on 18 October 2012
Just back from the Screen Cinema in Winchester. Objective summary: the film is sensational, it looks utterly great, it sounds fantastic. Way beyond my expectations! It is fantastically well edited, excellent but not excessive use of film effects including what looks like super eight "fan footage" shot from the audience, and some great slow-motion moments too. Most importantly, the cutting between shots is not too fast, as has been a common complaint in other band concert films. There some lovely close-ups of Page's beautiful Gibson guitars too.
It is fabulous to see so much eye contact, smiles and warmth between the band - most of the time they are standing very close together - no long catwalk excursions here. A real sense of joy is palpable throughout.
My face is hurting from smiling so much. The whole thing is beyond terrific but if forced to pick highlights I'd say the epic, pulverising Kashmir, a lovely Stairway, and Trampled Underfoot, Nobody's fault but mine, and the "never played live before" from Presence - For your life (great black and white backdrop projections on that song). Oh hang on, I've just remembered, Since I've been loving you was an absolute tour de force too!
Thank you so much for releasing this Led Zeppelin.
on 13 October 2012
I'm one of the lucky ones to have been in the Hammersmith Apollo last night at the Premiere of this movie. I did have a concern on this release or at least the Amazon choices. All I could see originally were NTSC choices but then found the PAL DVD versions - the review covers the content rather than media standards and formats......BluRay will come to me eventually but only when the current backside kicking DVD home cinema system I own gives up the ghost!
Now for content alone it's gets 5 stars. And on watching this I hope they never reform because frankly it won't get any better than this in terms of musical tightness and perfection. This should and will stand as their most solid concert across their career in my view and as a legacy memory it will never be surpassed. I feel sorry for today's youngsters that they have nothing remotely close to this or Pink Floyd ( who should also resist any further reunifications for the same reasons) in terms of musical creativity and longevity (a dirty word for today's music hacks and DJs) .
The concert starts with a rip roaring version of Good Times Bad Times. Cue much air guitar and audience head nodding (not banging, the Zep crowd have long since gone beyond that). Plants voice isn't as strong and piercing as in his heyday and one wouldn't expect it, but its still streets ahead of any I've heard past and present and remains fully capable of carrying off the music. Note the high long notes of Stairway and Kashmir, which he carries off here with arrogant aplomb. I won't do a track by track critique because each is extraordinary in terms of variation and execution. Plants overcomes his ageing voice shortcomings with brilliant improvisation that is inspiring and creatively exciting. Stand out tracks for me were the first track which throws you straight into the energy and passion and the sheer enjoyment of crowd and band. If the boys were nervous then it didn't show. Black Dog and Ramble On send shivers down the spine before the utter gorgeousness of the magical In My Time Of Dying . Each song is performed with craftsmanship and Page has rarely ever been better than in this concert. One of the bonuses of this is the decent screen time for John-Paul Jones so one of the quieter members gets the chance to display his skill on bass and keyboards for perhaps a greater appreciation than normal, as he generally lived in the shadows of the other three (as do most bassists I guess). Then through to another stand out piece with No Quarter filling the auditorium with its haunting keyboard beginning. Plant himself states that Dazed and Confused was one of the songs that couldn't be left out and the version here is a masterpiece and yes, Jimmy's violin bow does feature and yes, it is one of the highlights of the entire Page master class. Play this at 11!
Stairway is epic as expected and even my least favourite song. The Song Remains The Same comes to new life and appreciation here. Misty Mountain Hop is executed superbly for what in my view is a tough one to do live. But the final 3 songs leave you gasping for more. Kashmir is a track that they've never quite nailed live in my view. Usually a brilliant live track ruins the album original a little for me but Zep have never done this quite like Floyd have with Comfortably Numb or Shine On. However this time they absolutely do nail it. It's fantastic. This now brings me to mention the Man of the Match. Throughout the whole thing I watched Jason Bonham carefully wondering if he could do justice to his dad. Well let me tell you - he does more than that. Jason Bonham on this entire gig is a 'tour de force'. He is very possibly the best drummer in music today and certainly the best I've seen. I don't believe in ghosts but even a hard bitten old atheist like me could be persuaded that Johns spirit was being channeled into Jason throughout this concert. His bond and the warmth and friendship to the other band members is plain to see and his drumming on Kashmir is simply sensational. Every bit as good if not better than the original. I'd question that if John were alive he'd have had the energy to carry off a 2 hour concert as well as his son.
