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Old 05-23-2003, 05:19 AM   #1
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Led Zeppelin, Large And Live

When I go see performances of live acts, I tend to over-dramatize their presence on stage…but no words could describe the musicianship I was privy to tonight. “How the West Was Won”, the new DVD compilation being released this coming Tuesday, represents the progression of Led Zeppelin as a live act… from the early days, to their final collective performances. Tonight, I was able to see the premiere of the live footage, a 1hr and 58 min epic of mind numbing solos by guitar virtuosos and drum demons. 20 songs were extracted from the DVD set, spanning Zeppelin’s whole career… from Communication Breakdown to Kashmir. Not only was it the best next thing to seeing the four piece live, it also exhibited the diversity of the band: from start at you hard rock, to intricate blues songs. Even some rare live songs popped in the mix, a blessing for the hardcore fans of my generation. So, as far as I can remember, the set list broke down like this:

Royal Albert Hall, January 1970
We’re Gonna Groove
I Can’t Quit You Baby
Dazed And Confused
White Summer
What Is And What Should Never Be
Moby Dick
Whole Lotta Love
Communication Breakdown
Bring It On Home

Australian TV Excerpt- 1972
Immigrant Song

Madison Square Garden, July 1973
Black Dog
Misty Mountain Hop
The Ocean

Earl’s Court, May 1975
Going To California
In My Time Of Dying
Stairway To Heaven

Knebworth Festival, August 1979
Rock n’ Roll
Nobody’s Fault But My Own
Kashmir
Whole Lotta Love

I entered the theatre with a bunch of teenagers who thought it would be fashionable to go to a Led Zeppelin IMAX experience. Most of the audience either were not born during the reign of Zeppelin, or were casual viewers who just liked the sound of the name… hey, man it’s cool. Whatever drew them there, they all left with the same feeling of “this was something special”. Although I was pumped entering the theatre… an hour and a half early mind you… the night had a rocky start, where they misspelled the band’s name on the ticket, and the line was very long. All was worth it though, when the feature started, and the band “came out” from backstage. Starting off with their Royal Albert Hall performance, and We’re Gonna Groove. Although the camera work left something to be desired… the music stood alone, and did so for the next 2 hours.

The first few songs were very blues revivalist… with Page showing off his adeptness with the solo and blues vibrato (understatement). It was especially apparent in Bring It On Home, where Bonham and Page squared off by trading the spotlight in a musicians duel. Plant held up the vocals, mind you this was still during the early days of the band, standing out in the performance of I Can’t Quit You Baby. The best guitar track by far was White Summer, where Page gave a clinic in guitar technique, using complex picking patterns, as well as harmonics. Of course there were also the hits for the audience, including Whole Lotta Love… that was very close to studio form. The unfortunate aspect from this section of the show came from the fact that the volume muted for a while during Moby Dick. This deprived the audience of the John Bonham show, but from the parts that were audible, we definitely felt the vibrations of the country squire.

After arena footage from Royal Albert Hall, the stage shifted to an outdoor stadium venue. I have never seen very much live Zeppelin in a stadium setting, and I wasn’t disappointed from the change. A blistering version of Immigrant Song was the only one from that outlet, but it was definitely the best I have ever seen… Plant’s vocals were enormous.

Then, the more familiar Zeppelin appeared at MSG, very reminiscent of The Song Remains The Same; dim lighting and fancy outfits (zso zso) was the showcase of this set… they started off with one of their most requested songs, Black Dog. This was followed by two of my favorites, Misty Mountain Hop and The Ocean… songs that do not get enough credit as live juggernauts. From this point, the stage shifted again to a more personable arena, from an earlier performance. It was highlighted by Going To California, a song which sparked a man in the audience to say “oh yeah, that’s my wedding song”… and how I wish I was his best man. In My Time Of Dying followed, a great deep blues tune that again showcased the talent of one Jimmy Page (now you say, doesn’t everything?). Then, the opening bars of Stairway To Heaven broke and I thought to myself “all of my kingdom for a lighter”, but no such luck. In my opinion, it was one of the best performances of the double-necked solo I’ve ever heard from Page.

But, like all good things, this exhibition was almost over. Only an encore from the Knebworth Festival remained, with the return of the Cadillac of Zeppelin songs… Rock n’ Roll. If you think about it, that’s a pretty arrogant title for a song, but then you’re reminded of the source… and all is well. I guess it’s not as bad as Gary Glitter creating a Rock n’ Roll Part II … Anyway, the best performances of the night were left for last, as Kashmir rolled out. It had to be one of the longer live versions, but flawless nonetheless. Then, at the end, there was an encore of Whole Lotta Love. The great part about it, was the fact that the solo changed… no longer was there a gaseous void of instrumentals that lacked direction. In its place were walloping chords, and good old-time rock and roll.

