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Led Zeppelin – A Work In Progress (no label)

A Work In Progress (no label)

O2 Arena, London, England – December 10th, 2007

DVD 1:  TV Intro., Good Times Bad Times, Ramble On, Black Dog, In My Time Of Dying, For Your Life, Trampled Underfoot, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, No Quarter, Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You

DVD 2:  Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, The Song Remains The Same, Misty Mountain Hop, Kashmir, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll

A Work In Progress is a silver pressed DVD title of a recently surfaced working of the various pieces of footage of Led Zeppelin’s reunion at the O2 Arena on December 10th, 2007.  Previous releases of this show on DVD include the well known O2 Arena, 12-10-07 (Third Eye Productions), which was the first and most popular video of the event. O2 (no label) cropped up last year which was basically the Third Eye film but with other films utilized to patch any imperfections. 

A Work In Progress uses fifteen different angles to replicate what can be considered to be a professionally edited concert on DVD.  The use of quick edits is able to capture the enormity of the event and to give much more visual information than the Third Eye is able to do. 

All of the videos used in this redaction are relatively close to the stage and offer many tantalizing close ups.  The careful work is directed by a knowledgable  Zeppelin fan who focuses upon the point of excitement and interested in any given song.  It is a masterful work that moves the production values of the visuals from bootleg quality into a professionally edited live concert as it would have been presented in the nineties.  The one camera missing is the roving eye camera used for the show and which appeared on newscasts which presents a more kinetic view of the show.

The best way to appreciate this gig is to place it in its proper context.  Considering this is the first time Led Zeppelin played together in thirteen years (since their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995), and considering how poor the two reunions were in the eighties, this is worthy inclusion into the live Zeppelin catalogue. 

The tape begins with the news clip about the record setting Tampa 1973 gig found on The Song Remains The Same DVD.  “Good Times Bad Times,” “Ramble On,” and “Black Dog” all follow in quick succession.  The first two songs sound a bit tentative, but they hit a nice stride by the third with Plant enjoying the audience interaction.  “Good evening” is Plant’s curt greeting before a nice version of “In My Time Of Dying.” 

Jimmy Page switches to a vintage and rare Gibson ES5 for this song giving it a warmer timbre compared to the 1977 versions on the Danelectro.  Plant throws in a line of “Honey Bee,” a blues they covered in the very early days.  “Of the thousands and thousands of emotions we’ve been going through together finally get to this point for Ahmet, and to bring Jason in, and the double bass pedal.  This is the first adventure with this song in public.”  They play the live premier of “For Your Life” from 1976’s Presence LP.  Although that album is very good (and not the unappreciated masterpiece some collectors claim), this is the most interesting song and should have been included in the set list of their 1977 tour instead of playing it safe with the blues-based “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”

The angular theme and dissonant guitar solo are one of the highlights of the evening.  “Trampled Under Foot” is introduced as “a Led Zeppelin ‘Terraplane Blues'” and is followed by an eight minute version of “No Quarter.”  In contrast to the previous live arrangements of the piece, from the dark and intense 1973 arrangements to the tour-de-force marathons in 1977, the O2 is unique in sounding very close to how it sounds on Houses Of The Holy including the cocktail piano melody in the improvisation.  Jones even uses the same organ sounds and it is in general very effective.  “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is the Zeppelin song that had the longest stage life during their career and this version is, like the preceding song, very conservative and played very close to the original studio arrangement. 

“I don’t know how many songs we recorded together.  But I think about creating a dynamic evening choosing things from ten different albums, there are certain things that have to be there…and this is one of them” Plant says before a ten minute version of “Dazed And Confused.”  Page throws a lot of energy into it with devastating results.  The violin bow solo lasts long, and the improvisation stays close to the Led Zeppelin arrangement eschewing the elaborations the piece built up over the years.  Page misses his cue for the return to the main theme.

