Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin: Live at the Royal Albert Hall and The Song Remains the Same–the Full Shows

Here’s a Friday night double feature for the die-hard rock and roll fan: two full-length Led Zeppelin movies.

Both films grew out of band manager Peter Grant’s dream of bringing the experience of a Led Zeppelin concert to the big screen. And although both were essentially attempts at the same thing, the two films were shot more than three years apart, so they show the band in two distinct periods of its career.

Led Zeppelin Live at the Royal Albert Hall:

On January 9, 1970, less than three months after the release of Led Zeppelin II, the band played the historic Royal Albert Hall on the third night of an eight-show UK tour. By all accounts it was a high-energy show. When the concert was over, Nick Logan of the New Music Express wrote:

I spoke to Jimmy Page after the show and he confessed that the whole band had suffered extreme nerves beforehand, mainly because people like John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck had requested tickets. “But it was just like it was at the Albert Hall in the summer,” said Jimmy, “with everyone dancing around the stage. It was a great feeling. What could be better than having everyone clapping and shouting along? It’s indescribable; but it just makes you feel that everything is worthwhile.

You can read Logan’s review of the show, along with other press reports, at LedZeppelin.com. The concert was filmed by Peter Whitehead and Stanley Dorfman. But the band was unhappy with the quality of the footage, and it was put away until the release of the two-disc Led Zeppelin DVD in 2003. The film (above) captures the powerful early phase of the band’s career. Here’s the set list:

  1. We’re Gonna Groove
  2. I Can’t Quit You Baby
  3. Dazed and Confused
  4. White Summer
  5. What Is and What Should Never Be
  6. How Many More Times
  7. Moby Dick
  8. Whole Lotta Love
  9. Communication Breakdown
  10. C’mon Everybody
  11. Somethin’ Else
  12. Bring It On Home

The Song Remains the Same:

Unhappy with the Royal Albert Hall film, Grant waited several years before trying to produce another concert film. With little more than a week left in the band’s 1973 North American tour, he hired filmmaker Joe Massot to document the final three shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Massot scrambled to assemble a film crew before the concerts, which took place July 27-29. Not surprisingly, the production was a disorganized mess. Again the band was unhappy with the concert footage. Eventually Massot was fired from the project and Peter Clifton was hired to complete the film. In 1974 the band rented space at Shepperton Studios in England to film supplementary concert footage.

The movie was finally released in October of 1976. Fans loved it but critics found the film amateurish and self-indulgent. The concert footage was interspersed with “fantasy sequences” filmed by Massot of Grant and the band members playing different roles. “The Song Remains the Same is not a great film,” Page said later, “but there’s no point in making excuses. It’s just a reasonably honest statement of where we were at that particular time.” The concert captures the band at the height of their fame. Here are the songs played in the concert scenes:

  1. Bron-Yr-Aur
  2. Rock and Roll
  3. Black Dog
  4. Since I’ve Been Loving You
  5. No Quarter
  6. The Song Remains the Same
  7. The Rain Song
  8. Dazed and Confused
  9. Stairway to Heaven
  10. Moby Dick
  11. Heartbreaker
  12. Whole Lotta Love

 



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