Thursday, February 6, 2003

Word of Led Zeppelin DVD project release expected soon

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Last year's project to revisit and celebrate the live work of Led Zeppelin was undertaken with Jimmy Page at the helm. His leadership in this monumental task was no surprise. It's been known for years that the Led Zeppelin guitarist has possessed a vault containing hours of unreleased footage of the group in action. Aside from this, Page has numerous times expressed his hopes for a chronological live album. He's made such comments repeatedly over a quarter of a century.

The DVD set resulting from his efforts in 2002 of wading through live tapes and editing footage may be just what he considers Led Zeppelin's ultimate collection.

Word has leaked, apparently from the inside, about the visual contents of the set, expected to run on two or three DVDs. Footage from some of Led Zeppelin's best known concerts will be featured, alongside previously unseen interview footage. The discs' audio will be enhanced with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel surround sound. Concert material under consideration for the set includes Led Zeppelin's March 1969 set filmed for Danish television; the concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on Jan. 9, 1970; previously unreleased footage from the New York 1973 concerts included with the film The Song Remains the Same; excerpts from the Earl's Court appearances on May 24-25, 1975; and excerpts from the two dates at the Knebworth festival in August 1979.

Other clips listed for possible inclusion are shots from backstage and offstage, interviews and press conferences. Also prepared for inclusion is a tribute to late drummer John Bonham, in the form of a full rendition of the drum solo "Moby Dick," from the aforementioned London concert in 1970.

Despite security at the London security that has been likened to that of Fort Knox, some leaks about progress on the DVD set have resulted courtesy of Kevin Shirley, a studio engineer who was involved in the mixing process for the DVD set last year. In journal entries at his production company's Web site throughout October, Shirley revealed some of the only known information about the DVD project.

He declared the project "a wrap" on Oct. 24, 2002, only a few days after commenting on the live footage he'd seen of Led Zeppelin: "I've always been a huge fan, but after this, I'm convinced of the geniuses involved and believe there was never a band with such a chemistry in rock. Miles and Coltrane in jazz maybe, Barenboim and Du Pre in classical, but in rock it must be the all four of them!"

Robert Plant said he had a VHS copy of some proposed footage with him when he chatted in 2002 via telephone with reporter Mark Brown for Ice magazine. "It's looking good," Plant said in Ice's December issue. "Some great footage, very exciting visuals."

John Paul Jones said in 2002 after seeing the footage, "I am still reminded what an incredible band it was -- excuse the modesty." In a message posted around Dec. 20 to his Web site,, the former Led Zeppelin keyboardist and bassist hinted, "It all looks and sounds very exciting and should be coming out soon."

Still, no official word is available on the DVD set's expected release date. The date will be set by marketing heads at Atlantic Records. A Feb. 2 news posting at Led Zeppelin Club Italia, translated into English, states that the date could be in late March or in April.

In addition, the club's Web site,, mentioned that a double-CD live set compiling two Led Zeppelin concerts from the summer of 1972 has also been prepared for release with the DVD set.

Reunion tour?

Do the imminent release of Led Zeppelin's live anthology and the cooperation among the band's surviving members shed any more credibility toward the rumors circulating that a summer tour has been planned for former bandmates Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones? You be the judge of that. Management and the artists themselves when approached have denied everything thus far.

In the past, "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History" has been very vocal in presenting the history of reunion rumors, none of which came to fruition. Review the Aug. 28 and Oct. 14 editions in 2002 for examples. However, it is some kind of a logical fallacy to suggest that just because something has never happened before, it will never happen in the future.

Kevin Shirley suggested last year that Led Zeppelin fans should be prepared with "a DVD player and a real 5.1 system." Perhaps the same fans should also start saving up some extra money just in case any official announcements regarding a summer 2003 reunion tour are made anytime soon.

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