In August 1979, Led Zeppelin gave two concerts at England's Knebworth Fair -- the first on August 4th, the second on August 11th. Those shows turned out to be the band's final shows in the U.K. This two-LP bootleg, which the Phoenix label put out in 1979, offers only part of the August 4th show. The sound quality is OK -- not bad, but definitely not audiophile quality either. Knebworth 1979 isn't a soundboard recording, and the person who did the taping obviously used a portable home recorder -- probably a high-quality stereo unit. If, in 1979, a bootlegger used a state-of-the art portable stereo recorder to tape an outdoor concert, he/she wouldn't get soundboard quality but was still likely to end up with something listenable. And even though Knebworth 1979 wouldn't impress an audiophile, it still captures the excitement of Zep's next-to-last U.K. show. Phoenix excludes some of the gems that Zep performed at Knebworth (including "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love," and "Heartbreaker") but provides inspired performances of favorites that range from "Trampled Under Foot" and "Kashmir" to "Since I've Been Loving You." Generally enjoyable but certainly not essential, Knebworth 1979 is problematic in more ways than one. Hardcore collectors would have preferred to have the August 4th concert in its entirety, and Phoenix doesn't tell you that this double-LP focuses on that show instead of the one on August 11th (although sources say that everything on Knebworth 1979 was recorded on August 4th, not August 11th). But despite its various flaws and shortcomings, this is a bootleg that collectors were glad to get ahold of back in 1979.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson