(Sorceress Productions SPDVD-001)
(4:48:38): New York 1969, Cleveland Jul. 20, 1969, Cleveland Oct. 24, 1969, North Carolina 1970, Iceland 1970, Germany 1970, Hawaii 1970, Montreux 1971, Houston 1971, Japan 1971, Australia 1972, San Bernardino 1972, Tucson, Arizona 1972, Japan 1972, Los Angeles 1973, San Francisco 1973, Pittsburgh 1973, New York Jun. 28, 1973, New York Jun. 29, 1973, Chicago 1975, Philadelphia 1975, Texas 1975, Dallas 1975, San Diego 1975, Long Beach 1975, Seattle 1975, L.A. Mar. 24, 1975, L.A. Mar. 25, 1975, L.A. Mar. 25, 1975, L.A. Mar. 25, 1975, L.A. Mar. 25, 1975, L.A. Mar. 25, 1975, Chicago 1977, Birmingham, Alabama 1977, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1977, Landover, Maryland 1977, Greensboro, NC 1977, Plaza Hotel – N.Y. 1977, New York Jun. 10 1977, New York Jun. 14 1977, New York Jun. 14 1977, New York Jun. 1977, L.A. Jun. 22, 1977, L.A. Jun. 23, 1977, L.A. Jun. 23, 1977, L.A. Jun. 23, 1977, L.A. Jun. 26, 1977, L.A. Jun. 26, 1977, Oakland 1977, Knebworth Aug. 4, 1979, Knebworth Aug. 11, 1979, Rotterdam 1980, Zurich 1980, Munich 1980
Rare Films contains almost five hours of rare footage of Led Zeppelin from their prime. All of the clips are downloaded from Zeppelin’s official site ledzeppelin.com which the label mention on the artwork. Nothing on this disc is new. The clips come from amateur fan-shot footage (with very few exceptions) and everything has been circulated and pressed onto DVD before. But coming from the official site, this should be the best available visual and audio quality. All four hours and forty-eight minutes are pressed onto one silver DVD with no evidence of pixelation and look as good as they appear on the website.
The clips are arranged in strict chronological order running from the first tour to the last, starting with the startling color footage of the January 31st, 1969 Fillmore East show in New York. Filmed on 8mm by Dennis DiMatteo, this is the earliest known footage of Led Zeppelin live. Lasting only a minute, it offers tantalizing glimpses of “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “I Can’t Quit You” and “Dazed And Confused” including a full frame shot of Jimmy Page using the violin bow on his psychedelic telecaster.
The ending shot shows a brief glimpse of the late Erik Brann of Iron Butterfly. The footage is synced with audio from the audience tape.
The next two clips are photographic montages of the two 1969 shows in Cleveland. Both photographs and montages were done by Michael Pierson and posted on the official site to commemorate Cleveland Rocks.
The clip from July 20th features photographs of the venue, of Joe Walsh of the James Gang, and of course Led Zeppelin all set to the soundtrack of “White Summer” from the audience tape of the show. At the very end is the voice of Walter Cronkite speaking about Apollo 11 landing on the moon, an event which occurred that night. The final photo shows the small white house where the group watched the moon walk along with the rest of the world.
The October 24th clip follows a similar pattern as July 20th. It starts off with photographs of the venue and adverts for the show, followed by photographs of the show. It ends with a notation that Led Zeppelin II was released two days before and that the following night in Boston the band played the Boston Gardens before 16,000, and a quote from Peter Grant that it was their “first big gig.”
Following the Cleveland slide shows is a short clip from the April 7th, 1970 Charlotte, North Carolina show. It is the only piece from their spring 1970 tour of the US. It shows the short trip to the venue and very good close up shots of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. No attempt has been made to sync the footage, but instead “What Is And What Should Never Be” from the audience recording of the show is used as a soundtrack.
Zeppelin’s visit to Reykjavik in Iceland consists of a radio interview with Plant as a soundtrack to their arrival and a clip from “Dazed And Confused,” all taken from the official DVD. It continues with a short clip from an amateur source from the back of the venue which is very dark. It ends with a short Plant interview for Icelandic TV the night before the gig.
