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I have been a Led Zeppelin fan since I was six years old, my friend Johnny and I were both huge fans as wee lads, he was only five! In fact, I still have the original Led Zeppelin IV cassette I bought from The Wherehouse in 1971!!

Anyway, we loved hopping on the bus and heading to as many used record stores as we could from San Jose to Palo Alto to seek out all the cool Led Zeppelin Bootlegs! When we called this one store, Chimaera Records, in Palo Alto and asked if they had any new Zep bootlegs, they would always say "Just come on in and we can talk about it", obviously, they were afraid we were the FBI, or something and we would bust em for having "Illegal Rare Live Recordings".

Some of the stores had them mixed in with the 'regular' records and others had them under lock and key (but we were still able to view them in crates). I even had a subscription to the bootleg book "Hot Trax" which usually had some mini skirted, tatted up and pierced girl on the cover, what this had to do with bootleg recordings is beyond me. The book listed by band (all popular artists, not just Zeppelin) in alphabetical order, the names of many bootlegs, and included track listings and how good the quality of the recording was, as well as things like if there was song separation or not.

I still remember the names of some of my favorites, as well as things said by audience members, for example "Seattle '77" which was one of the worst as far as sound quality in terms of being able to hear the music, has one audience member shouting out "long live the melotron, long live the portbooster". To this day, I still have no idea what a 'portbooster' is. I was very excited about this particular bootleg, as it featured John Bonham singing lead vocals on "The Ocean". But the recording quality was so poor, I couldn't hear it, anyway.

The best one I bought was called "L.A. Forum", and it was amazing, Plant's vocals were top notch and sound quality was great! Other's with decent sound quality and amazing Zep performances were "In The Evening" from Copenhagen on the In Through The Out Door tour and "Gettin The Led Out".
The most famous Zep bootleg (or the one everybody talked about) is called "Destroyer" from Cleveland in 1975. (I own this one!!). It was one of the first that boasted sound board recording, that is to say the concert was recorded right from the board where the soundman or live sound engineer stands. The quality is excellent and it features a short but awesome version of Black Country Woman. I still have quite a few great Zep (amongst others) bootlegs today. And it's nice to see the sound quality is still hit or miss and most stops in between!!

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