on June 2, 2003
I watched the Zeppelin DVD on the weekend. Absolutely amazing. You MUST get it. Of all the mind bending things on these discs, one of the most amazing has to be the Danish TV gig. It opens as a group of maybe 40 teenagers are ushered into a bare hall with no chairs in sight. The band is set up in a tight configuration in the middle of this empty room. The kids sit cross legged on the floor -- like in a high school gym. Imagine what must have gone through their minds. Having no idea whatsoever about what to expect. No frame of reference. Nothing. Here's this new band, been together for a few months...they are going to play you some songs from their new album. Then it comes, in a cascade, no, an AVALANCHE --- Communication Breakdown, then Dazed and Confused, then Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, then How Many More Times. At one point the guy on guitar whips out a violin bow and you start hearing sounds you've never heard in your life -- that you never thought were possible. And the guy on drums, he's hitting his toms harder than you thought it possible to hit a drum...to hit ANYTHING. And the bass player, lord god above, he's playing a melodic line in tandem with the guitarist which means that the guitarist can peal off at warp 9.99, no, let's just admit it, at Warp 10, into these solos where his left hand seems to do more playing than his right ("Captain, she can't TAKE warp 10. Yes, Scotty, she can -- it IS possible -- for we are in a universe where the normal rules of physics don't apply -- the "Zepellinverse"). Any sane person would have sat there and cast a thankful eye heavenward thinking -- "There IS a god after all...a benevolent god...a god who LOVES humanity...a god who has a little present for us..the greatest band EVER." The rest of the DVD is as brilliant, but I thought this little vignette might be helpful. BUY THIS DVD.
on June 16, 2003
As a disc jockey at my school I still remeber listening to a pre-release issue of the first Led Zeppelin album and just sitting in shock at the sound coming into my headphones! From that day on I was hooked and and a few years later I would actually spend time on the road with Led Zeppelin.
After all these years I can honestly say that my initial viewing response to this incredible five hour collection brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.
Led Zeppelin live was something special. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham gave it their best every time they hit the stage. The Rolling Stones have always proclaimed themselves at the "Greatest Live Rock and Roll Band," but Led Zep can also make their claim for that title in this special 3 DVD set.
In 1970, where this muscial journey begins, video and sound recording was light years from today's digital revolution. This was a time when long playing vinyl albums sometimes were released in both a mono and stereo versions!
Jimmy Page and crew worked many months in restoring the video quality and remastering the sound to glorious Dolby Digital and DTS formats.
To just comment on a few songs in this incredible sonic document would be missing the point. Having witnessed their live performances at back stage, side stage and front stage I know that for any hard core Led Zep fan this is as good as it gets! For the casual fan of that time in history or the younger generation you can now see and hear what the fuss was all about.
The Led Zeppelin DVD collection validates the reason for having a home theater system!
These guys might have had the rock star swagger, but they knew they were great and we knew they were something very special.
As Baseball Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean once said "It ain't bragging if you can do it!" and I think this sums it up nicely for the Hammer of The Gods.
Led Zeppelin's self-titled DVD is a treasure chest for all fans of the band. Nearly four hours of never before seen concert footage is spread out over two disks that feature performances from every era of the band's career. It is a real eye opener for fans who never experienced the band live to see the sheer power and magnetism of the group at the height of their powers. The best aspect of the collection is the brilliant sound and picture clarity. Jimmy Page spearheaded this project and although surviving members Robert Plant and John Paul Jones contributed, Mr. Page is the lifeblood of the work. The remastering of the footage's sound and picture is breathtaking. One only need to view the four songs from the Madison Square Garden concert to see the first rate work. This is footage from a concert that was filmed for the band's 1976 film, The Song Remains The Same. In viewing that movie, the picture is somewhat grainy and the colors blurred, but on this disk, the picture is sharp and clear. Led Zeppelin sold tons of albums in the 70's, but it was their legendary live performances that made them rock gods and this collection brings that view into focus.
on March 10, 2003
Well, this 2-DVD set is yet to be released but I'm still rating it at five stars. The press release put out by Atlantic Records describes the set and the accompanying 3-CD live set as the "mother lode of Led Zeppelin live recordings"!
Slated for a simultaneous May 27 release, this marks the first-ever official release of rare and legendary performances spanning Led Zeppelin's entire career.
But the DVD and CD sets contain entirely different material so there is no overlap between the two releases.
Clocking in at nearly five-and-a-half hours, The "Led Zeppelin DVD" has been culled from just a handful of performances ever filmed during the band's lifetime.
