Still in the framework of Led Zeppelin’s fiftieth anniversary, Jimmy Page wanted to add a new iteration to the double live that wasn’t unanimously received upon its release...
Granted he had already dusted it off in 2007, adding no less than six new tracks, including Black Dog, Heartbreaker and an epic version of Since I've Been Loving You that might actually top the original. For a total of 34 minutes and 40 seconds of additional happiness. But, despite these presents, the criticism is once again the same: even in Hi-Res Audio (at last!), The Song Remains the Same remains very frustrating compared to the studio-album versions. Released a little later in 1976, because the film had been delayed, it seemed offbeat compared to the band’s two latest productions, Physical Graffiti and Presence. This also meant giving a miss to a few marvels, like the immortal Kashmir and a few other gems. An injustice that hasn’t been repaired to this day, except for Led Zeppelin DVD and Celebration Day, as the first didn’t feature a purely audio version, and the second was only recorded in 2007, without the late John Bonham.
Four decades later, it could all seem very much incidental. One just needs to listen to it in a row after the first five studio albums, going through How the West Was Won then The Complete BBC Sessions and finally Celebration Day, to realise it holds up just fine! And while the critics were harsh at the time, it is now obvious that the recording audio quality is exceptional. Those who enjoy long instrumental digressions, which do credit to the talent for improvisation of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, will be on cloud nine, with a brand new sound. Pending The Song Remains The Same II The Return for 1974-1980?
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