Germany 1970 is a clip lasting several minutes of home movies made of their four date tour in July. The various shots show the band traveling with journalist Chris Welch, sailing down the Rhine River, and touring a very depressing looking West Berlin inter-cut with live footage filmed from the side of the stage. Page in particular looks mysterious wearing the long, red cape. “Celebration Day” taken straight from Led Zeppelin III is used as a soundtrack. Some footage was used on the official DVD, but this clip has different scenes.
The final clip from 1970 is the 8mm color footage from the September 6th, 1970 show in Honolulu, Hawaii. The shots are very close to the stage but a bit dark. “Communication Breakdown” from the audience tape of the show is used as a soundtrack. At points the music vaguely syncs with the footage.
Montreux 1971 is a long clip showing the band having lunch, walking to the stage, and hanging out in the dressing room after the gig. Interspersed are shots of hippies sitting on the ground with flowers in their hair, smoking pot, and staring into space. There are no live shots, and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” from the show is used as a soundtrack.
Following is the clip of the August 26th, 1971 show in Houston, Texas. The first half shows the audience milling around the venue waiting for the show. “Out On The Tiles” is used as a soundtrack for this part. The concert footage is, generally speaking, very good medium shots with very nice views of the action on stage. Since there is no audio and no tape exists of the show, the live footage is synced with audio from the Orlando and Toronto shows from the same tour. Songs include “Immigrant Song,” “Heart Breaker,” “Dazed & Confused,” “Stairway To Heaven,” “Moby Dick” “Celebration Day” and “Whole Lotta Love.”
The final footage from 1971 is a clip from the September 23rd show at the Budokan in Tokyo. The video is clear but slightly jumpy. Only very short fragments of songs are present from throughout the show including “Immigrant Song,” “That’s The Way,” “Moby Dick” and “Whole Lotta Love.” The video is synced with the excellent audience recording found on Timeless Rock.
The Australia 1972 clip is very short. Some pre-concert shots of the Kooyong Stadium in Melbourne and the showgrounds in Sydney are shown with a clip of an interview with Jimmy Page taken from radio Perth as a voice over. It’s very short and not very enlightening.
Footage of the June 22nd show in San Bernardino is opposite, however. Close-up, clear, steady, with rich colors, it is the best available visuals of the US tour in 1972. The visuals are perfectly synced with the audience recording offering a seamless experience. It includes clips of “Immigrant Song,” “Heartbreaker,” “Dazed & Confused” including rare footage of “The Crunge,” and “Whole Lotta Love.” It’s so good that it demands repeated viewings.
The same cannot be said of the following clip of the June 28th show in Tucson, Arizona. It’s dark and barely watchable, and the visuals are synced with the rough audience tape that exists of the show.
Even worse is the following track from Tokyo, 1972. Distant, blurry and saturated from poor lighting, it’s hard to even tell which of the two Tokyo shows is filmed and what tracks they are playing. Music from the audience tapes is used as a soundtrack, but no attempt has been made to try and sync the music with the visuals.
No footage from Zeppelin’s Winter UK tour from 1972-1973 or the 1973 European tour is included. Black and white 8mm footage from the May 31st, 1973 Los Angeles concert follows. It is very close to the stage and captures the action well, but is very short. “Over The Hills And Far Away,” “No Quarter” and “Dazed And Confused” synced from the excellent audience recording.
The Bonzo’s birthday party show is followed by short clips from the massive Kezar gig in San Francisco on June 2nd. It contains very short fragments of “Rock And Roll” and “No Quarter” filmed from the top of the stadium. It’s really impossible to see the band play, but it is very good as showing the mass of humanity there that day.
The Pittsburgh footage come from home movies made by members of the road crew. In color, they feature the band leaving the airport (with “Bron-Y-Aur” as a soundtrack), and on stage playing “Rock And Roll.” The travel was also filmed professionally and appears in the film The Song Remains The Same.
Also very good are fragments from the July 28th and July 29th New York shows. Both were filmed for the concert movie and it’s possible to see the same shots.
The July 28th was filmed a fair distance from the stage but it’s possible to pick out the action as it occurs, offering good panoramic scenes of the show. The clips range from the entire show, bits from almost each song played that night synced to the soundboard recording. The following clip from the July 29th show comes from a road crew’s home movie of the event. With spectacular close up shots from the side of the stage, it gives fantastic detail of “Dazed And Confused.”
