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Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same (Film) album cover
4.01 | 171 ratings | 15 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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DVD/Video, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

DVD scene listing:
1. Mob Rubout
2. Mob Town Credits
3. Country Life ("Autumn Lake")
4. "Bron-Yr-Aur"
5. "Rock and Roll"
6. "Black Dog"
7. "Since I've Been Loving You"
8. "No Quarter"
9. Who's Responsible?
10. "The Song Remains the Same"
11. "The Rain Song"
12. Fire and Sword
13. Capturing the Castle
14. Not Quite Backstage Pass
15. "Dazed and Confused"
16. Strung Out
17. Magic in the Night
18. Gate Crasher
19. No Comment
20. "Stairway to Heaven"
21. "Moby Dick"
22. Country Squire Bonham
23. "Heartbreaker"
24. Grand Theft
25. "Whole Lotta Love"
26. End Credits (w/ '"Stairway to Heaven")

Total Time: 137 minutes

Line-up / Musicians

- Jimmy Page / acoustic and electric guitars, theremin
- Robert Plant / vocals, harmonica
- John Paul Jones / bass guitar, bass pedals, keyboards
- John Bonham / drums, percussion

Releases information

Warner Bros. Video released 1990, DVD released 1999.

Originally released for cinema in 1976
Directed by Peter Clifton, Joe Massot

Thanks to tuxon for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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LED ZEPPELIN The Song Remains The Same (Film) ratings distribution

(171 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LED ZEPPELIN The Song Remains The Same (Film) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quite a laugh really. I am fortunate to have this on DVD now and when it was released in 1976 it had something of a major cult following. It was very 70's, no challenge there. Scenes of Robert Plant riding a white horse through a Welsh castle, depicting scenes from a King Arthur age.Putting the date stamp aside and looking at the visual aspect of the songs played, it would be pretty odd really if you were a huge Zeppelin fan and not have this cinematic treasure in your archives somewhere. The ' Country Squire Bonham' episode is a riot too.Songs like ' Black Dog', ' No Quarter' and the ubiquitous ' Stairway To Heaven' are excellently portayed as are all the rest. Lets also not neglect to mention Bonham's incredible drumming on ' Moby Dick'. Highly recommended.
Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Everything written about "The Song Remains The Same" vinyl/CD applies here; here is only one dimension added. This is LED ZEPPELIN's video effort, and I dare to say that guys were much better guitarists and drummers than screenplay writers and directors. Or actors. Or whatever.

This video is undoubtedly 70's effort - you can feel the presence of some naive hippie sort of experiment, overall spleen, even the scenery - all that is closely related to band's mysticism, and that's fine, but that just doesn't works for me.

In case you don't know what to expect: do not expect some sort of Hollywood B-movie with the live LED ZEPPELIN music in the background. No. This is a "regular" live video recording, and there are scenes between the songs (should I say sketches?) not very related (or not related at all) to the music. We can see some countryside, Plant riding a horse, fight of knights, gangsters, and Bonzo on a tractor (that's something).

These scenes are not between the songs only; due to the songs lengthy nature, some scenes are included during the songs. Each band member has it's own dedicated scene but frankly, maybe they did mean much to band members themselves, providing some sort of allegory of their private life, but it won't reach the audience. It's just not working as a manifesto of idea, going that far it's hard to tell are the root ideas for the film itself good or bad.

There are others, ordinary rockumentary scenes from the tour, audience, riots, police, bands manager and stuff.

Anyway, this motion picture wasn't the best idea around, and I think it's distracting the listener from the music more than contributing. Therefore I will just subtract one star from the "The Song Remains The Same" audio version review.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars The first time that I saw this film was in a cinema, in early 1978. I was 13 years old then, and I went to see the film with my brothers and some friends. At that time I was "discovering" Rock bands, and I became more interested in the music and also in learn how to play the drums. So, this film then was very impressive for me, then. But the passing of time, and after I saw the excellent "Led Zeppelin" video released some years ago, this film lost some of the "magic" it had for me when I was a teenager.

It has some funny scenes filmed as fantasy sequences by each member of the band and also by their manager Peter Grant.Most of the songs sound very good, and seeing Bonham playing the drums is still very interesting. I don`t know how many drum kits he used in his lifetime, but he played with a lot of power which makes me think that the drum kits (and of course the drum sticks) didn`t last for a very long time!

