First Class Ticket (Cosmic Energy CE-022)
Earls Court Arena, London, England – May 25th, 1975
Disc 1 (approx. 2hrs): Introduction, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir, No Quarter, Tangerine, Going To California, That’s The Way, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Trampled Under Foot
Disc 2 (approx. 90 minutes): Moby Dick, Dazed And Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Heartbreaker, Communication Breakdown
First Class Ticket is Cosmic Energy’s attempt to bring high definition Blu-ray technology to Led Zeppelin’s final Earl’s Court show on video tape.
Previous releases of the show on DVD include Unstoppable Metal Machine on Condor and Demand Unprecedented In The History Of Rock Music (Empress Valley EVSDVD 014). The Empress Valley release was groundbreaking because of the addition of the footage before the show as well as the use of the incredible sounding stereo soundboard tape for the soundtrack.
Cosmic Energy use the same footage as Empress Valley (including the crowd shots at the beginning), and offer an upgrade of the video. Comparing the two releases, the Cosmic Energy does look more sharp than the Empress Valley. Without access to the master tapes the editing is understandably limited, however.
The final minute of “No Quarter” and “Tangerine” are still missing and a high generation copy of the video is used to fill the gap. CE use high quality bluray discs with the labels silk screened directly onto the discs.
A good video of a concert is able to convey not just the personality of the artists, but all of the action on stage and the atmosphere of the event. One of the concerns about this footage is, since it was produced with the intention of giving close-ups to attendees in the arena, the screen would be dominated with them. It is good then that the video on this release is not like that at all.
Beginning with shots of the audience getting to their seats and Earl’s Court filling up, to Freeman’s animated introduction and throughout the three and a half performance by the band, it perfectly captures the excitement and emotion of Zeppelin’s final show in England for, in Plant’s words “a long long time.”
Many times the cameras pan away to capture the band members interacting with one another. There are a minimum amount of times when the cameraman’s judgment is called into question, but it is easy to overlook them.
Conveyed is the power of the music and watching Plant bop along to Page as he plays the opening to “The Song Remains The Same” and other such visuals is exciting to watch. Some startling images are also captured, such as the light show during “Trampled Under Foot,” the laser beams during “Dazed & Confused,” Page’s hand motions during the theremin solo, and Bonham whaling away at the drum kit.
Whether or not the price is warranted for this release is obviously up to the individual collector. While not groundbreaking, it does offer a bit more clarity to an already great video.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)