Following New York is color 8mm films from the Chicago 1975 gigs. The earliest available footage from the troubled tour, it shows the band giving a highly effective and entertaining performance despite the circumstances. It’s up close and very clear with generous fragments of “No Quarter,” “Moby Dick,” the violin bow section in “How Many More Times” and an almost complete “Black Dog.”
A week after Chicago the band played at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The clip is much like the Chicago film. It’s very close to the stage and in color, showing the band playing “In My Time Of Dying.”
The Texas 1975 footage comes from the March 3rd, 1975 show in Fort Worth. Filmed from the front row, it has very nice close ups of the action. Because no tape exists of that show, instead of being synced with one of the available soundboards from the Dallas shows, a radio advertisements of the shows are used as a soundtrack.
The next clip contains footage from one of the Dallas shows. It is also close and in color, but slightly more fuzzy. It is synced and has short clips of “Rock And Roll,” “Sick Again,” “Over The Hills And Far Away” among other songs. Perhaps the best parts is an exciting clip from “Trampled Underfoot,” showing the light show and “Dazed And Confused” with the lasers.
The March 10th San Diego clips are in color but far from the action and very fuzzy. It has clips of “Sick Again,” “Kashmir” and other songs. The Long Beach fragments, from the legendary March 12th show, are a bit closer than San Diego but still blurry.
The Seattle clip has very short color fragments of the March 17th show. The various songs are synced with the excellent audience tape. It’s a big fuzzy, but very close to the stage and enjoyable. It’s especially dramatic to see Page playing the theremin and the band playing “The Crunge.”
The closing three shows of Los Angeles are the last of the 1975 footage. The first clip is about twenty minutes of color footage from the March 24th show, the opening night. It has clips of “Rock and Roll,” “Sick Again,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “In My Time of Dying,” “Kashmir,” “No Quarter,” “Trampled Underfoot,” “Moby Dick,” “Stairway To Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love / Crunge / Black Dog,” and “Heartbreaker” filmed in color with sound synced from the Millard recording. It is closely shot with distance ranging from band members’ height making up most of the screen to being seen from hip to head.
Five clips from the March 25th follow. A complete “Over The Hills And Far Away” is taken from color footage very similar in quality to the previous night. It’s a big fuzzy, but in color with great detail including Page’s floral pattern blouse. It’s followed by “The Song Remains The Same,” complete from a two film source edit between the color film and black and white.
Most of “Kashmir,” “Trampled Underfoot” and the encore section with “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Crunge” and “Black Dog” end this part of the disc. All of the clips from this show are perfectly synced with the Millard recording of the show.
Footage from the April 10th, 1977 concert in Chicago starts the extensive coverage of Led Zeppelin’s final US tour. Four minutes of reasonably reasonably clear and close, but very fragmented footage is included. There are parts of “The Song Remains The Same,” “No Quarter,” “The Battle Of Evermore,” “Trampled Underfoot,” “Black Mountain Side,” “Kashmir,””Moby Dick” and Page’s “noise solo.” This concert is notable for Page wearing the Nazi stormtrooper hat for the first couple of songs. He eventually changes it for a white cowboy hat before going hatless during the middle of the show. And by the noise solo he changed into his all white suit.
The second clip from the tour picks up at the beginning of the second leg with the May 18th Birmingham, Alabama show. It has ten minutes of color footage from the upper left hand side of the venue. It is shaky, but very exciting as the band play “The Song Remains The Same,” “In My Time Of Dying,” “Kashmir,” “Moby Dick” and “Rock And Roll.”
The following night in Baton Rouge is documented with several minutes of color home movies. It shows the band arriving at the airport on the Starship, fans outside the LSU Assembly Center several shots of the band playing onstage. The concert footage is jumpy but clear and has some startling scenes like the laser show during “No Quarter.” The audio is synced from the May 22nd, Fort Worth audience recording.
