Is there a worse concert movie than Song Remains the Same?

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Is such a thing conceivable?

Justyn Dillingham, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

rattle and hum, anyone?

jess, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Are there any really good movies of that form - one concert filmed in its entirety? They all seem to drag on, even "The Last Waltz" or "Gimme Shelter" or "Stop Making Sense". Great moments aside, neither medium benefits from the combination. As concerts they seem sterile and static, as films there's not enough in the way of character or narrative to keep you engaged.

fritz, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I think "Storefront Hitchcock" is a pretty good one... Directed by J.Demme (who also did Stop Making Sense, which is equally good.) It's just a straight concert film (no fantasy sequences) - but the filming and the backgrounds add visual entertainment.

part of what makes The Song Remains the Same suck so bad is the long songs ... It's hard to focus your attention on one long wankfest after another when you also have to look at all that mystical shit. When you're just listening to the record, you can focus your eyes on all kinds of stuff - you're not held captive -watching bullshit cosmic debris - (and have you seen the crop circles on the front of the boxset? - another example of Zeppelin's fascination with the absurd) -just as "Clockwork Orange" drove poor Alex mad.

Dave225, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"Rattle & Hum" is pretty appalling, it's true. "Stop Making Sense" and "Storefront Hitchcock" are both brilliant, if you ask me.

Not sure if it counts as a "concert movie," but Ministry's "In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up" is almost unwatchable due to all the needless video effects. Conversely, Iron Maiden's "Live After Death" is ace, as it's shot on film (!), and absolutely NO filler (crowd shots, interviews, witty banter, etc.)

Alex in NYC, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"Stop Making Sense" is brilliant, and part of that is because it is a concert filmed straight through w/o backstage patter or David Byrne talking about this concept or the time the band lost its equipment in Fargo or whatever crap fills out most concert films. It's almost jarring to see one-shots of the audence dance during the final song.

"The Song Remians the Same" and "Rattle and Hum" mostly suck because of the music.

scott p., Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Oddly enough, that's the same reason I wouldn't like Stop Making Sense, I'm guessing. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I think it works best when it's a cavalcade of stars, like The Tami Show or Monterey Pop or Wattstax or Urgh a Rock War. Actually, I think the latter was filmed at several different concerts, so that propably doesn't count.

I don't remember being bored by Elvis' '68 Comeback Special, but that wasn't a movie and I haven't seen it in years.

Arthur, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

'Titicut Follies' is the best concert movie of all time

dave q, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Boo, hiss!!! :)

Joe, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

the cure in orange - aside from that forest song

a-33, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

well said scott, it's a real surprise to see the crowd at the end! what a great film that really is. worst ever must surely be cure 'show' yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.

piscesboy, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

The Song Remains the Same is an awe-inspiring monument to rock excess. One of my first acts in Montreal was to watch it. Keep in mind that Led Zeppelin were multimillionaires. They could have hired anyone to write and direct a movie. They chose to make one filled with utterly incoherent fantasy sequences with no connection to the concert. They chose to film a concert filled with endless slop and ridiculous ad-libs. Does this not warm your heart even a little? Does this say nothing to you about why rock music will never be so great again? Possibly my favourite viewing of the film was at a repertoire theatre in Ottawa. Directly in front of me sat a very drunk man who sang along loudly and proudly off-key to every song - no, not along with Robert Plant but after him. He would repeat every line after it was already sung. Rock and fucking roll.

Does anybody remember laughter?, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

has any one seen fugazi's instrument video? i'm curious.

fields of salmon, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

worst ever must surely be cure 'show'

Oddly, I think the film is better than the album -- I guess seeing them all brings out the performances more. It doesn't hurt that the album lacked the encore, whereas the film gives you not merely a fine "A Forest" but a jawdroppingly-grand "To Wish Impossible Things."

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I taped the Fugazi movie when it was on cable, I don't remember much about it as I've never really paid much attention to them. I tape just about all rock-and-roll movies on TV in the belief that tape is cheap and I may like them one day (or will at least die with an impressive R&R video collection).

nickn, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

please excuse 2002-style formatting.

Wow. That makes me actually want to find a copy and listen again.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 13:17 (nine years ago) link

That was a very satisfying read, especially coming off a couple of weeks of doing little else but listening to LZ. I had skipped this album in my listening, and had never even been aware of the 2007 reissue. Thanks.

WARS OF ARMAGEDDON (Karaoke Version) (Sparkle Motion), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 19:42 (nine years ago) link

Most concert films are meant to be played in the background while you're hanging out with people and preferably drinking or smoking up, imo. They're fun if you can turn your attention to and away from them, boring if you have to watch them straight through.

eggleston or instagram? (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 19:48 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

this movie basically rules imo. obviously showcases many things that are ridiculous and eye-rolly about the band, and equally what's kinda spectacular about the band. got to let my mind wander and enjoy the music, and also think about them in a different way. just because it's pretty good concert footage of them, and they sound loud as hell, even as messy and inane as the performance is sometimes. i can't begin to deal with the fantasy sequences because i already cannot remember any of them as distinct sequences or narratives. they seemed like goofy fun from what i actually took in of them.

getting to watch the band at length was similar to that footage someone recently posted of The Who in that Rolling Stones concert film (Rock and Roll Circus?).... i really got this strong sense of "wow, i finally get *how* three instruments and one singer can fill up that much space, sound that BIG." also made me hear them a little closer to the way I understand prog, than i have before.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Friday, 14 January 2022 06:14 (two weeks ago) link

As a live album, How the West was Won destroys this one.

jimbeaux, Friday, 14 January 2022 15:39 (two weeks ago) link

The last time I watched it, I realized that this is basically their Head

A Living Mancave (Old Lunch), Saturday, 15 January 2022 02:14 (one week ago) link

really baffled by the existence of this thread, as i have no memory of ever seeing this movie!

