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How to use this database?
What is the meaning of term bootleg and underground tape?
What is the sound rating and how it works?
What is the audience and soundboard recording and how is the difference
What is the "low" and "high" gen tape?
How to start my own bootleg collection and/or where to buy bootlegs?
How can I help to this site?
How to use
very simple. This database consists of a very detailed bootleg discography
and is divided into few very large parts:
- Led Zeppelin (divided
into 1966-1980 tour itineraries, studio sessions and rehearsals, and
- Low Gens List (including
every possible to find low gen of show circulating)
- Bootleg Labels
Characteristics (including bootleg history from the point where it
all started up to the present times plus some short characteristics
of many bootleg labels)
- Bootleg Discography
(from LP to DVD bootlegs, where I listed most of significant releases)
database is concentrating especially on low gens tapes as well as original
vinyl and silver discs with the exception of some of CD-R and DVD-R
releases. MIDI's, MP3's and all other unprofessional formats were omitted
here. I listed most of low gens and profesionally released bootlegs
available in the underground music market for now but I omitted many
of compilation bootleg albums as well as few reissues of bootleg albums
released by more professional labels. Some setlists are marked with
one of the following:
>> - this
track fades into the next track
<< - the first track includes the second track
[ ] - time of actual song based on original length of actual song,
also refers to detailed characteristic (speed is based on speed corrected
versions only and does not include original timings when source is
dates are in the month-day-year format. The place of each performance
and the day it was played on are in the same line. Any additional informations
such as support acts etc. were also added below.
about setlists is not always complete, because it is based on original
recordings' remainders. It is listed only when confirmed by a tape source
or other database, with the exception of very few, which were confirmed
by other trustworth sources. Also because of the common practice of
misdating many commercially pressed items or tapes so there's still
a chance of error on my part.
of tapes's characteristics such as length of tapes and individual songs
or technical details are allegedly based on low gens recordings and
do not include speed corrected or edited versions. Commercially pressed
albums are very often prepared by the bootleggers/producers to give
more luxurious audio or visual aspect and many of the original distortions
are industriously obscured or removed from the media so it means that
commercially pressed recording can be - for example - shorter or much
more equalized than the original due to adaptation of ultra-modern digital
mastering equipment. Knowing the differences comparing same show tapes
is very important. My two determining factors for an upgrade are the
completeness of the tape and it's sound quality. My comparisons of differences
will mostly be brief summaries or outlines of my more extensive notes,
since many differences are considered trivial to normal CD collectors.
I will present facts about the audio's continuum/completeness and sound.
Since sound is an extremely subjective topic, I will not simply say
which source is better than... I will mention the facts of why the sounds
are different, to the extent it can be determined.
of concrete, provable information learned from listening to these titles
is the only way I can help to collectors. Premium packaging and pricing
never affect the quality of the audio contained therein. It has no relevance.
Music is the objective and always comes first. While listening to two
or more different tapes of the same show, I listen for and compare:
- all cuts I can
- time before the
first song, between songs, and after the last song,
- audience talk/noises
to determine if different source is used,
- tape length and
- overall completeness.
can sound better due to two primary reasons. It can be a different tape
entirely or it can be a lower generation of the same tape. The secondary
reasons would be that the tape had less of some of the controllable
variables listed below*. Cuts, gaps, dropouts and stretches during or
between songs can be explained by the following:
- taper turning off
recorder between songs to conserve tape,
- taper error,
- recording device
- damaged tape due
to natural deterioration or mistreatment (this explains many stretched
- time missed while
one tape ended and the next tape got loaded into the recorder,
- taper or trader
"marking" the tape so he can identify it later (sometimes
a trade is made only if the receiver agrees not to trade it. If this
"marked" tape is found outside of these special relationships,
the taper will know of the deception; others may mark a tape just
to see where it will show up in the future),
- taper doesn't release
his full tape (sometimes he will only release incomplete songs ranging
from slightly cut to only small fragments; the rest of the tape is
*Copy of tape used
was placed across multiple cassette tapes, creating more cuts.
