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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  • English: Linear PCM Stereo
  • None
  • 5 Additional footage - Extra performances
  • Animated menus
  • 3 Music video
  • 2 Booklet
  • 2 Interviews

Led Zeppelin - DVD

Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 226 mins . E . PAL


Led Zeppelin are responsible for one of those handful of FM radio staples that regularly chart well in the endless and "boring-as-bat-shit" Top 500 Songs of All Time, yet no one will admit to liking, Stairway to Heaven. It has the kind of intro that thousands of beginner guitarists still sit and learn by rote until their fingers bleed, only to have some git turn around and moan, “Not that bloody song again.” While fans will tell you that there is so much more to Led Zeppelin, I still need more convincing.

The band really did burst from almost nowhere and by the time of the first performance on Disc One of this two-disc set, had already released their second album, and were well on the way to being a very successful rock band. Sadly though, as is typical of bands of this period, there is a lot of self-indulgence, and 15 minute songs constructed from a short riff over and over, punctuated by a 12 minute guitar solo, (Dazed and Confused) tends to drag. Can you say, “self-indulgence”? This seems to be a regular ‘feature’ of their early shows, but they were no orphans. Guitar solos were sometimes replaced by 12 minute drum solos (Moby Dick), that, while technically impressive, still raise the question, "Can you dance to it?” The answer is, of course, no.

Disc One contains many such solos and for the less-than-casual fan such as yours truly, is a bit of a chore to get through. Disc Two, however, is far more viewer-friendly, kicking off with a ball-busting version of Immigrant Song melded from two different performances, and swings through a number of better known, better performed, and more succinct tunes such as Black Dog, Rock and Roll, and even Stairway to Heaven. Having managed to avoid this song for years, it was actually quite cool to see it. The shows all date from the ’70s and it’s interesting to compare their performances from 1979 to 1970. The band was naturally, tighter, sharper, more mature and less self-indulgent.

The highlight is the short acoustic set from an Earls Court gig which offers a nice change of pace from the over-the-top rock that makes up most of the performances in this set. There are numerous interesting extras, a nice presentation, and value for money that will leave fans well pleased. There is not a great deal of Led Zeppelin visuals around, never being a singles and video band, so this is likely to be the last Led Zeppelin DVD you will need to buy. It will undoubtedly turn out to be the best…

Track listing...

We’re Gonna Groove
I Can’t Quit You Baby
Dazed and Confused
White Summer
What is and What Should Never Be
How Many More Times
Moby Dick
Whole Lotta Love
Communication Breakdown
C’mon Everybody
Something Else
Bring it On Home
Immigrant Song
Black Dog
Misty Mountain Hop
Since I’ve Been Loving You
The Ocean
Going to California
That’s the Way
Bron Yr Aur Stomp
In My Time of Dying
Trampled Underfoot
Stairway to Heaven
Rock and Roll
Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Sick Again
Achillies Last Stand
In the Evening
Whole Lotta Love


Where to start? Most of this two-disc collection is in full frame, with a handful of songs from the Madison Square Garden gig in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 but not 16:9 enhanced. The two booklets that accompany this set go to great lengths to explain the poor quality image that makes up a good deal of the footage. As Led Zeppelin was not keen on the media, there was never a great desire to record their live shows for other than personal interest. Much of the footage has lain forgotten, and therefore suffers from neglect. There has been a lot of effort put into cleaning them up as best as possible, but this is not even close to reference quality. Having said that, the results are mostly fair and worth it, most certainly to fans.

The earlier footage is softer than the later stuff and colours vary wildly throughout, hampered by poor lighting, recording equipment not being state of the art and some questionable camera work. There is noticeable dirt in much of the footage, both old and new, and shadow detail also varies, but is only ever average at best. As said, all of the footage in the main feature is in colour, but is affected by noise and some bleeding. Some of the longer shots are quite blurred, but close-ups are markedly better.

What is hard to ignore, however, is not the infrequent shimmer or grain, but the examples of microphony that are very prevalent in Disc two. At times it is like watching through Venetian blinds. The most extreme instances occur towards the end of Disc Two.