There are some differences in some songs in comparison to the version included in the album of the same name. Particularly,Plant`s vocals in "Rock and Roll" sound different. Maybe they used another take (they recorded and filmed three consecutive concerts in the MSG), or maybe they re-recorded some things in the studio (which is very possible).

The best things to be seen in this film are the performances of the songs "The Rain Song", "No Quarter", "Stairway to Heaven" and "Moby Dick". But "Dazed and Confused" is so long that it is the most boring point of the film.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars THE MOVIE

A movie. About a rock band. Only a few rock bands did produce a musical film (The Beatles, The Who, Bowie, Floyd.). Since 1970 and their disastrous appearance (because of the poor filming, not because of the band of course) in the French TV programme "Tous Ensemble" (available on the DVD "Led Zeppelin") there has been live footage available.

Very few filmed interviews, photos from the band are circulating. This was all organized by the maestro : Peter Grant.

If you wanted to see Led Zeppelin, there was only one option : you had to go to their concerts. Grant's strategy has been working very well : zillions of fans will rush to see the band during each tour.

There were already several attempts in releasing a film about Led Zep, but none succeeded. When Grant realized how great this US tour was going on, he accepted the offer from Joe Massot (a director who had released a movie which featured Georges Harrison for the soundtrack). He appointed Massot as director for the project on July, 20th. The final shows were starting as soon as July 23rd so there was a bit of a hurry needed.

The amount of money spent for the live footage only reached around 85,000 US$ (one must recognize that the band was not reluctant in spending for the best equipment : the film was shot on a 35mm film and they used a twenty-four track quadraphonic sound recording system to ensure the best audio quality available).

It was decided to film the three concerts (July 27, 28 and 29) at the Madison Square Garden (1973), New York. Like for the soundtrack, Mr. Page will use the cut and paste technique extensively : he virtually reconstructed the concerts taking bits and bites of songs from the three nights (I provide more details in my review for the soundtrack if you are interested). Each member wore the same clothes for the three nights. Well, not really . Jones didn't, so watch out and figure when you can notice this.(have a close look at "Dazed" maybe.).

After six months of work, there were no significant progress in the project and Massot was dismissed. Another director was hired : Peter Clifton. He had already some experience in filming rock stars (Hendrix). He almost wanted to start the movie from scratch. He even suggested to do a mock-up of the MSG stage (in August 1974, Shepperton Studios). And they did use some of this footage (Jones needing a whig since he got his hair cut in the meantime) ! Clifton wanted as well to shoot additional footage from their next US tour (1975). This was made impossible due to the car crash that Robert will suffer. So, a year and a half later (more than three years after the shooting and some thousands of dollars) the movie reached the theaters on October 21, 1976 in New York (for obvious reasons) and in London two weeks later. During its first week only, the film will generate 200,000 US$ profit. More than the double of its cost !

This movie was an attempt to produce more than just a filmed concert. I must honestly say, that I can't find anything great in the external scenes. Nor the beginning, during which we see a preparation of a killing (mafia style featuring Peter Grant) nor during some "fantasy" takes in which we see each member of the band . After twelve minutes, the movie really starts (finally) when we see a shot from the MSG in the dark just before the concert starts. Then full lights, maximum power. Here we go for a great live show. A hard-rocking one of course.

A boom boom opener : "Rock'n'Roll". The stage is set. It's gonna be wild my friend. As always on stage. The band is at his peak. Each member solidly used to touring and stardom (Led Zep is really enormous). They know how to please them and they will. Believe me. The movie will feature a first incursion off stage showing some takes of the band talking about nothing in particular.IMO, those moments add no value to the ensemble (on the contrary, they are somewhat useless). No "Celebration Day" in the movie (they have to sell the record as well, right) ? Led Zep was using a three-tracks opening sequence with no break. Three great one.

After "Black Dog", we'll get a great and intense moment. "Since I've Been Loving You". Led Zep is one of the very bands that made blues bearable to my ears (but not always). I felt instantly in love with this song when I discovered it more than thirty-five years ago. It is one of the song that won't be included in the double album "The Soundtrack". It will be cut and made of SEVEN pieces from two concerts. There will be even overdub in Plant's vocals during a short moment in "The Song.". In his quest for excellence, Page is going a bit too far, I'm afraid. Next song is "No quarter". One of their new songs. At this time, it will still be played in a standard format (although it clocks already at twelve minutes or so). They will have the habit to play it waaaaaaaay too long. This is one of the best rendition of this track live. Specially the heavy part are very strong. IMO, although it is often referred to a prog song on this site, this has nothing to do with prog. Even if it's keyboard oriented : it is a slow but HEAVY number.