*Tape is not a low generation tape, thereby containing various errors
that occurred along with making successive copies over the years.
*Unfortunately, some traders simply aren't or haven't been concerned
with maintaining the integrity of the original bootleg tape and don't
mind unnecessary errors.
the meaning of bootleg and underground tape?
tape is nothing more than pure, master source from which all the bootlegs
are made. Speaking very simply it can be done during the concert by
any member of the audience, during the concert as a soundboard and in
the studio during recording session. The most common underground tapes
are audience recordings made by audience members that have had the chance
witnessed and recorded the band. For many cases audience tapes are rather
poor sounding and less or more incomplete remainders of the concert
but in some special cases the sound is superb (like all of Mike Millard
tapes). This caused when the taper operated on a high tech equipment
and have the chance to get the best position on the arena (dead center
or near the speakers). In the opposite to the audience recordings soundboards
are always professionally recorded multi-track tapes that were prepared
for group's own needs, often for future live projects. These tapes in
most cases are excellent to superb sounding complete recordings with
all the instruments well balanced made by professional sound engineers.
The last category of underground tapes are studio tapes. This category
of underground tape is always superb sounding professional recordings
made during album or both radio and TV sessions (with the exception
of cassette demos, which were made during rehearsals). Need to say that
all underground tapes were dubbed several times by the persons involved
in the recording process or just by the fans and/or professional bootleggers
so several generations of each tape are available. The definition of
"low" and "high" gen can be found -> here.
"bootleg" is defined as an illegally manufactured disc or
tape that includes previously unreleased live or studio recordings.
Beside bootleg another two category of illegal albums are exists: a
"pirate" album considered as a copy of a commercially available
recording that has been repackaged in its own unique packaging and a
"counterfeit" album, which is a copy of a commercially available
recording that duplicates all aspects of the original official copy,
including the packaging. (For more informations about bootlegs please
category of this site.)
the sound rating and how it works?
sound rating system is nothing more than the scale made to describe
the quality of recording. The rating used here is based on the sound
quality of bootlegs not legitimate (official) albums. To give you an
idea of the quality, I've given numbers from 12 to 1 (that are equivalents
of terms Superb to Poor) beside each of the following ratings:
reserved for "official release quality" material only
quality, no noise/distortion at all (+/- indicate slight variations)
good but not professional quality, possible very slight noise/distortion
(+/- indicate slight variations)
instruments audible with excessive hiss, some compressed sound or
distortion (+/- indicate slight variations) or fair instruments
balance and sound quality below average
balance, at least one instrument inaudible, bad distortion
main instrument clearly audible, very distorted with bad hall ambience
or virtually inaudible
used on this site's rating system that can be helfpul in using this
portion of recording (song) is edited or missing
beginning, middle or the end of the recording (song) is missing
mostly video source
recording, both of audio and video
recording, both of audio and video
medley of one or (most often) more songs is played within another
end of medleys and returning to the basic song/theme
by a reader or just unidentifying sound rating, date or venue of
the audience and soundboard recording and how is the difference between
is some confusion among collectors concerning the different types of
recordings available, with "soundboard" and "audience"
being the most common definitions. While accurate, the terms audience
and soundboard don't adequately cover all of the different ranges within
quality of an audience tape depends on the equipment used by the taper
as well as the position of the taper in the arena. There are some excellent
tapes available from several small tours simply because Led Zeppelin
played smaller venues then and it was easier to capture the sound when
the band was only a short distance away. As the tours grew larger and
the band began to play arenas and stadiums, the position of the taper
became more important, and many of the audience tapes from the later
tours pale in comparison to the earlier ones because the taper was unable
to record from a good location. No doubt the exception are all of Mike
Millard tapes. Millard used a wheelchair as a prop to secure the best
position at shows. His taping equipment comprised a Nakamichi stereo
cassette deck and AKG microphones. Their possibly most known recording
is an almost complete stunning performance from Los Angeles Forum on
June 21st, 1977, commonly called "Listen To This, Eddie".
