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VINE VOICEon November 3, 2007
I was surprised at how many folks hate this movie and the concert recording therein. Many of the complaints are about the sub-par show. I disagree. Maybe it's because I don't think the show is that bad. I enjoy the soundtrack a lot. In fact, the version of many of the songs are more enjoyable than the originals for me, especially (gasp) Stairway to Heaven.
The footage is grade A cheese, but so what? Is there no value in Jimmy Page and his devilishy horrible glowing red eyes or the bizarre mafia sequence or John Paul Jones scaring the crap out of his kids? As a special kick for Pittsburgh folk like myself, the opening sequence of the arrival at the airport and the supposed drive to the MSG show was actually footage from Pittsburgh and not NYC, so that always got a rousing cheer from us stoners at the Stanley Theater midnight showings.
This is a classic bit of raw rock and roll. It isn't studio wizardry, especially welcome coming from master producer and reknowned anal retentive control freak Jimmy Page. I still enjoy the charm of this movie despite the flaws. Live music is about more than perfection. Perhaps it is the perceived smudge on the shiny veneer of the Zeppelin image that many of the fans have. For me, it just makes the band that much more appealing. Carry me back, indeed.
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on November 5, 2007
I am shocked at the comments of some folks who believe this footage
of the group to be awful. Each to his own, but in my humble opinion - it is absolutely smoking... Page's guitar-work alone is some
of the most creative, melodic and powerful of his career.
His extended journeys on Dazed and Confused, and his solos elsewhere
blaze - several songs feature his rarely heard jazz-inflected harmonic side, neck-in-neck with typically fierce blues riffing
and angular lines..some of his most accurate playing as well. All this about the guitar! suffice to say, the singing,
bass, and drums add their own live-wire energy to the mix. The rhythm
stomps with big boots. Each pillar of the group brings the magic in this set.
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on March 5, 2001
I like this DVD. I also have the CD, and musically, it's a pretty mediocre performance. The band sounds tired and I have a lot of better sounding bootleg shows from that same period in Zeppelin's career. To make matters worse, Madison Square Gardens isn't known for being all that acoustically happening. Fortunately, the live footage is tight and the video remastering is well done. You get to see how they reigned on stage, and that does add quite a lot of impact to the tunes. The audio crew gets it dialed after the first 15 minutes, and from there on, it's a decent-sounding show. I could do without the band's personal fantasy sequences, simply because I want to see more of the musicians doing their thing. But, hey, it's always a hoot seeing Bonzo doing anything. And the first time I saw a light-sabre in Star Wars, I thought of this movie.
If you never saw them live, view this DVD and you get some idea of what made them such a colossal impact on rock. If you like Led Zeppelin then this is a must-have disc.
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on November 19, 2007
Anybody who says this is not Led Zeppelin at their best is simply trying to sound like an expert when really all they're doing is regurgitating something Jimmy Page was quoted as saying at some point a long time ago. As someone who has listened to just about every Led Zep bootleg ever made I can say with confidence that most of the songs are definitive live renditions. No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, Rain Song, Since I've Been Loving You, are all spectacular! And then there is Dazed And Confused; this song continued to grow and mature live just as the group did. The '73 edition is the pinnacle of that songs existence. In '75 although it was longer, it began to meander and loose focus. Dazed from this show is tight, moves gracefully from passage to passage, builds, releases and shows why Jimmy Page is a master craftsman.
I'm sick of negative reviews of this show!!! All I can say is you don't know what you're talking about. I am very excited about this complete release. Get It!!!
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on January 24, 2009
Released in 1976, The Song Remains The Same is footage taken on three nights in Led Zeppelin's 1973 concert at New York's Madison Square Gardens. The band performs "Rock and Roll," "Black Dog," "Since I've Been Loving You," "No Quarter," "The Song Remains The Same," "The Rain Song," "Dazed and Confused," "Stairway to Heaven," "Moby Dick," "Heartbreaker," and "Whole Lotta Love." The film is structured such that it starts off with a fantasy sequences and then shots of the band at home with their families before the tour starts, then there's documentary footage of the band arriving in New York and driving into Manhattan, before the concert begins. The onstage shots are largely of Robert Plant, with some of Jimmy Page, less of John Bonham, and really only one or two of John Paul Jones (who literally wears a heart on his sleeve). Robert Plant is dressed in jeans, shirtless under a dainty vest, John Paul Jones is also pretty in some sort of Victorian garb, Jimmy Page is an alien in a star suit, and John Bonham a lad in white pants and a t-shirt. The onstage footage is okay, but there's probably too much camera attention given to Robert Plant, rock 'n' roll's great Adonis, not nearly enough to Jimmy Page, rock 'n' roll's great Anubis. For some of Page's solos the camera is elsewhere (such as on John Paul Jones during the amazing "Since I've Been Loving You" solo, or on all the other members of the band when the crunchy riff of "Dazed and Confused" kicks in at the beginning of the song), or even when the camera is on Page during a solo the focus is too high and you can't see what he's doing with his hands, very frustrating. During other solos the director cuts to a fantasy sequence or shows documentary footage. Sometimes this works well, such as during the wanky 20-minute "Dazed and Confused" solo, but I'd liked to have watched the "No Quarter" solo.