One scene which might appear as being anecdotal, is the one during which Peter Grant is arguing with the MSG security people. He is virtually mad about a poor guy selling unlicensed photographs of the band within the building. If one doesn't know how big Peter Grant's influence was and how great a manager he was, one might think : hey ! come on. Give us a break! But Peter MADE Led Zeppelin. I really believe that the band wouldn't achieve such stardom without him. He certainly deserves to be recognized as such. He was the architect of their contract with Atlantic Records (for five albums). In November 1968, he managed to get a 200,000 US $ advance on the projected sales of their debut album (released in January 1969). It was the biggest deal of that sort for a new band.

Peter knows what you have to look after during a tour. He started his career as tour manager for many rock stars in the early sixties : Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, The Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and The Animals. When he was manager of the Yardbirds, he was always following the band so, he knows what touring means. Always trying to save money where possible : hotels & catering costs, communication and travel expenses etc. Every single item sold had to wear the legitimate Led Zep seal. I guess he would be very upset now with the power of Internet and the legal issues about downloading. But since he died in 1995 (exactly fifteen years after Led Zep disbanded) he will luckily not see this.

While "fantasy or personal" sequences featuring Jones during "No Quarter" and Plant during "The Song." and "The Rain Song"; the most symbolic one features Jimmy escalading a mountain and meeting the old hermit featured in the artwork of their "Untitled" album. He will look at his face which will change thanks to some nice morphing effects. The old man turning to be an older version of Jimmy himself. The morphing will travel back to Jimmy childhood, infancy and in embryo. This happens while "Dazed & Confused" is played in the background. The live shots are also very impressive and demonstrates Jimmy's mastery when playing guitar with his bow. Some attitudes during this number show some filial devotion with Jimi (Hendrix of course).

The Bonham moment of glory is of course "Moby Dick". This version is not too long : "only" over twelve minutes (and twenty-five seconds) : that's what Page allowed to Bonham in the film. There were no mix in the versions (only the concert of the 28th has been used) but there are ELEVEN cuts in there. The whole track almost reached twenty-eight minutes one. Bonham on the drums. In this particular exercise he is just FABULOUS. I have seen some great drummers in my life : Bonham of course (in January 1975), Collins, Brufford, Ian Paice and Carl Palmer amongst others, but Bonham is really extraordinary. One has really to see this moment. Even if you are not really keen on this type of solo, this guy will make you love the drums (at least that's what I think).

The climax is of course reached with "Stairway To Heaven". An absolute masterpiece of the rock history. It is only cut after the guitar solo. Page will paste the finale of the concert of the following day. Since 2001, I always listen to "Stairway" at 23:50 on December 31st. Around 00:15 on january 1st, I listen to it again to start the year. So, yes I kind of love this song. Can't help !

Another song not featured on the double album is "Heartbreaker". One of the wildiest from the band coming out of Led Zeppelin II. The encore will be "Whole Lotta Love". Yes, I whole lotta love it !

The film ends up with the band leaving on board of the airplane featuring the words Led Zeppelin on its side.

The band was musically at its peak, their popularity is phenomenal, their easiness on stage just amazing. The VHS version was only released on October 25, 1990 and the DVD on December 31, 1999. What a nice way to end up with the millenium.

Songs performed by the group at the three Madison Square Garden concerts but not included in the film include "Celebration Day", "The Ocean", "Misty Mountain Hop", "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "Thank You". Some of these songs were included on the soundtrack album of the film and, later, on the Led Zeppelin DVD.

Four stars.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It is really rare I find music performance documentary more preferable without the visual element allowing the perception for the players, but this legendary rock movie creates a rare exception for this rule. Though the compositions work more dynamically on stage, the fellows rejoicing their mighty moment on the glitter image is quite repulsive vision for my eyes. I am convinced a question of personal whim on tastes causes this, as I found films of The Who and Cream doing their stuff in circumstances quite close to this much more pleasing and fun. In addition of the filmed concert material the movie has some short fantasy sequences of each band member and their fat manger. If these short films are honest innovations, the conclusion from them is sadly for me that most of these guys weren't very clever. Have adored the double LP, but the received VHS cassette was lost in dust of forgetting.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Available on home video. . . as soon as they are invented!

