July 27, 1973
New York, NY US
Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, (Bring It On Home intro) Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I've Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love (incl. Let That Boy Boogie), The Ocean.
The gigs at MSG are filmed and recorded for the group's feature movie, The Song Remains the Same, and accompanying soundtrack album, as well as the 2003 dvd. A remastered edition of the film & soundtrack are released in November 2007.
The band hires a film crew - up to four 35mm cameras (depending on which night) - Arriflex 35BL with 400' film cartridges. A 16mm Éclair ACL camera was occasionally used for insert shots / offstage and crowd shots. The camera crew would take notes & photos through each of these last gigs (from July 24-29), to learn the song order and the stage lighting etc. The film would be taken to Aquarius Transfer in NYC - the dailies watched with the Director of Photography as well as Peter Grant, Robert and JP.
Review: Led Zeppelin Rocks to a Close at Garden
I saw the Friday opening of the Led Zeppelin concert from backstage, feeling the weight and response of the packed Madison Square Garden. It was possibly the best place to test the power of the British rock group, making the final dates of its current and very successful American tour.
And power it is – Led Zeppelin provides a kind of tent-show hard rock revivalism, healing and providing succor to the faithful, on a stage that throughout the evening became cluttered with smoke, dry-ice fumes and that most privileged of rock ‘n’ roll people, the film-maker.
Led Zeppelin remains unchanged. The group may perform different pieces, but the effect is the same. Jimmy Page’s lead guitar still dominates and mixes and merges with Robert Plant’s agile voice and Nureyev pirouetting to provide the basic essence of Zeppelin.
And Page is still into musical freakiness; dramatically dragging a violin bow across his guitar, he did his familiar squealing impersonation before boogieing off.
Page’s guitar more often than not sounds like thunder, but for all the power and fury at their disposal, the stage had much scaffolding on either side to hold the equipment, Zeppelin manages to provide some separation of instruments in the blare.
The group and the loyalty of its pilgrims out front (who remained shouting for an encore after the group had left) provide solidarity to hard rock. (NYTimes, July ’73)
Playboy Magazine - Led Zeppelin has taken its share of shit from the rock press. It was put down in 1969 for being yet another British group blasting out blues past the threshold of pain; and just lately, in an album review that found it too quietly ethereal, Rolling Stone renamed it the Limp Blimp.
But on this Friday night, the Garden's packed and the energy is climbing visibly, in the shape of a sweet-pot cloud swelling like a summer nimbus above the crowd: long-hairs in Levis and loose-haltered ladies out front, painted and sculptured groupies of various genders backstage, everybody peaking toward the event: Led Zeppelin’s final stop on a three-month tour that had been building all along toward this last set of gigs in New York-which is, after all, Judgment Central. The Zep had been flashing around the country in a Big Bunny-style jet with fur bedrooms and a brass-railed bar, and the press was eating that up. and so far they'd played to more than half a million people-including a gig in Tampa that broke a hallowed old Beatles record for Most Bodies Gathered and Bucks Made at a Single Rock Performance-so this is the end of the hottest tour yet.
And they come out blazing: kick right into Rock and Roll, Robert Plant, shaking his tight-denimed ass and marcelled-wheat mane all over the stage, attacking the vocals .. . "It's been a long time since I've rock 'n' rolled!" ... while Jimmy Page, looking like an angel with bad things on his mind, bends toward the red guitar slung gunfighter-low over his black-velvet spacecowboy suit-which shines with deco stars and moon slivers-tearing off licks and chops like bouquets of white sparks. At the last note of Rock and Roll they shift too fast for applause into Celebration Day and then tie that tight to Black Dog, Plant wailing high over one of Page's low-down riffs, while shifting spotlights in smooth choreography color every moan and grind, "Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove"- and you know that these boys are not fucking around.
They put out for nearly three hours without a break. And they have technology and staging down. On No Quarter, from the new album, John Paul Jones moves from bass to synthesized piano (one of three keyboards he uses, including a mellotron, which simulates an orchestra the size of Detroit) and, as a saffron spot picks him out of the blackness, Plant's voice, squeezed through some sort of sound compressor, gets the same weird underwater effect that's on the album, while dry-ice smoke rolls eerily across the stage like thick ground fog. Then, after The Song Remains the Same and The Rain Song comes Page's tour de force Dazed and Confused. The smoke billows up again, with patterned slides projected through it, leaving disembodied shapes to hover in the haze, and Page takes on his guitar with a violin bow, soon shredded as he teases and slams it against the metal strings, virtuoso cosmic electronic riffs. with Plant scat-singing along in lingering echo-amazing sound hut not precisely music-until Page gets back to his incredible fingers toward the end. It's Plant's turn next, the first soft notes of Stairway to Heaven sending a tangible rush through the crowd, they're that tuned in, and then drummer .John Bonham comes up to bat with a 20minute solo called Moby Dick. It's an excursion we don't usually get off on, but Bonham (who wears sneakers for traction) works so hard and well that he gets you into it: The crowd whistled and yelped him the whole way.
And out, naturally, with that old monster, Whole Lotta Love. Even though Page space-warps the middle on a sonic-feedback gadget called a theremin-more of that love for sound qua sound that musicians develop and the rest of us have to put up with-it's the sort of fine mean rock that tells you what the real stuff is. The four Zeps may be experimenting in directions some of us could live without, but they're serious about what they're up to, and when they decide to play rock 'n' roll, it doesn't get any better. The blimp's a long way from limp. [Playboy magazine, 1973]