The fantasy sequence that start the movie is probably the best one, showing John Bonham, manager Peter Grant and tour manager Richard Cole dressed up as gangster hitmen driving an old-timer from one country estate to another, which they proceed to shoot up with machine guns. Whoever their enemies are (one of them, apparently, is Roy Harper) is never explained, the episode is quite surreal. Then it goes to the present day, Peter Grant is on a phone, a message is dispatched, a messenger delivers a letter to Robert Plant on his farm in Bron-Yr-Aur where he's watching his kids playing, the five-year-old Carmen Jane and the two-year-old Karac (who would, tragically, die of a viral infection four years after), John Bonham is plowing the fields with a tractor, John Paul Jones is reading "Jack and the Beanstock" to his daughters Jacinda, Tamara and Kierra, Peter Grant is driving an old-timer with a woman, Richard Cole is driving another old-timer to a pub, and Jimmy Page is playing a hurdy gurdy by the lake (he turns around, his shades glow orange and the world goes psychedelic). John Paul Jones gets the only lines of any of the intro or fantasy sequences, when he reads the letter: "Tour dates!" (goofy grin). "This is Tomorrow!" (look of dismay). Cue Led Zeppelin's jet The Starship landed in New York, limousines, police escort, the pastoral "Bron-Yr-Aur" plays as the limos approach Madison Square Gardens. Doves fly through the air. We are in a dark, crowded space, the band seems to be onstage, we hear the massive drum intro to "Rock 'n' Roll," then the lights come on and it's Led Zeppelin!!!!

But you do see some Jimmy Page, there is even a nice shot that highlights drops of sweat that have fallen on his Les Paul. In many of the shots of Robert Plant, his crotch is in clear view and the shape of his genitals is quite clearly outlined through his tight jeans. Great crowd shots, including scenes of girls in rapt attention, plenty of stoners, even black guys dressed like pimps. Cool theremin bits, including one blast in "No Quarter," and plenty more in "Whole Lotta Love." Too many non-band members in view in some of the shots, so it's not very intimate. Bonzo working the drum, grimacing and gnashing his teeth, flicking his tongue. Snatches of "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)" sung during "Dazed and Confused," also the violin bow, and a slight bit of "Black Sabbath" at one moment. There's a cool guitar jam at the end of "Dazed and Confused" that could probably even be considered a song of its own. The camera work, while it was generally quite weak throughout, does some interesting things at times, such as going around 360 degrees as some points, and at one point in "Stairway to Heaven" there is a cool split-screen mirror doubling thing, like Prince did in "When Doves Cry," highlighting Jimmy Page playing guitar (and another of Robert Plant quadrupled. Of course, in other parts you get the sense that shots from other parts of the night have been stitched edited together, and there is occasionally the feeling that what we're watching is authentic - apparently some gaps in footage were filled by having the band re-shoot on a recreated stage in 1974, aping their movements of that night in New York. But the band is tight, and it is amazing how, after a 20 minute digression in the solo of "Dazed and Confused," the band gets right back into the song without stumbling in the slightest.

