The only official concert video document to be released by Led Zeppelin, The Song Remains The Same is rather self-indulgent, bloated in concept and not quite as great as a live show.
But it’s of value to any rock fan interested in finding out how much of a wild self-worshipping swagger the quintessential heavy metal quartet could muster on stage in their heydey.
The concert footage, filmed over three days at New York’s Madison Square Garden, makes up the bulk of the production.
Then there are the elaborate sequences that have each member of the band playing out their wildest fantasies – Plant as an Arthurian warrior, Page as a wizard, Jones as a mysterious masked horseman and Bonham as a drag racer.
As for the music, it’s not all that inspired or revelatory. Indeed, the versions of Black Dog, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, Stairway To Heaven and Rain Song here are hardly as good as the studio cuts. And it’s been rumoured that a lot of parts were touched up by Page for release.
The editing is also slipshod, with some scenes having little continuity logic.
But you’re talking about one of the finest hard rock bands that ever existed here, and any chance to see the group in action, even in a flawed state, should be cherished.
John Paul Jones