Sunday, January 24, 2016

Led Zeppelin - 1977 [1989] "Destroyer"

Destroyer is a bootleg recording from the English rock group Led Zeppelin's performance at Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland, Ohio on April 27, 1977. The soundboard recording is from the first show of two nights at the venue, which were part of the band's 1977 North American Tour. The album is technically titled simply Destroyer.
Initial vinyl pressings of the bootleg incorrectly credited Seattle, Washington as the location of this show. A limited edition of the four-LP set came in a plastic film reel carrying case bearing the legend "recorded June 24 'LED ZEPPELIN DESTROYER Unique Permanent Zeppelin Storage Case.'" The liner notes thanked John Bonham for letting the bootleg producers use the tape, and some songs were marred by the random splicing into them of segments from other songs.
The later three-CD sets fixed these errors, and eventually versions remastered from lower-generation source tapes surfaced. The exceptional sound quality throughout the performance is described by some sources as "almost perfect". It was the first, and for many years the only, professionally recorded mixing desk tape to escape from the band's possession.
The bootleg should not be confused with an audience recording from the following night in Cleveland, sometimes entitled The Destroyer. Though marred by poorer sound quality, and incomplete as a result of using 60-minute (instead of the longer 90-minute) cassette tapes for the recording, many critics consider this second performance better than the more famous first Destroyer gig.

I cannot say enough good things about this very RARE live 2cd set. I was skeptical when I ordered it. I have ZEP on Vinyl, remastered CD's, Box Sets, and Bootlegs and I Love them all, some of them I have bought more than once, none of them compare with this live show! Yes, their are mistakes it is Live....the mistakes are wonderful...Robert Plants interaction with the audience and the roadies is great to hear but JIMMY PAGE is LIVE and just takes off and does some absolutely Wonderful things....the 2nd disc is my favorite and I have have had it on ever since the mailman handed it to me. They give you no warning before taking you wherever they want. IT IS ZEPPELIN LIVE!!! As they were meant to be. I have been listening to ZEP since 1972.....Yes, I am that old, so I know what I say, if you can find it do yourself a favor and listen to ZEP RAW. I was lucky enough to see them once in this same year of 1977. Today....for just awhile I was right back there!!!!

Just received my copy of Led Zeppelin "Destroyer" bootleg copy of Zep in 1977,WOW!!!!!!! I have bought and made bootlegs before and this is TOP TEN material, a must for Zepheads like myself, all the classic songs and Page in good form. The discs arrived EARLY(first time with Amazon) nice packaging for a bootleg and it came with a bonus disc of 1969 early recordings for FREE(yep). Through Amazon I have found the perfect place for my books and now with music with GRAYDAYRECORDS on Amazon Marketplace. They also sent me a list of all there Zep products(wife not happy, spending more money), my only complaint wish they sent me there entire bootleg cat. Will being buying another disc( discs shhh wife might listen) right away...... oh and they do DVD'S TOO!!!!!

As a 1 star reviewer said, it's a bootleg. Obviously. It says so as soon as you click on it. So it won't have the sound quality of BBC Sessions or How The West Was Won. But if you're a Led Zep Fan-atic, and you must be or you wouldn't be reading these reviews, this album belongs in your collection. It's that simple, that cut and dried. Be forewarned, the first song is cut off in the beginning.Such is the characteristics of bootlegs.
I believe star ratings should be based on the recording and not the shipper and/or condition of the packaging. Although to comment on such is within reason.
That said, I would like to espouse Sleepy Hollow Sound. My first album had one song cut off and Kashmir was missing. I e-mailed them the problem and they e-mailed me back within two hrs. They said they would check their master and either send a new copy or a refund. The next a.m. I asked what the refund encompassed and within an hour they replied that a new copy was on the way. Then I got a personal phone call making sure the mailing address was correct, and had a very personable ten min. conversation. You can't find a better company to deal with. They make you know you're dealing with people, not a company.

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.

Track listing:

Disc 1
1. The Song Remains The Same
2. The Rover/Sick Again
3. Nobody's Fault But Mine
4. In My Time Of Dying
5. Since I've Been Loving You
6. No Quarter
7. Ten Years Gone

Disc 2
1. The Battle Of Evermore
2. Going To California
3. Black Country Woman - Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
4. White Summer - Kashmire
5. Achilles Last Stand
6. Stairway To Heaven
7. Rock And Roll
8. Tramped Under Foot


Robert Plant - Vocals
Jimmy Page - Guitar
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums



  2. Props. I haven't heard much live Zep. Looking forward to hearing this. Thanks.

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  4. Never knew it existed. Always eager for rare recordings. Can't wait to crank it.