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      Just click one of below categories to explore the task you want to fix and ready to navigate the database:

How to use this database?

      It's very simple. The database is concentrating especially on low gens tapes as well as original vinyl and silver discs. MIDI's, MP3's, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs and all other unprofessional formats were omitted here. I listed most of low gens and professionally released bootlegs available in the underground music market for now but I omitted many 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

      The 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 information such as support acts etc. were also added below.

      Information 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 trustworthy 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.

      All of tapes's characteristics and technical details are allegedly based on low gens recordings, not commercially pressed bootlegs. Most of them often run at incorrect speed and suffer from other issues, therefore these pages show only approximate length of tapes listed and do not indicate detailed descriptions. Unless any of these recordings won't be released officially, there's a large margin of error on my side.

      Commercially pressed albums are much more often prepared by the bootleggers/producers to give more luxurious audio or visual aspect and many of the original distortions/issues 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 tape because of 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 its 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.

      Presentation of concrete, provable information learned from listening to these titles is the only way I can help 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 detect,
  • 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 speed,
  • overall completeness.

      Upgrades 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 malfunction,
  • damaged tape due to natural deterioration or mistreatment (this explains many stretched tape sections),
  • 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 hoarded).

      *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.

What is the meaning of bootleg and underground tape?

      Underground 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 sessions. The most common underground tapes are audience recordings made by audience members that have had the chance to witness and record 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 was caused when the taper operated on high tech equipment and had the chance to get the best position on the arena (dead center or near the speakers). In contrast to the audience recordings, soundboards are always professionally recorded multi-track tapes that were prepared for the 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). Needless 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.

      A "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 information about bootlegs please see the Bootlegs category of this site.)

What is the sound rating and how it works?

      The 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:

12-11 (Superb)
usually reserved for "official release quality" material only
10-9 (Excellent)
top quality, no noise/distortion at all (+/- indicate slight variations)
8-7 (Very good)
generally good but not professional quality, possible very slight noise/distortion (+/- indicate slight variations)
6-5 (Good)
all instruments audible with excessive hiss, some compressed sound or distortion (+/- indicate slight variations) or fair instruments balance and sound quality below average
4-3 (Fair)
poor balance, at least one instrument inaudible, bad distortion
2-1 (Poor)
only main instrument clearly audible, very distorted with bad hall ambience or virtually inaudible

      Other categories used on this site's rating system that can be helpful in using this database are:

mono recording
stereo recording
audience recording
soundboard recording
television recording
a portion of recording (song) is edited or missing
the beginning, middle or the end of the recording (song) is missing
b&w, mostly video source
amateur recording, both of audio and video
professional recording, both of audio and video
<< (includes)
a medley of one or (most often) more songs is played within another song
the end of medleys and returning to the basic song/theme
submitted by a reader or just unidentifying sound rating, date or venue of the recording

What is the audience and soundboard recording and how is the difference between them?

      There 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 those categories.

Audience recording

      The 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 exceptions 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 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.

      Unlike many soundboard tapes, audience tapes typically feature varying amounts of audience noise. While sometimes annoying, an 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 the incompleteness of many of the audience tapes as well as distortions in such of bumps and other unanticipated errors.

Soundboard recording

      Most 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 recording.

      Except 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, it's a two track recording, either mono or stereo, left and right channels from the board (what the audience hears). Much often, at least one instrument dominates the mix as they are the elements that can't be heard so clearly on stage over the rest during the show. Good examples of an unbalanced mix are 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. Most soundboard tapes will have little or no audience noise, generally only what was picked up by the stage microphones.

Multitrack recording

      A multitrack recording records each instrument onto a separate track in order to allow for a better and more cohesive sound. Live albums almost exclusively use multitrack recordings, as the sound levels of individual instruments can be adjusted and balanced to give the best sound presentation. A good example of this would be Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same" and "How The West Was Won" live albums. Both were later mixed and produced in the studio, where all separate tracks have been carefully adjusted and balanced to give a proper balance. Unfortunately, precious few multitrack recordings of Zeppelin are known to exist.

What is the "low" and "high" gen tape?

      The "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 copies. The audience tapes almost always come from less or more "high" gen copy and only a 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?

      As stated everywhere on this site, the author of this site has absolutely no information as to where to buy them or where they may be found although there are many on-line auctions and stores on the Internet that offer 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 in starting your own collection please try several links I posted on the Resources section. The authors of most of these sites are long-time well-known collectors and they provide their own collector guides.

      At last there are many traders around the globe and start corresponding with any of them. Some of them are opened for B&P and even if not, they offer a 1/1 rate trade (as I do).

How can I help to this site?

      The 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 like to send any correction - use the 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!