When I was a wee lad, I heard about this allegedly amazing Led Zeppelin bootleg called Destroyer!! (perhaps it was named after the Kiss album of the same name, as they were both released around the same time, or maybe it was named that because it's frickin great, and it'll 'destroy' you [but in a good way]).
To Quote Wikipedia "It was the first, and for many years the only, professionally recorded mixing desk tape to escape from the band's possession". So my friend Wade and I sought it out, and we were lucky enough to find it at a used records store (on CD, even!!). We split the cost and shared custody of it, each had it for one month at a time (I believe he still has the original copy, but I have since acquired it again).
This infamous bootleg was recorded at The Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland, Ohio on April 27, 1977 and boasts that it was recorded straight from the soundboard (perhaps by the soundman, himself, this is just a guess, of course), where-as most bootlegs are recorded by fans with a portable tape recorder (or today, with little digital recorders).
Despite the amazing sound quality, the album starts off on a somewhat unfortunate note (no pun intended), the opening track The Song Remains The Same, fades up shorty after the great instrumental intro and with Robert Plant's vocals, but I have come to accept this, as it is a bootleg, and nobody's perfect.
The rest of the album is recorded straight through, (except for Rock And Roll, which is also upcut) complete with Robert Plant's banter, and he does banter alot! I find it interesting that they are on the Presence tour, and they only played two songs from the album Nobody's Fault But Mine (Mr. Plant carries the end notes for quite a while and sounds great, doing so!!) and Achille's Last Stand!! Granted, these are the two biggest tracks on the album. Robert Plant's vocals can be very hit or miss, especially after around 1975, but here he sounds great (it does crack a bit, to be expected after years of his amazing wail).
The band is tight and in excellent form (not quite as good as Earls Court 1975, when they were all at the top of their game and in peak form) but pretty damn good. And I am always happy to see what may be my all time favorite Zeppelin track, played live; In My Time Of Dying (Jimmy Page and his Danelectro guitar!!) great slide guitar from Jimmy here!! And the original studio version has some of Bonzo's best drum work, ever!! (It's not too shabby live, either!). And Jimmy Page's guitar work is stellar, through-out, as always. Disc two opens with The Battle Of Evermore, with John Paul Jones singing the parts originally sung by Sandy Denny. A very moving and stirring rendition. With commentary from Robert Plant complaining about the lack of treble in the monitors.
Next, they play Going To California, a nice, sweet little version. This is followed by Black Country Woman, one of my favorites, but they never seem to play the whole song, only about 1:30 to 2:00 of it, with alot of pre-song B.S from Robert Plant,(talking about John Paul Jones upright bass and how much he paid for it, in 1969) but still a good version, none-the-less. A great Jimmy Page acoustic solo opens Bron-Yr Aur Stomp, and that is followed by yet another great acoustic solo, mid song. Which is followed by a perennial Jimmy Page live nearly aca pella guitar jam White Summer, (Bonzo plays the bongos, intermittently). This transitions seemlessly into Kashmir (which features the usual Plant stutter and improv, of which he is a master). Achille's Last Stand kicks off with a dischordant aca pella guitar solo, featuring The Star Spangled Banner, and Jimmy Page's trademark Theremin and violin bow solos, which he normally does on Dazed And Confused). But this works, as well, as this too, is a seemless transition into Achille's. This is followed by some little ditty entitled Stairway To Heaven (perhaps a cover of the Neil Diamond song?) ;)
They close with Rock And Roll and Trampled Under Foot. This is by far the best sounding bootleg I have ever heard, so if you don't own it, I highly recommend you seek it out. And yet another brilliant Led Zeppelin concert comes to a close.