Guitarist Jimmy Page explained: "We were never really part of the pop scene. It was never what Led Zeppelin was supposed to be about. Our thing was playing live. In that sense, Zeppelin was very much an underground band. The fact that it became as successful as it did was something that was almost out of our control. We actually shunned commercialism, which is why so little official footage of the band has ever been seen before."
Featured on the DVD are performances from London's Royal Albert Hall in January 1970, just a year after the release of their debut album, their five-night run at London's Earl's Court in May 1975 and their record-breaking shows at England's Knebworth Festival in August 1979, just a year before drummer John Bonham's death led to the band's dissolution.
Also included are songs from New York's Madison Square Garden in July 1973 that were not included in "The Song Remains The Same" concert film, the only previously released live Zeppelin footage.
Other highlights on the DVD are extremely rare television appearances, among them a performance for Danish television in March 1969; promotional clips; TV interviews; behind-the scenes material and even a bit of bootleg footage shot by fans.
The DVD has been painstakingly restored, remixed and remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS, and PCM two-channel stereo under the personal supervision of Jimmy Page and director Dick Carruthers.
Carruthers recently told reporters that the DVD set is intended as a definitive statement of all that is fit for release, though that quality threshold was set very high by surviving Led Zeppelin members.
While Carruthers collected film and video material, Jimmy Page and Kevin Shirley assembled surround mixes from Page's huge archive of live recordings.
The DVDs present the material in chronological order and the supplementary material consists of early European TV appearances on the first disc, and interviews and 1990-vintage promos on the second, including the only decent interview footage of the late John Bonham.
The Albert Hall footage is from a two camera 16mm shoot and the second disc reportedly has a stunning version of "The Immigrant Song" for which footage could not be found. So some Super 8 footage from Australia has been edited promo-style to accompany it.
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1970) 1hr 42 mins
We're gonna groove
I can't quit you baby
Dazed and confused
What is and what should never be
How many more times
Whole lotta love
Bring it on home
The immigrant song
Madison Square Garden (1973) 23:24 mins
Misty mountain hop
Since I've been loving you
Earls Court (1975) 49 mins
Going to California
That's the way
Bron Y Aur stomp
In my time of dying
Stairway to heaven
Live at Knebworth (1979) 51:41 mins
Nobody's fault but mine
Achilles last stand
In the evening
Whole lotta love
on June 11, 2003
Before purchasing this DVD set, you must ask yourself this simple question: "Am I a true Led Zeppelin fan or do I just like a few songs I hear on the radio?"
If you are just a casual fan who likes the cuts they hear on the radio and may own an album or two, this DVD is definitely not for you. This DVD is for the hardest of hardcore Led Zeppelin fans. For those of us who weren't fortunate enough to be around during Zeppelin's heyday, then this DVD is a dream come true.
For years I had heard all the stories about how amazing Led Zeppelin's live shows were. Of course I've seen "The Song Remains the Same" countless times and have a few bootlegs that are just good enough to tease. After completing just half of the first DVD, I felt that I had finally found the Zeppelin Holy Grail.
The performances on this DVD don't completely live up to the hype, but they sure do come close. While the performances themselves are amazing, it's the little things that really turned me on. Watching how the band communicates through their improv sessions, the fact that John Bonham sung backup on Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, seeing John Paul Jones playing the mandolin parts that I always thought were Jimmy's, and countless other little bits that make it all worth the watch.
I'm not going to state that all the performances are perfect, because they certainly are not. The reason Led Zeppelin's live shows were so legendary was because of how much improvisation they emphasize in the performances. It's extremely rare to see that in a Rock and Roll band outside of the Dead. I believe the band maintained the ethic that sure it may not be perfect, and sometimes downright messy, but when they get into a groove, it's truly lightning in a bottle. These improvised jams tend to be something that only musicians with jazz or blues backgrounds tend to understand. That's exactly why Led Zeppelin was in a class all their own.
I personally tend to disagree with those that make Led Zeppelin out to be the fathers of heavy metal. True, they were a major influence then and now, but it's got too much of a base in blues and jazz to be compared to Metal. I think we're better off leaving that title to the likes of Black Sabbath. After seeing and hearing some of the material on this DVD it just re-emphasized this thought. The concert at Royal Albert Hall is just one blues jam after another with hints of their songs thrown in to give it a sense of cohesion.