The film ends with 2 encores, a hugely varied Whole Lotta Love with Page excelling with that iconic riff and Plants voice, Jones bass driving the song with Bonham pushing the song harder with yet more excellent drumming. The final song had to be Rock n Roll. And boy does this get the treatment. It finishes with Bonham drum crescendo which defies the laws of coordination and possibly physics! Both encores are superb but the final track left the audience cheering, stomping and probably a tear or two of joy at having witnessed this. I would love to have been at the original gig but only 18000 from 20 million applicants got tickets. This was the absolute next best thing. I urge you to see this in the cinema, and then buy it but watch it on as big a TV with as good a home cinema as you can get. It's epic, it's awesome, it's thrilling, inspiring, joyous and emotional. It's rock and roll as raw and exciting as possible . It is how music should be :)
So here it is at last on general sale: the 2xCD/Blu-Ray of Zeppelin's now-legendary one-off celebratory reunion performance on 10th December 2007 at London's O2 Arena. The event was to honour the life and work of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun who in 1968 had such faith in a young British band that he backed them with money and a recording contract, and who died aged 83 of a backstage fall during the Rolling Stones benefit concert in October 2006.
Is all the hype about this concert justified? You bet. The performance is indeed worthy of all the superlatives heaped on it, and in every way outstanding.
Having seen the youthful band several times in the 1970s, the initial shock of seeing three guys in their 60s (well OK, in 2007 Plant was 59) - plus the near-perfect-fit Jason Bonham standing in for his long-departed father on drums - on stage together, is swept away once the music starts. From the storming opener `Good Times Bad Times' through two hours of some of their best-known numbers, this is Led Zeppelin, and this band ROCKS. The fast-fingered Page is outstanding; Plant - ever the great showman and commanding stage presence - retains power, emotion, volume and range in his voice even though he avoids the screaming high notes which gave Zeppelin distinctive character in their youth; JPJ is the bedrock for the band both on keyboards and bass, and Jason Bonham almost unbelievably gels with the band so perfectly that he might indeed be his father pounding the skins with power and feel.
Much of the time Page, Plant and Jones stand close together, physically; almost touching each other. The astounding thing is how relaxed they are, how at ease, how professional - and how they simply enjoy themselves on stage so much. The sense of occasion is intoxicating, the numbers powerful, tight, joyous. Plant relaxes and interacts good-naturedly with the audience between songs, the atmosphere that of a celebratory family reunion where everyone is simply having a great time.
Highlights: too many to list. `Kashmir' probably takes the Gold. Awesome.
The 2CD+Blu-ray package is a fine artefact. The cover shows the iconic Zeppelin over London, presented in the slightly archaic style so frequently characteristic of the artwork employed by the band. CD1 displays the time 10.12 on an antique clock-face, on CD2 it's 12.10: the walk-on and walk-off times of the band on the night. Nice touch.
Seeing them play and interact with each other and with the audience is a must, and adds so much to the experience. Many of the frames are close-up and personal, with a front-row audience perspective. You do, however, need to hear the music through a big powerful sound system: play loud.
Some minor points: there is no acoustic set, a standard of the band's stage shows in the 1970s, and the actual song `Celebration Day' - the perfect name for this event - is not performed. These are not niggles, just observations: the whole concert is awesome.
For those fortunate enough to have won tickets, they have the experience of a lifetime, a night to remember. There were tales of ticketless devotees on the night offering more than GB£4,000 in cash for a ticket, and of ticket-clutching fans refusing to sell. They made the right choice. For the rest of us, this is as good as it's going to get - and fortunately, that's pretty darned good. Personally I hope this was Zep's final concert, as it's difficult to imagine they could ever top it, and they go out in style.
