The Song Remains the Same

3 out of 5 stars
Photograph: Warner Home Video

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

After the atomic detonation that was 2003’s How the West Was Won, Led Zeppelin finally had a concert album worthy of the band’s Godzilla-sized footprint. The accompanying double-DVD set, simply called Led Zeppelin, was just as revelatory. (See, haters? Jimmy Page was not sloppy.) So with Zep-reunion mania building, here comes a remastered version of the band’s subpar 1976 theatrical release, much finessed at the time by in-studio tweaks, several different directors and extensive reshoots. Do you care? Does anybody remember laughter—or care?

Sort of. It’s impossible not to feel lingering fondness for these 1973 MSG shows, even if the double-vinyl soundtrack worked better as a spliff-rolling surface than a listening experience. Robert Plant’s voice is haggard after a Dionysian tour, and though much of the audio is superbly tweaked and even corrected in parts, the film remains stubbornly inert—that is, when it’s not actively embarrassing the band members, who play Tolkien dress-up in notorious fantasy sequences. Meanwhile, on-the-street footage of unreconstructed Times Square is unwittingly nostalgic, as is the old NYC skyline with the Twin Towers (“I think this is a song about hope”). A second disc makes up for a lot; extra tunes, including a smoking version of “The Ocean,” remain unintegrated for legal reasons. Closing out the package is a hilariously somber radio special hosted by 19-year-old superfan Cameron Crowe.

—Joshua Rothkopf



Release details

Release date:
Thursday October 21 1976
136 mins

Cast and crew

Peter Clifton, Joe Massot
Peter Grant
Jimmy Page
John Bonham
Robert Plant
John Paul Jones

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