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 15 January 2022 03:36 (one week ago) link

As a live album, How the West was Won destroys this one.

OTM

treat the gelignite tenderly for me (Sund4r), Saturday, 15 January 2022 03:52 (one week ago) link

Despite this being a huge deal for wee me I never heard the LP with the full version of No Quarter until quite recently, and only relatively recently learned that some of the footage was recorded on a stage without the audience (even though this is quite obvious with hindsight.) The film is both risible and amazing.

feed me with your clicks (Noel Emits), Saturday, 15 January 2022 09:25 (one week ago) link

Saw this at an art house theatre with a friend when I was 15. Missed the last bus home and had to walk the 10km return trip through one of the more questionable areas of Ottawa. The movie was much less memorable.

doug watson, Saturday, 15 January 2022 10:00 (one week ago) link

i'm not sure i've ever been able to sit through this whole film but i was at one of the three msg shows at which it was supposedly filmed so there's that.

Thus Sang Freud, Saturday, 15 January 2022 12:12 (one week ago) link

The best part of the movie is the slow bucolic walk on Page’s estate grounds — and the discovery of him sitting on a blanket playing acoustic. He turns around to face you…

calstars, Saturday, 15 January 2022 13:32 (one week ago) link

woah, TSF, that's cool! how was the show?

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 15 January 2022 14:20 (one week ago) link

Doug: Bytowne? I watched it there in 00 or 01 once. A drunk guy was loudly warbling along to the whole thing, which enhanced the experience.

treat the gelignite tenderly for me (Sund4r), Saturday, 15 January 2022 15:01 (one week ago) link

haha that was a long time ago, dr. casino, and i was 14. i was lucky enough to have seen them three times, always in arenas, and always in the cheapest of cheap seats. the most memorable was probably the first time, in 1972 at the nassau coliseum. that was my first concert, and it was an experience. i was a pretty straight kid, and the nassau coliseum in those days was a druggie's delight. so i just remember this vast haze of smoke (i'd never even smelled pot before) and this wall of noise emerging from these little figures on the stage. it was actually cool as all hell, with the guitar bow and the shrieking and everything. but also kind of scary. even the endless drum solo, when everyone left to get beer / get high / etc., was cool. the msg show is maybe the one i remember least. the third time was back at the coliseum, maybe early '75? (i was a long island kid and my dad, bless his heart, would drive me and my buddies to the shows, except the msg show where we took the train.) i believe the '75 show was just before the release of physical graffiti, and the most memorable thing -- and maybe one of my most memorable concert experiences ever -- was having "kashmir," which i had never heard, wash over me for the first time.

they were a lot of fun in concert. for all their rock godditude, plant was very conversational and down to earth.

Thus Sang Freud, Saturday, 15 January 2022 15:08 (one week ago) link

xp It was actually its precursor, the Towne on Beechwood in the early 80s. But I suspect that your experience was timeless. Did they still allow smoking in theatres then? We always exited those rock doc screenings, stinking of weed and tobacco.

doug watson, Saturday, 15 January 2022 15:30 (one week ago) link

i believe the '75 show was just before the release of physical graffiti

February 4, 1975

Josefa, Saturday, 15 January 2022 15:36 (one week ago) link

yup thanks. my ticket stubs are all back at my mom's house.

Thus Sang Freud, Saturday, 15 January 2022 16:08 (one week ago) link

that was one of the few times in my zelig-like existence that i heard a song live for the first time and just knew it was magnificent, the other being "once in a lifetime" at toronto's heatwave festival, a few months before "remain in light" came out. i don't even remember remembering that, but my brother tells me i said to him "that was a great song" after they played it.

Thus Sang Freud, Saturday, 15 January 2022 16:27 (one week ago) link

Setlist.fm sez Zep played Nassau on February 4th, and came back on the 13th & 14th.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 15 January 2022 16:27 (one week ago) link

Did they still allow smoking in theatres then?

No, thankfully. High schools still had "smoking sections" on campus property when I started hs in 92 but that was gone within a year or two.

treat the gelignite tenderly for me (Sund4r), Saturday, 15 January 2022 16:38 (one week ago) link

TSF, those are great recollections, thank you for sharing!

glad you were not among the teenaged fans seen in TSRtS who were let in the backdoor by the film crew, and then chased down and ejected by security under somewhat mysterious circumstances. this, and the very unflattering scene of their manager (?) yelling at the people from the venue because some people slipped in and were selling bootleg posters, suggest that at some point the director maybe had notions of it being less of a "concert film" and more of a documentary about putting on a concert, or something. hard to square with the dream sequences for each band member, and the 1930s gangster movie stuff at the beginning. weird movie.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 15 January 2022 22:11 (one week ago) link

Thank you for sharing, TSF!

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 15 January 2022 23:11 (one week ago) link

I am v much with Casino on this one. This is how a concert film put out by Led Zeppelin was meant to be, it could be no other way

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Saturday, 15 January 2022 23:50 (one week ago) link

having "kashmir," which i had never heard, wash over me for the first time.

god damn, thanks for sharing

global tetrahedron, Sunday, 16 January 2022 20:10 (one week ago) link


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