Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Song Remains the Same (1976).

The Scoop:
Led Zeppelin's definitive concert film finds the band at its sprawling, bluesy best. Chronicling the Madison Square Garden stop of its 1973 world tour, Zep offers classic versions of some of their biggest hits, including "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love," "Black Dog" and "Dazed and Confused."

The problem comes with the rest of the film -- the not-very-interesting glimpses of backstage life (these should have been so much better, considering Zep's hard-partying reputation) and music video/fantasy sequences that consist mostly of a jumbled mix of oddities. (But hey, if mystic warriors on horseback, Vikings with broadswords, or mobsters shooting Nazi werewolves are your cup of tea, this might be up your alley.) These sequences, especially the opening scene without musical accompaniment, just drag the film down and leave you with that WTF feeling. Unless, of course, you use the film as it was meant to be used -- a late night stoner timewaster. In that case, I'm sure you won't go home disappointed.

In short, this is a must-see for the music. And if you're into the extraneous mystical shit, that's just icing on the cake.

Best Bit:
Their performance of the title song.

Side Note:
Jimmy Page's fantasy sequence was shot on the shores of Loch Ness in a house formerly owned by Aleister Crowley.

Companion Viewing:
If you want to go the late night stoner route, there's "Heavy Metal" (1981) and "Pink Floyd's The Wall" (1982). Or, if you prefer classic concert films, try the Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense" (1984) or The Band's "The Last Waltz" (1976).


Take a Look:
Performing "The Song Remains the Same":

"Stairway to Heaven":

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