With Led Zeppelin already having achieved almost mythical status, their 1973 gigs in New York were filmed as the basis for this movie. This was well before the days of the home video recorder, so the resulting film was granted a cinema run in 1976. For many fans, this was likely to be the only way they would ever see the band perform live. The advent of home video led to a release in that format in 1990, and eventually to DVD in 1999.

While the band have been bootlegged many times, this and the accompanying LP/CD soundtrack were the only officially available live releases by Led Zeppelin up until the late 1990s. The tour was intended to promote the then current album, "Houses of the holy", but the set list covers a broad selection of their work up until this point.

The actual music in both the film and the soundtrack album is broadly the same, the film having some additional songs plus some behind the scenes footage and fantasy sequences. These sequences, one for each of the four band members, now seem somewhat humorous and are very much of their time. Robert Plant for example portrays himself as a sort of knight in shining armour rescuing a young maiden.

The live performances themselves see the band in pretty much top form, and playing band standards such as "Stairway to heaven", "Whole lotta love" and "Black dog". There's also a highly indulgent version of "Dazed and confused", a song which grew longer and longer with every tour.

As a document of Led Zeppelin's halcyon days, "The song remains the same" is adequate if slightly disappointing. While it does largely serve to capture them as they were then, it tends to remove the surrounding mythology rather than enhance it. An essential document for fans of the band though.

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Let's not forget about Led Zeppelin, it has become a bit silent around them on this site so here's some 'Led Zep boost!'

I watched this film in a cinema when it was just released in 1976. I remember very vividly that we started to feel uncomfortable after 10 minutes because of the first of 'movies-into-movies' idea, every Led Zep member was invited by the director to invent his own movie, it started with John Bonham and his 'gangsters', quite boring. But in the end the concert began with the explosive Rock And Roll, to me it sounds as 'a heavy metal version of Chuck Berry music', so powerful, John Bonham kicks off at his best! In the long and compelling Since I Have Been Loving You, Jimmy page carry me away with one of hist best guitar soli, so moving and the interplay between the musicians is great, especially the guitar and organ. In No Quarter multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones plays delicate Fender Rhodes eelctric piano and in The Rain Song he blows me away with wonderful Mellotron sounds on the M400, that 'white piece of furniture'. During the film we have to watch other 'movie ideas' like John Paul Jones and his medieval vision, Robert Plant with his white horse and Jimmy Page with quite scary images, especially that changing face from old to young. I am not pleased with those images, evenmore irritating than on Pictures At An Exhibition by ELP. The long compositions Dazed And Confused and Whole Lotta Love showcase the creative mind of Jimmy Page playing with a violin bow on his guitar and using and a spectacular sounding effect machine. The aboslute highlight is the symphonic rock composition Stairway To Heaven with JP JOnes playing flute on the M400, a beautiful vocal performance by Robert Plant and a very compelling guitar solo on the Gibson double-neck guitar with split images, very sensational to watch.

I have never understood the critical comments about the music on The Song Remains The Same, in my opinion Led Zeppelin sounds great and inspired but the 'movies-into-movies' idea turned out to be a disaster! Nonetheless, essential!

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Zep heaven and the soundtrack of youth.

I was a teenage Zeppelin fanatic, devotee, addict. Jimmy 24/7 is all I cared about as far as music goes. Most critics slam this film. I've heard the complaints: too long, the band was tired, dumb non-music parts, etc etc. Whatever. All I know is that this film was such a thrill to me and my friends. When the lights came up and the band kicked in we'd have chills down our spines, wishing it were 10 years earlier so we could have seen Zep in their prime. We were just a tad too young to see our heroes so this film was all we had.

As a reviewer certainly there are some problems I would normally bring up. Not here. This is one of those emotional reviews that I can't separate from my life experience. I've watched it alone, with my best friends, at parties, and at "midnight movies" showings when theatres were cool and they'd allow throngs of teenagers to pile in late at night and look the other way while kids made out, drank beers, smoked and watched The Wall, Let There Be Rock, and this movie. I can remember looking around me and seeing the older guys firing up right in the theater. While my life no longer resembles the early 80s I have to admit that I look back on all that with nothing but good memories and no regrets. We had a blast and most of the people I knew back then turned out just fine. All of this "drug war" nonsense has turned out to be far more destructive, in many ways, than the casual marijuana use ever was. (An observation, not an endorsement.) These memories are not separable to me from the experience of Song Remains The Same and my opinion of the film can only be a positive one because it was the soundtrack my youth.