There are also subtly amusing bits, like when Robert Plant flashes the two-finger salute with one hand and the V for Victory with the other during the "you know sometimes words have two meanings" lyric. Of course, there's also the famous "Moby Dick" drum solo where everyone goes off, that show Bonzo throwing away the sticks and using his hands to drum, splicing elegantly at one point to a clip of Jason Bonham on the drums - he must have been five years old in the shot. Interesting in "Whole Lotta Love," you actually see Jimmy Page for the first time stepping up to the mic to perform some sort of backup vocals in the chorus, although you don't really hear him. Why that song and no other? Nice shot of Jimmy playing the theremin in "Whole Lotta Love," then Robert in Jimmy's underarm. Cool shot of Orange amp head at 1:58:23. Robert ad-libs a lyric "some are lined with gold - Acapulco Gold." They finish the set and Bonzo attacks a gong with a flaming mallet, and the gong frame lights up. The band walks offstage, the house lights come on, and the band gets into their limo and moves on. The band are seen at the airport getting into the Starship, and that's all there is.

Besides the opening fantasy scene, four others appear throughout the movie; the first one spliced into the concert is John Paul Jones', which comes during a long organ and guitar interval in "No Quarter," it shows him playing a huge church organ, then riding around in a mask with three other masked horsemen, before he returns home to a Victorian household and his beautiful wife and daughter (played by Jimmy Page's girlfriend at the time and their daughter). Robert's fantasy scene is during "The Song Remains The Same" and "The Rain Song," it shows him on a beach with a sword, riding around on a horse, galloping, eating a big red toadstool he found in the forest, the sword burning on the beach at night, a castle where he uses his falcon to attack people in the castle, then he goes up and has a sword fight, rescuing a damsel in distress. Great long shot of him riding in the mountains, the camera pulls back to show the gigantic valley he's entering. Jimmy's fantasy scene is in "Dazed and Confused" and shows a mountain at night, a full moon, Jimmy climbing up the mountain (the way renowned occultist and mountaineer Alistair Crowley, his idol, did on so many treacherous passes), kind of an odd thought for such an un-athletic person. He reaches a ledge where a man is standing, it is The Hermit from the Tarot deck (and also seen on the band's fourth album). The Hermit lifts his head and regresses in age until you realise it's Jimmy Page, then a baby Jimmy, then a foetus in the womb, then a flash of lightning, then he ages again into The Hermit (later in Dazed and Confused" there's also a cool section where a shot of Jimmy freezes and the camera zooms up into his eye and cuts to a documentary scene). John Bonham's "fantasy" sequence in "Moby Dick" is more like shots of him hanging out with his family. He's got shorter hair than he did onstage in 1973, and is shown with some sort of a mullet, playing pool, hugging his wife.

Documentary clips that are interspersed show Robert and Peter talking, Peter Grant arguing about how they caught people selling bootleg material inside the venue - posters - and arguing with the venue manager about it, security cops and fans hanging around outside, a cop on horseback saying "no comment," guys getting let in without tickets, a guy getting chased and nabbed and taken into a toilet by security cops, another guy getting ejected, there is also some footage concerning the lost $200,000, for which there was a press conference at the time and some of the people involved were taken in for questioning.

