Led Zeppelin – Tour Over Dortmund 1980 (Wendy wecd-107/108)


Tour Over Dortmund 1980 (Wendy wecd-107/108)

Westfallenhalle, Dortmund, Germany – June 17th, 1980

Disc 1:  Train Kept A Rollin’, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Black Dog, In The Evening, The Rain Song, Hot Dog, All My Love, Trampled Underfoot

Disc 2:  Since I’ve Been Loving You, Achilles Last Stand, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love (reprise)

Led Zeppelin’s first proper tour in three years, and what would be their last, began at the Westfallenhalle in Dortmund, Germany on June 17th, 1980.  In what was thought to be the second step in their comeback (Knebworth in 1979 the first and the US tour in the fall of 1980 the third), it is remarkable to hear their attempt to find a more eighties sound. 

With the scaled back set list devoid of solos and long jamming, the concerts averaged about an hour and a half.  A good audience recording exists for this date and was used on vinyl on Live In Dortmund West Germany 1980. 

All of the subsequent releases of this show are sourced from the soundboard including Dinosaurs Rule Part 1 (Flying Disc CD 6-803) and Dinosaurs Rule Part 2 (Flying Disc CD 6-804), Return Of The Auschwitz (Neptune) and finally Dortmund 1980 (1980-1, 2).  It is an excellent sounding and balanced recording that is missing the opening notes to “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and the second half of “Rock And Roll.”  

Compared to the earlier issues Wendy is slightly louder with no hints of distortion or overzealous mastering and can be considered to be excellent.  When this label released the Bremen tape several years ago they used one of the Mannheim soundboards to fill in the gaps, but with Dortmund they chose to leave the gaps alone.  

This could have been improved if they edited the audience recording to complete the show and thus far no silver release has done so, but for a one source title this is very nice.  The tape begins with Zeppelin’s first performance of “Train Kept A Rollin'” in ten years.  Plant loses count during the guitar solo and tries to come in to the final verse a bit early.  The song segues into the Presence track “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” (minus the phased guitar introduction).

After “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” Bonzo can be heard laughing and saying “intermission!  intermission” in response to the energy and the fact that this was their first pubic show in almost a year.  “Well we’re here aren’t we?”  Jimmy Page says afterwards. 

“Okay we got a little number now it’s called, in a little rough translation, ‘Schwartz Hund.'”  Plant flubs some of the lyrics but overall the performance is fine.  “Good evening.  Danke schon.  Smooth, eh?  Everytime we do gigs we seem to have to say it’s been a long time.  It’s only been ten months since the last one” Plant says before a limp version of “In The Evening.” 

The set slows down a bit with “The Rain Song” which is introduced as about “love affairs that have gone adrift.  And last night some love affairs in Dusseldorf went adrift.  Tonight, who knows?”

“Hot Dog” is dedicated to one of the Showco staff and is one of the few times Pages tries to duplicate the solo on In Through The Out Door

During “Since I’ve Been Loving You” Plant screams before the guitar solo, “take me to the bridge” and includes some lyrics from “I’m Gonna Crawl”:  “I don’t care if I have to go by plane, I don’t care if I have to go by train.” 

“Achilles Last Stand” is oddly introduced as a song “also recorded by Ted Nugent.”  Plant laughs at the end of “Kashmir” when he explains it was written in Morocco.  He then tries to wake up the audience by shouting “All Right!” 

“What are you, fast asleep?”  he asks.  The second encore has a strange medley of “Heartbreaker” in the middle of “Whole Lotta Love.”  Zeppelin liked to recontextualize their music live.  The “Out On The Tiles” introduction to “Black Dog” is the most enduring, but this one sounds like a failed experiment.  It is clunky, awkward and was never again attempted. 

Wendy packages this in a double slimline jewel case with obi strip and is a solid release worth having.   

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