The band start into “Stairway To Heaven” with no introduction.  Considering Plant’s hatred for the piece it comes off rather well albeit mellow.  Page stays on the Gibson double neck for “The Song Remains The Same” and afterwards Plant introduces Jason Bonham.  “I can’t remember how long ago it was, but Jason was only like this big.  His mom, his dad, used to sing.  They were the best Jimi Hendrix impersonators in the whole of Worcestershire.  Pat’s got a great voice.  And I remember John used to be in a band in Birmingham and he used to sing ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ about four hundred times a night….But Jason’s a pretty cool singer too.  And so we’ll feature Jason here on vocals now.  We’ve been rehearsing for this so it would be wrong to not hear how Jason sings on his own.” 

Jason does a good Robert Plant imitation singing “Oh, I can’t quit you, babe” before Jones begins “Misty Mountain Hop.”  “Kashmir,” introduced as the fifty-first country, closes the set and two encores, “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock And Roll” close what is an extraordinary event. 

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. I read the same thing-probably a November release.

  2. ok – I am hearing that this release is what may be pushing a forthcoming official release later this year – say late November – supposedly 2 dvd set with a separate 2 cd set….hope?

  3. This is a fantastic release and I highly recommend it to any collector. It features superb sound, a superb video presentation with excellent editing, and captures an awesome performance. I own DVDs of this show on three other labels (3rd Eye, EV, and Genuine Masters)…. this is by far the most enjoyable in all aspects. I hope that an official version of this magnificent show is released soon on Blu-ray in surround sound. I would say that this is the next best thing.

  4. to those who made this: THANK YOU!
    i was very glad to hear the storm london audio in the video. to me it sounded the most like being there. i suppose its the woman constantly yelling for jimmy page that sealed my decision.
    the audio/video editing is first class.
    i have to wonder though if we will see another video/version later with clearer video.
    if you havent seen it, some video, possibly from one or two camers was A LITTLE blurry or grain/static at times.
    however, the video is VERY watchable due to the master mixer who made this. this is the best quality yet.
    thanks again,
    A MUST HAVE!!!!!!

  5. Audio on the original Dual Layer torrent was the Beelzebub ‘Storm London’ source.

  6. Thanks for the info, Hager & gsparaco. Personally I find the audio more important when watching a DVD than the video, hence my question.

  7. Dittos for Hager’s comment. I’m not sure which excellent source is used, but it’s really academic. It does sound fantastic and the sync job is absolutely perfect. This has been in production for more than a year with a lot of work put into it, and it shows.

  8. No clue about the audio source, oldman24, but was giving this a continued view/listen last night and realized again how nice and full the audio is with the video. Synching the images to the sound is oftentimes a bummer for me when it’s off, and it’s dead-on with this release. The fantastic audio only enhances the overall entertainment value of this production.

  9. @Hager
    Do you know which of the 7 or 8 audio sources for this show has been used?

  10. Nice review – I own the original 3rd Eye version that came out weeks after this show. It has it’s up’s and down’s…Given your review I may seek this title out only becuase the O2 arena was a superb setting for this concert. It is true that is was great to hear and see this band perform again it probably was not as good a performance as some of the Page/Plant pro shot DVDs that are available – just my opinion! Kashmir was my favorite of the O2 concert.

  11. An excellent review of a truly excellent production. There can be no fair comparison between this release and any prior footage of the O2 concert. First, the visuals command your full attention and are near flawless. Close-ups, numerous great angles from the front row as well as a few rows back sidestage, all hooked me immediately and kept my close attention throughout the vieweing. It’s that good, and so is the audio. As compared to the fine recordings that were previously released on CD, the audio accompanying this title – which is matched superbly to the visuals, a huge plus – has deep, rumbling bottom end at the same time you’re clearly hearing Bonham’s hi-hat work. All in all, this is a definitive presentation of the O2 concert that will likely remain that way regardless of any release of footage from that concert. One interesting final point for those who’ve obtained an original of this release is that its artwork is a wonderful 2-sided insert. On its backside is an expansive, overhead shot that captured Jason bowing on his knees, on stage, to Jones, Page & Plant, in true “I’m not worthy” deference. Given his lifetime dream of playing this concert, the picture’s quite precious. I would not have known of it, though, because the case issued with this title is the familiar solid black version. A clear DVD case would allow a collector to view both sides of the very tasteful artwork.

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