‘Huh?’ What attracted these people, generally hard-core rock fans, was the experience. It was appreciated by some when the lead singer, Robert Plant, told the crowd he was deaf in one ear. It was a miracle the whole band wasn’t stone deaf. Later, Plant said his hearing came back during one number.
“The concert started shortly after 8 p.m. amid fireworks and people holding up lighted matches, the moment everybody had been waiting for. Throughout the long Sunday, the huge crowd remained orderly as it waited to get through the gates and have the experience. … Plant promised that the 1977 tour would be ‘blood, thunder and the hammer of the gods.’ A squad of paramedics was geared up for the blood and everybody else was geared up for the thunder and hammer part.” (Post-Intellengencer – July 1977)
Seattle, because of the sterility of the venue and the length of the break, is a bit tired and cold sounding. The start, with “The Song Remains The Same” and “Sick Again” both sound very good. Robert Plant greets the audience afterwards and mentions several problems, notably himself going deaf in one ear, “which leaves the critics to work it out for themselves” he jokes, and Page having a touch of “sleeping sickness.”
Things do improve in “No Quarter,” which Plant introduces as “a song about a journey. A rather, a journey that has its pitfalls and a journey with anticipations of all sorts of problems.” Unlike the wired versions played in Los Angeles, this one is much slower and well thought out. Jones tries several ways to get the audience involved in the piece, including standing up and encouraging the to cheer (not audible on the recording but visible on DVD).
Afterwards Plant shares some good news with the crowd: “Well I guess it’s a funny thing to tell ya that when you’re deaf in one ear, but you know what’s happened? It’s clear again. It’s the strangest cure I’ve ever known.” He then speaks about “Ten Years Gone” and he band deliver a very good version of the piece.
“The Battle Of Evermore” is the first song of the acoustic set, a song which Plant calls “medieval punk rock.” Before “Black County Woman” he has to scold the audience for throwing firecrackers, saying it is “about the lousiest thing that you could possibly do to throw firecrackers, right? Now I suppose at the end of saying that, somebody’s just going to throw one to go well there you go man, but it would be really about the best thing that you could do on a Sunday night not to throw firecrackers. Is everybody agreed? And then it will also aid us to play acoustic music without having a heart attack.”
The Physical Graffiti song segues into “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.” There seems to be a problem with the guitar in the middle. Plant sings an impromptu “When The Saints Come Marching In” over a bass-line by Jones. “That little bit of impromptu jazz in the middle doesn’t usually happen” Plant explains afterwards. “It was a broken string that caused it, but at least we know we can play in the bar at the hotel afterwards.”
After very good versions of “Kashmir” and “Moby Dick,” Page has his guitar solo. At fifteen minutes, it’s scaled back from the Los Angeles extravaganzas and not as night. It segues into a weak version of “Achillies Last Stand” which even has Plant a bit embarrassed. The show ends with “Stairway To Heaven” and before the encore Plant thanks “Seattle, Vancouver, Alaska, Idaho, Portland, Northwest United States.”
Overall it’s a professional performance by Led Zeppelin, but certainly not one of the best from the tour. It does have it’s charm and the great sound quality makes it that much more appealing. Conquering Kingdome is packaged in a trifold gatefold sleeve with various stylized photographs from their eleventh US tour on the artwork. This is a nice sounding upgrade of a very common tape and worth having.