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 labor 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. --Mark Walker
Slated for a simultaneous May 27 release, this marks the first-ever official release of rare and legendary performances spanning Led Zeppelin's entire career.
But the DVD and CD sets contain entirely different material so there is no overlap between the two releases.
Clocking in at nearly five-and-a-half hours, The "Led Zeppelin DVD" has been culled from just a handful of performances ever filmed during the band's lifetime.
Guitarist Jimmy Page explained: "We were never really part of the pop scene. It was never what Led Zeppelin was supposed to be about. Our thing was playing live. In that sense, Zeppelin was very much an underground band. The fact that it became as successful as it did was something that was almost out of our control. We actually shunned commercialism, which is why so little official footage of the band has ever been seen before."
Featured on the DVD are performances from London's Royal Albert Hall in January 1970, just a year after the release of their debut album, their five-night run at London's Earl's Court in May 1975 and their record-breaking shows at England's Knebworth Festival in August 1979, just a year before drummer John Bonham's death led to the band's dissolution.
Also included are songs from New York's Madison Square Garden in July 1973 that were not included in "The Song Remains The Same" concert film, the only previously released live Zeppelin footage.
Other highlights on the DVD are extremely rare television appearances, among them a performance for Danish television in March 1969; promotional clips; TV interviews; behind-the scenes material and even a bit of bootleg footage shot by fans.
The DVD has been painstakingly restored, remixed and remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS, and PCM two-channel stereo under the personal supervision of Jimmy Page and director Dick Carruthers.
Carruthers recently told reporters that the DVD set is intended as a definitive statement of all that is fit for release, though that quality threshold was set very high by surviving Led Zeppelin members.
While Carruthers collected film and video material, Jimmy Page and Kevin Shirley assembled surround mixes from Page's huge archive of live recordings.
The DVDs present the material in chronological order and the supplementary material consists of early European TV appearances on the first disc, and interviews and 1990-vintage promos on the second, including the only decent interview footage of the late John Bonham.
The Albert Hall footage is from a two camera 16mm shoot and the second disc reportedly has a stunning version of "The Immigrant Song" for which footage could not be found. So some Super 8 footage from Australia has been edited promo-style to accompany it.
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1970) 1hr 42 mins
We're gonna groove
I can't quit you baby
Dazed and confused
What is and what should never be
How many more times
Whole lotta love
Bring it on home
The immigrant song
Madison Square Garden (1973) 23:24 mins
Misty mountain hop
Since I've been loving you
Earls Court (1975) 49 mins
Going to California
That's the way
Bron Y Aur stomp
In my time of dying
Stairway to heaven
Live at Knebworth (1979) 51:41 mins
Nobody's fault but mine
Achilles last stand
In the evening
Whole lotta love