The Landover footage is an interesting little travelogue filmed by a fan named Vince Cavo. Traveling from Utica in upstate New York to Maryland, the first portion of the film documents him and his friends traveling and hanging out in front of the Capital Centre with “For Your Life” from Presence as a soundtrack. The concert footage comes from the May 30th show, the final of four nights. It is taken from the middle of the floor seats. The band take up the middle of the shots, but the camera is steady and the colors are very rich and vibrant. It has very short clips of most of the songs from the show up to “Achilles Last Stand.”
Maryland is followed by a clip from the May 31st show in Greensboro, North Carolina. The camera was located within the first couple of rows right in front of Jimmy Page. It’s a bit bumpy and fuzzy, but picks up the action nicely. Page looks extremely hip in his white flower suit, sunglasses with cigarette dangling from his mouth as he plays the double neck guitar. It contains most of “The Song Remains The Same.”
The next five clips cover their stay in New York in the second week of June. There is a minute long color clip of the band leaving the Plaza Hotel in the afternoon. Although all four pass the cameraman, only Plant stops and greets them.
Next is a dark, color fragment from the wild June 10th show with small clips from “No Quarter,” “Ten Years Gone” and Plant introducing “The Battle Of Evermore.”
Two clips follow from the June 14th show, the final night in New York. They are close to the action and in color, but very dark like the June 10th show. The first clip has “The Song Remains The Same” and “Sick Again,” and the second has the encore of “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock And Roll.”
And the final clip from New York is close to the stage and in color like the others, but much brighter and more enjoyable. This clip has fragments of several songs with the most coming from “Achilles Last Stand.”
The Los Angeles fragment on June 22nd is also in color and quite dark. It has fragments of the show from “The Song Remains The Same,” “Sick Again,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” “Over The Hills And Far Away” and much of “Achilles Last Stand.” Page wears the black dragon suit for the first couple of songs but changes to the white version for “Over The Hills And Far Away.”
The first June 23rd For Badge Holders Only show clip is close up and has fragments of the latter half of the show starting with “Trampled Underfoot.” A lot of time is spent in the noise solo and the encores with The Who drummer Keith Moon.
The next three clips are little music videos. The first two, with “Sick Again” and “Achilles Last Stand,” are edits of fan shot footage of the June 23rd show edited with clips from the July 17th Seattle professionally shot tape. The edits are very well handled and they are both quite entertaining.
From the June 26th LA show is a clip with the ending of “Stairway To Heaven” and the encore of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “It’ll Be Me” taken from only one source. There is two source edit on youtube, but it’s not used here. The final clip from the 1977 tour is a very short segment from the July 23rd show in Oakland. Containing only small pieces of the opening two songs, it’s reasonably watchable but ends almost as soon as it beings.
After the tour, Zeppelin were inactive for two years. The next time they played live was in Copenhagen, but no footage has ever surfaced. The next two clips are from the two Knebworth shows on August 4th and August 11th.
The August 4th clip was filmed from the front of the stage and focus more upon the giant screen behind the stage than on the actual musicians. The footage from August 11th is far away from the action, dark and blurry. Both are fragmentary but give a good idea of the size of the event.
The disc ends with three clips from the final Led Zeppelin tour. The first is a ten minute fragment from the June 21st, 1980 Rotterdam show. The color footage has pieces of “Trampled Underfoot,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “Achilles Last Stand,” “White Summer,” “Kashmir,” and “Stairway To Heaven.” Filmed in color with sound dubbed from a soundboard, it is shot from high left side and offers good panoramic views of the stage.
Three minutes from the June 29th show in Zurich has clips from “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” “Black Dog” and “Achilles Last Stand.” It is close up and in color and, despite being shaky, very dramatic.
The last segment is a ten minute fragment from the July 5th show in Munich, Led Zeppelin’s penultimate gig. The color footage has scenes from “In the Evening,” “Hot Dog,” “All My Love,” “Trampled Underfoot,” “Achilles Last Stand,” “Kashmir,” “Stairway To Heaven,” “Rock and Roll,” and “Whole Lotta Love.” The final song features Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke on drums with the band.
Rare Clips is packaged in a plastic DVD case with standard artwork. Although it doesn’t have everything little clip in circulation, it offers a comprehensive alternate video history to supplement the official release and watching it can be overwhelming. It’s a worthy title along with the previously released Assemblage titles on Cosmic Energy.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)