As I said, this film has one of the most exciting beginnings for Zep fans. The lights come up and they launch in to R and R. The crowd at Madison Square is just classic, what a party! A few moments later comes the first of two musical highlight for me. The live version of "Since I've Been Loving You" is one of LZ's very greatest moments, one of Jimmy's most perfectly raunchy moments choking the emotion out of that Gibson. "No Quarter" soars to new heights and deeper foggier lows, absolutely great. The other monster highlight for me is "SRTS/Rain Song" combo. The first features some of my favorite LZ grooves while the latter is perhaps their most poignant moment, their most beautiful chord progressions ever laid down with the possible exception of "Ten Years Gone." This first half was always the highlight to me musically. The longer blues numbers in the second half, Dazed, Whole Lotta, Moby, etc are certainly classic LZ, I just don't like those songs as well. Yes the band fantasy sequences are a bit cheesy, a bit silly, boring at times. But I still loved watching Peter Grant in action tearing apart the bootlegger, or the backstage moments. Zeppelin fans were not looking for intellectual cinema a la Antonioni, they were just looking for a good time.

As Guillermo says, watching the film now as an older person it may lose some of its "magic" to us. But that's our problem, not the films. The film was made for the young, fervent 70s Zep kids and it succeeded at exactly what it went for. It rocked us big time then. Who cares about now? It wasn't made for middle-aged guys at prog sites. We can get off on our fancy music and all is well. I haven't seen it in a while and may not watch it again because I've seen it so many times I can replay the thing in my head at will. It's a film for young fans, then or now, who are discovering a great band. Seeing Robert in Wales, Jimmy's dragon pants, Bonzo's cars, JPJ hunkered down in the back, Peter in action, and rocking out to the best of the 70s with your friends. Who can argue with that? Recommended to any Zeppelin fan but especially those who still have an obsessive enthusiasm for the greatest band ever.

Like I said, it's all a nostalgia review this time, no objectivity in sight! I'll never forget Grant getting in his little shot at America while ripping the poster bootlegger. Obviously they had more trouble in the States than at home: "as long as there's an extra nickel to be drained by exploiting Led Zeppelin, it's great, with the f@cking stars and stripes behind it." [P. Grant]

Review by thehallway
4 stars The audio visual equivilant of lying in a bath of warm beer while a mutant hippy repeatedly slaps you round the face with cannabis leaves.

This film is very much a psychedelic experiment; assembled from concert footage (both on-stage and off) and irrelevant but enjoyable location scenes. It's a music and image extravaganza. The trouble is, it's particularly non-linear (confusing), avant-garde (cringeworthy), and has aged poorly. It can only be considered a movie masterpiece if one of two things applies to you:

1) You are stoned.

2) You are in 1973.

One of those things is now impossible, the other illegal. So looking from a 21st century sober man's perspective, it's difficult to "feel" this musical experience in the way Led Zeppelin intended. That's not to say it's bad, I love watching the film, but it's simply less effective on a small screen some 37 years after its release.

The songs themeselves are fantastic. They perfectly capture the world's biggest rock band at their performance peak, playing a delightful setlist with plenty of blues, riff-rock, and free-for-all improvisation. The audience in attendance was huge, and their response says a lot about the power and influence of this cosmic band. Visually, the stage sections are also great; displaying the interesting interplay between band members, and enabling us to view Page spank his guitar from the best angle possible at any given time. It's the location shooting that seems a little out-of-place. Often tacky, these random [drug-induced] solo spots spoil the flow of the show somewhat. I can understand their inclusion from the band's point of view, and I can see where they were trying to go with each one, it just isn't executed particularly well. There is little cohesive narrative to the four mini-films (except Bonham's, which is simply a collage of rich drummer life- farms, pubs and fast cars) and they don't really link that well to the songs which they are found within (other than that the person who features most prominantly in each song is the one in the clip). It sort of works, but doesn't work. What fits in more naturally, are the backstage clips that show the rock'n'roll industry from a more "business" point of view. These moments include the infamous loss of a stash of Zeppelin cash, footage of the band entering their 'Starship' plane, and Peter Grant calling a promoter a cunt.