The extras on the second disc are not bad, although there's nothing really remarkable there either. There's a news report from a Tampa TV, showing lots of long-hairs and parking lots full of 1970s gas guzzlers, channel that is probably the crappiest bit of news reporting that I've ever heard, talking about the biggest crowd ever assembled in "the history of the world!!" Yes, 50,000 people were there, and scraggly mustachioed John Jones reported on it. "I'm pleased to say that one of the group's four members has my same name, that's John Paul Jones," he cleverly points out. He repeats himself, "Now, I said this was the largest single performance crowd ever to attend any concert in the history of the world, and I meant it!" The host then jumps in and repeats John Jones' intro of the band: "Their names are Robert Plant, John Benham, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. Robert, Jimmy, John and John; doesn't quite have the appeal of John, Paul, George and Ringo, but they certainly have the drawing power of the Beatles." Hey - who's "John Benham?" Sheesh. There's also some more footage of the robbery of $200,000, a small part of which was put in the film, as ell as the original film trailer. Then there's an 8-minute long interview with Robert Plant and manager Peter Green on a boat going down the Thames, not of much interest except when Robert hints at how they "rented the sharks," referring to the infamous shark incident with the groupie. There are four other tracks that weren't cut into the movie: "Over The Hills And Far Away," "Celebration Day," "Misty Mountain Hop," and "The Ocean." All of the performances are straight, meaning no cutting into documentary footage or fantasy sequences.
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on November 14, 2001
Filming of this concert at Madison Square Garden took place at the end of July 1973 and the end of the 1973 tour year for Led Zeppelin—and it shows in almost every performance. As a rabid Zeppelin fan who owns many live Zeppelin concert recordings (including several from 1973), I can assure you that what you hear in this video is not the Zeppelin you would hear in March or May of that year, which were far better shows. In those months, Zeppelin is fresh and energized and they often left your out of breath. Here in this concert footage—with bits and pieces that were taken from each of the three shows—Page shows some signs of being spent from the long touring year and Robert's voice is just horrid in some spots. Both freely admit that these concerts were not their best effort and both have often bemoaned both the quality of the footage and the quality of play. Lot of the blame could be put on the awful editing job which is evident throughout the film to fit three days of the best music into one supposed concert night (notice how their clothes change from scene to scene?). Additionally, there are several concert footage scenes that were "re-filmed" in a reconstructed studio set of the concert stage (for proof, look at Plant's teeth. In one shot, they'll be crooked, in other shots perfectly straight. Why? Because he had his teeth fixed after 1973 and the "re-filming" captured that). But of all the many cuts found strewn throughout the film, the most criminal cut occurs in "Whole Lotta Love" right before the Theramin section—it's amazing someone could have gotten away with that one. There are several in "Dazed and Confused", too, that rank up there in the list of poor edits. Even after Page's solo in "Stairway to Heaven" (perhaps his finest in that touring year), the film cuts to the previous night because Plant liked the way he sounded that night instead. If you listen closely, this cut completely unbalances the tempo of the song. Lastly, watch Jones very closely after the end of "Whole Lotta Love". He takes his bass guitar off twice. It's that kind of mediocre production that plagues this entire film.
But even with all the complaints, I still love this film. It actually was the reason why I became the Zeppelin fan I am today. I watched it one weekend in 1986, and I have been addicted to Zeppelin ever since. As so many other reviewers have said here, even a relatively weak Zeppelin performance is worth its wait in gold. The boys still pull off a lot of exciting moments in these songs, most noticeably in TSRTS, DAC, NQ, and SIBLY. So despite my reservations about the film itself, I still would recommend it to Zeppelin and non-Zeppelin fan alike. Jimmy was a true guitar sorcerer in those days, and Jones & Bonham were simply gigantic from one night to the next—the best rhythm section ever in the history of rock bands. No other live band then and now can match these guys in talent.
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on August 24, 2000
Now, I like Led Zeppelin as much as the next girl, but this movie, from a purely technical standpoint, is hilarious in how terribly it was just slapped together and sent to theaters. The beginning sequence, where the band is sent summons to perform, is choppy and makes no sense at all. First you have Robert Plant frolicking with his family, then John Bonham is plowing the back forty, then John Paul Jones (was that his real hair or a wig?) is reading bedtime stories to his kids, and that whole Jimmy Page by the lake scene? For a second I thought I was seeing the Blair witch, but then I realized that Jimmy just needed some Visene.
The concert sequences looked like they were cut and pasted from different performances, which I think they probably were. You have people in different clothes RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SONG! The camera operators have an annoying habit of focusing in on the part of the musician's anatomy that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on what he is doing during that portion of the song, or, worse, on a person who is not really doing anything interesting at that particular moment in time. The sound could stand to be digitally remastered, and the "special effects" are hilarious. The dream sequences are so weird they're great. My favorite is the primitive morphing of the old man on the mountain (The inspiration for Obi Wan Kenobi? You be the judge.) into baby Jimmy Page and back again.
Technically, this movie would get a film student expelled from college. Musically, it's amazing. Most people will agree that Zep does not sound their best here, but what passes for an average show for them is so much better than many acts' best efforts. For people like me, who are too young to have seen Zep live, this is as close as we'll ever get. If you like classic rock or cheesy special effects, see this movie. Either way, it will brighten you day in ways that Led Zeppelin never intended.
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on September 4, 2001
If not for the silly fantasy sequences interspersed throughout the concert footage, I'd give this a "5" rating. A must-have for any Led Zeppelin fan, especially because the movie contains two live songs ((1) an edited version of "Heartbreaker" with most of the Page solo intact and (2) a raw, blistering version of "Black Dog" with the "Out on the Tiles" riff lead-in) that never made it onto the double-album vinyl (and for that matter, CD) motion picture soundtrack version, probably because there wasn't enough space. Too bad Jimmy Page didn't take the time to put a real "bonus features" section into the DVD which he could have used to include unused, left-over footage from these MSG '73 shows (which he presumably has possession or control of) or some later concerts from the '75 and '77 tours of which bootleg video tape versions exist. Regardless, a keeper DVD through and through.
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on July 11, 2014
This review is for the Blu-Ray release specifically.
As a Led Zeppelin NUT, since I was a child, I have collected Led Zeppelin Live Concerts.
I was too young to see them live, just barely. Just as i was becoming aware of them, John Bonham Died.
I remember paying exorbitant amounts of money for a factory VHS of this film.
I never imagined I would have the option of Lossless HD audio and 1080p Blu-Ray Video.
This is an essential release and while at the time it may have seemed cheesy, it is now considered Classic!
The multiple audio tracks (5.1, 2.0, and Losless Hd 5.1) are all excellent, the Bonus tracks are worth getting for this alone.
I just wish these tracks would be re-cut into the film presentation, just for the sake of accuracy, and the fact that the songs omitted are arguably better songs than those included. They are Celebration Day, Over the hills and far away, Misty Mountain Hop, and The Ocean (including John Bonham's great intro) You also get some great vintage TV spots.
There is also a deluxe 2 DVD version of this for those who wish to own the remastered version on DVD, but I personally recommend the Blu ray. Everything is exceptionally sharp, with no digital enhancement apparent. The Colors on the Blu-Ray are saturated and gorgeous, just beautiful. Its also 16X9 aspect ratio, perfect for all new widescreen TV's. It is a MUST for Zeppelin Fans or anyone who wants to know more about the Zep. I think critics of the fantasy sequences sometimes missed the point, which is that this is a musical presentation, and as such, the visuals are there to compliment the music. If you have a killer Stereo, and a wide screen hi def system, you would be denying yourself not to purchase this Blu Ray.
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on March 16, 2010
This is by far one of the greatest concerts ever captured on film, and it looks and sounds completely amazing on Blu-ray!

