The millions who have never really recovered from Led Zeppelin can now rejoice in telling worried friends and loved ones that more really is the best therapy. After years of having to make do with 'The Song Remains the Same' film and live album, bootlegs that never quite lived up to hopes and watching the few TV appearances on video until the tape was so used it looked like they were playing in a blizzard, comes the stuff of legend. And it's better than anyone could've wished for.
Assembled by guitarist Jimmy Page and director Dick Carruthers, the five-hour plus double DVD puts you with Zeppelin from their 1970 show at London's Royal Albert Hall to their comeback at Knebworth nine years later with New York in '73 and Earls Court in '75 in between. The results raise the bar for all future music DVDs and are made all the more remarkable by the struggle the duo went through to get it on your screen. 132 cans of film, two sets of two-inch video tape, some bootleg footage and a year of putting the whole thing together. Along the way, tapes had to be baked at 55 degrees for three weeks to restore them while the process of putting the Madison Square Garden footage on to digital format probably deserves its own documentary.
Every minute that Page and Carruthers have gathered is genius and showcases the different sides to Zeppelin. The Albert Hall footage is where 16mm graininess and the blues collide while Madison Square Garden enhances the reputation of 'The Song Remains the Same' footage. Earls Court features the band at their most intimate and Knebworth is a poignant look at the new beginning that ended too soon and roars to life with 'In the Evening' and show-stopper 'Kashmir'. To also have their much seen and loved appearance from Danish TV in 1969 on DVD alone would be reason for tears; here it's placed alongside snippets from an Australian tour (with Germaine Greer doing the interviewing), a performance from French TV in 1969 and a recently discovered black and white promo for 'Communication Breakdown'. The only complaint is that it's all over too soon.
Which is where the triple CD comes in. Joining together two shows from Long Beach, California in 1973 so that they play like one 150-minute gig, the 'How the West Was Won' recordings were re-discovered by Page while sifting through material for the DVD. There's a 25-minute version of 'Dazed and Confused', 23 minutes of 'Whole Lotta Love' while the Bonham showcase 'Moby Dick' clocks in at 19. After the flatness of 'The Song Remains the Same' live album, there's a sparkle here that makes you wonder how you got by without this gig for so long. No pictures, but the images in your head are even better.
No heavy rock home should be without them.
Tracklisting: LA Drone - Immigrant Song - Heartbreaker - Black Dog - Over the Hills and Far Away - Since I've Been Loving You - Stairway to Heaven - Going to California - That's the Way - Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp - Dazed and Confused - What Is and What Should Never Be - Dancing Days - Moby Dick - Whole Lotta Love (Medley) - Rock and Roll - The Ocean - Bring it on Home