Live versions of the songs, filmed in an old Pompeii amphitheater. Songs included are Echoes (split into 2 parts), Careful with that axe, Eugene, A saucerful of secrets, One of those days, ... See full summary »
Originally filmed in December 1968, "The Rock and Roll Circus" was originally intended to be released as a television special. The special was filmed over two nights and featured not only ... See full summary »
The members of Led Zeppelin are called back from vacation by manager Peter Grant to play Madison Square Garden. The film is enhanced by each of the band member's personal fantasies (hallucinations?), such as the opening scene (which is awfully confusing the first time around) in which Peter Grant, dressed in a 1930s black gangster suit drives a 1930s black Ford to a house and blasts everyone with a machine gun. Written by
Michael Silva <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Peter Clifton, recognizing that there were crucial holes in the concert footage, suggested that the entire show be recreated at Shepperton Studios in August 1974, on a mock-up of the Madison Square Garden stage. Close-ups and distance footage of the band members could then be slipped into the live sequences, which made up part of the concert footage seen in the film. When it was agreed that the band would meet at Shepperton Studios for filming, John Paul Jones had recently had his hair cut short, so he had to wear a wig. Robert Plant's teeth had also been fixed between the 1973 and 1974 filming's. See more »
Right at the end of Whole Lotta Love, there is a camera shot from above the band, over the stage looking down. John Paul Jones can be seen removing his bass guitar and putting it on a horizontal surface. Then the camera cuts to a front shot, as seen from the audience and Jones still has his bass guitar around his neck. See more »
Led Zeppelin was the paradigm for rock in the 1970s, ushering in a new brand of harder rock that served as a bridge between the first wave of blues influenced british bands in the 60s and the heavy metal that defined the 1980s. The magic created by the legendary foursome - Page, Plant, Jones, and Bonham - engendered hordes of imitators following their breakup in 1980, and whose music, from blues to folk to indian (and let's not forget pure rock), continues to inspire new generations of musicians.
The Song Remains the Same captures the feeling of a real Led Zeppelin concert, deep into their American tour of 1973. That year saw Led Zeppelin at it's most "professional" to date, which, despite not containing the same the youth-inspired looseness and frenziness of a concert from '69, did nevertheless present Led Zeppelin arguably at it's musical peak, with longer, more extended versions of songs like "Dazed and Confused" and "Moby Dick". The concerts were consistently good from that tour, and in my opinion, their Madison Square Garden appearance here, shown in all it's visual glory on the remastered DVD version, is no exception.
Page is captured in a unremitting show of virtuosity in numbers like "Since I've Been Loving You", "Dazed and Confused", and "Stairway to Heaven". This has to be my favorite version of "Since I've Been Loving You" amongst many others I've heard. The experience is almost emotionally moving, and there is one point where a dazzled young female audience member is shown shaking her head in amazement. The whole band seems inspired enough to put on an incredible version of "Stairway to Heaven", including Robert Plant who is not in top form during parts of this performance (relative to usual standards) - no doubt attributable to the exhaustion caused by dozens of previous concerts on almost as many days by the last leg of the tour. The movie still captures Plant's enduring image as a rock icon, with his golden mane and long bluejeans enveloping legs that sway with as much energy of a young Elvis Presley (thank you Chris Welch for that observation).
The DVD transfer itself does not do justice, though, to the singular official video document ever released of the band in concert (aside from documentary compilations). There are some bad volume fluctuations and other audio problems that are clearly noticeable, especially during "Dazed and Confused", that should have been fixed. Also, despite realistic hopes of hearing the songs remastered for a digital surround sound format, Time Warner settled for Dolby Surround Stereo. This of course is quite disappointing considering the number of other DVD titles encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1, and that one would think a movie in this genre would inherently require the greatest sound technology available. Also, as far as extras are concerned, only the original UK film trailer from 1976 are included, which dashes any hopes for newly released footage.
Still, it's a pleasurable experience to witness four of rock's greatest musicians performing some of their most exciting and celebrated pieces while they were at a personal and professional high. The movie is beautiful, presented in a 1.85:1 ratio widescreen format, and watching it on a large screen television is what DVD was made for. Hammer of the Gods!
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