I got this double DVD for christmas this year, although it was released back in 2003, as one of my few presents - I'm saving to go on a Trekforce expedition in July so money was the main thing - from a long list of books and DVDs i gave to my parents. It was stuff I really do want, and I made the list as long as possible so that whatever I did get would be a surprise.
I'm very glad they chose this for one of the presents. I've recently been listening to more '70s rock - having heard alot of Beatles and Stones through CDs of my dad and a mate, and heard lots of single tracks from many artists during the many Thrusday nights spent at the local Cookie Club (a small club that on thursdays plays almost entirely softrock from the '60s and '70s), my apetite had been well and truly whet(ted?). Reading reviews for Zeppelin DVDs on a couple of sites, this one seemed far and away the best choice.
So it was, a couple of days after 25th December 2004, I fired up the DVD player at home, and dad reminded me the sound could be put through the stereo's amp and speakers - greatly increasing the quality and volume of the sound, really needed to do this justice - and I actually began with DVD 2, because the 1st DVD is one long performance (of 102 minutes) whilst the 2nd DVD has footage from 3 performances (well, 4 but the first one is just one song) of about 23 and a half minutes, 49 minutes and 50 minutes. So, knowing that I wasn't going to be able to sit through 102 minutes in one go at that time, I opted to go for DVD 2 first. It is, however, best viewed in order (if you can). Oh, and both DVDs have extras.
Anyway, the important stuff - the performances. Well. Watching these almost made me wish I'd been 30 years earlier so I could have gone and seen them live (or at least tried). OK, so three of the four are still alive, and there's an apparently rather good cover band called Fred Zeppelin (who even got a mention in Kerrang! last year as a "band to watch" for 2005. Not that that in itself is a recommendation for many people), but it's not quite the same. One thing that comes across real well in the concert footage (in fact, it hit me when I'd been watching for just a few minutes) is just how much the whole four were enjoying themselves when they played/sang. There is posing and showboating, but it's not the focus and it doesn't seem out of place or faked. They love the music they're making, and the fact that so many other people too is just a big bonus. There aren't too many repeats amongst the tracklist, and it's a great balance of old favourites you've likely heard at least snatches of, to some you probably haven't heard unless you are a fan. There's a version of Moby Dick (so you get to see one of Bonham's lengthy solos, though it's not the longest version he ever did) in which you really see the level of Bonham's talent - making use of all the bits of his (highly personalised btw) drum kit, even playing with just his hands for a stretch. There's Stairway To Heaven, so you get to see Jimmy Page solo with a dual-necked (6 and 12 string) guitar. Not forgetting Robert Plant's soulful and energetic vocals throughout, and of course John Paul Jones' strumming bass (and, when needed, keyboard). And these guys, they barely even paused between tracks, instead preferring to laucnh straight from one to the next. A real test of endurance, for sure. This is rock music, pure and simple, and they were very much a rock band. They weren't a one-trick pony - a number of their tracks have a distinctly folk-rock feel - and they really enjoyed what they did. And almost all of their songs are about love, in one form or another. Ok, that's pushing it a bit - but almost all of them really were about women. Heh.
The extras are comprised of a number of televised interviews, several promos and a couple of their (rare) TV appearances. They provide a brief glimpse at how the band worked together, and confirm the impression of them enjoying their performances the live footage gives.
Everybody needs a light, it's just a shame this one had to turn off (Zeppelin split in 1980 after the death of their drummer, John Henry Bonham)
On this double DVD is some of the best live footage around today. It demonstrates perfectly what rock is meant to be - fun.