by Chad Van Wagner
Writing a review of this seems odd… Generally, reviewers try to either convince or dissuade their audience. But with the Led Zeppelin DVD, one hopes you out there picked this up as soon as you could.
If you’re one of those oddballs holding off, don’t worry, it’s everything it’s cracked up to be. Atlantic seems to realize this. Instead of the standard FBI warning, or even a basic menu, starting this up in your player plops you directly into the action. WHACK.
For the as-yet-uninitiated, this is a five-hour plus, chronological run-through of one of the mightiest rock bands in the history of the genre, doing what they do best: Playing live. If that sounds excessive, you’re reading the wrong column. The footage, as well as the sound, is outstanding. It’s certainly one of the best produced DVDs out there, music or otherwise, and the DTS sound alone is worth the price of admission. There are also tidbits, such as a “video” for “Communication Breakdown,” and some odd TV spots, mostly done in quaint but glorious, fuzzy-as-hell black & white.
There’s a strange frission in watching four young men simply do their thing, before said thing became legendary. The simple but brutal sounds they put out in these performances makes even played-beyond-all-necessity chestnuts such as “Whole Lotta Love” crackle with new life. Simple footage of talented men discovering what would eventually become cliché, but, at the time of filming, was fresh and new. Far from being a nostalgia lesson, this thing converted me all over again.
Great as it is, it’s not flawless. There’s a tendency towards hyper-quick, modern editing that’s quite frustrating. Why this is is anyone’s guess. If you’re prepared to buy this thing in the first place, I’d think uncut, lingering shots of Zep kicking the living shit out of “Immigrant Song” would not be considered boring.
That said, this is still essential. Go forth and find Valhalla.