Sunday, April 30, 2006

Led Zeppelin - DVD

In the early part of this new century Jimmy Page collected and sorted through tons of official and bootleg live footage of Zeppelin stretching from the early days to their last shows in London in 1979. He was even forced to recreate obsolete playback equipment so he could transfer some of the bootleg material. The resulting two DVD set was simply called Led Zeppelin.

It's an amazing collection showing the band evolve over ten or eleven years from a great little hard blues band into a staggering juggernaut. Robert Plant goes from being this almost gawky kid of 20 into a swaggering "blond god of phallic rock" as he once dismissed himself. Jimmy Page starts as an assured session man and ends as an hypnotic, heroin emaciated guitar playing icon. John Paul Jones always look above everything and John Bonham really does come across as pretty much nuts.

Most of the hits are here as well as great album cuts like "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine". There are some over the top bits like way too long versions of "Dazed and Confused" but the final footage come from their 1979 Kenbworth show in England and has "Achilles Last Stand" followed by "In the Evening", "Kashmir" and and great version of "Whole Lotta Love" (a song I don't particularly like). I haven't seen such a monstrous and perfect live performance as in that sequence ever. Dang.

The DVD was released in conjunction with How the West Was Won, a three CD set creating an "entire" concert out of various pieces of two West Coast shows from their 1972 tour. That means you only get songs up to "Houses of the Holy" but who cares? The version of "Stairway to Heaven" is the best I know and "Going to California" and "The Ocean" are outright beautiful.

In these days of crappy pop music Zep's a band to wash out all the bad tastes with. There really wasn't anything else like them and there sure isn't these days.

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