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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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When the band convened in 1974 to view an early rough cut of the film, they were less than pleased. John Bonham laughed out loud at Jimmy Page's pretentious fantasy sequence, and the rest of the band expressed their disapproval of the concert footage to Joe Massot. He was soon removed from the project. His famous parting comment was "They even thought it's my fault that Robert Plant has a huge cock." See more »
Prior to the montage in Whole Lotta Love you see Jimmy Page playing the Sunburst Les Paul. Moments later you see him walk to the right of the screen with the red one and exchange it for the Sunburst model (which he was already playing). See more »
Though the film got me addicted to their music, You definitely have to have already been a zeppelin fan to really get into this movie.
I mean that when I say it, but nevertheless, it was actually this movie that lit the Led Zeppelin spark within me and, thanks to my roommate and music sharing, I downloaded the whole anthology and the rest is history.
Back to my original comment. I am obsessed with this movie for the same reason I am obsessed with the music of Zeppelin in general, because after giving it time to grow on me and develop a taste for it, the movie became addicting to watch. I have now watched it so many times that I have learned to appreciate the purpose of the fantasy clips, the placement of the songs on the DVD, and why they all tie together the way they do.
I do agree with those who believe that skipping the shootout in the beginning is the right thing to do. The country life sequence, however, provides tremendous insight into each of the band members and completes the picture of the ordinary human side as well as the psychedelic band member side. Robert Plant shares a peaceful moment with his wife and skinny-dipping children. John Bonham plows his fields. John Paul Jones reads Jack and the Beanstalk to his children. And finally Jimmy Page sits quietly by a lake and plays a hurdy-gurdy.
Coming into the concert, one already has the vision of the four men as normal people in the back of their minds, not just eccentric, wild rockers, so the viewer is not alienated from the band as they launch into their classic tunes with barely time to catch a breath in between. Augmented by the music, the viewer dives deeper into the minds of the band members with an emotionally profound vigor.
The roller coaster ride extends from the "in-your-face" blues of Since I've Been Loving You to the dark edginess of No Quarter, from the whimsical strangeness of The Song Remains The Same to the beautiful stateliness of the Rain Song. Played in a different key, the Rain Song has the same amount of power and energy as its counterpart on the Houses of the Holy LP, but this live version delivers with a more triumphant, confident, and splendid statement than the reflective, oft melancholy LP take. As the song builds towards its rapturous (and victorious for Robert Plant) climax, the tone of the concert and DVD reaches it height. Then, in a stark contrast, the viewer then must sadly leave the sojourn in paradise and descend into the uneasy, convoluted maze of Dazed and Confused. Just when the viewer seems convinced that his descent has led him to hell as the song reaches the 26 minute mark, his reward for his own Zeppelin "endurance" is despite paradise being lost, finding heaven quite literally and being treated to the timeless Stairway to Heaven.
The fantasy scenes take the longest to grow on the viewer, but, with time, augment the music and vice versa. It is then that the film begins to resemble "Fantasia," only with Led Zeppelin music. This is particularly true of the bow solo in the middle of Dazed and Confused, because it eerily echos the equally long, convoluted, and edgy strains of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, but punctuated visually with the youthening of Jimmy Page as opposed to the aging of the early planet Earth.
That is the kind of appreciation I have for this movie, and although Led Zeppelin is by no means perfect in this movie, the viewer can come to respect that because they have that picture of them as ordinary men already in their mind. I believe this movie is overall genius and the most accurate canvas painting of all aspects of the four musical geniuses known as Led Zeppelin we possess.
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