For all of those musicians out there who idolized Jimmy Page as I did, you will not be disappointed in the slightest. To see how he communicates with the rest of the band as he goes through his wild improvisations is simply amazing. While it is true that Jimmy tends to be a very sloppy guitarist, it doesn't change the fact that when he's on, he's REALLY on. To me the term "sloppy" is kind of silly. No he's not precise like your Joe Satriani's or Eddie Van Halen's, he is however extremely musical. To be as improvisation oriented as he is takes a lot of talent, knowledge, and well...balls. Something that many of today's guitarists simply don't have.
While I love going to rock concerts to listen to my favorite bands, I always feel a bit ripped off because what is being performed is almost identical to what you were just listening to on the radio coming to the show. This can never be said about Led Zeppelin's live performances. Every night is its own experience.
That is captured, for the most part, throughout this DVD. As I have repeatedly stated, these performances are more jams than just song after song. If you watch this DVD over and over again, sure you will find tons of musical mistakes. However, if you take it for what it is, a single moment in time, then you can't deny its power. Led Zeppelin was one of the gutsiest, energetic, and awe inspiring live bands in the history of music.
If you are a musician and don't find this to be a major educational and emotional experience, then in my humble opinion, it's time to re-evaluate what music is to you. To me music was always a way to convey an emotional state through your performance. If you limit yourself to a pre-existing structure, then you've just taken away the essence of what the music was meant to be.
Essence. That is what this DVD is. The essence of the music, culture, and time that was all Led Zeppelin's.
on May 27, 2003
Worth the price just to see the Royal Albert Hall Performance.
Biggest surprise...Knebworth 79. Even the best boots don't do it justice. Bonham is a freakin' machine! Earl's Court is wonderful as I think most have anticipated.
Once again, they've got the midas touch.
Video and Sound quality are unbelievably outstanding!
on May 29, 2003
After years of bootleg audio ranging from murky to almost passable, and the band's official if generally self-dismissed The Song Remains the Same, Led Zepplin have culled through their archives and given the fans a true audio-visual glimpse of their live power.
And what a blinding and deafening glimpse it is!
Spanning their entire career, we are treated to marvelously sharp film and video matched with absolutely crystal clear audio that will literally slam you back into your livingroom couch. The balance between the instruments so lacking in the numerous bootleg CDs floating about is replaced with Jone's tight basslines, Bonzo's crackling drums, Plant's soaring vocals, and Page's trancendent guitar tones. At points, this could be mistaken for stripped down studio basic tracks, but the spontaniety of Zep's live performances assure us that this is the real deal.
TSRTS was a mediocre testament, that was always obvious. For any other band to be playing at the level depicted in that film, it would be a great document of their live act. But this is Zeppelin, and we always knew that they were at their very best live. Sure, there are moments in that film that pushed the blood through your veins like no other concert film before (the unbelievable sprawl of Dazed and Confused, for instance, and the title song), but when compared to this new DVD, it pales, pales, by comparison. Here you will find far superior versions of many of the songs included in that film. The new version of Moby Dick alone, with Bonham playing at blistering speeds that, even when seen and heard, cannot be believed, is worth the price of this DVD.
What makes these discs special for me are the versions of some of the less frquently heard songs. Trampled Under Foot, Sick Again, these have always been favorites of mine, and to hear them live, well...
As for a tried and true classic, the 1980 version of Kashmir from Knebworth is crunchingly heavy with it's huge lurch of a riff. It shows a band that, despite signs of age in the lines of Plant's face and Page's painfully thin drug wasted physique, was as good, if not better, then they had ever been. Absolutely.
The albums have always testified that Led Zeppelin was the most powerful rock band ever. Memories, especially 70's ones, fade and die away. This DVD set is the band's legacy as the greatest live act ever.
Immortal Gods, live at last!
on March 6, 2003
This 2DVD set will be monstrous. If you're one of the millions of Led Zeppelin fans worldwide who have always regretted the small amount of available footage of the band that's been made commercially available, then this set is a dream come true.
Comprised of material from both before and after the Madison Square Garden shows in New York City at the end of the 1973 American tour captured in the film "The Song Remains the Same", this collection will include material from the band's home country of the UK in 1970, 1975, and 1979, as well as from Australia in 1972 and Denmark in 1969. Many other surprises (including extra footage from the MSG 1973 shows, and some U.S. 1972 footage) are also in store!
Don't expect note-for-note recitations of the album tracks. This set will be so much more than that! These DVDs will showcase the wild improvisational genius that Zeppelin displayed in the era long before click-tracks, pre-recorded backing tracks for live situations, etc. This DVD set will vividly display the work of four guys who walked up on stage, grabbed their instruments, and let it freaking RIP!