Let's get the age-old nit-picks that still exist out of the way right now: Yes, the fantasy scenes can get annoying sometimes, but you can easily skip through them (even though the music flows very well with them). Yes, some of the music doesn't sync up with what you see on the screen part of the time, but that's because this concert contains separate footage from 3 shows Zeppelin did at MSG in 73' (they patched the songs together to make it appear that this was all one concert, when in fact you can see the band members wearing different clothes in the footage in different songs). The reason for this: The show originally wasn't released until 1976 (3 years after filming) due to legal struggles the band and their manager (Peter Grant) had with the original director (Joe Massot) regarding possession of the film after Massot was removed from the project. Massot was eventually court ordered to give the film back to the band, but there were visual and audio elements of the show that came up missing (as well as ones poorly recorded because of the camera men's level of intoxication). Therefore, when this show was released (and especially when Jimmy Page remastered it for DVD and Blu-ray release), what you actually see on the screen has both visual and audio elements that are compiled and patched together from the material the band was able to work with.

The creation of this concert may sound like it was an exhausting task, but the truth of what is presented as the end product is quite to the contrary. The video quality is top notch to say the least, and the audio is COMPLETELY mind blowing. If at times the audio may not sync up perfectly with the video (aka the opening solo to Since I've Been Loving You) you'll find yourself not even caring because the sound is simply superb (I recommend using the DTS or HD decoding). Every song this night was played much better than the studio version, and in my opinion much better than any of their other live shows captured on film (with the exception of Rock-n-Roll and Whole Lotta Love, I like the ones from Knebworth 79'...another great show). The fantasy scenes are rather weird, but each of them actually plays a solid role in some message the band is attempting to express. An example of such is the opening scene with the faceless mobsters being annihilated by gunmen; gunmen led by Peter Grant. This is representative of the band's feelings toward the faceless British media who constantly degraded them as a worthless band.

When all is said and done, just buy this concert. You will not be disappointed, especially if you are a Zeppelin fan. If you already have the DVD and aren't sure if the Blu-ray is worth the cost just for the better picture, trust me when I say it is worth the cost.
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