The other good exceptions are include legendary "Blueberry Hill"
TMQ/Blimp source of September 4th, 1970 show, some of 1971 and 1972
Japanese shows, New York February 12th, 1975 gig and Copenhagen and
Knebworth July and August 1979 dates.
many soundboard tapes, audience tapes typically feature varying amounts
of audience noise. While sometimes annoying, a active audience around
the taper produces an effect similar to a professionally mixed live
album, which will typically have a small amount of audience noise added
to the mix to enhance the feeling of "being there". If the
taper was able to elevate his microphones, the audience noise is greatly
reduced but many audience tapes were recorded right from the taper's
seat and sometimes have an overwhelming amount of talking, cheering,
and fighting, which can destroy the recording. That also caused of incompleteness
of many of the audience tapes as well as distortions in such of a bumps
and other unanticipated errors.
PA (Public Address) systems consist of two soundboards; the FOH, or
"Front of House" mix, and the "monitor" mix. The
FOH is the source that is heard by the audience while the musicians
on stage typically will each have a specialized monitor mix that allows
each musician to balance elements of the groups sound that are inaudible
or overwhelming on the stage. The "monitor" mixes also lack
reverb and room sound, the lack of which can produce a dry or lifeless
for the 1969 radio broadcasts, which could be considered a form of "FOH"
mix, most available Led Zeppelin soundboard tapes are monitor mixes
and the quality of the sound is dependent on which musician's mix was
used for the tape. Typically one or two musician's dominate the mix
leaving the rest of the band in the background and producing an unbalanced
recording. Usually, Robert Plant's vocals dominate the mix as they are
the one element that can't be heard on stage over the drums and electric
instruments. Good examples of an unbalanced monitor mix is the numerous
soundboard tapes available from the 1973 Tour, all of which feature
varying musicians in the front of the mix while the others are in the
background. In the opposition, many, if not the all of the 1975 soundboards
are rather well balanced and great sounding tapes that staying very
close to the official releases.
soundboard tapes will have little or no audience noise, generally only
what was picked up by the stage microphones. This can be also caused
from which tape gen the bootleg was made.
the "low" and "high" gen tape?
"low" gen tape is a tape that stands very close to the master
tape while "high" gen tape means the tape stands far away
from the master and was dubbed several times. For most cases all the
soundboard masters are in the hands of the group. With the exception
of very few multi-track recordings, almost all of the soundboards are
1st or so gen copys. The audience tapes almost always comes from less
or more "high" gen copy and only small amount of them were
sourced directly from the original masters, which for the most cases
have been lost or destroyed/wiped accidentally.
How to start
my own bootleg collection and/or where to buy bootlegs?
stated everywhere on this site, the author of this site have absolutely
no information as to where buy them or where they may be found although
there are many on-line auctions and stores on the Internet that offering
the possibility of buying the bootlegs. But a big care must be taken
after as many collectors received a sad trend in this hobby of selling
homemade CD-R copies of original silver CDs for high dollar on the Internet
auction sites. These auctions sometimes give not only any indication
that it is a copy and for the prices they charge you would expect it
is an original but also offers stuff that is unavailable and the only
thing you have is a waste of a large amount of money.
If you are interested
to start your own collection please try several links I posted on resources
section. The authors of most of these sites are long-time well-known
collectors and they providing their own collector guides. Also you can
visit my own tape
collection, where you can find accurate list of items I have to trade.
last there are many traders around the globe and start corresponding
with anyone of them. Some of them are opened for B&P and even if
not, they offered a 1/1 rate trade (as I do).
I help to this site?
rules are simple. If you have any information that is not included here
or if you have any confirmed information about any undiscovered tape/show/bootleg
or related stuff, just contact
me today. You can also try to browse each tour date and then - if you
have new information or would you like to send any correction - use
email update quick link posted below each date that is supplied with
setlist or related reference. This site is dedicated to the Led Zeppelin
Community and every new addition will be very appreciated not only by
me but also by the thousands of fans. Enjoy!