Once, giants walked the Earth. Alas, we may never see their like again. But at least we have the record, and what a record it is.
on 16 February 2013
I held off buying the CD/DVD/MP3. I wanted the Vinyl. I love Zep's studio albums.
But I've never been blown away by the Live albums - The Song Remains the Same, How the West was Won etc,
So I knew the Vinyl will become collectable - but wasn't sure what to expect from the concert's music.....
Well - Led Zeppelin have never, ever sounded so good live. Thundering, tight, mysterious, fun, awesome.
Biggest surprise ? = Jason Bonham's drumming was simply stunning. The room shook!
Nothing comes close.
on 31 December 2012
My girlfriend gave me this blu-ray audio for christmas. It was the first time I came across the format. However, lucky enough to own a PS3 and a PS3 surround sound system I was able to enjoy this wonderful present. Basically the audio blu ray gives the choice of various sound options: PCM stereo, PCM 5.1 and DTS HD. I chose the DTS option and it is wonderfully expansive sound - just imagine the blu-ray concert Blu-Ray without the picture.
The advantage of the audio version is that it goes straight to the track listing, no waiting around therefore, and there isn't the distraction of the concert footage on the TV screen which is perfect I you're intention is merely to listen to the concert rather than watching it.
The concert is wonderful - tight but loose at the same time as one reviewer put it and benefiting from a raw, non contrived energy that is less obvious on the individual studio albums. Moreover, the fancy sound options make it a better quality experience than any regular audio CD or mp3 could ever hope to be.
Of course the downside is that, short of being able to import a blu-ray cd on your laptop or some such, you will not be able to transfer the tracks on your mp3 player and so not be able to listen to the concert on the go. I don't mind this as I rarely if ever listen to live music on the go.
One final note - I also own The Song Remains the Same live recording and I really think Celebration Day is better for a number of reasons. Firstly there are tracks that are later, i.e. after Houses of the Holy, including my favourite one, In My Time of Dying (on the Physical Graffiti album). Secondly it is more to the point, The SRTS concert had incredibly long solos, e.g. Dazed and Confused went on for half an hour, and that's more than I can take. The solos here do not meander forever but remain loyal to the album versions.
Conclusion: Five stars.
on 17 April 2013
A performance worthy of the group's reputation, but the sound quality on the DVD is so bad (unless I have a faulty disc)that the product should contain a warning about the poor sound. I would have bought it anyway, for reasons of nostalgia, but the terrible sound quality was especially disappointing since I watched it immediately after the DVD of the 2005 Cream reunion,where the sound quality was as good as it gets for a live recording.
on 22 November 2012
Ive just returned from a 15hour medical shift to find Celebration Day Blu Ray on my doorstep. I poured myself a large whiskey and inserted the disc. I've simply been blown away by this recording! The band ooze quality and magnificence; the sound and picture quality is sublime! If you are in your 40s or more (as I sadly am) this concert will bring back fantastic memories of when music was inspirational with each song screaming energy and class. Led Zeppelin are simply legends! The performance is packed with classic songs and I defy anyone not to sing along those famous words to all of them! Thank you Led Zeppelin for sharing this performance with everyone. Buy it now ... You certainly wont be disappointed!... Damn it .... it's time for another 15hour shift ... Not to worry ... I'll have to play the accompanying CD recording on full volume on my way in ... Simply blown away!
on 30 May 2014
Sorry i know its recorded using the latest recording equipment both audio and visual, but it hasn't the atmosphere of early led zep stuff you can tell the difference without John Bonham. Just seems like led zep by numbers (Robert Plant struggles at times to reach the notes aswell)
I was there at the o2 but the atmosphere wasnt like rock concerts used to be. Many people go to gigs nowadays just to stand and film it with their phones to show off footage to their unimpressed mates, instead of actually enjoying the gig. Its like theure just buying into the brand to try and look cool. Noel gallagher summed it up when he talked about people walking in front of him eating nachos half way through the gig.
