Hotter Than The Hindenburg (Last Stand Disc LSD-90/91)
Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany – June 30th, 1980
Disc 1 (62:35) 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 (66:40): Achilles Last Stand, White Summer, Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Money, Whole Lotta Love (incl. Frankfurt Special)
Led Zeppelin’s show in Frankfurt can be seen as an extension of the previous evening in Zürich. These shows represent the tightest and most energetic of the tour and are representative of the vision they were trying to achieve. They attack each number with special urgency giving an amazing glimpse into what they were trying to accomplish for their revamped sound for the 1980s. What is immediately striking about this show is their special determination to lay down new conquests! Although there is a very good audience recording, that source has never been pressed on either vinyl or compact disc. All titles come from and excellent sounding soundboard tape. This tape is less dry than many of the other tapes from the tour. It has a certain “bounce” to it with a lively feeling. The negatives are that the audience sounds very far away and there are cuts after “All My Love,” “Kashmir” and the encores.
This tape was used for the vinyl releases Dinosaur (Waggle WAG 1939) and Moonlight (Waggle WAG 1938) and for the earliest compact disc releases on Moonlight (Toasted Condor 1984) having the first half of the show and and Dinosaur (Toasted Condor 1985) having the second half, both released in 1989. The Toasted Condor has the balance in sound shifting between channels during “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” and “Black Dog.” Plant’s introduction to “Trampled Underfoot” and the last minute of “Kashmir” are cut, the ending of “Stairway To Heaven” is distorted and “That’s The Way” is heard playing backwards during most of “Whole Lotta Love.” Lost Horizon (Lobster Records CD 013/3) copied the Toasted Condor and added additional material onto a three disc set.
Subsequent releases with material from this tape include Blitzkrieg Over Europe (Tarantura T3CD-5), Lost Flight (Tye-Dye 98100-04) which has the same issues as above but also channel problems during “Trampled Underfoot.” Sudden Attack! (Flagge – 1980-18,19) has the complete Frankfurt tape with Nuremberg as a bonus and was released by Flagge in the summer of 1999. “Train Kept A-Rollin'” to “Achilles Last Stand” appear on Hotter Than The Hindenburg (Rockin’ Records LZ-03) which was copied on Hotter Than The Hindenburg (Golden Stars RMCD 1077). “Money” appears on Cabala (CD Company SRL), Another Trip (Big Music Big 4027), and The Cover Versions (Fancy Pantry FP006). The encores appear on Through The Years (Big Music Big4005) and Frankfurt Special (Empress Valley EVSD-314/315) is the latest release which, unlike the other titles, use the audience recording to fill a couple of gaps at the beginning and at the end of “Kashmir.”
Last Stand Disc have issued this show twice. The first was on Tour Over Europe 1980 (Last Stand Disc LSD-29/30) and their final release before closing Hotter Than The Hindenburg (LSD-90/91). The sound is much cleaner and, whereas the first release has a long fade out for “Kashmir,” on the second they chose to just let it run to the cut to preserve all of the available tape. For all the releases of the soundboard only, this is a great sounding, most complete version available. Every LSD title boasts: “DIGITALLY REMASTERING DIRECTLY FROM THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES, 24-BIT MASTERING – NO EQUALIZING.” More likely than not this is a piece of propaganda on the part of the label but it does have a nice sound to it and nicer than the soundboard on the Empress Valley.
With Atlantic Records executives Ahmet Ertegun and Phil Carson and with Carlos Santana also in attendance, the opening numbers “Train Kept A Rollin'” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” are played with aplomb. Page takes off his suit jacket as he speak to the audience, saying, “Good evening one and all. Yes, well it’s good to see ya, and it’s good to be seen… Sorry about that strip just now but it’s probably as hot up here as it is down there. ah Next number is an old one, so old I hope I can remember.”
Robert Plant recalls their early shows in Frankfurt before “In The Evening,” saying, “it’s fair to say it’s quite nice to be back in these parts of the woods again. It’s been a long time. It might also interest you to know that we were the first rock and roll band ever to play in this place, and that was when most of you were in your cradles, and prams, and stuff. It also might be a good idea if you didn’t push around so much cause somebody might get a little bit hurt, ok? And without spieling anymore, this is one from the last album.” In first of the new songs almost falls apart in the middle but is another effective performance, as is “All My Love.”
The contrast between that and “Trampled Under Foot” which follows is startling and they play a ten minute version of the song. Later in the set the audience become more bored during “White Summer” and start shouting and moving around, prompting Page to stop playing and beg them to stop and give them a chance. The encores begin with the standard “Rock And Roll” in which Page has some trouble with the solo. Afterwards Plant introduces Carson to the stage, saying, “we have a friend with us tonight who used to play with Dusty Springfield, and then he got senile and shortly after that he became our friend, so we all fit along nicely. Mr. Philip Carson from London. Mr. Phillip Carson from London. This man has one fixation. It’s called ‘Money.'” Carson plays bass while Jones switches to piano as they play the classic.
The only other recorded reference to this song dates from the June 19th, 1972 Seattle show eight years prior. It was played as an in-joke to the executives since they were negotiating a new contract, and also the Flying Lizards covered the song in 1979 and had a hit (although Zeppelin couldn’t duplicate their arrangement). The show ends with a fifteen minute version of “Whole Lotta Love” played as it was on the 1973 US tour. This has the theremin solo after the verses, John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie Chillun’.” In Frankfurt his parent say “that little boy’s reached the age of thirty-one / I do believe it’s time that little boy to have some fun.” Page plays the boogie tentatively but with no glaring mistakes and Plant leads them into a short cover of the Elvis track “Frankfurt Special.” Frankfurt is one of the strongest concerts from this unloved Zeppelin tour and worth investigating. LSD have produced a nice title with the soundboard tape only.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)