...which is exactly what such an tour's daily routine would involve. Forget fantasy storyboards, the documentary- esque footage is what really provides an interesting insight to such a phenomenal band. So I do recommend this film, but I think it's messy in places. But at least it captures a very significant moment in music history.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'The Song Remains The Same' - Led Zeppelin (9/10)

First of all, I do not generally consider myself to be someone that really digs into concert videos. While it might be cool to see clips of a band play their material live, and see how the music translates into a concert performance, many concert recordings end up feeling bland and unremarkable; failing to take advantage of the new visual aspect. Despite it's obvious imperfections, I think that Led Zeppelin's first filmexperience excels for the fact that it breaks out of that convention, and takes advantage of the cinematic form. Is 'The Song Remains The Same' cheesy? Undeniably yes, but it's interesting use of concept and effects make for a very enjoyable film.

As I've said already, 'The Song Remains The Same' transcends being a mere concert. In fact, the concert itself doesn't begin until a good twenty minutes into the movie. A considerable portion of the fiilm actually takes place off stage, whether it be in short 'concept' segments, or in a 'behind the scenes' look at the band. The concept segments are of special interest; as it seems to be one of the earliest examples where a concept was applied in a music video. Each band member gets his own short film, and while they are certainly not accomplished actors, it's undeniably a very cool experience to see Robert Plant swordfighting a knight in armour.

Another aspect of the film are the interesting use of effects and filmwork. While it may look amateurish by today's standards, the psychedelic camera tweaks are implemented in interesting ways that certainly contribute to my enjoyment of the music. 'The Song Remains The Same' also has an added 'cinematic' feel that many concert DVDs seem to be lacking. While the direction could have certainly be improved in parts (the transitions between segments are very jagged), the actual capture of the concert itself is well down.

Musically and soundwise, things work pretty well, but for the most part aren't incredible. Robert Plant's vocals feel quite a bit less powerful in this live depiction, and are too highly mixed in the volume. Things realyl pick up towards the latter half of the performance however, where the band takes typically straightforward tracks like 'Whole Lotta Love' and extend them into twenty minute epics. There is also an added psychedelic influence here that is rarely heard on Zeppelin's studio recordings.

'The Song Remains The Same' will certainly not appeal to every fan of the band; some may say it revolves too highly on the cinematic aspect, over the music itself. It may be very cheesy in parts, but as a film and a concert, I feel it really opened up the scope of what Led Zeppelin could do with their music. It is certainly imperfect, but alas; a fantastic and enjoyable film.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
5 stars This is the review of the Blu-Ray version of the movie that i saw for the first time in theater a long time ago. There is a improvement of the picture quality compare to the DVD version, but nothing as good as a Blu-Ray of today. What is so interesting about this movie is that it's not only a music concert, it's a lot more. There is some fiction images throughout the movie along with behind the scenes and real day life action footage with each members of the band. The musicians played a role by illustrating the story of the songs like characters in a movie.

The movie starts with the arrival of the crew and the band in Manhattan by car. The city where the show has a important meaning to the movie. There is some entertaining behind the scenes footage, that had took place during the show. It's a real treat to see the manager takes on his crew members who had let circulate some pirates posters of the band. There goes down the drain the merchandising profits! And not only that, but we learned that a robbery of the show's profits had been stolen!

Now for the actual live footage! To have footage of the legendary band is a rare historical moment and i have never been disappointed by the quality of the footage, a little dark with no visuals, because the music was so appealing to me. The idea of illustrating the show with a story is not a bad idea, but at times, i was missing the joy of seeing the band play their instrument, it's the case, especially during the song "The Song Remains the Same", who is one of the best Led Zeppelin songs, along with "No Quarter", simply because for me that's the songs that are the closest to Progressive rock with their nice atmosphere. Another highlight of the show is the 15 minutes drum solo of John Bonham, who is captured nicely by cameras.

The extras contains more songs, and more footage of the conference press talking about the robbery that i was talking earlier in my review. After 38 years, it's easy for me to give this a 5 stars, because it's still a great music to hear today despite some flaws on the quality of the footage, but put in the context of the 70's and restore on Blu-Ray, it's nice to watch. The 5.1 mix also add a new dimension to the whole experience.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Led Zeppelin live concert movie is groundbreaking as one of the first, way before Spinal Tap's mockumentary that is very similar in style, showing the band struggling with issues and then capping it off with segments from the concert. There are some unforgettable moments such as Led Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant squaring off with merchandisers that are selling photos illegally outside the concert hall; After dropping a dozen f-bombs Grant says to the dismayed organiser, "as long as we can screw a few extra bob out of the group? if there's an extra nickle to be drained by exploiting Led Zeppelin, it's great". Grant is furious and lets the organisers have it, and they have no answers.

