Australian HIFI - - EISA AWARDS – 2018-2019 -

How The West Was Won (2018 reis­sue) Orig­i­nally re­leased as a triple-CD in 2003 along­side the rev­e­la­tory Zep­pelin ‘DVD’, this is a live al­bum that has thrilled long­time devo­tees, a mul­ti­track desk record­ing that cap­tures the band fir­ing on all cylin­ders in 1972 over two con­certs in Cal­i­for­nia, a cor­rec­tive of­fer­ing to ‘The Song Re­mains The Same’ which, for all its mer­its, has never been con­sid­ered ei­ther an ‘on’ night or the best of record­ings. ‘HTWWW’ is now reis­sued as a pre­lude to the band’s 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, which will in­clude a big of­fi­cial book (due Oc­to­ber, 50 quid on pre-or­der) and pos­si­bly ‘new’ live record­ings to come. This new re­lease sounds iden­ti­cal to the 2003 one dig­i­tally, other than a country jam around Hello Mary Lou be­ing seam­lessly ex­cised from the set-clos­ing med­ley within Whole Lotta Love, per­haps sim­ply to bring the formerly 23-minute track more within the rea­son­able lim­its of vinyl, Page con­firm­ing in a re­cent in­ter­view that the main rea­son for this re-is­sue was to put it on vinyl along­side the re­cent re­mas­ters. So the pic­tured 4-LP box set is the main re­view source here, though a Su­per Deluxe box set adds the CDs, a down­load voucher for high-res stereo, and a DVD with stereo and 5.1 Dolby Dig­i­tal ver­sions (stingily not in­clud­ing the Blu-ray ver­sion which has un­com­pressed mul­ti­chan­nel). As with all Zep, it plays well on vinyl though the mix is slightly soft, and given the dig­i­tal in­ter­me­di­ary the added en­joy­ment re­ally comes pri­mar­ily from the vinyl ex­pe­ri­ence of hav­ing the now 148 min­utes pre­sented as sin­gle sides—a start and an end to each lit­tle pro­gramme, rather than a con­tin­u­ous con­cert. As for the per­for­mance, it’s an ab­so­lute barn­storm­ing wowser, the ul­ti­mate boot­leg, and a must-have for ev­ery Zep­pelin fan old, new or lapsed.

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