With Percy and co. set to play the’ mother of all reunions’ on December 10, Led Zeppelin frenzy is reaching fever pitch all over again. Coinciding with this event at the O2 Arena Jimmy Page has given it a whole lotta love and dusted down the original music from 'The Song Remains The Same' film soundtrack. Released originally in November 1976, it came three years after the actual concert (the last of three nights) in Madison Square Garden NY on July 29, 1973. The vinyl album was their penultimate number one in the UK, one of eight. This version now has 6 extras, making up the full show.
As longstanding curator of the band, Page said, “ We have revisited The Song Remains The Same and can now offer the complete set as played at Madison Square Garden. This differs substantially from the original soundtrack released in 1976, and highlights the technical prowess of Kevin Shirley, who worked with us on How The West Was Won. When it comes to The Song Remains The Same, the expansion of the DVD and soundtrack are as good as it gets on the Led Zeppelin wish list.” What this recording does, is to show what an awesome live band they were. Secondly, it allowed them to occassionally break free from the album formats, with more space to explore when they felt like it, like the mid -section of 'Whole Lotta Love', including some dazzling old fashioned ‘call and response’ between Plant and Page. It also let Page show-boat his fantastic technical ability, way beyond Hendrix’s skills.
Some of this music on the DVD is ‘masked’ by their individual fantasy sequences, and now dated filming techniques, so we don’t get distracted on the CD. Having seen Zep at Earls Court on 23 May 1975, in a four hour extravaganza, that included a 45 minute encore, I know exactly what Zep can do. Doing a track –by- track seems pointless ; it’s been done before. Just put it on, and enjoy the greatest band of all-time.
'How The West Was Won' is the only career spanning live collection they have. This was the first ‘official’ one gig account apart from the BBC sessions, later released in 1997. They broke the records. They broke the rules. They broke our our hearts, when they called it a day in a press statement on December 4 1980, following John Bonham’s death.