Given that they were the biggest band in the world, Zeppelin were notoriously camera-shy in their heyday. Their official filmic legacy until now has been just the fascinating but flawed The Song Remains the Same. While this new set presents some previously unseen footage from the same 1973 Madison Square Garden gigs, its real wonders lie in the earlier (1970) Royal Albert Hall footage and the later Earls Court (1975) and Knebworth (1979) concerts. Everything here looks and sounds new-minted, thanks to painstaking restoration and remastering of both audio and visual sources, a Herculean labour of love on the part of co-producer Dick Carruthers working hand-in-glove with Jimmy Page.
Trawling through thousands of yards of previously unseen film and unheard tape recordings--some with missing visuals, some with missing audio--Page and Carruthers have chosen only the best possible footage available. They were also at pains to make the segments segue seamlessly so that the viewer is treated to what feels like a continuous concert--just sample the transition from a grainy Super 8 "Immigrant Song" (Sydney, 1972) to "Black Dog" at MSG.
Highlights? It's not hyperbole to say that every powerhouse minute of this collection (some 230 minutes of concert footage plus another hour and a half of extra DVD material) is a rare musical and visual treat. But hearing Page's violin bow work on "Dazed and Confused" in DTS or Dolby 5.1 is an experience not soon forgotten.
On the DVD: Led Zeppelin two-disc set presents all the footage in pristine 4:3 picture ratio (the Madison Square Garden footage is letterboxed) with Dolby 5.1, DTS or PCM Stereo sound options. Note that the audio is uncompressed for maximum ear-shattering enjoyment. The menu screens do not pop up beforehand, but have to be selected. It's well worth doing so. Enjoy the music first, then discover that even the menus have been painstakingly designed to provide still more unseen footage and unheard recordings (some screens don't cycle round, but present another song in its entirety). Extras include rare TV appearances, interviews and bootleg footage. --Mark Walker
The interviews aren't particularly interesting, but at least you get to hear Jimmy Page's voice for a change which is nice.
The sound quality is amazingly good. The video quality is fine, obviously not like a modern recording but absoluteley fine for what this is - a live performance.
Jimmy Page and Dick Carruthers really have made a product worthy of possibly being Led Zeppelin's final release, and they have made up for the annoying (but still very good) The Song Remains The Same.
Anyone who appreciates rock music should buy it, as not only does it give you the shots of how they made some of those extraordinary sounds, but shows a fascinating insight into their thoughts at the time. It also explains why they never released singles in the UK, how they conquered the US, plus loads of bonus footage (including some bemused Danish teenagers who probably boast to their children and grandchildren about the fact that Led Zeppelin played to only about 50 of them in a studio). I would recommend this DVD to anyone who has ever owned any Led Zeppelin Album - and none of this was ever released on Video.
Jimmy Page and Dick Carruthers have gone to extraordinary lengths (must have taken them years to do this) to reconstitute film with sound from sources such as 2 inch Video (apparently they had to search world-wide to find anything to play the tape
Don't delay - get this. It's bloody marvellous - most of it in DTS too. If you've got a good 5.1 system - why haven't you got this yet?!!