You can't expect visual content of a quality to rival that from concerts recorded in the last few years, but the 5.1 audio mix added to large amounts of material on the DVDs will go a long way toward compensating for the age of the footage. If you don't have a surround sound setup yet, and you're a big Led Zeppelin fan, then this release will probably be enough reason for you to go ahead and take the plunge.
Also, don't miss "How the West Was Won", the 3CD set compiling the two white-hot Led Zeppelin shows from Long Beach and Los Angeles, California on the brilliant 1972 American tour!
on May 28, 2003
Having already purchased and watched the newly released 2-DVD's I can clearly state that my love for Led-Zeppelin has become intensified greatly. As a missionary for Zeppelin, I strongly recommend this DVD. The new "presence" of Plant, Page, Jones, and Bohnam are extremely powerful and moving, both emotionally and physically. Each member of band has his monsterous moment. From Bohnman's thunderous drum solo on "Moby Dick," to Plants painfully sensitive vocals on "In My Time of Dying," ties all of it together (Not to mention the overwhelming talent of Page and the ever so underrated John Paul Jones). At the end of this five and half journey I found myself wanting more...and you will to. Very well done in every possible aspect. Only minute drawback was the absence of "Tangerine," "Ramble On,"(both to the acoustic set) and "Heartbreaker." Buy this DVD and you are promised not to be let down. The visuals are great, the sound quality is amazing, and best yet, Led-Zeppelin can finally receive some credit and respect.
on December 11, 2003
I've been a Zep fan since the late-Seventies, but I was too young to have seen them live. Since John Bonham's death in 1980, I had become a major Zeppelin fan. However, rare collectibles and bootlegs have, more or less, eluded me.
So, it was with great anticipation that I tore off the wrapping on my copy of this DVD. I put in the first disc, which features a famous Royal Albert Hall show, and I put the package away so I would not see the song list. I wanted to experience the Royal Albert Hall show as if I was in the audience.
My pulse was pounding as we see the band walk on stage and immediately explode into "We're Gonna Groove." I was ecstatic! I was seeing Led Zeppelin like I always wanted to see them: Energized, and eager to play. And man, do they ever play.
It's a concert like none we see today. No props, no flashpots, and no special lighting effects. Just a band, plugged into amplifiers, and playing their hearts out on stage.
I was in heaven. This was not just another concert DVD. . . This was like watching a dream. I had imagined what it was like to see Zeppelin prior to 1973, and with this disc, I not only get to see them play, but it's a mesmerizing show.
I finished the first disc nearly exhausted with excitement, and having to wipe away a tear or two from joy. It's a feeling I will probably never have again, but it's one I wanted to share with you because if you are either old enough to have listened to Led Zeppelin before Bonzo's death or you are simply a fan of their music, this DVD is the most crucial part of a Zep fan's official collection.
You have to understand that, aside from the decidedly mediocre and indulgent concert film, "The Song Remains the Same," most Zep fans today have never seen them like this. Now, thanks to Jimmy Page, we are able to see Led Zeppelin as they were in virtually every part of their career. It is an excellent document of their career as a band, and I recommend it highly.
If you don't get chills watching Robert Plant belt out early Zep songs in the Royal Albert Hall show, you were probably never really a Zeppelin fan to begin with.
Furthermore, several reviews here are critical of the pre-digital era recordings. I think that it is absolutely LAUGHABLE to criticize this disc for having less than 21st Century digital quality. Does anyone whine about the "less-than-stellar" recordings made by Louis Armstrong in the Twenties, or do jazz fans clap their hands in sheer bliss that they can sit and enjoy the the fact that they can actually hear Satchmo play? The fact that we can see Zeppelin kick ass on stage is well worth the ridiculously low price offered on this website.
Can the audio here compare to the best discs available? No. Does that matter? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Look at what you are getting: There has not been an official video document of a Led Zeppelin concert, aside from "The Song Remains the Same," for nearly THIRTY YEARS! Fans who did not have access to bootlegs never heard "Earl's Court '75," or "Knebworth '79."
This disc affords true fans, who never saw the band live, the opportunity to see Zeppelin at their best. I am a fan of their music, and after I finished watching the disc, I commented to a friend that I would have paid $250 for access to this footage.
That's what this disc means to me. It's almost priceless material, and we get it for less than one ticket to ANY current rock concert being held today. That says something.
I hope you get the same level of enjoyment out of it as I did, because if you do, you are in for one hell of a good time.