Musically Speaking
Live Zep: The Hammer Returns
By Mary Peterson
Aug 1, 2003 - 1:30:34 PM

LOS ANGELES—What's the next best thing to a Zeppelin reunion? It's the long-awaited release of a live Zeppelin CD. Titled "How The West Was Won," this three-CD set contains previously unreleased live recordings of two 1972 shows recorded while Zeppelin played the West Coast. The band had just completed "Led Zeppelin IV" and "Houses of the Holy" had yet to be conceived. Jimmy Page, the band's guitar genius and producer extraordinaire, had long aspired to release a chronological album containing the band's live performances at their peak. Previous to "How The West Was Won," the only live performances available to fans were the "The Song Remains The Same," a soundtrack of a live performance and "BBC sessions," a double-disc set of their live radio sessions and a worthy addition to any collection.

Now along comes "How The West Was Won"--a live album that not only fills this void but also gives fans a faithful representation of Zeppelin's live shows at their most majestic and glorious. Representing two shows recorded in Los Angeles, one at the LA Forum and the other one two days later at the Long Beach Arena, the listener is taken on a freaked-out journey that is a live Zeppelin concert. Kevin Shirley, who worked with Page on the "Live At The Greek" CD, Page's collaboration with The Black Crowes, was enlisted to remix the songs. Shirley worked to faithfully convey the group in each LA setting. During the remixing, Shirley was even mindful of the band members position on stage with Jimmy always on Bonzo's left side and John Paul Jones on Bonzo's right.

Page incorporates the energy and diversity of the live shows with blues, rock and acoustic songs. The longer tracks such as the 25-minute "Dazed and Confused," and the 23-minute "Whole Lotta Love," convey to the audience the frenzied and spectacular performances that combined to become a live Zeppelin show while the band was at their peak. This compilation took 32 years to be released proving that great things come to those who wait

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