Any Port In A Storm is the title given to the recording of a show from January 22, 1973 at Southampton University, UK. One can tell from the fine sound quality that this was a contender for official release by the band. Why this was passed over for the 1972 shows of How The West Was Won is beyond me. Well, not really, since Plant’s voice cracks slightly on a few songs. However, Page, Jones, and Bonham cover a multitude of sins with their inspired playing and, in all fairness, Plant is also very good at times and he is also very personable with the audience.
To my ears, the LA Forum shows of ’72 on “West” sound a little tired. This show, by contrast, has adrenaline. The test of this is how “Dazed and Confused” can hold my interest for 28 and a half minutes. Page’s violin bow indulgences have become more nuanced and interesting and he even manages to insert a reference to Hendrix’s Purple Haze.
At this point the fourth album was still fairly recent and Houses of the Holy was the new (as yet unreleased) album and Page presents some different and very vibrant takes on the new songs. I know some may disagree, but, the first five Zep albums hold a special place in my heart. It is exciting to hear this period documented – a time before Physical Graffiti- when Stairway would still sound fresh alongside selections from their first album. This 2 CD set also features an epic, almost 27 minute, Whole Lotta Love, including I Can’t Quit You Babe and various 1950’s rockabilly songs.