Led Zeppelin released How the West was Won as a 3 CD boxset in 2003 and it still remains their only official live album till date (with the exception of Live at the Olympia which was included as a bonus LP with 2014 reissue of Led Zeppelin I). This year 2018 marks the 50thanniversary of the mighty Zeps, and, yes, you guessed it right, Jimmy Page has come up with yet another remaster in the recent back catalogue reissue series of Led Zeppelin which kicked off way back in 2014.
Musically though, ‘HTWWW’ captures Led Zeppelin at its peak form, as Jimmy Page has rightly put it. The set has tracks recorded live at LA Forum on 25.06.1972 and Long Beach Arena o
27.061972 and sequenced/segued in a manner so as to sound as a single full concert. After the brief intro of LA Drone, the mighty Zeps kicked the ceremony with the Immigrant Song followed by the thunderous Heartbreakerand Black Dog. Before you fully recover from the blast of Side A, you’ll be mesmerized by the beauties of Over the Hills & Far Away and the infectious What Is &What Should Never Be on Side B. The screeching vocals of Robert Plant and monstrous riffing of Jimmy Page have glorified the Zep classics likeever.
The highlights of LP 2 include the ubiquitous Stairway to Heaven (one of the best versions I have ever heard) and mandolin-soaked Going to California which captured Page & Plant at their very best duly supported by the legendary rhythm section of John Paul Jones & JohnBonham.
LP 3 belongs to Page and Bonham with side long renditions of Dazed & Confused and Moby Dick respectively. Jimmy Page had done some excellent improvisations on Dazed & Confused whereas John Bonham has taken Moby Dick to supernatural level when compared to its Led Zeppelin II studio version. LP 4 features excellent versions of Rock and Roll and Whole Lotta Love with some hot licks and improvisations fromPage.
Overall, ‘HTWWW’ is an enjoyable live album and an important document in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. There are flip sides as well on this set, e.g., Dancing Days and The Ocean sound very dull on this set possibly due to the fact that these recordings preceded the release of the 5thLed Zeppelin LP, Houses of the Holy, and perhaps, these tracks hadn’t yet taken the final shape.
The 4 LP vinyl boxset has been remastered from original master tapes under supervision of Jimmy Page. It has faithfully recreated the original 2003 artwork and includes info inserts and photos on glossy prints kept inside the heavy cardboard box. However, one fails to understand the point of reproducing the same artwork even for 4 individual LPs.
A must-have for all Led Zeppelin fans and record collectors!
Category Live (recorded live at LA Forum on 25.06.1972 and Long Beach Arena on 27.061972)
Original Year of Release 2003 (CD)
Vinyl Pressing/Reissue 2018
Genre Heavy Blues Rock
Format 4 LP Box Set (180 gm heavyweight vinyl)
Label Atlantic Records/Swan Song
Rating ********** (8/10)
Reviewed by Aveek Chatterjee
Aveek Chatterjee is a Calcutta-based corporate professional and a passionate fan of classic rock, prog and blues of ‘60s-‘70s. He’s an amateur musician and stills finds time to intermittently play drums while jamming with his son on guitar. He’s an avid collector of LPs, CDs and DVDs, all from the classic era of music. However, his Audio Technica turntable and the collection of 1000 odd vinyl LPs featuring many rare and hard-to-find albums are his prized possessions.