Thursday, February 18, 2010

To remember 2007 reunion, Zeppelin fans make do without official DVD

"A Work in Progress" is a fan-produced assemblage of video clips shot near the stage during Led Zeppelin's 2007 reunion performance at the O2 arena in London. This homegrown release has hit trading circles in recent months without being available on any particular bootleg label.

It is being seen as a visual upgrade to a previously available video source credited to Third Eye Productions. Such is the assertion made in a description of "A Work in Progress" posted on the site Collectors Music Reviews.
A Work In Progress uses fifteen different angles to replicate what can be considered to be a professionally edited concert on DVD. The use of quick edits is able to capture the enormity of the event and to give much more visual information than the Third Eye [release] is able to do.

All of the videos used in this redaction are relatively close to the stage and offer many tantalizing close ups. The careful work is directed by a knowledgable [sic] Zeppelin fan who focuses upon the point of excitement and interested [sic] in any given song. It is a masterful work that moves the production values of the visuals from bootleg quality into a professionally edited live concert as it would have been presented in the nineties. The one camera missing is the roving eye camera used for the show and which appeared on newscasts which presents a more kinetic view of the show.
Presumably, footage caught by this "roving eye camera" is being reserved for the possible commercial release of this show on DVD at long last by the Led Zeppelin members. Preserving this concert with an eventual release is something Led Zeppelin fans have felt strongly about pretty much from the moment the show was announced, long before the planned show date changed from Nov. 26 to Dec. 10.

Two months ago, on the second anniversary of the concert, fans listening to syndicated radio host Carol Miller's daily installment of "Get the Led Out" heard an inside scoop about the possibility of a DVD from Phil Carson, a former Atlantic Records executive and confidant to Led Zeppelin. Now one of the board members of the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, for which the concert raised money, Carson said:
"Well, they've got it [footage]. It's all really on multi-camera, high-tech, high-def, state-of-the-art stuff. They spent a fortune getting it done, and the board of the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund agree it should come out, and as far as they're concerned, they can do what they want with it. It's just a question of what the three guys decide."
As far as what thoughts Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant have on releasing their celebrated one-off performance with Jason Bonham on drums, we have precious few on-the-record insights.

On June 16, 2008, the night Led Zeppelin picked up the Best Live Act award from Mojo magazine, both Page and Jones were in attendance and answered questions from BBC 6 Music about plans to issue a visual record of the concert.

Page's entire reported comment was:
"I hope so, one day, yeah."
That's all.

Not much more from Jones, except some insight into why the delay:
"Yeah, I should think one day the DVD will come out, but there is no hurry to do it. ... It was a special occasion, you know, and we really wanted that just to be it, really."
Really, Jonesy?

For now, fans wanting to relive the moment are making do with non-commercial releases like "A Work in Progress" and the Third Eye Productions disc, some of them possibly recognizing their own concert footage being used in the visuals.

And the Collectors Music Review description of "A Work in Progress" doubles as a pretty good run-down of the concert as it unfolded, even if the author raced through the end of the concert and thereby failed to capture the essence of "Kashmir," that Dec. 10 version rated by some witnesses as the best performance of it ever.

Despite their increasingly suitable bootleg editions, fans are still hoping someday all unofficial discs will be made obsolete by the release of an official concert video -- one that reporter Mark Cunningham, for Total Production International magazine, once offered could be superlative based on the images presented on the screen backdrop onstage:
The video production was essentially delivered by a three-way partnership between director Dick Carruthers (famed for his award-winning work on the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD), video ‘scientist’ Richard Turner and graphics guru Mark Norton, the creative director at London-based agency, Think Farm.

The combination of their acutely intuitive skills resulted in what can only be described as a watershed moment in the relatively short history of large format live concert video production. The creativity applied to the merging of stunning graphic art and animation with Carruthers’ mind-blowing treatment of live camera feeds was incomparable. In fact, I’m confident that December 10 2007 will be remembered as the date when, for the concert video industry, everything changed.
Cunningham also reports that Carruthers operated a console, nicknamed "the Big Kahuna," "whose mysterious fascia echoed that of Lt. Uhura's control panel aboard the Starship Enterprise." With this gargantuan gadget, "Carruthers was mixing eight cameras for the live screen, although there were 17 in total, including two HD cameras, two HD minicams around the drums and three film cameras," Cunningham reports.

He also quotes Carruthers as saying:
"I was looking for a desk that would work in HD and SD, that also had DVE effects and would work live. The Kahuna had it all. ... It's an exceedingly clever beast and its four mix effect busses allow all sorts of different routing and panels, so I could do things like the three-way mix in 'Dazed and Confused.' In the past I've had to use multiple DVEs to do this kind of thing, but here it all was in one big desk with native HD resolution as well.

"Once I found the Kahuna and the shoot expanded for archive purposes, I knew we'd need to get an OB truck in and shoot on Hi-Def, so we hired CTV's OB9 with Jim Parsons at the controls."
I take it that, in layman's terms, it would suffice to say if this thing ever comes out, it would be rather phenomenal.


  1. From the perspective of the video above, I'm not too sure how "high" I'd have to try to get for this performance to have the impact of yesteryear. No discredit to the boys. But really.... Kashmir for ten plus minutes is for smokin' in a car on a back country lane.... not for being trapped in those small squish seats that arenas are famous for. God bless anyone with arthritis in their knees! Not cool.

    1. Are you "high" or just stupid ??

  2. To Anonymous comment Feb 16, 2011 11:56 AM.

    I'm sure you have never seen "the boys" live ~ if so you would never have made such a stupid comment, I guess the millions who tried to get tickets had to be "high" too"?? Arena seats are for leaving & standing as close to the stage as possible ~ have you ever been to a rock show before ~ bootleg video can't possibly do the performance justice ~ Kashmir for 20 minutes would do me fine sober & in the audience.


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