Led Zeppelin 2014 Remasters Round-Up

Felt like these Zep reissues needed a round-up post.

The Product:

I can’t speak for the 2CD sets (although I have fondled them in the shops, they were still shrink-wrapped). And I can’t say anything about the super-duper fancypants editions (maybe one day Rich will write about them… didn’t he get those?). But the Deluxe vinyl sets that I have here are simply divine. All 180g, satisfying to hand as you heft them (especially LZ I, with its 3 LPs where the others have 2). Faithful reproductions of the originals, they are also pleasing to the eye.

The Albums:

I’ve had a blast going through all of this stuff. These were exactly what you know and love. The remastering sounds really clean and loud and wonderful. I have no complaints… although I’m not an expert on remastering jobs. Your mileage may vary, but I’d wager you’ll be just fine with them.

The Companion Audio:

On LZ I, we get the full 1969 Paris concert and it’s a corker. This was my favourite of the three sets for that very reason. I know I mentioned it in my reviews of LZ II and III, that I wished there was live content for the II and III sets as well, especially considering there had to have been more than enough live stuff recorded to use. Even if it wasn’t all one show, a collection of live tracks from each time period would still rule. Alas.

On LZ II and II, of course, we get rough mixes and slightly different versions. They’re still great. It’s still interesting to listen to these songs in early forms. There are enough differences, over the course of each disc, to make them more than worthwhile.

In Sum:

Led Zeppelin I, II and III, the 2014 remasters are great. It really impresses me that now, even after all of this time, we can all still get so excited about these records we’ve heard a million times. It speaks volumes to the enduring strength and timelessness of the material.

I don’t have a rating system, but for these I thought I would try. I would give these complete vinyl packages the following:

LZ I: 5/5

LZ II: 4.5/5*

LZ III: 4.5/5*

 

* .5 lost for wanting live stuff instead of the other mixes. Not that there’s anything wrong with the tracks that are here, really. They could be 5/5 if LZ I hadn’t shown me what was possible with the others.

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Posted on October 15, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Nice point about it being 45 years since they came out and they really are evergreen!

    Like

  2. There’s no doubt that they did a superb job with the deluxe vinyl packages, and your ratings are spot-on. I do have the super-deluxe box sets for the first three, and I’ve already preordered the box sets for IV and Houses Of The Holy. They are exquisite, but only recommended for uber-fans like myself, as well as the independently wealthy. If you’re only concerned with content, it’s a bit of overkill having the same music in three different formats. The books are stunning and really add value to each set.

    Regarding your preference for live material as opposed to the other bonus content, I have mixed feelings. The live discs with Zeppelin I are excellent but that show is merely an average one for them during that period. I believe the only reason it was included was because there’s very little, if any, bonus studio recordings from those sessions. I hope that once this reissue series is complete, Page will turn his attention to a career-spanning live box set…perhaps after he releases a new solo album and shows everyone that he’s not just living in the past.

    Thanks for giving this series such a nice set of reviews. Hopefully you’ll continue to do them through the remainder of the reissues.

    Like

    • Thanks so much for this thoughtful and insightful comment, Rich! Coming from such a huge fan like you, that I did them justice at all in your eyes is a huge win for me. As I said at the top of my LZ I write-up, I did feel a little out of my depths doing these. Granted, for these things I only really focussed on the Companion Audios. Trying to review the albums themselves now? Haha wow, that’s a daunting thought…

      The vinyls are indeed gorgeous. I mean, DAMN! You’re lucky to have the super-deluxe sets, those books would be a gem to go through, too.

      I have “sort of” pre-ordered IV and HotH. By ‘sort of,’ I mean that I sent the Amazon pre-order links to my lovely wife and my Mom because I am under strict orders to not buy any of these things for myself because Christmas is coming. I think it bodes well. Just have to wait and see what happens in December (fingers crossed)!

      I appreciated, as well, your insight into the lack of available extra material for LZ I. Honestly, I had no idea. One would think most bands would have demos and rough mixes and alternate tracks kicking around… To speculate (I don’t know for sure) that what they did was what got recorded, by and large, is a boggling and pleasing line of thought. To worry that no one kept the extra stuff or taped over it just churns my stomach and would keep me up at nights, were it true. I prefer the former, for sure!

      Also, the concert for the Companion Audio, THAT was an average night? Holy hell. What I heard was awesome as it was!

      A career-spanning live box set would break everything. Seriously, all of the things everywhere. Can you IMAGINE? Oh man, what a bomb going off that would be! I would buy that, and so would everyone else!

      A Page solo album would be brilliant, right about now. Or any time, really. Are you reading all this, Jimmy? How about it, eh?

      Again, thanks for the approbation, I was honestly a bit nervous putting these up. If/when you guys get your write-ups on these things on your sites, I’ll be linking to them for sure. And if I continue to get these things given to me (or if I have to buy them myself), I will definitely be continuing these things as long as I can!

      Like

  3. Enjoyed your reviews of these, but something inside me still baulks at spending so much on LPs I’ve already got … LZ1 is the only one I’m tempted by.

    Like

    • Thanks, 1537! Hm, I was afraid this might happen. I went on quite a bit about my preference for the live vs. studio Companion audio. And a bit unfairly, perhaps, to the detriment of the studio rough mixes and such. They’re still excellent. Think of it this way – as Geoff (Stephen1001) pointed out, these things are (at their youngest) about 45 years old. ANY new versions of any of it is still a gold mine. I know I will play them all again. Especially the instrumental tracks. I will totally use those as karaoke tracks. So would you. Admit it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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