|Exclamations of religious awe are in order. Legendary and long sought-after, this live Led Zeppelin collection is nothing less than the rock music equivalent of the Holy Grail. Quite simply, this is what all the fuss was about.
Given that they were the biggest band in the world, Zeppelin were notoriously camera-shy in their heyday. Their official filmic legacy until now has been just the fascinating but flawed The Song Remains the Same. While this new set presents some previously unseen footage from the same 1973 Madison Square Garden gigs, its real wonders lie in the earlier (1970) Royal Albert Hall footage and the later Earls Court (1975) and Knebworth (1979) concerts. Everything here looks and sounds new-minted, thanks to painstaking restoration and remastering of both audio and visual sources, a Herculean labor of love on the part of co-producer Dick Carruthers working hand-in-glove with Jimmy Page. Trawling through thousands of yards of previously unseen film and unheard tape recordings--some with missing visuals, some with missing audio--Page and Carruthers have chosen only the best possible footage available. They were also at pains to make the segments segue seamlessly so that the viewer is treated to what feels like a continuous concert--just sample the transition from a grainy Super 8 "Immigrant Song" (Sydney, 1972) to "Black Dog" at MSG.
Highlights? It's not hyperbole to say that every powerhouse minute of this collection (some 230 minutes of concert footage plus another hour and a half of extra DVD material) is a rare musical and visual treat. But hearing Page's violin bow work on "Dazed and Confused" in DTS or Dolby 5.1 is an experience not soon forgotten. --Mark Walker