There is some use of amateur footage just to vary the feel, and to simulate the feeling of being there, and this ranges from poor to blurs of colour that could be footage of anything. It can be quite arty at times though. One or two songs have been cobbled together from various sources due to the fragility or lack of quality of film and/or tape.

Overall, this is acceptable footage, but when considered in context it’s more than adequate. Without DVD, the chances are all of this would have been left to rot. The first layer change is hard to place, although the one on the second disc at 56:05 is more obvious.


While having to rate the video image quite modestly, there is no such problem with the audio options. There are three selections available, the first being the default Linear PCM 48/16 track that kicks in immediately without any company logos, and is very pleasing with good volume and range. Bass along with kick drums sound great, and vocals are nicely balanced. There is some noticeable separation and it’s akin to CD quality sound. There are a handful of times when the sound starts to distort ever so slightly as the recording equipment struggles to hold it all together.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is also very good, though slightly louder. There is very obvious use of rear channels for the usual things such as crowd noise and overflow, but it’s used a great deal for more aggressive sounds such as Bonham’s drum solo and some very athletic guitar gymnastics from Page that seem to fly around the room. Purists will possibly be annoyed that such liberties have been taken with a live recording. Vocals are still spread mostly across the front sound wall and are mostly clear and well synchronised.

Those with DTS capability will love the DTS 5.1 option that is slightly softer in volume than the Dolby 5.1, but has more ‘warmth’ and depth to the sound, especially in the low-level register. For audio that was recorded up to 33 years ago, this is remarkably good in all three options, and when placed in chronological context, is extremely good.


While most of the extras are further performances, they are still of interest, especially to fans, and all are full frame and in Dolby Digital stereo.

Booklets: A rarity in two-disc releases is a booklet for each disc, and these two are loaded with all sorts of information and photos.

Music Clip - Communication Breakdown: Never a band that embraced singles and videos, this 2:24 promo clip, although black and white, is interesting due to its rarity. I suspect the band is not taking things all that seriously.

Danmarks Radio: This black and white footage from 1969 runs more than 30 minutes and features the band in an intimate television studio setting. They run through Communication Breakdown, Dazed and Confused, Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, and How Many More Times in front of a small, spaced out crowd all squatting on the floor and swaying like flowers in the wind.

Supershow: Yet another version of Dazed and Confused that can be found in this collection, this time recorded for British television.

Tous En Scene: Can’t get enough of Dazed and Confused? Well here it is again, accompanied by yet another version of Communication Breakdown. This 1969 recording for French television runs a little over nine minutes and includes just a snippet of behind-the-scenes footage of the band as they wait for the nod to enter the sound stage.

Publishing: Complying with applicable law I guess, is this one-minute run down of who wrote what song. There are separate ones for each disc.

NYC Press Conference 1970: It is a shame that this three and half minute extra doesn't run longer. The journalists' questions seem as banal now as they were then, but it is interesting to hear from Page and Plant themselves at the beginning of their careers. The interview terminates suddenly, just when it is getting interesting.

Down Under 1972: Also a little short at under six minutes, this performance of Rock and Roll from Sydney may even spark a memory or two for fans who were there, and includes some pre or post show footage. Pay close attention to the fashions and hairstyles. Yew, they're bad!

The Old Grey Whistle Test Interview: A reflective and introspective Robert Plant answers some slightly more interesting and thoughtful questions around the time of the release of the Physical Graffiti double album.

Promos: Led Zeppelin may have been reluctant to make videos, but here are a couple for Over the Hills and Far Away, and Travelling Riverside Blues. Good arty stuff, using some interesting, almost art-student type special effects.


Having been released some weeks ago, many fans will (hopefully) be nodding their heads while reading this review. The video quality is basic, but the audio quality is very good. The extras are varied and interesting, and the whole thing is well packaged and nicely presented. Here, in almost five hours, is the essence of what Led Zeppelin were all about; rock and roll.

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      And I quote...
    "This well-packaged collection is a must-have for fans…"
    - Terry Kemp
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          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
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    • Audio Cables:
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    • Video Cables:
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