It is great to see the enigmatic band behind the scenes preparing to go on tour or hanging around bars, grassy fields with girls, and to see their fantasies realised, though the Mafia section is very odd. A lot of the concert material is complimented by a video clip of each band member. We see Robert Plant sword fighting, on a boat, capturing a castle and rescuing a princess, Bonham driving fast cars and hanging around farms, and we are treated to Jimmie Page changing into a tarot hermit, regressing back to the foetus and back to ancient and then lofting a sword with psychedelic colours emanating during 'Dazed and Confused'; perhaps the highlight of the concert footage.

The concerts are captured well with low angles and close ups and crowd shots showing how the band communicate their magic with the audience. They are a visual treat; with the iconic Plant bending backwards with tiny open vest, Page in starry pants clad in black maintaining poise as he saws a violin bow across his guitar strings, Bonham going manic with the drums and Jones looking aloof. It was one of the only ways of seeing the band play back in the day as, unless you saw them live on a tour, there was very little footage released of the band. Nowadays there is an unbelievable amount of concert footage available but it is mostly bootleg quality.

It is great musically too with some of their greatest songs with crunching speaker blowing riffs in 'Rock And Roll', then moves on to 'Black Dog' with killer riffs and footage showing a drive down the traffic laden streets. 'Since I've Been Loving You' is beautiful and there is a 12 minute version of 'No Quarter', always a classic Zep favourite. 'Dazed And Confused' is the blockbuster here and the film really takes off into a magical realm. The sounds of the violining are as preternatural as the film clip that accompanied it, showing Page slicing a bow over the strings. The psychedelic images are perfectly placed, zooming into Page's eye, watching the angel descend the staircase and then the wielding of the sword; it is a powerful aural and visual experience. We also see backstage some groupies desperately wanting to get in to see the show and some bouncers let them in for free; "a lot of fun" he says turning to the camera. Later we see a fan being wrestled to the ground and kicked out backstage, so it was very random the way gate crashers were treated. It is a time capsule of the 70s and as such has documentary importance to rock history connoisseurs, in the same way "Woodstock" has historical importance outside of the actual music.

After some backstage footage worth a look, a cop on horseback replying to "do you expect trouble?" with "no comment, that's all you are going to get". Plant says onstage "this is a song of hope" and we are treated to the ultimate classic 'Stairway To Heaven' clocking 11 minutes with blue moody lighting. It is an incredible performance from Plant and Page who absolutely destroy the studio version. A safety deposit box is stolen and the manager respond in a press conference, the largest amount ever taken from a hotel reportedly. We see a news report on this event, which is soon cut off by more killer rock concert footage. Live is definitely the best way to hear this iconic piece of mystique. 'Moby Dick' follows with lengthy drum solo and Bonham is brilliant. It ends with the masterpiece 'Whole Lotta Love' which is very different than the original and just as compelling. Then the band stroll off to their Mercedes cars and then hop on a plane and as 'Stairway to Heaven' chimes over we see the planes do a dance on the runway and it's all over.

Overall this movie is a terrific indispensable document of how it was back in the magnificent 70s, a no frills, no effects concert, just a brilliant band giving it everything to a mesmirised well behaved crowd. Recommended to all fans of classic rock at its highest calibre.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I discovered Led Zeppelin in 1975 at the age of 12 after my brother bought LZ II. In early 1976, I got the Presence album, their brand new LP. So by the end of the year, when the movie The Song Remains The Same got airplay in theaters, I only know those two albums. I was disappointed that no song ... (read more)

Report this review (#1988528) | Posted by DarkTower | Sunday, August 19, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I almost turned the disc off waiting for the opening 10-minute 'mob rubout' sequence to finish. Such a beginning to a rock film is really dumb and unnecessary. Then it finally starts. 'Rock and Roll' and 'Black Dog' are the first songs, they sound really awesome and impressive. The complete band ... (read more)

Report this review (#173275) | Posted by In the Flesh? | Sunday, June 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of the most cult rock movies of all times, and one of my favorite movies of all times. Very funny by moments (John bonham driving a dragster, John Paul Jones wearing an awful mask, Robert Plant feeling he's a Viking, Page imagines himself to be the hermit of the fourth album's inner ... (read more)

Report this review (#164069) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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