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In The Realm of Giants
on February 27, 2012
Led Zeppelin will remain the giants of Rock 'n' Roll for a long time to come. Although they've been criticized for "robbing" the blues greats, the truth as any student of the blues will know is that the tradition of the blues (and folk for that matter) is to take existing songs and then modify them with new variations and improvisations until eventually a new song emerges that's virtually indistinguishable from the original. Led Zeppelin have done this with some of the early songs, especially on the first album, but then developed their own unmistakable sound that has since been imitated but never duplicated. This concert is a document of the band at the peak of their powers, claiming their place as the undisputed biggest band in the world at the time, and for many years after.
"The Song Remains the Same" showcases the band during their 1973 USA tour promoting their Houses of the Holy album, with footage from their three nights at Madison Square Garden in New York. The great (now classic) songs from the first five albums are here, including "Dazed and Confused", "Rock and Roll", "Moby Dick", "Whole Lotta Love", and of course the anthemic "Stairway to Heaven". But this is more than simply a film of the concert, as it includes several "fantasy" sequences for each individual band member, making it into a mix of live concert footage and music video, during the days before music videos were widely available on MTV (and many places elsewhere within a few years). The fantasy sequences are intertwined with the concert film, giving each band member a chance to show his individual personality through imagery only made possible with film. The original film (disc one of the two disc version) also includes some news or documentary type footage of the concerts, including investigation of the disappearance of money that the band had deposited in the hotel's safe deposit box.
This new release of the original movie has added a second disc that contains some additional concert footage (not from New York), as well as an interview with manager Peter Grant and lead singer Robert Plant, originally shown on BBC's "The Old Grey Whistle Test" prior to release of the film in 1976. In total it may not be much in terms of "bonus material" or "extras" but for any Zeppelin fanatic - and I include myself here - it's really a "must have" addition to all of the other Zeppelin albums and videos that are bursting our shelves. Besides, at the price being offered, it's almost free in the sense that I can buy the new two disc version and trade the previous one disc version with a friend for something else.
All in all, I'd highly recommend this newer version, even to anyone who has the previous version already in their collection.