The line forms here for the world's greatest and possibly most influential band--Led Zeppelin. This mesmerizing movie built around Zep's famed 1973 concerts at New York's Madison Square Gard... Read allThe line forms here for the world's greatest and possibly most influential band--Led Zeppelin. This mesmerizing movie built around Zep's famed 1973 concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden is convincing proof why.The line forms here for the world's greatest and possibly most influential band--Led Zeppelin. This mesmerizing movie built around Zep's famed 1973 concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden is convincing proof why.
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!
- Jan 10, 2000