Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains The Same (Film)

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.

Tracklist:

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”)

Line-up:

* Jimmy Page – acoustic and electric guitars
* Robert Plant – vocals, harmonica
* John Paul Jones – bass guitar, keyboards
* John Bonham – drums, percussion

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