It was 1972 in California when Led Zeppelin first recorded How the West Was Won. They spread their recording for the album over two concerts at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles and at the Long Beach Arena. The concert at the Forum was on June 25, and the concert at the Long Beach Arena followed on June 27.
The Forum concert was completely sold out. Press reviews reported that tickets cost up to $7.25; a high price back in the day. When the non-stop, two-and-a-half-hour-long set was finished, the crowd responded with a “tumultuous standing ovation” and demands for five encores. The fans had already been throwing fireworks and “smoking mounds of dope” according to reporter Danny Holloway. Others reported that Robert Plant’s showmanship and flair, Jimmy Page’s excellent technical guitar prowess, John Bonham’s power-rock drumming, and John Paul Jones solid bass and organ all contributed to a solid show designed to give the audience what they wanted and demonstrate the care Led Zeppelin took to please their fans. Without doubt, their fans responded to their efforts. One described that single concert as the one still talked about even decades later. It was incredible, frenzied rock and roll, it wasn’t reviewed as completely positive, but Zep powered on.
The Long Beach Arena show which followed was completely magical for fans. It was a “once in a lifetime live performance”, and never forgotten by many who were there. The floor seats for this concert were sold for $6.50. Fans remember the moment when someone lit a Roman Candle which flew from backstage, over the stage, and into the audience. Robert Plant simply dedicated their next song to “the Freak in the back!” and the concert moved on. Other’s remember Bonham’s spectacular drumming on Moby Dick, and more. Zep was about folklore, magic, and things epic. Zep’s fans remembered epic, and they were right.
Moby Dick 1970:
What’s so incredibly amazing about the live concert goers is that many posted similar archival comments: they planned to cherish their memories of Zeppelin live, and they also relived those days listening to the original “How the West Was Won” album. It kept those epic 1972 concerts alive.
When Atlantic/Swan Song will re-release How the West Was Won on March 23, it will be available in a variety of formats, vinyl included. Though it will be kept in its original format, with no new songs added, it is scheduled to herald the release of archival work in a big way, celebrating the upcoming anniversary. It will be possible to purchase the album in 3-CDs, digital formatting, Blue-ray Audio editions (featuring surround sound at hi-res 5.1.), and 180G vinyl for the first time ever. The audio will be newly-remastered by Jimmy Page.
The Super Deluxe version is a Boxed Set which includes rare band photos, previously unpublished band photos taken at the concert venues, a high-definition download card of all the stereo audio content, a photo gallery (PCM Stereo plus), a Dolby Digital 5.1 Video in Surround, and the CDs and LPs. To top off all of that, individually numbered prints, in high quality, of the album’s original cover will present the release in all its Led Zeppelin glory.
Stairway to Heaven 1985: