Led Zeppelin – July, 3 Mannheim 1980 (Flagge 1980-22,23)

July, 3 Mannheim 1980 (Flagge 1980-22,23)

Eisstadion, Mannheim, Germany – July 3rd, 1980

Disc 1 (64:31):  The 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 (50:54):  Achilles Last Stand, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Communication Breakdown, Rock And Roll

The second show in Mannheim is an improvement over the first and except for Nuremberg, this is the second shortest show of the entire tour.  While still not reaching the heights of the best shows on the tour, this show is tighter and more enjoyable than the first show at the Eisstadion in the beginning.  All of the releases from this show are sourced from the soundboard recording.  The recording is very clear and less hissy than the other but still a bit thin.  There are cut after “All My Love” and at the end of “Kashmir” and tape flutter at the very beginning of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”  The earliest release can be found on Motivated Dinosaurs In Mannheim Pt. 1 (Flying Disc CD 6-820) and Motivated Dinosaurs In Mannheim Pt. 2 (Flying Disc CD 6-821).  It is included also on Eye Thank Ewe (Tarantura T4CD-4EYE) with the July 2nd show released in 1994.  A couple years later Tarantura released this show seperately on Mannheim 7/3/80 (Tarantura 1980-23,24) and this was copied on The Last Day In Mannheim (Whole Lotta Live WLL024/025).  

Several years later TDOLZ also released this show on Strangers In The Night (TDOLZ Vol. 066) along with the July 2nd show and is the only label to utilize the audience recording to plug the gaps in the soundboard.  Song Remains Untaimed (MANN 1/2) also has this show with bonus tracks from Frankfurt, Rotterdam, and Stoke 1973.  Flagge issued their version simultaneously with the previous evenings show.  While the tape is still a bit hissy and thin, it is a marked improvement over the other titles.  Some collectors claim it is closer to the master tape and that could be true.  If Flagge would have followed TDOLZ’s lead and use the audience for the cuts this could have been definitive.  It is packaged in the same style Tarantura used for the 1980 tour set with the set list on back and an unflattering photo of Bonzo on the front.  The set list contains an error, listing “Rock And Roll” and “Whole Lotta Love” as the encores when they are really “Communication Breakdown” and “Rock And Roll.”  It looks like Flagge simply copied the setlist from the July 2nd show.

The concert gets off to a good start with tight versions of “Train Kept A-Rollin'” and “Nobody Fault But Mine.”  Page introduces “Black Dog” as “Stangers In The Night” just as he did the first night in Mannehim.  And just like the first night Plant has to go into crowd control afterwards, saying, “Thank you very much, and a second good evening. May we had a really good time last night. We enjoyed ourselves very very much. Had a wonderful concert and the crowd was very good too. Just to try and keep that in perspective it becomes very obvious to us, there is too much moving. Please, move back just a touch. No, back, and then everybody can enjoy, please? Back. If you can move back at the back just take it back one meter maybe, then everybody, everybody can enjoy themselves without getting too much pain, OK? I thank you.”

And after they play a sinister version of “In The Evening” there are problems with the equipment.  “This one’s a request for Benji Lefevre, the man who could rave all night and still go out with a Danish girl. It’s called ‘The Rain Song.'”  There is a slight delay and Plant continues, “It was going to be the Rain Song, we just seem to have a little kind of Monty Python sketch on the one side of the stage.”  Jimmy Page says something about his amplifier off mic and Plant continues, “that’s Jimmy there talking.”  After more delay the audience become impatient and begin whistling very loudly and Plant says, “hang on, don’t whistle, shhh, please don’t whistle cause that’s no help at all, besides that it’s very noisy.”  When the amp is fixed Page says to Plant, “Right, ready? Are you ready?  The worst bloody noise. I don’t think they’re ready for it, do you?”

After a delicate version of “The Rain Song” they play “Hot Dog” in which Page plays a very peculiar, expressionistic solo not at all in keeping with the spirit of the song.  But they follow with a pretty version of “All My Love.”  “This next piece is gonna speed things up just a little bit. Dinosaurs are going to motivate and go very quickly” is how Plant introduces “Trampled Underfoot” and this evening’s rendition is another attempt at what Page might consider to be new wave.  The way he weaves a cloud of sound is reminscent of Fripp and Eno but set to the Stevie Wonder “Superstition” funk beat.  But all of the energy seems to be expended on this song as the second half tends to limp along.  “Since I’ve Been Loving You” as as bad as the first night in Mannheim with an even more disjointed solo.

“Achillies Last Stand” is devoid of mistakes, but “White Summer” sounds very erratic.  Page gets lost in the middle and can’t find his way out and even his method of duplicating a mistake to make it seem like that is what he wanted to do doesn’t work.  The worst is “Stairway To Heaven” where Plant can’t even pretend to enjoy singing.  Page stumbles at the beginning of the solo and it never takes off.  Two very short encores, “Communication Breakdown” and “Rock And Roll” close the show.  The two Mannheim shows have not been released much in the past (Flagge is the latest to issue them ten years ago) and there is an obvious reason why.  One gets the same feeling listening to these shows as they get watching The Beatles movie Let It Be.  Rather than being a celebration of their art, it is a morbid glimpse into a dying band with nothing to look forward to.  The final two shows on Zeppelin’s tour in Munich and Berlin would be much better than these two. 

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