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Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won CD (album) cover

HOW THE WEST WAS WON

Led Zeppelin

 

Prog Related

4.38 | 158 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I knew this album was released, I immediately thought of the like of the band's "The Song Remains The Same" soundtrack live album which I really love. But when I got this beautifully packaged CD from a close friend of mine who is the best Led Zeppeling collector I have ever seen, Tatan Taufik, who have given me this CD as a gift. Thank you, mas Tatan, You rock, man! I was amazed with this CD package. Not that the songs contained in this package but with overall appearance of the CD. Firstr off, I really love the cover art design depicting the band's members in painting style and it is a reminiscent of the 70s. It made my pulse race faster than usual speed with the fact that the cover stimulated me to the memories of glory days of rock music. Even the cover rocks already! Second, the design of three CDs being put inside the package is also awesome. In total, this is beyond my expectation of any Led Zeppelin release and it's on par excellent with the Flower Kings' "Meet The Flower Kings" combo DVD and CD package.

Recorded live at both the Los Angeles Forum and the Long Beach Arena, "How The West Was Won" showcases the days when one of the greatest bands in rock history was at their absolute peak. "How The West Was Won" captures a time in history when the band was between one of their most commercially successful records and very popular not in the rock community but also those normal music buffs who did not focus their taste on rock music only. This was also what my colleague Tatan had stated when he was as key speaker in a Saturday Night Rock program at FM radio station in Jakarta, sometime in March 2007.

In Disc One of the live set, I found the opening "LA Drone" (0:14) has made a very successful ambient creation just right before the seminal and powerful song "Immigrant Song" (3:42) enters the scene. My oh my . how great the first blast of the music the first time I spun the CD! I could immediately notice the explosive sound, led by John Bonham, the drumbeats are amazingly powerful. Recent performances from Robert Plant highlight his reduced vocal range, but in 1972 he could go balls to the wall and "Immigrant Song" is a perfect example where Plant could reach that others could not.

"Heartbreaker" follows in a mood much better than the studio version. Later comes the second most-played song in the acoustic guitar section of most guitar repertoires "Over The Hills and Far Away." Jimmy Page sets his guitar tone down to an eerie sounds but still electric country feel for the first verse, but as soon as first chorus arrives, the tune explodes into a full-blown rock song. The energy and enthusiasm are much better than the studio version that it breathes new life into a tired song.

At the later part of Disc One, the band plays their great acoustic material from third album. From the way the music is played I can sense that owning a live record of Led Zeppelin one must be prepared to hear something different (or in some cases "totally different) from their studio records. This also happened when I owned "The Song Remains The Song", and now with the "How The West Won" which shows the entire band's ability to improvise their music, from some vocal changes from Plant to alternative solos from Page to bombastic fills from Bonham and beyond.

Disc Two kicks off with a very long (25-and-one-half-minute) performance of "Dazed and Confused" which, sorry to say, very boring and tiring for me especially improvisation part where Page uses violin bow to his guitar. Well, if it's not that long, this track is really great. I can say that the best live version of this song is I think those presented under "BBC Sessions" as they don't have a very long guitar effects solo. The "What Is and What Should Never Be," offers great solo by Page. The band also performed "Dancing Days," which would be be released as a studio track on the next album "House of the Holy". "How The West Won" also features long version of "Moby Dick" (nearly 20-minute duration).

What makes me wondering is the fact that I enjoy the long version of jamming and improvisation in "Whole Lotta Love" of CD Three with a total of 23 minute duration! It sounds cool to my ears with some analog effects, presumably with a violin bow.

Overall, I would say that this is an excellent rock live record with many jamming and improvisations by members of the band and make some songs do not sound like the original studio version. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |

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