Maybe I’ve taken this review a little far, but can you blame my earnestness? How often do you get a chance to see a band like Led Zeppelin, in a medium so close to the realm of live performance? Not many opportunities arise, and I definitely am looking forward at the chance of more live material. A Whole Lotta Live.

“Thanks. I didn’t know how to say it, but thanks for the last 11 years.” – Robert Plant after Whole Lotta Love Reprise.

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Old 05-23-2003, 05:32 AM   #2
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Because of this scrumtrulescant review, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be purchasing me some Live Zeppelin DVD's and CD's come Tuesday!
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Old 05-23-2003, 08:04 AM   #3
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Now if they can just choose between Jason Bonham and Dave Grohl, get the paperwork finished and hit the road, we'd really see something.
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Old 05-23-2003, 10:37 AM   #4
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I saw Page w/ the Black Crows a few years ago. Zeppelin tunes all night, it was great.
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Old 05-23-2003, 04:12 PM   #5
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A few sidenotes on the show last night:

All proceeds from the event went to the Calgary Children's Fund... thumbs up to Warner Bros. for making the premiere non-profit.

As well, I didn't mention the quality of the cinematography in the latter performances... I must compliment the camera work and production, as for once they actually focused on guitar. I'm sorry, but during a solo I don't want to see the vocalist grooving to the music... I want to see the guitarist who's performing it (maybe it's the guitarist in me who is in constant learning mode... must tab, must tab).

Zeppelin tour again... come on! Why not Jason Bonham? It's keeping it in the family.

PS- Also, I'm sorry for not mentioning John Paul Jones in my review... the guy is just so solid and professional, you often look over his abilities. But, the guy is a talented musician.

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Old 05-23-2003, 04:16 PM   #6
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Kudo's to Cujo's.
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Old 05-24-2003, 01:33 AM   #7
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The plectrum was in full-force for Dazed and Confused... you play with that bow Jimmy Page mofo.
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Old 05-26-2003, 06:52 PM   #8
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How sad is it that so few people here like Led Zeppelin?

They are hands down one of the absolute greatest rock bands of all time. They seriously have so many fantastic songs. Fantastic songs up the ying yang you could say.

Seriously people, if you've never looked into them too mcuh, you NEED to. GREAT stuff.
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Old 05-26-2003, 10:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2popmofo
How sad is it that so few people here like Led Zeppelin?

They are hands down one of the absolute greatest rock bands of all time. They seriously have so many fantastic songs. Fantastic songs up the ying yang you could say.

Seriously people, if you've never looked into them too mcuh, you NEED to. GREAT stuff.
I totally agree.
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Old 05-26-2003, 10:41 PM   #10
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Cujo,

I am a big Led Zeppelin fan.

I saw some live shows in the 70s from the first five rows.
It was really something!
This DVD, sounds pretty cool.

To me LZ is vinal.

I think I will put them on my turn table and play my own images in my head.
They were huge in the 70s. They never strayed from their roots and sold out to commercial pop.


Rod Stewart's and the Faces first couple of albums
and then the satin and latex pop he transformed into. sad

Thank god, Zep kept it real.
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Old 05-27-2003, 12:36 AM   #11
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Zep is definitely in my top 5, if not 3, bands ever. I'm really broke, but thinking about charging either the new CD or DVD. I could just wait 'til Friday, though. I listened to half of the Complete Studio Recordings last night, tonight is Physical Graffiti through Coda. Also, the BBC Sessions are always in rotation here.
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Old 05-27-2003, 03:31 AM   #12
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Vinyl

It's great that there is still a large quantity of good condition records out there... my collection grows.

Immigrant Song

If you can just see this live in the stadium, it's worth whatever price they're charging. Oh Ay Ah Ah... wicked.
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Old 05-28-2003, 01:52 AM   #13
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What a review CUJO!!!

I sat through the entire DVD tonight. 5+ hours of pure music genius. How is Jimmy Page not immortal.

I tried so hard to win tickets to the premire but am glad i didnt as me a 2 other guys went over to a friedns house and watched it on his 65' TV and his great stereo system. We cracked a few beers and lit a joint near the end then watched Dazed and Confused (the first one, you'll relize why i say the first one when you watch the DVD, there are four dif versions)

And you are so right about JPJ he is so great. He even rocks out. He doesnt just sit back the whole time he will get in there and really go at it.

Tonight was a great night. I cant wait to have another 5+ hrs to burn!
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Old 05-28-2003, 02:29 AM   #14
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im the bigest led zep fan on this site.peace.
i got the dvd and the cd and they both rock..
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Old 05-28-2003, 02:45 AM   #15
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ya but i got them both for $45 CDN!!!
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