Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland, OH, USA – April 28, 1977
Disc 1 (60:19) Intro, 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 (42:19) Ten Years Gone, Battle Of Evermore, Going To California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir
Disc 3 (60:29) Moby Dick, Guitar Solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Trampled Under Foot
One show in my Led Zeppelin collection that needed a serious upgrade is from the first leg of the 1977 American tour, specifically the second night in Cleveland. Usually when I delve into the tour I will dig out one of the Millard Los Angeles shows or any of the numerous sound boards that circulate, including the famous first night in Cleveland. I do have a copy of the second night, the old Destroyer II on the ancient Silver Rarities label, and being more of a casual ‘77 collector, I never saw the need to invest money for a high dollar upgrade from one of the big two, EV and T2000 both of whom seem to reissue the concert frequently. The No Label folks continue to hammer the market with their issues of many of the major Led Zeppelin tapes, and like many find it difficult to know what is good and what is not and what I need. After talking to some other collectors it seems like their release of the second night in Cleveland was a nice edition to get.
First off let’s get this out of the way. The second night in Cleveland has been reissued many times, the earliest version dates back to the vinyl days with The Destroyer (Smiling Ears SE 77-300 A-H). Compact disc is far more plentiful, Destroyer II (Silver Rarities SIRA 197/98/99), (Last Stand Disc LSD 22/23/24), (Wendy 138/39/40), Destroyer Strongest Edition (The Diagrams of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ 15/16/17), Destroyers (Tarantura 2000 TCD-11-1,2,3), Return Of The Destroyer (Live Remains LR 04021,2,3), Destroyers – Cleveland Two Days (Tarantura T6CD 1/2), and the often reissued Supreme Destroyers (Empress Valley EVSD 279/80/81).
I dug out my old Silver Rarities copy as well as my CD-R copy of the Tarantura 2000 Destroyers to see how this new No Label title fares. Having not listened to the Silver Rarities title in some time I was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounds, albeit quite a bit slow. The other issue with the Silver Rarities was it seemed like they edited the tape to help smooth out the numerous cuts. The Tarantura 2000 also sounds quite nice, yet has certainly been amplified, this also amplifies the boominess of the tape and increases the low and top end distortion. It also sounds like they used some kind of compression to lower the tape hiss and this limits the frequency range. This new release from No Label sounds really good, it has a nice warm analog sound and a full range of frequencies and is not over amplified, if anything the sound is lower than the two titles I compared to. There are other things this title has going for it, it runs at the correct speed, they have not tinkered with the numerous cuts of the original recording, they are all here warts and all, as are all the F bombs and conversations from the taper and his buddies, and according to the excellent Bootledz site, this is the most complete version of the tape.
Then taper was a bit distant from the stage but certainly in a sweet spot, the tape captures all the atmosphere and ambience of the building and picks up the highs as well as a great bottom end. The tape has a great punch to and is really a nice recording. The issue has always been the numerous cuts, in an effort to conserve tape he hit the pause throughout the recording so many of Robert’s comments are either missing or cut. The performance is generally considered one of the best from ‘77, easy to see why as the band are playing well, Page is certainly on the top of his game during this performance and it rivals the best from New York and the brilliant L.A. shows as well. The acoustic section is great, Robert seems to create an intimate atmosphere, Robert teases Dancing Days a couple times and I also love his Lone Ranger reference. While I am somewhat indifferent to Page’s electronic solo, he nails the bow solo to perfection and the version of Achilles Last Stand is really powerful. For me this concert can easily be described as the Hammer of the Gods.
The packaging is simple full color inserts paying homage to the old vinyl cover with the battling barbarians as well as several live shots from the ‘77 tour. The inner tray has actual pictures from the event that while distant, are very nice. You get picture discs and a sticker as well. A very nice release and I got mine at a reasonable price, this title would certainly appeal to the casual and Zep collector alike as it is an excellent version of the show.