Bootleg Banter...

Bootleg Banter...
Authored By John Nicholson

Bootlegs. They ain't what they used to be. Remember what a hip credibility they had in the 1970’s? If you knew someone had one they had real cred. My pal Russell had a few including Led Zeppelin at Kezar Stadium 1973. It was a Flying Pig recording. I'll tell you what, that recording was a bit rough and ready but it showed Zep as a killer band.
And that’s the thing. I never understood the hostility to them from bands. It was obvious that only big fans wanted what was sometimes a hand held live recording. I get that the band didn’t have control of the product. But the paranoia about boots suggested they were scared everyone would hear a shit band. Zep could be hit and miss, Page was super sloppy sometimes, but the fans knew that and still loved them, bought every legit release and every ticket. The stories about Peter Grant rampaging around record shops confiscating bootlegs were just mad.
Sensible bands realised that fans wanted more product than they could supply and were cool about boots. The Grateful Dead arranged areas for tapers and now we’re glad they did because pretty much every show was preserved and since 1992 has been released as a Dick’s Picks.
You can still buy boots with their distinctive artwork and I celebrated the fact on DJTees. If anything they are more expensive now as they have acquired an archival quality that they didn’t used to have. There are thousands of bootlegs and the classic rock era is well served by them. Whichever band you dig, there’s plenty out there for you and plenty of aficionados to sift the good from the bad. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they show why the band or performer has gone down in rock history as a great performer.

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