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
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Following the film's completion, the band experienced a major falling out with Peter Clifton. Suspecting that he had 'stolen' negatives of the film, Peter Grant ordered that his house be searched. They did find some footage, but this turned out to be a collection of the best 'home movie' footage which Clifton had intended to give to the band members as a gift. Clifton was also annoyed at the decision to remove from the film's credits the names of all the people who had worked on editing, make up and effects. Unlike Joe Massot, however, Clifton was invited to both the New York and London premieres of the film. See more »
Near the end of "Dazed and Confused", during the camera-spin, Jimmy Page can be heard soloing wildly in high-note arpeggios for which his fingers should be closer-to-the-body (his AND the guitar) but the footage shows clearly his left hand up closer to the headstock in chord-strumming positions. During the same song there are obvious footage inserts where he is not as sweaty as he appears in clips preceding, following, & throughout the rest of the song. See more »
"The Song Remains The Same" is essentially a film of a concert, yet thanks to the drug and ego-addled personalities of Led Zeppelin in the mid-1970s, the footage is fleshed out to include weird 'fantasy' sequences involving each of the four band members. While this section of the movie leaves a little to be desired, the concert footage is truly breathtaking, capturing the greatest hard rock band in history at their apogee.
The film opens with an odd gangster-style sequence, where faceless mobsters are mowed down by what would appear to be rival gangsters. Whatever meaning this scene is meant to represent is not clear, however it has been suggested that the faceless mobsters are the British press, who had vilified Led Zeppelin through their entire career. Who knows, but it certainly makes for an interesting start to the film.
From there the film takes an interesting turn. Each individual band member is introduced. We see drummer John Bonham ploughing his fields in a tractor, bassist John Paul Jones reading nursery rhymes to his children, singer Robert Plant playing with his wife and children in an English country lake (the scene resembles the cover of Led Zeppelin's 1973 album 'Houses of the Holy'), while guitarist Jimmy Page is introduced next to a riverside. They each receive a letter informing them that they are to tour the next day.
Once Led Zeppelin take the stage at New York's Madison Square Garden, the action really begins. The band run through some of their absolute classics, including 'Whole Lotta Love', 'Stairway to Heaven', 'Heartbreaker' and a massive version of 'Dazed and Confused'. The quality of musicianship is amazing. Page's guitar playing belies belief and John Bonham's twenty minute drum solo is awe inspiring. As the band plays there are more fantasy scenes, the best of which includes Robert Plant as some kind of Arthurian hero. The way in which Led Zeppelin embrace and play on the Tolkien-like world of mystical fantasy is truly refreshing in these over-stylised days, where musicians are more concerned with the amount of gel in their hair than the music they produce.
Watching the band at work you get a distinct feeling that the musicians of today really aren't as proficient as they were twenty or thirty years ago. Led Zeppelin it seems were better live than on record, which would be unheard of today.
As an audience we are able to see "The Song Remains The Same" for what it is: a timepiece. Post-1975, Led Zeppelin's work became gradually lower in quality and as Punk revolutionised the music scene, they became dinosaurs at the end of the decade. But in this time, their 1971-1975 period, Led Zeppelin were the biggest band in the world, and their power is captured with brilliant clarity on this film. Whatever happened after this time is a moot point; this is how Led Zeppelin should and will be remembered. A must for any serious music fan.
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