Many bands gigs arent what they used to be theyre just corporate events nowadays, which is the impression i got at this one
on 4 December 2012
I was dubious about the release of celebration day. Back when the gig happened there was a steady trickle of dodgy mobile phone footage with bad audio and watching those clips the gig seemed massively over-hyped. I was also horrified by the down tuning of some songs as it sounded pretty awful on the unauthorised gig footage and audio. Robert Plant was busy being Robert Plant, rather than the singer in Led Zeppelin. I had written the whole thing off in my head as a bit of a mess, but nice that they gave it a try.
So along comes the full Celebration Day release. I had wondered if the reason it had taken so long was that Jimmy Page was up to his old tricks and busy splicing in newly recorded bits to cover up the obvious mistakes, but it seems we have the gig in more-or-less it's entirety and I have to say it is GLORIOUS to see and hear it in full high quality sound, and HD picture.
The down tuned songs take on a whole new life now. You can see the band just reveling in the situation and loving every minute. Sure there are parts, like with Dazed and Confused, where the whole song is barely saved from collapsing into a total shambles, but that was always a feature of Led Zeppelin live and particularly Jimmy Page's playing styles. He leads the band from the front, literally wringing notes out of his guitar that shouldn't even be there and playing with his trade mark quirky timing. It's this playing on a knife-edge and this pushing of the limits which made Led Zeppelin such a great live band.
People who have only listened to the studio recordings may not get it. People who have seen DVD and TSRTS may not get it. In their world every Led Zeppelin performance was a perfectly crafted masterpiece. This is not how the band sounded day-to-day. If you don't beleive me, go and find some bootlegs, particularly stuff from the later 70s and you will find the same quirky band on display in Celebration day. It's in this sense that it's like the band never left, and it's the way they play with such ferocity and wild abandon that makes the whole thing such an intense and enjoyable experience. As the viewer\listener, you are rooting for them and willing them onward. It also should be noted that it was very brave for the band to release a (more or less) warts and all recording, rather than try to polish it up too much.
Let's get a few things straight. People expecting every song to be perfect will be disappointed. It's a live gig and the chips fall where they may. People expecting John Bonham will be disappointed. He's dead. Although his son makes a brave effort to fill his shoes. People expecting Robert Plant of old will be disappointed. The boy grew up, and he is not that bothered about trying to make himself sound like a 20 year old. People expecting Jimmy Page to play like he did in the studio will be disappointed. Jimmy plays like he always did live and it is captured in it's full glory here. People expecting the John Paul Jones of old..., well he seems to have not aged a day really.
The overall feeling I get from watching this is that the reports from the gig weren't over hyped. I can only imagine what it was like to be there, but to be able to bask in the HD goodness of this film is a massive treat.
on 20 May 2013
I've read many of the reviews here. All seem to say that they are written by Led Zepplin fans. This makes sense for why else would you be reviewing this set if you were not a fan? The December 2007 show at London's O2 Arena has been something of a holy grail for many of us. The fact that it was finally being released in any format was a source of joy.
Having heard the CD's and seen the Blu Ray Im left with a sort of confused feeling. Not on the part of the band nor on the production of the film but on the part of many who feel that they were somehow sold short by this set. In my opinion the set is quite solid. The song choice was excellent. Led Zepplin has always been able to take the blues and heavy rock and meld it into something unique and special. They do so here on many of the selections.
One of the problems that has been associated with the set is that it is not of perfect sound quality. There are complaints that the bass is muddy, that Page is sloppy compared to studio versions of the material. I dont find this a great problem. It's a live show some 25 years post the last great studio album. People age its a fact of life. Robert Plant's vocals are a bit weak at times but it still does the job quite nicely. Jimmy Page is a great guitar player but he has always been a bit sloppy live. That is the nature of a live show. What he does on some of this materail is amazing in a cavern of a building like the O2 Arena. JohnPaul Jones bass can be muddy as it is fully centered in the front channels but this is how the band wanted it. His keyboards were and still are amazing. Jason Bonham seems to be a stronger drummer than his father was even if he looked a bit nervous at times.
If I have a problem with the show its with the editing. This is a common issue with many viewers. I would rather see the concert and the band's interactions with each other than the million cuts between camaras but this too is the way the band wanted the show captured.
I for one enjoyed the performance and the presentation and feel lucky that there is a record of this reunion show even if it is not perfect as many wished it to be.